Hearthstone: Year Of The Mammoth Revealed For 2017

After recently announcing some of the balance adjustments that will be coming soon to Hearthstone‘s February update, Blizzard has now detailed some of the major changes on the way in the upcoming season of content, named the Year of the Mammoth. Check out the trailer.

For starters, Blizzard didn’t really like that Standard mode has seen some cards become pretty much a mandatory decision in terms of deck-building. As a result, it’s moving a handful of Classic cards to their Wild format by making them a part of the new ‘Hall of Fame set’.

These include a trio of one-mana class cards, Conceal, Ice Lance, and Power Overwhelming, as well as three more expensive, neutral cards: Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Ragnaros the Firebird. At Blizzard’s Official Hearthstone site they talk about this in detail, saying:

Developer’s Note: The first three of the six Classic cards that will be added to the Hall of Fame set are powerful Neutral cards that show up in many decks and reduce the chance of new cards having an impact. This is truer for cards in the 5+ mana cost range because players tend to use fewer of these cards in a deck.

Azure DrakeAzure Drake is a strong Neutral card that ended up being a bit too versatile, and thus became one of the most played cards in the game. There should be more five drop options for players, rather than considering Azure Drake an auto-include.

Sylvanas WindrunnerSimilar to Azure Drake, it’s hard to see a card at the six mana cost out-value Sylvanas. In addition, Sylvanas has the most powerful Deathrattle effect in the game—as a comparison, the Priest card Mind Control costs 10 mana. We have exciting Deathrattle build-arounds coming soon, and in combination with Sylvanas, they would be too powerful for Standard.

Ragnaros the FirelordRagnaros is heavily played in both control and mid-range decks and even shows up as a finisher in certain types of aggro decks. His high immediate value and strength at the eight mana cost made the decision during deck-building, “Is this eight mana minion better than Ragnaros?” rather than, “Is this eight mana minion the best choice for my deck type?” Dozens of cards in the seven to nine mana range never saw play because Ragnaros was always the easy choice in that range, and some decks only want to run one high cost card.

Class Cards

Power OverwhelmingPower Overwhelming allows for extremely mana-efficient minion trades or high spikes of damage for only one mana. Keeping this card exclusive to Wild will prevent some crazy combinations and spike damage. Warlock decks also tend to use lots of Classic cards, so the decks changes less when new expansions release. This change will help increase the variety of cards in Warlock decks over time.

Ice LanceFreeze Mage is a fun deck that has been around for over three years now, and we’d like to see more variety with Mage decks after each major release. This move allows Freeze Mage to continue existing in Wild, while creating more variety in Standard. Ice Lance also prevented us from making powerful Spell Damage cards and designs that allowed you to duplicate your cards. Ice Lance was also a very high burst damage card, sometimes being a key component of 30 damage combos.

ConcealStealth is a very powerful mechanic, and can also be very frustrating to play against—more for some classes than others. Hearthstone should ultimately be a game of plays and counter plays, and Conceal makes it increasingly more difficult for other classes to interact with Rogue minions as time goes on. We considered promoting Gadgetzan Auctioneer to Wild instead, but in the end we decided to move Conceal because Auctioneer has proven to be one of the most skill testing cards in the game. We think the power level of Auctioneer decreases with this change, and games where Auctioneer is played will be a bit more interactive.

Blizzard explained in the blog post

“In order to keep Hearthstone exciting and accessible as more cards are added, Standard allows players to use the most recently released cards, as well as a core of Basic and Classic cards. Our overall intention with Standard is to keep the game feeling fresh for all of our players, and to allow newer players to jump into Hearthstone quickly, without collecting lots of cards to build a competitive deck. Standard also gives our developers more freedom when designing new cards for the future.

“However, over the course of the Year of the Kraken, certain cards in the Classic set have contradicted these goals. When cards show up too frequently in decks and are considered auto-includes, deck-building becomes more limited. Deck variety stagnates, potentially interesting build-around cards fall by the wayside, and the gameplay experience begins to feel less dynamic. Most cards should feel like situational additions to a deck, depending on the deck archetype the player is trying to build.”

Another key change is the way Blizzard handles the release of their Adventures and expansions. Year of the Mammoth will shift to a new schedule with a total three card expansions, each consisting of about 130 cards. Blizzard said:

“At their core, Adventures paint colorful and thematic stories about the Hearthstone universe. Imagine being able to learn about the history and lore behind each of our sets inside the game in a similar way! Defining who the Jade Lotus are through a series of battles between the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan families would have been a great way to supplement the overall Gadgetzan story arc. That concept is something we would like to do more of in future sets: Take the storytelling and cool missions of Adventures, and combine them with the card pools of expansions.

“Cards will be acquired via packs like other expansions in the past; additionally, each release will include optional single-player missions that will help develop the expansions’ thematic narratives and offer fun challenges.”

This won’t begin until the second expansion released in 2017. Details on free single-player content will be announced soon since they have yet to release specific dates. Be sure to check back with StreamMe for more updates.


Johnny and his beard require another vacation where he can sing Lionel Richie’s greatest hits at a karaoke bar and drink. Follow his ravings on Twitter at @SomeBeardy2Love