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Hearthstone's Madness At The Darkmoon Fair expansion opens its gates

Panic at the funfair.

Come one, come all, the Darkmoon Faire has returned to Hearthstone - and this time, it's all gotten a little "eldritch". Madness At The Darkmoon Fair has arrived for Blizzard's fantasy card-shuffler, adding a packed festival features 135 new cards, a corrosive new keyword, a brand new progression system, a bonkers new gamemode, and absolutely no unspeakable horrors from the darkest pits of Azeroth. None whatsoever. Nope.

Announced last month, Hearthstone's latest expansion raises its curtains today - extending an invite to an otherworldly funfair experience for collectors both mortal and otherwise.

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First off, the obvious. Darkmoon Faire comes with 135 new cards to play with, and many come with the new "Corrupt" keyword. Play a card with a higher value while these are in your hand, and they'll unlock secondary traits - extra damage, increased health, bonus effects, that sorta thing. That corruption comes at the behest of the Old Gods, with four of Warcraft's Lovecraftian bastards arriving with their own wild effects. Take Yogg-Saron for example - play 10 spell cards in one match, and they'll let you spin a big wheel of fortune, with such wonderful prizes as packing the board with random minions.

Darkmoon also signals a revamp in Hearthstone's progression system, which went into affect last week. Achievements are now in, as is a 50-tier reward track that'll dole out goodies for playing matches across all modes. Daily and weekly quests have been introduced to add to this drip-feed of rewards, too, while the player profile page has been updated to let you keep track of all this new guff.

The strangest addition, however, are probably Duels. Our Nate has been playing his hand at the new mode, something he found akin to "a bleak knife fight with an omnipotent clown". In slightly more grounded words, they're a weird twist on the game's existing Dungeon Runs, placing them into a competitive arena format against human players. You're given access to the sort of properly broken nonsense dished out in that singleplayer mode, with the prospect of more toys to play with after each win.

It sounds bananas, honestly, but in the way that seems to use Hearthstone's unpredictability in an honest, daft fashion. Today kicks off the first "season" of Duels, with a full list of this season's cards and heroes viewable over on Blizzard's announcement post. Hearthstone: Madness At The Darkmoon Fair is out now over on the Blizzard Store.

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