Blizzard announced the new Standard season for Hearthstone, with the digital card game moving past the Year of the Mammoth and into the Year of the Raven.
The Year of the Raven will bring a multitude of changes to Hearthstone, including new expansions, new cards added to the Hall of Fame, the long-awaited in-game tournament mode, and many more.
The Year of The Raven: New Standard Format
The most prominent change with the arrival of the Year of the Raven is the sets that will be allowed in Standard. The expansions released in 2016, namely Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, will all be booted out of the Standard format and into the Wild format, making way for the expansions that will be released this year.
There is no word yet on this year's expansions, but for players interested in jumping into Hearthstone, the start of the Year of the Raven is a good time. The overhauled Standard format means a refreshed meta and the smallest card pool available to choose from, collect, and build decks.
News on the first Hearthstone expansion for 2018 should arrive sometime in March.
New Cards Added To Hall Of Fame
Year of the Mammoth introduced the Hall of Fame, which pushes Classic cards out of the Standard format into the Wild format, either because they are overpowered, they cramp design space, or they take up too big of a part of the metagame.
For the arrival of the Year of the Raven, three cards will be placed in the Hall of Fame. These are the Mage secret Ice Block and the generic minions Coldlight Oracle and Molten Giant. Molten Giant will also be reverted to its pre-nerf stats, lowering its cost from 25 mana to 20 mana.
'Hearthstone' Tournament Mode
The Hearthstone community has long clamored for in-game tournaments, and Blizzard will finally deliver. Beta testing for Hearthstone tournaments will start in the summer, allowing players to create Swiss tournaments using the Last Hero Standing or Conquest formats.
The in-game tournaments for Hearthstone, however, look like they are better geared for groups of friends and Fireside gatherings and not for major eSports competitions. Hearthstone director Ben Brode, however, was careful not to actually call it a "tournament mode," as he said that such a name means different things to different players.
Easier Daily Quests
Daily quests, which offer small amounts of gold to players, will become easier and more lucrative upon the arrival of the Year of the Raven. For example, some quests that reward 40 gold will increase the payout to 50 gold, while some quests that require players to use 50 cards of a certain class will see the requirement drop to 30 cards.
New Druid Hero Portrait
Lastly, all Hearthstone players will be able to earn a new hero portrait for the Druid class, the last hero class to gain an alternative character. Players will only have to win 10 Standard matches once Year of the Raven starts to unlock Lunara the Dryad, who will come with her own voice and emotes.