Hearthstone Patch Heralds Expansion With Rebalancing

Poor fella!

Hearthstone [official site] will this week get its third expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, but big changes beyond 134 new cards are already here. Patch 5.0.0 launched over the weekend, updating Blizzard’s free-to-play card game with a heap of balance changes and preparing for the new ‘Standard’ format which only allows cards from a smaller pool. Also, Blizzard have now revealed all of Whispers of the Old Gods’ new cards. They’ve been busy, that lot.

Lllet’s see. Balance changes first! This blog post details the changes now in effect and the reasons behind them, including rebalancing key Druid cards, powerful netural minions, and Silence and minion-killing cards. If you no longer want any cards hit by this rebalancing, hey, for “a limited time” Blizzard are letting folks disenchant them for their full dust value. “We focused on Basic and Classic cards because those sets will form the foundation of both formats for years to come,” Blizzard explain.

Bigger Game Hunter.

Ah, yes, the new format. Standard will allow only some of Heathstone’s cards – the basic set plus any released in the current and previous calendar year. Right now, that means no cards from Curse of Naxxramas or Goblins vs Gnomes. It should lead to an interesting, lively metagame where some decks might disappear outright with each rotation and new sets can make a bigger impact. Standard should also let new players jump in faster, as there are fewer cards for decks to draw from.

The old ‘use any and every card’ sort of Hearthstone will still be around, mind, under the name Wild format.

Magic: The Gathering (and many other card games, I’m sure) has a Standard format, and in my time it was always interesting when things change. It might be a bit less lively in Hearthstone, where releases aren’t quite as swift, but hey, it should always bring a few wild weeks before everyone switches to copying new decks.

Standard is due to launch alongside Whispers of the Old Gods, which is Tuesday on American servers but Wednesday for Europe and Asia. Here, card listing to see what’s coming.



  1. Lyrion says:

    Woohoo, loads of things to dissenchant in dust now.

  2. yogibbear says:

    Why would I want to pay more money to play the game I already paid money for cards that are now worthless in Ranked? Oh wait this is Blizzard. Where do I sign up?

    • Nevard says:

      I know it often does pay to be cynical, but the idea here is that by rotating out cards so that their library isn’t full of thousands of combinations actually gives a new player a much better ability to compete with someone who has dropped a large amount of money on this game.

      This is already a proven technique in other CCGs, and an improvement to the “uphill collection climb” a new player faces has been needed for this game for a long time now.

    • Stargazer86 says:

      Every CCG does this. Or at least many of them do. Magic the Gathering in particular is notable for rotating out old sets to make way for new ones. It’s not as if Hearthstone is the only one to have ever thought of this in the history of card games.

      Those old cards aren’t worthless, though. Hearthstone is being divided into two formats, Standard and Wild. Wild will allow you to use all the cards you own just like Magic’s Legacy format.

    • CMvan46 says:

      2 sides to every story. Been wanting to get my wife into it for a while now but until the new standard format there was no way for her to realistically catch up without a major investment in cards and adventures. It’s still a lot but not as much as it was.

      You’ll still be able to play ranked wild and use all the cards you’ve had before it just won’t be balanced around that mode. I assume it will become all kinds of crazy theme decks running around wild and at the top ranks all the broken combinations people can come up with. I’m completely okay with this and I think it’s a great move.

      All they’ve done is create modern and standard from Magic.

  3. anHorse says:

    How nice of them to finally nerf old powerful cards now that they have new powerful cards to sell

    • PoulWrist says:

      Your comment is so ignorant :(

    • steves says:

      “If you no longer want any cards hit by this rebalancing Blizzard are letting folks disenchant them for their full dust value”

      Which means you can craft an equivalent-rarity, new-powerful card for free. Hoarding unnecessary duplicates of what are generally considered overpowered cards is a common strategy.

    • Koozer says:

      Oh come on, the way to cynically milk money would be to release new cards even MORE powerful than the old ones, not nerf/remove from circulation the old faithfuls.

  4. Zankman says:

    1. Cool to see balance changes!

    2. My first impression of the “Standard” format remains the same – it is a great idea, both for casual players (and thus business) and ESPECIALLY for Competitive/Hearthstone E-Sports (and thus business).

    Ensuring that the game doesn’t get repetitive and remains fresh should be paramount to the Devs of such a innately grind-y game and, to be honest, somewhat “forced” E-Sport.

  5. PoulWrist says:

    Standard is the best possible idea for Hearthstone. Have been looking forward to its launch for a long time.

  6. Neurotic says:

    As both a casual player and a fan of the Gnomes, I did buy about a dozen GvG packets at one time, so not having them now is a bit of a bummer.

  7. Carra says:

    It’s a great idea. Don’t like the new standard format? You can play in wild with all your cards. Got a limited amount of gold or money? You’ll need less of it to craft a good standard deck as you don’t need the old cards.

    And it gives them a chance to print good new cards which will see play. Some cards were so insanely good (dr. boom or piloted shredder come to mind) that they were played in every deck. The only way to replace them would have been to make even more overpowered cards.

  8. Enkinan says:

    Seeing that Leper Gnome and Knife Juggler nerfed just made me happy

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I wonder if we’ll see them in decks later on. Because pre-change they were too good, IMHO, so now they should be more in line with most cards.

  9. Koozer says:

    The whole Modern/Legacy thing always strikes me as a rather peculiar setup that somehow simultaneously makes players happy by keeping things fresh and keeping the barrier to entry low for new players, while also allowing the company to give their cardboard a sell-by-date and let them sell more stuff.

    Not that I’m complaining, the alternative would be the Yugioh model of never rotating cards out but instead releasing cards progressively more ridiculous to keep people buying.