Blizzard aims to slow down Hearthstone with slew of nerfs coming tomorrow

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Blizzard has dropped the details on tomorrow's 21.0.3 patch for Hearthstone, which will see nerfs to eight cards in what developers said is an effort to "slow down the speed of the game by a turn or two" following the release of the United in Stormwind expansion.

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As we explained last week, United in Stormwind ushered in big changes to the meta that, especially over the first couple of days after it went live, put the focus almost entirely on combo decks. That was eventually balanced to an extent as players wielding extremely aggressive decks began dropping the hammer on them, but the net result has been endless rounds of "Speed Hearthstone," in which most games don't even last eight turns.

Blizzard aims to pump the brakes in two ways with this patch: "Limiting the efficiency at which combo decks can assemble the pieces they need to win, and reducing the burst damage that board-based decks have access to from hand." Here's what's coming:

  • Flesh Giant - Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 9]    
  • Incanter’s Flow - Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 3]
  • Il’gynoth - Old: [Costs 4] 2 Attack, 6 Health → New: [Costs 6] 4 Attack, 8 Health
  • Darkglare - Old: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health → New: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health   
  • Battleground Battlemaster - Old: [Costs 5] → New: [Costs 6]    
  • Kolkar Pack Runner - Old: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health → New: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health    
  • Granite Forgeborn - Old: 4 Attack, 5 Health → New: 4 Attack, 4 Health        
  • Conviction (Rank 1), Conviction (Rank 2), Conviction (Rank 3) - Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]    

Naturally, this isn't necessarily the end of the matter, as Blizzard said it will continue to monitor the situation and make other adjustments as needed. 

Changes are also coming to Hearthstone Battlegrounds:

Returning Hero:


  • Old: Burbling [Costs 1] Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice. → New: Snicker-snack [Costs 0] Add a 1/1 Shudderling to your hand that repeats all Battlecries you’ve played. (Twice per game).

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Hero Updates:

Dancin’ Daryl

  • Hat Trick - Old: [Passive] After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 twice. → New: [Passive] After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 three times.

Fungalmancer Flurgl

  • Gone Fishing - Old: [Passive] After you sell a Murloc, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern. → New: [Passive] After you sell a minion, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.    

Maiev Shadowsong

  • Imprison - Old: [Costs 1] Make a minion in Bob’s Tavern Dormant. After 3 turns, get it with +1/+1. → New: [Costs 1] Make a minion in Bob’s Tavern Dormant. After 3 turns, get it with +2/+2.    


  • Arcane Alteration - Old: [Costs 0] Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier. → New: [Costs 0] Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier. (Twice per turn).        

And as always, a selection of bug fixes and tweaks have also been made, as indicated below and also at Hearthstone's 21.0.3 patch is scheduled to go live tomorrow, August 17.

  • Updated the Stealer of Souls animation to now only trigger if the card ends up in your hand (it does not trigger for cards that are Cast When Drawn, such as Soul Shards). The animation will also no longer trigger if the drawn card already costs Health instead of Mana (such as when you have two Stealer of Souls in play).
  • Fixed card text errors for Psyfiend and Florist (no functional change to either).
  • Fixed a bug where Prismatic Jewel Kit would trigger when effects returned a Divine Shield minion to the owner’s hand or moved a Divine Shield minion from the owner’s hand to the owner’s deck.
  • Fixed a bug where Seek Guidance (the Priest questline) would sometimes count the original Cost of cards, instead of the Cost actually paid for the card.
  • Fixed a bug where the Initiate Set version of Eye Beam did not properly display card art in the Collection Manager.
  • Fixed a bug where Reborn Rites, The Lich King’s Battlegrounds hero power, caused players to disconnect from the game server.
  • Added interactions between Pave the Way (part of the Paladin Questline) and Duels-specific hero powers.
  • Fixed various bugs in Book of Heroes Gul’dan and Book of Heroes Illidan.
  • Fixed a bug where Duels achievements were not tracking properly.
  • Fixed a bug where Witchwood collection achievements triggered even though the requirements were not yet met.
  • (Updated) Fixed a bug where completing all Book of Heroes installments would not display the proper achievement or give the proper award. All players who have already completed all 10 Book of Heroes will automatically receive the proper award of a Golden Standard pack at a later date.    
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.