This Hilariously Broken New Hearthstone Card Is Already Getting Nerfed

Hearthstone’s new Showdown in the Badlands expansion launched this week, and it took just over a day for Blizzard to announce its first nerf. The Azerite Snake, a Warlock legendary card, will get a hotfix nerf soon, with details coming Friday. Blizzard game designer GallonHS announced the impending change on Twitter/X, calling the card a “clear sentiment outlier,” which seems like a diplomatic way to say that the community is mad at this remarkably unbalanced card.

Blizzard usually waits for a few weeks to let the meta settle before instituting balance changes on a newly released set, so Azerite Snake is definitely an exception to its usual approach. So what makes The Azerite Snake so broken as to warrant a nerfing triage so quickly?

Where to even start? At four mana, it’s an extremely low-cost card for such a big effect–stealing 10 health from your opponent and giving it to yourself effectively makes for a 20-health swing. It’s also notable that this is a permanent health reduction, not a Lifesteal effect, so once your 30-health Hero has been hit, you can’t heal above 20 health. Plus it ignores any Armor you may have.

Combine all those factors with the multitude of cards that can bounce cards back into your hand, or make copies, and the problem quickly snowballs. Instead of an already considerable one-time effect, Warlock players quickly began building decks around playing the Azerite Snake multiple times in a match, reducing your max HP to 20, then 10, and then 0. And since you can’t heal above the new health max, and it ignores armor, you don’t really have any recourse.

Blizzard hasn’t outlined what the impending fix will be, but it could range from a cost or stat adjustment, making its effect a Lifesteal instead of a permanent health reduction, making it account for armor, or even somehow instituting a specialized “no bounce-back or copy” rule on the card.

While this is a remarkably quick nerf, it isn’t the fastest in Hearthstone history. That dubious honor goes to Demon Hunter, the first new class introduced since the game’s launch, which got hit with various nerfs after only one day.

Showdown in the Badlands launched alongside the new mass pack-opening feature, and “catch-up packs” that will scan your collection and give you more packs the larger the gaps it finds in past sets. At BlizzCon, the company also teased a new Duos co-op mode coming for its auto-battler Battlegrounds mode. Duos will launch in 2024.

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