Hearthstone is getting a shakeup today with the 26.2.2 update, let’s go over the patch notes to see what nerfs and buffs it brings.
The much-awaited Hearthstone Patch notes bringing the balance changes in the 26.2.2 update are now live and we get to know the teased nerfs and buffs. The Hearthstone team released on Tuesday a list of cards they would adjust, but it was not until today that they disclosed the nerfs and buffs coming in this patch.
There will be 14 card changes according to the 26.2.2 Hearthstone patch notes, including 8 nerfs and 6 buffs. On top of that, Battlegrounds will also get a balance update with over 20 changes after the influx of 100 new minions just two weeks ago.
Hearthstone nerfs and buff in the 26.2.2 patch notes
The Hearthstone balance team led by Alecco, announced that we should expect nerfs and buffs this week way before we got to know these patch notes. With Death Knight and Demon Hunter being the two top dogs in terms of popularity and other classes like Warrior and Warlock failing spectacularly, changes were needed indeed.
Death Knight has been in the eye of the storm, first for its Aggressive Frost deck, then for the Blood control archetype and now due to the hyper-aggressive Unholy version. To tone down its power, especially in board-centric matchups, the 26.2.2 Hearthstone patch notes bring two nerfs.
Dev Comment: Both these Death Knight cards were buffed last expansion, which was necessary when the class was struggling. However, our current balance philosophy is that balance changes are fluid adjustments over time, not decisions set in stone. Unholy Death Knight is now the strongest deck on the ladder, so it needs to be toned back down. We’re not reverting the prior buffs, but trying different adjustments to weaken it slightly, particularly in its matchup versus other aggro decks, where the deck is disproportionately powerful.
Only nerfing the most popular class in the game will not solve the problem. Another villain would take the place of Death Knights in a matter of hours. That is why the Hearthstone team has decided also to nerf Demon Hunter in this 26.2.2 patch. These nerfs attempt to put in line the powerlevel of the Big Demon Hunter archetype and, at the same time kill Sinful Brand, a card that created an awful play experience.
Dev Comment: Demon Hunter is one of the few power outliers in this meta, with several competitive archetypes. Sinful Brand Spell Demon Hunter is a standout within that class in both power and negative play experiences. This change is intended to significantly reduce the power and prevalence of that card.
Dev Comment: This is a standout card in the newly emergent Big Demon Hunter archetype. Its powerful effect makes it one of the strongest cards in the deck. It doesn’t also need to be a threat in its own right. We think it’s really cool that Big Demon Hunter has finally become a competitive archetype, and we expect that the archetype will continue to see play after this slight adjustment.
The Predation nerf seems to fall in the lines of preemptive action. When the Hearthstone team decides nerfs and buffs they also take into consideration cards that could become too powerful or problematic. The 26.2.2 Hearthstone Patch notes dev comment disclose that their objective is to change some of the existing playpatterns and check some potential future problems.
Dev Comment: Miracle Rogue is not a power outlier at most levels of play, but it remains strong and prevalent at higher levels of play. This is a minor adjustment to reflect its current power level and its potential power level after the adjustments to the other cards changed in this patch.
Finally, two of the most powerful legendaries are receiving a hit. Anub'Rehan, the card so hated by some pro players will now give 5 armor, requiring some extra setup to make a swing turn and limiting its potential. This is the second time the Druid legendary receives a nerf. Furthermore, High Cultist Basaleph is going up one mana, the card was too good to be true.
Dev Comment: Aggro Priest is in a good spot right now at all levels of play, but especially at lower levels. This reversion of a prior buff is intended to be a small adjustment to put it back in line with other decks. We expect this deck, and this card in it, to remain competitive.
Dev Comment: Anub’Rekhan allows for a notably negative play experience that warps the meta around it. This change does not prevent Druid players from making their big flashy plays, but it does mean that more setup is now required. We expect this to mean fans of the deck can still play it, but its overall power, playrate, and influence on the meta will lessen.
Remember that the cards mentioned above are eligible for full a full dust refund for two weeks following Patch 26.2.2. Check out our guide with tips on this topic below!
Buffs in the 26.2.2 Hearthstone patch
It seems that the 25 buffs Hearthstone applied in the previous balance patch were not enough, that's why in the 26.2.2 patch notes we find six more. With the idea of making Warrior great again, Hearthstone is reverting some of the nerfs the class received last year. On top of that, it's buffing yet again the Riff package.
Dev Comment: Warrior has gotten more options, more power, and more play after our recent adjustments, but players still hunger for a slower Warrior. We’re making this adjustment to a proven powerful card that we expect will see play again after this change.
Dev Comment: We recently made a few adjustments to the Riff package, and those adjustments were successful in raising the playrate and power of the Riffs package. But now Chorus Riff is the weakest of the Riffs, and all the Riffs need to be good for the package to be good. This is a slight nudge to make that whole package a little stronger.
One of the other least represented Hearthstone classes is getting a slight buff in this 26.2.2 patch, with a 1-mana buff. While this buff breaks the 6-6-6 lore Symphony of Sins had, without it, the card will probably never see play.
The 26.2.2 patch notes bring a last round of buffs for two neutral Hearthstone cards: Pandaren Importer and Rotten Applebaum. The first case seems to be the promised reversal of the nerf the card got some time ago. The Rotten Applebaum buff might be more in line with the idea of giving slower archetypes more survivability against the reigning aggro decks.
Other balance changes
As we mentioned above, Battlegrounds is also getting balance changes with the 26.2.2 Hearthstone patch. Given that there are over 20 affected cards, we've decided to have a separate article for those changes.
Last but not least, Duels is getting an update as well, with Hero Powers, Signature Treasures and passive Treasures updates. If you want to see the full list of changes, you can visit the official 26.2.2 Hearthstone patch notes.