The Means Streets of Gadgetzan Could Revamp the Scene

The Means Streets of Gadgetzan, the next expansion for the widely-popular Hearthstone, was announced at BlizzCon earlier in the month and looks to change the game in some pretty big ways. While the development team isn't looking to change up any fundamental aspects of the game, new mechanics and cards could change the balance of the game more so than ever before.

Tri-Class Cards

By far the biggest change for the new expansion will be the addition of the Tri-Class cards. In The Means Streets of Gadgetzan, there will be a total of nine class cards that can be played by three different classes. The cards will come from the three different factions of the Gadgetzan lore in World of Warcraft. Grimy Goons cards will be playable by Warriors, Hunters and Paladins. The Kabal will be playable by Warlocks, Mages and Priests. The Jade Lotus will be playable by Druids, Rogues and Shamans.

This new mechanic goes deeper than something like Discover that was brought in with the League of Explorers Adventure. That was a mechanic that just put itself into everyday cards. These new multi-class cards should bring about bigger decisions that players will have to make when creating their decks. It will also bring new variables to the table. A Priest now has the ability to fairly easily get its hand on a Mage's Flamestrike for a big board clear where it wouldn't have before. In a time where some see the meta as stale as ever, this has the potential to breath new life into the game.

Priest Being Resurrected

Since the inception of the game, Priest has been by far the weakest class of the game. Expansion after expansion, adventure after adventure, nothing has seemed to help the lowly Priests. As much as the developers have reinvigorated other classes in the game, that same touch was never brought to the Priests. Outside of players like Jason "Amaz" Chan, who used to win tournaments on the back of his Priest deck, the class has just never been competitive on the professional level. With The Means Streets of Gadgetzan expansion, that could all change.

With just the small amount of cards that have been revealed, it looks like the Priest will be crawling its way out of mediocrity in just a few weeks. With the addition of Pint-Size Potion and Potion of Madness alone, there's a huge potential for game-changing combos. Priests have always struggled with four-health minions, but with this two-mana combo, a Priest could easily steal your minion and run it into another minion to kill it. Or even just outright steal it when used with the Priest staple of Cabal Shadow Priest. When you add in the three-mana 3/4 that is Kabal Talonpriest, you have a Priest with perhaps the strongest three-drop in the game on its own. Factor in the effect of giving another minion plus-three health and you have a recipe for a game-changer. Then when you look at Drakonid Operative and Dragonfire Potion, you realize that Dragon Priest has potential to be a top-3 deck once the expansion drops. If a five-mana 5/6 is incredibly strong and can contend with almost every other five-drop in the game, then a six-mana AOE that can kill 99 percent of most boards is gigantic.

Those five cards alone are enough to completely change the landscape of the competitive Hearthstone scene. Sure, there are other strong cards from other classes that have been announced. But those other classes were already good. Priest is being brought back from the dead, and that is an incredibly huge deal.

Less Random Elements

During the Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon, there was one card that constantly had the crowd going: Ragnaros the Firelord. This is a card that's a staple in many late-game oriented decks that does eight damage to a random enemy. It was a card that single handedly decided more than a few games over the course of the weekend. It's also one that has frustrated many pro players for some time now.

Many professional players, from Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk and Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen have been preaching and cautioning the community on the element of randomness in Hearthstone for a long time now. It sounds like the developers are finally listening.

Speaking during a Q&A session at BlizzCon, the developers explicitly stated that they prefer the use of Discover effects rather than sticking with random effects. This is something that people have been saying for a long time since it takes no skill to have your Ragnaros hit someone in the face for lethal or sniping a big minion. It does take skill to pick the right card when presented with three options Discover card. You have to examine the entire board state, as well as your hand and what cards you think your opponent may play. It's a play that takes a ton of thought, and bringing about more of those decisions will only elevate the level of play at the competitive level once the expansion drops.

All in all, things seem to be looking up for Hearthstone, as the developers are moving in the right direction on many levels. If everything pans out like it has the potential to, The Means Streets of Gadgetzan could easily go down as the best Hearthstone expansion to date.

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