The Hearthstone developers have done the first of what they are calling Hearthstone: In The Works blogs. They basically address every facet of Hearthstone: in-game updates, events, esports, and beyond. This is a great tool for the player base to familiarize themselves with changes such that they don’t become unwanted surprises.
State of the Meta
The team at Blizzard have identified a meta with what they are saying are the top performing decks. The types identified were: Odd Warrior, Odd Paladin, Token Druid, Tempo Mage, Taunt Druid, Zoo Warlock, Quest Rogue, Secret Hunter, Even Paladin, Deathrattle Hunter, and Even Warlock.
Token Druid’s rise to popularity has certainly been at the center of attention, especially with most players believing Druid is the strongest class. It’s interesting that they mention Taunt Druid without mentioning Malygos Druid, as based on the statistics available from hsreplay.net, Malygos Druid seems to perform as the second best Druid deck.
Another deck that didn’t get mentioned is Odd Rogue. Arguably the best aggressive deck, Odd Rogue is also one of the most popular decks. It is interesting to note that they listed all the others as standing out slightly from the rest of the pack, and whether their data differs from what we know.
They also addressed the popularity of Giggling Inventor. They stated that they wanted the card to fill a role like Sludge Belcher did in the past. It does seem to fit that role perfectly but it also has different interactions than Belcher did.
The Mech minion type and Divine Shields are important to other match interactions with Inventor, whereas the Belcher only had Deathrattle. No nerfs to Inventor are planned, but the team will have an eye on it.
New Classic Cards
Some class cards have had to to rotate out of the Classic set into the “Hall of Fame”. Because of this, those classes have less Classic cards available to use in Standard format games. The Hearthstone team are adding 4 new cards to the Classic set that will be appearing in Classic packs.
Mage is getting two new spells to fill the gap left by Ice Lance and Ice Block. The two new cards are Icicle and Tome of Intellect. These cards are nowhere near the power level of the cards they replace, but were not intended to be.
Next up, Warlock lost a card with Power Overwhelming moving out, and will be receiving Call of the Void. A very plain and straightforward card, similar to Tome of Intellect. Another card that really shouldn’t see too much play outside of new players to the game.
Lastly is Pilfer for the Rogue class to replace Conceal. It’ has a nice “blast from the past” flavor with Reno Jackson having his hat stolen in the card art, and is a nice introduction to all of the class stealing cards Rogue has to offer.
The Hearthstone team also mentioned that more cards could be added to Classic because there are some neutral Legendary gaps. More cards are also expected to move to the Hall of Fame. It’s hard to pick a good nominee right now, but we’ll see what Blizzard decides to do.
The Hearthstone team have found that at Rank 25 the competition is still rather stiff, especially for players brand new to the game. New players will have the option to start at Rank 50 and climb to 25. They will get freebies along the way to help improve their collection, and once completed, will never drop below 25 again.
Earlier in the year, Blizzard announced that they were working on an in-game tournament mode. They reached a somewhat final product, but decided it wasn’t what they wanted as it targeted too narrow of an audience.
Many players have wanted a way to streamline tournament play for hosting their own tournaments. It takes a lot of effort to have to add friends, challenge, go over the deck rules verbally, and it is unfriendly to streamers. The spectator mode requires several formatting changes in order to make it look good for a stream right now.
On the esports side of things, they simply announced that the HCT Fall Championship was coming up. It would have been interesting to hear about their plans for developing the esports scene a little more.
The Hallow’s End event will start on October 17. A special Tavern Brawl and hero portraits will be in effect during the time of the event, as well as a new hero portrait being added for the Paladin class. The portrait is Sir Annoy-O, a knightly Annoy-o-tron. We can already hear the “hello!” spam from the future echoing to us.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.