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Blizzard to nerf two popular Hearthstone cards

Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard face changes.

Blizzard has announced plans to nerf two of Hearthstone's most popular cards in an upcoming patch.

The neutral legendary card Leeroy Jenkins and the class-specific Hunter card Starving Buzzard will both be adjusted on 22nd September, the company said in a post on the forums.

Leeroy Jenkins can charge at opponents as soon as it is played, dealing six damage, and thanks to its relatively low mana cost it has become extremely common as a finishing move, often in combination with cards that increase its attack power considerably, return it to the player's hand in the same turn or duplicate its presence on the board for a second hit.

In theory its low-cost/high-attack combo is mitigated because it summons a pair of small minions for the opponent when it is played, but in practice this rarely helps the other player, who seldom survives long enough to make any use of them.

Blizzard is changing Leeroy's cost from four to five mana, which the developer believes will make it harder to deliver upwards of 20 damage in a single turn.

Starving Buzzard is a different kind of card - a low-cost, low-power card that delivers most of its value by allowing the Hunter to draw cards. The revised Starving Buzzard will go up from a two mana cost to five, which sounds like a massive drop in value on the face of it, although it will now have three attack and two health (up one point each).

Blizzard said it would not make any other card changes between 22nd September and the Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon in early November.

As with previous card value changes, it will be possible to disenchant both cards for their full cost for a limited time after the patch goes live.

Blizzard generally tries to avoid changing Hearthstone card values, but has always said it will do so if it feels that particular cards are creating situations that sap the fun out of the game. That may sound subjective, but the developer usually points to its mountains of player data as justification for any changes.

In this instance, the developer noted that Leeroy "created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board" - something it has repeatedly clamped down on in previous balance changes.

As for Starving Buzzard, the amount of cards it allowed Hunters to draw "ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost".

The developer said both changes were designed to give players facing these cards more time to react to them, and concluded:

"We will continue to make balance changes to Hearthstone only when we feel they are completely necessary in order to increase the variety of cards seen at all levels of play and make Hearthstone a more fun and interactive game for everyone."

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