Blizzard announced that Hearthstone will be getting a series of balance updates that will arrive some time after the HCT playoffs. Buckle up, because some of these are big changes that shake up the meta of the game.
The six cards getting updated are Naga Sea Witch, Spiteful Summoner, Dark Pact, Possessed Lackey, Call to Arms, and The Caverns Below. All six cards have been changed in a way that will no doubt impact how Paladins, Warlocks, and Quest Rogues play. Here's a breakdown of each card's update and changes.
Naga Sea Witch will cost 8 mana, up from 5 mana. The reason is that after Update 9.1, Naga Sea Witch's cost change became inconsistent with the game's mechanics. The way players can reduce Giants' mana cost of 0 led to the card being able to generate unreasonable early board states. Increasing its cost will delay the card's combo until later in the game.
Spiteful Summoner is getting a cost bump to 7 mana, up from 6 mana. Because of the Year of the Raven rotation, the Summoner's ability let players draw from a smaller pool of 10 mana cost minions when used in a deck with 10 mana cost spells. Raising the cost to 7 will help make the card consistent with the powerful outcomes the card can generate.
Dark Pact will now restore 4 health to your hero instead of 8. Its 1 mana cost and huge combo potential with cards like Carnivorous Cube, Possessed Lackey, Spritsinger umbra, or Warlocks in general makes the card too powerful. So by keeping its low cost, but lowering the health it gives, Dark Pact is still useful, but not as overpowered.
Possessed Lackey will cost 6 mana, up from 5 mana. Lackey is present in a lot of combos available in the early, mid-stages of the game. Increasing the mana cost will delay the combos to later parts of the match.
Call to Arms will cost 5 mana, up from 4 mana. This is a big one. Call to Arms plays a role in Even Paladin and Murloc Paladin decks, the two most consistently powerful decks in The Witchwood season. Moving Call to Arms up into the 5 cost will effectively remove the card from Even Paladin decks (meaning decks with only even mana costs). And even if it finds itself in Odd Paladin decks, the skill will limit the decks to only summoning three 1 mana minions.
Quest Rogue decks are strong against slow, control-heavy decks. Blizzard says that "There's a fine line between being powerful against very slow decks and being powerful versus virtually all non-aggressive strategies." As a result, the Crystal Core, Caverns Below reward card will be updated to result in 4/4 minions instead of 5/5 so that matchups against moderate control decks are less lopsided.
You can find Blizzard's full breakdown of the balance updates on the official Hearthstone blog.
These are the big changes for The Witchwood. For more, check out our complete Hearthstone Witcwhood guide, or our interview with ex-Hearthstone director Ben Brode about the most recent Hearthstone expansion.