Rise of Shadows will be Hearthstone's first expansion of 2019, and now that it's launched it has split the game's hero roster into two very distinct warring factions. On one side is the League of EVIL, a devious collection of ne'er-do-wells who are cooking up catastrophe for the ancient Warcraft city of Dalaran.
They'll be represented by the Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock and Warrior classes. In opposition to this gathering are the Defenders of Dalaran. The Druid, Hunter, Mage and Paladin classes will be assigned the task of defeating the League and their nefarious schemes.
Beyond this thematic setting, the new expansion will also add the usual 130 or more cards to help freshen up the game, an extensive single player story that will span all three expansions of 2019, and an injection of new mechanics that should help breath new life into Hearthstone.
Hearthstone - Rise of Shadows guide
In our guide to the next expansion, we've outlined everything you need to know ahead of Rise of Shadows' launch. Once the new card set is actually live, our friends at sister site Metabomb will be cooking up their usual collection of deck guides, and we'll add links to each one as soon as they're ready.
Hearthstone - Rise of Shadows Decks
If you're looking for inspiration in the new expansion, here's Metabomb's growing collection of guides for Rise of Shadows:
Hearthstone - Rise of Shadows Overview
First of all, here are the headline announcements for Rise of Shadows:
- The expansion will add 135 new cards to the game, distributed among the usual spread of rarities and class-exclusivities.
- Rise of Shadows will be released on Tuesday 9th April 2019.
- A new Twinspell mechanic will add a copy of cards that carry this new keyword to your hand when played.
- Schemes are new card types which grow in power for each turn they remain sitting unused in your hand.
- Lackeys are minor minions that have very low stats but land on the board with a big battlecry to compensate for this shortcoming.
- Callback Cards will feature mechanics from Hearthstone expansions gone by. Each League member will have access to a special Legendary character from the game's history, and they'll be bringing back a little of their expansion's unique flavour.
League of EVIL
As mentioned in the introduction, five of the existing heroes will form part of the League of EVIL. Each one has access to a special character from Hearthstone's history, realised in Legendary card form:
- Priest - Madame Lazul
- Rogue - Heistbaron Togwaggle
- Shaman - Swampqueen Hagatha
- Warlock - Arch-Villain Rafaam
- Warrior - Blastmaster Boom
Each character will also have access to an associated Scheme card as well. Togwaggle's Scheme shuffles one copy of a minion into your deck in its vanilla state, for example, but that number grows by one for each turn you leave it in your hand.
As for Callback Cards, a notable member of the list above is Blastmaster Boom. This character summons two 1 / 1 Boom Bot minions for each Bomb you've shuffled into your opponent's deck. Fans of Goblins v Gnomes' Dr. Boom should know what to expect here...
Defenders of Dalaran
Comparatively little has been announced for the Defenders of Dalaran so far, but we do know that the group will be populated by the Druid, Hunter, Mage and Paladin heroes of Hearthstone. They won't have access to either Scheme or Callback Cards, but they will instead have exclusive access to the Twinspell mechanic covered in our introduction. The Paladin gets the Lightforged Blessing Twinspell card, for example. This two Mana spell grants its target the Lifesteal mechanic, and then pops another copy of itself into your hand. You can either cast it again on the same turn - if you've the mana to spare - or save it up for a play later on in the game.
The Hearthstone developers are building on the popularity of the roguelike Monster Hunt and Dungeon Run experiences from previous expansions with a much bigger offering in 2019. This is another area of the expansion that Blizzard's remaining a little quiet on for now, but we do have some information about what to expect:
- The mission content team has been doubled in recent months, and single player content going forwards will be much meatier as a result.
- As has become traditional with new card sets, the single player content will be launched a number of weeks after the release of the cards. A launch window of May is all that we have to go on so far.
- You'll start each attempt with one hero with a single hero power, but you'll unlock new characters over time.
- Each class will have three hero powers to unlock, and each will provide a new play style to try out.
- 75 bosses will be available, and there'll be three different difficulty modes to tackle too: Normal, Heroic and Anomaly.
- Progress tracking will be much-improved on previous single player content, with detailed stats on how far you've managed to progress using all of the available heroes and hero powers.
- The first chapter will be free, but the remaining four will cost either 700 Gold per chapter or $19.99 for all four.