Heaps of new information about the upcoming set was revealed during the “Hearthstone | What’s Next” panel. Come take a look at everything you might have missed without a Blizzcon Virtual Ticket.
Those who purchased the Blizzcon Virtual Ticket were treated to an illuminating “Hearthstone | What’s Next” panel, which saw the reveal of a number of new cards, game mechanics, and features that will join Hearthstone with the release of Kobolds and Catacombs this December. Let’s kick things off by exploring our two new card types, Spellstones and Unidentified Magic Items.
Unidentified Magic Items
The first Unidentified Magic Item to be announced was a Priest card called Unidentified Elixir. The image you see above is exactly how the card will appear during deck construction; the card will gain its random “bonus effect” only after it finds its way into your hand.
Once drawn, the Unidentified Elixir transforms into one of four potential “identified” elixirs. The cost (3 mana) and described effect (+2/+2 to a minion) stay consistent throughout all four potential elixirs, while the bonus effect varies wildly. Elixir of Shadows, for example, summons a 1/1 copy of the minion you target it with, while Elixir of Purity gives the minion Divine Shield. Each of the four elixirs appear to be powerful for their mana cost, but may struggle to see play in constructed formats due to their inherently random nature.
As “a love letter to classic dungeon crawlers”, the thematic design of the Unidentified Magic Items brilliantly ties into the themes of the upcoming set. Everyone who’s played a dungeon crawler can empathize with the unique feeling of excitement that comes from discovering a magical item deep within a dungeon. Unidentified Magic Items pay homage to that feeling by being a mystery until you draw them. Revealed in a demo clip during the panel, an animation will transform the card in a location which is between your deck and your hand. It is not yet known if the slight pause which occurs as you draw the card will be apparent to opponents.
Two more Unidentified Magic Items will be joining Unidentified Elixir, a shield and a weapon. It has not been revealed what these cards will do, but it seems safe to bet that Warrior will be one of the other classes to receive this exciting new card type.
Each class will receive a Spellstone in the latest expansion, a new card type which appears to be quite powerful and promises to be the focal point of several new decks.
Spellstones begin as relatively weak spells with modest effects, but evolve into more and more devastating spells as certain conditions are met. Druid’s Lesser Jasper Spellstone starts off as a 1 mana spell which deals 2 damage to a minion, but if you can gain 3 armor while the card is in your hand it will transform into Jasper Spellstone.
The card will retain its mana cost after transforming into Jasper Spellstone while doubling its damage output. One mana for 4 damage is a great deal, but it gets even better from there. If you can gain three more armor while holding onto Jasper Spellstone the card will transform into Greater Jasper Spellstone.
Talk about efficient! One mana for 6 damage is obviously incredibly powerful, but it remains to be seen just how difficult will it be to evolve these cards while they’re burning a hole in your hand. The Jasper Spellstones seem to mitigate that risk by being useful in their lesser form, while other Spellstones will fit more in the “build-around-me” category.
Shaman’s Spellstones pack a vastly different punch than their Druid counterparts. The payoff for evolving the Spellstone all the way up to its “Greater” form is massive for Shaman, while the initial “Lesser” form is quite lackluster.
Though not quite as much of a thematic design success as the Unidentified Magical Items, the game design space which Spellstones open up from could potentially deliver on some incredibly novel gameplay experiences. There’s a world of difference between the dedicated “build-around-me” Spellstones and the more flexible ones which pack a punch at the “Lesser” level, and it will be exciting to see where the remaining seven Spellstones fall on this scale.
Kobolds and Catacombs Spoilers
Sprinkled in among the new card mechanics and game modes were a number of spoilers from the new set. Here they are in all their glory:
Wandering Monster is latest in a long list of “probably not quite good enough to see play” Hunter Secrets.
The Legendary weapon for the Mage class has some of the most alluring text you could possibly print on a Hearthstone card, “Draw 3 Cards”. An incredibly powerful effect, Aluneth and the rest of the Legendary weapons might mark the dawning of the age of Gluttonous Ooze.
A callback to Moat Lurker, is Carnivorous Cube the missing piece that dedicated Deathrattle decks were looking for? Summoning 2 copies of a minion is obviously powerful, but the set-up cost of destroying one of your own minions could be a bit too high.
Four 1/1s for the price of one card? Sign me up! Given how ubiquitous Fire Fly has become, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this card ends up seeing some serious play.
Our second look at a card with the new ability Recruit, Guild Recruiter will summon a random minion from your deck with cost 4 or less whenever it triggers its Battlecry. With the right deck building this card could be extremely powerful, as summoning a 4 mana minion and a 2/4 for 5 mana is some serious value.
This card has “Combo” written all over it. Cheating out a Malygos or a Gadgetzan Auctioneer ahead of schedule could allow Rogue to set up some crazy combos as early as turn 5.
Our final spoiler of the day will surely be one of the most highly anticipated and hotly debated cards leading up to the release of Kobolds and Catacombs. When Rin, the First Disciple dies she will add The First Seal to your hand. The First Seal costs a whopping 5 mana to summon a 2/2 Demon, but it also adds The Second Seal to your hand. That card summons a 3/3 and adds The Third Seal to your hand, which summons a 4/4 and adds The Fourth Seal to your head, which summons a 5/5 and adds The Final Seal to your hand.
31 mana later – say hello to Azari, the Devourer!
How cool is that? Though this sequence of events is probably way too slow to ever see serious play in constructed, it’s pretty hard not to get excited about the idea of destroying your opponent’s entire deck. Sure, there might be faster ways to kill your opponent with 41 mana, but you’d be hard pressed to find a cooler way to win a game of Hearthstone.
Dungeon Runs are a new single-player game mode coming to Hearthstone with the release of the next expansion. They are currently available to demo at Blizzcon, which means that much more information should be coming about Dungeon Runs in the near future. The “What’s Next” panel offered us a taste of what to expect from this new game mode, but that taste has only left me hungering for seconds.
Players will begin each Dungeon Run by selecting one of the nine classes. They will start out with only 10 cards in their deck and 15 life to work with. From there, they will attempt to fight a series of 8 encounters against bosses of increasing difficulty. There will be 48 total bosses with varying abilities and decks, and each boss can appear in any order. A single defeat will result in permanent death, marking the end of a player’s Dungeon Run.
Defeating a boss will reward the player with some loot, which comes in the form of cards that will be added to your deck for future boss encounters.
Also acquired by defeating bosses, players can acquire powerful passive abilities called Treasure. These abilities will carry over for each boss fight in the remainder of the Dungeon Run.
Treasure might also come in the form of extremely powerful cards that will be added to your deck. Who else isn’t licking their chops at the thought of casting random Pyroblasts until someone dies?!
By all accounts, Dungeon Run is shaping up to be one of the most exciting new additions in the history of Hearthstone. The first reports from the floors of Blizzcon are coming back with glowing reviews, which is only making me all the more jealous that I’m not at Blizzcon.
The Best of the Rest
You can look forward to the more new spoilers for Kobolds and Catacombs on November 20th.
There will be a “league of adventures” as Legendary minions in this set. Among them was our first new card, Marin the Fox.
All players will receive a free copy of Marin the Fox for logging in sometime next week.
Tons of art was revealed from the upcoming set during the panel, which means that we should have plenty to speculate on in the days to come.