Hearthstone's New Balance Changes Hit One Of Its Oldest Cards

Aggro Mage is getting a massive smack with the nerf stick.

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Blizzard has announced a new round of balance changes for Hearthstone, and this one includes a major nerf to one of the Mage's classic mainstays. Two other changes hit cards that make for powerful combos and have made for strong archtypes of their own, but the biggest change by far is to one of the oldest cards in the entire game.

Mana Wyrm has been around since the beginning. It's a Mage card from the Classic set, and its combination of high health for the Mana cost and a strong synergistic ability with spells has long made it an auto-include for all sorts of Mage decks--from aggressive ones that snowball its attack power to tempo decks that use it to pick off early threats efficiently. That will all be changing soon. The card cost is being changed from 1 Mana to 2, effectively doubling its investment cost and cutting it off as a decisive turn-one play.

"Over time, we've been moving away from powerful, early-game 1-drops like Mana Wyrm," reads the designer notes. "It can often feel like the outcome of a game is decided by whether Mana Wyrm was played on turn one, and if it could be removed quickly by an opponent. Mana Wyrm has also steered us away from making powerful low-cost Mage spells. We'd like Mana Wyrm to remain an option for decks it synergizes with, while preventing it from being a huge turn one threat.

"At (2) mana, it will be easier to deal with Mana Wyrm the turn it's played, and it will be harder to buff it with cheap spells early in the match. We still expect it to remain an option in decks that have a heavy focus on cheap spells, but it should be a less appealing option in decks that aren't built with that focus in mind."

The other two announced balance changes are to cards that have been added in later sets, which means that unlike Mana Wyrm they'll both eventually cycle out of Standard play. The Mana Wyrm change, by comparison, is here to stay.

The first comes to Giggling Inventor, a powerful Taunt card that has been eyed for a nerf since it debuted with the latest expansion. Its Mana cost will go to 7 Mana up from 5. The tipping point appears to be that Giggling Inventor has been far too powerful in Quest Rogue decks, which makes all minions 4/4 as the reward for completing the Quest.

"We think it's important to take risks when making powerful cards, especially when it comes to neutral taunts, given the role they can play in encouraging minion interactions and making games more interesting. However, Giggling Inventor has stepped beyond its intended role, and we don't feel that it should be as effective as it currently is," the notes read. "At (7) mana, we expect Giggling Inventor will find its way into fewer decks in general--and be much less effective in Quest Rogue--while remaining situationally playable within specific deck archetypes, such as Evolve Shaman."

Finally, the Druid Legendary card Aviana will have its cost increased to 10 Mana from the current 9. This appears aimed at one very specific interaction: Aviana into Kun the Forgotten King. Since Aviana makes all minions cost 1, and Kun can restore all your Mana crystals, this combo allowed Druids to play a handful of huge minions in a single turn. While Blizzard notes it's still technically possible to pull this off with a Coin or Innervate, it will be less consistent. Plus, it notes, the cost change means the new card Juicy Psychmelon won't draw both parts of this powerful combo at once.

All of these balance changes are planned to be implemented on October 18.

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