Introduction 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. Wild 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+

With the Year of the Kraken almost ending Blizzard devoted the last card back of the Hearthstone year to the main theme of it: THE KRAKEN. Colors are very fitting with toned down watery blue and pastel brown dominating this back. The Kraken is rather stylized than obvious and IMHO some moving tentacle would have been even better. Overall a beautiful card back nevertheless.

New patch 7.1.0 is live. Here is a quick overview over the most important changes: Small-Time Buccaneer  is nerfed to 1 health and Spirit Claws’ cost rose to 2 mana Arena will now be played in Standard format and golden cards of your collection show up in this mode Floors at ranks 15, 10 and 5 are introduced which will prevent falling in ranks once these milestones are reached. Finally, Journey to Un’Goro pre-purchase is available. Be sure to save some money on the pre-purchase by using amazon coins. The full blue post can be found here or down below.

This is a guest post by Ville “Old Guardian” Kilkku. He is a multi-season EU legend on Hearthstone who has been playing games since VIC-20 was a thing. You can also find him in these places: Youtube: OldGuardian Twitter: @Old_GuardianHS Twitch: Old_Guardian I have always had a soft spot for dragons in Hearthstone. Dragons are such a defining fantasy race all the way from Tolkien’s Middle Earth to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. Dragons never go out of style! However, Hearthstone’s next Standard rotation will come in spring, and many dragon cards will be moved to Wild. Will dragon decks still exist in Standard after the rotation? Dreams of Dragons In Hearthstone, Dragon decks became viable with the release of The Grand Tournament. I remember opening my pre-order packs hastily so that I could put together a Dragon Priest deck, something people had dreamed of since Blackrock

Yesterday, Ben Brode and Mike Donais participated in the second-ever developer live Q&A. The VOD is available on the official Hearthstone Youtube channel here, but it is over an hour long and oddly quiet. Here is a summary for those who missed the live stream, don’t want to watch the full VOD, and/or couldn’t hear a thing: Generally speaking, the Q&A covered the following topics: Hall of Fame, Future Expansions (and “Missions”), Standard versus Wild, the ladder format, and miscellaneous other topics. Arena was covered in a separate blog post the day after the Q&A, and will be summarized separately. HALL OF FAME The cards that were selected into the Hall of Fame were used very frequently and limited potential design space. More cards were considered (namely, Gadgetzan Auctioneer) and the Hall of Fame will be revisited as needed. Problem cards from the evergreen sets are more likely to be sent

Blizzard just made Tyrande available in Southeast Asia through a new promotion. Players who buy a 40 pack bundle will be granted the alternate Priest hero atop. All details can be seen in the screenshot below. While the above mentioned is exciting, Vicious Syndicate released alarming statistics about Shaman’s dominance on the ladder in their vS Data Reaper Report #35: “27% Overall. Nearly 30% at legend. Nearly 35% at ranks 1-5.” Further and even more interestingly, “the rise in the number of Shamans this week, however, is not attributed to the Aggro archetype; Mid-Jade and slower Control Shaman builds are becoming more popular.” If you take a look at the matchup chart, the best counter to this trend are Anyfin Paladin (hello G2 Esports), Dragon Priest and Reno Warlock. Good thing these are my most famous decks at the moment. This spins the article around to the beginning and shows how

Yesterday, Dean Ayala and Ben Brode broadcasted a Hearthstone Developer Q&A. It was the first one that was not recorded in Ben’s bedroom and later put on youtube but from a studio live at Blizzard. There was a lot of good communication about the state of the game and some information what will come to Hearthstone in the future. They first talked about the state of the game and recent community topics. After that, they took questions from the community and the live audience and answered them on stream. If you like to watch the full VOD, you can do it here or read a (short) summary after the break. Key facts (not a complete transcript): the developer Q&A could become a regular thing to communicate with the players Small-Time Buccaneer is on their watch list Reno Jackson will move to Wild and will not be an evergreen; other heals

December Season is over more than ten days and rankings are out. I modified the original post in the blue post box in the way that there both regions linked, just hit your desired one in the last sentence. China and Asia were not available at the time this article was published.

Hello everyone, we have to catch up on news a bit and we will start off with the announcement of the Developer Insights Q&A stream that will happen January 13 at 9:00am PST on Twitch. I think this was necessary after all the “new player experience” discussion and the Reddit rant following the announcement that there will be more cards from the Classic/Basic set rotating with the next released expansion/adventure this spring. If you have not followed the events, there is a nice summary in this article. The announcement can be found directly below. It’s getting hot in here – and outside as well! Blizzard announced to leave their grounds and they will hold the HCT Winter Championship of this year’s HCT on the Bahamas! Read all the details in the blue post below!

Introduction Accumulating card advantage is one of the most powerful game mechanics in Hearthstone and other card games. Increasing your hand size is achieved by either drawing cards from your deck or generating new ones from outside of your 30 card composition. In comparison to other TCG, Hearthstone has moderate cost for card advantage effects. Adding up the consistent mana gain each turn in contrast to other CCGs like Magic the Gathering, card advantage proofs to be even more powerful. More cards result in more possibilities to answer your opponent and/or more damage you can dish out. In the past, outside of alpha and beta, cards that gained card advantage were the second biggest focus of nerfs. Even heavier struck by the nerf bat were only cards that provided uncounterable burst damage resulting in ‘unfun and un-interactive’ games. The most memorable nerfs regarding card draw were the Starving Buzzard (and