Besides an all-new class coming to the game (you can read about it here), Hearthstone is heading through the Dark Portal. Over in Outlands, things are a bit different from what World of Warcraft players might remember. The shattered and war-torn world has gotten worse, with Illidan Stormrage standing as the final bastion against a savage enemy called the Rusted Legion, that believes in “upgrading” things by adding metal plates and weapons to you… permanently.
In Ashes of Outland, powerful demons and a new cycle of legendary minions called Primes ravage the land. Imprisoned Demons are dormant for two turns, being unable to attack and invulnerable. Then once they are unleashed, big abilities or high attack values will make you dread facing them. Be careful of having too many in your deck, as you don’t want to draw a powerful demon late on that needs two turns to do anything.
Each class, except for the Demon Hunter (Illidan protects his followers from the Rusted Legion) gets its own Prime card. These legendaries start off as fairly powerful cards, but when they die, they shuffle their Prime version into your deck. At this point they return, upgraded by the Rusted Legion and ready for a fight.
Warrior’s get Kargath Bladefist, a 4 mana 4/4 with Rush. But it is his Prime that will make you concede I mean quake in fear. Kargath Prime is an 8 mana 10/10 with Rush. On top of that, every time he attacks and kills an enemy, you gain 10 Armour.
For Shamans, the 3 mana 4/3 Lady Vashj is pretty powerful with her Spell Damage +1, but after a while you might want to have Vashj Prime shuffled into your deck. At 7 mana for a 5/4 with Spell Damage +1, it is her Battlecry that seals the deal: You draw 3 spells and their cost is reduced by 3. That’s is definitely going to change the tempo of your side of the board.
Powerful prime cards mean that any decks that can cheat out Deathrattle mechanics or copy them are going to have some choice cards to pick. Oh did I say Deathrattle shenanigans? What about the new Neutral Legendary Teron Gorefiend? He destroys all friendly minions when he enters the battlefield and then when he dies, he resummons them with +1/+1.
Year of the Phoenix
A few changes are coming with the Year of the Phoenix too, including some big changes if you are a Priest player. One of the biggest changes is to opening card packs. The no duplicate Legendaries rule is applying over all card rarities, meaning you should end up with a better spread of cards.
The ranked system is changing so that all players reset to the lowest level again, letting them climb all the way back up to the top. To prevent this grind taking too long, and to stop legendary ranked players from hanging around and beating everyone up, players will get a star multiplier based on their rank of the previous month. Ranked will also show you what you will unlock in your end of month chest as you climb the ranks, giving a better sense of progression.
Some cards are heading into the Hall of Fame, so get your last bit of fun with them in Standard now if you want.
Acolyte of Pain, Leeroy Jenkins, Mind Control Tech, Mountain Giant and Spellbreaker will go to the hall of fame as the designers tighten up what each class is known for, and these neutrals offer anyone solid options regardless of class.
Priest is getting quite a few Hall of Fame additions with Holy Fire, Prophet Velen, Shadow Form, Divine Spirit and Northshire Cleric heading away. To make up for this, Priests will get new Basic and Classic cards to help with adjustments: Psychic Conjurer, Power Infusion, Scarlet Subjugator, Kul Tiran Chaplain, Shadow Word: Ruin and Natalie Seline.
Anyone logging in from now will get a neutral legendary for free: Kael’thas Sunstrider makes your third spell every turn be free, so get to the spellslinging and make them fear those costly spells getting thrown around for free.
Ashes of Outland arrives on April 7.