Spirit Claws has been a dominant card in Shaman since its release in ONIK. It’s so efficient that it just gets played in every version of Shaman. Spirit Claws along with Maelstrom Portal fixed Shaman’s problem of not being able to deal 1 damage easily and Spirit Claws would be better than Fiery War Axe a lot of the time on turn 2 if a spell damage totem/Bloodmage Thalnos was played. The feeling of losing your 2 drop to the 25% spell damage totem roll is terrible and happens often and I think should be avoided. Thankfully Spirit Claws will be going to 2 mana making it really slow to wait to turn 2 then totem on 3 making it less viable for aggro Shaman. Small Time Buccaneer will be getting changed to 1 health pretty much making it unplayable in everything but Pirate Warrior maybe.
The nerfs and how they affect the cards themselves isn’t really that interesting. Small Time Buccaneer will see almost no play and it is unlikely that Spirit Claws will either. However, with two very strong early game cards being weakened it frees up space for the other classes that did not have access to these tools. Decks like Zoo and Hunter, which got significantly outclassed by Shaman’s early game, may see more play now. Some people think that Druid may see more play but with the potential resurgence of Zoo and the Shamans just switching to midrange and not being gone I don’t really see it.
Shaman will still be the best deck it will just be switching from aggro Shaman to midrange Jade. With less aggro Shamans and Pirate Warrior being weaker, Miracle Rogue will get a lot stronger. It also has the benefit of doing well against mid Shaman. Both the Reno decks will stay at around the same level not having lost anything. Renolock benefits from there being more mid Shaman but there being more Miracle Rogue hurts. Renomage can build a little greedier with less aggro being present, which can help with what it loses from not having a great matchup against the amount of threats that can come from mid Jade Shaman.
The changes should be going live after APAC winter playoffs so either Feb 27th or 28th. I'm looking forward to them and how they might potentially affect deck diversity. I'm also excited to see what the changes will mean for The ONOG Pax East major just two weeks after the changes. It will be nice to have some change after months of aggro Shaman and Pirate Warrior domination.