Hearthstone is in a pretty decent spot right now. The current cadence includes big Battlegrounds patches between major standard expansions, and I’m really enjoying the seesaw approach there. Whenever standard is getting me down I have the option to hunker down in Battlegrounds: and vice-versa.
Lately, Battlegrounds has been an absolute warzone with the introduction of several new heroes and the Elemental tribe. Elementals have been dominant in many respects, alongside of a new hero that’s absolutely crushing it so heavily that it probably should have been tested a bit more (Ragnaros) and several others that are not making any impact. Patch 18.4.2 is making strides to bring things back in line a bit more.
The major takeaways include Ragnaros getting a slight nerf (he needs to kill 25 minions instead of 20 now to bring his Sulfuras ability online, which now gives +3/+3 instead of +4/+4), Maiev getting a nerf (Imprison now gives +1 attack instead of +1/+1) and the complete removal of the Pogo-Hopper minion; which was seeing very sleazy play with one of the last waves of heroes (Jandice).
If Pogos or Ragnaros were in your games these past few weeks, there was a good chance that they were in the top four, if not taking the whole crown. It was frustrating to play against and not incredibly interactive to play, so thankfully these changes are coming at the right time. Low-end heroes have also been buffed a bit (Chenvaala, Patchwerk, Sindragosa, Mukla) and Bartendotron (a very low winrate hero) has been removed from the pool entirely to cut down on the annoyance of being offered multiple low-end characters.
Several minions have also been altered, most notably Deadly Spore (which is now tavern tier six), Lil’rag (also moved to tier six) and Gentle Djinni (now tier five). All of these alterations should make for a big meta shakeup, as Lil’Rag was an early enabler for Elementals. Yes, both versions of Ragnaros have been nerfed: fair play for the Fire Lord.
In all I’m happy with most of the changes here, but I’m not sure that the Ragnaros nerf was enough. He’ll need about another turn to get his ability online, but once that happens (especially now that Deadly Spore is a tier higher) he’s still going to dominate most compositions: enough to squeak him into the top four by sheer force of will. Clearing Pogos out may have been overkill, but as a stop-gap solution, I’m just happy that every Jandice I play against won’t be using the same boring, homogenized build.
Patch 18.4.2 is live today!
18.4.2 Patch Notes [Hearthstone]