No one was more excited than Alexander “Raven” Baguley for the introduction of the Year of the Alex Raven. His partner-in-crime from their dynamic casting duo, Simon “Sottle” Welch, was… less impressed.
Jia: "Look, it's Year of the Raven, isn't that exciting?"— Simon Welch (@coL_Sottle) February 28, 2018
Sottle: "..." pic.twitter.com/MJvme4NpfL
Raven’s optimism for the year ahead goes far beyond its name, though. “I think the thing I’m most excited about is the in-game tournament feature,” Raven says. Announced alongside the Hall of Fame inductees and quests that players can complete more quickly, in-game tournaments are coming later this year to Hearthstone.
In looking at the core element of every Hearthstone Year—set rotation—Raven says he enjoyed speculating on what would enter the Hall of Fame. “It’s always interesting,” he says. “What do we think the Hearthstone team will decide to move this year?” He’s excited to see how Ice Block entering the Hall of Fame will shake up the styles of Mage that are playable, and loved having Molten Giant at its original cost in Standard for a couple of days. “No one knew it was going to happen, but it was a nice surprise and a lot of fun,” he says.
The Year of the Raven’s first expansion, The Witchwood, has kept Raven’s undivided attention. (At this point, we’re just trying to see how many times we can say “Raven” in one post.)
“It’s a very interesting expansion overall,” Raven says. “The expansion that comes out alongside set rotation is always kind of a big deal.” He says he has enjoyed the new Even and Odd archetypes that Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater open up, since they’re available to every class.
Memorable highlights from the 2018 Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) have already begun to roll in for Raven. “The year has been even better than I thought it would be,” he says. “I love the sheer number of Tour Stops. It’s cool to watch the good plays and players, but more than that, I’m enjoying seeing the journey of players over multiple tournaments.”
Raven says his player to watch right now is Casper “hunterace” Notto. “He’s the current point leader, so he’s automatically someone to keep an eye on,” Raven says. “I remember casting him a couple of years ago at a DreamHack, and he impressed me back then, too.” He also points to top European point earners like Chris “Feno” Tsako and Tyler Hoang Nguyen as people he’s excited to see succeed in HCT 2018. “I think they’re really going to kick it out this year,” he says.
At the heart of all this competition is how HCT has evolved over the years: “I think the extra push this year has come from the format continuing to improve how it rewards players—more tournaments to attend, more prize money—and the improved incentives to compete with Masters coming online.” He’s especially interested in the expected “very tense” point race that will happen in Season 3.
Did we cover what you’re most excited for in Year of the Raven? Is Raven claiming Year of the Raven as his own OK with you? How many times did we finally end up saying Raven in this post? Let us know in the comments!