As an online game, Hearthstone continues to evolve and grow. Not just in its player-base or with new card sets. But in its balance and meta. Certain decks rise to prominence and various classes appeal to different players. The latest ‘Developer Insights’ from Blizzard focuses on what is commonly called class identity. Bringing new cards into the Hall of Fame as well as releasing new cards to the base set of Hearthstone.
The Hearthstone development team over at Blizzard have been pondering what makes each class unique. To their estimation, there are three parts to a class’s identity. A classes strength, what they excel at and tend to focus on. A classes limit, a powerful aspect of that class that can be used when needed but is easily exhausted. And finally, the weakness of a class, where the class falls short or play styles struggle to compete.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Sometimes in game development, an idea leads down a path that was not intended or needs reworking as it begins to show its age. Developers rework things like this all the time.
However, in Hearthstone it appears more apparent. Cards get cheaper or more expensive to play, increase or decrease damage and health or disappear entirely.
Luckily Hearthstone implements the Hall of Fame. A retirement village for cards who have performed admirably, but now must rest out of competitive standard play. The Priest’s Mind Blast, as well as Rogues’ Vanish, are the latest additions to the Hall of Fame.
To replace them comes Radiance and Plaguebringer.
Radiance provides a cheap baseline heal to the Priest class, as well as provides some tricky synergy with the right cards in play. Just remember to not have an Auchenai Soulpriest out when you cast it.
Plaguebringer lets a Rogue reclaim the title of the ultimate assassin. With a Battlecry that gives a friendly minion poison, no colossal Taunt minion will stand in your way ever again.
A Fresh Face for an Old Friend
On top of these changes come eight new cards for the Classic Hearthstone set. A variety of Neutral and class-specific cards to emphasize class identity. Or maybe you can splash a little something extra into your existing deck. The new cards available in Classic packs and crafting are;
- Arcane Devourer
- A 5/5 Neutral Elemental for 8 mana that gets +2/+2 every time you cast a spell, may as well make it a Mage card. But that being said, any class can get great use out of it.
- Barrens Stablehand
- Seems overpriced for a 4/4 that summons a random beast, not sure if I’ll be using this card. Unless I need to ask him if he’s seen Mankrik’s Wife.
- Now we are talking, a 3/2 Dragon for 3 mana that adds a random Legendary minion to your hand. Also, Brightwing just happens to be my favourite character in Heroes of the Storm.
- Gift of the Wild
- Because all you druid players need more buffs for your tokens right? Well, now you’ve got it. It’s not cheap but it’s as close as you can get to copying a Shaman’s Bloodlust.
- High Inquisitor Whitemane
- What a board control card. I can see Whitemane countering some Warrior Brawls, you’ll likely see her in a Priest wall deck. Get ready for lot’s of opponents to concede after you play her.
- More Divine Shields for your Paladin minions. As someone who struggles against Paladin players, this is just gross. But adds some serious punch to their line-up by protecting your bug assets.
- SI:7 Infiltrator
- Counter out those secrets that are going to counter your plays. A really useful card but very matchup dependant.
- A big chonky Pit Lord for all you Warlock players, with Taunt and a demon attack buff, he’s a solid addition to your fel-blooded line-up.
I’m excited to rework some decks and see what I can. I’ve been dabbling with a Priest deck for some time now and this update has me thinking I need to fit Whitemane or maybe Brightwing in some how.
What do you think of the new cards?
If you’d like to see the Class Identity discussion from the source than be sure to check out the official Hearthstone page.