by Lee Hazell
A few weeks ago, collectable card game Hearthstone said they would be saying goodbye to the Year of the Mammoth, but replacing it with the Year of the Raven. The expansion that will be ushering in this brave new world is the intriguingly titled Witchwood. A Worgen inspired card set with plenty of spooky minions and interesting new mechanics to experiment with.
The first new gameplay feature is Echo. Echo allows you to play a card multiple times if you have the mana. You can play a thee-cost card on turn three, but you can play it twice on turn six. Rush is the other new keyword. Usually, if you lay a minion down on your turn you would have to wait a turn to use it. With Rush, you can use it to attack straight away, but only your opponent’s other minions. It can’t attack your opponents directly, unlike the often maligned mechanic, Charge.
This way, Blizzard have given us minions you can use the turn you lay them down but they don’t have to constrict their design space. This is because an overpowered Charge card could lead to some decks that aren’t fun to play against because they can win with no real skill. It’s a clever solution to a long-running problem.
Speaking of overpowered, they signed off their new announcement video (viewable below) by revealing a new Shaman card so OP that they all fled the set screaming. Could it possibly have anything to do with the new brand-new single-player content, Monster Hunt? Similar to their last expansion’s Dungeon Run mode, Monster Hunt will pit you against a series of encounters leading up to a challenging boss creature. You pick from one of four classes based on pre-existing classes, but with unique cards and hero powers. Like Dungeon Run, after certain milestones, you are rewarded with loot of varying power.
Other cards you can expect to see in this brand-new set of 135 are two Legendary Minions that force you to build a deck around them. Baku the Mooneater will peer into your deck at the start of the game and if he spies no cards with an odd-numbered cost, he will upgrade your hero power. Conversely, Genn Greymane will reduce the cost of your hero power if it contains no even-costed cards.
Another Legendary continues to promote Hearthstone’s meta-marketing campaign by creating opportunities for streamers and influencers to broadcast themselves making meme-worthy moments in games which promise to be both hilarious and infuriating, depending on which side of the board you are on. That card is Azalina Soulthief, who will replace your hand with a copy of your opponent’s, giving you both an insight into each other’s options.
The last mechanic they mentioned are the Worgen cards themselves, cards that change their stats (and possibly card texts and mana costs, this has not been confirmed yet) each turn they remain in your hand.
You can pre-purchase 50 packs for £44.99 with a bonus of 20 packs and an exclusive card back if you adopt early. Not much of a release date so far, only that it will be available ” on or before April 30, 2018.”