Whispers of the Old Gods: New Hearthstone Mechanics Analysis
The new expansion for Hearthstone titled "Whispers of the Old Gods" comes out on April 26, 2016 and contains a set of 134 cards including some extraordinary legendaries, such as the four Old Gods from the Warcraft lore.
There is no particular theme when it comes to new mechanics in this expansion, unlike the "Curse of Naxxramas" and its first wave of "Deathrattle" minions, or the "League of Explorers" that introduced the "Discovery" battlecries on a number of minions.
However, we get to play with a number of new trigger effects and other cool mechanics never seen before in Hearthstone. So, let’s take a look at all the new game mechanics from the "Whispers of the Old Gods".
Buffing up your C’Thun
The first and most significant legendary in the new expansion is C’Thun – an old god residing in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. It is a 10 mana 6/6 minion with a battlecry that deals damage to all enemies equal to its attack stat.
Even his initial 6 attack damage is not bad, but with the help of another 16 cards coming in the "Whispers of the Old Gods," C’Thun can be significantly buffed, turning him into one of the most powerful minions in the entire history of Hearthstone.
A few other cards also interact with C’Thun, but in a slightly different way. For example, Ancient Shieldbearer’s battlecry gives your Warrior hero extra armor in the case your C’Thun is buffed to at least 10 damage; another minion acquires extra health, if the same condition is met; etc.
As you see, C’Thun is definitely a great card to have and build your decks around. On top of that, it is given for free to every registered user at the day of release, so you don’t even have to spend your hard-earned extra gold. Thanks, Blizzard!
Playing Russian roulette with Yogg-Saron
The other two old gods - N'Zoth and Y'Shaarj – don’t introduce any new mechanics. One of them summons your dead minions with deathrattles, and we could see something similar with Kel’Thuzad before, while the other one puts a random minion from your deck into the battlefield, which is nothing particularly new for Hearthstone.
However, the last god - Yogg-Saron – is a completely different story. This 7/5 minion’s battlecry casts a number of random spells on random targets equal to the number of spells you cast this game.
Yogg-Saron has already been proclaimed by the community to be the RNGesus himself. So much randomness can lead to incredible and completely unique situations in the game. It will also probably become the favorite of the many YouTubers who make compilations of funny Hearthstone moments.
Saving your mana with Cho’Gall
This new Warlock legendary offers some interesting and very convenient solutions to difficult situations. Its battlecry allows the players to cast a spell in expense of the hero’s health instead of a usual mana, which is great because Warlock has a lot of useful and very expensive spells, such as Siphon Soul or Bane of Doom.
However, if your life total is lower than the cost of the spell you want to cast, the Cho’Gall battlecry won’t work. Also, you can use it in combination with Mal’Ganis in the wild format – in this way you will not lose life at all due to immunity.
Restoring your health with Hallazeal
The latest Shaman legendary has an excellent trigger effect, which allows your hero to restore as much health as your spells deal damage. Now imagine Elemental Destruction or Lightning Storm clearing up your enemy’s board and additionally you restore an equal amount of health points.
Of course, it’s not as efficient as Reno Jackson and its body isn’t too strong either, but it can keep your hero alive for another turn, giving you the chance to win the match.
Shapeshifting with Shifter Zerus
This little neutral legendary shifts form in the beginning of each of your turns to a random minion while in your hand. This is another great example of flexible card design that gives you a huge advantage. You can wait as many turns as you want for Shifter Zerus to change into a perfect minion to play that given turn.
Why choose one, when you can have both
Fandral Staghelm, a new Druid legendary, lets you play both effects simultaneously on minions that have a “Choose one” text on them. For example, if you play Ancient of War, you can both apply “Rooted” and “Uproot” effects, thus making it a gigantic 10/10 minion with Taunt for 7 mana.
Also, the developers have confirmed that some minions will have their third iteration, such as Druid of the Claw, which will turn into a completely new form by being a 4/6 minion with both Taunt and Charge for 5 mana.
This is definitely one of the best, if not the best legendary in the new expansion.
Avoiding Big Game Hunter with Validated Doomsayer
Doomsayer has a different purpose in the "Whispers of the Old Gods" - it becomes an offensive card instead of defensive. On top of that, by not having a 7 attack when played, the opponent can't use Big Game Hunter to immediately clear it out, and you will be able to attack for 7 damage on your turn.
Growing as much as you want with Forbidden Ancient
This Druid epic minion is only 1/1 for 1 mana, which lets you spend all of your remaining mana this turn by adding +1/+1 for each consumed mana crystal.
Forbidden Ancient looks to be an extremely flexible card - you can make it a small tempo minion on turns 2 and 3, or you can turn it into a 9/9 monstrosity on turn 10. This one will definitely see a lot of play in the new meta.
Attacking several times with Giant Sand Worm
Hunter received another huge beast this time with a peculiar ability – it can attack again after killing a minion. This means that one Sand Worm can clear a board of minions with high health, but low attack power.
The community already rejected this card in the constructed claiming it to be extremely slow, but it looks like Arena players will be glad to see at least one of these beasts in their decks.
Gaining tons of value with Forbidden spells
Four classes - Mage, Paladin, Priest and Warlock – received four incredibly strong epic spells – Forbidden Flame, Forbidden Healing, Forbidden Shaping, and Forbidden Ritual.
All four spells utilize the same mechanics – they consume your unused mana crystals, but they themselves cost 0 mana.
- Forbidden Flame, a Mage spell, deals 1 damage for each mana crystal spent, which allows you to deal 10 damage on turn ten or 1 damage on turn 1.
- Forbidden Healing, a Paladin spell, heals 2 points of life to your hero for each mana crystal spent. This means that you can heal 20 points of health on turn 10, which is amazing.
- Forbidden Shaping, a Priest spell, summons a random minion that costs as much mana as you spend on your Forbidden spell.
- Forbidden Ritual, a Warlock spell, summons a 1/1 tentacle for each mana spent, which is a maximum of 7 due to board restrictions.
As of now, it looks like these four spells are the best spells that have ever been released for Hearthstone – they are super flexible and provide massive value.
Going rogue with Renounce Darkness
Warlock is getting another totally insane spell that changes all your class cards and hero power into other random choices. This is obviously a card that will be used just for fun and will never really see any competitive play.
Attacking is a bit complicated with Silithid Swarmer
This 3/5 minion belongs to the family of “Can’t Attack” minions, such as Ancient Watcher, Eeerie Statue and others. It can attack only after your hero attacked this turn, which implies that even if it will see any play, then it will be mostly used by classes that have access to weapons, such as Warrior, Rogue, Hunter, etc.
"Whispers of the Old Gods" has one big theme going – C’Thun and his army of minions. This makes the card of C’Thun a real staple in the upcoming meta. It seems that everyone will play it and every class has its own way of buffing and utilizing this legendary’s battlecry to its maximum. So, expect a lot of C’Thun interaction in the following months.
What is your favorite new mechanic in the "Whispers of the Old Gods" expansion? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.