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Blizzard ripping cards out of Arena Mode in 'Hearthstone' to create more balance

A major change is coming to the Arena mode of Hearthstone, the company’s free-to-play card game based on the Warcraft universe, Blizzard’s Dean Ayala revealed on Thursday. The Hearthstone team is essentially removing 45 popular cards from this particular mode in the name of class balance by way of an upcoming update. The only class that won’t be affected by the change is the Paladin — all other classes will lose between two and seven cards.

The change to the Arena mode stems from feedback provided by players regarding class balance. Over the last several content releases, the Mage and Rogue have become the two most-played and most powerful classes while the Paladin has remained in its own second-place tier. All the other classes have fallen into a group below those three, so there was definitely a need to examine the cards of each class to create more equality across the board.

Related: Madness beckons: Whispers of the Old Gods expands Hearthstone this April/May

For example, Mages no longer have access to the Forgotten Torch, Snowchugger, and Faceless Summoner cards. The Rogue no longer has Goblin Auto Barber and Undercity Valiant, and the Warlock loses a whopping seven cards including the Anima Golem, Sense Demons, Void Crushing, and Succubus. Remember, these cards will only be removed in the Arena mode, so the Constructed, Solo Adventures, and Tavern Brawl modes will not be affected.

“One goal we have for Arena is that we want it to feel meaningfully different from any other way you might play Hearthstone,” he said. “I think we’re hitting that goal now, but it’s important for us to keep that in mind when thinking about future changes.”

He said the team set out to remove the C’Thun synergy cards and Purify. They also wanted to keep the strong spells and weapons intact while also preserving the “iconic” cards because they’re both versatile and familiar to new and veteran Arena mode players alike. Lower-performing cards were also targets of removal to allow more commonly used cards to appear more often.

However, the changes to Arena mode go beyond the removal of 45 cards. The team is investigating a way to adjust the rate at which individual cards show up without creating an unbalanced mess across all nine classes. The team is also considering drafting by card rarity, which would require adjusting the “weights” of the available cards. Overall, the team is aware that Arena mode still needs some fine-tuning so that each run feels different and fun.

The team is seeking more feedback from players so it can make the best Arena mode experience possible.

Here’s the entire list of cards that will no longer available in Arena mode when the patch arrives:

Mage
– Forgotten Torch
– Snowchugger
– Faceless Summoner

Rogue
– Goblin Auto Barber
– Undercity Valiant

Paladin
– No changes

Shaman
– Vitality Totem
– Dust Devil
– Totemic Might
– Ancestral Healing
– Dunemaul Shaman
– Windspeaker

Warlock
– Anima Golem
– Sacrificial Pact
– Curse of Rafaam
– Sense Demons
– Void Crusher
– Reliquary Seeker
– Succubus

Druid
– Savagery
– Poison Seeds
– Soul of the Forest
– Mark of Nature
– Tree of Life
– Astral Communion

Warrior
– Warsong Commander
– Bolster
– Charge
– Bouncing Blade
– Axe Flinger
– Rampage
– Ogre Warmaul

Hunter
– Starving Buzzard
– Call Pet
– Timber Wolf
– Cobra Shot
– Lock and Load
– Dart Trap
– Snipe

Priest
– Mind Blast
– Shadowbomber
– Lightwell
– Power Word: Glory
– Confuse
– Convert
– Inner Fire