Hearthstone hotfix will stop sneaky Shamans from exploiting spell damage totems

Don't worry, you got this Wrath of Air Totem! (Image credit: Blizzard)

Hearthstone's latest expansion went live earlier this week, and it's fair to say I've been having a lot of fun with Forged in the Barrens. Yes, there are some decks which currently feel oppressively strong—No Minion Mage and Secret Paladin in particular, not to mention those pesky Watch Posts—but as is often the case around annual set rotation, the freshness from so many old cards leaving Standard is keeping me queuing. 

However, it's also fair to say that this has been one of the buggier rollouts in recent years, which is understandable given the number of fundamental systems being tweaked, what with the recent introduction of Classic mode and the Core set to also contend with. Consequently, on Monday, April 5, a hotfix will be deployed that addresses a lot of the issues discovered so far. 

You can read the full list of fixes on the Blizzard forum here, but among the more notable are giving Manrik's Wife* a Mana cost so she can be played from hand, and preventing Silverleaf Poison from drawing two cards when applied to the Kingsbane weapon in Wild.

The most interesting change, to me, is: "Fixed a bug where Totemic Call could still give the Wrath of Air Totem when playing with certain Shaman Hero skins." 

For context, with the launch of Forged in the Barrens, the Shaman hero power was changed so that it could no longer roll the Wrath of Air Totem (which is the one that grants +1 Spell Damage.) It was replaced with the Strength Totem, which gives a friendly minion +1 Attack at the end of your turn. Or at least that's what Blizzard thought had happened.

It turns out that if you played with Shaman hero skins other than the default Thrall one, you could still summon Wrath of Air, which proved particularly relevant because Shaman's current deck—like this double Doomhammer variant—makes good use of Spell Damage. I'm not sure exactly what skins are affected, but can confirm that the Lady Vashj and Thunder King ones work. As several Control Warlock opponents have found to their cost. 

Obviously, you can't be certain that your opponent knows about the bug and is exploiting to gain a very marginal edge, unless you queue into Clarkinator, because I definitely will be. Those 15 wins I need for my 1K Shaman portrait aren't going to Doomhammer themselves, y'know.

[*In case you're wondering what the deal is with Manrik's Wife anyway, this should help.]

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.