The latest nerf patch in Hearthstone heavily target cards that are a part of the “Evergreen” sets, Classic and Basic. Having the Evergreen sets allows these cards to always be in the standard rotation and help give new players the identity of each class in the way they play. Future Evergreen card nerfs are more than likely to happen given the consistent balancing the cards have received.
The Last Good One Drops
There’s only two classes that have minions from Evergreen sets that has very solid one mana minions, Warlock and Priest. Warlocks have Flame Imp and Voidwalker, while Priests have Northshire Cleric. With Mage having Mana Wyrm be nerfed to two mana, these other cards may be reevaluated.
Flame Imp has always been a very strong early game card in aggressive Warlock game plans. There is an obvious draw back with the fact that you have to spend three health as well as one mana to play the card. It can be contested by some other one mana cards and two mana cards when going second.
Voidwalker is another card that is better played in aggressive decks for protecting other small minions. It does nothing in the later stages of games. These cards are often auto-inclusions in aggressive decks though, which isn’t necessarily bad. However, Blizzard targeted the cards in the recent nerfs because they were in almost every play style for their class.
That leads us to Northshire Cleric. This card without a doubt an auto-inclusion in almost every Priest deck to have existed. The value of being able to play this card in any stage of the game to draw from your deck is an invaluable tool. Nerfing it on the other hand could definitely cripple the power of Priest. The class wouldn’t have any good way of contesting turn one with Evergreen cards and would always have to rely on rotating cards.
Another Leeroy Nerf?
Most of the nerfs that Blizzard have gone after targeted aggressive game plans. Leeroy Jenkins had been nerfed in cost once before to slow decks down. It might get another nerf considering its meta position for the next Standard year.
The Witchwood set brought upon us Even and Odd archetypes. Odd archetypes heavily focus on aggressive game plans. Leeroy Jenkins is an Odd cost card with an extremely aggressive focus. As such, he fits very well into nearly every type of Odd meta deck.
Despite his strengths, it would be very difficult to nerf him. If you go after his mana cost, he would be outright worse than Reckless Rocketeer. Going after his health would make him way too weak to single damage effects, and nerfing his attack would bring in more desirable replacements.
Ultimately, we will likely have to just suffer through another year of Leeroy Jenkins in Odd Paladin until the Witchwood set rotates out. He is an iconic card that helps make up the identity of Hearthstone as a game.
Druid Always Relevant
We saw Druid absolutely ripped to shreds over the course of the last year, and for good reason. The class was too strong for its own good. A lot of Druid’s Evergreen cards have been significantly tuned down, but even still some Druid decks manage to hold on and be strong.
When Spreading Plague, Ultimate Infestation, Branching Paths, and so on finally rotate out, it will be interesting to see if Druid remains a playable class. In the unlikely case that Druid remains strong in the new Standard year, Naturalize is a likely target for new nerfs.
Blizzard said they don’t like cards that are considered auto-inclusions. Well, without a rotating card that serves as a better replacement(Mulch), Naturalize is included in nearly 90% of Druid decks for removal.
Naturalize only costs one mana to remove an entire minion. The negative cost of the opponent drawing two cards is often times not cared about or even helpful. Many decks take advantage of Naturalize to fatigue opponents or make them overdraw cards. In other matchups, simply being able to remove any minion for one mana is so powerful.
The future of the Evergreen set always seems safe. They will be in the short term until we see how the next few rotating sets affect the meta. However, we often are blindsided by some balance changes. It might make sense to Blizzard because they know future cards we don’t, but can murder classes in the short run.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.