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As of April 26th, 2016, Hearthstone has undergone major changes. These changes include a brand new ranked system, including Wild and Standard formats, and a whole new expansion to play around with in the meantime! This article will briefly go into detail about each of the new additions and what they mean for both casual ladder players and professionals alike.
Beginning with the new format, the ladder system has been split into 2: Standard and Wild formats. In Wild mode, players can use any cards in the game that they want, including all single player adventures and previous expansions. Standard mode, however, will only include cards from expansions and adventures from the previous two years. As of right now, that means that all Goblins vs Gnomes cards and Curse of Naxxrammas cards will not be able to be utilized in Standard. Professional players will be switching over to standard, as it promises both a more stable meta and also a method of play that will require players to continuously adapt. However, both formats will have their own ranked and legend system, so it is now possible for players to achieve legend in Wild and Standard together. The rank displayed on a players profile will simply be the one that is the highest between the two formats.
Whispers of the Old Gods has also been released! This new expansion features over one hundred new cards, all of which can be used in both Standard and Wild formats. If you haven’t seen it already, check out my last article about the Old Gods and the combos they introduce. In the meantime, there isn’t much else to say about the new cards. Players worldwide are testing and experimenting with new decks right now, but for now, we don’t have anything concrete yet. Be sure to check decklist websites frequently, as you may stumble upon something incredibly effective!
2016 is the Year of the Kraken in Hearthstone, and we are to make the best of it. Each year marks the start of a new Standard ‘season’, if you will. For the start of every new year, the oldest adventure and expansion will be cycled out of Standard play, and a new set introduced. There have been similar sequencing of card rotations in other card games, such as Magic the Gathering. It has simply come to the point where there are too many cards in the game to be utilized and accounted for professionally, and Blizzard has taken an active role to ease the tension off of many players shoulders.
Aside from that, this is an exciting time for Hearthstone! We are in a whole new turning point of the game, in which even the most skilled of professional players are stumped as to what the meta will bring. Meta analyses and snapshots will likely be garbled and confused for the next month or so before players can sort everything out. Until then, go and ladder! It is likely that you will have a much easier time now, as many players, experienced or not, are running some questionably effective decks that consistent decks like Control Warrior and Freeze Mage should take easy wins against.