Blizzard is fulfilling its promise of addressing the frustrating current meta of Shaman and Pirate decks in the upcoming Hearthstone update.
Posting on the official forums, community manager Zaerhinon revealed that both Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws are being nerfed later this month. The two cards are extremely popular right now and significant inclusions of every Pirate deck that is rampaging the Hearthstone ranked ladder.
Small-Time Buccaneer combines with Patches, the Pirate to immediately fill the board early in the game. Weapon-utilizing classes such as Shaman, Warrior, and Rogue have been taking advantage of the duo ever since the recent release of the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion pack.
Patch 7.1 intends to reduce the health of Small-Time Buccaneer from two to one. This should make it easier for opponents to clear the board early on and also provide more diversity in the meta overall.
Spirit Claws, released with the One Night in Karazhan adventure expansion pack, play a large role in the aggressive Shaman strategy. The card allows a Shaman to wield a three-attack weapon at the cost of a single mana crystal for significant advantage. Buffed with other cards, Spirit Claws have become an efficient tool to clear the board of any threats without any downside.
Blizzard is now increasing the mana cost from one to two. According to the developer, this should slow down aggressive Shamans and reduce the power-spike that the class enjoys at present.
Earlier this month, game director Ben Brode highlighted troubling numbers for the Shaman class. About 17 percent of players are currently using Shamans in their games. However, this number spikes to nearly 30 percent at the Legend rank. Additionally, a shocking 50 percent of decks above rank five are using pirates, which usually includes Small-Time Buccaneer and Patches, the Pirate.
Patch 7.1 is scheduled to release for Hearthstone at the end of the month. The upcoming changes, which might include other nerfs for the pirate-package, will eventually force a twist in the meta. This leaves Blizzard with other overpowered decks to worry about, including Reno Jackson and Kazakus that can reset an entire game in the favor of the player from the brink of defeat.