‘Hearthstone’ Gets Demon Hunter Class, No Duplicates, Ranked Improvements, and More for Year of the Phoenix

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Welcome to one of the most momentous Hearthstone (Free) article I’ve ever written (and trust me, I’ve written many of them). And despite all that is happening around us, I know that Hearthstone players will still get excited with the huge changes coming to the game, changes that – based on what I’ve seen at the Hearthstone Summit event – will change the game for the better both for veterans and for new players. After all, this will be the first time that players will get to a new class, the Demon Hunter! And there’s much, much more, so let us begin.

With the Year of the Dragon flying away and the Year of the Phoenix rising, Hearthstone is shedding its old skin (I know, mixing my metaphors) and introducing a ton of changes. First and foremost is the Demon Hunter class, the first class to be added since the game’s launch. The class is very aggressive, with a Hero Power 1-mana 1-Attack this turn, which allows for a constant beating. The class has all kinds of fun synergies, like weapon buffing, that work great with the theme and, in my limited gameplay time, allow for a few different archetypes. This hero will be free for all players, with each of us getting all 10 Demon Hunter Basic cards and a set of 20 Starter cards after completing the free Demon Hunter Prologue missions, which are all about the story of Illidan Stormrage.

And as if a new class wasn’t enough, we’re getting some other major changes to the game. The first is a new “no duplicates” rule that ensures you will never get another duplicate in your packs, no matter the rarity. This move should lower the game’s cost for players. Ranked ladder is also changing substantially, with better matchmaking and progression system, another change we’ve been asking for for a long time. And Priest is seeing an overhaul, with six Basic and Classic cards being completely replaced and others seeing rebalancing. Finally, we’re getting a new keyword, Outcast, which is the fun hand mechanic. Outcast cards become more powerful if played from the edges of your hand. This keyword introduces all kinds of fun complexities to drawing mechanics.

New players are getting some attention too, with a free competitive pack of their choice to get them going. And any players who’ve been out of the game for more than four months get a free pack as well.

The new expansion, Ashes of Outland, brings even more goodies to the game. We’re getting Primes, new minions that shuffle powerful versions of themselves back into your deck when they’re taking off the board. Every class but Demon Hunter will have its own Prime minions. We’re also getting Imprisoned Demons, who stay dormant (and invincible) for two turns and then do all kinds of damage. Finally, every player who logs in on March 17 or after will get Kael’thas Sunstrider, a Legendary neutral minion, for free. The update will release on April 7th, with the pre-purchase (and all associated goodies) available from today until April 6th.

I’ve never been more excited for the game, not just based on what I saw at the summit but also because of the energy from the Hearthstone team. I saw a clear plan on evolving the game in fun directions (a new mode was also hinted but no details on that), and the map of what’s to come was enormous. So, get excited because Hearthstone is about to get much better.

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