I must admit I did a double take when I first read the sponsored post Blizzard sent out for the next Hearthstone expansion and saw “tradable” cards between the dots. Did the lunatics finally go and do it? As it turns out, they didn’t. These aren’t cards that you can exchange with other players – instead, Tradeable is a new keyword that lets you swap that card for a random one from your deck. So you are actively trading with yourself. lonely forever, etc.
Objectively speaking, the tradable keyword correlates well with Stormwind’s set-up, given that the vast Alliance City has a large commercial area. The expansion, which is set to release on August 3, continues the arc that began with a crowd-flavored marsh in the Barrens group, and tells the story of 10 brave mercenaries – one for each class – who effectively act as agents for rookie WoW characters.
Storyline fluff aside, United in Stormwind consists of 135 cards and adds several new mechanics. Here are the basic things:
Pay Mana to exchange a tradeable card for a new one
Any card containing a new tradable keyword can be exchanged for another in your deck for a price. Drag the card from your hand back into your deck, pay 1 Mana, and you’ll draw an alternate. The idea here is to add more consistency to your deck by enabling you to swap out situational cards that you don’t currently need in the hopes of finding something to do. A good example is the Rustroot Viper, a 3 mana 3/4 monster with Battlecry: destroy your opponent’s weapon. If you don’t encounter a class that normally uses weapons, you may want to get rid of the sinking. Although talking about weapons…
Career items are cards that are equipped in the weapon slot, but have no offensive value. Instead, they have negative effects that lead to certain conditions. For example, the Paladin’s Prismatic Gems Collection reads: “After the Friendly Agent loses the Divine Shield, give the minions in your hand +1 / + 1. You lose 1 stamina.” Tools are also not limited to the traditional Hearthstone classes that focus on weapons. Ruined Mithril Rod is a Warlock that reduces the cost of cards in your hand by 1 every time you draw 4 cards. The developers told me that not all tools will affect the cards in your hand, and some will interact with the board.
Complete the three-part task lines
The latest evolution of the Hearthstone quest mechanic involves completing three steps in order to earn a new copy of that class’s legendary mercenary, each with a very powerful effect. Note that you’ll get less reward when outlining the initial steps along the way, the idea being that these quests aren’t a feast or famine of the old ones, meaning you can still see some benefits even if you don’t get it all done.
The Demon Seed, a Warlock mission, requires you to take an increased amount of damage on your turn. However, when you reach the target thresholds, you will deal 3 damage to the opponent’s face with a Lifesteal, regaining some health you lost in the process. The reward for all that sadomasochism is Blightborn Tamsin, 5-Mana 7/7 which reads Battlecry: “For the rest of the game, the damage you take on your turn deals damage to your opponent instead.” I don’t expect too many turns once this effect is triggered and the Warlock player will punch themselves hard in the face with Flame Imps
Teach your minions with new mountain spells
As our intrepid mercenaries continue their journey through the famous early regions of Azeroth, it makes sense that they need some trusty horses. The mountains are orange spells, much like the old Spikeridged Steed in Paladin, which add a pile of stats to the minion you cast on them, but also leave behind those stats when the minion is destroyed. (The idea is that what remains is the mountain they were riding on.)
While it’s probably not the most exciting course of cards, there is definitely the potential for mounts to be strong. The Hunter version is called Ramming Mount, costs 3 mana, and reads: “Give minions +2 / +2 and a fortress while attacking. When he dies, summon Ram” This is a powerful effect that allows you to inflict instant damage, and keeps your creature alive while trading, And makes it more stable in future combat. As for the Priest’s variant, which costs 7 and gives +4/+7 and a Taunt, I’m already running into cold sweats.
Another card worth calling is Flightmaster Dungar. It’s a Legendary Neutral miner that is given to all players as a login bonus, and as it’s now traditional, has a pretty weird effect that the brains of deck builders have to work overtime to extract the maximum benefit.
Dungar’s base 3/3 streak for 3-Mana doesn’t surprise you, but the fact that he goes into hibernation when you put him in play does. You will be given a discovery option with which you can select how many laps it takes Dungar before Dungar wakes up. When it does, it will be accompanied by an effect (see above) that is more powerful depending on the length of the nap. It seems to be some kind of cool card that doesn’t require you to build your entire deck, but fits in with multiple archetypes. I am again concerned that he might be too good for a priest.
Aside from all the new standard cards, Blizzard is also teasing a major update to the Battlegrounds mode, with a major change to the Minion Pool and new cosmetics that include alternate bartenders. Read more about them Here.
As always, the new expansion comes with flavors of pre-order bundles, the largest of which comes with a Lady Katrana Prestor figure, which is intended for the Mage class.
The mega package costs $79.99 and includes the following:
- 80 United in Stormwind Card Packs—plus 5 Gold Card Packs (contains all Gold Cards)
- 2 Random United in Stormwind Gold Legend Cards
- Lady Katrana Prestor Alternate Hero
- The return of Mrs. Katrana Prestor card
- Hearthstone Battlegrounds franchises continue until the next expansion
- Ve’nari alternate bartender for Hearthstone Battlegrounds
The smaller pack will set you $49.99 for 60 packs, two random Legendary cards, and a Lady Katrana Prestor back. You can find the remaining cards revealed today in the gallery below.