“When cards show up too frequently in decks and are considered auto-includes, deck-building becomes more limited…Dozens of cards in the seven to nine mana range never saw play because Ragnaros was always the easy choice in that range, and some decks only want to run one high cost card,” wrote Hearthstone’s developers back in 2017 as they shifted the poor Firelord out of Standard play and into the anything-goes halls of Wild. Well, surprise! He’s back, along with 22 other cards and some suitably spooky seasonal events over the next few weeks.
Blizzard’s CCG has been taking steps to shake up the meta in between expansions for a while, with nerfs, buffs, and new cards scattered between the bigger changes. But this is the first time they’re bringing back cards from earlier sets. You can see the full list at their website, which includes two cards for each of the nine classes, and five neutral legendaries.
It’s the latter that you’ll likely see the most of; like Rag they’re almost all strong picks that could fit in a huge variety of decks. Sylvanas Windrunner brings her game-swinging, minion-stealing deathrattle back, alongside N’Zoth the Corruptor to resurrect her if you’re leaning into that sort of build. And then there’s Emperor Thaurissan, who reduces the cost of cards in your hand at the end of your turn, allowing for a greater variety of combos.
Some of the classes seem to have gained more than others from this change. Warlock’s Renounce Darkness is good for a bit of fun, but replacing all the cards in your deck with random junk from another class doesn’t usually lead to great results, even if they do cost one less. Hunters and Druids will probably find space in their already competitively viable decks for Call Of The Wild and Kun The Forgotten King respectively. But I’ve got my eye on Mage, who picked up two unassuming but very exciting cards in Babbling Book and Flamewaker that might just bring a tempo-oriented deck back. (Disclosure: the only time I got to Legend in Hearthstone was with that ridiculous secret mage deck that was around a while ago and it was
massively overpowered great.)
The cards will only be about until the next expansion, and if you don’t already own them you’ll get copies for free, though they’ll disappear when they’re whisked back to Wild.
Meanwhile, the Halloween event continues the rhyming adventures of Rafaam and Reno:
On Tuesday the 8th of October, the first of three new tavern brawls will begin; another of the timed single player dungeon runs that have been about recently. There’ll be another the week after, with both giving rewards for speedy completions. And in the final event Dreadsteeds are back, along with a wibbly carousel that’ll shift your minions around with your opponent's. Win for a pack as usual, but also summon 100 Dreadsteeds for another. That’s a lot of demon horses.
Meanwhile the heroes will be reupping their costumes again in the Arena, allowing them to pick a different hero power and cards from that class. And you’ll get a couple of free tickets for entry, too, so you can trick or treat your way around without having to cough up the usual cash.
It’s not explicitly stated that October 8th will also bring the shiny new hero portraits for winning 1000 times with a class, nor the quality of life improvements like better searching and refreshed daily quests described a couple of weeks ago, but if they’re not simultaneous they should at least be close around the corner.
In the meantime my self-confessed RNG-loving self will be dreaming of unlikely Ragnaros lethals. And remembering when Blizzard wrote that “it’s hard to see a card at the six mana cost out-value Sylvanas. In addition, Sylvanas has the most powerful Deathrattle effect in the game — as a comparison, the Priest card Mind Control [which does basically the same thing] costs 10 mana.” Don’t worry, old, overwritten patch notes with justifications that seem amusingly hollow in the face of the cards’ (admittedly temporary) return. I haven’t forgotten you.