Ashes of Outland, the new Hearthstone expansion, will hit the serves exactly a week from now. And with it, the Year of the Phoenix will come. Expansions from 2018 (Rastakhan's Rumble, The Boomsday Project, and The Witchwood) will enter Wild and rotate out of Standard, while Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, and Descent of Dragons are in Standard for another year.
Five neutral cards will find their way to Hall of Fame this time around: Acolyte of Pain, Spellbreaker, Mind Control Tech, Mountain Giant, and Leeroy Jenkins. Joining them are a couple of Priest cards, which are being replaced with some new Priest cards, in an effort to redesign the core set of Priest. You can read more about that in our dedicated article about Priest changes.
But this yearly rotation will not be your usual "start-of-the-year" when it comes to Hearthstone. Two more major changes are coming this week - the first one is tonight's ranked redesign, and the second is probably the biggest one Hearthstone has ever seen: introduction of an entirely new class - Demon Hunter.
We'll talk about Demon Hunter in a separate article, but for now, let's see what all those big changes that are coming to ranked play are.
New League System
Starting with the April 2020 Ranked Season, 25 ranks are a thing of the past. Instead of them, we are now having 5 Leagues, a system you might be familiar with from other competitive games, including other Blizzard's games. Those five leagues are good old Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, while Legend remains the same as it is now. Each League is made up of 10 ranks (Brzone 10 to Brzone 1, etc.), each rank with 3 stars, and when you come to Rank 1 in your League, the next rank is a promotion to Rank 10 of the upper League. Each League will also have rank floors at ranks 10 and 5, where you cannot go down in ranks for match losses, similar to ranks 15, 10, and 5 in the old system. If you are a new or returning player, you will first have to play through "New player ranks", from 40 to 1.
In the old system, at the start of the new season, you're being positioned depending on your results from the previous ladder month. Now, everybody starts from rank 10 Bronze, but with a big "Star Bonus" based on your performance the last season. The basic premise is the same as in the old system: you'll gain one Star for a win, and lose one for a loss, but "Star Bonus" multiply that. With star bonus x8, you'll get 8 Stars for a win, and if you are on a winning streak, instead of 2 you'll get 16 stars! This multiplier is lowered by 1 each time you hit ranked floor in your climb (ranks 10 and 5 in Leagues), and so it gradually becomes smaller the higher you climb up until it disappears. Since everybody is on the same League when the season starts, matchmaking rating (MMR) will operate in the background to make sure everybody is matched against opponents of equal skill.
A lot of rewards!
The new system is coming with a much more generous reward output, that will be a great incentive for players to try and push their maximum each season. With the new system, you get rewards right away on each ranked floor (ranks 10 and 5 in each League), and those rewards are getting bigger and bigger the higher you climb. And then, there's "End Of Season" reward which also gets bigger the higher you end up.
Below, you can see how rewards look in this new system. It is important to notice that duplicate protection work here also, and that means that you will get Classic cards you don't already own unless you own them all of that rarity.
And that's about it! It sounds complicated, but it really isn't which you will see when you start the new season. Happy laddering and may RNGsus be with you!