Since launching with the Ashes of Outlands expansion, the new Demon Hunter class in Hearthstone has overwhelmed all the other classes, boasting a massive 10% higher win rate than the next highest class, and nearly 20% higher than the lowest. Those poor Shamans – how far they’ve fallen to 36% overall. Oof.
Normally Blizzard offers some kind of balance update to help the overall meta around halfway through the expansion, but in severe cases, they need to step in early and make a fix to prevent the game being dominated by one specific class or deck archetype, and the Demon Hunter is both. As a result, the following two cards are ripe for a balance update – also known as smashing it to bits with the good ol’ nerf bat.
Of all the cards previewed before the launch of the expansion, this was the most obvious to be overpowered, and it has not disappointed. Five mana to draw three cards is already a card that might see play on its own, and the Rogue class has to pay 7 mana to draw four cards. However, coupled with the Outcast keyword, the value that can be gained with this card is simply far to great.
This is most problematic because right now, most players are using the Demon Hunter class with either a pure aggro or a midrange deck and having the ability to refill a hand and to have those cards potentially cost nothing is too powerful. The card is currently included in 86.8% of all decks and sees an average win rate of 62.7%.
A reasonable nerf is likely going to be increasing the mana cost to as high as seven, reducing the number of cards drawn to two, or seeing the Outcast effect reduce the cost only by one or two mana instead of three. However, it must be said that Skull of Gul’Dan is one of the most powerful cards ever printed in Hearthstone, full stop.
Eye Beam And Overall Lifesteal
This is currently the most popular Demon Hunter class card in the game and appears in nearly 93% of all decks and sees a win rate of around 61.4%. The issue here again is that the card is perfectly fair in its normal form, but its Outcast keyword provides an immense amount of value for removal and life gain. Regardless of what deck one uses for the Demon Hunter, this is important. Aggro and midrange need removal to control the board just long enough to establish lethal damage, and the ability to have it for free makes this card invaluable.
This card is also invaluable in Highlander and Big Demon archetype decks, and that leads to an overall problem with lifesteal. Right now, it feels like the Demon Hunter can use his face to hit every enemy minion on the board, and never drop to a critical level of health. As a result, a reasonable nerf to this card would simply be reducing the mana case to one or two mana, possibly doing less damage, and losing lifesteal altogether.
However, while this card is performing well in all decks, its success may be tied to Skull of Gul’Dan. If that were nerfed, Eye Beam might overall be in a good place.
A quick note is that all of the stats above are based on HSreplay.net, which is not the same as Blizzard’s internal data. Still, the data does show hundreds of thousands of games, and the number are likely to change daily as the meta forms.
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