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20 February 2017

Hearthstone recently announced that 2017 is the Year of the Mammoth, bringing Standard set rotations, balance updates, and new content. What can you do now to prepare for the changes?

Blizzard has finally announced some of the upcoming changes they plan to make in Hearthstone (or should I say Shamanstone) in this upcoming year, dubbed the “Year of the Mammoth.” And this wasn’t exactly your run of the mill “Coming Soon™” announcement either. Blizzard is planning several interesting changes that will affect numerous aspects of the game. But how can you start preparing for these upcoming changes?

Standard Format Rotations

As expected, when the next expansion goes live, three major sets are being moved from Standard to Wild. Cards from Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and The League of Explorers will then only be usable in Wild format. That is a total of 208 cards we’ve been playing with for the past two years that will no longer be usable in Standard play.

As you can expect, this is going to have a huge impact on the meta game. A huge number of powerful cards are being rotated out. How will “one-of” decks work without Reno Jackson? Are there enough other dragon cards that losing the Blackrock Mountain set won’t be the demise of Dragon Priest decks? Obviously only time will tell. The ~130 new cards Blizzard adds next expansion will play a huge part in the upcoming meta. But what can you do now to prepare?

Try experimenting with new deck types and styles, or try to revive older decks that haven’t seen much play. Take all the rotating cards out of your deck and try to rebuild it without them. Watch and listen to streamers and pro players theorycraft about what the new meta might be like. While it’s hard to know what the meta will end up like, staying on top of new decks and strategies will ultimately help you more smoothly transition into the new expansion.

Hearthstone Hall of Fame Set

Credit: Blizzard

What is the Hall of Fame Set?

We all knew these Standard to Wild rotations were going to happen. But the shocker we got from Blizzard is the rotation of six other Classic cards into the awkwardly dubbed Hall of Fame set (a.k.a. “noteworthy” Wild-only cards). These cards include: Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, Power Overwhelming, Ice Lance, and Conceal. Yes, we are finally losing good ol’ Azure Drake. You will be missed my friend, it’s been a great run.

Lucky for us, Blizzard is being extra nice about this unexpected change. When the next expansion update goes live, players will be rewarded the full dust value of cards being added into this Hall of Fame set, up to the max number of cards you can have in a deck. So that golden Sylvanas you so painstakingly saved up for? Not only do you get to still keep the card, but you get an additional 3200 dust.

Now I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and miscalculations floating around about how this dust refund will work. So I’ve made a flowchart for you to follow to help you determine the best course of action:

Hearthstone

Credit: Matthew Becker

Essentially it boils down to you needing to decide if you would rather have the golden version and get a reduced dust payout, or if you would rather a larger dust reward.

Spend Your Currency Wisely

If you have played Hearthstone for practically any length of time, you know the importance of gold. This is especially true when a new expansion launches: gold can buy you card packs and adventure wings. Speaking of adventures, Blizzard announced all expansions will now be ~130 cards and include optional single player missions. So previous expansions and adventures have now been merged into one. And let’s be real: those single player mission are probably not going to be free.

You should also think twice about spending dust right now. Remember that cards from The Grand Tournament will only be usable in Wild format, so make sure to check which set your card is from before crafting it. You might want to consider saving your dust for the upcoming expansion. While we have no idea what the expansion will be or when it will be released, it shouldn’t be more than a month or so. Saving gold and dust takes a while, so prioritize how you want to play Hearthstone these next few months before spending your hard-earned currency.