Hearthstone: The full Year of the Phoenix livestream recap

Blizzard had a lot to announce for Hearthstone this morning and Shacknews is here to recap the whole thing, in case you were not prepared.

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It's been a busy morning over at Blizzard. This morning saw the reveal of what's next for Hearthstone and it looks to be more than just the usual new expansion. It's time to switch over to a new Standard year, which will be called the Year of the Phoenix. This will include the new expansion, the shift of the Year of the Raven cards into Wild, a new class rework, a new class period, and much more.

Hearthstone - Year of the Phoenix

Here's a full recap of everything revealed during this morning's stream:

  • Ashes of Outland is Hearthstone's next expansion. It will feature 135 new cards and take players into the time of World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade. That means a lot of focus on Illidan Stormrage, which leads into...
  • Hearthstone is introducing its 10th class, the first one to grace the game since its original release over five years ago. It is the Demon Hunter and the first Demon Hunter Hero will be Illidan Stormrage. (If you're wondering about the Legendary minion Illidan, don't worry. He's being replaced.) The Demon Hunter is all about using soul magic and War Glaives/Demon Claws to battle opponents aggressively. This class is happy to fight head-on, while using Lifesteal effects to stay alive for future turns. It's capable of swarming the board with small minions, while also calling in massive Demon allies when the time comes.
Hearthstone - Illidan Stormrage
  • Demon Hunters use Outcast, a keyword exclusive to them. Outcast cards offer a bonus effect when played from the left or right-most position. Making the most of these cards means playing them in the proper order. Order and card positioning matter a lot to Demon Hunter.
  • In order to receive the Demon Hunter, players must complete the Demon Hunter Prologue missions. These will tell the story of Illidan Stormrage with a Hearthstone twist. Upon completing the Demon Hunter Prologue missions, players will receive the Demon Hunter class, Illidan Stormrage, and 30 Demon Hunter cards (10 from the Basic set and 20 from the Year of the Dragon). Ashes of Outland will add 15 more cards. Subsequent expansions will also offer 15 Demon Hunter cards each. This is increased from the usual 10 class cards that each class receives in an expansion. The Demon Hunter Prologue missions will release on April 2, while the Demon Hunter class goes lives on April 7.
  • Going back to Ashes of Outland, this expansion will feature special minions called Primes. These are strong minions with a Deathrattle that has them shuffle a Prime version of themselves into the player's deck. The Prime version is a powerful Legendary with a potential game-changing effect. Speaking of game-changing effects, Imprisoned Demons are the other big addition for this expansion. These class-based Demons go dormant for two turns after they're played. When they wake up, they unleash a powerful effect onto the board.
  • If you're new to Hearthstone or have been away from Hearthstone for longer than four months, you'll receive a free competitive deck of your choice for any class. You'll also get a chance to jump into some new solo missions, starting off with Illidan Stormrage as a Mage. These missions will take you on a tour across all of Hearthstone's classes, offering additional rewards while helping you catch up with any Hearthstone mechanics you might have missed. This new/returning player experience is set to arrive on March 26.
  • The Hearthstone Hall of Fame inductions are also set for March 26. Leeroy Jenkins, Mountain Giant, Mind Control Tech, Acolyte of Pain, and Spellbreaker will all rotate into Wild. Replacements for the Classic set will come at a later date.
Hearthstone - Priest
  • On top of the usual Hall of Fame cards, Blizzard is also taking this opportunity to completely change the Priest class as everyone knows it. That means Northshire Cleric, Divine Spirit, Holy Fire, Auchenai Soulpriest, Shadowform, and Prophet Velen will all go to Wild. They will be replaced by new cards Psychic Conjurer, Scarlet Subjugator, Shadow Word: Ruin, Power Infusion, Kul Tiran Chaplain, and Natalie Seline. In addition to that, seven other Priest cards are being changed and/or buffed. These changes will all take effect on March 26.
  • The Ranked ladder is about to see a significant change. Ranked will now shift to 50 ranks to go along with Legend. There will always be three stars per rank going forward, with Ranked floors remaining in place. Rewards will be improved, while matchmaking is being reworked. These changes will take effect on April 1.
  • Duplicates are over. Once only restricted to Legendaries, now players will no longer unlock duplicates in their card packs, period, across all rarities.
  • The Year of the Phoenix roadmap includes three expansions for 2020. The most interesting nugget of information here is that Hearthstone will receive a brand new game mode for the second expansion, as well as a revamped progression and achievement system for the third expansion.
  • If you want an early taste of Illidan, he's hitting Hearthstone Battlegrounds as the game mode's latest hero. His Passive Hero Power is Outcast, which means his left and right-most minions attack immediately.
  • Kael'thas Sunstrider is among the Legendary minions to be included in Ashes of Outland. He will be made available to all players for free starting today. Simply log in to Hearthstone to pick him up.
  • Ashes of Outland is set to arrive on April 7. Pre-orders are open now, with the $49.99 pre-purchase bundle containing 55 card packs, a random Golden Legendary, and the Serpentine card back. The $79.99 Mega Bundle contains 90 card packs, a random Golden Legendary, the Serpentine card back, the Lady Vashj Shaman Hero, four Arena tickets, and special Descent of Dragons bonuses for Battlegrounds.

We'll stay on top of any developments for Hearthstone's latest expansion, Ashes of Outland, and the new Year of the Phoenix as a whole. Stay tuned, as we'll have more guides and content in the days ahead.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 17, 2020 10:30 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Hearthstone: The full Year of the Phoenix livestream recap

    • reply
      March 17, 2020 10:49 AM

      I don’t even know where to start.

      Leeroy definitely had to go. It was the most powerful neutral legendary in the game for years and just doesn’t jibe with standard being a place that changes constantly. Mind control tech was a bullshit way for decks without real aoe to compete. Good riddance. RIP mountain giant. I guess they don’t want to risk another MG conjuror’s calling combo being found but for the most part the card was always balanced. And I can understand that card draw and silence are meant to be class identity things so that’s why acotyle of pain and spell breaker have to go.

      Demon hunter looks awesome and they are definitely giving it good cards to make up for the fact that it won’t have expansion cards from last year.

      Pack changes are welcome and will probably most impact f2p players who will always see something new when they open a pack. Also fixes those niche outcomes where someone opens many copies of an epic.

    • reply
      March 17, 2020 10:59 AM

      not unlocking duplicates is cool but does that guarantee epics/ legendaries for sets where you have all the commons and rates?

      • reply
        March 17, 2020 11:19 AM

        No. Packs on average will still have 4 commons and one rare but you will not see duplicates until you have seen all the commons and all the rares and so on. So it’s going to be most exciting for people only opening a few packs.

        But people bitch about opening the same terrible epic several times every expansion and this takes care of that.

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