Hearthstone's newest balance changes take Rogue down a peg and nerf one of the strongest new Legendaries

If you've taken a stroll through the Standard Ladder of Hearthstone since the Rise of Shadows expansion launched, then you're surely familiar with how dominant the Rogue and Warrior classes are right now. The former can gain an absurd tempo advantage in the early game then kill you out of nowhere with burst damage, while the latter can easily prolong games until their opponent dies to Fatigue (or boredom). Blizzard has smartly opted to shake things up with a new set of balance changes, which will devalue some of Rogue's best tools and dismantle one of the Control Warrior's strongest combos.

In my mind, the biggest change here is the adjustment to Preparation, which has long been a staple Rogue card that makes all kinds of powerful spell combos possible (provided you don't accidentally Prep into Coin). The cost reduction of your next spell is down from 3 to 2, hugely impacting the tempo that Preparation can create in the early game. The other Rogue class cards getting nerfed are the extremely versatile EVIL Miscreant (with health reduced from 5 to 4) and the card-drawing powerhouse Raiding Party (which now costs 4 mana instead of 3). These changes should put the brakes on Rogue's best early-game plays, which will give opposing decks a chance to set up and react instead of getting completely run over.

"We chose to focus primarily on Rogue in this update due to seeing the meta stabilize around the class’s most popular decks," says Blizzard in the official balance post. "While we recognize that there are other powerful and popular decks (like Token Druid, Conjurer Mage, and Mech Hunter), we decided to not address them in this update because they all have varied matchups." As a Conjurer Mage fan myself, I'm thankful - though I wouldn't be shocked to see that deck also getting some adjustments at some point.

Meanwhile, the powerful Legendary minion Archivist Elysiana is getting bumped up from 8 to 9 mana, which will prevent one of Control Warrior's most powerful combos. No longer can armored-up Warriors double-dip on her fresh deck generation with a Youthful Brewmaster or Baleful Banker the same turn she's played. Elysiana will no doubt still be a strong asset for control decks, but she won't seem quite so oppressive in mirror matchups that can often end in a turn-limit draw where everyone loses. I would've liked to have seen Warriors take an additional hit to their stronger cards like Omega Devastator or Dyn-O-Matic, but the Elysiana nerf seems like a good start.

These changes will go into effect with Hearthstone's next update on May 22. If you need a break from the ladder grind, be sure to check out the fantastic Dalaran Heist solo adventure which offers hours of roguelike fun.

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