At the start of Hearthstone‘s Year of the Raven, three more cards will join the game’s Hall of Fame collection.
The first is undoubtedly one of the most requested Hall of Fame candidates. Yes, Ice Block is finally being rotated out of standard play. This three mana Mage secret essentially bought mage players an extra turn or two to win the game. While it was made popular by specialty decks like Freeze Mage which tried to stall games as long as possible, it was soon worked into just about every mage list because it was so powerful. Blizzard noted that it was the fact that Ice Block became “the centerpiece of Standard decks for many years” which inspired them to move the secret to the Hall of Fame.
As welcome as this change is, Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode informed us during a recent group interview that it does leave Mage a bit short on classic cards when you consider that multiple Mage cards have now been moved to the Hall of Fame. He says that the team is considering bringing back some old cards into standard play just to balance the numbers.
“I would like there to be the same number of Mage cards as in other classes,” said Brode. “The cards that we might decide to rotate back in will ideally not be meta defining…an example of this would be that we considered rotating Shatter back into standard. I don’t think players are itching to see Shatter, but it does help define that Mage is about freezing effects.”
Coldlight Oracle will join Ice Block in the Hall of Fame, which is somewhat of a surprise. This three mana Murloc allows you to draw two cards when you play it (a tremendous value) but it also draws two cards for your opponent. In the past, the card’s drawback kept it from seeing play outside of specialty decks. However, Blizzard ultimately found that Coldlight Oracle’s drawback could too easily be used to burn an opponent’s entire deck by forcing them to overdraw. On top of that, they didn’t want all classes to have such easy access to cheap card draw. All told, the team just felt that the card’s versatility created problems for them moving forward.
“[Coldlight] is a beloved card and it doesn’t currently feel like it has the same level of impact as a card like Ice Block,” said Brode. “However, it has been preventing us from making certain card designs that we’ve been excited to try for awhile now.”
The final card to enter the Hall of Fame during this next rotation is Molten Giant. At first, veteran Hearthstone players probably won’t understand why Molten Giant is being added to the Hall of Fame given that it hasn’t been played much since it’s been nerfed. However, Blizzard has actually decided to restore the card to its original state and move it into the Hall of Fame. Their reason for doing this is simple.
“It’s purely a thing that players have been asking for,” said Brode. “Molten Giant was nerfed when Whispers of the Old Gods went into rotation. We didn’t have the concept of the Hall of Fame in place at that time. We actually created it [Hall of Fame] specifically because players reacted negatively to the Molten Giant nerf. They wanted to be able to play [Molten Giant] decks in Wild. This keeps the dream of Wild alive and it keeps standard healthy.”
Brode noted that the team’s decision to only move three cards into the Hall of Fame this year as opposed to the six that received the same treatment last year is simply based on the fact that they felt like they hit many of the most problematic cards with the last Hall of Fame set.
He also stated that despite requests from pro and casual players, the team did not seriously consider moving Wild Growth to the Hall of Fame. The biggest reason why is that Wild Growth is a basic card that all players can unlock through the course of regular play and that the team is not interested in moving basic cards to the Hall of Fame due to the logistical problems that move creates for new players. However, Brode did mention Fiery War Axe and Innervate as two examples of basic cards the team have changed if they feel they need to do so.
For those who don’t know, Hall of Fame cards are cards included in Hearthstone‘s classic set that the team is rotating out of standard play. Otherwise, these cards would remain in standard play forever. Just as before, players who own Hall of Fame cards will receive a dust refund for them when they are rotated into the Hall of Fame, but they will be able to keep the cards in their collection.