Massive changes come with Hearthstone’s Year of the Phoenix, new class Demon Hunter

This week, Blizzard went live with a quick streamed Hearthside Chat to talk about what’s coming for Hearthstone in 2020. The Year of the Dragon is past us. Now welcome, the Year of the Phoenix.

Duplicate Protection

One of the biggest changes to Hearthstone is a new policy for opening card packs. It used to be that you couldn’t get a duplicate Legendary card until you had all other Legendary cards in the set. Now that policy applies to all rarities. This means you won’t get more than two copies of any common, rare, or epic card until you have two copies of EVERY card at that rarity. This will make it much easier to collect and will drastically bring the cost of Hearthstone down.

Returning player experience

Blizzard has gotten a lot of feedback about Hearthstone getting difficult to get back into if you have spent any time off from the game. Now, if you have missed at least one expansion, it appears as if you will be given the chance to earn a competitive deck for a class of your choice. That way you will have key cards for that class and can immediately start climbing the ladder as you work on your new collection.

New game modes

Hearthstone’s auto battler mode, Battlegrounds, has been a huge success for Blizzard. So they are going to be adding more modes to Hearthstone that appeal to card gamers outside the singular realm of collectible card games. They are hoping these modes will be transformative and will bring more people into Hearthstone.

Some of these new modes will be formats, such as Brawl Blocks or Wild. Fans have been asking for new formats for quite some time, so that their Wild collection doesn’t completely fall into mis-use if they don’t want to use every card available in the game. Hearthstone devs are explicitly asking for ideas for new formats and game types, so if you have them send them Blizzard’s way.

Year of the Phoenix roadmap

There is an intense roadmap of content for the Year of the Phoenix. It will be split into three expansions, and each expansion will bring with it a number of other pieces of content as well.

For example, during each expansion there will be one major in-game event, like the Fire Festival. Each expansion will also bring with it free PvE content, such as the much enjoyed single-player adventure modes. You will also see new Tavern Brawls, new updates to battlegrounds, and new cards enter the Hall of Fame.

In Phase 1, starting with the first expansion, there will be a new rank revamp, adding platinum and diamond ranks before legend. In addition, there will be a complete rework of the Priest class.

Phase 2 will bring players an entire new game mode that does use your collection, but won’t be traditional. Blizzard has said it will be similar in scope and scale to Arena.

In Phase 3 they will rework their progression system, allowing players to earn more gold and more packs quicker. They will also include achievements which may earn you extra gold/packs.

Outcast

Outcast is a new keyword which basically states “you get this bonus if this card is the leftmost or rightmost card in your hand.” What that essentially translates into is that you get a bonus if you either topdeck the card, or if you have been holding onto the card for the entire game.

New Ranking System

The ranking system of Hearthsotne has been broken up into many more ranks, each with three stars. Each rank now has 10 subranks and hitting specific milestones in these ranks will get you rewards.

The Hall of Fame

The following cards will be moving to the Hall of Fame.

Going over them quickly, Leeroy is one of the last bastions of Charge face damage in the game. With face damage becoming more of a Hunter/Demon Hunter thing, it’s about time Leeroy got the boot.

Mountain Giant is solely responsible for the “hand” archetype of decks, and any class with good enough card draw was running it. It was far too powerful for a neutral card.

Mind Control Tech prevented any class with a weenie strategy from going wide. An ability like that shouldn’t be in neutral. Heck, minion steal shouldn’t be in neutral either. That’s a Priest thing.

Acolyte of Pain was powerful neutral card draw, but it really was only used in self damaging classes like Warrior, or classes with reliable pings like Mage. Overall Blizzard is trying to remove neutral cards that only work for one or two classes.

Spellbreaker is one of the last few pieces of silence that survive in neutral. Blizzard is trying hard to make silence a priest identity, so it has to go.

The Priest Revamp

Priest’s entire identity is getting revamped with the most cards being entered into the Hall of Fame this year.

Once again quickly going over these cards, Auchemai Soulpriest, Holy Fire, Shadowform, and Prophet Velen are all cards that support Priest as a source of direct damage, which has long since been removed from their identity. Northshire Cleric is a heavy source of Priest card draw, which also has been phased out of their identity. Divine Spirit is part of Priest’s identity, as it buffs a minions health, but it was restricting design space, since the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo was so powerful it overshadowed many other Priest archetypes.

These are the cards that will be replacing these new Hall of Fame entrants.

Psychic Conjurer replaces Northshire’s card draw with something more in Priest’s identity, cards steal. Power Infusion replaces Divine Spirit with a health buff that has some boundaries. Scarlet Subjugator and Kul Tiran Chaplain both debuff attack and buff health, both solid Priest identity low drops. Finally, Priest’s direct damage and Auchenai board wipe have been replaced with Shadow Word: Ruin and Natalie Seline.

Finally, Priest will receive balance changes to most of their core cards. For the most part, these are all buffs, with many of them getting reduced mana costs or increased damage. There are only two nerfs to see, in that Holy Smite can no longer hit face and Power Word: Shield no longer draws a card.

The Demon Hunter

A brand new class is being integrated into Hearthstone, the Demon Hunter! This is the first time Blizzard has integrated a new class to the game.

Demon Hunters are supposed to be fierce and brutal and thus are characterized as an aggressive class. Their Hero Power gives them plus one attack this turn, just like the Druid hero power but without the armor. The catch here is that it’s only one mana, making it a better tool for smoothing out the Demon Hunter’s mana curve. They envisioned the Demon Hunter as a class that is always attacking you, so they gave it access to attacks every turn with its hero power, along with weapons and very offensive spells.

The Demon Hunter will be free for everyone. You won’t have to collect the Demon Hunters basic and classic cards. You will receive all 30 if you complete the prologue. You’ll also receive a starting Demon Hunter deck. Each ongoing expansion will then include 15 additional Demon Hunter cards to collect.

Let’s take a look at some Demon Hunter cards.

New Expansion: Ashes of Outland

Hearthstone’s newest expansion will bring players to Outland and, of course, will be flavored around the new Demon Hunter. Let’s take a look at the revealed cards.

That’s all the info we have for Hearthstone’s Year of the Phoenix. What do you think about these massive changes? Let us know in the comments.