Welcome to another Hearthstone patch, two months after the last one. This update (ver. 13.2) offers some interesting changes to a few troublesome cards that have been prominent in the recent meta. The classes that got hit are Rouge, Shaman, Paladin, and Hunter.
Just like the surprise December 2018 Hearthstone emergency patch update, there are no buffs but many nerfs this time around. Below is a breakdown of the card changes in patch update 13.2, released on Feb. 5, 2019.
Cold Blood: Changed from 1 mana to 2
This is a key tool in beatdown Rogue decks that can permanently buff a minion's attack by 2, or play it after a card, and you'd instead buff the minion's attack by 4. Cold Blood was shown most prominently in the Odd Rogue deck list.
On top of the buffed hero power for meeting the Baku the Mooneater conditions, the Odd Rogue boasts hyper-aggression. You swarm your opponent with minions, and maintain board presence by making those minions stick to the board as long as possible.
With Cold Blood, you could easily weave in a surprise burst of damage to whittle your opponent down as you press on the aggression. A notable combo to pull off with this card to sneak in lethal damage would consist of playing Leeroy Jenkins and buff it with Cold Blood.
This amounts to 10 damage for the cost of two cards and 6 mana. Now with the mana nerf to Cold Blood, this card cannot be played in Odd Rogue due to costing 2 mana instead of 1. Although this is a hard hit to this deck list, there is still a chance that Odd Rogue will continue to see competitive play.
Flametongue Totem: Changed from 2 mana to 3
Another card used in an aggressive lineup, Flametongue Totem capitalized on early turn 2 aggression by being able to buff adjacent minions that you have on the board by adding 2 attack to whichever minion is directly next to it. In this case, it's Even Shaman that's targeted for nerfing.
Even Shaman benefits from a discounted hero power by meeting the condition of Genn Greymane of having only even cost cards in your deck. The discounted hero power had great synergy with Flametongue Totem as a great opener in the game.
Turn 1, you would summon a basic totem thanks to your discounted hero power and follow up on your next turn with Flametongue Totem. Even though having this opener would be considered “the nuts,” you'd be able to pull this quite often (roughly a third of the time) throughout your climb on the ladder.
This small nerf to the card prevents it being applicable to Even Shaman, but it will still see play in standard aggressive Shaman decks.
Equality: Changed from 2 mana to 4
A control-oriented card that sets the health of all minions to 1, this may not look volatile on its own, but with the right timing and card combinations, you are able to take back the board with one of the best clears in Hearthstone.
For 4 mana, you'd pair Equality with Wild Pyromancer and watch the board burn as you take out every minion since Wild Pyromancer deals 1 damage to every minion after you cast a spell.
For 6 mana, you'd instead combo Equality with Consecration, a card that deals to damage to all enemies. With this combo, you would destroy only your opponent's minions while your own minions remain safe.
The mentioned combos have been part of the Control Paladin archetype, giving it survivability to even the most fearsome wide boards. Now with the mana increase to Equality, the combo is still there but at a higher cost. The infamous Equality Pyromancer clear will now have a weaker follow up due to the lack of leftover mana since normally, this combo is more potent in the later parts of the game.
Hunter's Mark: Changed from 1 mana to 2
A basic class card that has seen consistent play throughout the Hearthstone meta, Hunter's Mark is receiving a mana nerf for the second time. It Initially cost 0 mana but was brought up to 1 mana due to its capability to swing the board in your favor.
Hunter's Mark sets the health of a minion to 1. On its own, it may hardly seem a threat, but there are cards that complement it.
Coupled with Candleshot, Hunter's Mark can easily take out the mightiest of minions. Even if you don't have the Candleshot handy, there are other ways to deal with the now-hindered minion whether it be trading your own minions or baiting your opponent to attack into your Explosive Trap.
The mana nerf, changing to now 2 mana, is hardly a devastating blow to Hunter's identity as a deck archetype. The only deck that won't utilize Hunter's Mark would be Odd Hunter for not being able to meet the conditions of Baku the Mooneater.
Lesser Emerald Spellstone: Changed from 5 mana to 6
Everyone can agree Emerald Spellstone has been a powerful staple card in many Hunter deck lists, most notably in Spell Hunter. Your goal with this card is to fully upgrade it while it's in your hand, and to do so you would play two secrets.
Initially at level 1, Emerald Spellstone would summon two 3 attack and 3 health wolves. With each upgrade, capping at level 3, you get an additional wolf depending on when you play it. At 5 mana, this spellstone gives incredible value, surprising your opponent with four wolves. Playing it on curve would nearly seal your opponent's fate.
With the card being nerfed and now costing 6 mana, this offers the opportunity of a response or some form of counter-play. Emerald Spellstone will still see action, just potentially a turn later than you would normally use it.
Feb. 5, 2019 was the release of Hearthstone's patch update version 13.2. While some rejoice and some bow their heads in sorrow, there are many who complain that not enough cards were touched upon during this update. Who knows what Blizzard has in mind for the next expansion and what meta will form once the previous expansions rotate out? For now, we will have to endure Hunter and a plethora of One Turn Kill (OTK) decks.
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