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Rise of the Naga brings a new tribe to Hearthstone Battlegrounds, removes Buddies

A massive shakeup is coming to Bob’s Tavern.

On May 10, Nagas will enter Battlegrounds, bringing with them a new keyword in the form of Spellcraft and a shiny new hero, Queen Azshara.

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The Rise of the Naga update brings along a new ranked season and a rating reset, 16 new Naga minions, and five other original additions alongside two returning cards. Six minions currently in the pool will be rotated out.

The Naga tribe’s effects revolve around bonuses related to spellcasting, be it Coins, Blood Gems, Triple Rewards, or something generated via their Spellcraft keyword. Spellcraft effects grant you a temporary spell that expires at the end of your turn, meaning you shouldn’t try to herd them. Spellcraft triggers both when you play the minion and at the start of each subsequent turn.

Though they are functionally similar, Spellcraft effects are not Battlecry effects, meaning they won’t be doubled by Brann Bronzebeard. If your hand is full when a Spellcraft effect would trigger, the minion will “wait” for you to free up space, still granting the effect to you as soon as possible.

The official blog post also revealed that Golden Spellcraft minions will generate Golden versions of the same spells, which offer double the effect of their basic counterparts.

New hero in, Buddies out

Queen Azshara is the newest Battlegrounds hero, with a passive Hero Power called “Azshara’s Ambition” that reads “When your warband reaches 30 total Attack, begin your Naga Conquest.” At this point, a transformation will take place, and from then on, Naga Queen Azshara’s new Hero Power is a powerful one-mana “Discover a Naga” ability. Similar to Patches and Ini Stormcoil, this character is also locked into playing a single archetype, but with a high power level potential thanks to this effect.

Developer Dominic Gallosz has revealed in a discussion with Kripp that the currently dominant Buddies will be rotating out from the game with the upcoming patch. Further reveals are coming up in the next couple of days in cooperation with other content creators, culminating in a full reveal on May 9, a day before the release of Rise of the Naga.

All this promises a massive shakeup by itself considering the oversized impact the Buddies had on the Battlegrounds metagame previously. With a new tribe also coming into the mix, it’s going to be a whole new world in Bob’s Tavern once the patch goes live on May 10.

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Luci Kelemen
Weekend editor at Dot Esports. Telling tales of gaming since 2015. Black-belt time-waster when it comes to strategy games and Counter-Strike. Previously featured on PC Gamer, Fanbyte, and more, Occasional chess tournament attendant and even more occasional winner.