The Hearthstone Demon Hunter, a full-fat 10th playable class, will launch on April 7 alongside the Year of the Phoenix, Blizzard announced today. This is the first new class in the six-year history of Hearthstone.
Players will get to know the Hearthstone Demon Hunter, played by Illidan Stormrage, starting on April 2 through a four-part single-player campaign. This will introduce Demon Hunter's class abilities while explaining the history of Illidan, AKA the brother of Druid hero Malfurion Stormrage. The campaign will conclude when the class officially launches on April 7.
This introductory campaign, and the Demon Hunter class itself, will be free to all players. Not only that, players will receive all 10 Basic Demon Hunter cards, plus 20 cards from the broader card pool. Demon Hunter will gain 15 cards per expansion throughout the Year of the Phoenix - 45 total, which is 15 more than the other classes - so while its card pool will be relatively small at first, it will grow rapidly. That said, its power level in Wild remains to be seen.
Based on the World of Warcraft class, the Hearthstone Demon Hunter specializes in weapons and minions that promote an aggressive play style which benefits from attacking with your hero, but it also has access to healing, card draw, huge demons, and AoE that can be potent in mid-range or control decks. Its Hero Power is powerful and flexible as well: for one mana, your hero gets one attack for the current turn. Demon Hunter is the only class with a one-mana Hero Power, and based on a test build we played at a press event in February, that's a very, very big deal. It lets you squeeze Hero Powers into your curve more easily, and you can combo the Hero Power with several weapons for a significant power boost.
Along with a unique Hero Power, Demon Hunter has its own keyword: Outcast. Cards with Outcast trigger a special or bonus effect when they are the leftmost or rightmost card in your hand. For example, the spell Eye Beam normally costs three mana and deals three damage with Lifesteal, but if Outcast is active, it will cost zero.
Outcast is extremely powerful, and it forces you to manage your hand in interesting, challenging ways. For example, if you top-deck an Outcast card, you may want to play it immediately just to cash in its Outcast bonus, even if you had another play in mind for that turn. Or if you have three cards in hand, you can play one to trigger Outcast on your two remaining cards. If you're careful, you can use Outcast to get incredible value out of otherwise minor cards.
Demon Hunter feels like a mix of Rogue and Warlock, and it's sure to have a big impact on the Hearthstone meta going forward. Hearthstone has never had a new class, so anything would've been exciting, but Blizzard's really cooked up something spicy with Demon Hunter. Look forward to everyone calling it overpowered on April 8.