Two powerful cards in Hearthstone [official site] will be toned down in an update later this month, Blizzard have announced. Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws are good enough that they appear in too many decks, Blizzard say, so they’re getting the ole nerfaroo. Having played years of cardboard CCGs, I’m still fascinated by digital card ’em ups being able to respond quickly and tweak things. I’m used to powerful cards being banned or restricted, and interesting-but-weak cards reappearing redesigned under new names in expansions years later. How magical this digital future is!
Blizzard explain the rebalancing in a forum post:
Small-Time Buccaneer now has 1 Health (Down from 2)
The combination of Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate has been showing up too often in the meta. Weapon-utilizing classes have been heavily utilizing this combination of cards, especially Shaman, and we’d like to see more diversity in the meta overall. Small Time Buccaneer’s Health will be reduced to 1 to make it easier for additional classes to remove from the board.
Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana (Up from 1)
Spirit Claws has been a notably powerful Shaman weapon. At one mana, Spirit Claws has been able to capitalize on cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos or the Shaman Hero power to provide extremely efficient minion removal on curve. Increasing its mana by one will slow down Spirit Claws’ ability to curve out as efficiently.
All of which should lead to a wider variety of decks. Well, until players figure new cards and combos to abuse then clone decks spread like wildfire across the ladder.
These changes will arrive in Update 7.1 at the end of the month, which will also introduce Ranked Play floors. Basically, once you hit Rank 5, 10, or 15 in a season, you won’t be able to drop below that no matter how much you lose.
Blizzard say that they want “to make the overall climb from rank to rank feel like more an accomplishment once you hit a certain milestone,” and that Ranked floors should “promote deck experimentation and reduce some of the feelings of ladder anxiety some players may face.”