Hearthstone Introduces a Host of Dramatic Balance Changes

Hearthstone Introduces a Host of Dramatic Balance Changes

It's the first major Hearthstone balance update in years.

Hearthstone hasn't had a lot of major balance changes, and none in the last couple years. So when Blizzard announces some updates, it's a big deal. Today, Blizzard announced changes to five cards with the intention of primarily limiting some increasingly powerful druid decks.

Blizzard announced patch 9.1 on the official Hearthstone website and they change how five cards will work going forward, four of which have been in the game since the very beginning. While the changes are meant to curb the strength of some popular builds, Blizzard also says that this is to clear the field of older cards.

After careful consideration, we chose to make changes to three Basic class cards: Innervate, Fiery War Axe, and Hex. While they can be regarded as staples in those classes' card repertoires, too many Basic and Classic cards played in individual decks means less fun when new expansions are released.


First, Innervate is a popular druid spell card that- thanks to its zero-cost and ability to give a player a two mana boost-was kept in regular rotation in druid decks looking to push out big minions earlier. Now however, it's been dropped to a single mana boost for an extra turn, which now limits the card to work with specific combos.

Fiery Axe

Fiery War Axe, another mainstay in warrior decks, raised the mana cost from two to three to again make the three attack, two charge weapon card less popular.


For Shaman decks, Hex is receiving a cost boost from three mana to four. This change isn't necessarily because the card was too powerful, but instead a push towards carving out a specific identity for the shaman decks which Blizzard says are flexible but without a lot of weaknesses. Additionally, the card has been used as a silencing card without a clearly identifiable weakness.

Murloc Warleader

Murloc Warleader is a neutral card that used to beef up any other Murloc card on you side with a plus-two attack, and plus-one health bonus. After the nerf it will only grant a plus-two attack bonus. This curbs the advantage early murloc plays give to players that end up snowballing into victories.

Spreading Plague

Lastly, the new druid card from the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, Spreading Plague, is also receiving an update. The card, which allows druids to summon a one attack, five health minion with taunt for each minion in the opponent's field, is getting a mana cost raise from five to six. This slows the card down a bit.

Blizzard was originally considering raising the cost from five to seven, but decided against it since Innervate was also receiving a change. The changes also affects the Innervate/Spreading Plague combo which was gaining in popularity among druid decks.

So there you have it, Blizzard's big balance changes. If you're a druid user prepare to have to get used to some new cards, but I also imagine that this would change up the style of several deck types.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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