Reddit got it right, the new adventure announced by Blizzard is Karazhan. I think though nearly nobody expected what twist the Hearthstone developers would give to this iconic World of Warcraft raid, that the once dark halls would host a party! Apparently the aim of the adventure is to find the host, Medivh, and try to save the party! In this article I wanted to give my first impressions of the announcement as I was super hyped after seeing the first sneak peak of what we will get.
The adventure was announced in Shanghai at a big videogame EXPO called China Joy. The event for us English speakers was hosted by the great partners in crime: Dan “Frodan” Chou and Tj “Azumoh” Sanders. As usual both of them did a great job in entertaining the public during the pre-show and giving us interesting insight in the brief segments where they spoke, I followed it even if it was 6:40 in the morning for me. I really laughed when Tj said that he liked the theory that Ben Brode brought all the famous hearthstone personalities at the China Joy just to show his famous Unicorn Priest deck!
When the funky music started my body was ready for whatever announcement Blizzard had to make, I was really pumped up! Initially I was disappointed, the start of the event wasn’t great as there was no translation for us non-Chinese speakers. Overall I felt the organizers were trying to really milk the moment and tease all the Hearthstone players tuned in to know what the new adventure was going to be. Probably the most iconic moment of this section of the show was a Chinese player which when asked if he wanted to say something to the Hearthstone dev team, he replied he wanted to tell them that the Chinese community gives them a big hug. That is some Love!
As soon as I heard the loud Ben Brode’s voice I was ready, as usual Ben was great orator and managed to enthrall all the people watching with his unique presentation style. I want to emphasize this was the first time Blizzard announced new content outside the United States, Ben just made history right there! The rest was awesome, we got to see a sneak peek of a few fights, cards and also the board which looked amazing! This part was really short but by no means was it not worth it, I will admit I did watch the presentation another time on VOD and enjoyed it even more than the first time round. Maybe announcements are like wine, they get better as they get older? Really doubt it…
I for one was very confused when I realized the theme of the expansion, the music and the trailer looked amazing but I do mostly like Darker themed expansions like Naxxramas. I settled with the idea that since the Hearthstone devs have done a wonderful job until now in setting the mood for past expansions the flavour and the setting of the adventure will be awesome even if not exactly in my taste.
The trailer merits a mention all by itself. I watched that video about 10 times now, there is just something about the music and the images that enthralls me. The start of the video with the announcer announcing the party (as he should do) is fantastic, it creates so much hype! Then we get to see the look of a young Medivh, it is absolutely perfect. When the door’s to the party open there are too many characters to see the first time round. The curator, Prince Melchezaar and many more, so cool! The most iconic scene is probably the moment you see: Reno, Finley and a cow chilling in a pool, it is just hilarious! In this particular scene you can also see a kobold and a gnome flirting in the background and Rafaam stealing books. Whoever made this you are geniuses! I bet that if I looked at the video once more I would probably find even more Easter eggs which I didn’t notice the first time round. One last thing is the music, I am a sucker for Funky music I really wish there was an extended piece of the tune!
The expansion is composed of four wings plus a bonus mission, this bonus mission will be available to everybody for free. I won’t comment on the boss fights because they will probably be loads of fun as usual. There is only one thing I wanted to talk about, 4 wings and only 3 boss battles per wing seems a low number. The adventure will have 13 fights in total, when we compare this to the other adventure we see that: Naxxramas had 15, Blackrock had 17 and League of Explorers had 13. I guess this probably mean that 13 boss fights is the new standard for adventures. A part of me wishes to go back to more boss fights rather than less boss fights as I had loads of fun when completing those adventures, but I understand that a full wing more must be resource intensive for an aspect of the game which gets played and then discarded by most players. Not much more here to say, just a bit sad about the number of boss fights staying around 13, I am sure though the content will be awesome to play.
I want to start by saying that I will do a more in depth analysis of the cards when the whole set is revealed, for now I will just give an initial impact thought. Additionally I only will focus on the announcement cards, the ones that have been revealed in the days after the announcement I will look at in another article.
Enchanted Raven: Reddit went crazy when it saw this card, the call for it being OP were heard nearly immediately. I think the card is solid, stat wise is a vanilla 1 drop, the distribution is unique. Obviously when coupled with Mark of Y’Shaarj it can be an insane turn 2 play. The question is if this will be broken enough to support an archetype, Beast Druid, which has no way to come back on board once it loses the early game.
Kindly Grandmother: This card is insane, the only thing I can think of it not being broken is because it is in Hunter and not in Warlock (Warlock already play Infested Villager which is a 1/1 which spawns a 1/1). Yep I am an idiot, when I first saw the card I thought it was 1 mana not 2 mana. Anyway, coupling this card with Abusive Sergeant in a Hunter deck will probably make Board control for the deck much easier as now you can run have a pretty scary early game. This coupled with the fact Hunter has late game bombs like Savanah Highmane and Call of the Wild, makes it a good inclusion in a curve Hunter deck.
Firelands Portal: This card is kind of neat and it is one of the card every player will get, regardless of the fact if the expansion was bought or not. People on reddit were complaining about this card since it seemed to be over the top for arena, I cannot comment as last time I played an arena was more than a month ago. What I can say is that for competitive play you will probably never include this card in your deck, but you won’t be unhappy if you get this card off of an Ethreal Conjurer or Cabalist Tome.
Ivory Knight: I was reading on the competitive sub-reddit that Paladin has eleven 1-mana spells, meaning that a lot of the time at least one choice will be a Secret. On the other hand Paladin has many high value spells such as Consecration, Equality, Lay on Hands, etc. These can always come useful in any match-up and all provide card advantage by themselves. The stat line of the card is obviously bad, but at least it is off-set by a heal, potentially providing with some chance to get a good follow up turn with an Equality play. Overall I fear this card will probably not see too much play, it mainly depends on what other spells and cards are printed (anyway it is not like every card will always be playable).
Ethreal Peddler: It has vanilla stats plus an effect, I guess this means in arena it should be decent. In constructed probably this card will not see that much play because even if you Burgle cards, you do not care about playing them for less. I say this because if you are running Burgle you are probably playing a control Rogue archetype which tries to win through card advantage not tempo. Whilst some may argue that innervate on cards is always good, you would probably run Emperor Thaurissan if you are going for that type of play-style.
The Curator: This card is really interesting as it is one of those cards which is very hard to evaluate. I will say that with the current choice of Murlocs and Beasts the only deck that could really run this is some sort of Control Paladin. On the other hand in order to fully assess this card we need to see what other Beasts, Murlocs and Dragons get printed, as depending on this it could be this card provides an invaluable tool when deck-building.
Barnes: I fear this card might be really un-fun to play against, it can win the game on the spot if it gets the right card. A turn 4 Sylvanas or Tirion might be impossible to deal with. On the other hand it might be that I am looking at this card only through the perspective of best case scenario while ignoring the average or less than average ones, meaning that on average it will just be bad and not worth running. Overall I am not sure, I think this one will probably make the cut in control decks as it seems strong enough. One last thing to consider is that maybe it won’t be bad in a more Deathrattle focused Zoolock, as Zoo can always make good use of tokens and Deathrattles.
Overall I am really excited for this new adventure and I cannot wait to get to play it in two weeks’ time. I think that whilst for now the setting might not be my cup of tea, as the Hearthstone team has managed multiple times they will change my mind and make me love this adventure even more than the past ones. You can find the VOD of the announcment at: https://www.twitch.tv/playhearthstone/v/80582512 if you missed it and want to watch it!
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