In less than 24 hours, Hearthstone player Savjz will reveal the new Rogue Death Knight Hero card, for release for Knights of the Frozen Throne.
Exciting! For the first time, we see the official artwork of the card. What could the card be?
What we know
Hero card – Like any other Hero card, we can expect the new Valeera to take over the existing Rogue hero. Also, you will gain 5 armor by playing this card.
Artwork differences – The Death Knight form of Valeera looks mostly the same, without the characteristic “Blood Elf green,” which glows like Kryptonite. The green daggers, green pendants and jewels are gone and replaced with glowing purple skulls. The new weapon is a bone dagger. Her chest armor is shorter and other vestments are more ragged. Her hair is now red and blonde.
Comic clues – There is a promotional comic for the new expansion, which looks a lot like the Word of Warcraft Comic. This issue, Freedom, tells a tale of Garrosh and Valeera killing Anduin. Here are some snippets that give a clue of the new card.
There’s a clue about growing power, which is something that is not unfamiliar to Miracle Rogue and Questing Adventurer. It is possible that each hero attack will be additive to more attack or power.
The second panel shows Valeera throwing a knife or using some psychokinetic ability. While throwing knives is depicted with Fan of Knives, which could allow a possible ranged ping attack, instead of using face damage.
New set themes – As of this writing, 4 Rogue class cards have been revealed, and they are interesting for the most part. Plague Scientist gives the Poisonous mechanic. Shadowblade gives one turn Immunity. Leeching Poison gives Lifesteal. Runeforge Haunter gives weapon Durability immunity. It would not be radical to expect the Hero card to deviate too much from these themes. Mostly, I see a theme of sustain, something Rogue never had prior to this expansion. I would also expect Poisonous to play a role somehow.
Minions – Back to the Savjz card reveal. We see a bunch of minions in the artwork, including Shadow Rager, Wailing Soul and a banshee of sorts. While a new hero power of summon a 5/1 Rager sounds fun for memes, it doesn’t seem too outstanding. There could be a way to summon stuff, give minions Poisonous or Deathrattle, etc.
Old tricks – Rogue has seen the Burgle and Coin mechanics pushed in recent sets. There is nothing in this set so far that has done that, and I don’t expect the new hero to be a thief. But never say never.
I will end this with a snippet of an interview with Mike Donais, which is something about the power level of the new card.
Rogue legendaries haven’t disappointed recently (well, The Caverns Below, for other reasons), and this one is expected to be good as well. While I will auto-craft the card for reasons, I am still excited to explore potential new directions for Rogue.
The boiling speculation for the next Hearthstone adventure came to a head with Disguised Toast finding the domain for karazhan.com being claimed. Further evidence was provided by Blizz themselves, with the formal announcement of the adventure next week:
I’m no expert in Warcraft, but I’m pretty sure the feathers point to Medivh’s raven form. Also, the address “old friend” refers to an old character, like Medivh. Some have mentioned that the drinks and music are like the parties in the Karazhan raid. Dead giveaway!
Given that I have never played the Karazhan on WoW, I tried to do some research of watching an individual run through the raid on YouTube, and also read about what Karazhan consists of online. From what I can tell, these are major areas of Karazhan. Bold areas mean it is a required event or boss.
The Grand Ballroom
The Guest Quarters
The previous 3 adventures were 5-week events. So these areas would be melded into 5 stages.
I noticed a bunch of other things about Karazhan.
Bring out your dead -Almost everyone in Karazhan is undead to some extent. You get a lot of spectral ghosts, forsaken/scourge zombie types, dreadsteeds, etc.
Nothing can stop me, nothing! – Despite being the owner of Karazhan, you never actually fight Medivh in the Karazhan raid. You play chess against him, and he cheats, but no physical fight.
Party crasher – Everyone seems to be having a dead good time before you show up and kill people and loot them. The invite, with it’s martini and music notes seems to fit quite well with what I saw in Karazhan.
Adaptation to Hearthstone
In my last blog post, I took a look at how adventure cards tied to Warcraft lore. With the same list, I took a look at class/neutral card balance for each adventure.
Naxx – 9/30 class cards – 1 rare class card per class
BRM – 18/35 class cards – 1 rare, 1 common per class
League – 27/45 class cards – 1 rare, 2 commons per class
With these numbers in hand, we can assume certain things about Karazhan:
No class epics or legendaries – To date, all adventure class cards are common or rare. Epics were only included in the most recent League of Explorers. Legendary cards have always been neutral. This is unlikely to change for Karazhan.
50+ – One of the goals of a new card release is to shake up the meta. The easiest way to do this is to release class cards that help balance the meta, either by giving a weak class OP cards, or giving a strong class a not-very-useful card. The disparity between classes in terms of ladder dominance now is pretty big. Thus, I will assume Karazhan will not follow a Naxx release of 30% class cards, but one that will have 50% or more class cards. So in the line of BRM.
Boldish Card Predictions
This entire entry could be moot if the Karazhan hints are all a giant red herring. But since I’ve gone so far, let’s go deeper.
Legendaries – The adventure legendaries have always been bosses and known quantities. I predict the legendaries in Karazhan would be:
Maiden of Virtue
The Violet Eye – I noticed that killing enemies in Karazhan would give plus reputation to the Violet Eye. This makes sense given they are specifically spying on Medivh. If any cards come out that are even close to Violet Teacher, watch out!
New Rogue Spell – Being a Rogue enthusiast, I noticed that Moroes is the one character in Karazhan that has any Rogue relevance. In his movelist, it states he uses two core Rogue abilities in Garrote and Gouge. Garrote is a silence ability with bleed damage, while Gouge is a stun ability. My money is on Garrote.
Emerald Ripper – In lieu of a spell, the Emerald Ripper could also be a new Rogue weapon. Given the art is already used in Assassin’s Blade, this could be less likely than the spell.
Mana Burn? – The calls for a Priest upgrade are getting pretty loud. Could there be a possibility of a spell like Mana Burn that causes an enemy overload in mana? This would obviously be a very powerful thing, and I do not know if this will help Priests at all.
New Imps – A bunch of imp mobs called Homunculus are present in Karazhan. Given that Imp Gang Boss will be dropping out of the standard rotation, these guys could be a similar replacement.
Spiders – So many different spectral spiders appear in Karazhan. It is very likely a Hunter or Druid card becomes a spider beast. If we didn’t have enough spiders already…
Chess Pieces – Yugi-Oh had a bunch of Archfiend cards that were inspired by chess pieces. Could we see similar rewards because of the Karazhan chess event? Maybe!?
Undead – The safest bet is that there is going to be a buttload of undead cards in this set. It’s going to be off the chain, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
With Hearthstone players becoming a little antsy for new content already, there has been renewed speculation of the next adventure to be released. @DisguisedToast is doing the Old Gods work again, speculating the adventure to be Karazhan or Darkmoon Faire. The most recent video hints at Karazhan.
At this point, any speculation is good for a little resuscitation. But Toast provides a solid case of Karazhan in the video. What if it is another raid? What if it’s Darkmoon Faire?
Past adventures and their ties to Warcraft
I decided to go take a look at every adventure card that was released for the 3 past adventures. With this, I assigned every card a rating of high, medium, and low. A high rating card would be something that can be directly found in World of Warcraft, or has a direct correlate with a modified name. A medium rating card would be something that does exist in World of Warcraft, but is just tied to a species. A low rating card would be something that does not necessarily exist in World of Warcraft, or is just a generic character or spell.
High = 15 (e.g. Zombie Chow)
Medium = 3 (e.g. Unstable Ghoul)
Low = 12 (e.g. Dark Cultist)
Being the first adventure, Naxxramas was very cookie cutter, following a linear sequence of a WoW raid.
High = 16 (e.g. Blackwing Technician)
Medium = 3 (e.g. Drakonid Crusher)
Low = 16 (e.g. Hungry Dragon)
BRM followed another linear route of a WoW raid, but had a wrinkle in the storyline with the constant power shifts between Ragnaros and Nefarian.
League of Explorers
High = 7 (e.g. Anubisath Sentinel)
Medium = 12 (e.g. Reliquary Seeker)
Low = 26 (e.g. Reno Jackson)
League of Explorers took the radical step of being entirely created from the ground up, with most of the legendary cards and cards themselves being newly created. It also featured the Temple Escape round, which involved surviving obstacles, rather than fighting a certain boss.
Why it is likely: Features a lot of new encounters and minions. Could have several innovative fights with the Opera and Chess events. Was mostly recently featured in the WoW movie.
Why it is unlikely: Team 5 will need to find a way to make the Karazhan adventure it’s own without disappointing the fanbase. Could it be done?
Why it is likely: Ulduar is considered one of the most popular WoW raids.
Why it is unlikely: Features a number of cards already released in Hearthstone, including: Yogg-Saron, Mimiron, and Flame Leviathan.
Why it is likely: Follows the dark theme of Old Gods in the Year of the Kraken. Would likely be the funnest possibility. Possibly lots of RNG if it is the adventure.
Why it is unlikely: It is a carnival, it might be difficult turning it into an adventure. Lack of established enemies. Too similar to Old Gods, art-wise.
I personally wanted a Darkmoon Faire adventure some time ago, given how fun I thought it was in WoW. But the signs seem to point to Karazhan. Anywho, start saving up gold for this adventure. An announcement could come any time, given the lull in Hearthstone news lately.
Given this blog is all about Hearthstone, what an exciting week it has been leading up to today. It all started with the sleuthing of Disguised Toast. Then came a mural in Brooklyn. And the Spanish website, which turned out to reveal everything revealed today. The upcoming expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods was announced a couple hours ago, and is set to launch late April – early May. Here’s what has been confirmed on stream:
This Monday (3/14 St Patty’s Day), we will get the 9 deck slots.
The patch will also include a preview of wild/standard formats. It is not launching this Monday.
During the promo period, every user will get 3 Old Gods packs, and the legendary C’Thun. The promo card back might be pre-order only.
The 20-something nerf to Classic/Basic cards was not discussed.
More cards revealed over the weekend and from now on.
Unlike League of Explorers, there is a big amount of time until this new expansion hits, giving time for people to save up gold or whatever. While we are stuck with the stale meta some more, this is probably the most exciting time to be a fan of Hearthstone, with the eager anticipation of waiting for cards to be revealed. When I started playing Hearthstone, I visited Hearthpwn a lot. Then I started going to the site less and less, due to the frequency of banal posts, complaining, and “custom card makers” everywhere. Now, I have no choice but to visit that site every day, in case a card gets revealed.
And this slow card reveal will go on for weeks. Streamers likely have their hands on some cards to reveal. Magazines and websites will have some cards. A bunch of cards in foreign languages and unconfirmed names!
It will all lead up to “massive card dump day,” which is probably the most exciting day of the year.
And of course there will be speculation and sleuthing among the Hearthstone community. I went through great lengths to figure out Subjugator Kor’ul maybe a card, and there have been trailer rumblings of Corrupted Hogger and Coldlight Seer.
All and all, it is a great time to be a Hearthstone fan. Some can’t take this slow reveal, hype-building strategy. I won’t have it any other way.