Okay, Blizzard, we are all ready. Now, where’s Standard Format? Everyone – including me- is patiently waiting for the new formats to hit, but at least this past week had enough Hearthstone (Free) news to keep us all busy reading (and maybe reading to forget that the meta continues to look pretty much the same ever since the last wing of League of Explorers). There were a few tournaments, articles that talk more about how Hearthstone‘s future might (or should) look like, there are interviews with pros, things players can do to prepare for the upcoming patch, and much more. And, of course, we have some very entertaining videos for you to enjoy. The good news is that we are almost in March, and all signs point to March being the month where Hearthstone leaps into its future. So, not too long to wait now, right Blizzard?
5 Things Hearthstone Could Steal from Magic
This story discusses the 5 things Hearthstone could steal from Magic in addition to what it already has stolen. One of the things it could steal is a deeper lore where the developers could create a sense of narrative tied to the best – or most impressive – cards. Such a move could push players to play unpopular decks or classes. The second thing it could steal is more mechanics that could make minions even more interesting to play. The third is new classes, which could add more complexity to the game, the fourth new formats, which would expand the ways to play Hearthstone in directions like co-op play, and, finally, card trading. The last one could help players build decks easier, even though it would take a bite off of Blizzard’s bottom line. If you are a Magic player, do you agree with this article, or are there different ideas you could see “stolen?"
Check Out These Interviews with Gnimsh, Raven, and Thijs
GosuGamers put together three very interesting interviews with Gnimsh, Raven, and Thijs where the players discuss topics like the Standard format and its effect on the pro player community and more. Go here to listen to the interviews, they are quite interesting. It’s always informative to listen to what the people who play the game professionally think about the game’s direction and future.
Standard Format Can’t Get Here Soon Enough
This story talks about how the meta has calcified now with Secret Paladin and Midrange Druid ruling the ladder. It goes on to explain how both of these decks are way too powerful and also not fun to play against. I don’t think many would disagree with the author of this article since we’ve all had to deal with those two decks, and unless you’re the one playing them, they aren’t fun to face at all. Go here to read the whole story.
How Aggro Shaman Shocked Everyone
Aggro Shaman came pretty much out of nowhere, didn’t it? This story talks about how when League of Explorers hit, Shaman got some much needed cards that helped the deck finally have a viable archetype. With a card like Tunnel Trogg, many Overload cards suddenly became a viable part of a strong deck, and that surprised many. Go here if you want to read more about the deck.
Ben Brode on How Hearthstone is Getting its Own Identity
When the name of your game includes a mention to another game, it’s hard to claim your own identity, and that was the issue with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft during the first part of its life. Everything about the game initially referenced World of Warcraft, and it wasn’t until Goblins vs Gnomes that the game started claiming its own identity. In this interview with The Daily Dot, Ben Brode talks about how the game got its own identity. Initially, it was out of necessity because the Warcraft universe couldn’t give them the various mechanical minions they needed for GvG. LoE was the first time the developers fully embraced the creative freedom of going with the silly side of Warcraft, and it mostly started with Sir Finley. Read the whole interview here.
Five Things to Do do Prepare for the Next Patch
As this story by HeartHead points out, the next patch to hit the game will be the big one since it should introduce the upcoming format changes. The writer gives some advice about preparing for the patch, and the first one is to buy the first wing of Naxxramas. With the adventure going away after the patch hits, if you buy even one wing, you’ll be able to continue playing the adventure (and getting those sweet cards) even after the patch hits. The second thing to do is buy Classic packs. When the patch hits, the team will make a balance pass on the Basic and Classic sets, and if you own any of those cards to be nerfed, you’ll be able to disenchant them for full value, a pretty good trade.
The third thing to do is buy GvG packs if you plan to play Wild since it will be much more expensive trying to craft those cards after the patch hits. The fourth thing to do is know which cards are being cycled out – so you know how the meta will change – and finally, start saving for the next expansion which should hit when Standard is introduced. Check the whole story here.
DreamHack Expands Hearthstone Grand Prix to 4 Events
DreamHack has consistently been one of the top tournaments, and now the organizers are planning to expand it for 2016. This year, the DreamHack Grand Prix circuit will feature four stops at DreamHack events, each of which will host a major open Swiss tournament. The tournament will feature a $27,500 prize pool, around 200 competitors, and will be played out over 3 days. DreamHack will also add extra side events and tournaments for players knocked out of the main contest in the first 2 days. In May we are getting DreamHack Austin, in June DreamHack Summer (in Sweden), in July DreamHack Valencia, and in November DreamHack Winter (in Sweden, again). I like the idea of the side events, and I think they will make the tournaments much more fun for those non-elite players who end up getting knocked out early.
GosuCup SEA returns for the HCT Spring Season
GosuGamers will be partnering with Blizzard again to host GosuCup SEA, the premier open tournaments for the Southeast Asia region. For 8 weeks starting March 6, players not just from SEA but from the entire APAC region will be able to compete for HCT points. The matches will take place every Saturday, there will be a maximum 128 slots per cup, and the format will be single elimination, conquest. Go here for more info on the tournament.
Tavern Tales Swiss Round Decklists
If you want to check out the decks from day one at PGL Tavern Tales, go here. While by the time you read this, the line-ups will have changed, this is still a pretty good resource to give you some deck ideas.
Looking at the Preliminary Winter results, the HearthHead Meta report still shows a Midrange Meta currently, with Midrange Druid, Secret Paladin, Zoo Warlock, Patron Warrior, and Freeze Mage being the strongest and Aggro Druid and Control Priest being good anti-meta decks. At the moment, Druid, Paladin, Warlock, and Mage are the best classes, Warrior, Shaman, and Priest are Neutral, and Rogue and Hunter are unfavorable.
Last week’s Tempo Storm Snapshot celebrated (if briefly) Patron Warrior reentering Tier 1 for the first time since the Warsong Commander nerf. It has positive win rates against Midrange Druid, Zoolock, Freeze Mage, and Tempo Mage with an even match-up against Secret Paladin. Because of the deck’s successes, many players are teching their decks to counter it. Most players will add Harrison Jones and Acidic Ooze to take care of the weapons. Midrange Druid is keeping Renolock in check, but if Patron Warrior continues to rise and Druids decrease as a result, Renolock will be a great choice to ladder with. I went with last week’s Snapshot because this week’s Snapshot is in deep existential crisis as the meta hasn’t changed in forever and all the writers there are anxiously waiting for Standard to hit and the current strong decks to go away for good.
Epic Plays #101
Best of Recombobulator
Top 5 Fails #16
A Mysterious Match
The Story of Angry Chicken
Best of Bane of Doom
How Will Standard Change the Meta
Funny and Lucky Moments #151
Hail Mary Burgle
Funny Plays #201
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.