Our guide for the new Hearthstone formats – Standard and Wild
We can’t often call an announcement a total game-changer, but this week’s news about Hearthstone [Free] easily rank as the most important news about the game since its launch. I have a very strong hunch that you’ve heard of all the huge changes coming to the game in the next few months and how those changes will change Hearthstone as we know it. We’ll have format changes in almost all the modes, cards will go and cards will change, and the whole game will feel different. The format changes should greatly affect the meta, and the yearly rotation of cards should make Hearthstone feel fresher and avoid the ruts it’s often stuck in during those post-expansion/adventure periods.
Many players – casuals and pros – have had a nagging feeling that playing the game was becoming increasingly predictable, and now everyone’s hoping that these changes will make the game more consistently fun for older players and more welcoming for newer players. Because of this week’s news, my column today will be all about Blizzard’s announcement, the effect it will have on the cards we play and the way we play, and the community’s reactions. So, let’s dive in.
A new Hearthstone Format is Born
For most people, Blizzard’s announcement came out of the blue. In the video below, Ben Brode explains how Hearthstone will be split into two, the Standard format and the Wild. The Standard will only have decks built solely from a pool of cards released in the current and previous calendar years, along with a core foundation of the Basic and Classic card sets (which will remain in Standard Mode). According to the devs, Standard will help bring a more dynamic and balanced metagame, a select set of cards will make each card have more impact, developers will have more freedom to design exciting new cards, and new players can jump in without having to collect as many cards. Standard will be available only in Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual Play.
Wild, on the other hand, will have all the cards released in the game, which will make for some crazy broken decks and some crazy games. So, this side of the Hearthstone world will offer a very different experience from Standard. When you queue up for Ranked or Casual play with a Wild deck, you’ll get matched with other Wild decks. Arena will always be Wild, which makes sense given that that mode is already imbalanced. You’ll be able to choose between Standard and Wild for Ranked play, and you’ll have different ranks for each. However, you’ll only collect ranked rewards for your highest rank, not for both.
The other major change will be a round of probably pretty big nerfs on Basic and Classic card sets to remove some of the problematic cards of the game. We’ll have more info on the nerfs as we draw nearer the arrival of Standard. Finally, we’ll get those deck slots we’ve always wanted; Blizzard will give players another 9 decks slots to fit all those Standard and Wild decks. The Year of the Kraken, which is how the inaugural Standard year will be known as, will arrive at some point in Spring. And when it does, say bye bye to Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes cards, something I’m very happy about. If you want to check out the whole announcement, including the FAQ, go here.