Today Blizzard released the upcoming balance changes that will take effect on the 26th April (27th in EU), there are quite a few with some you may not expect. All in all it shows Blizzard have been genuinely testing in the new environment and rather than just whacking the cost up by 3 or 4 (looking at you Starving Buzzard) they've actually thought about the changes they've made, made clear by certain obscure nerfs that they've clearly had problems with in the testing environment. I've summarised the changes below.
- Iron Beak Owl - Now 3 cost instead of 2.
- Big Game Hunter - Now 5 cost instead of 3.
- Knife Juggler - Now 2 attack instead of 3.
- Leper Gnome - Now 1 attack instead of 2.
- Arcane Golem - Loses Charge. Health goes from 2 to 4.
- Molten Giant - Cost up to 25 from 20.
- Blade Flurry - Now only deals damage to enemy minions. Cost up to 4 from 2.
- Master of Disguise - Now only gives stealth until your next turn.
- Hunter's Mark - Cost up to 1 from 0.
and now the one you've all been waiting for...
- Ancient of Lore - Now only draws 1 card instead of 2.
- Force of Nature - Treants no longer die. Treants no longer have Charge. Cost down to 5 from 6.
- Keeper of the Grove - Health down to 2 from 4.
- Druid combo needed time to react.
- Ancient of Lore was an auto include every time and gave too much card advantage.
- Keeper is very powerful with the choice of silence or removal. Opponent should be able to deal with the minion easily. Having a sticky minion, silence or damage is just too strong.
- Silence is incredibly strong and having a 2 cost minion with it was too strong.
- BGH is a decent stat minion with built in removal, becomes an auto include.
- Hunter's Mark is too efficient.
- Blade Flurry enables board clear and burst damage, not two things that should happen together. It also doesn't leave room for Rogue cards to be designed.
- Juggler too stronk at 3 and very efficient ability.
- Leper Gnome too stronk at 2 and stops other 1 mana drops from seeing play with the sheer amount of damage output in the early game.
- Arcane Golemn is a simple balance change, like silence Blizzard begins to dislike Charge with the problems it brings and this nerf's aggro again like a lot of these changes.
- Molten Giant is changed because it was being enabled too easily. I'll post my opinion on this below.
- Master of Disguise clearly worked insanely well with some minions in testing and became oppressive, this stops future abuse of cards.
These are all incredibly interesting changes, I certainly didn't expect Hunter's Mark or Master of Disguise but these are the two that quite obviously caused problems in a test environment, for example Hunter's Mark has stupid synergy with the upcoming C'Thun.
Druid took the nerfs it deserved without making the cards they've changed completely unplayable. The healthy threat of Savage Roar still exists so proper board presence is required in games to assure you don't get blown out.
All the neutral minions are generally focused towards nerfing aggro. Blizzard more than likely adores watching their games on streams when people have cards in hand, are thinking of their choices and making intelligent plays. Aggro goes against all of these ideologies.
Blade Flurry is a necessary nerf to allow design options to open up for Rogue, putting good weapons and other board clears in is near impossible with this card in its original form.
I really like these changes and the direction Blizzard are going with the core set of cards. They quite clearly want to cripple aggro and let you play your big, exciting minions. We've seen roughly 72 cards out 134 cards so there's still a lot to see before jumping to conclusions on which classes are strongest.