The long wait for Hearthstone fans is mercifully over. On March 11, Blizzard will announce its new expansion for the card game. No, it’s not one of those 30-card injections like Curse of Naxxramas or League of Explorers. This is a full-tilt, 120-card bombshell in the tradition of Goblins vs. Gnomes and The Grand Tournament.
It’s about time. The Hearthstone meta has been disgustingly stale in recent months, and a fresh batch of cards and the new Standard format is sure to encourage some upheaval. We love upheaval. Upheaval is the antithesis of Secret Paladin for the 400th time in a row.
You might be wondering how this new expansion is going to be themed. Blizzard is good about dropping hints, and you can usually get a read on what it’s cooking up from a few key words. We don’t know what it’s going to be called yet, but a few clever users are theorizing that it’ll be centered around the Old Gods. The clearest hint can be found on the Hearthstone front page. If you go there and scroll down, you’ll usually find a selection of classic cards showing off the different effects in the game. But right now, those cards are Faceless Manipulator, Void Terror, Dark Whispers, Mind Blast, and Cult Master.
These are all synonymous with the Old God lore in World of Warcraft. Old Gods are these ancient, immensely powerful, horrifically sinister creatures who have a habit of turning good mortal men and women insane in a sort of C’thulu-ish way.
The biggest giveaway is the Faceless Manipulator. These are literal minions of the Old Gods. The other cards are hints, too: In certain areas in Warcraft you’ll get random “dark whispers” from the evil below; there are a number of cults who worship the old gods, and they draw their power from the Void much like the Void Terror does. It’s pretty obvious.
Combine that with the fact that Blizzard teased the announcement by saying “something is lurking in the tavern,” it seems pretty clear we’re headed towards some sort of Old God set.
The biggest hint that the Old Gods are coming. Blizzard
This is awesome. You should be excited. The Old Gods are probably my favorite sector of Warcraft lore. They’re shrouded in a lot of mystery, but all you need to know is that they’re ancient, eldritch beings who sow death and destruction in all mankind.
There’s C’Thun, the giant horrible eyeball-beast who longtime Warcraft players will remember from Ahn’Qiraj. There’s Yogg-Saron, who literally has mouths for eyes and served as the final boss of Ulduar (which is still the best raid Blizzard has ever designed). There’s also the deceased Y’Shaarj, and the latent N’Zoth, who we’ve not met yet. All of these guys came with some really trippy abilities in World of Warcraft. Yogg-Saron would transport you to directly into his brain, where you see all sorts of weird disconcerting flashbacks in history. These guys always messed with the fundamental laws of the universe, which makes it particularly tantalizing that they’ll be adapted into Hearthstone.
Blizzard has done an exceptionally good job at keeping its silly card game thematic. A good example is Piloted Shredder. Obviously the Shredder would drop out a smaller minion, because in Warcraft when you defeated a Shredder there was always the chance that you’d have to fight the goblin behind the wheel. When you consider that Faceless Manipulator has one of the most exotic effects in Hearthstone– literally copying a minion– you should expect similar vexatious, cerebral effects in the rest of the set.
Maybe the Yogg-Saron card will let your draw from your opponent’s deck! Maybe the C’Thun card will allow you to peer in your opponent’s hand! The possibilities are endless. If Hearthstone is boring you right now, don’t worry, because I have feeling the game is about to get a lot more interesting.