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Luci Kelemen
Luci Kelemen

Writes about way too many things. Has way too many opinions. Wants to tell all the interesting stories in the world.

Dec 13, 2019

Hearthstone's latest expansion launched just a few days ago, and tensions are already brewing in the community. A new Shaman dominated the ladder to such an extent that the developers took the unprecedented measure of announcing almost immediate balance changes in advance, specifically targeting the class.

Galakrond strikes again

It's Hearthstone ladder and Shaman is dominating. What is new? Well, perhaps it's the way they're kicking the crap out of everyone else, relying on an oppressive amount of tempo and the late-game Galakrond value instead of immediate Evolve highrolls. The new Shaman deck featuring the expansion's big baddie has taken the ladder by storm, posting unprecedented winrates across the board. At the time of writing, the class has an incredible 56% global winrate according to statistics tracker site HSReplay, with specific decks going as high as 65%.

The deck is so strong across the board that it doesn't have any reliable counter-strategies, making the gameplay experience all the more frustrating for everyone else. By the same token, it's no surprise so many players are flocking to the archetype. If you can't beat them, join them, as the saying goes, and you can't really beat Galakrond Shaman right about now.

Just a few hours ago, community manager Chris Attalus took to Reddit to announce that the devs are very much aware of the problem and won't be waiting as long as usual to address it:

Hey Folks,

Just to give a heads up - we’re working on a balance update that will arrive within the next week with card adjustments for Descent of Dragons, including some changes aimed at Shaman. Any cards that are affected will be given full Arcane Dust refunds.

Stay tuned for more details next week.

Cheers,
The Hearthstone Team

Of course, Shaman has also topped the charts in the previous metagame during the Doom in the Tomb event, where the return of the old Evolve card pushed the existing Quest Shaman archetype beyond its usual boundaries. That was also a target of the community's ire but the developers chose not to address the matter at the time, even if they eventually gone on record in a PC Gamer interview stating that this was perhaps a mistake.

Descent of Dragons card nerfs

The nerfs were eventually announced on December 19, and they are as follows:

  • Corrupt Elementalist: Now costs 6 Mana (up from 5).
  • Sludge Slurper: Now has 1 Attack (down from 2).
  • Faceless Corruptor: Now has 4 Attack (down from 5).
  • Mogu Fleshshaper: Now costs 9 Mana (up from 7).

You can check out the full notes about the 16.0.5. balance update here.

Image credit: Blizzard / playhearthstone.com

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