Use Caution: Mammoth Crossing

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In an extensive article posted earlier today, Blizzard has announced the arrival of the “Year of the Mammoth” coming later this year.

Setting a new Standard
This new year marks the second set rotation for the Standard format, with Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers cards becoming exclusive to Wild.

So while we wave goodbye to some of the most iconic cards these expansions had to offer, we also look forward to the new as there will be 3 Full Expansions coming out in 2017 instead of the usual 2 + 1 adventure set. Along with some single-player shenanigans that does not seem to promise any reward.

Blizzard is giving us what we want; more content. With that, comes the price of buying more packs to obtain said content. It’s time to start saving up for those expansions as it is obviously going to take a lot of Gold/Cash to get the cards you need to stay relevant.

For Fame and Glory
Blizzard also introduced the Hall of Fame, noting that some cards in the Classic set were counter-intuitive to what their goals for Standard was going for. Instead, the balance team wishes for decklists to include more of the newer expansions to help keep each iteration of Standard fresh.

Cards inducted to the Hall of Fame are: Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, Power Overwhelming, Ice Lance and Conceal.

All of which, are arguably some of the most seen cards in Hearthstone and it will be sad to see them go. However, Blizzard WILL be giving us free dust to compensate for any of the cards you may own. This is to ensure players are not given the incentive to ignore Wild altogether.

Noteworthy: The new expansion may have to include extra cards for Mage, Warlock and Rogue to replace the HoF cards. That is, if Blizzard wishes to stick to its balance policy

Let’s get Wild?
They want to make sure they’re not discouraging “Wild” play. In fact, they’re even entertaining the thought of working with third party tournament organizers for the Wild format. I’m not sold, and neither should you be.

Wild may sound interesting in theory, but is, in fact, bad news. To prove my point, we will have to witness the mayhem that ensues in the Wild Heroic Tavern Brawl later this year.

Problems Underlying
All said and done, there is a whole lot more in store this year than in the last. Blizzard is definitely making strides towards a better game. However, I am cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Mammoth year.

The amount of cards to be expanded may have increased, but the number of expansions remain the same. It is safe to assume that the Un’Goro cards have already been fully designed and follow the traditional Blizzard philosophy. Thus, we can expect a whole lot of filler cards, useless Legendaries and Forced Archetypes that limit player creativity.

We do not need another Piranha Cannon, nor another Small-Time Buccaneer. We need more cards like Mana Wraith, Dirty Rat and Loatheb. Cards that allow players to tech and play around. Introduce more playable AoE to prevent a repeat of Curvestone.

The prospect of players experiencing the same old 4 month content drought is off-putting. C’thun-forbid, we end up with another era of Shamanstone. One can only hope that Blizzard has plans to fill these gaping holes in the timeline that will help alleviate our thirst for an ever-changing meta.

Once again, the issues that plague the ranked ladder has yet to be resolved. But maybe, just maybe, things will look up while the Mammoth stomps by 2017.

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