Today Blizzard announced the impossible, that more deck slots are coming to Hearthstone, from the original nine to eighteen. For years now people have begged for them. Hands and knees begging. It was kinda interesting to say the least, but those days are behind us. At least until the internet finds something else they want from Hearthstone and rally together as one. The bad news is that these additional deck slots won’t be here until Spring, but the good news is that deck slots weren’t even the cool part of the announcement.
Nope, there is something even more crazy in store for Hearthstone, formats.
What are formats? Well, they’re how you play the game. Up until now, there was only one format, with all the cards. Sure Tavern Brawl spiced that up a bit, letting you use all those cards with interesting rule sets, but the base game of Hearthstone was still the base game of Hearthstone.
This spring, though, Hearthstone is splitting off into Standard and Wild formats. Wild is the game as you know it. All the cards. All the cheesy tactics. All the everything. But Standard will only include the most recently released cards, as well as basic ones, and each year will be given a mythical moniker to differentiate the yearly format changes.
2016 will be the Year of the Kraken.
Once the update hits, Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins Vs Gnomes cards will no longer be usable in the Standard format. This is absolutely bonkers. Those two expansions have some of the strongest cards in the game. To have a mode where they are completely omitted will do great things for the meta. Cards unavailable in standard will no longer even be purchasable once this update hits; they’ll have to be crafted if you want them in your card collection.
Here’s Ben Brode talking about it:
During the Year of the Kraken, only the following sets will be usable in Standard play:
- Blackrock Mountain
- The Grand Tournament
- The League of Explorers
- The Spring 2016 Expansion
Everyone was fairly certain a new expansion would be happening soon this year, but it’s nice to have a roundabout official confirmation. Blizzard says that retiring cards from Standard play will allow them to better balance the game, and let them make decisions they’ve been sitting on for some time now. So it’ll be great to see how the game benefits from this change, and how ridiculous Wild play becomes. It’s also worth noting that both Wild and Standard play will have their own separate ladders, and both be viable to hit legend with. But I’ll be that Standard play becomes the, well, Standard.
Blizzard’s been dumping cards into Hearthstone at a fairly impressive pace, but it’s great to see them focusing on new and interesting ways to play the game using the cards given, or the cards taken away.
Check out the official blog post for more information, and there’s also an F.A.Q. at the end.
Now comes the hard part, waiting.