Blizzard Entertainment has just unveiled Hearthstone’s next expansion, Scholomance Academy, and it’s already one of my favourite concepts in terms of flavour to date. After all, what could be a better fit for the whimsical and magical world of Hearthstone than a Hogwarts-style college of magic? And what could be a more Hearthstone-esque twist on World of Warcraft lore than to take a school of necromancy, intimately linked to the Scourge and the Lich King, and founded by Kel’Thuzad, and make it a (mostly) fun-filled place? It checks all the boxes, and Kel’Thuzad as headmaster is the icing on the cake.
So far we’ve seen 14 of the 135 new cards, and there are a heap of genuinely exciting designs in the mix. Here are some of the new mechanics and concepts coming in the set.
Scholomance Academy introduces 40 dual-class cards, and each of these have two specific classes that are able to use them. There are ten class combinations in all, and what makes these exciting is that we get to see what happens when classes are able to build decks that integrate a key mechanic from another class. We find out what happens if Mage can devolve enemy minions, what Shaman can do with ramp, and what it’s like for Mages to pull off Combos and for Rogues to utilise Mage spells.
Each class pairing also receives a Legendary professor minion, such as Shan’do Wildclaw (below), which takes advantage of the fact that both Hunter and Druid have beast synergies.
This new keyword is a little like money in the bank. Any minion or spell with Spellburst triggers its effect the next time you cast a spell. Goody Two-Shields’ Divine Shield, for instance, can be re-activated, or you could bide your time waiting to set off Wretched Tutor’s ability.
What I love about this mechanic, however, is the counter-play. Unless you trigger the Spellburst on the same turn as you play its associated minion or spell, your opponent knows what’s coming, so can attempt to play around it.
We’ve seen a number of other interesting cards, including one from the new “Studies” cycle (below), which are spells that let you Discover a card but then reduce the mana cost of the next card of that type that you play.
Scholomance Academy will be out in early August, and there are a couple of pre-order bundles available now. The Scholomance Academy Mega Bundle is USD $79.99 (AUD $109.95) and includes 80 Scholomance Academy card packs, five additional Scholomance Academy Golden Card Packs, one random Golden Legendary card from the set, the Kel’Thuzad Mage Hero and card back, and a Tavern Pass, which includes four Arena tickets.
There’s also the Scholomance Academy Pre-Purchase Bundle, which is USD $49.99 (AUD $66.95), and includes 55 Scholomance Academy card packs, one random Scholomance Academy Golden Legendary Card, and the Kel’Thuzad card back.
Anyone who logs into Hearthstone from today (until October 20) will receive two free copies of the epic neutral minion, Transfer Student, which is a two mana 2/2, but “has different effects based on which game board you’re.” Should be fun!
Cam Shea heads up IGN’s Sydney studio and would attend Scholomance Academy in a heartbeat. Check out his behind the scenes look at how Team 5 designed Demon Hunter here, and why not say g’day on Twitter.
Source: IGN Video Games All