Blizzard Entertainment has revealed Hearthstone‘s next expansion, The Witchwood. The set includes 130 new cards, including new Keywords that introduce new mechanics and strategies. The expansion also adds another single-player experience that will follow a similar formula to Kobolds & Catacombs’ Dungeon Runs, building on one of the game’s best ideas from the Year of the Mammoth.
Hearthstone is the leader in the digital card game market. The free-to-play game for PC and mobile depends on microtransactions, which largely come from selling digital card packs. New expansions drive sales of cards. This set also marks the start of the Year of the Raven, a rotation in the game’s standard cycle that will move cards from older sets out of eligibility in Hearthstone’s Standard formats.
The Witchwood is themed around witches and the Worgen, the Warcraft universe’s take on werewolves. To follow this theme, at least one of the new cards will change in your hand every turn. The below Pumpkin Peasant will switch from 2 attack and 4 health to stats of 4/2.
The set also introduces the new Echo keyword. You can play an Echo card multiple times a turn as long as you can afford them.
It also adds the Rush keyword. This is more of a definition for types of cards that already exist, which can attack other minions on the turn you play them but not enemy Heroes. This is different from a current keyword, Charge, which lets minions immediately attack minions and Heroes. Charged Devilsaur is an example of a card that has the Rush ability already, but defining Rush as a keyword means we’ll see it more often.
Other cards introduce effects at the start of the game. Genn Greymane reduces the cost of your Hero Power by 1 if you only have cards that cost even numbers of mana in your deck.
The Witchwood has its own single-player mode, Monster Hunt. Like Dungeon Runs, it has you going up against bosses, up to eight, and you can supplement your deck with new cards after victories. However, while Dungeon Runs had you playing as Hearthstone’s 9 established classes, Monster Hunt has you picking one of four new classes made just for this mode.
At the end of The Witchwood’s trailer, Blizzard also teased a new Hero Card. These were introduced in 2017’s second expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne. They replace your Hero Power with a new one and grant you additional armor and other benefits.
The Witchwood doesn’t have a big, flashy new card type like last year’s expansions so far. Journey to Un’Goro brought us Quests, Knights of the Frozen Throne gave us Hero Cards, and Kobolds & Catacombs had Legendary Weapons and Spellstones. But The Witchwood is taking a lot of the best ideas from those sets — notably the Hero Cards and Dungeon Runs — and expanding them. Both of those additions were popular with fans during the Year of the Mammoth (2017’s Standard rotation), and now Blizzard is giving players more of them. Meanwhile, cards like Genn Greymane carry over the tradition of deck-defining cards like Knights of the Frozen Throne’s three Princes, notably Prince Keleseth.
The Witchwood may not be as ambitious as past sets (at least from what we’ve seen so far), but its cards and features are bringing enough new ideas that — coupled with the standard rotation — will bring a big change to Hearthstone