The Biggest Contenders to Be Nerfed – Standard Style

Feb 28, 2016

The Situation

At this point everyone knows that the upcoming Hearthstone Standard format will be making use of the most recent year of sets, the current year of sets, and the basic set. This is great, except that there are a few classes that become problematically strong in such a format. The recent Curse Trials tournament made use of the no Goblins vs. Gnomes or Naxxramas rules to run a tournament and showcase some of the issues that Standard format will have without any nerfs. However, Blizzard has announced that they will be doing a mass balancing before Standard hits. So, without any further ado, the top most likely to be nerfed cards.

One: Force of Nature/Savage Roar

As everyone expected, the Druid class was the most oppressive by far. The standard Midrange Druid deck consists largely of basic cards. By cutting cards from the game that didn’t strongly affect Druid, it caused all the other decks to get weaker while Druid maintained its strength. And that strength is already very oppressive, with most meta snapshots showing Midrange Druid as either the strongest or second strongest class right now. Their strength comes largely from the “Druid Combo,” the combination of using Force of Nature and Savage Roar for a minimum of fourteen damage from hand. Many people have been clamouring for this to be nerfed for a while, and at this point it is well established that if Standard format goes forward with the Druid Combo intact, Druid will never lose its place as one of the top decks, simply because of said combo.

Two: Knife Juggler

For a long time Knife Juggler has sat in a place of being one of the best two drops in the game. With both Mad Scientist and Shielded Minibot rotating out of Standard, Knife Juggler will rise to be fairly uncontested as the strongest two drop. The card simply has no weaknesses, boasting a strong 3/2 statline as well as an incredibly powerful effect. If he is not removed immediately, Knife Juggler quickly spirals the game out of control, and with some lucky knife throws can easily snipe its opponent out of the game. This card limits all two drops in the future because of its strength, for Blizzard to leave it in Standard forever would be a huge oversight.

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Three: Alexstrasza

As long as Alexstrasza is in the game, decks like Freeze Mage will always be strong. Alexstrasza simply enables too many combos against any deck that doesn’t run healing. Decks such as Freeze Mage are often considered uninteractive, and Alexstrasza’s continued existence will only enable them forever, forcing healing to be necessary in nearly all decks going forwards. Many have suggested that this card will become healing, rather than setting life total, since setting the life total that it changes to would be dangerous either way you moved it. Alternatively, they may decide to rework this card entirely, or give new incredible healing options to negate the game impact that it currently has.

Four: Giants/Big Game Hunter

These two go hand in hand. The problem is that Big Game Hunter limits a lot of design space for the future, but they are very necessary in a mode where Giants run rampant. Specifically Molten Giant and Mountain Giant, since Handlock’s power is just so overwhelming in a mode which loses so many answers, such as Lightbomb. Most decks simply aren’t able to deal with an 8/8 on turn four, without putting Big Game Hunters in their deck. Because Big Game Hunter needs to be lowered so that some other cards with more than 7 attack can be made, Giants will need to go as well. Many believe that Big Game Hunter will stick around, but simply have his stats rearranged to make playing him less of a swing play.

Five: Druid Class

Okay, this is cheating a bit, but even after the Druid Combo is nerfed, the class cards from the basic set are simply too strong. Ancient of Lore, Druid of the Claw, and Keeper of the Grove are all far too strong to be replaced by too many other cards, making them staples of the class. Innervate and Wild Growth as well show their strength far too often to even consider replacing. If Blizzard wants the Druid decks of the future to show serious innovation, they will have to take a look at some or all of these cards, changing or nerfing them so they aren’t so all-purpose.

Final Word

There will be a lot of nerfs and reworks, and an entirely new set will come out when Standard becomes a format. I’ve listed a bunch of the cards that I believe will be nerfed, but for all we know Blizzard could be planning some entirely new cards which make these ones irrelevant. Time will tell, but one thing we know for certain, Standard will be amazing!

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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.
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