The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, the fourth expansion for Blizzard’s popular fast-paced strategy card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is now live, bringing with it 132 new cards including a number of unique tri-class cards and a whole new blend of crime-family themed deck-building possibilities.
“With Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, we’re introducing some exciting new mechanics to give deck-builders all-new ways to play Hearthstone,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “It’s going to be fun to see the influence of the three crime families spread throughout Gadgetzan as players align themselves with the Grimy Goons, the Kabal, and the Jade Lotus.”
On hand to break down some of the new cards, and providing some feedback on what effect the expansion will have on the meta, is navTV’s own Andrew “PenguinZA” Hodgkinson:
Telkom Gaming (TG): Blizzard gave us a brief glimpse of the new expansion at BlizzCon, what were your first impressions?
Andrew “PenguinZA” Hodgkinson: I was too stoked for the new expansion. Mainly because I like new pretty things, but also because this was a hope that there would be a change in the meta from the normal midrange shaman and discard zoo on ladder. FINALLY! A game changer!
TG: What do you think of the new factions and their associated cards?
PenguinZA: The introduction of tri-class cards; namely Kabal, Grimey Goons and Jade Lotus, is really exciting and it is promoting all sorts of creativity! I have seen some amazing hunter decks using the Grimey Goons as well as Jade Golem shaman. It has changed things up, and could add a twist in arena!
TG: What are your thoughts on the new Battle Cry mechanic “create a custom spell”?
PenguinZA: Kazakus is awesome! The custom spell he can create is really awesome and versatile. The only unfortunate thing is that it is very random but can provide heal, armour gain, freeze and board clear when it is really needed. Overall, I really like him: 4/5
TG: Taking both of the above into account, what effect do you feel the new expansion will have on the meta? Do you think they are good additions or do you feel that the meta will stagnate further with the addition of this expansion?
PenguinZA: After playing a bit of ladder, the new expansion has helped a bit, but it has introduced new cancerous classes like pirate-warrior and dragon-priest with Warrior probably being the most annoying to deal with, but also one really quick way to climb. Considering I only really started playing on Sunday, and it is now Monday, I am already rank 9 from rank 19 which is absurd!
TG: The cards were teased prior to release, where there any in particular that caught your eye in terms of being particularly powerful or underpowered?
PenguinZA: There weren’t any that really caught my eye, namely because when cards are released I generally wait to see them all and evaluate them all at once, with some consulting with the videos uploaded by the pro players. I must say, Zaymok provided us with some amazing insights on the cards with his videos! [Zaymok’s YouTube Channel] Props must go to him. I agreed with 90% of his thoughts on cards.
If I was to choose something, the new Druid Legendary (Kun The Forgotten King) was probably the one that caught my eye first which was insanely strong. However, to date, I have not seen him being played.
TG: Have you played with, or against the new expansion cards since their release and, if you have, what are your first thoughts?
PenguinZA: FLY POLLY!
I’M IN CHARGE NOW!
Pirates… Pirates and dragons everywhere
TG: In terms of deck-styles, where do you feel these cards will see the most success?
PenguinZA: Currently, aggro is seeing a lot of play (namely warrior), but the introduction of so many “If your deck contains no duplicates” minions, we are seeing a lot of Reno Priest and Reno Warlock decks. Both which are incredibly strong. I mean, who doesn’t want to summon every demon in their hand as warlock or have your hero power cost zero as a priest?
TG: With Gwent on the way, which encourages more deck and graveyard interaction, do you feel hearthstone will need to adapt in order to keep its audience?
PenguinZA: Honestly, when you have the Blizzard IP and WoW Lore, as well as a card game which is fairly easy for newcomers to pick up and start vs a game which would require a much higher skills level, I think Hearthstone won’t need to change much. Blizzard could consider this in the future, but nevertheless, I would give Gwent a try again, just to try to relive my Yu-Gi-Oh days of Lightsworn and Dark World!
TG: Any final thoughts?
PenguinZA: I think the expansion did live up to expectation but at the same time it didn’t. I don’t think anyone really anticipated as much aggro as it is seeing now (same amount of aggro, just different classes now). I do still feel it would take a few weeks before the meta and creativity really settles down so we can really analyse the meta.
Overall, I am enjoying the new expansion. It has definitely rebooted my enjoyment for the game and I hope Blizzard continue to do what they are doing. The real challenge will be when the second year of Standard kicks in and cards drop away. That is when it will really start to show it’s true face I believe 🙂
For a more in-depth breakdown of the new expansion be sure to check out the recent NAG podcast featuring Andrew “PenguinZA” Hodgkinson here.