Reverting Nerfs and the Impacts on Wild

*DISCLAIMER*

I want to preface before starting that I will only be covering nerfs and changes that came AFTER Hearthstone's alpha and beta periods, as there are way too many changes and not as much information and general player consensus on cards available as there was from full release. Also, this article is not suggesting that all of the cards listed should be reverted, as it is just laying out information on cards that have that potential, or that portions of the community may want to be changed.

Over Hearthstone's history cards have received changes in the form of buffs and nerfs, though usually the latter. With Molten Giant getting it's nerf reverted and having climbed to Legend with Evenlock in Wild where Molten Giant was a big MVP, I wanted to take a look at other cards that we may want to consider bringing back to their former glory.


Warsong Commander

I’ll start off with this because besides Molten Giant, Warsong Commander is one of the main cards people go-to when on the talk of reverting nerfs. Warsong Commander has had several changes over the years, but we’ll, in particular, be talking about her nail in the coffin.

 

Warsong Commander used to be a core part of the Patron Warrior deck, a deck that revolved around the card Grim Patron, Frothing Berserker, and of course, Warsong Commander. You used those cards in combination with whirlwind effects and cards like Inner Rage and Cruel Taskmaster to summon Grim Patrons and you could use Warsong Commander and Frothing Berserker for massive burst potential. This deck was seen by many pros as one of the most skill-testing decks in Hearthstone’s history and there were many that were sad to see it go.

 

With Warsong Commander in her current state, however, none of this is really possible, especially as the game has progressed. There are considerably more ways to deal with what Patron Warrior did at the time, whether it’s through removal, disruption through Dirty Rat, or just having win conditions that Patron Warrior wouldn’t be able to handle. I do think while Patron Warrior would still have instances where it would be strong, it would still fall to the same faults for ladder play that it did before, as it is difficult to pilot correctly.

 

Warsong Commander will probably never have her nerf reverted and be moved to the Hall of Fame, however. While I personally do not think the deck would break Wild Hearthstone in any fashion, Warsong Commander in her old form limited a lot of design space, as Charge is a very powerful, scary, and un-interactive mechanic. For those reasons, we will probably never see her returned to her former glory, but one can wonder.

 

Force of Nature

Force of Nature in combination with Savage Roar was the driving force behind Midrange Druid which was prevalent when we were all also dealing with Secret Paladin and Mysterious Challenger. This 9 Mana 14 damage burst combo (22 with old Innervate and a second Savage Roar) defined Druids at the time. However, would this combo be as strong today? In some cases, yes, but there are a lot more sticky and hard to remove Taunt minions, and even in Wild, Druid doesn’t have the best in the form of hard removal and doesn’t have access to transform effects outside of Tinkmaster Overspark.

Again, this change will probably never happen, as it looks as Druid’s current Force of Nature will be playing a part in the Treant synergy that they're getting, even though the old version would still synergize with the new card Mulchmuncher. The bigger reason, however, would probably boil down to how the combo is un-interactive and too consistent and powerful for the minimal resources and technical skill it requires.

 

Blade Flurry

Blade Flurry received a massive nerf at the same time that Force of Nature did. This nerf killed off Oil Rogue as a deck archetype, which revolved around using Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil along with Blade Flurry and your minions to inflict massive burst to your opponents. This card was changed for similar reasons to the cards earlier in this article, as it was a strong combo at the time that was generally un-interactive.

As Blade Flurry stands now, the card is remarkably bad, and while it may have deserved either a Mana cost increase or the effect change, I think most agree that it didn’t deserve both. Currently it usually only sits as a one of in Kingsbane Rogue as most players opt to play two copies of Vanish and go towards a mill style of play. If we had Blade Flurry in any kind of better form, we may see more variety in the types of Kingsbane decks.

 

Dreadsteed

Dreadsteed’s story is a sad one. Already a card that was considered bad by most, Blizzard decided it couldn’t exist in its original state with Defile. Their reasoning behind the change was to eliminate the infinite loop that was caused by Dreadsteed. This reasoning is somewhat faulty with the current way Defile works. While not specifically stated on the card, Defile can only cast itself up to 14 times to prevent such infinite loops, as you can still produce one with clever Grim Patron setups. Because of this, I don’t see the reason that we never got the chance to have the interaction between Dreadsteed and Defile in the game. The combination is incredibly powerful for 6 Mana and may have required changes anyways, but it is personally something I would have liked to have existed first before seeing these changes.

With having the cap on Defile so that the game can’t infinitely loop the interaction, you find that the more you look at this combo, the more it seems reasonable and should exist in the game. The Dreadsteed and Defile interaction is a perfect example of why Wild exists in the first place. Wild is supposed to be that, Wild. As sets come out, new synergies emerge. Cards that never saw competitive play can pop up in Tier 1 decks as we’ve seen with the likes of Draenei Totemcarver in the very powerful Even Shaman. Dreadsteed is one of those cards that makes players want to come to Wild and experiment and try new things, and that is good for the game and format as a whole.

To meta implications. Such a powerful board clear would have to be game-breaking, right? I beg to differ. With the current way Warlocks that would run Defile are built, their Hero card Bloodreaver Gul’dan is a major part of those decks. With Dreadsteed being a Demon, it would have very negative synergy with these types of decks, whether it be Cubelock, Control-lock, or Evenlock, as Dreadsteed would more than likely summon itself 7 times when you played Bloodreaver Gul’dan. For that reason, I think that at least for a time, Dreadsteed and Defile’s interaction would have been something that the game could have been OK to have, as using the combo locks you out of some of the major power that Warlock currently has access to.

 

Shadowboxer

This nerf got announced literally in the middle of writing this article, so this might be more of a hot take and I’ll discuss why that may be as well.

Shadowboxer is like Dreadsteed, a card that never really saw major competitive play and still doesn’t to this day. However, with the introduction of Unidentified Elixir in Kobolds and Catacombs, you could potentially give Shadowboxer Lifesteal which would make the card continue to fire off until you hero was at full Health. The card is being changed to get rid of that interaction, which I feel is unnecessary and is just getting rid of another cool interaction with older cards that can potentially bring people to the format.

Now, this change is probably made because of the new Mech Zilliax being able to give the Mech it fuses to Lifesteal. However, I would still argue, that like Dreadsteed, this combo should be something that we as a community get to see first if it is something that we desire to be changed, and not giving us that chance is frustrating, to say the least.

Josiah "Hylung" Shoemaker

Consistent Hearthstone player since BRM and has hit Legend in both Wild and Standard. Mainly is an Aggro and Mid-Range player.