When I saw that Blizzard was effectively retiring cards like Power Overwhelming, Sylvanas, and Ragnaros the Firelord in preparation for Hearthstone's upcoming Year of the Mammoth, my heart sank a bit.
Like everyone else, I crafted all three of them a long time ago. All three cards are very powerful, thus making them safe choices for a dust investment. Following Hearthstone's Classic and Wild split, which began phasing out certain expansions, I took comfort in knowing that Ragnaros and company were probably there to stay.
But no, Blizzard has decided to relegate them to the Wild metagame, effectively retiring them alongside the Azure Drake, the Rogue's Conceal, and the Mage's Ice Lance. The Wild metagame, as most Hearthstone fans will tell you, is not particularly popular among the competitive set. Barring a big surge in popularity for Wild, they're kind of gone.
But wait! Blizzard is apparently looking to build up the popularity of Wild. From their blog: "We wanted to allow players to disenchant Classic cards that are being added to the Hall of Fame set for full dust refunds, but then felt that incentivizing players to dust their cool Wild cards was counter to our goal of making Wild awesome. So instead, we're just going to give you the dust, and you can keep the cards!"
All I can say is, "Thank god." Even with a full dust refund, I would have been inclined to keep Ragnaros and company on the off chance that Blizzard decided to rotate them back in for a year. You never know, right? Instead, I'm going to get well more than 4000 dust to spend as I please.
This is a relief given how hard it has become to keep up with Hearthstone's rapidly shifting trends. Just one legendary card costs 1600 dust to craft, and they are typically the lynchpins of important decks. Worse, there are so many now that it can be hard to pick which one to craft, especially with them being rotated out on a regular basis. I've spent much of the past year sitting on piles of dust, fearful that I would craft a legendary and watch them go out of style immediately, or that they would eventually get rotated out.
With this, I can relax a bit and feel a little more free to jump into the Year of the Mammoth. Not only that, it might actually give Wild the push it needs to be more interesting. Wild has its fans, but the ladder has been pretty dead to this point, and it's definitely needed something like this to spur a bit more interest. Then again, it might be so wildly (heh) unbalanced now that it's not even worth picking up.
Regardless of what happens to Wild, though, I'm happy to have a little flexibility going into the next season. This was a good choice by Blizzard.
Looking Ahead to the Year of the Mammoth
In the meantime, we can now look ahead to the Year of the Mammoth, which begins with the next expansion—rumored to be Lost Secrets of the Un'Goro.
In addition to the cards mentioned above, Blizzard will be retiring The Grand Tournament, The League of Explorers, and Blackrock Mountain from the Classic metagame, sending popular cards like Reno Jackson to Wild. In their place, Blizzard will be introducing three new sets of 130 cards apiece, likely beginning sometime in April.
The change is coming none too soon. A cursory glance at sights like Tempostorm serves to highlight the now-tiresome dominance of the Aggro Shaman and the Pirate Warrior. Reno decks have proven to be an okay check, but the metagame needs to be shaken up a bit. In that way, it's not a bad thing to lose former staples like Ragnaros in addition to the rest of the cards.
When the Year of the Mammoth kicks off, it will bring with it a fresh start for Hearthstone, which Blizzard will celeberate with dust, expanion packs, and a new Rogue hero in Maiev Shadowsong. Such periods are always the most enjoyable time to enjoy Hearthstone, and I'm really looking forward to the next one. This time, I'm glad I'll have the dust available to really appreciate it.