Blizzard announced that an upcoming patch will make big balance changes to Hearthstone. This patch will weaken two very popular cards among players.
The first card getting a nerf is the Hunter staple Starving Buzzard. This 2-mana, 2/1 minion allowed the player to draw a card whenever they summoned another Beast. This ability proved to be very potent when combined with a card like Unleash the Hounds, which could summon a huge number of Beasts all at once.
"The amount of cards Starving Buzzard allowed Hunter players to draw ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost," Blizzard said on the game's forums. They're changing Starving Buzzard's cost to 5 mana. They're bumping up its Attack/Health to 3/2 to reflect the higher cost, but it's still a pretty fragile minion.
Senior gameplay designer Ben Brode said on Twitter that this nerf could turn out to be overkill.
"But if I had to choose a card to over-nerf, it'd be buzzard!" he joked.
The other card targeted by the balance patch is Leeroy Jenkins. Leeroy is a neutral Legendary minion with 6 Attack and 2 Health. He also summoned two 1/1 whelps for your opponent - a reference to the viral World of Warcraft video that inspired the character - but Blizzard still felt he was too powerful. Leeroy, coupled with other cards, allowed players to do a huge amount of damage in a small window of time.
"Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. Fighting for board control and battles between minions make an overall game of Hearthstone more fun and compelling, but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not particularly fun or interactive. This was occurring when Leeroy was used in combination with other cards like Power Overwhelming, Faceless Manipulator, Cold Blood, Shadowstep, and Unleash the Hounds, among others."
Leeroy's Health and Attack will stay the same. However, he'll cost 5 mana instead of 4. This is another big blow to Hunters, as this card (like Buzzard) was a common addition to many decks used by that class. Blizzard had already nerfed Unleash the Hounds a few months back but apparently still thinks Hunters are overrepresented in higher ranks.
Blizzard is hoping to release the patch with these two changes on September 22nd. For a limited time following the patch, players will be able to disenchant Leeroy Jenkins for the full amount of Arcane Dust needed to craft him in the first place. This will allow players to create another Legendary right away. Starving Buzzard is a Basic card so it can't be disenchanted.
These card changes will be last Blizzard makes until BlizzCon 2014 in November. During the convention, the top 16 Hearthstone players in the world will compete for a $250,000 prize pool.