Hearthstone’s second annual season has now shifted, making away from the Year Of The Kraken and into the Year Of The Mammoth. The name means very little, but there are some changes to be aware of.
Primary among those is how some of the original Classic deck of cards are dropping out of the Standard Deck, essentially making them no-goes for anyone playing competitively.
When the ‘Year of the…’ annual season was introduced, Blizzard also introduced a ‘Standard’ and a ‘Wild’ option of decks, with the Standard representing the cards that are valid for competitively play – essentially keeping the cards available for more casual players, but restricting sets for those who want to play competitively.
Blizzard initially said that Classic cards will always be available in Standard Decks, but with this new season it has seen fit to relegate the cards Azure Drake (neutral), Slyvanas Windrunner (neutral), Ragnaros (neutral), Power Overwhelming (Warlock), Ice Lance (Mage) and Conceal (Rogue) from Standard play.
This is alongside all the cards from the expansion packs Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament and League Of Explorers which will no longer be available.
The decision to remove some Classic cards has been a little controversial, but Blizzard’s idea on the matter is sound. According to the developer when cards become must-picks for a deck – and in all of the cards that are being removed, that’s pretty much the case – then deck-building becomes a lot more restrictive and less creative.
That’s a fair point, and with the likes of Slyvanas and Ragnaros being removed, pro players will have to find some inventive ways to mix things up a little.
Alongside these card changes, Blizzard is also changing the way it releases new cards – rather than releasing adventures and expansions it will instead be releasing only expansions – three over the course of the year – each with roughly 130 additional cards.
Single-player, lore-driven adventures will still be released, but instead incorporated into the expansions themselves. Oh, and a new Rogue Hero is being added to the game, too – Night Elf rogue Maiev Shadowsong.