On Feb. 2 1887, the good people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania first gathered 'round Gobbler's Knob and waited to see if upon leaving its burrow, a groundhog would cast a shadow and immediately return to its hole. They would use this data point to predict the next two months or so of weather because people back then were, by and large, very stupid.
On Feb. 2, 2016, the Hearthstone community was turned upside down. There's a new play mode! Sets on rotation! Cards from basic and classic will be nerfed! Like those simple folk living their miserable lives 'round Gobbler's Knob, we have no idea what to expect in the coming weeks. But you know what is in our power? We can still make an ill-advised guess based on whatever limited information we have readily available. And we won't even abuse a burrowing rodent to do so, which, by God, I call progress.
Soon a handful of cards that some of us have used for two years will be changed forever. What are those cards? What will those cards become? Some of THL's top prognosticators look deep into the shadows, and tell us the future for the Basic/Classic set.
Big Game Hunter
JediNinja: This card is often cited for its enormous impact on the meta and I'd bet the designers would like some freedom from its oppressive battlecry. The battlecry itself is fine but the low cost and decent stats make it such a huge tempo swing when it works and not much of a sacrifice when it doesn't. I would like to see it changed to a five mana 3/3. That's still a good value for taking out an 8/8 but really hurts to play otherwise.
Jingbudda: I think that more than other cards, BGH limits Blizzard's design space. If I were to nerf it, I'd make it a four mana 4/3, and have it deal six damage to a creature with seven or more attack. Blizzard could also keep the stats and cost, but change the ability—maybe five damage to a creature with seven or more attack.
Booty Bay Bodyguard
HertzDonut: I'm gonna wager with a fair amount of confidence that the cards that have replaced already by strictly better versions in recent expansions will see potentially massive tweaking to the point of being a wholly different card. The main ones I'm thinking of are Booty Bay Bodyguard (strictly worse than Evil Heckler) and Magma Rager (strictly worse than Frost Rager). Granted, the new ones will be rotated out, but that just means your options go from a bad card vs. a worse card to only a terrible card. Basically, a waste of time.
For Booty Bay Bodyguard (BBB) going to say that he will fill the void created by Belcher's departure. The new BBB will be a five-cost 4/4 with text: "Taunt. Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 Booty Bay Thug with taunt." Gives you an instant wall, but since they're both on the board together, one AoE will still affect both. Opens up interesting possibilities at the same time for things like bolster or token decks.
I'd say there's a 20% chance I'm wrong about BBB getting a change, and 95% chance I'm wrong about the actual change.
NaCl: Cost 6, overload 3. Same stat line.
Leumer: I believe that, other than the Druid Combo, they will have to Nerf some aspect of Freeze Mage. Without Loatheb this deck gets a big boost. The target to get nerfed without crippling the Mage class as a whole, would be Doomsayer. It would make Freeze harder to stay alive with, and also be a slight hit to Murloc Paladin. Either increasing it to three mana or making it a 0/6 would be just enough to keep it in check.
Force of Nature
ClarkKent: The Druid combo is going to see a huge hit. Tough to say whether that will be FoN or Savage Roar, but I'll say FoN. I could see them changing it to summoning two 1/1's instead of three 2/2's. It changes the combo where an empty board does far less damage, but Druid still can have a strong finisher in Roar if they hold a board advantage. Blizzard has said they want to value minion battle, and getting combo'd down without a board goes against that. If you keep Savage Roar intact, Druid can still be rewarded for winning the board.
Slimsch: Force of Nature changed to seven mana. Combo is one mana more expensive, which could mean one extra turn in many games. That could make all the difference. Savage Roar to four might also be considerable.
GernBlanston: With the announcement of Standard, a quick glance at Druid shows that it loses little of its core, namely the Force of Nature/Savage Roar combo that has kept the deck in tier one for some time. It's easy to look at it and say that Savage Roar is the issue, but, as Blizzard has shown us before, it's that zero board state into lethal damage that's really an issue. With 14 burst damage from nowhere, it's actually Force of Nature that's the problem. Its future? A couple options:
1. Eight Mana: Summon three 2/2 Treants with Charge that die at the end of turn. This can still create a combo with Power of the Wild for ten mana and nine immediate charge damage on an empty board, so Druid won't entirely lose its flavor.
2. Six Mana: Summon three 2/2 Treants. This allows buff-based bursts, but a turn later. Not as exciting, but doesn't break the "lethal out of nowhere" rule that Blizzard has nerfed before.
Slimsch: Juggler changed to a 2/2. If they are looking to make more two drops viable through rotation, I think this one makes sense. Perhaps not necessary with Creeper/Muster getting cycled out though.
GernBlanston: Zoo has been a staple for so long and Power Overwhelming allows some of its most, well, powerful moments. From clearing big taunts and getting value off a sticky minion to presenting an eight damage burst from a single remaining minion, this card pulls its weight, and perhaps a bit too well. Any new sticky minions to which Warlock gets access are auto-includes for which to abuse the beloved P.O.
New stats: One Mana: Friendly minion gets +3/+3 until end of turn, then it dies. Horribly
JediNinja: Having rarity values assigned to the basic set seems like something that is needed for balance in arena. Since they're basic cards, consrtucted wouldn't be affected at all but Flamestrike's rarity could be "nerfed" from common to rare.
Viridae: You ready for this?
I believe Blizzard may retool or possibly remove overload. It is a very unique concept and Shaman has never really been able to harness it. It makes Shaman an extremely annoying class to play and in a way just far weaker than most. I think this would be an opportune time for Blizzard to address this fundamental aspect of Shaman and free the class of this harmful interaction.
I know. Your mind is blown.
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