Hearthstone has finally nerfed the Demon Hunter, yet again, following the conclusion of the World Championship this past weekend. Although balance changes were sorely needed, the timing was expected as nerfs almost never come before major tournaments but are also arriving just in time for the new Winter Veil event.
Demon Hunter Nerfed, Again And Again
When the Demon Hunter class emerged in the Ashes of Outlands expansion, its power level was through the roof, ruining the meta and requiring nerf after nerf. It was not until the Scholomance Academy expansion that the class reached lower, but reasonable levels of power within Standard, and it was in a perfectly healthy place within the meta, for a while.
Unfortunately, the Darkmoon Faire expansion pushed the class back to its ridiculous levels of power seen at its launch, with a playstyle that is largely non-interactive, unfun to face, and disproportionately represented on the ladder as top players know they have choice to join in if they want to win. Unsurprisingly, the World Championship final featured a bland match of a Demon Hunter mirror match.
In total, there are five nerfs to the class, three of which target Demon Hunter cards in specific. Blade Dance and Shardshatter Mystic now cost one more mana, while Dreadlord’s Bite costs the same but has lost one attack power. Remember when Fiery War Axe was nerfed for the Warrior class, and Blizzard swore it was because players would be confused if they did not stat weapons all the same? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
There are two Neutral card nerfs that predominantly affect the Demon Hunter. Both Voracious Reader and Lorekeeper Polkelt now cost one more mana, which will serve to slow down the aggro archetype of the class. However, both cards will still be perfectly viable in the long-term for other classes. Voracious Reader provided far too much value at its old cost but is still useful. Recall how Jeeves saw play, even at a cost of four mana? Lorekeeper will also still see play, especially since it provides such a key function for control and combo-decks that prioritize the late game over the early.
The Hunter class also received a bit of a pre-emptive nerf, likely because it was the only option to somewhat challenge the Demon Hunter supremacy of this expansion. Dinotamer Brann now costs eight mana, up from seven, which is sure to affect its ability to close out games quickly. In the long term, however, Dinotamer Brann should remain a perfectly adequate card the provides excellent value for its cost, but as an archetype, the Highlander Hunter variant may need to swap out early aggression for more sustain to achieve the same goals as before.
The Winter Veil
Lastly, the Winter Veil event is now underway with a Legendary Quest chain that awards a total of four Darkmoon Faire packs. You can also dive into the next Hearthstone Book of Heroes, featuring Garrosh’s journey, as on January 5, the Paladin Uther.
Best of luck to everyone over the holidays, as there is sure to be a new meta in store in Standard as the Demon Hunter gets reigned in, giving Rogue, Warrior, and Hunter a chance to shine and claim that top spot.
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