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Best Standard and Wild Decks, Nerfs and Pirates, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #82

Hello Hearthstone [Free] players and welcome to another weekly news and videos roundup here at TouchArcade. I hope you've been enjoying playing the game and you've found a couple of decks that are doing the job for you. This week there was plenty going on, from more talk about possible nerfs or Wild "demotions," to the Android client finally seeing the reduction it's always needed, to the top Standard and Wild decks of the week, and more. And, of course, we have the top videos of the week by Kripp, Trolden, StrifeCro, and more. The talk of possible nerfs has been growing stronger these last few weeks, so I wouldn't be surprised if we get an actual announcement some time soon. Until then, enjoy playing against (or as) pirates...

Just when you thought your Clash Royale [Free] units were safe, here comes the Executioner to lob some heads off and probably change the whole meta. The Executioner unlocks at Arena 9, costs 5 Elixir, and causes area damage, which makes him great for taking out swarms. What's even better is his axe flies in a straight line and then it comes back like a boomerang, damaging everything twice. With his long range and the ability to hurt ground and air units, the Executioner will certainly find a place in many decks. His weakness is his slow attack speed or 2.4 seconds, a century in game terms. As you can see in the video below, he's a lot of fun to use, and while he can be countered by swarming him from the sides, he'll still do very well in many decks...




Over the last few months, I've heard from many Hearthstone [Free] Android players who were having issues with the game's client size to the point where they had to uninstall the game. Luckily for them, Blizzard is now rolling out a much better optimized Android client that will change how Hearthstone is downloaded and should allow for a smaller install size and much better patching experience in the future. The developers had told us they were working on fixing the Android side of the game, and I'm glad to see those attempts come to fruition. According to reddit users, the install size has gone down to about 1.5 GB from the original 3 GB, which is a substantial decrease, especially for those with older phones...

When new cards release for Clash Royale [Free], players often wonder about the best way to get their hands on them. Clash Royale Arena posted a blog today that offers tips to help you get those new cards as painlessly as possible. On the day of release, there's a special offer in the shop that lets you spend gems to get the new cards, but keep in mind that the offer lasts only for that one day. Giant, Magical, and Super Magical Chests are your best bet for finding a new card - as long as it's a common, rare, or epic - but you shouldn't open those chests immediately after the card releases because you'll only get 1 copy of that card if you do. Instead, unlock it with a Crown chest, Free chest, or Silver chest instead because that way, your special chest will give you more of that card...

Quite often - but not often enough for me - Hearthstone's [Free] Tavern Brawl borrows ideas from the various Adventures, and those are often some of my favorite Brawls. This week, the developer team decided to go all in with the Adventure theme and bring us Boss Battle Royale. In this brawl, you pick a class and instead of getting a normal deck, you get a corresponding Boss from one of the Adventures. Picking Mage as your class will turn you into the Curator, Warlock turns you into Noth, Shaman into Lady Naz'jar, Hunter into Skelesaurus Hex, Warrior into the Grim Guzzler, Druid into Razorgore, Priest into Gothik, Paladin into The White King, and Rogue into Grobulus. Reddit has been nice enough to list all the Hero Powers, so go here to check them out and prepare in advance...

Clash Royale [Free] players have been complaining about Elite Barbarians being way too powerful ever since the new unit joined the game, and today Supercell has finally nerfed them by decreasing the hitpoints and damage by 4%. The unit did see a small increase in the hit speed from 1.4 to 1.5sec. Going by the many reddit comments, the nerf hasn't really hurt the Elite Barbarians in a substantial way, though that remains to be seen. The other big nerf in today's balance changes is Zap's damage getting reduced by 6%. Zap is one of the most used cards in the game, so the developers are hoping this nerf will bring the spell down a notch and make other similar spells playable again...

Buccaneer Nerf Coming(?), Gadgetzan's Effect, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #81

Hello Hearthstone [Free] players and welcome to another news and videos weekly roundup here at TouchArcade. I hope you've been enjoying your play and, hopefully, haven't been encountering too many Pirates along the way. This week we have some more talk on Gadgetzan and its effects, some interesting meta discussions, and, of course, some fun videos. I don't remember any other expansion creating so much talk post-release as Gadgetzan has, not so much in terms of intensity but in terms of how many different topics it seems to have generated. From talk about Pirates to discussions on Control decks to much more, this has been quite an interesting time for the game, hasn't it? Let's jump right in, then...

Clash Royale [Free] is bringing another challenge to the game starting today, but even though it has a new name, it's a repeat of an older one. We are getting the Draft Challenge, but you knew it better as the Crown Duel Challenge. The new name is more appropriate since what you do is draft cards. The way it works is you get to pick one out of two random cards until you have four cards, but the fun part is that the cards you don't pick go to your opponent's deck. The problem, though, is that he gets to do the same, so you end up with four cards you picked and four cards your opponent picked for you. It also means you know four of your opponent's cards already...

Magic Duels [Free] continues to improve after a relatively iffy initial release, and today we got another update that added Aether Revolt, Magic the Gathering's new expansion which actually arrives tomorrow for the physical game. Aether Revolt describes the event after the Consulate's betrayal, which led to thousands of inventions being stolen and peaceful automatons turned into military enforcers. So now, the people of Kaladesh are rising up. The update is adding some pretty cool cards as well as some new mechanics like Revolt and Improvise. Cards with Revolt give you all kinds of interesting bonuses if that condition is met while spells with Improvise let you use your artifacts to help cast them...

I enjoy the challenge of a new Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl, and this week's Spellbook Duel is a brand new one that's all about Discover. In Spellbook Duel, you pick ten cards - no duplicates allowed - and then every time you get to play a card, you Discover one instead of drawing one. As you can guess, this Brawl really helps you curve out nicely since the chances of drawing a card that works for you each turn increase dramatically. The fact that no duplicates are allowed makes Reno decks great in this Brawl, especially a Kazakus one. I just played a quick match with a Kazakus mage deck with your standard Mana Wyrms, flamestrikes, and the like, and it was a steamroller since I got to draw a Kazakus almost every other turn...

A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk to game designer Dean Ayala and senior producer Yong Woo about Hearthstone's [Free] latest expansion and the game in general. I tried to put forth questions I've heard the community ask repeatedly as well as questions I had and tried to avoid the questions everyone has been asking. I started the conversation by asking about their views on how the expansion is doing and how it has affected the meta. Overall, they were glad to see the non-duplicate Mage, Priest, and Warlock decks all doing well and fleshing out their theme, especially since some of those decks weren't played that much prior to Gadgetzan. Early on the meta was filled to the brim with Pirate decks, but now they aren't that popular - although the developers are keeping a close eye on those decks...

Even though most of the world is currently covered in tons of snow, it's hot and humid in Clash Royale's [Free] new arena, the Jungle Arena. As we wrote a month back, Jungle Arena unlocks at 2600 Trophies and is pretty cool looking. The new arena has an Indiana Jones-treasure exploring vibe to it and feels quite different from earlier arenas. When you get into overtime while playing in the Jungle Arena, you get a nice torrential downpour that really makes the Arena come alive. Many reddit users liked this new Overtime feature and hope that other Arenas get the same treatment in the near future...

A few days back, Ben Brode talked about the Hearthstone [Free] team's wish to make more Designer Insights to better address community concerns, so it comes as no surprise that tomorrow morning, January 13th, we are getting a brand new Designer Insights, and this one will be a live stream. Ben Brode will be joined by game designer Dean Ayala for a live Q&A at 9am PST, and they'll both address issues like the state of the game, the new player experience, the ranked play system, and any questions from players. If you want to have your questions answered, send a tweet to the official Hearthstone Twitter account using the hashtag #QA. You can also post a question here, or you can simply join the stream and ask questions there...

A couple of days ago, we talked about how Ben Brode, Hearthstone's [Free] Game Director, went on reddit to describe the steps being taken to enable the team to maintain a better communication with players in the near future. Today, Brode decided to wade into a reddit discussion about the problems of the new player experience. The discussion was specifically about how the biggest problem with the new player experience is that there's not enough separation between those just starting out and people who've been playing the game forever. Brode first talked about how they're aware of the work needed to improve the new player experience and how they've been tweaking it for years and have seen significant increases in new player retention. The team has worked a lot on improving the Casual matchmaker, which resulted in new player winrates increasing by around 15%...

Solforge [Free] was one of my favorite CCGs on mobile for quite some time even though it had a pretty bad UI and other issues as well. Despite all that, this lane-based CCG was doing the all-digital card game even before Hearthstone popped up on the scene (though the two were pretty close to each other), and for a time doing it well. Alas, it was not to last because as Justin Gary, the game's creator and lead designer, has just announced, Solforge is pulling the plug on the servers on January 31st. While I know many of you won't care about one of the many mobile CCGs biting the dust, Solforge was really fun, with some really cool design ideas and some crazy - in a good way - cards...

We knew from last week that Blizzard was going to celebrate Diablo's 20th anniversary in all its games, and today the Dark Wanderer has made his appearance as this week's Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl.. First of all, this Brawl feels more like an Adventure since it's a one player affair. You get to create a deck and then take on the hooded stranger holding a grim deck in his hands. The Dark Wanderer starts the game with 3 secrets already played and the Hero Power Diabolical Powers that summons a random Imp. The secrets aren't your usual fare, so expect to see all kinds of weirdness happening (you can check out all the secrets here). And since he gets to summon Imps, the Dark Wanderer also brings many Warlock buffing cards to the table, so don't let those Imps survive for too many turns or you'll get nasty surprises...

Best of 2016 Videos, Meta Issues, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #79

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...

Card games like Clash Royale [Free] always face the challenge of providing a kind of satisfactory end game beyond the never-ending grind of leveling up or, in the case of Clash Royale, making it to yet another Arena. Well, according to this reddit post by a member of the developer team, the team has been thinking of ways to solve the "end game" of Clash Royale that goes beyond just adding another Arena in a never-ending ladder. After all, it doesn't take much for that kind of ladder to feel like a hamster wheel. He doesn't offer any hints on how that end game might look like, and, to be honest, it's hard to imagine how it could be. Still, I think most players will be glad to know the developers are trying to figure out how the game should "end."..

Clash Royale [Free] is getting ready to welcome another unit to the game just before 2016 finally says goodbye to us all, and that unit is the Legendary Electro Wizard. This 4 Elixir card enters the Arena with a zap that takes out units below and clears some space for the Electro Wizard to land safely. At Level 1, he has 550 HP, 200 Damage, 117 DPS, 169 Spawn Damage, and 0.5 sec Stun Duration. He can hit both Ground and Air targets, and the most interesting part of his attack is that he can zap two targets at the same time, which you can see in the video below. His two-handed zap ability makes him harder to distract because he can still attack a tower while also taking out a Tesla or Inferno Tower. Add to that his ability to stun what he hits, and you can see why some are worried this new unit might be too overpowered...

Shadowverse [Free] is easily one of the best CCGs on mobile right now, and it has managed to stand apart from the juggernaut that is Hearthstone despite their similarities. Today, Shadowverse's card collection has grown because of the addition of the new expansion called Rise of Bahamut. You can see all the cards from Rise of Bahamut here and either admire or hate the art depending on your taste. I like it personally because it feels different enough from other CCGs I play - although I know there are plenty others that use similar art. The new expansion brings new mechanics to the game, such as Enchance and Clash, and should entertain the game's players quite a bit...

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