The Year of the Phoenix and Ashes of Outland come to Hearthstone
March Madness has come upon the Hearthstone community in the best possible way: During yesterday’s Hearthstone announcement stream, Team 5 - represented by
Dean “Iksar” Ayala
Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig
- bombarded not only host Brian Kibler but also the whole spectatorship with what has to be
the most gargantuan content update in the history of Blizzard’s card game
The community has waited a long time for this - several weeks have gone by since community figures reported about a secret summit where they had been introduced to the upcoming changes. At long last, all good things are worth waiting for!
I'm Tharid, a writer for Wowhead's sister site Hearthstone Top Decks, and I'll be explaining the happenings around Hearthstone's massive content announcement for the Year of the Phoenix. If you want to check out the most recent news about the announcement and the upcoming Standard year, head over to
The Year of the Phoenix - Economic Overhaul, Priest Changes and Ranked System Rework
When Hearthstone’s Game Director Ben Lee sped through all the changes of the new Standard year, he mentioned one thing in particular like it was nothing special. However, the newly introduced Duplicate protection may very well be the single-most impactful change in the history of Hearthstone.
From now on, all cards across all rarities cannot be unpacked more than twice. No more triple and quadruple copies of useless epic and other cards that pollute your card collection. With that change, acquiring important cards becomes much more affordable to every single player.
On top of that, new and returning players will have the opportunity to receive one class deck of their choice - completely for free.
For more details click here to read a comprehensive guide about Duplicate Protection and Free Decks!
Now back to the “usual” part of the new year announcement: On April 7th, a new Standard year will be introduced, the Year of the Phoenix. That means that the three expansions of 2018 - The Witchwood, The Boomsday Project and Rastakhan’s Rumble - will rotate out of the Standard format.
As it is with every Standard year rotation, there will be several cards added to Hearthstone’s Hall of Fame - a place where problematic or simply overpowered cards get a new home if they don’t fit into the design philosophy of the Standard format. This year’s Hall of Fame class includes the following five cards:
But not only that: A total of six Priest class will move to the Hall of Fame as well. But what happens to the Priest class as a whole? That brings us to one of the biggest content changes of the mega-announcement: The Priest class rework.
As the Priest Hall of Fame cards will leave the Standard once and for all, six completely new cards will join the fray. In addition to that, seven cards receive massive changes, including mana cost buffs to important Priest spells like Power Word: Shield and Shadow Word: Death.
Click here to get a comprehensive guide about the Priest class rework!
Another big systemic change will be the long-awaited overhaul of Hearthstone’s competitive ranked system.
Starting with the April Season, players will be able to compete within a much more fair MMR-based system that includes a separate bonus mechanic based on the placement in the last season.
Want to learn more about the upcoming changes to Ranked? Check out this guide!
Ashes of Outland and the Introduction of the Demon Hunter Class
At this point we would’ve seen the end of the usual Standard year announcement. But not this time.
Team 5 decided to throw everything they have in store for us straight into our already baffled faces, and even more!
The segment about the expansion started with what many call the most epic expansion announcement video ever created, featuring our long-life World of Warcraft friend Dave Kosak:
Ashes of Outland will be the first expansion of the Year of the Phoenix, starring Illidan Stormrage and his continuous efforts to make Outland great again.
The expansion will feature 135 new cards, two new mechanics about so-called Prime and special Dormant minions, and - most importantly - a whole new class to play, the Demon Hunter.
Click here for the complete Ashes of Outland expansion guide!
Similar to the economic changes we already talked about, the introduction of a new class wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. But the general philosophy of Team 5 changed, and in this case for the better - and so much more.
The hero that represents the Demon Hunter class will be - who would’ve thought - Illidan Stormrage.
After a first look at the class’ Hero Power and its cards, the Demon Hunter class looks to hit face repeatedly. But not only that: Speedy mid-game tempo as well as late-game high-impact cards are also featured in the Demon Hunter set.
Want to know how the Demon Hunter class plays out? Check out our Demon Hunter guide!
Hearthstone Rises from the Ashes - a hint towards WoW Classic?
After a problematic year of 2019, Hearthstone comes back with a bang. The economic changes alone will drive back tons of old and new players who should have more than enough motivation thanks to a revamped ladder system with upgraded rewards.
Combine that with a metric ton of content including one and a half new classes - Demon Hunter and Priest - and a whole new expansion, and the result will be a pleased community -
not to mention the introduction of a certain blood elf called Kael'thas Sunstrider as well as the plethora of Battlegrounds changes that went live yesterday with Patch 16.6
And while we don’t even want to talk about the specifics of Ashes of Outland yet, we can clearly see the historical connection between Hearthstone’s way to promote WoW content and the current happenings in Blizzard’s different franchises.
WoW Classic’s Content Phase schedule is well on its way,
with Phase 4 and the release of Zul’Gurub hitting the servers in April
But what if Ashes of Outland is a first hint towards the future of Classic WoW and the "re-introduction" of the Burning Crusade expansion? The fact that Hearthstone moved away from a year-long Hearthstone-exclusive story after the Year of the Dragon only supports this claim. In the end we only know that at long last, all good things are worth waiting for!
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