Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater have been cards that heavily shaped the game of Hearthstone since their inclusion. The Hearthstone team don’t want the two archetypes to continue to force their hand at balancing the game. Genn and Baku are being sent to Wild a year before the cards would naturally rotate out of Standard along with some other Evergreen cards that may come as a surprise. Naturalize, Divine Favor, and Doomguard will all also go into the Hall of Fame when the Year of the Dragon starts in April.
Why Genn and Baku Say Goodbye
Beyond creating annoyingly strong meta archetypes, Genn and Baku will always be relevant with new cards. The benefit the cards provide are also not universally good across all classes. Cards like Reno Jackson in the past forced a meta type that would stick around for every set. However, Reno only benefited each class in exactly the same way, unlike altering the Hero Power.
Having the two cards also created a bind on future card design. New aggressive Rogue cards and Paladin cards would have to be so carefully be printed with an odd mana cost simply because it ramps up the power of those two archetypes. The same goes for powerful spells or minions that would happen to have an Even cost. Rather than worrying about how the archetypes go together, the Hearthstone team are free to create powerful cards regardless of cost.
Along with Baku and Genn, all of the cards the directly synergize with the two will also be moved to the Hall of Fame. This is done less out of necessity for game balance, but for player compensation. These cards will surely be rendered useless without Genn and Baku. So, players will get full dust compensation for all of these cards they may have.
The cards that will also leave early are Gloom Stag, Black Cat, Glitter Moth, and Murkspark Eel. Stag and Moth already are pretty poor in the meta. Murkspark Eel was rather strong in Even Shaman, which has died down without Flametongue Totem. Black Cat is a pretty strong card in the current Odd Mage, which will go away in April.
Evergreen Card Rotations
The cards from the Evergreen set to also be sent to the Hall of Fame may come as a bit of a surprise. Nonetheless the Hearthstone team have managed to come up with some decent reasoning for their removal. We actually predicted Naturalize to rotate in one of our recent articles.
Druids have always had a difficult time removing minions. Naturalize helped tremendously with pesky targets that were either too big or would require silence effects to deal with effectively. The Hearthstone team stated that they wanted Druid’s big weakness to be lack of large minion removal. With Naturalize’s removal from the Classic set, Druid will have no Evergreen card to deal with large minions.
Doomguard comes as possibly the biggest surprise of the three. Doomguard has been a card that provided a really powerful minion with a large sacrifice. It most often saw play in aggressive Warlock game plans where the discard effect was either not cared about or irrelevant with small hand sizes. The Hearthstone team said they wanted Warlock to feel the effect of falling behind on board consistently. The biggest nerf to Warlock with Doomguard’s removal is its lack of ability to get out burst damage to the face of the opponent.
Lastly, we have the rotation of Divine Favor. Undoubtedly a strong card in Paladin decks, it also sees play specifically in Odd Paladin. Divine Favor could easily be seen as the highest value draw card. It would be able to pull Paladins out of dire situations as they quickly run out of cards. Removing Divine Favor would force Paladins to sacrifice card slots for draw should they want it.
Looking to the Year of the Dragon
Of all the things that could be forthcoming in the next year, removing Genn and Baku is a small spoiler for what is in store for Hearthstone players.
The leading reason to move them is that the Hearthstone team are planning on releasing very powerful cards. If Genn and Baku continued to exist alongside these cards, it may have forced players into Even and Odd archetypes to get the full value of their powerful effects.
Simply the name Year of the Dragon could lead players to believe that more Dragon cards could be released. The past Standard years didn’t really correlate to an overarching theme, but that could be subject change.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.