Big news ahead. Just recently, Blizzard made a big announcement about the next Standard year – Year of the Mammoth. In about 2 months, Year of the Kraken will be no longer and we’ll welcome the new Azeroth Zodiac sign. Introduction of Standard was one of the biggest changed to Hearthstone ever and it seems like this year’s rotation will be just as exciting.
In this article, I’ll compile and summarize everything we know so far about the changes coming to Hearthstone. I’ll update it every time we learn something new, so you can always stay up to date with all the Tweets/blue posts etc.
When the first expansion of 2017 gets released, each expansion of the 2015 rotates out of Standard. It means that we won’t be able to play cards from Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament and The League of Explorers in Standard. Those will rotate out to Wild. At the same time, since you can’t buy things that are Wild-exclusive, you won’t be able to buy the two adventures or The Grand Tournament packs.
One of the most common questions is – is it worth to buy the adventures with gold (if you don’t own them) just to disenchant them? Or is buying the packs more worth it when it comes to dust value you’re getting? Let me show you some quick calculations:
Average dust value of pack is around 100 Dust and the pack costs 100 Gold. Full Blackrock Mountain adventure costs 3,500 Gold and gives you 2,590 Dust in total, making it about 74 Dust per 100 Gold. On the other hand, full League of Explorers adventure costs 2,800 Gold and gives you 3,170 Dust in total, making it about 113 Dust per 100 Gold. It means that if you’re counting pure Dust value, buying Blackrock Mountain just to Dust it is NOT worth it, while buying LoE for the same purpose is worth it.
However, you need to remember that buying and opening packs, especially the ones from the upcoming expansion, also gives you a chance to open the Epic or Legendary cards you need – it’s not only the Dust you’re getting from them. So if you have limited gold resources, DON’T buy adventures now just to disenchant them. But if you have tons of Gold and you plan to open a lot of new expansion’s pack anyway, it might be worth to buy LoE if you want to min-max your dust/gold value.
Is buying TGT packs worth it? If you plan to play Wild and you’re missing some important cards from the expansion, it’s definitely worth it, because after rotation you will only be able to craft them. If you plan to play Standard, it’s the worst time to buy TGT packs.
Hall of Fame
Blizzard is introducing new set, called “Hall of Fame”. Hall of Fame is basically a fancy name for the cards rotating from Classic to Wild, including Reward cards that already did (like Old Murk-Eye). This Standard year, 6 Classic cards will rotate out to the Wild. They’re all either overplayed, making the deck lists less diverse or are otherwise problematic. Here is the list of the cards with reasoning Blizzard has given for their rotations:
- Azure Drake – Azure Drake is a strong Neutral card that ended up being a bit too versatile, and thus became one of the most played cards in the game. There should be more five drop options for players, rather than considering Azure Drake an auto-include.
- Sylvanas Windrunner – Similar to Azure Drake, it’s hard to see a card at the six mana cost out-value Sylvanas. In addition, Sylvanas has the most powerful Deathrattle effect in the game—as a comparison, the Priest card Mind Control costs 10 mana. We have exciting Deathrattle build-arounds coming soon, and in combination with Sylvanas, they would be too powerful for Standard.
- Ragnaros the Firelord – Ragnaros is heavily played in both control and mid-range decks and even shows up as a finisher in certain types of aggro decks. His high immediate value and strength at the eight mana cost made the decision during deck-building, “Is this eight mana minion better than Ragnaros?” rather than, “Is this eight mana minion the best choice for my deck type?” Dozens of cards in the seven to nine mana range never saw play because Ragnaros was always the easy choice in that range, and some decks only want to run one high cost card.
- Power Overwhelming – Power Overwhelming allows for extremely mana-efficient minion trades or high spikes of damage for only one mana. Keeping this card exclusive to Wild will prevent some crazy combinations and spike damage. Warlock decks also tend to use lots of Classic cards, so the decks changes less when new expansions release. This change will help increase the variety of cards in Warlock decks over time.
- Ice Lance – Freeze Mage is a fun deck that has been around for over three years now, and we’d like to see more variety with Mage decks after each major release. This move allows Freeze Mage to continue existing in Wild, while creating more variety in Standard. Ice Lance also prevented us from making powerful Spell Damage cards and designs that allowed you to duplicate your cards. Ice Lance was also a very high burst damage card, sometimes being a key component of 30 damage combos.
- Conceal -Stealth is a very powerful mechanic, and can also be very frustrating to play against—more for some classes than others. Hearthstone should ultimately be a game of plays and counter plays, and Conceal makes it increasingly more difficult for other classes to interact with Rogue minions as time goes on. We considered promoting Gadgetzan Auctioneer to Wild instead, but in the end we decided to move Conceal because Auctioneer has proven to be one of the most skill testing cards in the game. We think the power level of Auctioneer decreases with this change, and games where Auctioneer is played will be a bit more interactive.
Players who own those cards will be refunded their full Dust value when they rotate into the Wild, up to a maximum number of cards you can put to your deck (so 2, or 1 for Legendaries). If a player owns both regular and gold version of the card, they will only get the Gold version refunded. On top of that, players will – of course – be able to disenchant the cards for regular Dust value (e.g. 400 in case of Legendaries) after they rotate out. For example, if you own a Golden Ragnaros you will get 3,200 Dust back no matter what you do, but you can also Disenchant it after for the extra 1,600 Dust (4,800 Dust in total). Even if you own just regular versions of each of those cards, you get 3,380 Dust in total.
No More Adventures
Before Standard was released, Blizzard has announced the Expansion -> Adventure -> Expansion yearly cycle. However, it seems like they have revised their plans. 2017 will have no Adventure at all – we will get three ~130 cards Expansions instead. The change should overall be very healthy for Hearthstone, because more card means more opportunities for the meta to change. Historically, Adventures had to contain some really broken cards to have real impact on the meta, because ~40 cards usually wasn’t enough to change the meta significantly. With 3 times more cards, it’s easier to accomplish.
However, Blizzard has liked the “narrative” the Adventures were giving. It was easier to tell the story, which made players enjoy the story more – it’s hard to do it with Expansions we’ve seen so far. That’s exactly why they plan to introduce the optional, single-player missions starting with the second Expansion of 2017. They will be made to help with developing the thematic narrative and offer fun challenges. We don’t have any more details about that yet, but we will sure hear about it more in the upcoming months.
More Support For Wild Format
Wild format was never really a “worse” format than Standard – the problem was that there was simply no incentive to play it. Since the Standard format was the competitive one, with every event being Standard etc. – pro players have obviously played it over Wild. And since pro players have played it more, casual players have done a similar thing. In the end, the distribution was around 75/25 in favor of Standard.
Blizzard decided to finally do something about Wild being basically “the other” format. First, they will release another edition of Heroic Tavern Brawl, but this time for Wild format – it’s a great move, because the last Heroic Tavern Brawl was watched by hundreds of thousands of people on Twitch. A Wild one will be an amazing way to promote the format.
Besides, they will try to cooperate with third-party tournament organizers to promote more Wild tournaments. Right now every competitive tournament is played in Standard format, we had only a few Wild events, compared to the hundreds of Standard events.
On top of that, Wild felt very close to Standard this year. We had only 2 more expansions there – Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes. With 3 more rotating out, Wild will now should feel way more different than Standard does, and the gap between those two will only grow with each new rotation.
- Blizzard plans to give extra love to Fireside Gatherings. Since they’re great way to meet fellow Hearthstone players and enjoy the game in a completely different atmosphere, some in-client features will be added to support Fireside Gatherings.
- Some new features to make celebrating Year of the Mammoth more enjoyable are supposed to be announced soon. One of them will be a daily login reward system. For a limited time after Year of the Mammoth starts, players will get the extra rewards (Gold, Dust, Packs) for just logging in every day. It seems that Blizzard is cooking some more surprises for the weeks before rotation, so stay tuned.
- New Rogue Hero will be released. Maiev Shadowsong, one of the most important characters in the Warcraft lore, will join the Hearthstone roster. To get the new portrait, all you need to do is play 10 Standard ranked or casual games after the next expansion launches.
- There might be slight spoilers for the two upcoming expansions in the official Year of the Mammoth schedule. It seems that the first expansion of the 2017 will be jungle-themed, which fits the recent leak quite well – at this point it’s very likely that the new expansion will the the Lost Secrets of Un’Goro. However, the second expansion of 2017 is also pretty interesting. We see something that looks like icy runes – maybe it’s a hint at the Icecrown Citadel, or another Northrend-themed expansion?
That’s all folks. I don’t think we have any other info about Year of the Mammoth so far. If I see something new, I’ll update this post (if the info will be important, I will move it to the top of the page too). If you find something I’ve missed – maybe more info from the devs, maybe some leaks – let me know in the comments. I’ll check out the source and add everything here.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!