If you don’t know what Hearthstone is, you might have been living under a virtual tree for the past several years. Well, the same could be said of any of Blizzard’s creations, the American studio is among the most highly esteemed video game producers in the world, with literally each of their games being a worldwide phenomenon in its day.
Hearthstone can be said to be the most casual of these games, a CCG (collectible card game) which some believe relies a bit too heavily on the luck and RNG factor (who of us hasn’t prayed to the good Lord RNGesus to deliver us from that lucky opponent’s topdecked card?), yet others believe that it’s exactly this randomness that adds an extra dimension of fun. Some of the most WTF-inducing one-in-a-million occurrences are regularly documented by streamers and uploaded on YouTube in various “Hearthstone Funny and Lucky Moments” montages. They’re great, you should check them out, by the way. Even so, with that degree of (alleged) luck, pro tournaments always see the same pool of 30+ pro players advance to the highest stages, so one would think there’s also a depth of skill required to win, and not just luck and RNG.
So, let’s cut to the chase: as with any collectible card game, after a while the old metagame becomes tedious, and new expansions are brought into play, with new powerful cards, card Mechanics, and combos you can pull off. Again, people might cry out “Pay to Win” and “Blizzard only wants more free money”, but these games are a living thing, and by their very nature would dwindle and lose players if they don’t keep upping the ante and introducing novelty. Apart from that, all those devs need to eat as well, and to top it all off – nobody is forcing you to pay! You can grind for dust and craft these cards, and even the most powerful decks can be completed if you’ve regularly played since the first expansion. If not, then yeah, probably you’ll need to put some money aside and invest in some packs, or learn godlike Arena skills and get free packs time and time again for 7+ wins.
Anyway, Hearthstone’s ninth expansion is Boomsday Project, and it looks like it will be an interesting addition to the current roster. What’s coming is 135 brand new cards, among which some Legendary spells, and a whole mad goblin scientist’s laboratory worth of Mechs. The Mech archetype was introduced in the first Hearthstone expansion called Goblins vs Gnomes, which saw many decks featuring Mechs played on ladder, most notably the Mage tempo Mech deck. In Boomsday Project, a new Mech card Mechanic is being added to the game, called Magnetic. Cards that have the Magnetic keyword on them can be placed to the left of any Mech, and will instantly combine with that Mech into one single card with combined power and toughness, as well as any other keywords both of them possess. With some of the new Mech cards revealed, such as the new Paladin minion Annoy-o-Module, one can see how the Magnetic property can be quite handy for making big minions with a ton of perks, like divine shield and taunt.
Also new in Boomsday Project, is a new Warrior playable hero card, featuring none other than Dr. Boom. The notorious doctor in question was a somewhat broken card in the GvG set, which spawned two 1/1 mech bombs that randomly fired 1-4 damage in one direction upon death. Dr. Boom was so powerful that it was rotated out of Standard, only to be enjoyed in the Wild format, where everything goes. It will be interesting to see what this new Warrior card will be, featuring the maniacal goblin Dr. Boom. Another novelty are the Projects cards, which will be extremely powerful spells with one drawback – they help both you and your opponent. There’s already one of these cards revealed in Druid’s Biology Project, a card which ramps both you and your opponent for 2 mana crystals. Omega Projects are yet another new mechanic which features a Battlecry effect that only triggers when you have 10 Mana Crystals.
Players that enjoy the PvE side of things will be happy to hear that the new PvE content called Puzzle Lab will be added together with the Boomsday Project. If you’re happy with what you’ve read and have the money to spare, you can pre-purchase packs for the expansion in two ways, Normal and MEGA bundle. The normal includes 50 packs, a random golden legendary, and the Mecha Jaraxxus card back. The MEGA bundle includes everything from the normal bundle plus an additional 30 booster packs, as well as the Mecha Jaraxxus Warlock Hero. 18 cards have been revealed so far, and more will follow, until the official release of the expansion on August 8.