Blizzard has outlined the first expansion for the new season of Hearthstone, set to release next month. The Rise of Shadows expansion brings together several villains from throughout the history of the game in a Sinister Six-style team, along with 135 new cards to collect.
The plot revolves around the Arch-Thief Rafaam organizing his own “League of E.V.I.L.” to pull off a heist in Dalaran. They include King Togwaggle, Madam Lazul, Dr. Boom, and Hagatha the Witch. Blizzard previously teased that this year each expansion will be connected in a single ongoing story, so this gives us an idea of the direction for the Year of the Dragon.
As always, the expansion will include some new mechanics and card types to fit the flavor of the expansion. The expansion will bring five new Lackeys, 1/1 minions with specialized Battlecries. New spells called Schemes will get more and more powerful the longer you hold the card in your hand. Some cards are explicit callbacks to older cards. For example, the Priest’s new Forbidden Words spell is a twist on the Forbidden Shaping card from Whispers of the Old Gods.
Finally, the new cards will introduce a new keyword called Twinspell. When cast, these cards add a second copy of the spell to your hand. The second copy of the spell lacks the Twinspell benefit. These spells are an apparent favorite of a crime-fighting group called the Defenders of Dalaran, so we’re likely to see the clash between heroes and villains develop as the story goes on.
Rise of Shadows will launch on April 9, with its solo adventure following a month later in May. As previously announced, that adventure will begin with a free chapter, and then subsequent chapters can be purchased for 700 gold each–or the full bundle for $20.
Before it all kicks off, though, a pre-release event starting April 5 will grant you a free Legendary card that can be used immediately. Plus once it launches, you’ll get a new quest chain to earn free packs. A Shadow Bundle during launch week will offer 9 packs and an Arena ticket for $10. Pre-purchases will come in two tiers: a $50 bundle that includes 50 packs, a card back, and a Legendary card, or an $80 bundle for 80 packs, the card back, a Golden Legendary, and the Madam Lazul Priest Hero.
Check out our full gallery of every card revealed so far, which will be updated as more become available.