The warriors of the frozen wastes are set to rise again in the world of Hearthstone, as the iconic Lich King gears up for his return to the card game. The newly-announced March of the Lich King expansion will once again unleash the unholy power of Arthas Menethil as he leads his army into battle on 6 December – not just as the leader of the Undead, but also as the face of a new class: the Death Knight.
This focus continues the game’s recent trend of delving more into classic Warcraft settings and characters, which weaves in the lore of both universes and establishes a starting point to bring in the highly-requested class. Set before the events of Wrath of the Lich King in World of Warcraft, March of the Lich King follows a Silvermoon City besieged by war, with half the classes aligned with the Scourge (Death Knight, Warlock, Priest, Shaman, Rogue, and Druid), and half with Silvermoon and the Blood Elves (Hunter, Paladin, Warrior, Mage, and Demon Hunter).
The expansion will include 68 new Death Knight cards and 145 new cards, making it Hearthstone‘s biggest expansion yet. Core Death Knight cards are also awarded to players for free upon completing the prologue, which highlights unique class mechanics and special deck building rules.
For starters, Death Knights come with a Rune requirement that determines their special abilities from three types: Blood (red), Frost (blue), or Unholy (green). Each rune occupies one of the three slots in the space under mana cost, allowing for 10 different configurations and a flexible play style – slotting in two Blood and one Frost rune, for instance, lets players use Level 2 Blood spells and Level 1 Frost spells for increased defensive control. Meanwhile, having more Unholy runes would benefit those who adopt a rush approach.
Ultimately, it all boils to personal preference and risk calculation. Placing Blood in all three Rune slots may be risky since Frost or Unholy spells cannot be activated, but if that gets the job done, why not?
Death Knights also have an additional resource called Corpses, obtained whenever a friendly minion dies, and Ghoul Charge, a 2-mana hero power which summons a 1/1 Ghoul with Charge that dies at the end of the player’s turn. The announced cards thus far include Blood Boil, The Scourge, and Lady Deathwhisper, with many more waiting to be revealed.
In comparison, there has only been one Demon Hunter reveal (Deal with the Devil), and we’re here to add on to the list. Blizzard has offered Geek Culture an exclusive look at four new Demon Hunter cards from the upcoming expansion: Fierce Outsider, Wretched Exile, Vengeful Walloper, and Legendary card Felerin, the Forgotten.
What do they look like? How do they fare on the board? lambyseries, a professional Hearthstone player and streamer based in Singapore, is here to share his insights on the new March of the Lich King set and their synergy with one another, as well as offer some tips on how to best utilise the cards.
1) Felerin, the Forgotten (Legendary)
“Battlecry: Add a random Outcast card to the left and right sides of your hand. They cost (2) less.”
Felerin, the Forgotten is one of the friendlier cards as it doesn’t require a second card in hand to become useful. It could potentially get players zero-mana Outcast card draw cards or healing Outcast cards, while the small pool variance makes it more likely for them to find what they want amidst the randomness.
The most useful edge here is its reduced cost – the cards added to hand permanently cost (2) less, so they can be used on later turns for big draw combos or burst healing. As Discovered cards may be too situational, you might have to rely a bit more on luck here.
2) Fierce Outsider
“Rush Outcast: Your next Outcast card costs (1) less.”
Fierce Outsider is a personal favourite. The card works to further aggressive and combo strategies with low cost and an efficient minion, but its discount effect is the greatest advantage. It doesn’t have to be activated immediately, so it can be saved and used on other turns for big draw combos or tempo swings.
Combo that with existing Demon Hunter card Wayward Sage for additional discounts, and players will be able to draw many more cards in a turn. In the right hands, Fierce Outsider can be an extremely overpowered pick, with its only weakness being that it can get stuck in the middle of your hand, just like all other Outcast cards.
3) Wretched Exile
“After you play an Outcast card, add another Outcast card to your hand.”
With the current pool of Outcast cards being relatively low in cost, Wretched Exile is the best companion to synergise with Fierce Outsider. The combined might of both picks allows players to chain multiple Discovers of Outcast cards in a single turn and deal blow after blow to their opponents.
Outside of Fierce Outsider (pun intended) and existing Demon Hunter cards Crimson Sigil Runner and Spectral Sight, however, it won’t be quite as strong. Just like Felerin, the Discovered cards can be too situational here, which reduces its full potential.
4) Vengeful Walloper
Vengeful Walloper is another card that synergises very heavily with Fierce Outsider for huge tempo swings. It can be played very early in the game if a lot of Outcast cards are used, and makes for a good top deck very often, especially in aggressive strategies.
As one of those make-it-or-break-it cards, its odds to enter the battleground are never fixed. The card is a welcome presence when it costs 0, but if it costs 7 and is stuck in your hand, it could remain there for a very long time. Talk about tough luck.
All four cards have a lot of potential, as they enable a player to create board states that would be superior to what is usually doable in normal scenarios. With Fierce Outsider, Vengeful Walloper, and Felerin’s ability to reduce card costs with their effects, multiple cards can be played in a turn to provide huge tempo swings, which overcomes the barrier set in place by mana restrictions.
Fierce Outsider is the standout here, especially for individuals who enjoy playing tons of cards in a single turn. Wretched Exile, in contrast, proves to be the greatest threat, because one Outcast card played would lead to another being spawned and so forth. This chain effect allows the card to generate infinite value, so it needs to be eliminated from the board as soon as possible.
With 203 cards in total, the March of the Lich King expansion is set to welcome even more combos, synergy goodness, and experimentation from Hearthstone players. It will march (hah) in on 6 December 2022, which leaves them with some time to figure out their game plan as more cards get revealed leading up to the launch date.