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Hearthstone Marks 2017 as the 'Year of the Mammoth'

Blizzard has taken the wraps off this year's plans for Hearthstone, with more cards, major changes to Standard, and a new Rogue.

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Blizzard has announced its content plans for the upcoming year, including release plans for expansions, major changes to Standard, and a new hero-alternate.

As detailed on the Hearthstone Blog, once the first expansion launches this year, it will mark the beginning of the Year of the Mammoth as well. That means Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers cards will be added to the Wild format, and no longer accessible in Standard.

Classic Cards in Standard

Blizzard is making yet another major change to Standard this year, though, by moving some Classic cards to the Wild format. Previously Classic cards would all be accessible in Standard by default, but the company said it found some were still too frequently used or limited the design space. Now, some Classic cards will be added to a new "Hall of Fame" set, alongside last year's Reward cards that were moved to Wild. This will let Blizzard selectively move certain Classic cards to Wild.

The first six cards to be added to the Hall of Fame will be the neutral cards Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, and the class cards Power Overwhelming, Ice Lance, and Conceal. The first three were simply so powerful they didn't have much competition at or even above their mana cost. Blizzard also hinted that it has build-arounds for Deathrattle coming that would be broken if Sylvanas was still included in the Standard set. The others seem aimed at curbing design problems. Power Overwhelming led to high damage spikes, Ice Lance made Freeze Mage too standard and limited spell damage, and Conceal limited the other player's ability to respond to minions.

On the bright side, Blizzard is giving a consolation prize to long-time players who may have a lot of these newly-dubbed Hall of Fame cards. If you have a card in the set, it will give you the full Dust value, and let you keep the card. If you have a Golden Sylvanas, for example, you get 1600 Dust and you keep the card for play in Wild as well. It's limited to as many cards as you can have in a deck, which means one for Legendaries and two for all others.

A Wild Adventure

The Year of the Mammoth will also bring a significant change to the pace of expansions. They've usually alternated between expansions and single-player adventures. During the Year of the Mammoth, we'll instead get three expansions, with around 130 cards apiece. (We have good reason to believe the first will be called Lost Secrets of Un'Goro.) Blizzard still wants to explore story and lore in the Hearthstone universe, but will be introducing optional single-player missions to develop the narrative, similar to those found in the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. Those will start rolling out with the second expansion, due in the middle of the year.

The Wild format is going to get additional support, with its own Heroic Tavern Brawl, and more tournaments. Fireside Gatherings will also be getting additional in-client tools for support.

Going Rogue

Finally, Blizzard has announced a new hero alternate coming this year. Maiev Shadowsong will offer an alternate portrait, emotes, and special animations for the Rogue class. The Night Elf will be awarded for finishing 10 games in Standard Ranked or Casual after the next expansion launches, kicking off the Year of the Mammoth.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    February 16, 2017 10:40 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Hearthstone Marks 2017 as the 'Year of the Mammoth'

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      February 16, 2017 11:55 AM

      Yeah I am ready for Reno to ride off into the wild sunset(and Brann)

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        February 16, 2017 12:15 PM

        I'm more happy that they are dropping the nerf on pirates.

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        February 16, 2017 12:20 PM

        It's an interesting question. Can these highlander style decks live on with just kazakus, raza, and inkmaster supporting them? It will be fun to find out.

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          February 16, 2017 12:24 PM

          It's likely there will be new highlander cards in the expansion set that launches year of the mammoth - it's a pretty successful and interesting concept

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          February 16, 2017 4:04 PM

          Poor Krul... :(

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        February 16, 2017 2:33 PM

        Reno may be my favorite card of all time. I'm going to really miss him.

        (But not enough to play Wild.)

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        February 16, 2017 11:48 PM

        i disagree. it's probably my favorite card ever. you can build a million decks around him. he really changed the game in a good way...

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      February 16, 2017 2:12 PM

      This feels bad for casual play? maybe I'm wrong. I sort of just slum it up with my casual decks and some cards I've gotten from those adventures and go between 20 and 18. If I can get to 18 I feel accomplished. I was saving up gold for the next adventure that now sounds like its not coming, plus all these expansions....I'm just not gonna buy cards to keep up.

      Granted I just started playing last May. I dunno just feels like it'll be less fun for me now. I enjoyed the adventures too for fun casual play and now they are going away....

      am I wrong?

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        February 16, 2017 3:00 PM

        it's not clear how much you're lamenting the lack of adventures (definitely casual focused) vs the rate of new cards being added/rotated. The latter does make casual play harder in some respects, but so does never rotating cards out of Standard (and obviously not releasing new cards has a whole host of problems).

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        February 16, 2017 10:30 PM

        The adventures aren't going away, they are going to be combined with the expansions.

        "Cards will be acquired via packs like other expansions in the past; additionally, each release will include optional single-player missions that will help develop the expansions’ thematic narratives and offer fun challenges."

        So instead of spending 2800 on an adventure of 4 wings you can spend that on 28 packs to get the cards. It'll get you plenty of the good ones and extra dust to craft one of the legendaries as well. For rank 18 you'll be just fine with those :)

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      February 16, 2017 2:55 PM

      Good.

      Fuck LoE and fuck adventures. Saving for them blows. I never want to see Brann again.

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      February 16, 2017 2:57 PM

      Fantastic changes. 130 card expansions 3 times a year will be costly to keep up though. Either way, great stuff! Glad HS is finally changing for the better.

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      February 17, 2017 3:16 AM

      I still can't get into this game.