We are one week closer to the introduction of Standard and Wild in Hearthstone (Free), and everyone is looking to the future. Similarly to last week’s news, this week’s were also on the thin side since everyone is either talking about the upcoming format changes or silently waiting for those changes. Pro players have stopped trying to innovate, since all the decks are living on borrowed time, and the community in general knows that even those cards that will remain in Standard will feel and play very differently after GVG and Naxx are gently removed from the card pool. The meta is also on the stale side with the usual suspects still at Tier 1, another reason why we need Standard to come as soon as possible.
We did have some tournaments, with the Curse Trials being the most important because for the first time a tournament tried to emulate how the Standard will feel (minus the upcoming nerfs). So yes, everyone, including me, is waiting for Standard and Wild to hit so the game can feel fresh again, but until then, here are the news of the week.
New Cards Give Life to Old Cards
Mike Donais has recently talked about how some cards will often look like they aren’t viable or relevant, but that’s usually not the case. Donais explains how there are a lot of different types of cards added to each set; sometimes developers will add cards aimed more towards players still amassing collections or players trying to build crazy, fun decks. However, sometimes those cards come back in a fresh new light with future content updates. For example, Reno Jackson did just that since it helped players utilize a wide variety of cards., and Mysterious Challenger helped players utilize barely-used secrets. Donais gives a few more examples of new cards utilizing older ones, so go read the whole article here.
Preparing Hearthstone for the Future
This interesting Hearthead story put some questions to Zeriyah, Hearthstone Community Manager, about the transition to Standard. The team tried to anticipate how the community would react, and made sure to address concerns appropriately. The largest backlash from the community was centered around no longer being able to purchase non-Standard content from the in-game store, both because of not being able to get the cards easily (you can still craft them, of course) and not being able to enjoy the PvE experience of an Adventure like Naxxramas.
Zeriyah says that Blizzard’s focus is making the came accessible, which is why they wanted to ensure they’ll encourage players to stick to Standard until at least their second year. That’s partly why not having Adventures related to Wild will make sense for the game. They might bring those out of the vault in the future, but not sure yet. Zeriyah then said that the content they are developing is very exciting now, so they aren’t afraid that that game will be in a rut when Standard is officially introduced. They believe that many cards from LoE, TGT, and BrM will become much more important when some cards go and some new ones come. Blizzard won’t be forgetting Wild, though, and they plan to make sure it’s an interesting format that’s as balanced as possible. Go here to read the full interview.
Blizzard to Release More Cards per Year to Accommodate Standard Rotation
One of the concern of many players with the upcoming Standard format is that Hearthstone doesn’t have enough cards as it stands now to make up for those sets rotating out. According to Mike Donais, senior designer, Blizzard aims to move away from its one expansion – one adventure schedule and towards two expansions (one at the start and one at the end of the year) with an adventure coming out somewhere in between. The expansions will also be bigger than the ones we’ve been getting so far in an attempt to gradually create a bigger number of cards that will in turn allow for Blizzard to rotate cards out without the field becoming predictable.
Best Decks of the Week
If you want some quality netdecking, check out this HeartHead story to see both community and pro decklists. The decks range from Dragon Warrior and Demon Zoolock to Fr0zen’s #1 Legend Tempo Mage and Kolento’s Brann Zoolock. Check the whole list here.
Ben Brode has Started Streaming, and you Should Watch
This week, Brode has joined the ranks of Hearthstone streamers, using his F2P account to check out the new player experience while also having fun. Watching him play is fun both because he’s pretty good but also because he’s always been the most entertaining of the Hearthstone developers. Make sure you check out his Twitch channel from now on.
Hearthstone Old School Style
Ever wondered how Hearthstone would look played as an old-school game? YouTube user Roflstone was curious too, so he decided to create a video of Hearthstone as it would run on an 8-bit console, and the result is glorious. Check out the video below.
ThijsNL Wins The Curse Trials
In this interesting tournament where GvG and Naxx cards were banned (in an attempt to simulate Standard minus the nerfs), ThijsNL came out on top, taking his fourth tournament gold. ThijsNL had to go through the loser’s bracket to qualify for the playoffs, and had to beat Lifecoach and Ostaka before beating Savjz in the final. As you can tell, not an easy walk to the prize. If you want to check out the VODs from The Curse Trials, go here.
The Trials gave us a peek into the future of Hearthstone, although the lack of nerfs definitely make that peek distorted. Druid showed how strong is can be even without GvG and Naxx cards, and there was only one Hunter, one Paladin, one Paladin, and only two Mages. If you want to see an analysis of all the matches, go here.
European Winter Preliminaries Had Many Surprises
The EU Winter Preliminaries definitely had many surprises for us since none of the big names managed to qualify. 151 players attended 20 different locations in Europe, with the double elimination bracket scheduled to determine the eight who would fly to LA to fight for the title of King of Europe. Names like Kolento, Xixo, Ostkaka, Rdu, Thijs, Powder, SuperJJ, and Gaara were all seeded but none mane it through; instead, the final eight are either up and coming players or complete unknowns. The players that made it through are DrHippi, Tars, Pokrovac, Cereza, Nicslay, BunnyHoppor, Diggen, and Naiman.
If you want to check out all the decks (like BunnyHoppor’s Druid, Zoo, and Patron), you can go here. This is an interesting group of decklists because while many of the decks look fairly standard, there are also some unusual tech choices. Next month will get to see these relative unknowns fight it out for $100,000.
Not much has changed in the meta (as it was to be expected), with Murloc Paladin dropping several spots to the bottom of Tier 2 because of the rise of aggro decks that take it out before the deck can find its combo pieces. Face Hunter has risen a bit, but the deck still cannot compete with Aggro Shaman. Currently there are only three decks in Tier 1 (Midrange Druid, Zoolock, and Secret Paladin), all of which are living on borrowed time. Not much else to say outside of all of us looking forward to the upcoming Standard with increasing impatience. Check out Tempo Storm’s meta here.
Best Moments #31
Funny and Lucky Moments #150
Funny Plays #200
Funny Reynad Stream Moments
Best of Brann Bronzebeard
Best RNG Moments #9
So Many Boom Bots
Epid Animated Legendaries #47
Brann Saves Savjz’s Birthday
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, although with all the changes coming up, we might need to update everything.