Blizzard details Hearthstone nerfs and Battlegrounds buffs coming later this week

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Almost as soon as the Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons expansion went live in December, Blizzard announced that a balance update was in the works that would dial back the newly-overpowered Shaman, who had been transformed by the expansion into "unstoppable, storm-summoning forces of nature." That patch, released in mid-December, nerfed a number of characters, but our resident Hearthstone expert Tim Clark wasn't certain that it would be enough to get the job done.

It turns out that his doubts were well-founded. Hearthstone designer Dean Ayala said on Twitter last week that another balance patch was in the works because some of the Galakrond decks "are just a touch more powerful than they need to be." That patch isn't expected to go live until later this week, but the changes have now been detailed on the Hearthstone forums. Here's what's coming:


  • Fiendish Rites : Mana cost increased from (3) to (4).


  • Scion of Ruin : Mana cost increased from (3) to (4) .
  • Ancharrr : Durability reduced from (3) to (2)


  • Dragon’s Pack : Now reads, “…If you’ve Invoked twice, give them +2/+2 .” (reduced from +3/+3).
  • Invocation of Frost : Mana cost increased from (1) to (2).


  • Necrium Apothecary : Mana cost increased from (4) to (5).


  • Dragonqueen Alexstrasza: Battlecry effect can no longer generate Dragonqueen Alexstrasza.

The nerfs to Dragon's Pack and Necrium Apothecary reflect Tim's criticism of the initial Descent of Dragons balance update, although we'll have to see the update in action before we can tell whether the tweaks will be sufficient. All cards impacted by the changes will be eligible for a full Arcane Dust refund for two weeks after the update goes live.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds is also getting tuned up a bit, although the changes are more buffish than nerfy, and will bring a pair of Battlegrounds Heroes back into the fight.



  • Burbling: Cost reduced from (2) to (1) .

Queen Wagtoggle

  • Wax Warband : Give a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc and Beast +2 Attack . (instead of +1 Health)

Infinite Toki

  • Temporal Tavern : Cost reduced from (2) to (1) .

Patches the Pirate

  • Has returned to the Battlegrounds Hero Pool.
  • Fire the Cannons! : At the start of next combat, deal 4 damage to two random enemy minions. (increased from 3 damage)


  • Has returned to the Battlegrounds Hero Pool.
  • Brick by Brick : Give a random friendly minion +3 Health . (increased from +2 Health)


Golden Soul Juggler

  • After a friendly Demon dies, deal 3 damage to a random enemy minion twice . (instead of 6 damage once)

Bug Fixes and Game Improvements:

  • Battlegrounds : Selfless Hero’s Deathrattle will now only affect minions that do not already have Divine Shield.
  • Arena : The appearance rate of cards in the draft has been updated to ensure class balance remains close to the ideal 50% win-rate. Specifically, the win-rate of Druid, Hunter, and Paladin should now be decreased. The win-rate of Priest, Rogue, Shaman and Warlock should now be increased. Card appearance rates for Mage and Warrior remain untouched.

"Further Battlegrounds balance changes are coming very soon, in addition to the exciting new content we have in the pipeline," Blizzard said. "We’ll have more to share in the near future!"

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.