Hearthstone: Into the Witchwood Announcement Overview
A welcoming surprise embraced us gamers this week with the ever-popular and massively-played virtual collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft receiving a new expansion that is sure to shake up the current standings. Titled The Witchwood, this 135-card expansion will be kicking off the new annual season of Hearthstone, Year of the Raven. Starting with the release of this set, many previous expansions will be rotating out of the standard format and truly redefining the decks being ran.
Following the adventurous delve into that of Kobolds & Catacombs comes a new eerie approach to the game. With promises of sinister curses, unearthly howls from the distant bramble and the practice of dark magic under a full moon resonate a common tone to Whispers of the Old Gods, the kickoff expansion to the Year of the Mammoth. Yes, these haunted woods are sure to inspire the darker corners of Warcraft lore, while putting the comedic Hearthstone charm on each card.
Joining the Witchwood expansion in the Year of the Raven are the previous three: Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds & Catacombs. Being marked as the first addition to the new year, a big responsibility befalls this current set to define the direction this competitive year will take. Offering both a wide assortment of new keywords and a new single-player mode, similar to that of the highly successful Dungeon Run, this set is sporting to be on par with its predecessors.
With every new expansion comes a host of unique cards and an array of new mechanics to play around with. In the joyous announcement trailer below, which is styled like a homemade horror trek, many cards were revealed, boasting very interesting keywords and abilities.
The two new keywords being implemented are “Echo” and “Rush.” Echo has been seen on the card Unstable Evolution. It allows the player to cast the same card multiple times as a copy of it is placed in their hand as soon as they play it. However, the extra copies in the hand that haven’t been cast disperse at the end of the turn. This potent keyword offers a lot of strong potential in cards that are yet to be announced, and furthermore adds to the balance of mana within Hearthstone.
Rush, on the other hand, shares a similarity with another established keyword, Charge. However, the limit is that minions cannot attack the enemy hero on the same turn they are summoned with Rush. Although sounding disadvantageous it offers more potent effects to be implemented with Rush cards than can be with cards containing the Charge keyword.
Another mechanic is being added to a select few cards within this set found on the Pumpkin Peasant. Though not having a keyword, the altering of this card each turn it is in your hand is much akin to cards such as Shifter Zerus or Molten Blade, with a much less random outcome.
Two new Legendary cards shown in this set have the interesting Start of Game keyword, like Prince Malchezaar. However, they also sport a specification on deck structure, much like Prince Keleseth. Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater both sport a unique way to build one’s deck for an advantage from turn one. These two cards fundamentally create new ways to build decks by trying to think of the strongest possible combinations, given their restrictions.
The last card to be introduced within this announcement trailer is Azalina Soulthief. This 7 mana 3/3 legendary minion sports a battlecry that allows you to replace your hand with the opponent’s. it’s a very strong anti-control card for those who prefer to play with aggro-based decks, and very reminiscent of the effects of Divine Favor, a very strong paladin exclusive aggro card used to counter control. Able to be used by any class and hosting a very strong affect, this card is a true question to its relevance within the new meta.
Following the recent success of the single-player mode found within Kobolds & Catacombs, the Hearthstone team is once again bringing us a difficult re-playable experience bound to test one’s wits against AI opponents. The Monster Hunt begins as you pick your class from four unique heroes, all with four unique hero powers, and venture into the deep, dark depths of the Witchwood. Hero choices include the Tracker, a rogue armed with their bag of tricks; the Cannoneer, a warrior packed with lead; the Houndmaster, a hunter supplied with his trusty hounds; and the Time-Tinker, a mage who can augment time.
Following the same template of the “Dungeon Run,” the hero will have to undergo a series of eight or more difficult encounters, followed by a challenging end-game boss. Beating encounters will reward the player with a choice of one of three bundles of cards to improve their “Monster Hunt” deck for the trials ahead. At certain intervals, the player can obtain special cards that will augment their unique hero power or synergize with their hero. “Monster hunt” looks like another exciting single-player experience, with many nuances from the previous, that will pique players’ interest all over again.
Hearthstone: Into the Witchwood is expected to be releasing on or before April 30th and one can stay up-to-date on the current news and card reveals at https://playhearthstone.com/en-us/expansions-adventures/the-witchwood/ .