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Year of the Kraken Announcement on March 11th – Patch Predictions and Wish List

by - 6 years ago


Well met! It’s OtakuMZ again. Today I will not bring an infographic. Huge changes are coming with the “Spring Expansion”. Adjacent to the new cards, blance changes are looming over Hearthstone. There was no official date on when the changes will be officially announced until yesterday. There was a hint by Yong Woo on the 50th episode of the Well Met! podcast, that Wednesday would be a good day to run the next shows. Phil Kollar, senior editor of Polygon, commented on the 136th episode of The Angry Chicken podcast on February 25th, that he is invited to an event at Blizzard “in two weeks”. It is known that this meeting at Blizzard with community members and press people is to be held on March 9th. Our own guy, JR Cook (@eldorian), will be there.


Anyway, it seems that we do not have to wait for a long time until all we will get to know what is coming next. Yesterday, Zeriyah posted on the official Hearthstone blog that there will be a “Special Hearthstone Announcement at the Winter Championchips!” on March 11 at 10 a.m. PST (7 p.m. CET) via their twitch channel. Regarding  the nature of this announcement, I am very sure that it is related to the balance changes and/or the new expansion, what else?! My prediction is, with all the regional winter championchips being held between March 11th and March 25th, we will see the Year of the Kraken (see also YotK infographic) begin shortly after they conclude. This means that change is due end of March or beginning of April. Are you as excited as I am?

This will finally signal the start of the Year of the Kraken. Any infographic I would do, would be rapidly outdated because of that. Therefore I will bring you a collection of my personal opinions and a wish list what cards might be changed when the separation of formats hits. This is mostly a totally subjective evaluation. I am sure, half of you is partly or totally not on my side of things. I am fine with that and so should be you. I would really appreciate feedback on this particular article, as this is something totally new for me that I am trying here. So please leave a comment!

Update, March 7, 2016:

In good old blizzard fashion, a teaser letter appeared. This time at the guys and gals of blizzheart. It confirms that we will see the expected presentation of the new expansion. It reads:

“There are whispers around the Tavern…” and “Come listen closely and discover the next Hearthstone expansion at a special live-streamed event!”

It definetly teases something more dark or spooky. What will it be? Leave a comment!

The article is split into three parts:

  • Nerfs: cards I think should be considered nerfing
  • Buffs: cards I wish to be
  • Rotations: card of the set due to leave, namely Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes, that strike me so interesting, that I would like to see them added to the core set (classic + basic cards) in the years to come.

I. Nerfs

I will give you my opinion why the cards need to be changed but I will not give suggestions on how they should be changed. I will rather give sometimes a direction to where the changes should lead but not anything else. There are a lot more creative people out there, more capable of coming up with great ideas, on how the card should look after the change. There will be changes of in between 2 and 20 cards (source: PCGAMER, Ben Brode). Because of that, it kept the list to the middle of these numbers, 12 to be exact.

Force of Nature (FoN) / Savage Roar (SR) aka “Force Roar” or “Savjz Roar”
6-Force of Nature         3-Savage Roar

These are the obvious ones. Therefore, I get rid of ’em first. The rest will be in alphabetical order.
Either card has high potential of being changed. How? Well this is a very difficult question. Some may argue that the charge component of FoN is the problem. Others say, the troublemaker is Savage Roar alone, because it is too cheap compared to its potential damage output. There are a lot of ways a change could be implemented. I will not go into detail about that as I stated above, but I will mention a way that is not reasonable: reducing Savage Roar’s damage increase to +1 instead of +2. There is already a card in the game doing this for 2 Mana and being a permanent +1/+1 without the Attack Power increase on your hero: Power of the Wild. This would be too similar to be made by Blizzard. I will be most interested in seeing how Blizzard solves this problematic combo without nerfing it to the ground and getting rid of the essence of the cards. Or will we see another brutal nerf like Starving Buzzard or Warsong Commander that pseudo-bans the cards. I hope there is another way!


“I bring live and hope” is her claim, but more often she brings “will mourne your death” by the hand of Freeze Mages. Maybe we see her changed to heal for 15 health and not being able to bring the life down that much. This would be even more important with Antique Healbot leaving the format (credits for this thought go to AvalancheMaster). Maybe that is the needed change to make Freeze Mage balanced too (see below).

Big Game Hunter (BGH)
3-Big Game Hunter

I am on par with the opinion of ThatsAdmirable that removal in general is a bit too weak in Hearthstone. My personal opinion is that BGH is good for the game. We need cheap, swingy removal like him. For my taste, it could be even more powerful. The downside is that is limits design space, which is a huge problem. Another problem that I see is, that it punished control decks more than aggro decks. Control decks in general struggle a lot in Hearthstone, BGH makes this problem even more intense. But ultimately: what happens to giants without BGH?

Divine Favor
3-Divine Favor

Card draw means power and this one might be too powerful to be healthy for the game. With a lot of good Paladin cards already leaving the format the downside would be that the class gets hit even heavier by the changes.

Keeper of the Grove
4-Keeper of the Grove

This card is so versatile. It frees up a card slot that would be taken by either Ironbeak Owl or Spellbreaker. It might be to valuable to be left unchanged.

Knife Juggler
2-Knife Juggler

He can win games on his own, that’s a fact. For a 2-drop, this might be too much. That’s why we might see changes to him despite him being very weak to removal.

Master of Disguise
4-Master of Disguise

This card is normally awful but it limits design space so hard that a change is almost obvious. Blizzard already stated that they had problems with this card while designing Animated Armor. They originally wanted to make it a neutral card but refrained from it exactly because of Master of Disguise.


I love the concept, but it is simply too buggy. Perhaps the only change needed is to get rid of all the bugs. It is just too much fun to be changed too dramatically.

Savannah Highmane
6-Savannah Highmane

Savannah Highmane is the best 6-drop in the game. My gut feeling is telling me every time it is played that it is a tick too powerful for its cost. This particular lion feels more like a legendary and should imho not being able to be included twice in a deck. I might be wrong – in the end there has to be a best 6-drop in the game, right?

Tirion Fordring
8-Tirion Fordring

This one is good, maybe one of the best class legendary. I do not think that he deserves a nerf because he is strong but because there is no other legendary that can compete in the 8-mana slot. Most possibly, there will not be any other legendary able to contest him in the future. Why? Design a card that is more powerful for 8 mana and the result imho will always be massively overpowered.

Honarable Mention: Freeze Mage (see also Alexstrasza)

Freeze Mage is strong. It also has not evolved a whole lot over time. It is mostly the same case as with Midrange (Force-Rawr) Driud. For me as someone who loves warrior, freeze mage was only annoying, because the games were dragged out even more but the win was most of the time not in doubt. Anyway there are a lot of lopsided matchups which pose a problem. Also it is simply not fun to play against this archetype. The last point might be the strongest for Team5 to consider a nerf.


Comment: Just for hose who are wondering, I think Archmage Antonidas and Leper Gnome are fine. I also do not think that Ironbeak Owl deserves a nerf. Archmage Antonidas with a possible nerf to Alexstrasza will be fine. Leper Gnome is on the same power level as Abusive Seargent and Ironbeak Owl is just too important imho.



II. Buffs

I am fully aware that in a recent interview with PC Gamer, Ben Brode stated very clearly that there will be no buffs made in the upcoming balance patch. Anyway I find topic so enthralling, that I will give you my top 5 picks. These are cards that are both very interesting mechanic-wise but undertuned. IMHO a small buff to the cards would make the game so much more fun. I will not stretch this section too much. I will just give you my top five I like to see changed. For more stuff like this, check out the Mending Mondays column.

Bestial Wrath
1-Beastial Wrath

Beasts and Hunters – do I have to say more? Sadly this card is useless in its current iteration.


Just a unique mechanic. Sadly the effect is too weak to be of importance for competitive play. I acknowledge that even a small buff might make this card broken.


This card has a long history. In early stages of the game, it was one of the reasons Druid was considered massively overpowered. Now it is just garbage. There must be a lot of horrible cards alongside this one to even consider taking it in Arena. Nevertheless, the concept is great. That’s why I listed the card here.


As so many others, I would like to see a working Shadow Priest. Shadowform just lacks a tiny little bit to make the cut. We saw some almost working versions on ladder, but it is simply not good enough to see tournament play. :feelsbadman:

Warsong Commander and Starving Buzzard
3-Warsong Commander 5-Starving Buzzard

Warsong Commander – she was fun and she was so overpowered. Not only did it turn Patron Warrior into a relentless force. Even before that, in alpha (?), it was a huge problem as it formerly gave Charge to ALL your minions – think Molten Giants and Brewmasters. 😆 It needed to be nerfed. But what is the card now? It is not even a mere shadow of what is used to be – o.k. I am honest: it is just garbage as it is! It is only worth its dust. Ah wait, it is a basic card, we can’t even dust it. 😥

Starving Buzzard: It received the same treatment as Warsong Commander and is almost unplayable right now. Can’t be dusted either. 👿

Honorable mention: Demon Tribe

With a lot of good demons leaving (see Bane of Doom updated Infographic) there is a lot lacking to the demon tribe. We will be in a state we were before Naxx came out. Demons back then were a good idea but they never really took off because of the mostly overly heavy drawbacks. There have to be a lot of good demon cards in the new set or the tribe is dead, which imho would be really sad.



III. Rotations

There are definetly some cards that I would like to see again in a few years. The cards I will list are not cards that I loathe because tehy are OP, they are rather cards with an interesting mechanic that I enjoyed playing a lot. This list is the most subjective one of the three, keep that in mind.

Baron Rivendare
4-Baron Rivendare

As with Brann Bronzebeard, I like the concept. He and Dreadsteed got me so much joy. Rest in peace buddy.

Echo of Medivh
4-Echo of Medivh

Cards that inspire whole archetypes are great. It is sad to see such a great “build around” card to leave.


This one is simply fun when it works without being overpowered. Having a 120+ minion attack your opponents face just brings so much joy! 70 armor? Don’t care! 😆


Having a board full of minions all trading and after that slamming KT down, it is priceless to see the instant concede of your opponent.

Light of The Naaru
1-Light of the Naaru

A good examble of making a weak card good, namely Lightwarden. I like this concept very much.


It is not OP by far, it is just fun when it works and 3 KTs are staring your opponents way.


As mentioned above, I like demons and the warlock class in genreal. This one gave the power to the demon tribe it needed to be competitive.

Honorable mentions: Neutral Spells (Spare Parts)
1-Armor Plating 1-Emergency Coolant 1-Finicky Cloakfield 1-Reversing Switch 1-Rusty Horn 1-Time Rewinder 1-Whirling Blades

With Spare Parts leaving, there are no more neutral spells. I hope that Blizzard introduces other neutral spells in the future. Also neutral weapons or secrets would be interesting new things.

This concludes my article. I cannot help though to give you at least a small infographic ralating to what I wrote. I catefgorized them into the likelyhood of beeing cahnged from 100% sure to maybe. I will post a similar one when the nerfs have hit. We will see if my shot totally missed or if I was accurate in my predictions. I hope you enjoyed this article and as I mentioned above, please leave a comment. 😉 You can also follow me on my brand new twitter account @OtakuMZ1978.

YotK Nerfs 1.01

Martin "OtakuMZ" Z.

Real life physician and afterhour card battler. Martin "OtakuMZ" contributes to the Hearthstone team of BlizzPro since late 2015. Additionally, he contributes analytic articles for Hearthstone and Gwent as a member of Fade2Karma and in his collumn on the Gwentlemen site. He is best known for his infographics which can be accessed at a glance at https://www.facebook.com/hsinfographics and https://www.facebook.com/gwentinfographics

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