The “Year of the Kraken” is nearing its end with the release of the first expansion of the “Year of the Mammoth” expected in April. With this new cycle, one expansion (TGT) and two adventures (BRM and LoE) rotate out of Standard. Additionally, six cards from the classic set move to the new “Hall of Fame” set, which will be merged with the “Reward” set (consisting of Captain’s Parrot and Old Murk-Eye at the moment). This post will dig into the expected impact of the rotation and the new releases on the card pools in Standard and Wild play modes.
The Wild card pool is steadily increasing with each new release of cards because so far no cards have been banned from this format. At the end of the Year of the Kraken, we had 1,052 cards available in Wild. With every set of the Year of the Mammoth containing 130+ cards, there will be about 400 more cards at the end of the year resulting in a whopping 1,450 available cards! If the trend continues, we will sit at over 3,000 cards after just five more years. It is no surprise that Blizzard is paying more attention to Wild because this format has a lot of opportunities to shine.
One other fact, that will make Wild more alluding than lat year is that the difference is to Standard will be much bigger with five sets exclusive to Wild rather than two in the Year of the Kraken. This will result in a more special feeling when playing Wild.
Year of the Kraken. The main tournament format saw a decrease in available cards for the first time at the beginning of the Year of the Kraken dropping from 741 to 720 cards. At that time, 153 cards from Curse of Naxxramas (30) and Goblins vs. Gnomes (123) rotated out of the format while only 134 Whispers of the Old Gods cards were added. Over the course of 2016, the size increased once more with One Night in Kharazan (45) and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan (132) to an all-time high of 897.
Year of the Mammoth. When the Year of the Mammoth begins, a new still unknown set will be added to the pool while this time three sets, two adventures and one expansion, will leave. Therefore, the card pool will decrease once more but not as profound as one may expect. In total, we will only lose the equivalent of the two adventures: Blackrock Mountain (31) and League of Explorers (45) with a combined total of 76 cards. Atop, six cards move to the newly created Hall of Fame resulting in 82 cards rotating out of Standard. The leaving of The Grand Tournament (132) will most likely be covered 100% by the new Year of the Mammoth Expansion 1 (132?). Summing it all up, we start the year with 815 cards, 95 more than the at the beginning of the last cycle. We will end the Year of the Mammoth with around 1080 cards which are around 180 more than at the end of the Year of the Kraken. I hope this will result in even more diverse gameplay and an overall higher number of competitively playable decks.