The next big adventure expansion for Blizzard’s digital card game Hearthstone is due out next month, and while we don’t know a whole lot about it quite yet, there certainly are a few snippets of info Blizzard has revealed so far, along with some data-mining from savvy fans to keep us talking, and waiting.
A Familiar Location
The first, and perhaps most important thing to know about Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion is its name. Blackrock Mountain will join Naxxramas as only the second adventure expansion thus far in the game’s history (third in all), and will take players on a journey through the much-remembered World of Warcraft locale. Tied deeply into the lore of WoW, Blackrock Mountain would seem a fitting addition to Hearthstone’s ever-growing collection of adventures.
A World of Dragons
While Naxxramas expanded on the concept of Deathrattle card effects to both the pleasure and scorn of fans, Blackrock Mountain will introduce the concept of Dragon synergies. There are already Dragon cards in the game in Hearthstone — Ysera and Azure Drake perhaps the most notable — however there were no inherent synergies between the cards. In Blackrock, not only will entirely new Dragons be introduced, but existing ones will be able to benefit, and be benefited from synergy cards that respect the Dragon’s nature.
The Blackwing Technician is easily the most notable card revealed so far when it comes to making use of Dragons, existing as a 3-cost creature that sees its stats pumped up to enormous value if a Dragon card is held in your hand at the time of playing it. If Dragon synergies are anywhere near as effective and value-oriented as Mech cards introduced in Goblins vs. Gnomes are, then one might expect to see quite a lot of Dragon decks in the near future. And of course most certainly, from the Dragonmaster himself.
A New, Polarizing Legendary
Another very interesting card revealed so far, is the Legendary Rend Blackhand. While some popular and pro players have already dismissed Blackhand as being far too situational and too weak to find use, others like Brian Kibler have jumped on the hype train early to regard it as a potentially powerful piece in decks.
While many have made the rightful comparison of Ren Blackhand to that of the commonly used Big Game Hunter, I think Kibler fairly points out that we’re talking about a card that is much more flexible than BGH, with a non-trivial amount of toughness to remove and enough damage to significantly threaten an opponent should it survive the turn, and more than enough to trade with just about anything you’ll find on the board. While some have played up its dragon-holding requirement, it’s hard to believe such a prerequisite would be too hard to meet by turn eight with a deck focused around Dragon synergies — which is the only type of deck you would realistically play Blackhand in, anyway.
Remember, everyone thought Troggzor would dominate Dr. Boom before GvG was released, so it’s at least worth considering that we won’t really know, until we know. The success and failure of cards in card games is often highly dependent on the current meta, and it’s too soon to say whether or not Blackhand will have a place in decks with any level of definiteness.
More Things to Clicky Click!
Along with the other cards revealed so far (Dark Iron Skulker, Grim Patron and Hungry Dragon), there is also a new game board on the horizon, complete with molten lava, a forge and plenty of orange glow to set it apart from the green and deathly tone set by its adventure predecessor, Naxxramas.
Just as with the previous adventure expansion, Blackrock Mountain will be available this April in “wings” that can be acquired all at once, or one at a time either with in-game gold, or real money. In total, 31 new playable cards will be introduced to Hearthstone through the adventure (one more than the 30 from Naxx), and they will be unlocked little by little both through the game’s Story-ish mode, and its individual class challenges.
Unlike Naxx, however, the first wing will not be free to the public, which may come as a surprise to some.
Blackrock Mountain will be available on PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets sometime this April, with plenty more info expected to arise between now and then.