Hearthstone: After a Year, What Got Nerfed?

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September – Patch 1.2

Come fall, it seemed that Team 5 was finally fed up with Hunters because they landed them a devastating blow. September 22, 2014 marked the change of two cards, both of impacting Hunters.

Starving Buzzard

Starving Buzzard had its mana cost more than doubled, going to 5 mana (up from 2). Its stats were increased slightly, but not enough to justify the increased cost. The card allowed Hunters to draw a card for each beast summoned (making it a perfect combo with Unleash the Hounds), and was used in nearly every Hunter deck. Here was Team 5’s rationale:

"“The amount of cards Starving Buzzard allowed Hunter players to draw ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost. This change will allow the Hunter’s opponent more time to react to both the Starving Buzzard and the cards drawn by its power.”"

The card undoubtedly needed a good deal of tweaking, but it was absolutely nerfed with this change. Starving Buzzard is rarely used anymore due to it’s high cost and low stats. This change really didn’t serve to balance it, instead it took a great card and made it horrible.

Leeroy Jenkins

Also included in the patch was a cost increase for the Legendary Leeroy Jenkins: one of the greatest examples of fan service, and also a great card for finishing off your opponent. Leeroy charges into battle doing a lot of damage instantly, but spawns imps for his opponent to use. This downside doesn’t matter much if your opponent doesn’t get their next turn though, so a cost increase was rightfully due:

"“Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. We like having a variety of deck types but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not very fun or interactive.”"

More from GameSided

This change was focused on players using the “Miracle Rogue” deck-type. This strategy involves biding your time until the late-game when the Rogue has enough mana and the right cards. Once the stars aligned a Rogue could perform a “miracle”, suddenly killing their opponent in one turn. Leeroy Jenkins was also a favorite of Hunters, using him to pile on the damage quickly and win the game, so this change further served as an attempt to control the power of Hunter decks.

When asked about the changes in an interview with Gamespot, Senior Designer Ben Brode responded to the seemingly harsh changes,

"Leeroy did actually appear in the world championships, in a Miracle deck by Tarei [professional player Jeffrey Liu], and I have seen it still around. It’s certainly not as endemic as it used to be, but that was the goal in the first place. Buzzard is a little bit more unseen now though, but its mechanic, where you could draw your entire deck fairly consistently early on, we felt we had to change that."

Next: The Attack on Rogues Wasn't Finished