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

Basic switches

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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About the Author

Philippa Warr

Former Staff Writer

Pip wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2014-2017, covering everything from MOBAs, hero brawlers and indie curios. She also had a keen interest in the artistry of video game creation, and was very partial to keeping us informed of the latest developments in British TV show Casualty.