Hearthstone has been in an interesting place for a while now as a CCG. It’s safe to say its incredible popularity has surprised everyone, but with any game that involves collecting things to play, even ridiculously popular games can begin to ask too much of new players. It’s a problem that’s been solved by other CCG’s, through having a “standard" pool of cards which only includes the most recent sets. It’s not that crazy in a digital CCG like Hearthstone that’s only been around for a few years, but imagine if Magic the Gathering players needed to worry about owning cards that span across the multiple decades of the life of the game. That’s nuts, and similar logic grounded the Hearthstone team when they too decided to implement card rotation.
Next Tuesday when the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion launches, Standard and Wild will become a thing. Standard drops Goblins vs Gnomes and Naxxramas cards from its card pool, meanwhile, Wild features every card ever released. Both play modes will have their own ranked ladders and matchmaking queues, so it’s really up to you which one you get involved in. The weird part about the way Hearthstone is handling their standard is through making the basic and classic card sets “evergreen." This means even if you come back to the game two years from now and most of the cards you’ve got have rotated out of standard, you’ll still have the basic and classic cards to play with.
The problem with that is when those card sets were designed, this idea of evergreen sets and card rotation hadn’t even entered anyone’s mind yet. One of the larger goals of implementing standard is having a better design space for cards, so Blizzard has gone through and retuned a whole lot of these old cards, focused through the lens of a “these cards will be around forever, so let’s make sure they’re not limiting us in any way" mindset.
This morning, Blizzard announced those changes, and while things might seem a little rough with so many things shifting around, it really seems like this will be great for the future of the game. We’re not (hopefully) going to run into another Patron Warrior situation, as preventing that sort of thing is exactly the point of this nerf pass. Most of the changes seem to be centralized around increasing mana costs and removing charge, but here and there some additional tweaks were made. Definitely head over to the full listing to take a look.
Here’s the basic summary, courtesy of /u/bdrago:
- Ancient of Lore – Draw a card (was “Draw 2 cards")
- Force of Nature – Cost: 5 (was 6), Treants no longer have charge.
- Keeper of the Grove – 2/2 (was 2/4)
- Ironbeak Owl – Cost: 3 (was 2)
- Big Game Hunter – Cost: 5 (was 3)
- Hunter’s Mark – Cost: 1 (was 0)
- Blade Flurry – Cost: 4 (was 2), no longer does damage to opponent
- Knife Juggler – 2/2 (was 3/2)
- Leper Gnome – 1/1 (was 2/1)
- Arcane Golem – 4/4 (was 4/2), no longer has charge
- Molten Giant – Cost: 25 (was 20)
- Master of Disguise – Now grants stealth until end of turn only
I’m surprised so few cards got nerfed, but, I guess that’s a good thing!