Priest and Druid get the shaft in the latest round of Hearthstone nerfs

(Image credit: Blizzard)

In our recent interview with the Hearthstone dev team, the topic of what to do about the game's turbulent Priest class came up. "We want to make sure that the people playing against [Priest] aren't tearing their hair out," senior game designer Liv Breeden told us, and so it is that a new Hearthstone patch is set to arrive tomorrow, bringing with it a new round of nerfs for the Priest. 

If you're more of a Druid hater—good news—that's getting hit too, and there are also some tweaks coming to Battlegrounds, as well as some teasing of what to expect from that mode's incoming major update. But first, let's deal with those Standard nerfs, with developer commentary to explain why action needed to be taken:

Apotheosis: Old: Give a minion +2/+3 and Lifesteal. → New: Give a minion +1/+2 and Lifesteal.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Currently, it can feel like you must remove every Priest minion because of the threat Apotheosis poses. A slight reduction in the buff here should lessen that urgency and make the minions post-Apotheosis easier to deal with. The other side of this nerf is the Samuro + Apotheosis combo. The punishment for playing minions into this combo is too much at the moment, so while we'd like to keep some of that tension of resource commitment, we don't want the punishment to be a full heal for the opponent. The reduction in attack here helps get that combo into a healthier push/pull state.

Renew: Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]

(Image credit: Blizzard)

We decided to change Renew specifically because we believe this change makes the largest impact towards curbing the chains of generation in Priest. At 2 mana, Renew has to be more thoughtful inclusion during deckbuilding, won't be generated by Wandmaker, and takes another mana reduction to get to 0. While Priest's identity looks different in future expansions, we wanted to take this opportunity to reign in their card generation and build a better match experience for both players.

Gibberling: Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]


(Image credit: Blizzard)

Currently Gibberling is the cause of many "non-games", matches that are heavily lopsided in the early game and can have their outcome decided far too early. We want to lower the frequency of this occurrence and Gibberling at 2 mana should result in many more games where opponents can respond to an early board of this little menace.

As always, the above cards will be eligible for a full dust refund for two weeks after the update goes live on July 15.

On the tweaks and fixes side of the update, here's what you can look forward to:

  • Updated the wording of Kurtrus Ashfallen’s fully upgraded Battlegrounds Hero Power to clarify its one-time completion (no functional change).       
  • Updated Archdruid Hamuul in Battlegrounds so that when your minion types are tied, he will not refresh Bob’s Tavern with minion types that are not in the pool.       
  • Adjusted Darkmoon Prizes to offer better Prizes for players on the bottom half of the leaderboard.    

It's a relatively small Standard update, but a much bigger one is on the way to Battlegrounds. Hearthstone lead designer Alec Dawson said on Twitter yesterday that the coming 21.2 patch will be "a big shakeup" for Battlegrounds, with around 35 new minions being added to the game and a similar number going away. A release date for that patch hasn't been announced, but Dawson said Blizzard would have more to say about it a few weeks after the release of the United in Stormwind expansion, which is set to arrive on August 3.

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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.