There have recently been some major changes made to the online card game Hearthstone.
The year has finally rolled over, and a new rotation has started. (In a collectible card game, a rotation is when sets of cards rotate out of the standard format and are no longer used.) For Hearthstone three sets of cards (roughly 200 cards) were rotated out. The point of doing this is to drastically change the meta-game and force people to create new deck types to play with.
Along this same line, a brand new set has just been released. The Journey to Un’goro is latest expansion pack, which has added some pretty interesting card types to really change the way the game is played.
In the Warcraft world, Un’goro is a dense “land of the lost” jungle filled with dinosaurs, and other horrible primeval creatures. Each class has embarked on a quest to explore the lands and find the riches within. This is represented by each class getting a Quest card. This is a card that appears in your opening hand and will give you a task to complete over the course of a game. If completed, the quest will reward you with a powerful card which is meant to drastically swing the tide in your favor.
People have already been experimenting with the quests. Right out of the gate, there are a few breakaway decks that have been sweeping the meta. The Rogue Quest is one of those. It’s easy to complete—just play 4 cards with the same name. The challenge here is that you are only allowed 2 of the same card in any deck, though Rogues are particularly good at getting cards back into the hard from the board. The reward: changing all your creatures to 5 attack 5 health stat lines. Rogues tend to play pretty weak minions in combination with one another to pull off chained effects. Now that their minions are 5/5’s they can both pull off these combos and still have a powerful board.
Other classes might have gotten worse quests, but they did get some other interesting types of cards to play with. Shaman, for instance, has gotten elementals. Elements work well when another elemental was played the turn before, giving your current card additional abilities to help win the game. This deck promotes playing on curve—meaning playing a one cost minion on turn one; a two on two; and so forth.
In addition to the deck card types, there was also a new mechanic added called Adaption. When a creature adapts, the player is able to choose one of nine different effects to add to the card. This makes these cards a lot more reactionary. You can choose the effect that best suites you during your current situation.
It’s still too early to tell what the meta will shape up to look like, but I do hope that there will be a lot more viability in creative deck building. At the end of the previous rotation, there were only a few decks that could do relatively well, which meant that more people were playing those decks and there was less of a variety to play against. It got rather tedious when you and all your opponents were doing the same thing.
However, with a new rotation and expansion, everyone is going to be trying out weird card combinations. Right now deck building is more about experimenting than just copying the best decks or refinement. Un’goro may not have added enough really good cards to truly mix up the meta, but it added a lot of weird cards, and that has given people the opportunity to create some really fun decks to play against. Even if it doesn’t last and people revert back to their old ways, I’ve really been enjoying this fresh start to Hearthstone.