Hearthstone Midweek Reveal Roundup

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There has been no slowing the rate at which we have been getting the new Hearthstone[Free] expansion, the Witchwood, card reveals and there is a lot of speculation brewing over the new possibilities these cards will be bringing to the meta game. We’ve been wondering how they will all rank with the pre-existing in-game collection. Once again we’ve hand picked a few that really have some tremendous potential and will probably be the cause of joy or despair depending on which side of the table you’ll be on when they enter play later this month.


Toxmonger

There are not many one cost Charge or Rush minions, but they exist. There are also Taunt/Divine Shield minions that will pair very well with this card. While this may not necessarily revive quest Hunter, it stands to add some punch to various viable Hunter decks.


Duskfallen Aviana

From the land of the high cost high impact cards comes a card that might very well be the strongest removal magnet in the game. Druids have some amazing high cost cards. Ultimate Infestation might be the first card on your mind, but a late game combo of Medivh into the Infestation could prove even more devastating by getting an immediate trigger from Atiesh, a 7/7 and a 5/5 all in one turn. Add one more level of ridiculous with a Kun right after the Medivh and you have a very stifling combo.


Chameleos

This isn’t necessarily a super powerful card stat-wise, but getting a peek at your opponent’s hand one card per round is a little gross. This reminds me of the steal everything gimmick Priests of old where you would just take everything your opponent had, whether if it was in hand or on the table. While this does less to directly mess with the person across the board, it sure does feel cheeky (maybe even a mite cheaty) just like the old days.


Rat Trap

A 2 mana 6/6 beast seems ridiculous and thats because it is. Even if people know to play around this card and it never gets triggered as a secret, you could argue that a 2 mana spell that limits your opponent to only playing 2 cards a round is just as if not more powerful. I cannot see this card not seeing play in most competitive Hunter decks.


Holy Water

This is another nod to the Steal Everything Priest. Is it coming back for real? This just seems like a great card in general that will actually be able to combo with things unlike Mind Control. For a game with Rogues as a primary class, the Priests sure do seem to like to borrow a lot from their opponents.


Dollmaster Dorian

If any card is responsible for the return of Zoo decks, it’s going to be this guy. Any time a card like this gets announced I feel a visceral reaction of looking for a Polymorph or a Hex because it is such a force multiplier for any deck that has minions with strong passive effects. Just imagine this in a Murloc deck. I wouldn’t mind free 1/1 Warleaders =)

Did any other cards jump out at you last week? We’re liking a lot of what the Witchwood is bringing to the table and introducing to the Hearthstone environment. While not every card is destined for greatness, the lower impact cards are really cool too and you can check them out at the main Hearthstone site or come chat about them in our discord. Thanks once again to Hearthpwn.com for being a great Hearthstone resource.

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3 New Hearthstone Cards Poised to be Overpowered and the Class Least Likely to be Good in the Witchwood

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With all the new Hearthstone[Free] reveals going on, we’re sitting down for a minute to look over what we have seen and shed a little light on what were this weeks big meta-changing cards in the Witchwood expansion. We’ve already looked at some of the ways Glinda Crowskin, Lord Godfrey, and Hagatha the Witch may have an impact. Today we look at a few more cards that have some far-reaching implications on what a good deck might look like in the months ahead and one very special class that seems to be behind the curve at the moment.

Lady in White

We are in a Priest renaissance right now. While it may not be as dominant as Shaman or Druid were in their heyday, the groundwork for solid Priest decks has never been as good and there is no sign of slowing. Between Lady in White and Vivid Nightmare the stage is set for not only revitalizing old deck types but the genesis of stuff from out of left field. I like this card, I think Priest will continue to be a thorn in my side if my Jade Druid deck continues to be viable and I feel bitter but I’m not, because Priests deserve good decks too!

Emeriss

Late game Hunter has some issues, and Emeriss is here to help. He is going to play well with Kathrena Winterwisp and is probably going to be reliant on a few key factors. The Kobolds & Catacombs expansion leaned very heavily on a low or no minion count Hunter style that means that even with a hand full of cards, which Hunter seems to rarely be afforded if the game is still going at round 9 or 10, most of those cards will probably not be minions. Indeed the only two Hunter decks listed at the moment on Tempostorm.com’s meta snapshot have very little use for this card. Between Houndmaster Shaw, Emeriss and the low-cost spell options for early game I think a hybrid of low cost non beast minions with high cost beasts might be viable. At the very least it is an angle that has had a solid trajectory for 2 expansions that may just end up being workable with more pieces of the puzzle in place. This one may edge its way in.

Vex Crow

Anything that encourages Mage to be throwing spells and benefitting in an additional way is worth strong consideration. Vex Crow is going to be the next Flamewaker or Mana Wyrm. While they are all susceptible to removal, the Vex Crow will open up some possibilities that never existed with these types of cards. Some may lament the RNG that this game sometimes involves, but a Mage throwing out spells and having a magic crow spit out small minions is goofy and flavorful and fun. Not to mention really strong, did I mention that?

So which class seems the weakest so far? Warrior

With this week’s reveals of Darius Crowley and the Blackhowl Gunspire, it looks like Warrior is going to be doubling down on middle-cost minions and the old charge-or-be taking damage schism that exists in the lineup. Granted now we are seeing this with Rush and Echo thrown into the mix but it does not seem like much new for Warrior as of yet. Does this mean that a combination of old and new cards won’t come together to make a solid deck? Of course not, but the point is that we really are waiting to be blown away by a Warrior card and the wait continues.

More reveals will be occurring in the weeks to come so stay tuned as we bring you the latest in Heathstone hype and expansion news! Special thanks to Hearthpwn.com for being a great database of Hearthstone resources.

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10 More ‘Hearthstone’ WitchWood Expansion Cards Revealed

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Blizzard Developer Peter Whalen had a sit down this afternoon with Frodan on Twitch to discuss the latest Hearthstone[Free] card reveals for the upcoming Witchwood expansion. There are some very thought provoking cards with this set of reveals including the one and only Legendary Hero card that the expansion will be releasing as well as some other big surprises. Without any more ado, I submit to you, today’s card roundup:


Houndmaster Shaw:

This is the mid-range or control Hunter version of Tundra Rhino. What makes this worthy of note is that the card is cheaper and it doesn’t care about the Beast tag like the Rhino does. Savannah Highmane and other six cost cards will love this and that all minions will be impacted means that this one should see a solid amount of play.


Rotten Applebaum:
This is a low impact minion that might find it’s way into a Nzoth deck or possibly as a tech card against face and aggro decks. Not every card in an expansion is going to be a game changer or a card that you build a deck around but this one is a fine example of cannon fodder with reasonable stats and cost.



Witchwood Apple and Whispering Woods:

These two cards are hinting at a new type of deck for Druid and it seems very possible that hand Druid may indeed be on the horizon. There is some obvious Mountain Giant/Savage Roar synergy with the Apple. Of course all of Druid’s powerful card draw options making a 6/6 or 7/7 stat Whispering Wood a strong possibility. Whispering Wood makes the Apple strong enough that both may see general use across multiple builds but for sure the Wood will be a staple and one with a great big minion Druid flavor to it.


Rebuke:

This is a very low cost card for the effect Loatheb used to be famous for. The real kicker is that because this is not a legendary, you can have two in your deck. Doubling up on this card in a single turn seems like a particularly inhibiting combo that will stretch board presence in a huge way.


Vivid Nightmare:

Lyra, Velen, and Ressurect all seem likely combos for this card. This is generally a really powerful low cost card that is actually really flavorful by prompting the Priest with a target for healing.


Glinda Crowskin:

Giving every minion in your hand the new Echo mechanic is going to be frightening. It isn’t even worth trying to cover the wide ranging options you might have with this card but with 0, 1 and 2 cost cards you’ll have the ability to make immediate use of the ability before she can be removed. With a single wisp in your hand Glinda becomes a 6 mana cost 9/13 value. Heaven help your opponent if this lady doesn’t get wiped off the board fast.


Nightmare Amalgam:

This is another low impact staple very much like Rotten Applebaum except that it is going to very likely become ubiquitous. Dev Peter Whalen said, “We wanted a neutral totem and had to stretch to make one.” The art for this thing is amazing as every tribe tag is represented in it’s shambling form. This is a card that won’t dominate the meta nor will it be a power card that gets a deck built around it. It’s hard to imagine that it will not be popular just for it’s wide ranging applicability.


Witch’s Apprentice:

The Babbling Book was a hit with many Mage decks featuring it and Witch’s Apprentice is the Shaman’s turn to turn up the RNG. While the shaman spell selection is different than Mage, there is a lot of removal that can be effective late game and the Taunt on this minion should not be ignored.


Hagatha the Witch:

Did I say RNG? Yeah, it’s now going to be cranked up to 11 with Hagatha. Your hero power becomes a passive that adds a random shaman spell to your hand after you play any minion. This is only the second passive hero power introduced to the game and this is a great card that seems like it will be capable of some amazing plays maybe even catapulting Shaman back into a position of power it has not been familiar with recently.

So that is all the reveals from earlier today. Make sure you tune back in with us as we share more reveals as some community reveals are scheduled to start as soon as tomorrow!

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First ‘Hearthstone’ expansion of 2018 delves into ‘The Witchwood’

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Weeks after laying out this year's plan for Hearthstone, Blizzard has announced the first expansion of 2018: The Witchwood. Once it lands, the Year of the Raven will begin — and all of 2016's cards will be retired from the main Standard format. The…
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Blizzard Announces the ‘Hearthstone’ Year of the Raven, In-Game Tournaments, and More

One of the best changes made in the lifecycle of Hearthstone [Free] was the addition of a well structured card rotation cycle. If that’s all gibberish to you, effectively what Hearthstone does is the same as many other collectable card games in that they’re constantly releasing new sets of card but to make the game approachable to new players (and to keep the metagame evolving) they “rotate” card sets. In the case of Hearthstone, they do this via annual rotations. We’ve already gone through the Year of the Kraken and the Year of the Mammoth, so this and this year Hearthstone takes to the sky with the Year of the Raven. Once the first card set of 2018 is released (which will be announced next month), cards from Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan will only be playable in the anything goes Wild format. Standard will then be limited to cards from Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, Kobolds and Catacombs, as well as the three future card sets released in 2018.

With these rotations, Blizzard often moves cards from the Classic set to the Hall of Fame, which retires them from Standard play. In this particular rotation, three cards are being smoked out and Ben Brode took time to explain the methodology behind these decisions. First off, the Mage card Ice Block is out. The idea behind these Classic cards is to give decks the class flavor without necessarily being cards you would specifically build a deck around. Ice Block, basically forever, has been a definite “build around.” Brode made sure to mention to us that there are many more exciting Mage cards coming in the first set of 2018, so, I feel pretty confident in waiting to see what’s going to happen surrounding the Mage meta before getting too worked up about Ice Block going away.

Additionally, Coldlight Oracle is getting Hall of Fame treatment, largely due to it having one of the most powerful battlecry effects in the game. Coldlight Oracle, like Sylvanas in rotations past, was preventing them from releasing certain kinds of cards that interacted with battlecries and bounce effects just due to the strength of Coldlight Oracle. We’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for cards coming out in 2018 that might’ve allowed us to really abuse its battlecry.

Last, but not least, is Mountain Giant. Ever since it got nerfed to be a 25 mana card instead of a 20 mana card, it hasn’t seen tons of play. So, it’s going to the Hall of Fame and getting un-nerfed so all the Giants decks of days of yore will be once again alive in the Wild format.

The thing I’m most excited for is the new in-game tournament mode that Blizzard is planning on rolling out this summer. In a nutshell, anyone will be able to roll their own tournament either by inviting friends or providing some kind of alphanumeric invite code. Tournaments have a start time, and once you’re signed up and online when it starts you’ll be automatically matched with other players in a swiss tournament that’s entirely managed inside the game itself. Blizzard repeatedly reiterated that this is something that they want to continue improving, and while it won’t likely be an instant replacement for the tournaments manually run by esports organizations, that seems like a noble goal to have one day.

Oh, and quests will be getting easier to complete. Quests that might’ve required you to win 3 games will only require 2. Similarly, quests that had you play 50 quest cards will go down to 30. All 40 gold quests are getting buffed to 50 gold, and they’re shooting for all players to easily be able to farm up a half a pack a day just from playing quests.

While the dates are still fairly nebulous with the new set being announced “next month” and the in-game tournament mode coming “this summer,” these massive rotations are an exciting time for Hearthstone. Even if you don’t plan on buying any new cards, it’ll still be worth paying attention to in order to unlock the free Druid hero Lunara which you’ll get from playing 10 standard games! Pretty sweet.

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Blizzard Just Announced the 2018 ‘Hearthstone’ Wild Open Tournament Series

Blizz’ has been absolutely killing it these last few years with Hearthstone [Free] esports, and things are only getting better. This afternoon they announced the 2018 Hearthstone Wild Open, which will be a real-deal tournament entirely in the Wild format. If you missed the boat on what “Wild” is, a few years ago Blizzard introduced card rotation into Hearthstone so if you’re playing a “standard” Hearthstone game you only need to have cards from the most recent sets. “Wild” includes all Hearthstone cards, and watching games in the Wild format can be nuts.

Typically card games like Hearthstone are balanced around just making sure the meta is standard is good, leaving formats like Wild to just sort of exist in a state of broken combos and other hilarious decks. In the world of Magic the Gathering the equivalent format is “Legacy” which is stupendously broken to the point that some games can be decided based solely on who goes first. (There’s more to it than that, but, just to give you an idea of how broken combos can get.) Hearthstone’s Wild isn’t that bad, but, needless to say, watching matches will be very entertaining.

Players have until February 18th to sign up to compete in your specific regional open qualifiers which will take place between February 22nd and 25th, then March 1st through 4th. The regional playoffs will be on March 7th for the US, March 9th in Asia, and March 1st in Europe. (These events will be streamed.) On March 31st, the finals will kick off at the Blizzard arena and $ 25,000 worth of prizes will be split between the top 8!

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Nerfs Are Everywhere as the ‘Hearthstone’ 10.2 Update Hits

Blizzard has been teasing a few major changes to Hearthstone [Free] over the last couple weeks, and the update just went live unleashing those tweaks to the world. First off, as we posted back on the 25th, ranked play is once again being shook up. Instead of being a tiered system with additional ranks taking more and more stars to unlock, now each level is five stars. It’s an interesting change, as players who frequently reached levels that required more than five stars to progress might feel like it’s easier? Maybe?

The philosophy behind all this was explained in this Designer Insights video:

A few days later, balance changes were announced that seemed intent on jamming a knife through the heart of the current aggro-intensive meta. Corridor Creeper had its attack reduced from five to two, Patches the Pirate lost change, Raza the Chained reduces the cost of your hero spell to one instead of zero, and Bonemare had its mana cost increased to eight.

I’m super curious to see what high-level play is going to look like with these nerfs, as the four cards that got hit with the nerf bat were major staples in a lot of decks at the latest Hearthstone Championship. I guess everyone is just going to play Cubelock now?

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New ‘Hearthstone’ Changes Aimed at Improving High Ranked Experience

Earlier today Ben Brode made an announcement regarding some changes that are coming soon to the standard ranked play format for Hearthstone [Free]. Now all ranks will require 5 stars to advance and players will only loose 4 ranks at the end of each monthly season. To adjust for the longer initial trek to rank 20, the first card back monthly reward will now require winning just 5 games. He said that experience is different depending on where you end up on the ladder. At the top of the ladder players experience a little too much backsliding from one season to the next. People at the bottom of the ladder feel like getting to rank 20 feels like a wall you hit very quickly.

So how will this play out? Higher ranked players are going to love this. If you play enough ranked hearthstone to get past the point where ranks require 5 stars, this is clearly a win. For players just getting into or coming back to ranked from a hiatus, the required amount of stars to get into the low teens is going to be almost doubled. Ultimately this is a push towards the people that play the game enough to get high ranks but don’t want to grind back to their previous position each month. The unfortunate side effect of this is that without any controls, people will start congregating at higher and higher ranks. The low-end star inflation seems like it may just be a stop-gap and Mr. Brode even came back to confirm that additional steps may need to be taken to prevent rank bloat.

This seems like the type of move that might have a vocal backlash but end up affecting far fewer players negatively than first perceptions may indicate. How many low rank players are out there worried that they can no longer easily get to 13-15 and then stop for the month? How many players starting out have hopes of only bouncing around in the high teens? Even if the initial journey takes longer, the appeal and prestige of the better ranks should now be even more palpable. I guess it will be up to the players to see long term gains outweigh potential short term frustration. In the mean time, Legend and upper numbered rank players can rejoice!

[applink url =”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hearthstone/id625257520?mt=8″]

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The Best ‘Hearthstone’ Decks Played at the ‘Hearthstone’ Championship

I just got back into town after attending the Hearthstone [Free] Championship in Amsterdam, and, man, there are few things better than watching that level of play. I read a lot of (very valid) criticism that it can be a little boring watching the same ol’ tournament meta, but I really appreciated watching decks like Jade Druid or Highlander Priest being played on a level that is nothing short of masterful. The Taiwanese player Tom60229 took home the championship, so for this week’s Hearthstone roundup we’re focusing on the four decks he played at the Hearthstone Championship Tour last weekend.

Cube Warlock – Weighing in at a hefty 10,640 dust, Cube Warlock (or Cubelock) is an evolution on the classic control Warlock decks (sometimes called Demonlock). It has seen loads of play, and gets its name from one of the three cards that make up the winning combo: Carnivorous Cube, Skull of the Man’ari and Doomguard. Skull of the Man’ari is a weapon which summons a demon from your hand every turn, and ideally you want to use that to cheat out Doomguard’s without triggering Doomguard’s battlecry which involves discarding two cards from your hand. The deck also runs Possessed Lackey which recruits a demon from your deck, providing a second alternative to getting Doomguards into play.

Once you manage to get a Doomguard out without discarding, you use Carnivorous Cube which destroys the Doomguard, then by using Spiritsinger Umbra and Dark Pact along side Carnivorous Cube to get four Doomguards on board. Doomguards are charge minions too, so you can cheat out your Doomguard, attack, then attack again with your new Doomguards once the Carnivorous Cube does its thing. It’s an incredibly powerful combo that really just gets stupid in the late game when you play Bloodreaver Gul’dan, bringing all the Doomguards back again. Games don’t typically last that long, as if you can pull off the entire combo that’s 25 damage in one turn which provided you did a decent job at controlling the board state could all go directly to face.

Here’s a great video that shows how it all works:

Highlander Priest – If you’ve watched any competitive Hearthstone being played, you’ve no doubt seen more matches involving Highlander Priest than you can even count. However, what you probably don’t know is where the deck got its name from. The cards that power the win condition in this deck require your deck to have no duplicates. Since there can only be one of each card, it’s a reference to the movie Highlander. Specifically, this quote. I first heard decks called this back in the Magic the Gathering days.

Anyway, the basic idea behind the deck is to get the game in a state where you’ve played Raza the Chained which reduces the cost of your hero power to zero mana, then getting Shadowreaper Anduin online to both clear any big threats from the battlefield as well as switching your hero power to Voidform which deals two damage instead of the typical Priest heal. Voidform can be cast over and over as it is refreshed with each new spell that is cast, which can result in massive end-game turns where you’re blasting cheap spells and hero power attacks over and over.

Early game, the deck plays very similar to many other Priest decks which focus on controlling the board to survive long enough to get the game in a state where you can Voidform your opponent to death. It’s a beefy deck coming in at 12,000 dust which runs six super crucial legendary cards as games can also be won by comboing Prophet Valen to double the damage of Mind Blast, potentially resulting in 20 damage to your face.

Highlander Priest sees so much play because it’s a deck that has answers to practically everything your opponent can play while having multiple powerful end-game win conditions. Of course, the deck is pretty pricy, but love it or hate it, it’s here to stay until more cards get introduced or something else happens to shake up the Hearthstone tournament meta.

While he isn’t playing the exact same deck, former Hearthstone champion Pavel put together a pretty great video late last year that shows the basic concepts that power Highlander Priest in action.

Check it out:

Jade Druid – Much like Highlander Priest, if you’ve even vaguely paid attention to anything to do with competitive Hearthstone, or have even played a ranked game recently, you’ve no doubt seen Jade Druid. Playing the deck is actually pretty simple, as it has the basic goal of make huge Jade Golems, and eventually overwhelm your opponent through your ability to just constantly dump out bigger and bigger creatures.

Mastery of the deck, however, involves managing both the cards in your hand as well as making sure you’re using Jade Idol to keep cards in your deck for you to draw so you don’t end up killing yourself with fatigue damage. Aside from building Jades, Ultimate Infestation is your main tech card for getting loads of gas late game. You deal five damage, often removing a problem creature, draw five cards, typically giving you more Jades, and while you’re at it you gain five armor and summon a 5/5 duel. Overall, a super powerful card for ten mana.

Similar to the previous video, while Trump isn’t playing the exact same deck, he does a great job of explaining the thought process that goes into when to hold and play the different cards in your deck as well as how to not run out of Jade cards to play.

Take a look:

Tempo Rogue – The last deck Tom60229 brought to the Hearthstone Championship Tour this year was Tempo Rogue. When playing tempo decks, the idea is to keep tempo throughout the game, starting with powerful low cost minions and eventually ramping up into massive threats. It’s not a new archetype by any stretch of the imagination, but recently it has become a mainstay in competitive play.

Patches the Pirate plays a big role early game in getting ahead of your opponent with annoying amounts of early turn damage that comes from the pirates that are typically run in tempo rogue. From there, you play cards like Saronite Chain Gang which gives you some taunt protection to get into later turns where you can do things like soup up minions with Bonemare, cheaply play Corridor Creeper from cheap minions that have died before, or just summoning The Lich King himself.

Or, you can do what Tom60229 did in the championship match and just live the giant Edwin VanCleef dream, which is something aggro rogue decks have thrived on since the earliest days of Hearthstone. He gains +2/+2 for each card played before him, so by using the Coin, Backstab, Shadowstep, and other cheap/free cards you can get a absolutely massive minion in play.

Like the other decks listed in this article, this accompanying video isn’t exactly what was played at HCT, but Trump always does a great job at really breaking down how a deck works while he plays.

Give it a look:

To check out the rest of the decks played at the Hearthstone Championship last weekend, head over to Blizzard’s site which is where these deck list images are all from. We’ll have more coverage soon on the Hearthstone Championship Tour, as well as some interviews, but for now… I’m going to bed. A seven hour time change has my brain totally wrecked!

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Hearthstone Championship Tour Pre-Show – The TouchArcade Show #337

So this week I’m at the Hearthstone Championship Tour to see who wins this year’s tournament. (I’m pulling for DocPwn!) We recorded an episode that’s about a … around 2/3 of an episode thinking I’d be able to add some Blizzard interview content in there but scheduling didn’t really work out. Instead, we chat about some of the more relevant news stories of the week and just generally have a great time podcastin’ for about 45 minutes! Also, I’m continuing to tweak our recording process, so audio levels should be even better this week (I hope).

Don’t forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read ’em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below… And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we’re talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you’re logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

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