The Year of the Phoenix has just begun in Hearthstone, and it promises to be a big one. After a fairly rocky 2019, Blizzard’s card game has piqued the interest of players once again by introducing a new class, the Demon Hunter. There’s also a new Hearthstone expansion on the way called Ashes of Outland, which will usher in a ton of new cards and balances.
All of these monumental updates will arrive at the beginning of the Year of the Phoenix. This new Hearthstone year gets underway on April 7.
The rise of the Demon Hunter
Illidan Stormrage is one of the most iconic characters in World of Warcraft. His presence in Hearthstone, however, has only ever been a mediocre legendary card introduced at the game’s launch. It’s definitely not a worthy representation of a character with such presence and power.
Starting on April 2, all Hearthstone players will be able to try their hand at the Demon Hunter prologue campaign, which retells the story of Illidan Stormrage, the original Demon Hunter. Completing the prologue will reward you with Illidan as a hero. You’ll also earn 30 Demon Hunter class cards and a pre-built starter Demon Hunter deck. Plus, each expansion in the Year of the Phoenix will add 15 new Demon Hunter class cards.
The playstyle of the Demon Hunter class is aggressive and in your face. Players will use numerous weapons, demon minions, and fel magic to create powerful synergies that overwhelm opponents. Plus, the Demon Hunter’s hero power – the only one-mana hero power in the game – allows it to continue ticking away at its opponent’s health.
Hearthstone‘s Demon Hunter also possesses a class-specific keyword: Outcast. The flavor of the mechanic is based on Illidan’s exile from the Night Elves as he descends into darkness – or, as he does what needs to be done, if you ask him. Outcast cards gain bonuses when played from the left or right-most position in your hand.
Go beyond the Dark Portal
Unsurprisingly, Hearthstone‘s Ashes of Outland expansion will be set in the wasteland known as Outland. World of Warcraft players will be very familiar with this area, as it serves as the setting of the game’s first expansion, Burning Crusade. Illidan has proclaimed himself lord of this realm, where he serves as the last bastion of hope against the dreaded Rusted Legion.
Ashes of Outland will introduce 135 cards that will shake up the Hearthstone meta with new mechanics. The most notable new mechanic comes with a new legendary card called a Prime. Primes are deathrattle minions that start as a strong early or mid-game minion. Once felled, a more powerful Prime version of the minion is shuffled into your deck. All nine original classes will have a Prime. You can check out the Warrior version of Kargath Bladefist and Kargath Prime below.
The other notable new card mechanic is the keyword Dormant. This comes with a new type of minion called an Imprisoned Demon. When these minions come onto the board, they are untouchable by both players for two turns. After that, they unleash powerful effects and can be used as a regular minion.
Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland also introduces a Tavern Pass to the game. Plus, there are many changes to Battlegrounds, a complete overhaul of the ranked system, a few pre-purchase bundles you can grab, and a free Kael’thas Sunstrider legendary card if you log in after March 17. You can check out all the updates in their vast detail on Hearthstone‘s blog post.