Hearthstone Rise of Shadows: Everything you need to know, everything new

Hearthstone is set to receive its first of three big expansions in 2019. You'll come to know it as Rise of Shadows, an expansion themed around the uprising of a band of villains known as the League of E.V.I.L. Their wish is to take over Dalaran by any means necessary, and they don't care who gets in their way.

The big theme is that the class legendaries of this set are all souped-up versions of some of Hearthstone's most iconic cards. They'll act similarly to their earlier counterparts, but with added stipulations and twist, and potentially bigger rewards.

See Hearthstone Rise of Shadows at Blizzard

Hearthstone Rise of Shadows What's new?

Each expansion of Hearthstone tends to introduce new mechanics or rethink old ones. In Rise of Shadows, we'll see several new card keywords and gameplay mechanics that'll shake up the meta.

  • Lackeys: These are 1-mana 1/1 minions that can be gained as rewards from playing other cards. The minions have some minor effects that can help you achieve victory.
  • Schemes: The unique style of spells for Rise of Shadows, Schemes are cards that get more powerful effects the longer they stay in your hand.
  • Callbacks: The featured legendary minions of this expansion are based on popular characters and mechanics from earlier sets, each coming with an exciting new twist.
  • Twinspell: This is the keyword for a new card mechanic that, when played, allows you to add a second copy of it to your hand. The second card does not have the keyword.

A big part of Hearthstone is figuring out how to find key synergies and combos, and these new mechanics will certainly bring some fresh changes to the meta as people explore how they interact with existing cards.

Hearthstone Rise of Shadows New Cards

Blizzard usually aims for 130+ new cards for these expansions, and Rise of Shadows is no different. There will be 135, in fact, and some of them have already been revealed. Take a look at the gallery ahead to see everything coming in the new expansion.

Beyond those you can find in packs, there will be a number of other cards that you can only use during routine gameplay, such as Lackey minions.

A whole new adventure

Hearthstone's single-player component known as Adventures is coming back in traditional form. These adventures task you with beating a stream of bosses, often using pre-made decks.

With Rise of Shadows, you'll start with a single deck from a single class and use it to embark on a quest to defeat as many as 75 bosses and villains. You'll unlock new decks and hero powers as you go along, and battles take place on one of three difficulties.

Players can earn cards from completing each part of the adventure. The wings will cost 700 in-game gold, giving free-to-play players a viable way to earn a ton of new cards. You can earn 15 packs throughout, and those who are OK with spending a bit of money and want to experience the adventure can drop a cool $20 to play through it.

Your old cards are rotating out

Don't forget that with the launch of Rise of Shadows comes the Year of the Dragon rotation. Hearthstone is cycling cards out thanks to its yearly rotation model, which makes cards from the previous three sets only playable in the game's Wild format.

This means your massive collection of expansion cards will no longer work on the standard ladder. New decks and strategies will be formed as the constraints force people to try new things. And if you're missing your old stuff, you can always head back to Wild and play them as much as you want.

Hearthstone Rise of Shadows Pre-order your packs today

You can pre-purchase your Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows packs today. There's a built-in $10 discount compared to buying the packs normally, and you get a couple of benefits for putting your dollars in early.

There's a 50-pack bundle available for $50. It gets you a special card back and guarantees one legendary from the new set. An 80-pack option predictably goes for $80, but you also get that random legendary in golden, as well as immediate access to the new priest hero Madame Lazul.

See Hearthstone Rise of Shadows at Blizzard

You have until April 9, 2019, to pre-order Rise of Shadows, which likely means the expansion will launch shortly thereafter.

Quentyn Kennemer