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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone unveils new Voidcaller card

Dark times for those of us hoping to see less of a Zoo Warlock presence come Curse of Naxxramas. Voidcaller's been revealed and it looks primed to make everyone's favorite budget deck even stronger. Upon dying, Voidcaller places a random demon from the owner's hand on the board. While the demon played gets to keep beneficial abilities such as charge, it will not tax the warlock with penalties like health loss or card discard as this particular mechanic ignores the battlecry function.

This obviously boosts the worth of Flame Imp and Doomguard, two cards that are already cornerstones of Zoo. It could also be enough summon Pit Lord off the bench, but I'm skeptical as without the Voidcaller, Pit Lord will still hurt entirely too much to play in most situations. Voidcaller should fit easily in the Dark Iron Dwarf slot. Defender of Argus could be subbed out instead, but realistically, it's entirely too good to drop.

What it will likely come down to is a safe approach versus a more risky one. Dark Iron Dwarf is a 4/4 for 4 that is almost never a subpar play, given Zoo's powerful ability to control the board. Voidcaller will be less of a certainty. If the warlock in question has no demons in hand, Voidcaller is statistically underwhelming, being a 3/4 for 4. Moreover, it could actually drop a Voidwalker earlier than intended. Zoo often requires road blocks put up at key points to protect other minions, or avoid blows to the face. Conversely, if a destroyed Voidcaller summons a free Doomguard, that will quite likely end the match. Voidcaller is all about risk and reward, which is fitting considering the warlock set in Hearthstone.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone: Sen'jin Shieldmasta

The Sen'jin Shieldmasta is a textbook example of a card that's incredibly strong despite being available to everyone. This four mana taunt creature is the bane of more aggressive decks because it boasts five toughness and often requires the sacrifices of multiple minions or spells to get it off the board. It's not just an answer to aggressive decks, however. The favorable distribution of stats makes it viable in almost every deck, save Miracle Rogue.

Sen'jin Shieldmasta has very few direct counters. While the Black Knight is designed to deal with it, opponents are essentially trading a six mana card to deal with a four mana card. It works, but it's inefficient. Priests can also drop Shadow Word: Pain to quickly remove it, but it's admittedly rare to see Anduin Wrynn on the ladder, as priests are generally not favored by top players. Druids have access to Starfall and Starfire which each deal five damage to a target, but neither are commonly in use right now. Beyond those cards, there isn't really a whole lot that will destroy a Sen'jin Shieldmasta conveniently. He's a solid play against common decks like Warlock Zoo, Miracle Rogue, Druid Token, Paladin Aggro, and more.

More importantly, Sen'jin Shieldmasta boasts arguably the most fun entry sound in the game, shouting "Taz'dingo!" upon being played. If you're looking for a reliable wall that won't cost you a single bit of dust, consider tossing this troll into your deck.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Season three Hearthstone card back announced

Hearthstone's third official Ranked Play Season kicked off this morning and the accompanying unique card back has since been announced. The rainbow themed card back had been shown off before, but it was unknown what exactly would be required to unlock it. All you'll need to do to obtain it is make rank 20, similar to both the Pandaria and Black Temple themed card motifs.

If you haven't made the grind to rank 20 before, it's not too hard. You just need to win a few games, especially because it's possible to gain a double-star-win-streaks after winning three straight ranked games. Conversely, it's actually impossible to lose stars up to rank 20. If you earned enough stars last season to start below rank 20, you'll still need to log in and play at least one match in order to secure the rainbow card back.


Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Life after the tutorial in Hearthstone


It turns out Illidan was wrong. You were prepared, in Hearthstone, at least. After a climactic battle you bested the Betrayer and closed out the Hearthstone tutorial. What do you do after that?

Unfortunately, Hearthstone's very minor narrative ends there and you're left to fend for yourself in what can be a horrifying world of Leeroy Jenkins', Ragnaros' and more. Your opponents are dropping legendaries and you're just trying to figure out how to keep Goldshire Footman out of your mage deck. Today we'll take a look at how to move forward in a game that features little in the way of linear progression.

While you'll receive some quests early on to take your deck out into the wild against other players, go ahead and shelf that idea for a bit and head on over to Hearthstone's practice area. In this safe environment you'll get the chance to play against the AI, while also unlocking all of the other classes. You won't need to worry about making other players wait while you try and figure out your moves, nor will you need to feel any sort of pressure over potentially losing. These beginner AI decks are designed to teach you the basics of the various classes and in turn help you grow your understanding of the game as a whole.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone ranked play season 2 ending soon

Season 2 of ranked play in Hearthstone will come to a conclusion at the end of this month. The reward for participation in season 2 is the Black Temple-themed card back, seen above. You only need to hit rank 20 before June 1 to earn the skin, a relatively easy feat for most players -- losses don't cause you to lose ranking until you've surpassed rank 20.

The top players of the season may qualify to compete in the Americas Qualifier Tournament, the winners of which will move on to compete at BlizzCon. The full qualification details can be found on Battle.net.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone's Americas Qualifier prize pool is $250,000

Blizzard has announced a $250,000 prize pool for Hearthstone's Americas Qualifier Tournament. The breakdown is $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second place, $15,000 for third and fourth place, $7,500 for fifth through eighth place, and $5,000 for ninth through sixteenth place. The Americas Qualifiers will include a total of 130 participants, including Legend-ranked players in the Hearthstone ladder and top players from community tournaments.

The full details of the tournament can be seen on Battle.net. It's sure to be a cutthroat competition -- of 130 participants, only 4 will go on to compete in the World Championships at BlizzCon.

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone unveils new Rebirth card

The latest card revealed from Hearthstone's upcoming Curse of Naxxramas set is a new shaman spell: Rebirth. Rebirth destroys a minion before returning it to full health, a spell that will play well with the myriad of new minions with Deathrattle. Rebirth turns any minion's Deathrattle into an on-demand ability for 2 mana -- and puts it back onto the field to be used again. Rebirth could be a terrifying spell even with pre-existing Deathrattle minions such as the Abomination or Sylvanas Windrunner. It could also be used aggressively -- for example, against someone who made the mistake of playing the previously-revealed Anub'ar Ambusher. By destroying your opponent's Ambusher, you could potentially force a far more dangerous minion back into their hand as a delay tactic.

Some of the current mechanics surrounding the way resurrections work (such as with Redemption) means this spell could even be used as a Silence effect. Buffs that have been cast on a minion do not reapply after death, meaning you can easily knock a druid's superpowered tank down to size. It should also be noted that Battlecry effects only apply when a minion is played directly from the hand -- resurrecting it with Rebirth is unlikely to allow that Battlecry to happen a second time.

Some players have voiced concern regarding this card's potential synergy with legendary Leeroy Jenkins. Leeroy is an extremely powerful card right now, particularly in decks that find ways to play it multiple times in a row. A rogue with a pair of Shadowsteps in their hand can attack with Leeroy three times in one turn -- 18 direct damage. More if they have Cold Blood in their hand. A shaman with Rebirth, if Leeroy's Charge ability triggers after resurrection, could now perform the same tactic.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Breakfast Topic: Is your Hearthstone main your WoW main?

While the gameplay in Hearthstone doesn't match WoW's exactly, it does a pretty good job of giving you the feel of the class you're playing. Of course, with such a different kind of game, having a similar feel doesn't mean that class you play the most in WoW will also be the class you play most in Hearthstone. For my part, I play a monk in WoW -- not an option in Hearthstone -- and typically play a paladin -- which used to be my WoW main -- in Hearthstone.

So today we're asking you, readers: which class are you playing most in Hearthstone? Does it match your favored WoW class or not?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Hearthstone Insider

Anub'ar Ambusher joins Curse of Naxxramas lineup

Today's Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas card preview is the creepy-crawly Anub'ar Ambusher. This rogue-only card has the text "Deathrattle: Return a friendly minion to your hand." That could be handy for recalling creatures with battlecries or frustrating if you have a bunch of buffed up beasties out. As with all Hearthstone cards, using the Anub'ar Ambusher to best effect will require some strategy.

As interesting as these tiny previews are, they still don't hint at a release date for Naxxramas beyond this summer. Hopefully we'll be seeing more than previews soon!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Is Hearthstone pay-to-win?

Many games that fall into the free to play category also fall into the pay to win category -- which is to say that if you want to be able to play well, you'll wind up forking over some cash. It's a big frustration with free to play games which can easily wind up costing just as much -- or even more -- than games with an ordinary pricetag. So while we wondered whether we needed to sink money into buying more Hearthstone packs, we were glad to see Polygon had done a detailed examination of the advantage you get from buying cards in Hearthstone.

Though anyone interested in the economics of it should definitely read the entire article, the end result is that because there are many options to earn in-game gold to buy packs -- and because the best decks aren't necessarily built with all epic cards -- with some patience a casual player will catch up with a big spender. But, still, opening pack after pack of cards that has an appeal that has nothing to do with economics.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Death's Bite weapon added to Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas

We're all looking forward to this summer's release of Hearthstone's first expansion, Curse of Naxxramas. And in the meanwhile, @PlayHearthstone is stringing us along with glimpses of what we can expect in the upcoming expansion. Today's glimpse is the warrior card Death's Bite, a 4/2 weapon with the deathrattle effect of dealing one damage to all minions.

There's no release date -- or price tag -- for Curse of Naxxramas just yet, but while you wait for the expansion to arrive there's plenty of time to read up on what's coming our way.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone patch notes, patch 1.0.0.5314

Hearthstone community manager Zeriyah has released a round of patch notes for patch 1.0.0.5314 -- that's a mouthful, isn't it? With the exception of the previously discussed Unleash the Hounds change, this patch includes primarily bug fixes and quality-of-life changes. Examples include:
  • Winning a game as Lord Jaraxxus will now properly grant credit towards unlocking the Warlock golden hero. You win... BUT YOUR WORLD IS STILL DOOMED!
  • [iPad] Resolved an issue that was causing a client crash when choosing between two options of certain Druid cards.
  • Resolved issues that prevented the Fireside Friends card back from being properly unlocked under certain conditions.
You can find the full patch notes below or on Battle.net.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Unleash the Hounds mana cost going up in Hearthstone

CM Zeriyah has announced that the mana cost for the hunter card Unleash the Hounds will be changing from 2 to 3 in an upcoming patch. Since Hearthstone came out of beta, Blizzard hasn't made any card balancing changes, but this card's power -- Hearthhead suggests the card is in 74% of hunter decks, and we honestly have to wonder about the 26% of decks that don't include it -- made the change necessary.
Zeriyah
...when playing against Hunter decks, you may feel punished too much for playing minions. Playing minions is one of the key, fun pieces of the overall Hearthstone puzzle, and feeling like your options are limited by the opponent creates a play experience that may not be particularly enjoyable.

Still, that extra mana cost isn't so much that Unleash the Hounds is likely to go away entirely -- but hopefully it means you won't struggle with it every time you're matched up against a hunter. For more on the reasoning behind this change, be sure to read Zeriyah's full post.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Earn your Black Temple card back in Hearthstone season 2

The second season of Hearthstone ranked play has begun. Last season offered the reward of the Mists of Pandaria card back. This season brings some Black Temple flavor to your deck. To earn this card back, you only need to reach rank 20 on the ladder -- easily achievable through casual play. This season will run throughout the month of May, and when this season is over, the Black Temple card back will no longer be available.

If you earned the Mists of Pandaria card back from last season and want to use it, you can select your card back through the in-game Options menu.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Another Hearthstone card revealed


Now ... I don't want to sound like I'm whining, because as you all know WoW players never whine, but this card? This card looks just a tad over powered.

Revealed last night, a new Paladin card in the upcoming Hearthstone expansion Curse of Naxxramas, is just asking to be used in every single Paladin deck out there. The card, "Avenge," has the secret of "When one of your minions dies, give a friendly minion +3/+2." I am sure that games will be won on this card alone, and that those suffering the loss will want to avenge something themselves.

But, and this is a big but, over powered class cards seem to be a thing happening in CoN. The Druid card that's been revealed so far destroys every minion and summons Treants to replace them. Combine that with the Paladin card and we're seeing a pretty obvious pattern -- good cards that we're going to want to get and play, but that are balanced by other good cards that your opponent probably has.

Not a bad strategy for a CCG to employ, and one that has been done with other CCGs in the past. Full images of the two class cards thus far revealed after the break.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

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