Even as I start to write out this post, I can’t quite believe a whole year has passed; more specifically a whole year for Hearthstone since it implemented the Standard format – a change many players were pleased to witness; with myself included. As the year of the Kraken slowly starts to come to an end, it’s been revealed that the year of the Mammoth will be receiving a number of changes; some small and some really REALLY big!
One of the first major changes to the year of the Mammoth comes along with the obvious rotating out of some of the previous sets.
The sets that are going to be rotated out are:
- Black rock Mountain
- The Grand Tournament
- League of Explorers
What this means for the player-base is that Reno decks are now going to be a thing of the past, at least for the Standard format. Reno decks have been one of the deck archetypes that have been common on the ladder as of late, so for many players who focus solely on the Standard format that will be a heavy loss.
Speaking of heavy losses, there are 6 cards that are part of the classic set; yet are going to be removed from Standard due to just how dominating they are when it comes to deck-building. These cards are being moved to something called The Hall of Fame because of just how popular they’ve been throughout the life of Hearthstone.
Here are the 6 Hall of Fame cards being moved to Wild:
- Ice Lance
- Power Overwhelming
- Azure Drake
- Sylvanas Windrunner
- Ragnaros the Firelord
Not everyone is completely thrilled with these changes, but I can understand why Blizzard have made the decision. Their reasoning is that these cards influence certain deck archetypes and can ultimately hinder new card design, especially when you consider that Azure Drake is one of the most played 5-drops in the game, so why in the world would you ever want to replace it for something else?! It’s this philosophy that warrants this sort of change!
On top of these changes there’s also a new system for Ranked play to avoid “rank-scumming” – a workaround where people stay low ranked on the ladder to get easier wins against newer players to acquire their golden hero quicker. Not only that, but the change is to limit the sensation of “rank-anxiety” – a feeling you get that makes you want to avoid playing in ranked, as even the idea of losing makes you feel anxious; let alone the actual loss.
The way this new system works is that through intervals of 5: 20-15, 15-10, 10-5, 5-Legend. The very moment you hit the next interval of 5, you get locked in and can no longer go back down any more ranks until the season restarts!
To end things for the Year of the Mammoth we’ve got 3 new expansions coming out through the year. Unfortunately there are no more Adventure wings coming out this year, but to combat this Blizzard are rolling both Adventure’s and Expansions into one so players get the best of both worlds.
We know that with the first expansion of the year – Journey to Un’Goro – that we’ve got an adventure brimming with elementals and dinosaurs, but we won’t know what cards are specifically in the set until it is finally released or leaked; whichever comes first.
Year of the Mammoth looks to improve a number of problems that Hearthstone has found itself with over the past couple of years. There’s only so much these changes can fix, but in comparison to the Year of the Kraken, I think the Year of the Mammoth will be a considerable improvement to the game as a whole.