Love it or hate it, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan was a meta-shattering set. The new Pirate, Reno, Dragon Priest (and to a lesser extent, Jade) packages were so powerful that they
threw a hand grenade into the meta.
The two images below show the prominent decks in the Vicious Syndicate reports before and after:
Report #29, post-MSG
As the dust settled after a few weeks, it became clear that while the Reno decks were also very powerful in their own right, the meta was warped around
Small-Time Buccaneer and
Patches. The power level of the package was so high that it was creating a lot of similar decks and play experiences, and
deciding games based on draw RNG in the early turns.
What was concerning, however, was that Team 5 has historically preferred to let the meta shake out more before implementing nerfs, especially for newer cards. Here was how long it took to nerf problematic cards in the past sets:
|Undertaker||12 Aug 2014||27 Jan 2015||168|
|Warsong Commander/Grim Patron||2 Apr 2015||13 Oct 2015||194|
|Yogg-Saron, Call of the Wild||26 Apr 2016||28 Sept 2016||155|
How long can this go on?
Valentine's Day 75 days
2 years ago today, nerfs to Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws were announced on this sub: “Upcoming Balance and Ranked Play Changes”.
It was posted by CM Zeriyah (bless her), and it said:
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.
Small-Time Buccaneer thus became the first expansion card to be nerfed within its own set. It would later be followed by The Caverns Below, Spreading Plague, Corridor Creeper and Giggling Inventor.
In addition, implementation of Ranked Floors at Ranks 15, 10, and 5 was also announced, a pretty significant QOL change to the ladder experience.
- IGN interview with Mike Donais: The many iterations of Small-Time Buccaneer. P.S. it had already been nerfed repeatedly before release.
. Jump to
for start of STB.
- Community rating of MSG cards pre-release, with STB at #41
- In Jan 2017, Patches, Small-Time Buccaneer, Azure Drake were all played in over 1/3 of ranked games.
Do you remember those days, when you could actually burn opponents down in 4 turns? I member. Do you miss them?
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Note: I missed another fairly major one on 5 February, the first day of Chinese New Year 🙁
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