Three key basic Hearthstone cards rejigged, Hex gets more… HEXPENSIVE!


Now, I could have just dropped the mic/keyboard after that amazing title pun, but apparently news posts need “words”.

Hearthstone [official site] is rebalancing some of its most common/easily obtainable/neutral cards as part of an upcoming update. It’s partly about rebalancing the game and particular playstyles, but there’s also an element of wanting to keep those cards in check specifically so decks don’t end up with too many spaces taken up with basic cards. Allow me, a Hearthstone expert (HEXpert) to walk you through…



This is a card about a wizard who burst a glow stick and is now covered in glow chemicals, watching as they drip through her fingers. It would normally be a really awkward rave faux pas but she’s cracked the glow stick open because there are mana crystals inside! But because of shrinkflation in Azeroth, glow stick manufacturers only put one mana crystal in them nowadays. Interestingly, Azeroth Toblerones have stayed the same size and price for fifteen years.

“This change leaves Innervate as a simple Basic card and slows down the explosive start potential, while ensuring that it will be utilized in decks that revolve around playing inexpensive spells.”

Basically, if you’re going out on a wizard rave, smashing your glow stick will only let you buy a non-branded single shot and mixer instead of getting doubles.

Fiery War Axe

Fiery War Axe

For a long time now it’s been too easy to get hold of dangerous weaponry in Azeroth. Making weapons more expensive is an excellent way to help with crime rates because it means only rich people can commit crimes and Poirot loves a rich person crime because they happen in his natural environment of “dinner parties”. So actually it won’t help with crime rates, but it might help with crime ratings as Warcraft could get its own detective show.

“Raising its mana cost by 1 will slow down the Warrior’s tempo and lower the overall power level of the card.”

This means that murders won’t happen until after the fish course.



Metamorphosis is a curious thing in Azeroth because sometimes spells interfere with the usual life cycle. I mean, I’m sure there are Warcraft tadpoles which eventually turn into Warcraft froglets and then Warcraft frogs but there’s this whole magical on-ramp for frogs where anyone can be a frog if they just want it hard enough/have Hex played against them in a card gaming arena.

“We are very wary of cards that also incidentally work as a silence. If a player wants to utilize a card with a silence effect, they should be giving up something else. For example, if a player decides to include Spellbreaker in their deck, then they are playing a card that is weak in some situations. Priest is an exception to this rule—silence is a part of their class identity.”

Essentially it’s an ecosystem thing. Blizzard want to make sure the native tadpoles are protected and valued by making it a bit harder for frogs to wander in willy nilly. Also the frogs have been lobbying for this for a which because it’s really annoying how people like Leeroy Jenkins are barrelling in and making a fuss about frog things as if it’s news to the other frogs.

Murloc Warleader

Murloc Warleader

There are also changes to cards that aren’t in the basic set. Murloc Warleader is one of them. The Warleader buffs the other murlocs so they do more damage AND get a bit more health. To do this he or she would wander over to the battlefield and carefully swaddle each fellow murloc in a cocoon of cotton wool but the outside of the cocoon was covered in knives and guns. This led the the invention of, and impending criminalisation of, weaponised sleeping bags.

“Simplifying health buff interactions is an additional benefit of this change.”


Spreading Plague

Spreading Plague

Plague as a concept is friends with a scarab beetle and brings that to fights. A concept embodying a previously mysterious and terrifying form of disease transmission and a beetle is a good odd couple friendship. Sometimes the beetle brings its siblings along but only to make up the numbers when the other team has more people on the board. This is because beetles have a curious phobic response to unbalanced football matches and fear that one might be in the offing when they are summoned into existence.

“Raising the mana cost to 6 will slow the card down slightly, while still allowing for the defensive minions Spreading Plague creates to be utilized in the later stages of the game.”

So yes, beetles specialise in defensive lineups on the pitch.

There’s a dev explanation of the changes in Hearthstone Update 9.1 on the official site if you’d like to read that but I can’t imagine what other information you’d require if you’d been paying attention to my expert opinions.


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    distantlurker says:

    Bringing hexy back.

  2. tigerfort says:

    Thanks for HEXplaining, Pip!

  3. dontnormally says:

    I believe it is worth noting that hardcore players of the game are trending towards “Not quite anything other than very displeased indeed” as an important factoid on the topic.

    My one flabbergast is that now Warrior – the weapon class, whose identity is weapons – now has the worst early game weapon. Buhh?

  4. SadOldGuy says:

    I am conflicted. While I am glad that Jade Druid and Murloc Paladin are being nerfed; it nerfs three of my favorite decks (Enrage Warrior, Quest Warrior, & Quest Druid). What about MY needs? /s

    • Cederic says:

      Clearly you need to develop new decks, for which you will need new cards, thus giving you needed new experiences but sadly needing you to give even more money to Blizzard.

      Such is the way of trading card games.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        Yep. My read is that Blizzard is upset any card is a “must include” card because then you will not keep purchasing packs. I will note that in the new expansion I am getting a lot more “legendary” cards from my “free” packs but less “epic” cards.

        • Tacroy says:

          Yeah I think we’ve seen Blizzard consistently nerf the basic cards. They have seemingly valid balance justifications, but somehow the end result always seems to be a weaker core set.

  5. Neurotic says:

    Me axe! Me axe! They’ve nerfed me bleedin’ axe!

  6. Captain Narol says:

    Nerfing BASIC cards like that just makes Heartshtone even more Pay-To-Win.

    With each new expansions bringing new OP legendary cards that new players will have a hard time catching up, it’s deeply hypocrital to nerf the basic cards.

    I have lot of fun with Heartstone, especially in modes “The Arena” and “Tavern Brawl” where you fight on fair ground, but I really don’t like their business model and overall strategy. It’s becoming a game for whales if you want to be competitive in ranked.

    • nottorp says:

      And that’s a surprise how? It’s not like collectible card games are new. And they’re all designed to entice you to buy more cards.

      The only difference with Hearthstone is they can change the cards you already own after you bought them :)

      • Captain Narol says:

        Not all, you can quite easily collect all the cards for free just by playing in Eternal and Magic Duels. Hearthstone is far less generous and quickly feels like a cash grab.

        If the incoming Magic Arena has a generous Free-To-Play model similar to Eternal and Duels, that could help it a lot kicking Hearthstone out of its Frozen Throne of most popular digital CGG…

  7. Ultra Superior says:

    Heartstone? What is this… 2016?

    There is only GWENT now.

  8. Cyphran says:

    I absolutely enjoyed the way you attacked writing about theses changes in this article. Thanks Pip!