Hearthstone Year of the Raven: What to expect, what to prepare for

Last week, Blizzard announced Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven, marking the end of the Year of the Mammoth and a new round of changes for the game. Though nothing has been implemented yet, we now know enough about what the Year of the Raven has in store to make some preliminary preparations for the year.

If you’re not aware, Blizzard’s expansion sets for Standard cycle out every two years. Last year’s cards from the Year of the Mammoth will remain in rotation. However, other sets are on the way out, and three new expansions will release throughout 2018. We will also see new game modes, such as a new tournament mode, and other interesting features.


What’s on the way out?

Three sets will become exclusive to Wild format once the first expansion of the Year of the Raven launches. These sets are Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.

That means all of your C’thun decks, all those Jade decks, and anything else that uses these cards in Standard will no longer function. If you’re relying on a deck that uses these cards heavily, you’ll need to be prepared to build something new or start playing in Standard, which is a whole adventure all its own. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty more cards to do that with.


What’s new?

Three new expansions will debut during the Year of the Raven, but we still don’t know what any of them are. We have the image above to give us a hint, but it’s not exactly forthcoming with information. My personal speculation just looking at these images is that the first is indicative of Emerald Dream with the roots and magical green-ness in the middle, and would fit well with the new hero being introduced that I’ll get to momentarily. The second one could be just about anything remotely magical. The third seems water based, but the marks underneath give a sort of tribal feel, making me think of things like murlocs and naga.

Blizzard loves to surprise, though, so I thoroughly expect all of those to be wrong. Whatever they introduce, expect it to bring new mechanics and twists to the game that we can’t possibly prepare for without knowing.

What should I dust?

If you have no intention of playing Wild ever, you might be interested in dusting your old, good cards that are moving to the format. But that might be a touch extreme. However, there are three cards being retired to Wild’s Hall of Fame in addition to the three packs that might be better candidates. They are Ice Block, Coldlight Oracle, and Molten Giant. Molten Giant will also revert to its original mana cost.

This puts a nail in the coffin for a few powerful mage decks, as well as some frustrating Battlecry decks. But don’t dust them yet. Hold on to these cards until Year of the Raven and you’ll receive the full dust value for each without disenchanting any of them, and then you can dust them for more dust if you feel so inclined.


How can I get the new hero?

Finally, Hearthstone will introduce a new hero at the start of the Year of the Raven. Lunara will be the latest druid hero, and thank goodness, she’s unlockable through gameplay and not by purchasing from the shop. You can obtain Lunara by winning ten Standard games (either in Ranked or Casual play) after the Year of the Raven drops. So if you’re not currently playing Standard but love your druid decks, consider getting in the know about the new cards as they drop!

When will that be? We still don’t know. But we’re into March now, which means the first expansion needs to be soon to keep up the pace Blizzard sets for the Hearthstone year. We’ll be working on our decks and planning things out in advance for Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven, so pull up a seat by the hearth with us for another exciting year!

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