Set to release in "late April/early May", Blizzard have announced Whispers of the Old Gods as the next Hearthstone [official site] expansion. The update is the first of 2016 and not only promises 134 new cards, but also brings with it some major format changes designed to make competitive play more accessible to newbies, among other things.
As Pip detailed last month, the arrival of the latest expansion means Hearthstone's ranked mode will now be split into two: Standard and Wild. The latter is essentially what we have now - ranked play where every Hearthstone card, past and present, is playable - whereas the former only allows cards from sets introduced in the current and immediately previous calendar year to be used. As you might've guessed from the name, the new Standard mode is the one that'll be used in official tournaments from hereon.
The new cards Whispers of the Old Gods adds will be themed around the four elder gods of the Warcraft universe - Yogg-Saron, Y’Shaarj, N’Zoth and C’Thun, the latter of which is the only one we've seen so far - many of which will be "corrupted" versions of existing faces. Think this episode of Red Dwarf and you're somewhere on the right track. Whether in play, in your hand or in your deck, C'thun will be buffed by cultist cards - Beckoner of Evil and Twilight Elder - and will randomly dish out attacks to enemies across the board.
Here's the typically Blizzard cinematic that launched alongside the announcement. Skip below if you want to know who the winner of the 2016 Hearthstone Americas Winter Championship was.
In other Hearthstone news, 15 year old William “Amnesiac” Barton was crowned champion at the 2016 Hearthstone Americas Winter Championship on Sunday evening - a victory that not only netted him a $25,000 grand prize, but also secured an invitation to the Global Finals at BlizzCon later this year.
More on the Whispers of the Old Gods announcement can be found over on the Hearthstone website.