Hearthstone Ashes of Outland Joins the Expansions
Although Hearthstone Battlegrounds has held sway over standard for the past few months, developers have no intention of backing off standard.
Recently, Hearthstone fans got the opportunity to dive into the backstory of Illidan Stormrage and unlock the tenth class in the game – Demon Hunter.
The cherry on the cake in the list of already significant updates was the release of a new set, called Ashes of Outland. The main motive for the expansion was a variety of monsters that the Demon Hunter usually has to deal with.
What Does Ashes of Outland Have to Offer?
Now Ashes of Outland is in the game! The extension added a total of one hundred thirty-five cards, new minion types, and Outcast mechanics. In addition, the developers prepared a chain of three new tasks and moved the following sets to the Wild: “Rastakhan’s Rumble,” “The Boomsday Project,” and “The Witchwood”.
New game mechanics also bolster up the expansion. This time, Imprisoned Demons dictate the meta of almost any deck in the ladder with the new Dormant effect. What does it do? Appearing on the table, a minion with Dormant effect becomes inactive and invulnerable, and after a few turns it wakes up with powerful effect.
This simple concept offers a lot of new opportunities. And here we must give a credit to the designers of the new cards since almost every creature with the Dormant effect turned out to be unique.
The reason why Dormant Demons are so popular is that they offer overpowered effects for their mana cost. That way, players on the board have to clearly plan their actions several turns ahead. Dormant effect brought new dynamics into the game and greatly diversified the strategic possibilities of deck building.
Primes are the new legendary minions. Each class, except Demon Hunter, has its own Prime. All Prime minions work on the same principle: they have a basic and enhanced effect, after the death of the basic minion, it returns to the deck and can be drawn and played again. The enhanced version has powerful abilities.
Illidan Stormrage Joins the Ranks
The most surprising change of the expansion was the addition of a new playable class. And although the developers themselves have repeatedly said that the addition of a new class makes no sense, here it is – Illidan Stormrage is in the game. This hero became the tenth in the line of heroes.
The strength of the hero gives him + 1 to attack until the end of the turn, while it costs only one mana. Illidan, by analogy with other heroes, has a basic set and standard sets possessing Outcast mechanics. It gives additional effects to cards that are played as the most left or right one in the hand.
Demon Hunter blew up the meta. Just before the first patch, the new class occupied 50-60% of the ladder at all ranks! This has not happened in the game before. It was an explosive mixture of players’ increased interest in the new class and the huge level of demon hunter power. After the nerfs, the new class fell to “moderate” values of popularity in the region of 30%, which was previously considered abnormal, overwhelming, and oppressing.
A number of cards went to the Hall of Fame. Users will receive full compensation in dust after March 26th. Unfortunately, Leeroy Jenkins, Mountain Giant, Mind Control Tech, Acolyte of Pain, and Spellbreaker have left Hearthstone’s ranks.
In addition, the Priest class has also suffered heavy damage. Some cards of this class are moved to the Hall of Fame and will be replaced. Others will be rebalanced.
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Ashes of Outland Meta
Agro Demon Hunter is the most popular archetype in the Standard. Players managed to adapt to the first nerfs, moving away from decks with Imprisoned Antaen and Priestess of Fury (who initially occupied the entire ladder) to agile decks with Warglaives of Azzinoth. There is also a Combo OTK Demon Hunter using Kael’thas and Inner Demon – this assembly is more popular in Legend. Zephrys Demon Hunter gained popularity after theorycraft streams and was therefore quite noticeable during the first week of the expansion.
You can check the detailed stats on the frequency of classes played in the following graphic:
Some might say that “Ashes of Outland” is another faulty expansion with more than 130 new cards in the game. Broken cards and decks have hit the ladder replacing previous ones. So what has really changed? Sure, they do offer myriads of interesting options but the fact remains the same – slowly but surely, Hearthstone (ladder, in particularly) is losing its players.
So is there anything to save the day?
As already mention above, the schtick of the expansion is the introduction of a new game class. Community has been waiting for it six long years, that is, since the release itself. Blizzard stubbornly ignored community outcry. However, after the experimental “Knights of the Frozen Throne” expansion, which greatly diversified the game, they decided that it is a time for action.
And this is perhaps the best thing that has happened to the game for all the years of its existence. It’s an explosive mixture of different game mechanics that were previously available only separately.
Let’s not forget about the Battlegrounds – Illidan is added to the list of heroes too. The mode, by the way, is rapidly gaining popularity and seriously threatens the classic gameplay.
All in all, it’s an excellent start to the New Year for Hearthstone. It seems that the developers finally decided to pay attention to important aspects of the game, which they had previously ignored. This, in its turn, undoubtedly gives hope to the bright future of Hearthstone. According to the plans in 2020, two more major updates will be released. We will follow you up with the upcoming updates!