Happy 2017 to one and all! I hope you've had a great little break - for those fortunate enough to have one - and are ready to face 2017. And welcome to another Touchstone Tavern, our weekly roundup of Hearthstone [Free] news and videos. This issue is coming to you one day later than usual, but even we have to pause for the New Year. And now that 2017 is officially here - though I'm sure I'll still be writing 2016 for the next few weeks - we are back in business. As you would expect, not much happened in the world of Hearthstone this past week, but there were still some interesting stories published. And, of course, we got some "best of 2016" videos as well. Without further ado, let's jump in.
Special Tavern Brawl Will Celebrate 20 Years of Diablo
As we wrote about last week, Blizzard has announced it will celebrate Diablo's 20-year anniversary (how time flies) with a special Hearthstone Tavern Brawl probably this week. According to the announcement, a hooded stranger awaits for you in Tavern Brawl, and he's holding a "grim deck" in his hands. That's pretty much all the information we have outside a hint about unraveling the secrets of this dark wanderer. There's been talk of other Blizzard IPs coming to Hearthstone ever since the developer dropped the "Heroes of Warcraft" from the title, so this might be the first step towards that. I do wonder whether we'll get Diablo-specific cards or simply a Diablo-themed Brawl using existing cards. I'd be much more interested in the former, but we'll have to wait (probably) a day to see.
5 of the Coolest Gadgetzan Cards
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has given us some very entertaining cards, entertaining for all kinds of reasons. This story looks at the 5 coolest ones, with Kazakus leading the way because of his ability to create fun spells. Aya Blackpaw follows, primarily because of how essential she is for Golem decks, then Drakonid Operator, which makes Dragon Priest finally competitive, Patches the Pirate, whose cool effect helps alleviate our frustration with the card, and finally, Dirty Rat, the card that can really mess with some decks while other times might turn the game against the one playing it. Any other cool cards you might want to add?
Hearthstone in 2016 was Pretty Great
While many have complained about the state of the game during 2016, this writer thinks Hearthstone had a great 2016 despite all the Shaman. The list includes the improvements in the esport scene during the year, primarily because of the switch to a year-long tournament circuit, Standard's role in shaking the meta up considerably, Ekop's first major win after a long, long time, and Yogg's successful nerf that took a really problematic card out of the spotlight. I would agree with those points, although I'm sure others could also talk about what didn't work this year, and that would include Shaman for sure. What worked for you and what didn't?
The Worse Meta to Date
The title of this story reveals the writer's thoughts about the current meta quite clearly, and they aren't the most positive. He believes that many pros are unhappy with the state of the game, and this has been the fastest pro players have grown tired of the meta after a new release in the history of the game. He feels that the main issue with the meta is how there is no turn five at the moment. Part of the problem was the earlier dominance of Midrange Shaman and how it damaged players' morale. And then came Gadgetzan and the incredibly fast decks it has created.
The main culprit is Small-Time Buccaneer (of course). The other issue is how difficult it is to counter Aggro without just going full aggro yourself. Even Reno can't save you from aggressive decks because by turn 5, you are pretty dead. Do you agree that the meta is pretty bad at the moment, or do you think it's just a temporary situation until players come up with a way to counter Patches and his gang successfully?
Player Protests Lack of Rogue Weapons By Designing One a Day
When Blizzard took an axe to Rogue's Blade Flurry, many were surprised, but, as this story reminds us, the developers said it was necessary because the card was an obstacle to adding better Rogue cards. Since then, though, Rogues haven't received any new Weapons, and many players are unhappy about what they see as the loss of the class' identity. A player called Max has decided to "protest" this lack of weapons by designing his own Rogue weapons. And not just one or two; he's been designing one a day. He's come up with some very cool ideas - although it's hard to judge their viability in a meta vacuum - that make me wish we did have more Rogue weapon cards. You can check the story here and see some of the Weapons he's designed.
Player Complaints About the Game
This writer pulled together some of the most common reddit complaints from the last couple of weeks and wrote them in the form of a letter to the developers. The writer first talks about the need for an overhaul of the Ladder System (which has been discussed by both players and developers repeatedly), the problem with overpowered one-drops that are often game-defining if drawn early on, and lastly the fact that designers don't always acknowledge the game's issues, which has the effect of the community feeling that the developers aren't listening to their concerns. Do you find these issues as frustrating as many reddit users seem to, and would you add any additional ones?
Trolden's Best of 2016
Craziest Misplays of 2016
Best Plays of 2016
Best Mythbusters of 2016
Best of Famous Streamers 2016 Edition
Top 5 Tournament Fails 2016
Best Lucky and Salty Moments 2016
Best of RNG 2016
Noxious 2017 Wish List
As always, we have some good resources on the site for you in case you are new to the game or simply want to sharpen up your game. There's never such a thing as too much help in Hearthstone, so check out our guides.
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