Surprise! Goblins vs. Gnomes now playable in Arena

We knew the Goblins and Gnomes are coming

We knew the Goblins and Gnomes are coming. But they’ve arrived a little early.

Blizzard’s first full expansion to popular digital card game Hearthstone, Goblins vs Gnomes, is now playable in the Arena game mode for a limited time.

In the Arena, a challenger picks from three cards a total of 30 times to build a deck and plays until they lose three games against other players. Usually it costs 150 gold or $1.99 to enter, but Blizzard is offering all players a free ticket to see the new cards.

The sneak peak at the new set lasts until the launch Dec. 8, when packs containing Goblins vs. Gnomes cards will appear in the Blizzard store. The entire set will appear in the Arena sneak peek, though Arena rewards will only contain classic cards.

The patch also contains a few other goodies.

If you use up your free ticket and don’t want to spend to get in another preview, you can still check out the action with Spectator Mode, which allows you to watch your friend’s games.

The balance changes revealed two days ago are also live. Nerfs to Flare, Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and Soulfire should remove some of the power from a couple popular deck archetypes. Also introduced are updates to cards with new properties for the new expansion, like the addition of the “Mech” minion type to Harvest Golem.

We’re just days away from the full release of the set, but if you just can’t wait, or are skeptical about getting back into Hearthstone, Blizzard’s just given you the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Image via Blizzard