"Hey, Loser!" Pen Flinger, Hearthstone's Most Obnoxious Card, Finally Getting Nerfed

Hearthstone is getting its first set of balance changes since Barrens launched, and they take aim at one of the most hated cards in the meta.


Blizzard recently launched Hearthstone's Forged in the Barrens expansion, and the first balance patch of the new season will take aim at the game's most annoying card, Pen Flinger. The 20.0.2 patch also makes a big change to major Mage and Paladin cards, and makes the new expansion's Outpost cards a little less hearty.

The Pen Flinger card is likely to get the most attention for its sheer trolling. The card was part of the Scholomance Academy set, and it's modeled after the worst kid in your high school class. As the name implies, it flings pens for 1 damage, shouting "Hey, Loser!" as it enters play, and then gets bounced back into your hand as a Spellburst effect with an innocent-sounding "Wasn't me!" With two Pen Flingers in your opponent's hand, you would often hear "Hey, Loser! Hey, Loser! Wasn't me! Wasn't me!" several times in a single turn.

The problem, as Blizzard identifies, is that it was a little too versatile, and low-cost spells like various Rogue cards or the Paladin's Librams made it effective at chipping down health and taking over the entire story of a game. Since it can bounce back into your opponent's hand, they can control if it's left vulnerable on the board, and savvy players would just never give you any opportunity to remove it. So you could have a game where Pen Flinger slowly chips away your life, calling you a loser all the while, and there's very little you could do to answer it. With the change, it will only be able to damage minions, not heroes--making it a very efficient tool but removing its ability to act as a game-finisher. Who's the loser now?

Another big change is coming to Deck of Lunacy, a Mage card that has been the centerpiece of a popular Lunacy deck lately. The nerf makes it cost 4 Mana instead of 2 Mana, meaning it can still act as a wild game-changing effect, but it requires more investment and can't shift the tide quite so early in the game. Similarly, the Mage/Rogue card Jandice Barov is having its cost increased from 5 Mana to 6 Mana, since the rotation of the new expansion cycled out some weaker 5-cost minions it could have summoned and made the overall pool stronger.

Some new Forged in the Barrens cards are also getting nerfed, after only a few weeks in play. Those include the Paladin weapon Sword of the Fallen, which is having its durability reduced from 3 to 2; Far Watch Outpost, which is having its health reduced from 4 to 3; and Mor'shan Watch Post, which is having its health reduced from 5 to 4. Of those, the Paladin change is likely the biggest, since it enables a Secret Paladin deck that has been ruling the meta recently.

Forged in the Barrens is the first of this year's storyline that will center on new mercenary characters, with a separate Mercenaries mode coming later this year. For more on Hearthstone, check out our interview with Blizzard's designers on how they reimagined the classic dragon cards.

Hearthstone 20.0.2 Patch Bug Fixes & Game Improvements

  • Fixed a bug where Sunwell Initiate’s Divine Should could not be silenced.
  • Fixed a bug where Shadowjeweler Hanar could Discover secrets from outside of Standard in Ranked Standard.
  • Fixed a bug where the Battlecry for Reckless Apprentice would not apply the Freeze effect from Ice Walker.
  • Fixed a bug where the Battlecry for Reckless Apprentice would still trigger if the Hero Power was disabled.
  • Fixed a bug where playing Wildfire before Metamorphosis could cause your original Hero Power to gain an extra damage.
  • Fixed a bug where Lakkari Felhound could discard newly drawn cards, such as when played in sequence with Hand of Gul’dan.
  • Fixed a bug where Celestial Alignment would work inconsistently with cards that reduce mana costs, such as Librams or Cutting Class.
  • Fixed a bug with Kazakus, Golem Shaper where the Firebloom ability could target the same minion twice.
  • Fixed a visual bug where G’huun the Blood God would leave the blood drop mana cost icon behind when played.
  • Fixed a bug where casting Twisting Nether into Oh My Yogg! would not allow for more cards to be played.
  • Fixed a bug where the VFX for certain spells would continuously play after being transformed by Oh My Yogg!
  • Fixed a bug where Pit Master would appear in Collection results when filtering for Nature cards.
  • Fixed a bug where Holy Wrath was not tagged as a Holy spell.
  • Fixed a bug where Dragon’s Pack had the Nature spell school tag. It is no longer part of a spell school.
  • Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Minions could show an outline of their Tavern Tier icon when played.
  • Updated the appearance rate of cards in Arena to ensure class balance remains close to the ideal 50% win-rate. Specifically, the win-rate of Demon Hunter and Priest should now be decreased. The win-rate of Druid, Hunter, Rogue, and Shaman should now be increased.
  • Removed Far Watch Post, Mor’Shan Watch Post, Crossroads Watch Post, and Kargal Battlescar from Arena.
  • Fixed a bug where the Arena could fail to load properly for new players.
  • Fixed a bug where some Boomsday puzzles were causing desync issues.
  • Fixed a bug with the Achievement It’ll Take More Than That where credit could be granted without playing the Warrior class.
  • Fixed a bug with the Achievement Barrens Neutral Collector where incorrect Collection quotas were listed.
  • Fixed a bug with the Achievement Final Frontier where progress would not be credited from discounted minions.
  • Fixed a bug with the Achievement Do it for the Vines where Dual-Class cards would not count as progress.
  • Fixed a visual bug where Achievement XP and end of match XP gains could show incorrect numbers but reward the correct amount of XP.
  • Fixed a visual bug where, in some cases, XP gains benefitting from XP bonuses were not highlighting with a green font color.
  • Fixed a visual bug where the Tavern Pass bonus XP displayed on the Achievement detail view would be incorrect.
  • Fixed a bug where the mass disenchant preview would count some cards twice but would give the correct amount of dust when used.
  • Fixed a bug where the disenchant button would glow regardless of whether there were extra cards to disenchant.
  • Fixed a bug where some player ranks and rewards were not populating from the correct ladder on the friends list and elsewhere.
  • Fixed a visual bug where names on the friends list could be overlapped by their rank, and where a friend’s rank would show even when they were offline.
  • Fixed a bug where a star bonus would appear on the deck selection page for Legend ranks.
  • Fixed a bug where an erroneous pop up would appear saying a Demon Hunter class pack was granted for completing the Ashes of Outland Prologue.
  • Fixed a bug where the Hamuul Card Back would not show properly during pack opening.
  • Fixed a bug where the Play button would always be highlighted in the main menu.
  • Fixed a bug where players could become locked out from creating or deleting decks when they previously were not.
  • Fixed a bug where “Click to Convert” would persist on decks regardless of what mode you’d swapped to.
  • Fixed a bug where mousing over decks that are behind the “You have no Classic Decks. Go create one!” pane would show pop-up info.
  • Fixed a bug where mousing over a Classic deck with the mode set to Casual would display a tooltip stating: “Not useable in Wild format”.
  • Fixed a bug where players could re-roll into the Win 5 Games of Ranked Play Mode weekly quest after already completing it that week.
  • Fixed a bug where the the Crossroads bundle and the Barrens Tavern Pass were showing incorrect art in the purchase window.
  • Fixed a grammatical error in the card text for Warsong Wrangler.
  • Fixed various translation issues across several languages.

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