317If you troll the Blizzard forums, you'd know earlier in the week rumblings started regarding an incoming nerf for the Unleash the Hounds card which you can see here to the right. If you've been playing ranked Hearthstone recently, you likely know Unleash the Hounds hunter decks all too well.

If not, the whole thing hinged on a very annoying combo that was really powerful for the mana required to have it go off. Essentially, a hunter would wait until you had some minions out then play Starving Buzzard and Unleash the Hounds. This gives them as many minions as you have, and card draw for that many minions.

At that point, there's tons of options for crazy tricks. They could toss out a Scavenging Hyena and sacrifice their hounds to your minions to make the hyena ridiculously huge. Also, alternatively, or in addition to, they could drop one (or more) Timber Wolf cards to buff all the hounds up, or get lucky with an Animal Companion and randomly summon Leokk for the same effect. Either way, it was nuts.

The reason the combo works so well is that it forces you to play hyper conservatively against hunters as soon as you reached turn four (or turn three if they have the coin) as the card draw alone was so powerful. Since Hearthstone is a game that's about summoning and playing minions, actively not summoning minions to avoid any kind of profitable unleashing of hounds wasn't much fun. So, Blizzard nerfed the combo a bit by increasing the mana cost of Unleash the Hounds by one, which gives players who are facing hunter one more turn before things get crazy.

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Whether it makes much of a difference remains to be seen, as the combo is arguably just as good late game when you've got all sorts of mana to spare to play the cards you're getting off the crazy card draw. I'm just glad something is being done about it, as the metagame for those starting playing ranked was basically "How do I play around Unleash the Hounds" as the deck is/was so powerful and cost almost nothing to build.

Anyway, also in this new update is some stability fixes where Hearthstone was crashing when you played multi-ability druid cards, chat bubble positioning, and a tweak that changes where the larger versions of cards are displayed in relation to where your finger is on the iPad-specific side of things. Also they fixed that weird problem where returning minions to your opponent's minion to their hand would leave the card back just sort of hanging out in the play field. Overall a solid update you should grab right away if you're playing Hearthstone on your iPad.

  • Nate Heagy

    The game is awesome. I'm hoping they can improve/add multitasking support in a future update.

  • Poo

    I'm 5-1 on a basic warrior deck.

    • Adhrast

      Who cares? How does that have anything to do with the topic?

  • torosama

    This is actually the second nerf to UTH. Back in beta it had a totally different mechanic. They redid it and it was still overpowered haha.

  • SerapisB

    And I'm just here waiting for an iPhone port. Til then I can't even play. Seeing these articles all the time kills me

    • jontas

      You could play on a desktop, no? I've only ever used the iPad version but I know there is a PC version and pretty sure Mac as well. It isn't as nice as having it in your pocket, but it is better than nothing til they release a port, and you can get a head start on collecting card, building your decks, etc.

      • http://animaltrackers.wordpress.com/ DAiv Games

        Yes, I've used the Mac version when I was first trying out the game, so I could play against myself on the iPad.

    • Cilo

      I play solely on the mac, runs very smooth. Was there any word that they would even port it to the iPhone? I can't recall reading that anywhere, but it would seem highly unlikely due to how small all of the in game text would be. Maybe they are designing it when if you touch a card it fills the screen of the iPhone to enlarge the text, that might work? I doubt it'll be the same UI as the iPad or desktop version.

      • SerapisB

        I expect it will be pretty cramped on the tiny screen, but they did say it would be available for iPhones in the 2nd half of this year

    • falco

      Buy an iPad man how can you enjoy playing this wonderful game on a tiny screen ?

      • Cilo

        This game is the one reason that might entice me to finally get an iPad mini

      • armilla

        I just bought one a few week ago, and this the game I'm playing almost exclusively.

  • Spaztika

    Hoping this helps. Maybe that one extra turn to prepare could give a card for some AoE?

    I may go back to my Druid deck and play some ranked.

    And oh man, I fought two priests last night, back to back and they managed to buff one of there cards to 12/12 using power word shield twice, then using that card (the name escapes me) which makes your attack equal to your health. Then faceless manipulator. :o

    If priests start doing that more often, I may need to add another big game hunter.

    THIS GAME MAN. CRAZY.

    • Leeabe51

      AoE usually doesn't help much. The hounds are usually killed taking out your minions before it gets to be your turn. The problem is the support cards that got the bonuses from having all those hounds out there. Your best bet is not to have more than about 2 minions out there at any one time when playing against a hunter.

      • kjax

        It may still be undercosted to be honest. Even if you only allow 2 hound spawns, the card oftentimes reads pay 3 mana, get 2 1/1s and draw 2 cards. This is something I would call a typical scenario, it can often be much better than that.

  • kjax

    All I have to say about the nerf, thank god. So demoralizing to be completely controlling a game, just to get blown out by a hounds that allows them to draw their deck. It is either that or lay minimum number of creatures but make them big ones to maintain board presence vs it, but it still can just randomly blow you out with the right combination of cards. It still will require playing around the card, but should help.

  • vicsark

    As they nerfed the card, you may now dust an "Unleash the hounds" card for 40 dust instead of 5.

  • Unseen Studios

    Unleash the hounds still costs 2 mana, at least on the European server. But we have got the dust boost for the card.

  • countermind

    Thank God.

  • Rawk GWJ

    I feel that they should have upped the nerf to 5 mana. I mean really, delaying the combo just one turn isn't going to make things much more even. But then again, there's that whole 'intentional unbalance' thing so... Yeah.

  • nijoos

    This game is great. Scratches my CCG and LCG itch and I don't even have to pay a cent. GOTY for me at least.

  • Darklurkr23

    Needs to nerf a lot more then just that card whole game is broken in 1/2