Let out a Roar you Trollish fans! Hearthstone has unleashed it’s next major expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, unveiling it’s third and final expansion in the Year of the Raven. Anticipated to be the biggest digital card game this year by SuperData, raking in almost $414 Million Globally, Hearthstone releases its new expansion in varying years, rotating out older expansions at the end of the cycle so new players can jump in comfortably with the latest card packs and without needing to buy a sheaf of the older content. Its newly announced expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, is poised to honor this tradition with its December 4th global release on PC and Mobile.
For those of you not currently tuned into the World of Warcraft and its sizeable lore, Rastakhan is the king of the Zandalari Tribe, the greatest and most powerful troll empire to ever grace Azeroth. His importance can’t be understated, as he even features in Patch 8.1’s upcoming raid, The Battle of Dazar’alor. Rastakhan makes his mark upon Hearthstone with an event so powerful it, “only occurs once in a generation,” where every troll of every tribe across Azeroth unites in a great event to honor the Loa, their spiritual wild gods. Gathering in Stranglethorn’s Gurubashi Arena, the Loa have selected their teams and are now ready for Rastakhan’s Rumble!
Trolls are the name of the game in this Hearthstone expansion, and no toe has been left uncounted in that regard. Alongside a slew of new cards, every class has been drafted onto a Loa’s team and has not only received a Legendary Troll Champion card as their team captain, but the Loa themselves have joined the brawl as Legendary cards designed to act as match closers. We detail the full list below:
Druids have been brought to the forefront by Wardruid Loti and Gonk, the Raptor Loa for Gonk’s Raptors. One of the most savage teams on the battlefield, Druid cards will focus on maximizing their offensive destruction from brambly skin to razored claws of every kind.
Hunters have been summoned by the great Zul’jin of the Amani to serve Halazzi, the wily Lynx Loa. Together, Halazzi’s Lynxes are perhaps one of the most aggressive and cunning teams, building long-reaching plans of strategy to hunt and crush their enemies.
Mages must answer the call of Hex Lord Malacrass and his prayers to Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk Loa. Jan’alai’s Dragonhawks devastate the field with powerful magics and primal spell casts, often playing off of the Mage’s hero powers to weave intricate words of destruction.
Paladins have been bidden by High Priest Thekal, the immortal prophet of Shirvallah. Together, Shirvallah’s Tigers forge an army of zealots, where the most pious become truly immortal through their god’s powers, returning from the battlefield only to be summoned again.
Priests must serve Princess Talanji and the newest patron of the Zandalari, Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death. Her future sold for the survival of her people, Bwonsamdi’s Zombies revel in the destructive powers of the shadows and necromancy, wreaking terrible destruction only to reap enemies back into their service.
Rogues head the call of the greatest pirate in the south seas, Captain Hooktusk. Bidden by the Shark Loa, Gral’s Sharks look to win the Rumble as slyly as they can, often bending the rules until they break and taken every opportunity to cheat their way to victory.
Shaman have been called to heed Zentimo, the last Witch Doctor of the might Frog Loa. Together, Krag’wa’s Frogs unleash the most potent Hexes that Shaman can weave, blasting the battlefield with one of the more magic-heavy compositions yet seen from a Shaman Hearthstone expansion.
The Warlocks are the most villainous group of the Rumble, aiming to win by any means necessary. Led by High Priestess Jeklik, Hir’eek’s Bats will throw away even the very souls of their own team members if it will secure a victory for their twisted Loa.
Last and certainly not least, Warriors will find a like and violent mind with War Master Voone. Akali’s Rhinos have only one strategy in their mind, and that is to deliver as much punishment with the heaviest armor possible. To them, if the problem can’t be solved by hitting things, its a problem not worth solving.
Things do not simply begin and end with the Champions of the Loa in Rastakhan’s Rumble; while they potentially offer devastating effects such as Hex Lord Malacrass’s battlecry adding your starting hand back into your current one, they are not the crux of strategy. Instead the Loa have gifted their teams with new Spirit cards to do battle with. These new Spirit Cards are based on that particular class’ Loa, and are designed to be a resilient, continuous buff for their team while on the field. Yu-Gi-Oh! players might equate them similar to Field or Continuous Spell Cards. The Warlock Spirit of the Bat card allows the player to sacrifice their creatures, giving a minion in your hand +1/+1 for each friendly minion that perishes on the battlefield.
In addition to new Spirit, Loa and Legendary cards comes a new card type: Overkill. Designed around the idea of truly humiliating an opponent in the gladiatorial combat that the Gurubashi Arena is known for, Overkill allows certain cards to re-enact their effects every time it kills a character. One of the weapons demoed at Blizzcon, Sul’thraze, also possesses Overkill, allowing it to continuously attack if it can kill a minion with a weapon attack. This new Overkill option allows players to create devastating combo effects, chaining cards like the Warlock Hellfire together with Sul’thraze to potentially wipe an entire arena clean of late-game monsters.
With the launch of Rastakhan’s Rumble will also come a new singleplayer mode. Rumble Run will allow you to choose one of the troll champions and climb the ranks of the Gurubashi Arena, slaughtering your way to fame and glory in the name of your Loa. Much like Dungeon Run from Kobolds and Catacombs, you’ll begin with a small deck of cards and receive new ones in succession through each battle. Completing all of the challenges in Rumble Run will reward players with an exclusive card back.
Prior to its December 4th release, Blizzard is also offering two pre-order bundles for Rastakhan’s Rumble. The first is a 17-card pack entitled the Challenger’s Bundle, packaged with an exclusive cardback. The second, the Rumble Bundle, comes with 50 card packs and includes King Rastakhan himself as an alternate Shaman Hero for players to select.
A new expansion for Hearthstone is desperately need and fully appreciated, especially when looking at the competition Blizzard will soon be facing in the CCG market; Valve’s Artifact sets to debut just later this month and the already highly successful Magic: The Gathering Arena is in beta and quickly approaching its launch state. An expansion now is just what the Witch Doctor ordered, and looks to close out Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven with a true Shirvallan Roar.