The long-awaited nerfs to Shaman and Pirate Warrior are here!
Alongside the news that six "Classic" cards would be removed from the standard set, Blizzard has also revealed plans to nerf a couple of especially problematic newer cards. One Night in Karazhan and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan introduced a couple of cards that made aggro Shaman and Pirate Warrior shoot way up to the toppest of top tiers. While Tunnel Trogg and Patches the Pirate are the linchpins of these decks, it's very hard to nerf these cards without completely destroying them. Thus, these nerfs target a couple of supporting cards: Small-Time Buccaneer, and Spirit Claws. Here are the nerfs:
Small-Time Buccaneer now has 1 Health (Down from 2)
The combination of Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate has been showing up too often in the meta. Weapon-utilizing classes have been heavily utilizing this combination of cards, especially Shaman, and we'd like to see more diversity in the meta overall. Small Time Buccaneer's Health will be reduced to 1 to make it easier for additional classes to remove from the board.
Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana (Up from 1)
Spirit Claws has been a notably powerful Shaman weapon. At one mana, Spirit Claws has been able to capitalize on cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos or the Shaman Hero power to provide extremely efficient minion removal on curve. Increasing its mana by one will slow down Spirit Claws' ability to curve out as efficiently.
These changes will be rolled out in an update "near the end of February". As usual, players will be able to receive full dust refunds for nerfed cards, but as both are commons, it won't be too much.
Additionally, an upcoming patch will also introduce a feature called "ranked floors". It works like this:
Once a player hits Rank 15, 10, or 5, they will no longer be able to de-rank past that rank once it is achieved within a season, similar to the existing floors at Rank 20 and Legend. For example, when a player achieves Rank 15, regardless of how many losses a player accumulates within the season, that player will not de-rank back to 16. We hope this promotes additional deck experimentation between ranks, and that any losses that may occur feel less punishing.