Upcoming Balance Update – May 22 – Nerfs To Archivist Elysiana, EVIL Miscreant, Preparation and Raiding Party

Just after the Rise of Shadows meta got stale already, we have some big news to share. There’s a balance update coming really soon, and it will definitely shake things up once again. Four very popular, key cards are getting hit. Here’s a full list of nerfs:

The update will come out in just two days, on May 22, 2019. We’ll have an article, which analyses the nerfs up soon!

After evaluating game data alongside internal and public opinion about the current popular decks, we’re looking to address the power level and overall popularity of Rogue decks, alongside a specific interaction with Archivist Elysiana, in an update slated for May 22.

We chose to primarily address one class in this update due to seeing the meta stabilize around Rogue decks. Currently, if you want to build a deck that is strong against Rogue you have only one reasonable option, Warrior. When comparing Warrior decks, however, you’ll find that the class has a wide variety of good and bad matchups, which makes it unlikely to overtake Rogue in popularity in the meta. While we recognize that there are other powerful and popular decks (Token Druid, Conjurer Mage, and Mech Hunter,) we decided not to also address these classes in this update because they all have many varied matchups. If any of these decks were to rise up as the new prominent strategy, there are plenty of available decks to combat them, so the meta would likely continue to adjust and shift. As always, we’ll be evaluating the results of these changes over the coming weeks and look forward to hearing any of your feedback.

Read on for details on these changes and our thought process and goals for each card.

Upcoming Card Changes:

  • EVIL Miscreant – Now has 4 Health. (Down from 5)
    • EVIL Miscreant is meant to be a value-generating card that creates future swing turns, but having 5 Health on this minion meant Rogue players sacrificed very little to set up those turns. We still expect EVIL Miscreant to be a great option for Rogue decks, just at a power level that is more in line with other available cards.
  • Raiding Party – Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3)
    • Rogue already excels at drawing cards, so having another powerful draw card that offered consistent results has made Rogue games play out a little more similarly than we think is fun. We’re making this change to better represent the power level of drawing a very specific subset of cards.
  • Preparation – Now reads: The next spell you cast this turn costs (2) less.
    • All changes we make to the Basic and Classic sets are directed at the long-term health of Hearthstone. Preparation is currently seen as such a powerful card that it appears in nearly all Rogue deck archetypes. The change we’ve landed on was a small one. We did want the power of the card to decrease, but also thought it was important Preparation remained a reasonable option since it fits the class fantasy for Rogue so well. Preparation is regularly used to reduce the cost of cards like Sap or Eviscerate, and those interactions will remain unchanged. Reducing the cost of your next spell by 2 as opposed to 3 opens our design options up a little more to create higher cost Rogue spells without having to balance so closely around casting them alongside Preparation.
  • Archivist Elysiana – Now costs 9 mana. (Up from 8)
    • Our goal here was to preserve the feeling and power level of Archivist Elysiana in the general use case, while making the strategy of playing her multiple times in the same game much more difficult. Shaman will still be able to replay Elysiana through Shudderwock, but this is not as common or problematic as what we’ve seen in control Warrior decks. Now, playing Elysiana alongside cards like Baleful Banker or Youthful Brewmaster should be a less consistent strategy.

As with previous card changes, once these changes are live, players will be able to disenchant the updated cards for their full Arcane Dust value for two weeks.



A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Infestus
    May 21, 2019 at 8:56 am

    I have carefully read all the posts on this section, and in the presence of a very few fellow-writers, the real problem of the game hasn’t been dealt yet: the 3 portraits. First things first, all of us have played in the previous format and we know one way or another, how important, vital and/or great portraits were in any deck -in EVERY class’ deck! Back then, Dr. Boom & Hagatha had lots of decks to deal with (and) because of the other portraits presence: Jaina, the Freeze Mage, etc etc.

    Nowadays, in the dragon format, they are bossing around because there aren’t any real counterparts from other classes. It’s obvious that Warrior, Shaman and Hunter classes begin with a huge advantage for having the choice of a portrait (Dr. Boom, Hagatha, Zul’jin) in their cards’ collection. In my opinion, this could have changed by placing the above portraits in the Hall of Fame. Blizzard has shown some decisiveness by placing Baku and Glenn, the odd & even masters in the HoF while they had a whole gaming year in the running format -so they have done it once, they could do it again! Especially Dr. Doom, literally, gives away massive amounts of ops because of his (random) skill, building on his continuous advantage -he is the only portrait when summoned gaining 7 armor + all the sick staff he can do with his ability. Hagatha can be a real pain too – dealing 2 damage to all minions when summoned, can be a great board clearance (both ways, ofc) -, because her skill is ongoing and rng is a game changer -particularly, when you have a built around abusing this ability. Last but not least, Zul’jin may be the highest of mana cost to summon, but by the time he is called, probably is a “good game” situation; however, it might not be enough to wait until turn 10 (or more) to win a game.

    So, if the three portraits were moved to the HoF (getting the relevant dust as well as compensation) and by keeping the current nerfs, it would have been a better case. Thus, more playable decks would appear on hearthstone scene and also it would shorten a bit the gaming time of each duel -it’s ridiculous to play 3 matches for 2/2,5 hours!

  2. Shurchil
    May 21, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Warrior and Token Druid untouched. Unbelievable.
    Now we have to wait another 6-8 months until Blizzard even thinks about doing something with those classes. Really frustrating to be honest.

    • Orasha
      May 21, 2019 at 5:42 am

      The only reason Warrior is relevant right now is because they were the only class to reliably counter Rogue. Now the decks that beat warrior have less counters, and some decks that beat warrior but didn’t beat rogue will be more popular too. Be worried about midrange hunter, not warrior

  3. Dynasty
    May 21, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I agree with these nerfs… except prep… i believe it could have stayed as is.

    • Dynasty
      May 21, 2019 at 1:34 am

      I knew they would nerf miscreant to 4 health. was just waiting for it.

  4. JoyDivision
    May 21, 2019 at 12:30 am

    The Preparation nerf is something the game really needed – the timing, though … this would’ve been a perfect Hall of Fame card, especially from a game designer’s point of view because they could’ve used that Hall-of-Faming for the new HS year and the first expansion that came out (RoS).

    This way, we got cards like Unidentified Contract (barely playable even with an unnerfed Prep) and there might be another ‘expensive’ Rogue spell in the upcoming expansion (although I think they might change that spontaneously).

    That said, I’m not getting tired to say that all of those Basic and Classic nerfs wouldn’t be necessary if Blizzard would overhaul the concept of those sets completely. Just do it like MtG: Remove those sets and create a rotating Core Set of cards with some new cards and mostly existing cards (which also rotate).

    • Orasha
      May 21, 2019 at 5:41 am

      A rotating core set would be very punishing to new and ftp players.

      • JoyDivision
        May 21, 2019 at 6:51 am

        If most of the cards are recurring, for a short period only. They could even start with transforming the evergreen sets into the first core set.

        I don’t think MtGs Core Sets punish new players – they (WotC) even brought back the concept after trying to go without it for a certain period of time. Yes, I do understand that MtG offers more ways to add cards to your collection, but the concept should be portable nonetheless.

        • TheTallRonan
          May 21, 2019 at 12:20 pm

          MTG core sets don’t punish new players because new players all play casually—when you’re playing against one of your friends at lunch, it’s pretty rare that you go through your opponents deck to make sure they don’t have any “illegal” cards.
          Also, MTG has a “Wild” format that’s actually balanced. Notice how neither Barnes nor Darkest Hour got nerfed? Yeah. I did too.

          • JoyDivision
            May 22, 2019 at 12:30 am

            I can’t see what this has to do with overhauling the concept of basic and classic cards!?

            Regardless of that, no, not all new MTG players play casually. I play MtG for over 20 years now and it’s more like the opposite – most new players start competitively and switch to the casual formats (Commander, 2HG) over time.

            Yes, in general there are more casual MtG players than there are casual HS players percentagewise. But this (the lack of a real casual HS scene and format) is another topic that has to be discussed somewhere else.

  5. Cheeseburger
    May 20, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    If Blizzard would stop tampering with the Classic set, that would be great.

  6. Alglyphic
    May 20, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Preparation feels like Team 5’s traditional “extra kick in the teeth of Rogue” for good measure. Raiding Party aside, which of Rogue’s spells that benefit from the 3-mana reduction are commonly run? As ZEeoN pointed out, Sprint at 5 mana for 4 cards, for which two cards have to be invested in, is terrible. Not sure about higher level play, but I haven’t seen things like Vanish, Assassinate or Walk the Plank getting run either.

    Maybe it’s my Kingsbane/Mill Rogue nostalgia talking, but the Preparation nerf seems excessive in that it makes other Rogue decks less viable, and it’s not as though the other decks that were dependent on Preparation were dominant for the time. It reminds me of the Leeching Poison hit; Kingsbane in the Year of the Raven was barely a thing even with Leeching Poison, and Wild Mill Rogue continues to be a pipe dream. Was it that necessary to make the Turn 6 Coldlight Oracle + Preparation + Vanish combo even slower?

    Apparently Kingsbane is now one of the terrors of the Wild format, but to me, it mostly sounds like a Raiding Party problem, not a Preparation problem. Maybe leaving Preparation as is and nerfing Raiding Party to 5 mana would have been better? (Then again, it might kill the card; won’t be the first time a 2-mana increase did that to a card…)

  7. BlueyesOwl
    May 20, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Prep should be nerf from “0” to “1” cost and raiding party “draw 1 pirate, combo add a weapon” and stay at “3” mana cost.As for evil should be “3” cost mana card with 1/2 stats.
    Also, mage is really fking annoying and I have for a very long time why blizz along with many players showing so much love to “cancer” decks like zoolock, token druids, etc.
    As for hunters… There were over 2 years that hunter was unplayable and isn’t OP deck against all others… never became.
    Warrior is fine, besides brawl… that’s the only card should be nerfed to ground.
    Last but not least, why on earth most ppl want a real fast match ups…?!
    If you have not time to play a game, sad, but just dont play…Isn’t blizzard’s or any of player’s problem. It’s selfish to ruin rest of us that want to sharp our mind a bit and have fun same time…
    Besides, isn’t fun at all to loose against brainless sh*t or high roll fiesta decks (aka mage).
    That’s why game already lost over than 60% of high ranked player base, also why there are less than 5% new players. (additional reason is “grandmaster” access- big joke)

    PS> Mark my words, real soon you will all start asking for nerfs on Paladin… (Hope to be wrong)

    • TardisGreen
      May 21, 2019 at 7:00 am

      Oh the game has been dying since Beta according to clowns like you.

      A couple of players took time off waiting for the expansion to hit, but the overwhelming majority of the hight ranked player base is untouched.

  8. Smasher101
    May 20, 2019 at 11:53 am

    I really don’t like how they don’t care about wild. Right now the clear 2 best decks in wild are kingsbane pirate rouge and stupid odd paladin. They are taking care of kingsbane pirate rouge, but they aren’t doing anything about odd paly? Why? Quartermaster nerf would have been much appreciated.

  9. OldManSanns
    May 20, 2019 at 11:45 am

    My thoughts on each:

    ELYSIANA: This really only impacts control mirror matchups–it’s not like anyone was playing Elysiana on curve or like you really needed a 2nd Elysiana if your opponent didn’t have any. Personally, I would have preferred to see the turn limit reduced from 89 total (=44.5 rounds) to say 65 (32.5), because I think the real problem is the game length.

    MISCREANT: I think 4 health is still too much. I would have thought 3, although 2 or even 1 wouldn’t be unreasonable. For context, Cable Rat costs 1 less mana, gives 1 less Lackey (albeit with a battlecry instead of a combo), and only has a 1/1 body.

    PREP: I get that Prep currently has tremendous swing potential in the early game, but this change feels like it’s going from a Must-Have in any rogue deck to just a niche card. I guess that’s fine, but it does taste bitter to me.

    RAIDING PARTY: the change really should have been “Add random pirate/weapon” instead of tutor from you deck. The problem isn’t drawing; the problem is that rogues can practically guarantee playing a Waggle Pick + Corsair on Turn 4 and a Greenskin on Turn 5. With this mana increase, that combo is still going to be very feasible with the right draw; it’s just going to be slightly less consistent and leave a little less mana for establishing the early board.

    • Taznak
      May 20, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      I disagree on EVIL Miscreant, because it’s supposed to be a lot better than Cable Rat. The “evil” classes had a theme of having lackeys and schemes, while the defenders of Dalaran have Twinspells.

      Cable rat gives access to lackeys to Mage, Paladin, Druid and Hunter, but it’s intentionally a lot weaker than the class-specific lackey generators… Rogue isn’t getting a Neutral version of Twinspell, after all. EVIL Miscreant is stronger than Cable Rat, it’s supposed to be stronger, and it should stay stronger, IMO.

      I think 3 or 4 health are reasonable nerfs, but reducing its health to 2 or 1 is too harsh and not warranted, despite all the thrashings that card has given me ^^;

  10. Taznak
    May 20, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Not a moment too soon. I completely agree with their assessment of Rogue being way out of line- it’s by far the most popular class, everyone’s teching in anti-rogue cards in just about every deck (Acidic Swamp Ooze, Harrison), and Rogue STILL had a winning matchup against every class not named Warrior.

    I expect Rogue will still be top-tier after the nerfs, but maybe we’ll see fewer Rogues, and weapon removal becoming less mandatory.

    I was afraid they wouldn’t nerf Rogue due to esports considerations, but I’m glad they did.

    With fewer Rogues around, I also expect fewer Control Warriors, fewer Control Warrior mirrors, and therefore less need for Youthful Brewmaster / Baleful Banker alongside Elysiana, anyway.

  11. ZEeoN
    May 20, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Currently rogue is already dropping in popularity and Elysiana is only interesting for control warriors, which often don’t even need the card to go the extra mile against anything but the mirror, so while that nerf is okay, it’s not exactly doing much at all.

    However, it is ABSOLUTELY beyond me how anyone could ever say rogue is fine or that this is proportionate in any way.
    Whoever thinks that misses that prep has always been the main reason rogue spells are relatively costly. Who would ever want to play the new prep with the old sprint? Or the new cold blood, which was nerfed due to Odd Rogue and also Prep? Or even fan of knives? Invest two cards to do 1 damage to all minions and draw a card for 1 mana? That’s just bad. Arcane explosion is 1 card and 2 mana. It doesn’t draw one card but it also is just one card for 2 mana, so technically it’s better – and it’s still a super bad card nobody would ever run.

    Blizzard saying that Prep is run in almost all rogue decks is such a weird reasoning, well obviously, you made a class that’s literally based on combos of cards. Of those cards, prep can always be used as opposed to backstab for example and then weaves in with the flow of the game. Prep was never „0 mana“, it was actually 1 deck slot. For every prep there was one less other card. So yeah, prep may not be the issue itself but its downsides remain, admittedly paired with a slightly worse upside. But the real problem is that all other rogue spells were balanced with Prep for 3 in mind. The only reason this could be a good idea is to address raiding party. However, that card is now 4 mana, too. So prep raiding is 2 mana now. How in the world would a tempo rogue operate on that? Sprint for 5? Assassinate for 3? It’s all just really bad for the class as a whole and in my mind does not address any real problem.
    The lackey nerf to 4 is fine but even there it could have been a 2/4. the 4 is only important so it can be removed more easily, so why not keep the typical 6 stats for 3? Combo is already conditional.

    And, you know, I don’t wanna sound too whiny although I do admit that it hurts me especially as a rogue main but let’s keep in mind that we still have:

    Dr. Boom Mad Genius
    Omega Devastator
    Conjurer‘s Calling

    And then a few more. But looking at these it’s just ridiculous that rogue is supposed to be oppressive at the moment, especially so much so that almost all archetypes including the fun ones take an extreme hit for seemingly no reason, as there are quite a few strong classes that can easily beat rogue as is. There’s a reason it dropped to 4th in popularity after all.

    Even if these nerfs were good as they are, you just can’t tell me it didn’t flat out destroy rogue in the face of an awfully strong line up of so many broken decks.

    Mage meta incoming

    • Exploding Banana
      May 20, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      While I do agree with many of the points you made here, I have to disagree with some of the things you’ve said here. Firstly, changing lackey to a 2/4 is insane, that would be a buff, not a nerf. It’s already insane tempo AND value generation as it is, it really should not have 6 stats total. It’s clearly one of the if not the best card in tempo rogue and it’s still going to be a very good card after the nerf.

      I understand your concerns with preparation, and I do agree that many rogue spells were designed with preparation in mind. But isn’t that the problem? No one card should be so polarising that every spell printed has to keep it in consideration, similar to what Genn and Baku did to odd and even cards. While this may result in an overall weaker rogue class for now, it allows more design space for more powerful rogue spells to be printed in the future. I do agree that it is quite a significant nerf though, though a 2 mana discount is still very powerful.

      Many of the cards you stated are quite powerful and can be considerations for nerfs. However, no other class has really come close to the power level of rogue this expansion, except maybe warrior, and nerfs to many if those cards would simply destroy certain classes from popularity, such as nerfing conjurer’s calling, which I do agree is an overpowered class but is fine to exist for now as the mage deck it is in isn’t overcentralising like rogue is. I do agree that they should have at least looked at Dr. Boom, though, that card singlehandedly makes warrior the only real viable control deck out there.

      • ZEeoN
        May 21, 2019 at 4:17 am

        Hey, you’re right about that. Lackey was a stupid idea, I was kinda just “typing it down”. I guess my main point is that I usually do not only look at what’s good for the meta but also kind of keep an eye on classic vs. flavor of the month decks that only work due to some broken cards from an expac that is bound to move to wild either way and then maybe even how healthy wild is, even though I technically don’t really play it myself.
        So yeah, your points are vaild and I’d definitely not support my own idea about lackey there anymore. Still feelin’ salty overall though lol

  12. Vincent
    May 20, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Not sure about the Elysiana nerf. You can (and I sure will) still run CW with Brewmaster as CW has many battlecry cards. So in a mirror match it comes down to whoever has the coin. Thats just stupid. They should nerf Elysiana to 10 mana.

  13. NabukadReborn
    May 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

    I am lost for words. Been trying to write something for like 10 minutes. Conjurer’s Calling and Dr Boom left untouched. I’m glad I haven’t spent a single time since a year ago.

    But I will definitely enjoy the tears of those who will now understand how messed up both of the cards I mentioned. You wanted this, just remember that.

  14. Kostritzer
    May 20, 2019 at 10:14 am

    I can never remember if it is worth crafting golden versions or not. Can someone please remind me? Thanks in advance.

    • Pyreable
      May 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

      You won’t get any extra dust so its pretty pointless

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      May 20, 2019 at 10:19 am

      It’s worth only for Hall of Fame rotation. When a card gets nerfed, it’s not worth it.

      Just make sure to disenchant everything that got nerfed – even if the card ends up seeing play in the future, you can re-craft it then with no loss. There’s no point in “saving” cards that “might” see play 🙂

      • JoyDivision
        May 21, 2019 at 12:20 am

        I have to disagree partly – remember that you can only re-craft the cards if you keep the dust you gained when you disenchanted them.

        So, even if you’re theoretically not losing dust, if you craft other cards and don’t have redundant dust ‘lying around’, you’re not able to re-craft them. And if you then need the cards again in the future, you might loose dust then when having to dust other cards in order to re-craft them.

    • BarbaricYawp
      May 20, 2019 at 10:26 am

      You can’t make any dust by crafting and dusting. But It can be fun to craft a golden version just to play with until the nerfs go live. Then disenchant again for full value and no dust lost.

  15. Zombie69
    May 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Wow! Four cards are getting nerfed, and in the exact way I had predicted and hoped for in all 4 cases! Doesn’t kill any of these cards but makes them significantly less impactful. I like it!

    Three nerfs to rogues seems like a lot though (I was expecting only 2 of the 3, unsure which), and leaving hunter untouched is a mistake in my opinion. Without rogue to keep it down, midrange hunter should rule the field.

    • TeleDAD
      May 20, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      Mid Hunter is going to have a hard time with Mage being untouched