Mike Donais on Malygos, Mind Blast, Single Player Content & More

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Mike Donais talked to PC Gamer and Shack News about the Year of the Dragon, revealing which cards were also considered for the Hall of Fame, who Zayle, Shadow Cloak is and that the three 2019 expansions will tell a complete story.

The PC Gamer piece covers more or less all the new features coming with the Year of the Dragon, along with the occasional comment from Hearthstone's Principal Game Designer. Here are the most interesting tidbits of information, with emphasis on the solo PvE content:

  • Malygos wasn't rotated out of Standard, because people keep making new decks with him. These decks aren't necessarily too successful, usually hovering around 40% winrate. Gadgetzan Auctioneer has also contributed in the creation of several archetypes and that's why he was also spared.
  • On the smart deck builder, if you have an incomplete deck and you miss some key cards, the game will offer you the best alternatives based on the cards you have and their respective winrates. It can also build the best deck it can find in its database out of a single signature card you put in the deck.
  • The first single-player Adventure of the year will become available in May, with its following wings being unlocked subsequently each week. The mode still feels very close to the deck-building style of Monster Hunt and Dungeon Run, with a small taste of Puzzle Labs here and there.
  • The journalist from PC Gamer played with a Paladin deck that can use its regular Hero Power, but you can also unlock one that adds two Silver Hand Recruits in your hand or another one that grants a minion Divine Shield. Each Hero Power had a different starting deck.
  • There's also a hint about a card that can pop out Legendary minions on the board.
  • The "non-combat encounters" take place between boss battles in a tavern setting. Four opposing minions vs four minions from your deck. You can recruit or discover new minions for your deck, dismiss cards you don't like or gain beneficial effects like spell reduction costs.
  • Anomaly Mode unlocks when you clear a wing. There are several random effects than can be applied to your run. There was one that made all minions gain +1/+1 each turn and another where players took increasing amounts of damage at the start of each turn.
  • Zayle, Shadow Cloak is a reward for completing all five wings of the new PvE content and he's basically thew new Whizbang the Wonderful. He offers five new deck recipes and he's Golden, so the decks are Golden too.
  • The Year of the Dragon’s three expansions will form a complete narrative cycle, rather than each expansion being thematically self-contained. [for our theories, check out this article]

The Shack News interview focused more on why Malygos and Mind Blast weren't rotated out of Standard, even though they are under scrutiny:

  • Donais repeated that although Malygos has been a candidate for the Hall of Fame multiple times, ultimately he is important because of all the new decks he creates.
  • Mind Blast is on Team 5's list because it doesn't match Priest class identity. Priests aren't supposed to be the face damage class. They expect things will get better with Shadow Visions rotating out of Standard and just like Malygos, Mind Blast has also created various Priest archetypes.
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I find blizzard very very inconsistent in they choice. Expecially when they talk about class identity.

For example:

Warrior class identity should contain weapons, as while other class can use them, the warrior is the master of weapon fight. So why the Warrior has the worst (3) mana weapon in the game?
Druid was based on ramping with lots of high cost overstatted minion. What is left now that ramp has been nerfed into oblivion?

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