Only intentional design changes are listed here. For bugs and bug fixes, see Bugs. Major changes to game mechanics can be found on Rule changes. Minor changes to card text and underlying mechanics can be found on individual card or patch pages.
Official explanations of card changes featured in patch notes are included here to provide context for the changes. Changes are listed by patch, in date order. For a list of changes to specific cards, see individual card pages.
- 1 Card change protocol
- 2 Discussion
- 3 Patch 18.104.22.16820 (2017-02-28)
- 4 Patch 22.214.171.12481 (2016-10-20)
- 5 Patch 126.96.36.19930 (2016-10-03)
- 6 Patch 188.8.131.5219 (2016-07-12)
- 7 Patch 184.108.40.20674 (2016-04-24)
- 8 Patch 220.127.116.1104 (2015-10-20)
- 9 Patch 18.104.22.16866 (2015-06-15)
- 10 Patch 22.214.171.12411 (2015-03-31)
- 11 Patch 126.96.36.19928 (2015-01-29)
- 12 Patch 188.8.131.5234 (2014-12-04)
- 13 Patch 184.108.40.20685 (2014-09-22)
- 14 Patch 220.127.116.1124 (2014-07-22)
- 15 Patch 18.104.22.16814 (2014-05-08)
- 16 Beta
- 17 Alpha
- 18 Patch changes
- 19 References
- 20 See also
Card change protocol[edit | edit source]
Card changes are usually foreshadowed by official announcements, stating the nature of the coming changes, and offering some explanation for each change.
Implementation[edit | edit source]
Changes are put into effect through patches, with the new versions of the cards immediately replacing the previous versions. Players' deck lists are usually unaffected, but the cards within those decks will be updated to the new versions, which can surprise unaware players when the new version of a card is drawn in a match. This includes in the Arena, where altered cards will change mid-run.
Because card changes are put into effect through patches, players have a small amount of control over when the changes will be implemented for them. Since patches will not be applied until the player logs out of the game, and players will only be matched with other players using the same version of the client, players will not find their cards changing in the middle of a match, or mid-session without first logging out. Likewise, players will never encounter the old and new versions of a card in the same session.
Significant changes to cards are usually announced to the player upon loading the client for the first time following the changes. Patch 22.214.171.12474 introduced a special interface for this purpose, displaying the new versions of the relevant cards with the changed elements highlighted.
Disenchanting[edit | edit source]
Following the changes themselves, if a changed card is craftable, and the change was not a direct upgrade or simple technical adjustment, that card will then be made disenchantable for its full crafting cost, for a short period, usually two weeks.This is designed to allow players who have spent dust crafting the card to disenchant it at no cost, minimising the disruption caused by such changes to existing cards. After the adjustment period ends, the card's disenchanting reward will be restored to its usual amount. This also applies to cards moved to Wild format.
This adjustment is put into effect through increasing the normal disenchanting value for the changed cards. Because of this, the extra Dust is provided whether the card was crafted before the card was changed, or afterwards. As a result, players are able to craft and later disenchant these cards (within that period) without penalty, allowing them to try the cards in their decks before deciding whether to keep or disenchant them. However, since almost all eligible card changes are nerfs, this is generally less desirable than might be expected.
The increase means a regular changed card can be converted to any other card of the same rarity, at no cost. It also means that a golden changed card can be exchanged for several cards of the same rarity or even higher rarity. For players more interested in completing their regular collection than collecting golden cards, but not wishing to lose the card altogether, this means they can convert a golden changed card into a regular copy of the same card, as well as regular copies of several other cards. This makes card changes a particularly lucrative time for players who have gained golden copies of the changed cards through rewards such as the Highest Rank Bonus chest, provided they are not too attached to the golden quality.
Discussion[edit | edit source]
Decisions[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Design and development of Hearthstone#Card changes
The developers have stated that they hope to make "very few card changes, unless they are absolutely necessary". The developers feel it's important that the cards "feel solid", and fear that changing cards which players have spent time and resources to obtain would undermine that feeling. Familiarity for returning players and alternative attitudes to "bad cards" are other reasons for minimising card changes.
Almost all card changes are nerfs, weakening cards that are considered to be too strong. The developers are strongly resistant to simply 'buffing' or improving 'bad' cards, although broader changes such as the introduction of new minion types can act as a buff to certain cards.
When a certain card in the game starts to appear too strong, the developers try to find a way to address the card without changing the card itself, such as through the introduction of new cards which will allow players to counter that card. In response to certain decks dominating the meta-game, the overall strategy is to provide players with new "tools" to shift the meta themselves, rather than changing existing cards.
- causing non-interactive games;
- being frustrating to play against;
- causing confusion or not being intuitive enough;
- being too strong compared to other cards of the same cost; causing a specific build or style of play to be too strong
For motivations and trends behind recent card changes, see below.
The developers are more likely to make changes to existing cards to coincide with the release of new cards, especially the larger sets of expansions. This is because while the developers prefer not to directly adjust the meta, the introduction of new cards is already expected to result in "upheaval", and with "everything changing" it feels more acceptable to also alter existing cards.
For a fuller exploration of the principles behind card changes in Hearthstone, see Design and development of Hearthstone#Card changes.
Changes so far[edit | edit source]
Following the initial development of the cards, the majority of balance changes were centred around weakening decks which create "non-interactive" games, such as Unleash the Hounds, Grim Patron and Freeze mages' Pyroblast. Ben Brode has stated that direct damage and Charge effects are some of the most non-interactive mechanics, and consequently many nerfs have been focused on keeping cards with these abilities in check.
The other major trend during the game's first two years was to weaken cards which had become ubiquitous in the meta, with a majority of decks featuring them, such as Nat Pagle and Novice Engineer during the game's beta.
With the arrival of game formats in April 2016 a new focus for balance changes emerged. The largest number of card changes yet made in a single post-release patch were made with the introduction of Standard formats, reducing the power of numerous cards from the "evergreen" Basic and Classic sets. While the changes themselves were for reasons such as those given above, the changes were made specifically in order to create a more dynamic and shifting meta in Standard format.
Standard format means that future card changes are expected to be heavily influenced by card set, with interactions between Standard and Wild cards of lesser concern for the balance designers, with the developers stating that there will be "a little bit of difference of tolerance" between the two formats with regard to balance problems. Consequently, the design of cards is likely to be strongly determined by which other cards are in Standard format at the time they are released, and card change decisions are likely to be similarly influenced, with the removal of cards due to the end of the current Standard year offering an alternative to nerfing cards.
A few changes have been presented in the form of bug fixes, adjusting cards to be more intuitive. However, while most bug fixes correct clearly aberrant behaviour or miscellaneous errors, a few act to significantly alter the behaviour of the card more in line with a buff or nerf to the basic card function. These "bug fixes" are referred to by some in the community as "stealth" nerfs or buffs.
When aiming to reduce the popularity of a card, or to break the dominance of a particular deck type, the developers often make small 'tweaks' or reductions to the card's power, increasing diversity while still leaving the original card or deck as a valid option. However, when dealing with particularly overpowered 'problem' cards at the heart of deck types, or cards that critically limit design space, rather than making small adjustments, the developers consistently choose to reduce the card's power level to a notably low level, generally considered by players to have 'killed' the card. This allows the change to reliably remove the card from the meta, making a clean break from the previous situation, without concern that the nerf may have been light, or that the addition of another card may bring the same problem back into the spotlight before too long.
Player reactions[edit | edit source]
Player reaction to card changes varies. Some are considered desirable and a relief from the overdominance of a certain class or deck type, while others are approved of as reasonable nerfs to cards which had become "auto-includes" in many decks. When a card change 'kills' a card, the change is often lamented by players due to the perception that the card will never see play again, despite the change being a positive one overall. While this attitude can be exaggerated, due to the self-imitating nature of the meta it is often correct, with cards that have fallen from favour often falling entirely into disuse once influential players disregard them.
Patch 126.96.36.19920 (2017-02-28)[edit | edit source]
This patch brought nerfs to the one card from the meta-dominating and really aggresive Pirate Package and to the Shaman's weapon, which wasn't just pretty strong itself, but it also had a really good synergy with the aggresive Pirate Package.
- Small-Time Buccaneer now has 1 Health (Down from 2)
The combination of Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate has been showing up too often in the meta. Weapon-utilizing classes have been heavily utilizing this combination of cards, especially Shaman, and we’d like to see more diversity in the meta overall. Small Time Buccaneer’s Health will be reduced to 1 to make it easier for additional classes to remove from the board.
- Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana (Up from 1)
Spirit Claws has been a notably powerful Shaman weapon. At one mana, Spirit Claws has been able to capitalize on cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos or the Shaman Hero power to provide extremely efficient minion removal on curve. Increasing its mana by one will slow down Spirit Claws’ ability to curve out as efficiently.
Patch 188.8.131.5281 (2016-10-20)[edit | edit source]
This patch brought some fairly unexpected and non-critical changes. Most were made apparently in order to improve the very rarely seen Murloc mirror match, while Ethereal Peddler was changed partly to free up design space.
- Ethereal Peddler now reads "Battlecry: If you're holding any non-Rogue class cards, reduce their Cost by (2)." This was done to make it more clear, especially with upcoming releases.
- The following Murlocs that affected ALL Murlocs now only affect friendly ones, to improve the Murloc mirror-match. These cards are not eligible for a full dust refund.
Patch 184.108.40.20630 (2016-10-03)[edit | edit source]
This patch saw a continuation of the changes implemented with the arrival of game formats, further reducing the power of a number of cards from the "evergreen" Basic and Classic sets, that the developers felt were "too oppressive to our players in the current state of the meta game", as well as nerfing some problem cards from the current Standard format expansions. The changes included two major themes: the reduction of power of the shaman class, which had been dominating the meta with a variety of aggro and midrange decks; and the nerfing of Yogg-Saron, which had been a cause of substantial complaints especially in regard to its often game-winning presence in major tournaments. Call of the Wild was another card which had seen a number of complaints. The developers considered changing a number of other shaman cards at this time, including Totem Golem, Tunnel Trogg, Thing from Below and Doomhammer.
The notes for these changes were extensive. Comments for specific cards are included below, but more general commentary is not. For the full notes, see the official blog.
- Rockbiter Weapon - Cost increased from 1 to 2.
Rockbiter is the culprit of a few mass burst-damage combos in addition to being a reliable early game removal tool. Due to its strength in a variety of circumstances, it’s been one of the most widely played Shaman cards in Hearthstone’s history. Making changes to Basic cards that show up in every deck will help instigate more variety and help the Standard format succeed in the future. We’re preserving some of the synergistic potential of Rockbiter Weapon but decreasing its value as a removal tool by changing the cost of the card from 1 to 2 Mana.
We considered other Shaman cards like Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem, but these are both leaving Standard relatively soon, so we thought it would be better to change Rockbiter and improve the Standard format in a more permanent way.
- Tuskarr Totemic - Now summons "a random basic Totem", instead of "ANY random Totem".
We like that Tuskarr is contributing to totem focused decks, but currently the power level is centered around the possibility of summoning cards like Totem Golem or Mana Tide Totem. This isn’t the most fun type of randomness for a card that is low mana and sees this much play. We want this card to be an option for decks that take advantage of extra totems through cards like Thing From Below or Primal Fusion, but a weaker option for players looking for standalone high power level options on turn three. That said, we are adjusting the battlecry for Tuskarr Totemic to only summon basic totems.
- Call of the Wild - Cost increased from 8 to 9.
Although Call of the Wild is intended to be a powerful late game option, it is over performing at 8 mana. By moving it to 9 mana we intend to tone down its power enough that it won’t be an automatic inclusion in every Hunter deck and overshadow other strategies.
- Execute - Cost increased from 1 to 2.
The Warrior class has access to a large amount of removal spells, and while we want to continue providing Warrior players with powerful removal options, Execute stands out as one that has proven to be too efficient in too many situations. We’re increasing the cost of Execute from 1 to 2 Mana in order to keep the card as an option closer in power level to other existing and future removal tools.
- Charge - Cost reduced from 3 to 1. No longer grants +2 Attack, but the target now cannot attack heroes that turn.
While we enjoy seeing players explore combo styles of play and will continue to support it in the future, we’ve seen in the past that the ability to give Charge to minions that don’t normally have it has been particularly problematic and also heavily restricts future cards. We’ve redesigned the card Charge in a way that provides opportunities for minion combat, but does not enable strategies that intend to win without allowing opponents to interact.
- Abusive Sergeant - Attack reduced from 2 to 1.
Aggressive decks are stronger than we would like right now, and Abusive Sergeant is in virtually all of them. We like that Abusive Sergeant is available to players using minion heavy strategies, but neutral cards in the base set should be narrow enough that they aren’t showing up in such a wide variety of circumstances. We’re changing Abusive Sergeant to be a 1/1 so the battlecry becomes the clear focus, rather than the card being a reasonable turn one option for all aggressive deck types.
- Yogg-Saron, Hope's End - Rule change: Will now stop casting spells if it is destroyed, Silenced, transformed or returned to the hand.
This is the most controversial card we've ever made. Some people LOVE Yogg, and others hate it. We felt like seeing Yogg in tournaments was not where we originally hoped it would end up. Yogg should be for players who want to have a lot of fun, but maybe not the card you see frequently in high-level tournaments. Yogg is relatively weak in power level for nearly every class at every level, but is slightly above average in 2 decks – Tempo Mage and Token Druid. We didn't want to nerf it so much that it couldn't still be a fun card for players who currently love Yogg. Yogg-Saron will now stop casting spells if, during Yogg-Saron’s battlecry, it is destroyed, silenced, transformed, or returned to its owner’s hand. We tried a bunch of things and we think this is a significant enough nerf that it could reduce the amount it gets seen (especially in tournaments), while still maintaining the dream for people who love the card.
In addition to the above changes, we will be addressing the bug where cards with Overload cast by Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End will not cause Overload to the player in a future update.
Patch 220.127.116.1119 (2016-07-12)[edit | edit source]
- Silithid Swarmer is now a Beast.
Although not taking place until nearly three months after the card's release, the Beast type was described by Ben Brode as being the card's intended design.
Patch 18.104.22.16874 (2016-04-24)[edit | edit source]
This patch saw the largest set of card changes since the game's closed beta, in preparation for the arrival of game formats. The intention of the changes was to address an over-reliance on cards from these sets, resulting in stale gameplay as new cards are unable to outstrip these already available options. By nerfing Basic and Classic cards, the developers hoped to help the release of new content to be more impactful, resulting in a more dynamic and shifting meta as well as a less stale experience for deckbuilders.
The notes for these changes were extensive. Comments for specific cards are included below, but more general commentary is not. For the full notes, see the official blog.
- Ancient of Lore - Card text changed from "Choose One - Draw 2 cards; or Restore 5 Health." to "Choose One - Draw a card; or Restore 5 Health."
Drawing cards is powerful in Hearthstone, and Ancient of Lore easily found its way into nearly every popular Druid deck. We’d like Druid players to feel that other cards can compete with Ancient of Lore, so we’ve reduced the number of cards drawn from 2 to 1.
- Force of Nature - Cost reduced from 6 to 5. Card text changed from "Summon three 2/2 Treants with Charge that die at the end of the turn." to "Summon three 2/2 Treants." Treants summoned by this spell no longer have Charge but no longer die at the end of the turn.
The new version of Force of Nature lowers its mana cost by 1, but removes Charge and makes the summoned Treants permanent—like the other Treants that Druids summon. This change also removes the powerful one-turn combo of Force of Nature and Savage Roar. Now, opponents will have a chance to deal with the threat that the Treants represent, and it won’t feel mandatory to always include the combo.
- Keeper of the Grove - Changed from a 2/4 to a 2/2.
Keeper of the Grove is a strong and versatile minion that combines Silence with solid stats, which made the decision to include it in every Druid deck virtually automatic. Whether or not to introduce a source of Silence to a deck should require some decision making, so Keeper of the Grove shouldn’t be a default choice for all Druid decks. Its stats have been changed from 2/4 to 2/2.
- Ironbeak Owl - Cost increased from 2 to 3.
Ironbeak Owl is a staple source for an inexpensive Silence in many decks. In line with our overall goal to make Silence effects more costly, Ironbeak Owl is moving from 2 to 3 mana.
- Big Game Hunter - Cost increased from 3 to 5.
Big Game Hunter represents an inexpensive source of removal that is packaged with a minion. It’s efficient enough that some Heroes with powerful Class-based removal cards choose to run the neutral Big Game Hunter. We’re increasing the cost of the card from 3 mana to 5 mana.
- Hunter's Mark - Cost increased from 0 to 1.
Hunter’s Mark is an important option for Hunters, but it’s too efficient at 0 mana. We are increasing its cost to 1.
- Blade Flurry - Cost increased from 2 to 4. Card text changed from "Destroy your weapon and deal its damage to all enemies." to "Destroy your weapon and deal its damage to all enemy minions."
Blade Flurry is a problem because it enables both board clear and heavy burst damage, and it’s also an obstacle to adding better cards for Rogues. To address these issues, the cost of Blade Flurry is moving from 2 to 4 mana, and it will now only affect minions, so that Rogues have to choose between removing threats or damaging the enemy Hero.
- Knife Juggler - Changed from a 3/2 to a 2/2.
Knife Juggler should be a good choice in decks that play many cheap minions, but with 3 Attack, it is played almost universally. We’re reducing Knife Juggler’s Attack from 3 to 2, so this card will move into a more specialized role in the decks that include it, instead of always being among the best choices for a 2 mana-cost minion.
- Leper Gnome - Changed from a 2/1 to a 1/1.
Leper Gnome is powerful for its cost, finds its way into almost every aggressive deck, and requires no further deck building decisions to be effective. We’d like other 1 mana minions to be more compelling, so we’re reducing its Attack from 2 to 1.
- Arcane Golem - Changed from a 4/2 to a 4/4. No longer has Charge.
Charge is an ability we’ve learned to use sparingly. Arcane Golem has been a staple in many aggressive and ‘one turn kill’ combo decks, and its drawback is rarely relevant. We’re addressing both issues by removing Charge and increasing Arcane Golem’s Health, while leaving its drawback. Arcane Golem will now be a 3 mana 4/4 with Battlecry: Give your opponent a Mana Crystal.
- Molten Giant - Cost increased from 20 to 25.
Molten Giant is an interesting card, but it’s too easy for players to reduce its mana cost to 0. We’re increasing Molten Giant’s mana cost to 25 to increase the risks players must take to get a free Giant. The changes to Force of Nature and Arcane Golem will make dropping to low health somewhat less risky as well, which helped spur this change.
- Master of Disguise - Card text changed from "Battlecry: Give a friendly minion Stealth." to "Battlecry: Give a friendly minion Stealth until your next turn."
The ability of Master of Disguise to grant permanent Stealth has been a design obstacle for a long time, so we are changing Master of Disguise to only grant Stealth until the next turn. This change opens up exciting options for future cards.
- Captain's Parrot - No longer rewarded from collecting Classic Pirates. Can now be crafted.
- Old Murk-Eye - No longer rewarded from collecting Classic Murlocs. Can now be crafted.
Patch 22.214.171.12404 (2015-10-20)[edit | edit source]
- Warsong Commander now reads: Your Charge minions have +1 Attack. [Was: Whenever you summon a minion with 3 or less Attack, give it Charge.]
...we felt this change was necessary to help expand both future design space and to stand by our overarching game philosophy that battles between minions and fighting for board control is what makes Hearthstone fun and compelling.
This change was made in connection to the card's use in the then extremely popular Patron Warrior decks, with the combination of Grim Patron and Warsong Commander (alongside Frothing Berserker and activator cards such as Whirlwind) producing a very effective but also somewhat non-interactive deck. The reasons for its eventual nerf parallel earlier nerfs for Miracle Rogue and Freeze Mage.
- Hearthhead: Pros React to Warsong Commander Nerf (2015-10-27 - 7 days after changes)
- Hearthhead: Remembering Warsong Commander And Patron Warrior (2016-10-13 - 1 year after changes)
Patch 126.96.36.19966 (2015-06-15)[edit | edit source]
- Shadow of Nothing (created by Mindgames when the opponent's deck has no minions remaining in it) no longer has a hidden triggered effect which destroys itself at the end of the turn.
This change was not mentioned in the patch notes, but was in line with previous comments by developers suggesting the triggered effect may be unnecessary.
Patch 188.8.131.5211 (2015-03-31)[edit | edit source]
- Bane of Doom can now summon any collectible Demon. [Previously limited to Blood Imp, Voidwalker, Flame Imp, Dread Infernal, Succubus and Felguard]
Announced as a bug fix, this change came following wide-spread request from players, especially following the release of Goblins vs Gnomes. After stating that they would consider the matter, 4 months later the developers changed the card to provide an effect more fitting to its card text.
Patch 184.108.40.20628 (2015-01-29)[edit | edit source]
- Undertaker now reads: Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain +1 Attack. [Previously: Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain +1/+1.]
Undertaker was frustrating to play against. It often gained both Attack and Health stats significantly above those of other inexpensive minions very early in the game. With this change, we expect Undertaker will still be better than other 1-Mana minions when played in a deck with a Deathrattle theme, but more likely to die in combat against other minions.
Patch 220.127.116.1134 (2014-12-04)[edit | edit source]
- Flare now costs 2 (up from 1)
Flare allowed the Hunter an advantage versus decks that revolve around Secrets, while also allowing the Hunter to draw a card for little cost. We want to encourage a variety of decks in Hearthstone. With this change, Flare will continue to be useful against decks playing Secrets, but will be weaker against other decks.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer now costs 6 (up from 5)
Gadgetzan Auctioneer’s ability allows for a player to potentially draw many cards for little cost. Card draw and card advantage are important to the game—overall, games are less interesting when a player draws their entire deck. This change brings Gadgetzan Auctioneer’s cost more in line with its power level.
- Soulfire now costs 1 (up from 0)
Soulfire, along with fast and powerful minions, allowed Warlock rush decks to get ahead on the board and stay ahead. We’ve upped Soulfire’s mana cost by 1 to slow down the Warlock rush deck just a bit and allow more players time to react and interact against the Warlock.
- Minion type changes
- Multiple mechanical minions have been upgraded to Mechs, unlocking additional synergy with other Goblins vs Gnomes cards: Harvest Golem, Damaged Golem, Alarm-o-Bot, Demolisher, Mechanical Dragonling, and all of Gelbin Mekkatorque’s AWESOME inventions [ Repair Bot, Emboldener 3000, Homing Chicken and Poultryizer ].
- Druid of the Claw is embracing his wild side and now becomes a Beast minion type upon switching Cat Form or Bear Form.
Undocumented[edit | edit source]
- Bestial Wrath can no longer target enemy Beasts
This undocumented change is notable for preventing players from using Bestial Wrath to bypass enemy Taunt minions. Since a minion with both Immune and Taunt will not act as a Taunt, prior to this change Bestial Wrath could be used to effectively remove Taunt from an enemy minion until the end of the turn.
Patch 18.104.22.16885 (2014-09-22)[edit | edit source]
- Leeroy Jenkins now costs 5 (up from 4)
Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. Fighting for board control and battles between minions make an overall game of Hearthstone more fun and compelling, but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not particularly fun or interactive. This was occurring when Leeroy was used in combination with other cards like Power Overwhelming, Faceless Manipulator, Cold Blood, Shadowstep, and Unleash the Hounds, among others.
Leeroy had been a regularly complained about card for several months prior to this change (if not since beta), mostly due to his power as a finisher. Despite this, the above was the first change to be made to the card.
- Starving Buzzard now costs 5 (up from 2) and now has 3 Attack and 2 Health (up from 2 Attack and 1 Health)
The amount of cards Starving Buzzard allowed Hunter players to draw ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost. This change will allow the Hunter’s opponent more time to react to both the Starving Buzzard and the cards drawn by its power.
Ben Brode also stated that the change to Starving Buzzard would act as an indirect nerf to Flare, considered very powerful at the time due in part to the prevalence of Secrets following Curse of Naxxramas, by reducing the number of hunters in play.
Patch 22.214.171.12424 (2014-07-22)[edit | edit source]
- Eaglehorn Bow now reads “Whenever a friendly Secret is revealed, gain +1 Durability”.
Patch 126.96.36.19914 (2014-05-08)[edit | edit source]
- Unleash the Hounds (Hunter) now costs 3 (up from 2).
After much consideration, we have decided to increase the mana cost of Unleash the Hounds to 3. Unleash the Hounds has been dominating all levels of play for quite some time. This change should make the card more fun to play against while still allowing for some big plays when combined with other hunter cards.
A lengthier explanation of the change can be found here.
Beta[edit | edit source]
The game's beta saw changes made to cards far more frequently than is seen following full release, as well as the outright removal or replacement of several cards, something which has yet to be since the beta.
Patch 188.8.131.5244 (2014-03-11)[edit | edit source]
- Tinkmaster Overspark is now a 3/3 (up from 2/2) and now reads: Battlecry: Transform another random minion into a 5/5 Devilsaur or a 1/1 Squirrel. [Previously: Battlecry: Transform a minion into a 5/5 Devilsaur or a 1/1 Squirrel at random.]
Tinkmaster Overspark is a neutral card that silences and often shrinks big creatures. This reduces the amount of big, fun creatures in the environment. We think this change will increase the amount fun creatures in the environment, and bring him more in-line with his cost and overall power. Tinkmaster should still show up in certain types of decks, but will no longer be appearing in every high level deck.
- Nat Pagle now reads: At the start of your turn, you have a 50% chance to draw an extra card. [Previously: At the end of your turn, you have a 50% chance to draw a card.]
Nat Pagle will now draw a card at the start of your turn rather than at the end. Nat had too much draw power for a card that is fairly hard to counter so early in the game, making it almost an auto-include for many decks. This change reduces the power of the card and gives players more time to counter the card before it starts.
Patch 184.108.40.20658 (2014-01-16)[edit | edit source]
- Many of the changes in this patch were explained in the Hearthstone's Card Balance Philosophy blog
- Unleash the Hounds now costs 2 (down from 4)
Unleash the Hounds was intended to give Hunters their own form of AoE and to have synergy with other beast cards, but its old cost was too prohibitive.
- Pyroblast now costs 10 (up from 8)
The 8-cost Pyroblast made for an un-interactive experience where the Mage only needed to do 10 damage during the course of a game and then double Pyroblast you for the win. We want Mages to be more interactive with the opponent to achieve victory, rather than delay the game until they can Pyroblast.
- Blood Imp is now a 0/1 (down from 1/1) and now reads: Stealth. At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +1 Health. [Previously: Stealth. Your other minions have +1 Health.]
The Warlock has three very strong 1-cost minions and that made the Warlock rush deck slightly stronger than we were comfortable with.
- Warsong Commander has been reworked and now reads: Whenever you play a minion with 3 or less Attack, give it Charge. [This patch note is mistaken: the card was in fact changed to read "Whenever you summon a minion with 3 or less Attack, give it Charge". Previously: Your other minions have Charge.]
- Charge (the spell, not the keyword) has been reworked and now costs 3 mana. The card’s new power reads: “Give a friendly minion +2 Attack and Charge”. [Previously: Give a friendly minion Charge. (0 mana)]
Both of these cards were key components in “One Turn Kill” or “OTK” decks that kill your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. We want the game to be about playing minions and fighting for board control rather than just waiting until you can play your big combo and win in one turn with no interaction from your opponent.
- Abusive Sergeant now reads Battlecry: Give a minion +2 Attack until end of turn [Previously: Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +2 Attack this turn.]
Abusive Sergeant was changed to make his power the same as the new Dark Iron Dwarf and to give it additional versatility.
- Dark Iron Dwarf now reads Battlecry: Give a minion +2 Attack until end of turn [Previously: Battlecry: Give a minion +2 Attack.]
This change was made to reduce the Dark Iron Dwarf’s overall power slightly. We also wanted to make the Battlecry effect the same as Abusive Sergeant‘s as to not force you to permanently buff one of your opponent’s creatures.
- Defender of Argus is now a 2/3 (down from 3/3)
Defender of Argus was a card that found itself automatically included in many decks due to its power and stats. We want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks, so cards that feel like they must be in all decks (especially Neutral ones) are not ideal.
- Novice Engineer is now a 1/1 (down from 1/2)
The Novice Engineer was played in most non-rush decks (and even some rush decks) due to its cost and power. Similar in reasoning to our Defender of Argus change, we want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks.
- Sylvanas Windrunner now costs 6 (up from 5)
Sylvanas had power and stats that made it a bit too powerful compared to other 5-cost cards, which made it automatically included in many decks. We want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks, so cards that feel like they must be in all decks (especially Neutral ones) are not ideal.
Patch 220.127.116.1143 (2013-12-18)[edit | edit source]
- Blizzard’s mana cost is now 6 (up from 5)
- Cone of Cold’s mana cost is now 4 (up from 3)
- Frost Nova’s mana cost is now 3 (up from 2)
We understand that the Freeze mechanic can be frustrating to play against, and we wanted to make changes that would allow the Mage’s opponent some additional time to be aggressive with their minions and well as slow the overall pacing of the control-based Mage play style.
Patch 18.104.22.16817 (2013-12-10)[edit | edit source]
- Unleash the Hounds has been reworked and now reads: “(4) For each enemy minion, summon a 1/1 Hound with Charge”.
The previous version of this card was allowing Hunters to win in a single turn, starting with no minions on the board. The new version should give hunters some fun new card combinations and bolster their AoE ability.
- Starving Buzzard is now a 2/1 (was a 2/2).
At some ranks, Hunter was too strong against Mage, Druid and Rogue. This change to Starving Buzzard helps even the playing field against those classes.
- Mind Control’s mana cost is now 10 (up from 8).
Mind Control was frustrating to play against. Players worked to summon their powerful minions and not only lose the minion but die to that same minion the next turn. This change will give you a couple more turns to play with your Ragnaros.
- Flame Imp’s Battlecry now deals 3 damage (up from 2).
This minor change should help bring the warlock’s early game down a small amount. We’re keeping our eye on other cards that help the Warlock maintain early board advantage and will make additional changes if necessary in a future patch.
- Argent Commander is now a 4/2 (was a 4/3).
Argent Commander is played more often than we’d like, so we are reducing its power slightly to increase the variety of cards being played.
- Shattered Sun Cleric is now a 3/2 (was a 3/3).
Shattered Sun Cleric is keeping the creature rush decks healthy enough to avoid many board clearing spells. By reducing the Health by 1, this leaves Shattered Sun Cleric a bit more vulnerable while still remaining strong.
Patch 22.214.171.12437 (2013-10-17)[edit | edit source]
- Battle Rage now costs 2 (down from 3) and now only counts friendly characters.
Patch 126.96.36.19990 (2013-10-02)[edit | edit source]
- Gelbin Mekkatorque’s Repair Bot – Is now a 0/3 and has a new power: At the end of your turn, restore 6 Health to a damaged character.
- Sunfury Protector now only gives adjacent minions Taunt.
- Mana Wraith – Now a 2/2 (was a 1/3).
- Pint-sized Summoner – The cost reduction has been reduced from 2 to 1.
- Questing Adventurer is now Rare. [Previously Common]
- Flesheating Ghoul is now Common. [Previously Rare]
- Emperor Cobra has a new visual to remind you about his venomous power.
- Injured Blademaster has 1 more Attack. [Now a 4/7, up from a 3/7]
- Lorewalker Cho has 1 less Attack. [Now a 0/4, down from a 1/4]
- The Beast is now 9/7 (was 10/6).
- Lightwarden now gains +2 Attack per heal. [Previously gained +1]
- Twilight Drake is now a 4/1 with ‘Battlecry: Gain +1 Health for each card in your hand.’ [Previously: a 1/1 with 'Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each card in your hand.']
- Captain Greenskin is now a 5/4 with ‘Battlecry: Give your weapon +1/+1.’ [Previously a 5/5 with 'Whenever you attack with your hero, draw a card.']
- Dalaran Mage now has 1 less Attack. [Now a 1/4, down from a 2/4]
- Captain's Parrot now has 1 less Health. [Now a 1/1, down from a 1/2]
- Frostwolf Warlord now has a Battlecry effect instead of an ongoing effect. [Now has 'Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each other friendly minion on the battlefield.' instead of 'Has +1/+1 for each other friendly minion on the battlefield.']
- Nozdormu has a new visual effect.
- Frostbolt costs 2 Mana (down from 3).
- Mirror Image now creates 0/2 minions. [Previously 0/1s]
- Sorcerer's Apprentice has 1 more Attack. [Now a 3/2, up from a 2/2]
- Northshire Cleric - Now costs 1 (down from 2).
- Prophet Velen – Now also doubles the damage and healing of your Hero Power. [Previously only spells]
- Fade has been replaced with a new card:
- Shadow Word: Death – (3) Destroy a minion with an Attack of 5 or more.
- Cabal Shadow Priest – now a 4/5 (up from 3/4).
- Power Word: Shield has a new power – Give a minion +2 Health. Draw a card. [Previously 'Give a minion +3 Health.']
- Greater Heal has been replaced with a new card:
- Holy Fire – (6) Deal 5 damage. Restore 5 Health to your hero.
- Lightspawn has 1 more Health. [Now a 0/5, up from a 0/4]
- Sacrificial Pact costs 0 (down from 2).
- Pit Lord - Now a 5/6 with ‘Battlecry: Deal 5 damage to your hero’. [Previously a 7/5 with 'Battlecry: Deal 7 damage to your hero.']
- Backstab – New text: Deal 2 damage to an undamaged minion. [Previous effect 'Deal 2 damage to an enemy minion.']
- Preparation – Now reduces next spell cost by 3 (up from 2).
- Shiv costs 2 Mana (up from 1).
- Defias Ringleader has 1 less Health. [Now a 2/2, down from a 2/3]
- Conceal costs 1 Mana (up from 0).
- Headcrack costs 3 Mana (up from 2).
- Patient Assassin has a new visual to remind you about his power.
- Dagger Mastery – No longer has the ability to buff a currently equipped weapon. [Previous effect 'Equip a 1/2 Dagger; or Give your weapon +1 Attack this turn.']
- Edwin VanCleef is now a 2/2, but no longer has Stealth. [Previously a 1/1 with 'Stealth. Combo: Gain +2/+2 for each other card played this turn.']
- Wrath can no longer be cast on heroes.
- Cenarius costs 9 (up from 8).
- Starfall can now only hit minions. [Previously: 'Choose One - Deal 5 damage to an enemy; or 2 damage to all of them.']
- Ancient of Lore’s Healing option now only restores 5 Health. (down from 8)
- Savagery costs 1 (down from 3), and must target a single minion. [Previously: 'Deal damage equal to your hero's Attack to all enemy minions.']
- Hunter's Mark – No longer a 1-turn only effect. [Previously: 'Change a minion's Health to 1 this turn.']
- Scavenging Hyena – Now only eats your own Beasts. [Previously also triggered from enemy Beasts]
- Cruel Taskmaster has 1 more Health. [Now a 2/2, up from a 2/1]
- Inner Rage’s +2 Attack effect no longer goes away at the end of the turn.
- Battle Rage costs 3 (up from 2), and also counts damaged heroes.
- Frothing Berserker has 1 more Attack. [Now a 2/4, up from a 1/4]
- Commanding Shout now costs 2 (up from 1) and also draws you a card.
- Divine Favor now costs 1 more. [Now costs 3, up from 2]
Alpha[edit | edit source]
The alpha is assumed to have featured more changes than any other stage of the game. However, no official notes were released during the alpha, leaving records of card changes sketchy at best. In addition, the early stage of the game's development can be seen to change the significance of these alterations from live card changes to more developmental iterations.
Alpha patch 2 (2013-08-13)[edit | edit source]
- Inner Fire - Mana cost lowered to 1, from 3.
- Lightspawn - This minion's Attack is always equal to its Health.
- Temple Enforcer - Attack increased to 6, from 5.
- Conceal - Give a friendly minion Stealth Give your minions Stealth until your next turn. Mana cost lowered to 0, from 1.
- Fan of Knives - Deal 1 damage to all
enemiesenemy minions. Draw a card.
- Master of Disguise - Mana cost increased to 4, from 3. Health increased to 4, from 3.
- Shadowstep - Return a friendly minion to your hand. It costs (2) less.
- Chicken - Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set. Is now classified as a Beast.
- Cult Master - Now has 2 health, down from 3.
- Damaged Golem - Moved from the Basic set to the Expert set.
- Emboldener 3000 - Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Gelbin Mekkatorque - Battlecry: Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Homing Chicken - Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Illidan Stormrage - Now has 5 health, down from 6.
- Molten Giant - Now has 8 Attack, 8 Health, down from 10 Attack & 10 Health.
- Mountain Giant - Now has 8 Attack, 8 Health, down from 10 Attack & 10 Health.
- Poultryizer - Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Repair Bot - Moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Sea Giant - Now has 8 Attack, 8 Health, down from 10 Attack & 10 Health. Mana cost lowered from 12 to 10.
Patch 188.8.131.5288 (2013-06-22)[edit | edit source]
- Abusive Sergeant - now has 2 Attack, up from 1.
- Captain's Parrot - moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Core Hound - now has 5 Health, up from 4.
- Cult Master - now has 4 Attack, up from 3. Now has 3 Health, down from 4.
- Dark Summoner - was replaced with Spiteful Smith: Enrage: Your weapon has +2 Attack. Costs 5 Mana, has 4 Attack, and 6 Health. The old card made the first minion you play each turn cost (3) less.
- Festering Pestilence (New) - Debug text Type: Minion Set: DEBUG2
- Flame of Azzinoth (New) - Type: Minion Set: Expert Cost: 1 Attack: 2 Health: 1
- Illidan Stormrage - no longer has a Battlecry. Instead, whenever you play a card, you summon a 2/1 Flame of Azzinoth. Now costs 6 Mana, down from 7. Now has 6 Health, down from 7.
- Imp Master - now has 5 Health, down from 6.
- Jadefire Satyr - changed into the Stranglethorn Tiger.
- Knife Juggler - had a wording change from "whenever you play" to "after you summon". Now has 3 Attack, up from 2. Now has 2 Health, down from 3.
- Leper Gnome - now has 2 Attack, up from 1.
- Lord of the Arena - now has 5 Health, up from 4.
- Lorewalker Cho - now costs 2 mana, up from 1. Now has 4 Health, up from 3.
- Mana Addict - now grants 2 Attack this turn whenever you cast a spell, down from 3.
- Mana Wraith - now costs 2 Mana, up from 1. Now has 3 Health, up from 2.
- Master Swordsmith - now has 1 Attack, down from 2.
- Mind Control Tech - changed from swapping with a random enemy minion to taking control of an enemy minion at random, only if they have 4 or more minions.
- Murloc Tidecaller - had a wording change from "played" to "summoned".
- Murloc Warleader - now causes other Murlocs to have +2/+1, up from +1/+1.
- Nat Pagle - now has 4 Health, down from 5.
- Old Murk-Eye - moved from the Expert set to the Reward set.
- Onyxia - now has a Battlecry: Summon 1/1 Whelps until your side of the battlefield is full. No longer does 2 damage to all characters when drawing a card.
- Poultryizer - changed from "another random enemy minion" to "a random minion".
- Repair Bot - now restores Health to all characters, rather than just friendly characters.
- Secretkeeper - now activates when a Secret is played, rather than when it is revealed. Now has 1 Attack, down from 2. Now has 2 Health, up from 1.
- Shieldbearer - no longer has an Enrage effect that grants 1 Attack.
- Stormwind Champion - Now costs 7 Mana, up from 6.
- Wild Pyromancer - had a wording change from "whenever you cast a spell" to "after you cast a spell". Now does 1 damage to all minions, rather than a random enemy.
- Young Priestess - now has 2 Attack, up from 1. Now has 1 Health, down from 2.
- Bear Form - now grants 2 Health, down from 3.
- Bite - now grants 4 Attack and 4 Armor this turn, down from 6 Attack. Now costs 3 Mana, down from 4.
- Claw - now grants 2 Attack and 2 Armor this turn, down from 3 Attack.
- Force of Nature - now costs 6 Mana, up from 5.
- Naturalize - now costs 1 Mana, down from 2.
- Druid of the Claw - now has 6 Health, down from 7.
- Explosive Shot - Now does 2 damage to adjacent minions, up from 1.
- Explosive Trap - now activates when your hero is attacked, rather than when a minion damages your hero.
- Freezing Trap - no longer freezes the enemy for two turns. Now causes an enemy minion to be returned to its owner's hand when it attacks and cost (2) more.
- Darkspear Hunter - was replaced with Savannah Highmane. Deathrattle: Summon two 2/2 Hyenas. Costs 6 Mana, has 6 Attack, and 5 Health. The old card caused Beasts to gain +1/+1 whenever you played a Beast.
- Hyena (New) - Type: Minion Set: Expert Class: Hunter Race: Beast Cost: 2 Attack: 2 Health: 2
- Starving Buzzard - had a wording change from "play" to "summon".
- Mirror Entity - now activates when your opponent plays a minion, rather than when an enemy minion attacks.
- Spellbender - now activates when an enemy casts a spell on a Minion, rather than when a minion is hit by an enemy spell. Now summons a 1/3 as the new target, rather than a 1/1 and hitting it instead.
- Vaporize - now activates when a minion attacks your hero, rather than when your opponent plays a minion.
- Kirin Tor Mage - now has 4 Attack, up from 3.
- Mana Wyrm - now has 1 Attack, up from 0.
- Spellbender - now has 3 Health, up from 1.
- Sword of Justice - now activates whenever you summon a minion, rather than when you play a minion.
- Fade - moved from the Expert set to the Basic set.
- Mind Vision - now gives you a copy of a random card from your opponent, rather than taking one of your opponent's cards. Now costs 1 Mana, down from 6.
- Prayer of Fortitude - was replaced by Inner Fire, which costs 3 Mana and changes a minion's Attack to be equal to its Health. The old card gave your minions +1/+1. (+1 Attack/+1 Health).
- Mental Collapse - was replaced by the Lightspawn Minion. This minion's Attack is equal to it's health. Now costs 4 Mana, up from 2. Now has 4 Health. The old card did 1 damage to the enemy hero for each card in his hand.
- Penance - was replaced by the Temple Enforcer, which has a Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +3 Health. Now costs 6 Mana, has 5 Attack, and 6 Health. The old card did 3 damage and restored 3 Health to your hero.
- Betrayal - now costs 2 Mana, down from 3.
- Blade Flurry - now deals damage to all enemies rather than all enemy minions.
- Conceal - now costs 1 Mana, up from 0.
- Fan of Knives - now does 1 damage, down from 1-2. Damage is now done to all enemies, rather than just enemy minions. Now allows you to draw a card.
- Earth Shock - had a wording change to reflect that Silence happens before doing damage.
- Mana Spring Totem - was replaced by Far Sight: Draw a card. That card costs (3) less. Costs 3 Mana. The old card made cards cost (1) less.
- Demonfire - wording changed to reflect that the +2/+2 is only applied to friendly Demons.
- Dread Infernal - now has 6 Attack, up from 5. Now has 6 Health, up from 5.
- Flame Imp - no longer has Stealth.
- Summoning Portal - now costs 4 Mana, up from 3.
- Commanding Shout - now costs 1 Mana, down from 2.
- Death Wish - was replaced with Shield Slam: Deal 1 damage to a minion for each Armor you have. Costs 1 Mana. The old card caused your hero to lose all Armor and gain +1 Attack for each Armor lost.
- Armorsmith - now has 1 Attack, down from 2. Now has 4 Health, up from 3.
Patch changes[edit | edit source]
- Patch 184.108.40.20674 (2016-04-24): A new "These cards have changed." interface has been added, displaying the new versions of the relevant cards with the changed elements highlighted.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-22).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-01-13).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-21).
- Eric Dodds (2014-01-16). Hearthstone's Card Balance Philosophy.
- JR Cook (2014-04-13). Interview with Eric Dodds and Jason Chayes, PAX East 2014.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-23).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-24).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-24).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-12-08).
- Banter with the Blues - February 13. (2015-02-13).
- Zeriyah (2015-10-13). Upcoming Balance Change to Warsong Commander.
- IHearthU.com (2014-04-05). iPad Event – Developer Interviews + Hands On!.
- Hearthstone Goblins vs Gnomes interview. (2014-12-17).
- Designer Insights with Ben Brode: Warsong Commander. (2015-10-14).
- PC GAMER: Ben Brode on why Standard Hearthstone has to ditch the old card expansions. (2016-02-02).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-10-20).
- Upcoming Balance Changes - Update 6.1.3. (2016-09-28).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-06-04).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-10).
- Zeriyah (2015-10-13). Upcoming Balance Change to Warsong Commander.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-27).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-09-22).