Hearthstone's druid nerfs hit next week

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Update, September 14: The new Hearthstone patch arrives on September 18. There’ll be changes to a handful of cards, and a focus on scaling down the popularity of some basic class cards.

Hearthstone’s next patch arrives on September 18. Update 9.1 will make changes to five cards, with a slight focus on scaling down the power of the Druid class.

If you haven't got enough dust for an OP druid deck, check out our list of the best Hearthstone decks.

The five cards that have been changed are Innervate, Fiery War Axe, Murloc Warleader, Hex, and Spreading Plague. Two of those cards, Innervate and Spreading Plague, are Druid class cards, and these nerfs target two of the highest-performing cards in a variety of Druid decks. Innervate now gives half the original mana, in an attempt to slow Druids down in the early game. Spreading Plague deals the same effect, but costs one extra mana, pushing it further towards the late game and continuing to slow Druid down.

One card not receiving a nerf in this patch is a new late-game Druid card, Ultimate Infestation. There was some expectation that this powerful card would be in line for a nerf, but while it’s no fun to lose to, it’s not as central to Druid decks as Innervate and Spreading Plague, and the hope is that nerfing those two cards will have enough of an impact on the class as a whole.

You can see the patch notes in their entirety here, but it’s also worth checking out this blog post from a few weeks ago, which explains the changes in more detail. We don't know exactly when the patch will drop, but it's usually around 10:00 PT (18:00 BST).

Update September 5: Blizzard have gone into detail on their latest balance changes, which include the promised Druid nerfs along with other adjustments.

We heard that some changes were in store for Hearthstone’s Druid, and Blizzard have detailed exactly what form those changes would take. Both Innervate and Spreading Plague will be getting nerfed, but some weakening is also in store for a few other classes and neutral cards.

  • Innervate
    • Now reads: Gain 1 Mana Crystal this turn only. (Down from 2)
  • Fiery War Axe
    • Now costs 3 mana.  (Up from 2)
  • Hex
    • Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3)
  • Murloc Warleader 
    • Now reads: Your other Murlocs have +2 Attack. (Down from +2 Attack, +1 Health)
  • Spreading Plague
    • Now costs 6 mana. (Up from 5)

Notable for its absence from the list is Ultimate Infestation, but Blizzard reckon that the other Druid changes will make its use a bit less rampant. They go in-depth on all their reasoning on the official blog post.

Original Story September 4: It seems that Hearthstone’s rampant Druid is about to be nerfed. A tweet from the CCG’s director Ben Brode suggests that changes to the game's druid class will likely be announced this week.

Ever since the latest Hearthstone expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, was released, Druid decks have been causing a bit of a problem. At this weekend’s HCT Europe Summer Playoffs, every single one of the 77 pros in attendance brought a Druid deck. Druid decks also reportedly count for 30% of all decks in the ranked ladder - that’s more than twice as many as the next most popular deck, Priest, and around three times as frequent as it should be in a perfectly balanced game.

Help is at hand though, as game director Ben Brode has tweeted to thank players for their vocal feedback on the class, saying: “We've been considering options and should have more to share this week.”

These changes are likely to land at the door of a particularly powerful card first. Ultimate Infestation is a ten-mana Druid card that deals five damage, summons a 5/5 monster, gives you five armour, and draws five cards from your deck. That’s pretty strong, even for a late-game card, and I’d guess that at least one of those effects will be removed from the card if it’s changed.

Hearthstone has always been a difficult game to balance, with Quest Rogue and Pirate Warrior metas proving equally irritating in recent expansions. But what could be holding Hearthstone back the most is its own success.

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