The team behind the online collectible card game (CCG) Hearthstone have announced their upcoming expansion pack March of the Lich King. The new expansion will also bring with it the Death Knight as a hero class, joining the ten classes already in the game.
When Hearthstone launched in 2014, it only included the nine base classes in World of Warcraft; that is to say Mage, Warlock, Warrior, Druid, Priest, Shaman, Paladin, Rogue, and Hunter. Eventually the game added Demon Hunter in 2020 as part of the Ashes of Outland expansion. With the addition of Death Knight, that means Monk will remain the only in-game class without a Hearthstone counterpart.
Death Knight cards have already existed in Hearthstone before. In the game’s early years the expansion Knights of the Frozen Throne the legendary minion “The Lich King” would grant the player who controlled it a Death Knight card at the end of their turn. These cards weren’t affiliated with a real class and existed in their own small category. It’s unclear how cards which generate “Death Knight” cards will change as a result, we do know that at least one previous Death Knight card is reappearing in constructed for Death Knight decks, perhaps the others will follow suit.
You can check out the March of the Lich King and Death Knight announcement below.
With the introduction of a new class, also comes new mechanics. Demon Hunter introduced the “Outcast” card mechanic which gives cards extra bonuses if they’re played from the left or rightmost slot in your hand. Death Knights have access to Runes and Corpses. Runes are a way to specialize your deck and are there seemingly to balance the power of Death Knight. Many Death Knight cards require a certain investment of Runes in order to put in your deck.
Players have three rune slots with which they can equip a Blood, Frost, or Unholy rune, up to a maximum of three of the same type. The most powerful cards are locked behind three runes of a single color. For example, a Death Knight with three Unholy runes can put Lord Marrowgar in his deck; but this is done at the cost of being unable to use any Blood or Frost cards. It’s a tricky balancing act and not something entirely new to Hearthstone. In the past we’ve seen other conditional cards like Reno Jackson who only works if there’s no duplicates in your deck, or Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater, who alter your hero power if you’re only using even or odd cards respectively. Weird deckbuilding rules are baked into the identity of Hearthstone at this point and players will likely adjust to Death Knight easily.
March of the Lich King will become available for all players on December 6, a special pre-purchase bundle is available now.