Blizzard just posted a huge developer insights blog, talking about class identity and announcing 10 new Classic Cards (of which 2 Basic) being added as replacements for previous Hall of Famed cards. You might be thinking, but we only needed 8 replacements? Well, additionally two new cards will be moving to the Hall of Fame: Vanish and Mind Blast.
Here are the 10 new cards being added to the Classic (and Basic) set in the next major update:
Quote from Blizzard
As Hearthstone expands and more patrons make their way to the tavern, it becomes increasingly important for us to revisit past designs to make sure we are building on the right foundation. Over the past 5 years of evolution and growth, we’ve learned a lot about what makes each of the classes in Hearthstone different and what unique experiences players should have when playing each of these classes. Headed into our next update, we’d like to take this opportunity to outline our current class identity philosophy and to share our thoughts on where we see each class in the future.
Establishing Class Identity
When defining a class’s identity, we’re primarily concerned with staying true to the following three guidelines: adhere to a class’s “fantasy”, define the things the class should excel at, and establish where the class should struggle.
When looking at the fantasy of each class we want to capture the emotion of the class through gameplay. That could mean charging headfirst into battle as a Warrior, wielding devastating magical spells as a Mage, or plotting the perfect combination of moves as a Rogue. Once we know what makes a class tick, we can make better decisions about what cards fit and empower that fantasy.
Establishing stronger class identities serves several purposes. Giving classes better defined characteristics allows us to have more freedom when creating new mechanics. We can push further into the extremes knowing that each class has downsides to balance out new power. It also enables more counter-play when there is a clearer understanding of a class’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, the knowledge that a Druid is weak against big minions lets you start planning your strategy from the start of the match, with little to no knowledge of your opponent’s specific deck.
Here’s a brief look into how we currently picture each of the classes:
- Strengths: These are the things that a class focuses on and excels at.
- Limitations: These are aspects that might show up a few times in a class, but they are very limited in power level and the number of cards.
- Weaknesses: These are aspects that a class either doesn’t have or struggles to achieve effectively.
Druid: Attuned with nature, Druids rely on the magic of the wild, massive beasts, and swarms of woodland creatures. Their toolbox allows them the versatility to pivot from defense to aggression. However, they have limited ways to directly clear out enemy minions.
- Strengths: Mana generation, giant minions, minion swarms, card draw, Beasts
- Weaknesses: Destroying big minions, board clear
Hunter: Hunters use their wit, ferocity, and an army of beasts fighting alongside them to destroy their competition. Although they lack in defense, their aggression allows them to push through before they need it. A well-timed Secret or Deathrattle can help them gain clutch advantages against their opponent.
- Strengths: Beasts, face damage, Secrets, Deathrattle
- Limitations: Card draw and generation, board clear, Taunt
- Weaknesses: Healing
Mage: Mages have mastered the arcane arts and use their wide range of spells to take on even the most aggressive of opponents. Their defensive cadre is limited—while a good Mage usually has a useful tool to deal with any situation, a great Mage conjures the right tool when they need it.
- Strengths: Spells (big and small), damage spells, Secrets, board clear
- Limitations: Minion swarms
- Weaknesses: Healing, Taunt, minion buffs
Paladin: Paladins are great champions who support their minions with buffs, healing, and divine shields; however, they are not afraid to get their hands dirty when the time comes. They are methodical, controlling the battlefield through debuffs and focused attacks instead of destructive spells. Strength and persistence are the keys to a Paladin’s victory.
- Strengths: Minion swarms, minion buffs and debuffs, healing, Divine Shield, Secrets
- Limitations: Cost reduction
- Weaknesses: Direct damage spells, destroying big minions
Priest: Priests balance holy light and shadow magic to defeat their opponents. They control a battle’s outcome using powerful spells with situational applications. While not the most aggressive, they are able to generate, copy, and use combinations of cards to create a powerful army.
- Strengths: Healing, narrow but powerful spells, copying, single-minion buffs, Deathrattle
- Limitations: Card draw
- Weaknesses: Face damage spells, multi-minion buffs
Rogue: Rogues hide in the shadows, planning for the perfect time to strike. They may be sneaky and nimble, but they lack strong defenses and regeneration, forcing them to act quickly to incapacitate an opponent. Their innate ability to generate, draw, and burgle cards allows them to build up and execute on many synergies.
- Strengths: Combo cards, destroying individual minions, card draw, weapons, Deathrattle
- Weaknesses: Taunt, healing, board clear, multi-minion buffs
Shaman: Shamans wield the power of the elements along with their trusty totems. While they may not be able to generate resources as quickly as a Mage, they are able to overload their Mana Crystals with lightning, allowing them to ramp up for a burst of power faster than other classes. Shamans are thus rewarded for planning a few turns ahead by tuning their mana curve. Shamans also have strong tools to adapt to many situations. Although they are not as versatile as a Druid’s Choose One cards, they are able to extend their capabilities in ways other classes might not be able to.
- Strengths: Minion swarms, damage spells, Totems, Elementals, Murlocs
- Weaknesses: Card draw, card generation
Warlock: Sometimes sacrifices need to be made for power, and when you get demons involved this is often the case. The Warlock is comfortable with this bond and can manage all their resources (including their Health) in order to defeat their opponent. Their inherent ability to draw cards—with a sacrifice—allows them to keep the power flowing.
- Strengths: Powerful sacrifice effects, card draw, minion swarms, disruption, Demons
- Weaknesses: Face damage spells, big healing
Warrior: Warriors thirst for the battlefield. Primarily a martial class, they incorporate Armor, weapons, and minions to destroy their opponents. The minions who fight alongside each Warrior tend to be bigger and stronger, and they employ Rush and Taunt to control the flow of battle.
- Strengths: Armor, weapons, Taunt, destroying minions
- Limitations: Card draw and generation
- Weaknesses: Face damage spells, multi-minion buffs, minion swarms
Neutral: Neutral cards allow classes to extend their strengths to reach a specific goal with their deck or to make up for some of their weaknesses. For example, a Paladin can add Neutral Murlocs to help them round out their deck, or a Hunter may use a Neutral card that gives them a small amount of healing so they can stay in the fight longer. These cards are generally lower in power level so a class can never completely overcome their weaknesses.
Addressing Identity Issues
As we’ve worked to define what each class should bring to the table, we’ve found several cards that don’t match our established class identities. We’ll continue to adjust the Basic and Classic sets as needed, but for this update we’ve decided to address the following two cards: Mind Blast and Vanish.
While we like Rogues’ knack for getting out of sticky situations with targeted removal, Vanish allows them to effectively clear an entire board. This negates one of their intended weaknesses, reduces our ability to design towards their strengths, and makes it much harder for players to strategize against a Rogue.
Mind Blast gives Priests the ability to inflict a large amount of direct Face damage. We want to limit the amount of damage that Priests are able to deal from their hand, which will allow us to make cards that better emphasize their strengths in controlling the game.
We’ll be replacing these two cards with effects that better speak to their classes’ core fantasies:
For Priests, we’ve added Radiance since we wanted to have a low-cost spell that could be used for tricky spell synergies that also provided a powerful baseline heal for the class. Plaguebringer provides Rogues with another way to destroy minions and further establishes this class as the masters of Poison.
Since these are Basic and Classic cards (and so not subject to set rotation), we want to be careful with their power level so that Hearthstone can continue to feel fresh with each new year. At the same time, we’d like to provide effects that are natural for their class and can be useful in the right circumstances.
Adding New Classic Cards
Over the past several years, we’ve taken steps toward further defining class identities and maintaining a healthy meta-game by moving some over-represented or design-limiting Classic cards into the Hall of Fame, and by adding new cards to this set whenever appropriate. For instance, in 2017 we moved both Ragnaros, the Firelord and Sylvanas Windrunner to the Hall of Fame, and we’ve more recently done the same for Divine Favor, Ice Block, and several other cards. Leading up to the release of Rastakhan’s Rumble in 2018, we also introduced some new cards to the Classic set, such as Pilfer, Icicle, and Tome of Intellect.
We’re always assessing the prominence and impact of cards from every set, including Basic and Classic, and will continue to make changes when we believe it makes for a healthier meta-game and a better experience for players. This may come in the form of additions to the Hall of Fame or with the introduction of new cards that we feel bring some fresh new options to players, while still being healthy for the game.
When moving Classic cards to the Hall of Fame, we always look to introduce new cards to this set in order to keep a healthy amount of easily-obtainable cards available to players in Standard format games. We’ve been working for quite a while on some new additions to the Classic set, and we feel that now is the perfect time to bring them into the game.
Here’s a look at the new cards that will be available in Classic card packs (and craftable with Arcane Dust) starting with the next major update:
You're right -- I was fooled by the weirdly inaccurate image in the article. They should not have gems!
So no, you won't get dust because you could never have spent dust to create them. I guess they'll become common craftable cards after HoF, so they WILL have gems in the center at that point, and will be dustable, but I wouldn't expect more than 5 dust each.
I was also fooled by the gems ;)
if you have golden versions then it's 50 dust each tho
I have been hoping for a High Inquisitor Whitemane card for a while. While I like the effect... WHY ARE HER THIGHS COVERED?
This should give you some insight
Because its their class identity as they said... destroying minions
Warrior weakness is creating swarm of minions, not destroying them. You got it wrong
What about brawl???? Every warrior plays it.
It's odd that, mana wise, Blizzard seems to value healing and armor roughly the same. Healing is narrowly useful, but in general isn't close to as useful as armor (due to the whole "you can't heal over 30" thing). If they want to keep pushing priest towards the healing mechanic, they could at least give them some form of way to take advantage of healing in the early game. Drawing a handful of healing cards when you're going against a slow deck feels terrible.
Maybe some new inherent mechanic could help. Something like "overhealing on your hero is converted to armor. This armor is removed at the start of your next turn". For example, if you use this new "Heal 5 for 1 mana" card when you're at 30 health, you would gain 5 armor. This armor would stick around until the beginning of your next turn, at which point any armor remaining from that pool of 5 would be removed. It would make it less powerful than warrior or druid armor (since it only lasts a turn) and would fit in with the WoW flavor of Disc Priest proactive shielding.
Hey, serious question here. I'm somewhat colorblind and usually have problems with telling Hunter and Druid spells apart.
Gift of the Wild is a Druid card, right?
The word Wild says Druid, but the art says Hunter...
Yes it is a Druid card.
yeah, druid card ^^
For me, the art looks more like a druid card because it looks like the same sabers that night elfs ride on in World of Warcraft and druid is the class I associate most with Night elfs and Taurens.
Ohhh I see. I didn't know that about WOW.
Thanks for the reply!
I know that Rogue is in a good place right now, but once these Miscreants and Lackeys are gone, Rogue will have literally NO chance against aggro. Vanish is (was) their only viable board clear. Yeah, it's really good, but what's the alternative, Blade Fury?
The new cards honestly look like filler except for High Inquisitor Whitemane. I can easily see some Deathrattle or Jepetto Joybuzz shenanigans.
Not sure if a serious question or just a rant but i'll bite anyway.
Against agro, Blizzard want rogues to fight for the board through single AOE removal and then complement their strategy with a few suboptimal AOE removals from neutral minions. Rogues are not supposed to own AOE spells.
If thats going to be good or even viable doens't matter. The DI has been very clear this is how they want you to play their game from now on.
And yes, i also agree the new cards are mostly fillers.
Okay I understand that these changes are targeted at lowering the overall troublesome nature of the classic set and setting class identities around the classic set. That being said however, I believe this is backwards in regards to how they should be going about this. The main issue is that expansion sets carry huge power spikes with them for a select few classes every time one is release. Decks are built around expansion cards while players utilize neutral and classic cards as filler most of the time to pad out the 30 card requirement. This means that whatever class identity is held within the classic set is irrelevant as at most there may be 3 or 4 cards from the classic set of that given class in the deck. If we historically look at how classes have been played from the initial expansion being Naxxramas to the present day expansion of Rise of Shadows, there are certain deck archetypes that have always existed in some form that go directly against what the class identity is supposed to be. Again this is because expansion cards are what define decks, not classic cards. Rogue has been played in a aggressive fast paced style for years now due to their ability to make powerful use of low cost, high impact battlecry minions. The entire point of quest rogue was to abuse bounce effects and 1 mana charge minions. There never has been any sense of patience in the rogue class, except perhaps with Kingsbane rogue, however Kingsbane rogue would really only go to fatigue against decks that had high defensive capabilities which at the time were priest, warrior, and to an extent mage, and even then with Valeera DK rogue would usually win in fatigue. Priest had one of the most disgusting decks with big priest, warrior has always and notoriously been the "patient class" with any game against a warrior leading to fatigue in many expansions, Warlock has historically used every archetype under the sun and is the reasons many cards have been nerfed in the past, and mage has an ongoing love/hate relationship with freeze mage and big spells, it goes in between them quite frequently, and currently has possibly one of the most disgusting combos ever conceived with Giant into conjurers calling, which many classes can't answer (hence BGH is back in meta). My point with this is that if you want class identity to be at the forefront of what players experience then you have to eliminate the fact that expansions push archetypes, not identities. Archetypes can be abused by multiple classes, the aggro archetype has historically been abused by Druid, Shaman, Warlock, Rogue, Paladin, and Hunter. The control archetype has historically been abused by Paladin, Mage, Shaman, Warrior, Warlock, and Priest. The point being that archetypes are not unique, whereas if you focus on identities you will create specific deck types that only one or perhaps two classes can utilize effectively, whether or not this is enjoyable is another debate. Shaman for instance has arguably the most useless hero power currently with almost 0 synergy to be found outside of The Stormbringer which is just an RNG fest. There was a time when shaman was defined by token style decks utilizing their hero power and it was also one of the most oppressive decks ever created for anyone who remembers aggro shaman with tunnel trogg into totem golem, and of course the infamous and now nerfed tuskarr totemic. I would strongly advise the developers to turn their attention to making expansions that reinforce class identity rather than leaving it up to classic cards, most of which barely fit into any existing decks. Just my two cents on the matter, thanks for reading.
you make a valid point, but I believe you're not seeing the message that blizzard is conveying here.
They discuss class identities along with strengths and weaknesses which hints at what blizzard's card design rules would look like when they create expansion cards. For eg: they wouldn't print anymore face damage cards for Priest and Paladin as face damage is considered a weakness . So technically, if blizzard stick to these rules per class, each expansion will still display some form of class identity, regardless of what archetype. I would think certain strengths would lead to certain archetypes, (another example, druid's strength is minion swarming, so naturally they would be good at the zoo archetype)
This guy gets it.
"You have been crit by a wall of text for 50 pts of dmg"
I understand that they are discussing what they view as each classes "unique" strengths and weaknesses, my point was that archetypes make these strengths and weaknesses a moot point, because archetypes aren't about what class they fit, rather they are about what classes can abuse them. If they want to push the class identities they need to stop putting cards into archetypes and rather make cards around the actual class itself. It's why warlock despite having a hero power that insinuates that they are fast paced, aggressive, and swarmy, has notoriously abused the control archetype. Warlock has no identity, it just waits for combos it can abuse to appear regardless of whether those combos were ever intended to be used by the Warlock class. Build cards around the classes, not classes around the cards, otherwise you just end up in the cycle of "who can abuse the new cards" better than everyone else. Warrior right now is a prime example with Mech Control Warrior dominating the ladder, all because of one card, Dr. Boom Mad Genius. The entire classes "identity" revolves around this one card, rather than having Warrior carry the identity, the card carries it.