Hearthstone has been teasing a new expansion for several weeks, but those who have followed the game for nearly a decade know what this time of year signifies. It's time to launch a new Standard year. On Tuesday, Blizzard's Team 5 pulled the curtain back on what's next for the digital card game, unveiling the Year of the Hydra. In addition to immediate changes with Patch 23.0, players got a first look at a fresh roadmap for 2022.
As one might imagine, the Year of the Hydra means that the expansions from 2020 (Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy, and Madness at the Darkmoon Faire) will all rotate to Wild. It also means some major changes to the Hearthstone Core set, which will feature 250 cards. Of those cards, 72 will be new and 57 will rotate out. We'll have a full guide on what's in and out here at Shacknews later today. As has been the case with many cards entering Wild, expect any nerfs on cards rotating out to be fully reverted.
While Standard play will be heavily affected by the 23.0 update, there are also some big adjustments coming to Hearthstone Battlegrounds. First and foremost, a new Hero is being introduced. Ini Stormcoil enters the fray with a new Passive Hero Power, MechGyver. This will give players a random Mech after nine minions die in combat. Her Battleground Buddy will be Sub Scrubber, a 4/4 Mech that gains +2/+2 after a different Mech is played. Those with Battlegrounds Perks will start seeing Ini soon, while everyone else will have to wait until April 19. As for existing characters, the only substantial change comes to Varden Dawngrasp, whose Battleground Buddy (Varden's Aquarrior) will now have its effect spread across two minions.
Hearthstone Mercenaries is having its task system reworked to make leveling Mercs up slightly easier. Because of that, expect fewer instances of the Mysterious Stranger popping up. Plus, Murky joins the ranks of the Mercs, able to be maxed out at 11/79. Here are Murky's stat lines:
- Slime Time 5 (Nature): (Speed 4) Deal 12 damage to an enemy. Give it Taunt until the end of next turn.
- Bubbly Bobble 5 (Nature): (Speed 4, Cooldown 1) Restore 13 Health to an adjacent Murloc. Swap places and both gain Divine Shield. Nature Combo: Repeat this.
- Pufferfisher 5: (Speed 7, Cooldown 1)
- (Murloc) 15 Attack, 10 Health. Deathrattle: Deal damage equal to this minion’s Attack to 3 random enemies.
- Time to Krill 4: Passive: Whenever a friendly Murloc Attacks an enemy with Taunt, give them +4 Attack.
- Slippery When Wet 4: Passive: After one of your characters loses Divine Shield or Frozen, its next ability is (3) Speed faster.
- March of the Murlocs 4: Battlecry: Summon 2 10/10 Murlocs.
Murky will be available for free as part of the latest rewards track, which is starting fresh with the release of Voyage to the Sunken City. In addition to Murky's arrival and the task reworks, a series of Mercs have been balanced. You can find the full list of affected characters over on the Hearthstone website.
As revealed by streamer RegisKillbin in late March, Hearthstone Duels is adding all four of the League of Explorers as playable Heroes. Each of the four characters has three different Hero Powers to unlock and they might all look familiar. If you've played the Saviors of Uldum solo content, you've seen these abilities before. Long-time players will be happy to hear that if you've already unlocked those powers in the Saviors of Uldum adventure, they'll be ready to pick up immediately in Duels.
Lastly, it's time for Arena to rotate sets. On April 12, Voyage to the Sunken City will hit the Arena rotation, alongside the new Core set, as well as the League of Explorers, Whispers of the Old Gods, The Grand Tournament, United in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley expansions.
There is a lot to uncover with Hearthstone's upcoming Year of the Hydra, including the new Voyage to the Sunken City expansion. Keep it on Shacknews, as we endeavor to keep up with all of it.