February 24, 2017

Hearthstone Introduces The Year Of The Mammoth

17 February 2017, 02:09 | Kevin Scott

Credit Blizzard

So long Kraken

Now that 2017 is upon us, the second year of standard play, the "Year of the Mammoth" is about to start, and its bringing with it some big changes. This dust will be handed out once the Year of the Mammoth begins. Once the first major expansion of 2017 is released, cards from Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers will rotate out of the Standard format. Last year, Blizzard balanced (or nerfed, as the community refers to such changes) some Classic cards that it thought were too powerful. Silver lining: If you had any of the six, Blizzard will award you its full dust cost without the need to disenchant it as a mea culpa. When cards show up too frequently in decks and are considered auto-includes, deck-building becomes more limited. They mention it's one of the most played cards in the game, which again, for the interest of an evolving metagame isn't a great thing as you want players using the new cards instead of just sticking with old staples. Blizzard also hinted that it has build-arounds for Deathrattle coming that would be broken if Sylvanas was still included in the Standard set.

Following incredibly similar value logic is resulting in Ragnaros the Fire Lord getting peaced out to Wild as well.

In addition to the full expansions that are leaving standard play, Blizzard announced that several classic cards will also lose their eligibility.

Also getting the boot out of Standard are three 1-cost spells, namely Power Overwhelming for Warlock, Ice Lance for Mage, and hide for Rogue. Blizzard is also looking to improve the Fireside Gatherings program, and will be adding new features to it in 2017. Warlocks will lose Power Overwhelming, Mages cede their Ice Lances, and Rogues can no longer use hide in standard decks.

Ragnaros has a reputation as one of Hearthstone's most powerful cards
Above Ragnaros has a reputation as one of Hearthstone’s most powerful

Last, but certainly not least, is hide, which can be exceedingly frustrating to play against as I'm sure everyone by now has faced up against a Rogue that dumps out a ton of minions, pops hide, and leaves you sitting there deciding if you want to just concede or not. Hearthstone should ultimately be a game of plays and counter plays, and hide makes it increasingly more hard for other classes to interact with Rogue minions as time goes on. Interestingly enough, Gadgetzan Auctioneer nearly got cut instead, but they chose to leave it because its power level should decrease without hide around. That concept is something we would like to do more of in future sets: "Take the storytelling and cool missions of Adventures, and combine them with the card pools of expansions", explains Blizzard on the reasons for the change. Expansions add over 100 new cards with no single-player content.

"Over the course of the Year of the Kraken, certain cards in the Classic set have contradicted these goals".

But during the Year of the Mammoth, Blizzard will not release any traditional Adventures. Most cards should feel like situational additions to a deck, depending on the deck archetype the player is trying to build.

Specific dates for all of this haven't been announced yet, but we'll report back as Blizzard shares more. Dubbed "The Year of the Mammoth", the new content will include new ways to play and overall improvements to the game, and obviously new expansion cards. Maiev is unlocked for free simply by winning ten games once the new expansion kicks off.

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