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Hearthstone's next expansion is Madness At The Darkmoon Faire, and adds PvP Dungeon Runs

N'Zoth and friends return

The Old Gods bloody love the circus, apparently. For the final Hearthstone expansion of 2020, Blizzard are taking us way back to 2016, the last Worst Year Ever (in real life), when C'Thun, Yogg-Saron, and the eldritch squad first came to Hearthstone. Today they announced Madness At The Darkmoon Faire, arriving in November. Thankfully, Hearthstone was one of those constants I always went back to in 2016, with the tentacle-infested expansion playing a big part of my first year at uni when I should've been revising for exams.

A day out at the carnival for Azeroth-dwellers becomes a creepy nightmare in Madness At The Darkmoon Faire, as the primordial beings return for revenge after their defeat in Whispers Of The Old Gods. With them comes a new keyword - Corrupt - which powers up certain cards if you play a card with a higher mana cost. The set will have 135 cards.

Along with the new expansion comes one of the biggest updates in Hearthstone history too. An all-new progression system is being implemented, including a much-requested achievement system to give you more reasons to play in all kinds of different ways. I'm mostly excited for the excuse to BM my opponents - playing out my entire hand when I have lethal is now completely valid since I'm going to be achievement-hunting.

The progression system streamlines rewards too, with a 50-tier reward track unlocked by all game modes. This means you can play Battlegrounds and earn gold and packs for use in constructed. You'll also get a personalised Profile page, showing off all your stats from your illustrious Hearthstone career.

Three of the new Hearthstone expansion's cards.

Finally, a whole new game mode is being added. Duels combines the deckbuilding of Arena with the over-the-top power of singleplayer Dungeon Runs. You'll pick a Hero, a Hero Power, and a Treasure, then build a 15-card starter deck from your Collection and run into a gauntlet of human opponents. After each match, you get a health boost, a choice of new themed sets of cards, and the occasional Treasure. Run ends after twelve wins or three losses.

Duels could sound completely broken to those of you who have tried the super strong cards in Dungeon Run, but the dev team tells me they worked tirelessly to balance it and ensure that isn't the case. According to designer Chadd Nervig, we'll continue seeing frequent updates throughout the expansion to make sure all game modes remain balanced and fair.

Madness At The Darkmoon Faire will launch on November 17th. Duels is due to arrive a little before then, with a beta starting on November 12th, though people who pre-order a Madness bundle can try it from today.

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