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Year of the Mammoth: Six Cards Leaving Classic

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Blizzard have announced that the next Hearthstone year will be called The Year of the Mammoth. Six cards from the Classic set will be moved to a new Hall of Fame set, which can only be played in Wild.

The announcement explains that the new Hall of Fame set will include cards that are currently in the Reward set, but the big news here is the six cards that will be leaving Standard. You can see Blizzard's reasons on the link above, but I've given a few notes in this article. Those cards are shown below.

As well as the removed cards, there will be no adventures in 2017. Instead we will be given three full expansions that will be accompanied by a single-player mission, which will be used to enhance flavour, and offer challenges. This sounds like it will be along the lines of an adventure, but optional. I feel this is a great change, as it hurts nobody.

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Azure Drake is simply in too many decks. It is a hard card to nerf without making it weak, but it is pretty much as powerful as a 5-drop can be. Removing this to free up other 5-drops makes sense.

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The reasoning for Sylvanas is similar. Blizzard's words make a lot of sense on this one, and also give an insight into the future:

Blizzard LogoBlizzard

Similar to Azure Drake, it’s hard to see a card at the six mana cost out-value Sylvanas. In addition, Sylvanas has the most powerful Deathrattle effect in the game—as a comparison, the Priest card Mind Control costs 10 mana. We have exciting Deathrattle build-arounds coming soon, and in combination with Sylvanas, they would be too powerful for Standard.

This seems to imply that N'Zoth, the Corruptor will be making a big comeback soon!

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I suspect a lot of people will be glad to see the back of Ragnaros. The Random element was often a contentious issue.

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The removal of Power Overwhelming is a bit of a surprise, but it seems that it has mainly been nerfed because of its strength in combinaton with cards like Leeroy Jenkins and Faceless Manipulator. I would also assume that Warlock is going to be getting some fun new toys to replace it.

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Ice Lance has been removed to remove Freeze Mage and allow new strategies to develop. It is also interesting that Blizzard mention it will allow them to make cards that copy cards. That could also apply to Power Overwhelming, so I would expect something along those lines to be in the next set.

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Conceal leaving will make sense to everyone. It allows Gadgetzan Auctioneer to survive as an interesting card, and removes the annoyance of not being able to interact with your opponent.

 

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WOW! Those removals are insanely important... I'm a little annoyed at removing classics since they previously claimed they would always be a part of standard (which is why I crafted Rag). Actually nervous of what tools they will give control. Since these are mostly (not power overwhelming) finishers or critical value for control decks, and combine that with losing reno and a few other tools, we will see what they have learned and might give us.

Also a really brave choice to scrap adventures but slightly merge them with the expansions.

Addition after reading their article:

"We wanted to allow players to disenchant Classic cards that are being added to the Hall of Fame set for full dust refunds, but then felt that incentivizing players to dust their cool Wild cards was counter to our goal of making Wild awesome.

So instead, we're just going to give you the dust, and you can keep the cards!"

Blizzard... how do you always know how to make me optimistic about huge changes. Since I have max copies (non-golden) of all of these, that's a lot of free dust.

Edited by Laragon
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Hopefully these changes mean that meta will shift to control.

But it's Blizzard, so it's entirely possible these changes are not really justified (I think everyone remembers how they nerfed a bunch of classic cards last year and now nobody plays them).

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8 minutes ago, Esmer said:

Hopefully these changes mean that meta will shift to control.

Not with these switches, it won't! The only of these six cards that can be found in an aggro deck is Power Overwhelming. This hurts midrange and control far more than aggro.

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As a wild player, this barely affects me. It gives me free dust, I get to keep the cards, what's not to like.

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1 minute ago, Keizoku said:

Not with these switches, it won't! The only of these six cards that can be found in an aggro deck is Power Overwhelming. This hurts midrange and control far more than aggro.

Pretty much, but since standard was so fast, a lot of decks had to adapt. Freeze mage is played as the freeze face variant, miracle is played as face deck with pirates and Questing Adventurer. Still, Azure Drake is a big loss for a ton of control and slower midrange decks, and it will affect them heavily I believe.

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Im fucking sad... Blizzard just wants to kill the most decision heavy decks in the game..... Why do you have to kill all the combo decks?

Why do you want to turn hearthstone constructed into a midrange arena?

I dont understand.....

PS : i really hope the new expansion introduces new deck archetypes that are actually interesting to play.

Edited by CodeRazor

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Well, see ya hearthstone, was fun while it lasted.

 

I'm off to play paladins, a game run by a company which actually listens to their players and doesn't take a little under one year to "fix"(I use the term losely) any balance issue the game runs into. Oh, and where the skill involved in playing a hero is actually taken into account when addressing said balance issues.

Edited by JooBatanete

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3 expansions?

A year???

Wow, erm, I hope that 45-60 cards come with each adventure.

That's a lot of money if you want a decently full collection, every year?

I dunno, my son and I already use the same account because we cannot afford 2 decent collections, this could be the nail in the coffin for me/us.

I was pissed enough at starting the game late, getting a fullish collection within a few months and then, oh wild, so all those cards/money are more than half worthless now. Great.

Man. Lesson really learnt this time, actilizard is too much cash cow.

Edited by SuperFly

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2 hours ago, SuperFly said:

3 expansions?

A year???

Wow, erm, I hope that 45-60 cards come with each adventure.

That's a lot of money if you want a decently full collection, every year?

I dunno, my son and I already use the same account because we cannot afford 2 decent collections, this could be the nail in the coffin for me/us.

I was pissed enough at starting the game late, getting a fullish collection within a few months and then, oh wild, so all those cards/money are more than half worthless now. Great.

Man. Lesson really learnt this time, actilizard is too much cash cow.

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here(because believe me when I tell you I do NOT like blizzard's design focus for hearthstone at all, just not in this regard) and tell you that if you genuinely believe blizzard are using hearthstone as a cash cow, you should try playing more games with the f2p model. That might actually be one of the few things they got right in the whole game so far.

There is more than one million ways to make cards easily without spending money(in fact myself, and many others have gone to legend more than once without ever spending money on Hearthstone), but sadly people want the game to not only be accessible, but also easy to achieve stuff, and I would argue that is what ended up killing it's entice for me.

And ironically enough, blizzard isn't even doing a good job of catering into the casuals(which is obviously their focus since the game released). I very much doubt rank 15-20's enjoy playing against face hunters/pirate warriors/secret paladins on every other game. And I would wager that for every person that has ever quit the game because of "uninteractive decks" like miracle rogue or freeze mage there are at least 20 that have for the aforementioned decks.

Yet for some strange reason, deleting decks like these from the game has been their top priority for a bunch of nerf/wild ban waves now. Mysterious isn't it?

Edited by JooBatanete

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sigh.  This is a bad move on Blizzard's part.  I feel this is going to do more bad then good.  I don't like this approach of "We feel its too powerful so we are just going to remove it."  I can see if these were physical cards then yes by all means like Magic: The Gathering has to do but they are not.  Blizzard has the oppertunity to fine tune any of these cards, to change them as they are digital.  You could fix them but thats time and money right?  So instead we just remove them and wait to see what the long term consquences is.  Thats bad.  That is a bad trend to get into. 

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I applaud blizzard on this decision.  Nerfing cards, especially iconic ones like Sylvanas, just feels bad for people who play wild.  Removing them from the rotation is a much more sensible thing (besides if they nerfed them it would basically do the same thing, how many cards has blizzard nerfed and they still see play?  Not many), in my opinion.  Azure Drake is the most ubiquitous 5 drop in the game, probably the most ubiquitous card in the game in terms of just the sheer number of decks it is played in.  The card is both incredibly strong and multi-purposed, to the point that any five drop printed has to be broken strong or incredibly niche to compete.  Sylvanas and Rag are much the same, there power level is so strong and the deck slots for 6+ cost cards are so limited that anything printed has to be stronger then sylvanas and rag, which means they have to be doctor boom levels of broken, which was a card that defined the meta game for quite some time.  As for conceal, this nerf won't kill off miracle rogue, the loss of tomb pillager and azure drake will hurt far more, and blizzard has shown expansion after expansion that they will support the archtype.  Miracle rogue has been nerfed time and time again and each time it was "the end of miracle rogue", deck is still around and still strong and will most likely remain as such.  Ice lance will pretty much ruin freeze mage, which I don't like much but it does go against blizzards design philosophy (as well as being one of the most consistently complained about decks that has ever existed by the community), so I won't defend it but I will say that I understand it.  As for power overwhelming, it has created multiple degenerate combo's over the years on top of being one of the cards that makes zoo incredibly oppressive when it is strong (which is honestly fairly often).

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I think these changes and removals have to be good for the game.  I have been thinking for a while now that the new sets are having less and less impact on the game (with a few exceptions) because for the pro/top players it is too easy to take a current core deck, and tweak it here and there with a couple of new cards, job done.

Azure drake is everywhere, and so is Rag, taking these cards out will mean people with have to have a good think about the core build of decks, think how many have 2 x drake and rag in ....

That and the changes to the ladder make me a happy bunny!

Exciting times and I guess Mammoth = Un Goro :-)

On a synical note, 3 xpacs a year = a shed load more money for Blizz!  An adventure gets you the cards guaranteed, packs = more dosh!

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I have 2 copies of Ice Lance and 2 golden copies of Ice Lance. Do I have to dust the non-goldens to get 100 dust at rotation or will Blizzard automatically allocate to the highest value cards?

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14 hours ago, SuperFly said:

Wow, erm, I hope that 45-60 cards come with each adventure.

I believe ~140 cards were confirmed.

14 hours ago, SuperFly said:

oh wild, so all those cards/money are more than half worthless now. Great.

But that's where you were wrong when you dismissed wild too fast. Wild is a fantastic place, and it will take quite some time to be completely out of hand. I would even say that Wild is more balanced than standard at this moment.

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4 hours ago, positiv2 said:

I believe ~140 cards were confirmed.

But that's where you were wrong when you dismissed wild too fast. Wild is a fantastic place, and it will take quite some time to be completely out of hand. I would even say that Wild is more balanced than standard at this moment.

 

Yes, I hope 45 to 60 cards are free from the adventure aspect of the expansions.

Its suddenly gone from 1.5 expansions a year to 3. Yes that is also 1.5 adventures less, but that is 1.5 adventures worth of cards for only the cost of 1.5 of an adventure a year.

It's going to cost a bomb to keep a mainly full collection now and it was not cheap to start with!


I've not dismissed wild and I enjoy playing wild, what I said was, when wild came loads of cards because 'half worthless'.

I'ld rather have seen old cards balanced, or new cards of the same power level and there be only standard, with no wild, where all cards are in play, but with some great thought into making ranking up exciting for all.

...

Idk, if we want to carry on, it is going to cost us more unless they change the pricing... it's really annoying, if the game was half price my son and I would have two decent collections and spent the same money. Now they want more money... I'm not sure we can afford that any more, like, roof over head and food in belly is more important.

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Freeze mage and miracle rogue after centuries got dealt with, wondering why they took so long to remove them.

PO wasn't that strong paladin has +3 atk for 1 mana that not make the card even die, and was used for combo with many warlock cards like shadowflame as board clear, trade or finisher in control, they coulda keep it honestly since warlock isn't played aggro against all the pirate trash running around. And Warlock has no removals under 3 mana shadow bolt (Soulfire is useless outside aggro decks if you discard a Reno is auto concede).

Drake is the most popular card in the game and alongside Thalnos is pratically everywhere no aggro.

I don't know why they kept Thalnos that is pratically identical to drake tho.

Sylvanas was good when N'zoth come out but nowadays in pirate meta nobody plays her outside of Renos maybe in future coulda be stronger who knows. In a deathrattle deck you replace her with Cairne and there is close to no difference because you rarely steal better than a 4/5 , Warlock can't shadowflame her anymore to board clear seems the biggest deal with her.The blizzard guy compared to MC but seems he doesn't play the game much because to steal anything with sylvanas she has to die and for example in priest making her die cost 3 mana so is 6+3 to mimic a MC you save only 1 mana and lose a shadow word death, if you suicide her on a 5/5 she isn't better than a magma rager and she steals nothing, if enemy has no board she steals nothing and so on.To get value from sylvanas she has to die during your turn because your opponent will give you usually nothing when she die on his turn.

Rag is clearly the strongest 8 drop and played in all Reno decks of sort that are the only control you see around.

The removals from stardard seems good hope in more variety of decks in 2017 and stop of the pirate meta trash that last expansion generated with shitloads of face cancers.

In conclusion for me:

Good Removals: Ice Lance, Conceal, Azure Drake, Ragnaros

Bad Removals: Sylvanas, Power Overwelming

 

PS: When they will nerf the damn Fiery War Axe that is disgustingly broken in every way you look at it?

 

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15 minutes ago, Hanz39 said:

I don't know why they kept Thalnos that is pratically identical to drake tho.

Bloodmage Thalnos is quite easy to replace. Removing Bloodmage Thalnos would not be as impactful as Azure Drake.

19 minutes ago, Hanz39 said:

In a deathrattle deck you replace her with Cairne and there is close to no difference because you rarely steal better than a 4/5

That's true, you will not get Chillwind Yeti value from Sylvanas Windrunner that often, but the power of Sylvanas Windrunner isn't only in generating board presence for you, but also reducing your opponent's board value - you gain much more tempo than with Cairne Bloodhoof.

21 minutes ago, Hanz39 said:

The blizzard guy compared to MC but seems he doesn't play the game much because to steal anything with sylvanas she has to die and for example in priest making her die cost 3 mana so is 6+3 to mimic a MC you save only 1 mana and lose a shadow word death

As I said previously, if you steal a minion, your opponent loses that minion. Say, if Sylvanas Windrunner died to a 5-drop (killing it in the process) and stole a 2-cost minion, you gain 5 mana value from the minion killed, 2 mana value from the minion you gain, but also 2 mana value you get from removing the minion.

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If Blizzard goes through with these changes, Standard is going to be even less appealing to me now than it's ever been.

It's bad enough that Hearthstone has become a P2W landscape with the introduction and restrictions of Standard format, but now the issue of Standard only having 3 or 4 commonly played decks is only going to get worse now that so many core cards are getting removed and from a set that was previously established as being safe from changes.

The reason that only 3 deck archetypes are being played right now is because you keep banning and nerfing cards that were commonplace until only a couple of the newest cards have any appeal left, Blizzard. It won't mean anything by next year or even next expansion because players will find some new broken cards and combos to replace those lost, and you just can't keep performing historical revisionism on cards that you don't like because soon enough we'll have nothing but a single deck type used by only one or two classes that people will want to play anymore.

That defeats your vision of having Standard out as a format where things are always fresh. It's creating more stagnation than it is encouraging change.

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I kind of want to summarise the changes as "money money money".

Removing standard cards could be considered balancing but have they really been watching the meta?  Okay I accept Azure drake is prominent (so nerf make it 3/3 or remove spell damage) but otherwise none of the other hall of fame cards are used in more than one deck in the top 20 decks according to Tempo Storm and believe me since crafting Sylvanas I have used her much at all.  I think removing power cards from classic is just to reduce classic to a swamp of mediocrity, I suspect the ideal situation for Blizzard is to make it impossible to play any worthwhile decks with spending $$$ of money buying cards but still retaining the illusion of FTP 

If that the above being money related is arguable then adventures being removed is more obvious, consider the Adventure income model, 1) release adventure 2) people pay fix amount 3) players have all the cards, compare that against expansions 1) Release expansion 2) players buy packs 3) player don't get all the cards they want 4) buy more packs 5) play for a while meta shifts, dont have the right card for new deck 5) buy more cards... steadier stream of income.

 

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4 hours ago, Occultus3 said:

I kind of want to summarise the changes as "money money money".

Removing standard cards could be considered balancing but have they really been watching the meta?  Okay I accept Azure drake is prominent (so nerf make it 3/3 or remove spell damage) but otherwise none of the other hall of fame cards are used in more than one deck in the top 20 decks according to Tempo Storm and believe me since crafting Sylvanas I have used her much at all.  I think removing power cards from classic is just to reduce classic to a swamp of mediocrity, I suspect the ideal situation for Blizzard is to make it impossible to play any worthwhile decks with spending $$$ of money buying cards but still retaining the illusion of FTP 

If that the above being money related is arguable then adventures being removed is more obvious, consider the Adventure income model, 1) release adventure 2) people pay fix amount 3) players have all the cards, compare that against expansions 1) Release expansion 2) players buy packs 3) player don't get all the cards they want 4) buy more packs 5) play for a while meta shifts, dont have the right card for new deck 5) buy more cards... steadier stream of income.

 

Well, on the other hand making adventures requires lots of money to be invested by Blizzard. Creating new cards alone requires investments. There is no such thing as free lunch...

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On 18/02/2017 at 10:50 PM, LandKelvin said:

Well, on the other hand making adventures requires lots of money to be invested by Blizzard. Creating new cards alone requires investments. There is no such thing as free lunch...

Oh poor blizzard having to spend some of the almost $400 million dollars they got from hearthstone last year on content, poor things.
  
We should go to 4 expansions a year and double pack costs, maybe we could get an extra voice actor in this year...

Edited by SuperFly
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On a slightly different note ...

If I want to continue playing Wild, and don't have all of the above cards yet, now would be the time to craft them, in gold even, correct?

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13 minutes ago, Kobal said:

On a slightly different note ...

If I want to continue playing Wild, and don't have all of the above cards yet, now would be the time to craft them, in gold even, correct?

Absolutely. Now, what I don't know is whether you get dust for both golden and normal card(s) if you have both, or only from the golden one. If it's the former, I just closed the best trade deal with Mexico got a ton of free dust and golden animations. If it's the latter, I just lost about 4k dust. So, until it is clear which is true (though I might have missed the information), I would refrain from crafting golden cards that you have without gold as well. Crafting golden cards that you do not have normal is a good deal though, unless you are going to need the dust until march/april.

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