Arena Banned

Arena Balance – Banned Cards

Sep 10, 2016

Arena Balance

Over the past few weeks, arena balance has become a growing source of concern. Mage in particular is a problem, as they have an appearance of 30%. Since you are only offered each class 33% of the time, it means Mage is picked almost every time it is offered. Further, their win rate was nearing 75%, grossly more than the other classes. Ben Brode, Lead Designer of Hearthstone, had been discussing arena balance for a while. With so many people discussing the issues, they decided to up the balance deadline. Their balancing came in the form of banning a large group of cards.

Banned cards

– Forgotten Torch
– Snowchugger
– Faceless Summoner

– Goblin Auto Barber
– Undercity Valiant

– No changes

– Vitality Totem
– Dust Devil
– Totemic Might
– Ancestral Healing
– Dunemaul Shaman
– Windspeaker

– Anima Golem
– Sacrificial Pact
– Curse of Rafaam
– Sense Demons
– Void Crusher
– Reliquary Seeker
– Succubus

– Savagery
– Poison Seeds
– Soul of the Forest
– Mark of Nature
– Tree of Life
– Astral Communion

– Warsong Commander
– Bolster
– Charge
– Bouncing Blade
– Axe Flinger
– Rampage
– Ogre Warmaul

-Starving Buzzard
-Call Pet
-Timber Wolf
-Cobra Shot
-Lock and Load
-Dart Trap

– Mind Blast
– Shadowbomber
– Lightwell
– Power Word: Glory
– Confuse
– Convert
– Inner Fire

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Banning strategy

It is clear that the balance team decided to go the route of removing problematic cards. They focused mostly on cards that were too weak, and were holding classes back. Many of the cards they removed were considered the worst cards in the class. By removing these cards they make those classes much better, giving better cards more consistently.
Top Arena Cards - Mage - Best
The exception comes in Paladin, Rogue, and Mage. Paladin saw no change at all. Rogue’s banned cards were actually decent cards, which should serve to tone down the class a bit. Since they had the second highest win rate after Mage, this makes sense. Mage’s removed cards include two good cards and one excellent card – Faceless Summoner. Since Mage has the highest win rate in arena, by a large margin, this is an important change for them. Faceless Summoner is one of the large problem cards, providing a massive tempo swing. Removing it will be a big step in the right direction for toning down Mage dominance.

Will it be enough?

Instinctively, I want to say that while this change is good, it won’t be enough. Mage in particular will still be very problematic. They may have lost Faceless Summoner, but they still have Flamestrike, Ethereal Conjurer, and Firelands Portal. All of these are tier one cards, and all of them are common, giving Mage a massive edge.
New Portals - Poor DesignTop Arena Cards - Mage - Third BestTop Arena Cards - Mage - Second Best
On the other side, while the classes with lower win rates get buffs, I doubt it will change much. The problem is that they still have weak hero powers and classes built around synergy. Buff Hunter all you want, but if he doesn’t have a beast in play, his Kill Command will do three. Warrior armour will never matter without Shield Slam. The banned cards will help these classes for sure, but probably not by enough. I’m hopeful for the future though. This is a massive step in the right direction, finally admitting that different modes need separate balancing. Good for the dev team, and hopefully arena continues to improve!

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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
What do you think?

ayy lmao









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