The long-awaited announcement for Hearthstone players has finally arrived: on December 7, Divisi in the Valley of Alterac will be released, the final expansion of the year of the Griffin. The Mercenaries’ journey thus comes to its conclusion, but it will not be an ending like “… and they all lived happily ever after”.
We met the paladin Cariel, the Demon hunter Kurtrus, the thief Scabb and all the others during our stay in the Savannahs, in the form of legendary class cards; we discovered their stories through the various chapters of the “Book of Mercenaries” and we were able to play with their enhanced versions thanks to the “quest lines” introduced with “United in Stormwind”.
Now they have arrived in the Alterac Valley, the iconic location of World of Warcraft, and here they are divided: there are those who have joined the dwarves of the Piccatonante clan (Alliance) and those who have sided with the orcs of the clan of White Wolves (Horde), two factions long at war to contend for strategic territory and the remains of a fallen Naaru (god of Light).
As had already been done for the two previous expansions, this one too draws heavily on the WoW lore not only for the new minions we’re going to use, but also for the new game mechanics and spells. Each Mercenary has grown over the course of the year, is now at its full potential and will return in the form of a Hero Card.
In the latest expansions the Hero Cards had been set aside because they were capable of overturning the games on their own, however, the evolution of the mercenaries that we followed in the course of 2021 required a last step that naturally had to end with a further enhancement and the power level of the current Standard should be such that they can be accommodated without unforeseen consequences.
Two Hero cards presented so far, with innovative and potentially game-changing effects: Cariel, the paladin now awarded the title of Lightforged, will earn us 5 points of armor, will inflict 2 damage to all enemy minions and will field an invincible shield that does not lose health even when attacking and that will halve all damage taken! All this for 7 mana and to top it off, we will also receive a new hero power that will greatly enhance (+ 4 / + 4) a minion in our hand.
The second is that of the Druid: Wildheart Guff who at the cost of 5 mana will give us 5 armor points, will set the maximum level of our mana crystals to 20 (!), Will draw a card and will give us an additional mana crystal. In addition, the hero power will allow us to choose whether to draw a card or receive an extra mana crystal.
Perfectly in line with the characteristic traits of the classes, these new legendary cards already give us a foretaste of the deck building possibilities that will open and that will allow us to move away from the much loved / hated series of missions that have now monopolized the meta. We are very curious to discover the remaining eight!
The new series of spells, officially called “objective”, which have the particularity of having an extended duration for three turns, is inspired by the Warcraft raid. To date it has been revealed that paladins will be able to play knowing that for three turns the summoned minions will receive + 2 / + 2 (including the Silver Hand recruits!), While the thieves could activate the death rales twice (always for three turns) and hunters will be able to fish three secrets and play them at a reduced cost. They are cards that require careful construction of the deck, limiting it to a precise series of archetypes, but within them they could give an immense advantage.
The other new mechanic in the game is “Honorable Kill,” a versatile effect found in all types of cards (spells, minions, and weapons). Each time these cards kill a minion by inflicting the exact damage necessary to it, they will get a bonus that varies according to the card: minions and weapons will be able to upgrade, while spells will activate other effects, such as reducing the cost of spells in the hand. The cards revealed so far seem a little more powerful than their mana cost, but they require some strategy to get the most out of them.
Currently we have also had a taste of the clash that will unleash on December 7: after the update to the new patch, it was enough to open the game to find ourselves in front of a very interesting choice, in line with the theme of the factions. We were asked to choose between the Horde, led by Drek’thar and the Alliance led by Vanndar Spicy, two neutral Legendary cards from the Divided expansion in the Alterac Valley.
By choosing a side, we received the Golden copy of that choice for free and were able to play it immediately. After the expansion is released, fighting for the chosen faction will earn rewards and honor points: 10 honor points for each game, another 10 with victory, and an additional 20 if victory is achieved against an opponent of the opposing faction. These points will decide, at the release of the mini-set, which of the two Factions will have won the battle of the Alterac Valley and all players will receive the diamond version of the legendary choice in these days!
An idea that we liked very much here at Eurogamer, we found it engaging and will give players the opportunity not only to try out a new card, but also to play with a clear objective and a symbolic but tempting prize!
Divided in the Alterac Valley will be released on December 7th and in addition to adding the 135 new cards, it will also kick off Phase 3 of the Year of the Griffin. Phase 3 is still in development and will include an update to the Battle, a seasonal event and new single player experiences. Team 5 will also continue to update the traditional Hearthstone – Duel, Mercenary and Brawl modes – and single player experiences. At this point we just have to wait, but in the meantime we will have to decide which faction to fight for: Horde or Alliance?
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