Having recently officially launched the release version of Hearthstone, and very quickly following up with the release of the tablet version, Blizzard is not resting on its laurels with this game. Recently announced the Curse of Naxxramas is set to be the first expansion for the game of Hearthstone.
What is this new expansion and what will it add to the game? Let's take a quick peek at this upcoming expansion.
Return to Naxxramas
Blizzard makes a bold move expanding to one of the most well known raid environments right out of the gate with Hearthstone. Naxxramas has been visited twice previously as a raid in World of Warcraft, the first time in the base game and the second time in Wrath of the Lich King. Both times it was extremely well received by players and has become a standard to which other raids are measured. So what does it bring to Hearthstone then?
The first big thing that you will notice is a massive change in look from the World of Warcraft version to the Hearthstone version. I mean, just look at the cartoony art in the banner and compare it to one of the original WoW versions of the characters to the right.
What made this raid so popular, or at least to me, was the fact that it had so many different bosses and wings. It had 15 different boss encounters (18 bosses) through 5 different wings. Each wind had its own theme, and each boss had a strong look. It made for a memorable experience and provides a strong visual base for Blizzard to return to.
Curse of Naxxramas - Solo Content
The new expansion will at it's core be new solo content for players in Hearthstone. The expansion will be launched as five separate parts, each representing one of the five wings of Naxxramas: the Arachnid Quarter, the Construct Quarter, the Military Quarter, the Plague Quarter, and the Frostwyrm Lair. Each wing will house several bosses that must be dueled and defeated to progress.
Each boss in Curse of Naxxramas will be based on one of the World of Warcraft bosses, but with a Hearthstone twist, and feature their own unique hero power. You will need to defeat each of them in a duel to progress through Naxxramas and defeat the expansion.
As you defeat each each wing of the expansion you will be rewarded with several new cards to add to your collection. These cards will feature the bosses, minions, and overall flavour of Naxxramas.
Curse of Naxxramas - The Cards
Now onto the section everyone has been waiting for, the new cards. As mentioned above each card will have a definite Naxxramas feel to it, expect lots of death, disease, spiders, and more. Also, being the original home of the Scourge expect lots of undead and therefor many cards that have or interact with Deathrattle.
Blizzard has already announced that there will be a total of 30 new cards in the expansion, these will include:
- 15 new generic cards, unlocked by beating each boss
- 9 new class specific cards, unlocked through class challenges
- 6 new legendary cards, 1 earned for defeating each wing and the final for defeating all wings
Let's look at the cards that have already been revealed and talk a little about each one.
First up is the Undertaker, which for 1 mana as a 1/2 is not a bad deal as a base card. With the +1/+1 each time a minion with deathrattle is summoned though, he screams combo rush deck. Add in a few other cheap deathrattle cards like Leper Gnome, Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalnos, and Harvest Golem and you can quickly get a huge minion attacking early in the game.
Next up is the Nerubian Egg which is another cheap minion with deathrattle to combine with Undertaker, but is also a really good card to face off against any deck with mass AOE such as hunters explosive trap, paladin's consecration, and of course all the AOE from mages, shamans, and warlocks.. It is a cheap minion at 2 mana, that really just sits and waits since it can not attack. However, it really makes you opponent reconsider playing those board clearing cards because they will then need to deal with a 4/4 right after. There are so many upsides to this card and it combos well with several of the other new cards that I think it will be a very popular option.
We now come the the Shade of Naxxramas, which is an interesting card as it starts off small but grows over time. At 3 mana for a 2/2 it's not great value right away. However when you look at the fact that it has stealth and can therefore not be directly targeted, and the fact that it grows by +1/+1 each turn it becomes pretty dangerous pretty quickly. Don't forget that AOE will still hit him early so he will be vulnerable for the first few turns he is on the board even if you do leave him stealthed, but past that he can become pretty dangerous.
Dancing Swords is a card with a downside, since it's deathrattle gives your opponent a card. However, getting a 4/4 minion out for 3 mana which means on the second turn if you go second, can be huge. The downside of giving your opponent a card can always be silenced yourself if you feel the need, but many times in a rush deck your not so much worried about your opponents card draws as their health. A 4/4 on turn 2 or 3 can certainly get their health down quickly.
Next up, and last of the revealed generic cards so far is Baron Rivendare which is a new legendary card. As with many other cards from the expansion he will have a deathrattle interaction, but in his case not directly. Instead of his own deathrattle, he triggers all of your other deathrattles twice. Let that sink in for a bit, all of your other deathrattles twice! Have him on the board with Sylvanas and you can steal two enemy minions. Have him out when Cairne Bloodhoof dies and get 2 4/5 minions instead of one. He just screams big crazy combos. Best of all he is cheap at 4 mana since he only has 1 attack, but that just means you can get him out early in a game to help all your cheap deathrattle cards that we talked about above in the Undertaker section. He will certainly be a game changer, if for no other reason that everyone will be forced to take more cards with silence to help stop his ability.
Avengeis a new class card for the Paladin class, which offers some interesting options, especially when teamed up with some deathrattle cards. As a secret it makes it hard to react to, and triggers after one of your minions dies. Consider this interesting combo (subject to how the timing of the secret and deathrattle actually function in game):
You're a Paladin playing against a Hunter who summons a trap on turn 3. Suspecting it is an explosive trap you first summon your Nerubian Egg, then play Avenge, then attack with your 1/1 minion from turn 2. The trap triggers, killing both your 1/1 and the egg, the deathrattle of the egg triggers which summons a 4/4, then your avenge goes off giving you a 7/6 minion to attack with the next turn.
The last card to look at is the Druid class card called Poison Seeds. This card has the potential to be a hugely devastating card as it can be played both early on or late game to great effect in either situation. It can also be used as both an offensive and defensive card. The defensive option is obvious, your opponent summons a huge minion such as Ragnaros and you have no way to get rid of it, easy turn it into a 2/2 and kill that. the offensive side takes a little more imagination, but think of this teamed up with a deck full of deathrattle minions and I am sure you can start to see the potential. There are many combos waiting to be discovered with this card.
What are your thoughts on the new cards so far, will they make their way into your deck? Do you think they are tournament worthy cards, or just flavour cards? Make your thoughts known in the comment section below.