Hello and welcome to one of the most important weeks in the history of Hearthstone (Free). In case you’ve been in suspended animation for the last few months, let me quickly bring you up to speed. Tomorrow, April 26th, we are getting the next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, along with the shift to Standard and Wild Mode. In other words, from this week onward Hearthstone will play very differently than it did before. So, as you can imagine all the news this week is about the upcoming expansion, the shift to standard, and the nerfs Blizzard announced to balance out some older, powerful cards and bring them at the same level as the ones about to be released. And, of course, there are many videos both entertaining ones and ones with pros reacting to the upcoming expansion and the announced nerfs. Before we start, I wanted once more to thank everyone reading this column every week and hope you continue finding it useful and fun.
Blizzard Announces Whispers of the Old Gods and Standard Coming April 26th
Finally, we now have the official release date for Whispers of the Old Gods, although we all knew about it weeks ago. Ben Brode and the rest of the gang announced that April 26th (which is tomorrow if you’re reading this column on the day it comes out) is the date the Old Gods will take over the Tavern. As you can imagine, everyone’s very excited about that (including me) since the Old Gods’ foul breaths should, well, freshen up the game by rotating out many of the overpowered cards Blizzard created before it realized that you can’t simply keep on raising the power level indefinitely. Starting on the 26th, then, you’ll be able to open those 50 packs if you’ve bought them (I have, and I’ll be opening them on our Mobcrush channel) as well as open the three free packs Blizzard will give us. Go here to check out the story.
How to Prepare for Standard and Wild Modes
Since Standard is coming tomorrow, April, 26th, you still have a day or so to prepare as well as you can for the change. That’s why we wrote a story on TouchArcade to help you get ready. In that story we talk about what cards you should and shouldn’t craft/dust, what to do if you still want to have access to the Curse of Naxxramas Adventure, what packs to buy, and more. Check out the full story here.
Blizzard has Revealed all 134 Whispers of the Old Gods Cards
After spoiling WoG cards for weeks, Blizzard decided to reveal them all in preparation for the expansion’s release. Now we can check out all 134 cards and start making plans on how to deckbuild our way to greatness – or slightly above mediocrity. There were some very fun new cards revealed like the new Druid Legendary, Fandral Staghelm, that triggers both Choose One effects and creates a new card altogether. While it’s a bit too tricky to work, it’s still a fun new mechanic. There’s also the neutral taunt Legendary, Emperor Vek’tor, which summons a copy of itself if your C’Thun has more than 10 attack. This one will probably see plenty of play. You can check out all 134 cards here. Which ones are your favorite so far?
Ben Brode and Frodan Show Off the New Expansion
If you want to see the new cards in action and don’t want to wait until April 26th, check out this stream from a few days ago where Brode and Frodan played a few matches using many of the new cards – and revealing some new ones along the way. We even got to see the craziness that is Yogg-Saron and all the crazy fun RNG moments it’s going to bring to the game. Check out the stream below.
How to Get 13 Free WoG Card Packs
During the recent Live Stream, Brode revealed how players will be able to get 13 free WoG packs, a move aimed at drawing in new players and helping older players play more of the new cards early. In order to get those packs, you’ll have to log in during the release event to get three packs that include a guaranteed C’Thun and two other cards (cultists) that buff C’Thun. Then, there will be a quest that gives you five free packs after winning 2 Standard games, and then when you win 7 more Standard games, you’ll get 5 more packs. What this means for you is you can get 13 WoG packs simply by playing the game and completing quests. Not a bad way to get players into the Standard mode.
The Nerfs have been Announced
After waiting for weeks to learn the luck of many of the game’s super cards, we finally found out which cards will remain viable and which ones will soon be dusted. Blizzard’s principle in going about these nerfs was to ensure that new card releases have impact on Standard and enrich Wild, in other words to ensure that new cards released will find a place in the meta. The class impacted the most was, unsurprisingly, Druid, a class that’s dominated the meta in recent months partly because of the Force/Roar combo that decimated opponents even without any minions on the board. Blizzard decided to nerf Force of Nature, removing the Charge ability of the Treants but also letting them stick around after the turn the card’s played. The card also got cheaper by one mana. Keeper of the Grove also got much weaker by becoming a 2/2 instead of a 2/4, and Ancient of Lore will now give one card rather than two.
Ironbeak Owl will now cost 3 instead of 2 in an attempt to make Silence more expensive and not so ubiquitous. Big Game Hunter, the card everyone was wondering about, will still have all the beasts in its sight but at a cost of 5 mana rather than 3. Blade Flurry was decimated by now costing 4 instead of 2 and not being able to damage the opponent’s hero anymore, a change that many feel has made the card useless. Knife Juggler kept his ability and mana cost but lost one attack, down to 2/2 over 3/2, the same nerf as Leper Gnome. Molten Giant saw a 5 mana cost increase, which will make him much more of a risk to play. There were a few more nerfs, and you can read them all here as well as check out many pros reactions in the Videos section. You can also check our own story on the nerfs here.
Amnesiac, Greensheep, Powder, and Thijs React to the Nerfs
As was to be expected, many pros have reacted to Blizzard’s nerf decisions, and this story includes reactions from some of the biggest names in the game. Powder sees the changes as excessive while Amnesiac felt that the changes aren’t that excessive and understands how for instance Blade Flurry was limiting design space for the developers. Greensheep wasn’t crazy about Blizzard nerfing silences since it limits counterplay potential, and he guesses Blizzard is trying to slow down the meta and limit aggro, but Keeper of the Grove and Owl nerfs don’t help with that plan.
When it comes to the Druid nerfs, most of the pros agreed that the Nerfs were fine and will make the class easier to play against and tone down some of its over-aggressiveness. Thijs, though, thought the redesigns went too far. The BGH nerf is seen as acceptable and it makes sense to make the card situational rather than an auto-include. There are many more comments on the nerfs, so go here to check them out.
Which Nerfed Cards Will Still be Playable?
This PC Gamer article goes into each of the nerfed cards and talks about whether they will still be playable once Standard hits. The writer sees Ancient of Lore as still playable, especially with many healing cards leaving Standard, Force of Nature will probably fall out of play since at 2 health it’s too susceptible to AOE spells, Keeper of the Grove and Ironbeak Owl will probably be replaced by Spellbreaker, BGH will still see play even if seriously nerfed, and Blade Flurry is dead on delivery unless we see some new Rogue weapon-related cards down the road. Go here if you want to check out the rest of the story.
Which Decks Might be Strong After the Arrival of the Old Gods
GosuGamers put together a group editorial discussing which decks they think will be strong once the new expansion hits. Both Midrange and Control Shaman got a vote of confidence mainly based on new cards like Master of Evolution and Things from Below that are “kings of value" when it comes to midrange builds. And with the help of the new Legendary, Hallazeal the Ascended, Shaman gets the burst it needed. As for its Control version, Shaman profits greatly from the recent nerfs and should be able to be quite strong – provided you can actually decide which 30 cards to pick since Shaman now has the problem of having too many good cards.
Aggro Paladin and Token Paladin also got a vote each, with Aggro losing a few weapons but having the ability to perhaps replace them while Token Paladin has a strong collection of divine shield-centric cards that synergize well. The writer believes that this deck might quickly rise to become a Tier 1. The C’Thun Druid could also be a strong deck in the near future because C’Thun with his supporting cards and a few strong support cards could be quite strong and quite easy to pilot. Since ramp Druid tools didn’t get nerfed, the deck should be able to work well. And, finally, Tempo Mage should also be a strong one by dropping Secrets and going for a more minion-based build. What do you think? Will these be the decks to shine through the WoG meta?
Whispers of the Old Gods Patch (but not the Expansion) is Live
In preparation of the new expansion, Blizzard’s released the latest patch that prepares the client for the Old Gods. The patch has updated the Friendly Challenge menu to allow you to challenge friends to Standard, Wild, or Tavern Brawl games, the Collection Manager’s Set Filter has been updated, some Deck Recipes have been updated for WoG cards, three new card backs have been added for May, June, and July seasons, and the “Sorry" emote has been replaced with a “Wow" emote (appropriate for so many reasons).
In a very important change, the guaranteed pack from Arena Runs will now always be from the most recently released expansion, and you’ll also be slightly more likely to receive a second card pack from a different Standard set. And, of course, the nerfs are now in place, which means you can disenchant any of those affected non-Basic cards for full dust value. But this will only be for a limited time, so keep that in mind. Check out the full patch notes here.
Krippp’s Best WoG New & Old Cards
Trump’s Reaction to Nerfs
Kripp’s Reaction to Nerfs
Kolento’s Reactions to Nerfs
Kripp’s WoG Review #6
Amaz Reacts to Card Nerfs
StrifeCro on Why You Should Be Excited for Standard
Reasons to Play Whispers of the Old Gods
Best Moments #46
Funny and Lucky Moments #161
Best of Golden Monkey
Epic Plays #108
Ben Brode’s Laughs in Old Gods Livestream
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 our guides.