One of the most demoralizing things about playing ranked in Hearthstone (Free) is when you’re doing really well, gaining stars like mad, really climbing the ladder… only to go on a massive losing streak and slide all the way down to where you were before. I typically will just play ranked to get the card back, then stick to fiddling around in casual matches because losing so much progress on a bad streak of games feels bad. Well, Blizzard is changing how this works later this month.
Currently, you can’t lose stars past level 20, and once this update hits you will also hit similar thresholds at ranks 15, 10, and 5. Blizzard is calling them “Ranked Play Floors," and I love it, as it really makes for great checkpoints as you earn stars. Too often it felt like you needed to stick with one deck because you were winning with it and couldn’t afford to try something else. With these floors, you can hit level 15, and then fiddle around with something else without losing anything before you commit to progressing on to level 10, and so on.
Along with this update are two small balance tweaks to Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws. Currently, Small-Time Buccaneer seems to be a must-play in basically any deck that can run it. To dissuade this a bit, Blizzard is reducing its health down to 1 from 2. Similarly, Spirit Claws has been an auto-include in most Shaman decks, so they’re increasing the casting cost to 2 mana up from 1 in hopes of making it a little less efficient in early game plays.
No specific dates yet on when this all is going to happen other than “late February," so stay tuned for that.