PAX East 2015 – Blizzard Teases Elemental-Based Hearthstone Adventure

Today, Blizzard Entertainment is teasing an animated Rock Elemental in the front page of the official Hearthstone website (in a folder named /hots/).

hearthstone-blackrock-elemental-teaser

PAX East 2015 – Blizzard Teases Elemental-Based Hearthstone Adventure

Our staff member, Benjamin Vogt (Lugia), noticed that the cards shuffled in the front page of the official Hearthstone website are curiously all Blackrock Mountain-themed cards, and they are also stored in the /hots/ folder (http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/static/images/hots/en-us/card-sprite.png):

  • Leeroy Jenkins (Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Core Hound (Molten Core)
  • Dark Iron Dwarf (Blackrock Depths)
  • Magma Rager (Molten Core)

blackrock-mountains-elemental-card-sprite

We are four days away from PAX East, with enough momentum going forward after Hearthpwn posted datamined strings hinting at a potential Blackrock Mountain-themed Adventure.

Just hours ago, Blizzard Entertainment also announced the March 2015 Ranked Play card back reward: Raging Ragnaros. Putting all these breadcrumbs together start to show at least an elemental-themed Adventure similar in taste to Curse of Naxxramas.

PAX East 2015 - Blizzard Teases Elemental-Based Hearthstone Adventure

March 2015 Ranked Play Season: Raging Ragnaros Card Back

The March 2015 Ranked Play Season has begun, and a new card back is available: The raging Ragnaros. Could the rumors be true about a Blackrock Mountain-centered expansion or adventure?

We are barely a few days away from finding out. Two of our staff members are attending PAX East, invited by Blizzard Entertainment to witness whatever plans they have. Stay tuned with us throughout the weekend. The Blizzard panel starts on Friday, March 6.

The twelfth official Hearthstone Ranked Play Season is now live—and we’re unveiling a new card back you can add to your collection!

BY FIRE BE PURGED! Command the awesome fury of the Firelord with the fiery Ragnaros card back. You can only earn this card back by playing Hearthstone during the month of March.

These card backs replace the art decorating the reverse side of your cards and are a great way to show off your Hearthstone accomplishments. Add the Ragnaros card back to your collection by hitting Rank 20 in Ranked Play mode. You’ll receive the Ragnaros card back at the end of March’s Ranked Play Season.

Ranked-S12mar_Cardback_HS_Lightbox_CK_500x345.png

Don’t forget—the further you move up the Ranked Play ladder, the more bonus stars you’ll receive next season. In Ranked Play, you’ll receive bonus stars based on your performance from the previous season —one bonus star per rank you attained. Please note that even if bonus stars from the previous season get you directly to Rank 20 or above, you still have to log in at least once each Ranked Season to qualify for the card back reward.

The top 100 Legend players for the March Ranked Play season will also accrue points towards qualifying for the Hearthstone World Championship. For more information on how you can become the next Hearthstone World Champion, please visit our Hearthstone World Championship blog here.

DON’T DELAY, INSECTS! Put your Ranked Play skills to the test in our twelfth official Ranked Play Season, Raging Ragnaros, running through the month of March!

NYC Fireside Member Joins Champion’s League Season 1

Phonetap (member of the Blizzplanet’s Hearthstone New York City Fireside) is part of the Champion’s League Season 1. He won one of our fireside tournaments a month ago.

Amaz and Firebat (who participated in the World Championship 2014 back in August) are players in the Champion’s League Season 1 along with Phonetap. We wish him the best of lucks and we bet he will have a lot of fun regardless of the outcome.

Brackets can be found here. The upcoming semi-final brackets here.

Currently Phonetap is scheduled to play with Alchemixt in group C. Amaz and Dalecz in group D.

According to the livestream schedule, the Semi Finals & Grand Finals will be livestream on Saturday, February 28th at 5PM EST.

To join the New York City Fireside Gatherings club visit our page: http://www.meetup.com/Blizzplanet-NYC-Hearthstone/

blizzplanet-nyc-fireside-turbo-studios-feb-7-2015-p14

Hearthstone Metagame Counters: February Edition

It’s well into the month of February and I wanted to report on the various decks in the metagame. As opposed to the druid heavy metagame a month ago, there are a wide variety of decks being played, ranging from mech mage to control warrior, from oil rogue to midrange demonlocks. It seems like more than any other time in hearthstone, the metagame is evolving daily, even hourly, and adapting because of the great balance between a lot of these decks. All in all it makes for a fun time in constructed as every match ensures variety and not just abuse of a single overpowered deck. With these thoughts in mind, the metagame counters focus more on cards that have widespread use against types of decks, rather than cards specific to counter the one best deck out there.

Hearthstone Metagame Counters

Zombie Chow: This one mana 2/3 card can often stop aggro decks before they even get revved up if you play it right on turn one. This card is almost a staple as a one-of in control decks to stop the incoming rush of small minions that midrange hunters and mech mages often start the game with. Because of it’s big body on a one mana card and it’s unnoticeable drawback for control decks, the card potentially can trade two for one to give enough time for control games to seize the game.

Harrison Jones: Harrison is so good against any deck with weapons as it not only destroys the weapon, but you also draw as many cards as charges that weapon has left. Decks that I mentioned above, including warrior, hunter, paladin and rogues, all run weapons that trade favorably. Even some mech mages run Blingtron 3000! This card really helps against all these matchups so be sure to make space for it you know the deck you’re running has issues against these weapon heavy decks.

Antique Healbot: This little guy costs five for a 3/3 but heals eight damage for your hero. This heal can often be the difference between a win or a loss. Many decks lack the immense burst potential that miracle rogues had in the past, and even if they did, planned lethal damage will often be thwarted by this healing bot. The extra turn or two can swing the tide of the match in your favor to give a comeback victory when the opponent just went all in. Two may be excessive but running one copy could be a great help against many of the matchups out there focusing on the early to mid game.

ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series Season 1 Finals Photos

Blizzplanet correspondent Danny Perschonok attended the ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series Season 1 Finals and captured several photos of the tournament participants and the stage. The finals ended with a thrilling match between SilenStorm and Chakki.

The winner of the tournament was SilentStorm, who is now expected to play at the Hearthstone Legendary Series Katowice major event, sponsored by Intel® & HP® and supported by Blizzard Entertainment.

The winning results are as follow:

1st Winner: SilentStorm ($8,000)
2nd Winner: Chakki ($4,000)
3rd/4th Winner: Zalae & Darkwonyx ($2,000)
5th-8th: Savjz, Max, PinpingHo, and Weifu (each US$1,000)

ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series Season 1 Finals Photos

 

ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series Season 1 Finals Photos

 

 

Hearthstone NYC Fireside – Feb 22, 2015 Photos

Today, 22 out of 256 members of the New York City Hearthstone Fireside clashed in a Single Elimination (Best of 3) Tournament.

The final match was a very exciting one, with attendees sitting on the edge of their seats as they spectated the match on the TV screen. The first match was mage vs mage. The second match was mage vs warrior. That second match was very exciting and lengthy taking both players into fatigue. The win could really have gone both ways, but two Brawl decided the victor of the second match. One may argue it was luck, but the truth is that both contenders were pretty good.

However, the third match against a warlock was devastating to the Warrior, but overall a good tournament finals. Worthy of joining the World Championship. Will we get to see any of them in the big leagues? Only time will tell.

Hearthstone NYC Fireside – Feb 22, 2015 Photos

 

The last photo (above) shows 20 of the members. The two sitting are the finalists: Eudemon and darkiepoo. The winner of this tournament was Eudemon#1739. Congratulations!

Hearthstone NYC Fireside - Feb 22, 2015 Photos

Many thanks to all the attendees. Hope you all had fun, and look forward to see you in the next Fireside Gatherings. Many new faces. Special thanks to both: co-organizer Andrey and Turbo Studios for hosting another Heartsthone Fireside Gathering; and co-organizers Mike (Mithalas) and popular-friend Danny Wu. A big thanks to Battlefy.com — our tournament brackets platform.

The next Fireside Gathering will be on March 7 — if you live within New York City or neighboring areas, reserve your attendance. The next tournament will be on March 21.

Find a Hearthstone Fireside near you at FiresideGatherings.com, or organize yours by contacting firesidegatherings@Blizzard.com

Brackets

 

Tournament Finalists: 2 of 3 Matches

Apologies for the technical issues recording the livestream. The spectator mode froze a couple times forcing us to rejoin. In this video, you may watch the three matches of the tournament finalists: Eudemon vs darkiepoo.

There were some technical issues with the video, mix of spectator mode bug, plus CPU and xsplit hiccups. Just click the links in the annotations to jump ahead.

Blizzplanet NYC Hearthstone Fireside |Feb 7.2015

Organizing a Hearthstone Fireside Gathering is no easy feat. There is a lot of time invested searching for new locations, and sacrifice in various aspects such as money, and unexpected situations.

For this fireside, I left home one-hour and a half before the event, but I didn’t check out the MTA Weekender website. Turns out three trains were not working due to scheduled maintenance. I didn’t know that. The first train station was closed with a notice that there were no downtown nor uptown trains stopping at that station.

There were a couple more trains cancelled due to maintenance, and I ended up arriving 3 hours after I left home (a trip that usually takes 30 minutes).

As an organizer, if you rely on buses or trains it is recommended to check online the transportation website for any possible maintenance schedules or delays ahead of the date of the Fireside event. Learn from this.

Quick Thoughts on the Undertaker Nerf

I’m sure by now that you have heard of the Nerf on by now and the patch has gone live. After many complaints from the community along with constant abuse from Hunter and Zoolock decks, the undertaker now will only gain +1 in power, instead of the +1/+1 in power and toughness it used to receive from playing a deathrattle minion.

The card now follows the wake of many other nerfed cards, such as and . However, unlike those cards that have been sent essentially to the void and are unplayable in the current metagame, the undertaker could still persist. Despite losing the broken ability to gain toughness, gaining power is still a boon for many of the aggro decks out there that care only about taking life away.

The undertaker’s weakness still persists in the late game but aggro decks don’t care about this drawback anyway. Getting a 3/2 instead of a 3/4 now forces the card to trade just one for one, instead of the one for two it used to before.

Blizzard has now nerfed cards in quick response to the community and this habit will benefit the company in the long run. By keeping the community happy and being friendly to the newcomers to the game, people will keep playing and paying for this massively popular game.

In addition to all this, the card nerf is a subtle mechanism to shift the metagame. By changing undertaker, the environment can be shifted more towards the midrange and control decks. This keeps the ladder fresh without the introduction of another expansion, of which was rumored to be coming out in April.

What card will be next on the nerf hammer? I have a feeling it will be a card that defines deck archetypes, much like how these other nerfs have happened. People have been pointing at the broken abilities of , but this card does not define a deck archetype.

Nerfing the card will only make the card unplayable in all decks and doesn’t really shift the metagame. I’m looking more at the cards that define the deck, like , that could get a long look.

Hearthstone Undertaker Nerf

Hearthstone Undertaker Nerf

Has Hearthstone gotten boring?

My short answer is: of course not! But after playing a couple games on ranked, the ranked system lacks replay value after you attain the grand goal of being a legend ranked player. I face this every season as I enjoy the strategy and gameplay of the ranked ladder, but don’t wish to spend many hours on grinding to the legendary ranks over and over. Although there are incentives in getting a golden portrait and earning 100 gold daily, I believe there are some other rewards that can be introduced to make the game more entertaining. There are also some possible game modes that could be introduced to spice up play. I already know the Fireside trials hosted by ESL have created a new approach to playing by introducing various limitations, like only use of basic cards or no spells. Other than ranked and arena, perhaps Blizzard could introduce some other game modes to spice up the play.

Tournaments: This idea has been thrown around a lot and there exists a lot of weekly tournaments to get involved. However, there are still people who want to practice a tournament setting more often. There are some websites that have tried to set up tournaments at any time of the day but none of them have gotten great popularity. If Blizzard was to set up a client for managing tournaments, I would envision great success, especially if there were rewards to those who played well in the tournament.

Pre-set modes with limitations: Expanding on the idea started by the Fireside trials, what if those limitations were also included for some play on the ladder? It would be really interesting to build decks without spells or with just basic cards. It would really test deck building abilities, as well as challenge players to novel scenarios. The only issue here is how to make these limitations stick.

Multiplayer modes: I know the whole deal with the screen being too small, especially for Android users, but I think this mode is completely possible for PC gamers. This mode would reinforce teamplay in a game where it’s completely single player and could even make it as a format for highly watched tournaments. I’m not sure how the exact mode would work, perhaps splitting the screen down the middle and having two player play as the same hero but have different hands? Or there could be just two completely different players vs. two different players, each with their own hero. However it is made though, I feel that multiplayer is a great path for the card game to expand.

Blizzplanet Hearthstone NYC Fireside – Jan.24.2015 Tournament Results

Today, members of the New York City Hearthstone Fireside Gathering met up to play a single-elimination (Best of 3) tournament. It was our first fireside of 2015.

We met this time at our new meeting location courtesy of Turbo Studios and Andrey (co-organizer) who opened the door for us, and helped with the tournament setup via Battlefy.

It was a lot of fun. Have you ever planned this perfect event weeks in advance and then DOOMSDAY scenario happens? We shared a few laughs. The unthinkable happened. Last night, the Snow/Rain-mix storm somehow knocked Turbo Studios’ internet connection offline. The WiFi network was all fine, but no internet. So How do you hold a Hearthstone tournament with no internet?

Not even I knew the answer to that, and we were funnily desperate trying to troubleshoot getting the network back online. There was no plan B, but then the Heroes of Warcraft came forth to build defenses and guard our backs. At least 4-5 Fireside members shared their smartphone WiFi Hotspot passwords and we got the tournament rolling.

If you have been hesitant in organizing a Fireside Gathering, being the founder of one in your area, don’t worry too much. I am a very shy guy and not very talkative. Things don’t go perfect always, but you can rely on members networking with each other and helping out. Some may approach you to volunteer to help you. After all, Firesides are not just a means to play your favorite game, but also a medium where to meet new people and to forge long-lasting friendships.

Congratulations to the 1st Winner: Mungocomics (Hearthstone Mug); and 2nd Winner: Mithalas ($20 Hearthstone Gift Card). The prizes were actually the other way around, but both winners decided to swap prizes on their own– after prizes had been assigned.

You may see the final results of our Tournament Brackets here:

Special thanks go to Blizzard Entertainment-FSG Team for the card pack codes, Turbo Studio for sharing their space and time to hold the tournament, and the members who provided the improvised Plan B for internet access (where there was no Plan B originally).

Overall, everyone said they had fun, and loved the new place. We also figured out how to plug a Laptop to the big TV and watched the semi-final and final matches onscreen as spectators. I recorded the 3 matches of the 1st & 2nd winners: Mungocomics and Mithalas.

Our next scheduled Fireside will take place on Saturday, February 7th at 1pm. Check future listings at FiresideGatherings.com or LiquidHearth.

To RSVP in upcoming NYC Fireside Gatherings visit our MeetUp.com Page.

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