Developer Insights: 12.0 Game Mechanics Update
Dr. Boom’s bringing more than just mayhem to the Netherstorm. The 12.0 update will also come with several rule changes to Hearthstone’s gameplay. Read on to learn about another minion Type update, the copy a card rule change and the transform rule change.
More Minion Type Changes
There was a ton of feedback following the last minion Type update we posted, and after reviewing all of it, we realized that there were a couple more minions that needed changing. Here are our decisions following the full review of your feedback.
We made a decision that, at least by default, spectral/undead/ghost/spirit versions of animals are not considered Beasts in Hearthstone. There are quite a lot of these sort of cards, most of which are already not Beasts, and changing them would have extensive balance implications.
Ghostly Charger is one of those cards. Clearly a ghost in both its name and art, its Beast tag has also not been relevant in any significantly used interaction. As a result, we’re planning to remove the Beast tag in a future update.
In the much rarer case of spectral/undead/ghost/spirit versions of Dragons, Murlocs, Pirates, and Elementals, they will still remain their Type. There aren’t a whole lot of these cards, but there are a few, and they’re already consistently their type. Examples of these are Ghost Light Angler, Cursed Castaway, Bone Drake.
Ixlid, Fungal Lord
World of Warcraft uses a looser definition of Elemental than what we decided to standardize on for Hearthstone. In Hearthstone, an elemental is something that has been brought to life by being inhabited by an elemental spirit, but is otherwise not alive. These are easy to recognize: a Fire Elemental looks like a living creature made out of fire; A Water Elemental looks like a living creature made out of water.
One of the biggest outliers to this definition are plant creatures. There are a ton of minions in Hearthstone that are some sort of plant. We’ve decided that these do not count as Elementals in Hearthstone. Examples of these include The Voraxx, Fen Creeper, Biteweed, Vilespine Slayer, Rotten Applebaum.
Ixlid, Fungal Lord, is by this definition, a plant creature. Although we’re committed to consistency, there are also other criteria that we consider when changing card Types. One of them is how often a card’s current Type matters when it comes to interacting with other cards. Ixlid’s Elemental tag is not significantly used in current decks, so we’ve decided to remove it in a future update.
We also looked at the following minions but decided against making any changes. We’ve included our thought process as to how we came to our decisions with these cards.
Kindly Grandmother/Big Bad Wolf looks like a Worgen (which are not considered Beasts) but is actually some other sort of wolf-like creature that is a Beast. The Beast tag is also extremely relevant to its gameplay, and defines most of the card’s intended usage. With this in mind, we will not be changing Kindly Grandmother’s/Big Bad Wolf’s Type. In the future, we’ll be more careful to make the art clear when it comes to Worgen or similar races.
On top of Elementals and plant creatures, there’s another category of things that have been brought to life via magical animation. These are creatures like War Golem, Arcane Giant, and Avian Watcher—which are not Elementals.
Arcane Giant, Arcane Golem, and The Curator are all examples of another sort of creature collectively referred to as Arcane Golems. These mechanical constructs utilize arcane energy as a power source, with The Curator being a Mech Type as part of his character in the One Night in Karazhan Adventure. This is actually subtly different from something like War Golem, which is carved from stone and then magically animated. While the “golem” definition refers to something that has been magically animated and is therefore neither a Mech nor Elemental, both Arcane Giant and Arcane Golem’s card art don’t clearly show them to be one or the other. Since the correct type for these creatures is so unclear, we will be leaving them unchanged for now, but would love to hear what you think.
Bogshaper seems to be the same type of creature as Ixlid or Fen Creeper, and that would logically lead to removal of its Elemental tag. However, as mentioned above, we look at more than just the fantasy of a card when determining if it needs a Type change. While Bogshaper’s fantasy criteria checkbox is filled, it’s currently heavily utilized in the meta, and features in many decks, including that of the 2018 Summer Champion, Bunnyhoppor.
We are holding off on changing Bogshaper’s Type for now, but would love to hear what the community thinks we should do in this case. We’re also considering making this sort of change when a card rotates to Wild.
Copy A Card Rule Change
Card copies currently only retain enchantments when both the original card and its copy are in play—think Molten Reflection. In Update 12.0, this rule will be updated to match the one regarding enchantments being retained when a card transitions zones.
Zones in Hearthstone are defined as areas where cards are hosted: your deck, your hand, in play, and in the graveyard. In Hearthstone, there is a general forward-moving flow through zones. Whenever a card moves forward in that flow (Deck -> Hand, Hand -> Play, Deck -> Play), it retains enchantments. If a card moves backwards in zones (Play -> Hand, Hand -> Deck, Play -> Deck, Play/Hand/Deck -> Graveyard and Graveyard -> Play/Hand/Deck), it loses enchantments.
With this update, card copies will retain enchantments in the following scenarios.
- Cards that are resurrected currently do not and will continue not to retain any enchantments, unless specifically stated otherwise.
- If you copy a card from a deck to a deck, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Archbishop Benedictus)
- If you copy a card from a hand to a hand, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Mind Vision)
- If you copy a card from play to play, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Molten Reflection)
- If you copy a card from a deck to a hand, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Thoughtsteal)
- If you copy a card from a deck to play, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Mindgames)
- If you copy a card from hand to play, the copy retains enchantments. (eg. Kobold Illusionist)
Transform Rule Change
When transformed, a Hearthstone card typically loses all of its enchantment. Most cards in game already obey this rule. However, there are four cards that we are changing to keep in line with the rule, as part of this consistency pass.
Shifter Zerus, Molten Blade, and Shifting Scroll all transform in your hand at the start of every turn. Following the 12.0 update, they will no longer keep any enchantments when they transform. This includes things like hand buffs and Emperor Thaurissan mana-cost discounts.
The impact on Voodoo Doll is a little different with the update. If you transform the minion that’s already been cursed by Voodoo Doll, the curse will be broken, and the transformed (and formerly cursed) minion will not be killed when Voodoo Doll dies. Silencing the cursed minion will also break the curse, in addition to silencing the Voodoo Doll.
Since the creation of the Lifesteal keyword, Shadowboxer has been a high risk card, in that it can trigger off of itself and deal up to 30 damage in one turn if you ever give it Lifesteal. Because of this, we have changed it to: Whenever a minion is healed, deal 1 damage to a random enemy.
Once Shadowboxer’s card change is live with Update 12.0, players will be able to disenchant it for its full Arcane Dust value for two weeks.
These are all the changes that you’ll see come into effect with Update 12.0, in line with our commitment to consistency within the game. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or via Facebook and Twitter!