Hearthstone, Blizzard’s digital collectible card game, loves to explore alternate takes on the lore of World of Warcraft. Sometimes, this means all of our favorite heroes die and come back as Death Knights or we get to revisit an in-game zone with a new twist. This time, it means that we take the role of a bunch of Warcraft baddies and siege Dalaran, the magical floating city that serves as a base of operations for the world’s benevolent mages.
The League of EVIL brings back a cast of villains from Hearthstone’s past, including Dr. Boom and Hagatha the Witch. Rise of Shadows will also introduce a host of new cards (135 of them), including legendary takes on lore characters like Kalecgos and Chef Nomi.
There are two new mechanics that will exist on cards in the Rise of Shadows expansion. The first, Twinspell, applies to spells. Upon casting a spell with Twinspell, you get a copy of that spell in your hand, allowing you to cast the same ability twice. Unlike Echo, you can hold onto your Twinspell for a later turn.
The new expansion will also have lackeys, cards which are generated by other Rise of Shadows cards. You can’t put these five lackeys (one for each villain in the trailer) in your deck, but you can play them in the battlefield once they’ve been created by another Rise of Shadows card. They’re weak, with 1/1 stats, but they have powerful battlecries to disrupt the field.
We’ll also be getting a mechanic called schemes. Scheme cards are spells that start weak, but the longer you hold them in your hand, the stronger they grow.
Finally, Rise of Shadows will use mechanics and keywords from past expansions, helping to create a more unified — and potentially deadly — set of meta cards. It’s thematically appropriate, considering that the villains we’ve bested from the past are coming back … and bringing their most powerful abilities.
Rise of Shadows will launch a single-player campaign in May that will offer the most campaign content yet. The first chapter will be free, with the following four chapters costing 700 gold a piece (or $19.99 for all four). The five chapters will give players 15 Rise of Shadows packs, a golden classic pack, and Shadow Cloak, which unlocks one of the five new decks corresponding to the five lore villains at random.
There will be pre-purchase tiers that unlock Rise of Shadow card packs, an exclusive card back, a golden legendary, and a new Madame Luzul Priest hero portrait with voice lines and sound effects.
Rise of Shadows is set to release on April 9, and will be the first expansion of Hearthstone’s Year of the Dragon. Check out the first cards from Rise of Shadows in the gallery below.