Goblins VS Gnomes brought a lot of changes to Hearthstone. One of the more noticeable overarching shifts is extremely minion-heavy play. In early vanilla Hearthstone, spells and board clears ruled the roost. Every class had only one class-specific Legendary minion. The sheer number of answers at the disposal of nearly every class made playing powerful minions an exercise in reciting Dirty Harry quotes. But minion-heavy decks are no longer reserved just for the Warlock’s own personal zoo.

Post-GvG every class has two Legendary minions (most of which are seeing Ranked play, sorry Mages,) and there has been a huge uptick in the selection of powerful minions. This means that the game is not decided by one good Flamestrike or Hex. You can play Bolvar Fordragon, have him silenced or removed, and still grin as you play Tirion Fordring on Turn 8 knowing his chances of survival have just drastically improved.

Piloted Shredders are a great Neutral example of GvG’s minion-centric shift. With Piloted Shredder, Piloted Sky Golem, and Sneed's Old Shredder, there is now the potential for any deck to have five minions that summon other minions upon death spread across the mana curve. Cards like Harvest Golem and Haunted Creeper were so widely played in vanilla Hearthstone because of the insurance they gave players in the face of wrath effects like Lightning Storm (honorable mention for Harvest Golem still being amazing and now enjoying Mech synergy.) Now, there are just so many more choices to capitalize on these types of minions.

Class-specific cards received some much needed attention as well on the minion front. Paladin has had it’s issues with early turns ironed out and it’s all minions all the time. Shielded Minibot is one of the best 2-drops in the game and can throw down with the best of any other class’s early game. Muster for Battle’s tokens are happily disposable if you aren't fortunate enough to have a Quartermaster. Combined with the synergy Bolvar receives for trading away Silver Hand Recruits, Paladin matches are now full of minions trading with other minions instead of relying on well-timed Consecrations.

There are also more creative ways to accomplish similar goals using minions. Waiting until Turn 10 to steal a minion as a Priest is old news. Now Priests can gain control of a plethora of minions earlier in the game thanks to the combination of Shrinkmeister and old favorite Cabal Shadow Priest. Even the Spare Part spells have made the previously underutilized Archmage Antonidas a rock star.

With many minions that survive board clears, leave other minions behind as a Deathrattle, or come in to play with a posse ( Dr. Boom sends his regards), the puzzle of each turn in a game of Hearthstone is becoming more varied and fostering more creative plays. Less and less the correct play is a removal spell. The future of this game is very bright, thanks to the explosive tendencies of Azeroth’s smallest denizens, and the surface has only just been scratched.