If you feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up and a chill ran down your spine, don't be alarmed - your body is just sensing a release date in the air. Hearthstone's new expansion, The Witchwood, has just been confirmed for an April 12 release (i.e. a week from now), bringing 135 mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky cards with it. It also kicks off the Year of the Raven, when older expansions rotate out of Standard and into the untamed Wild format.
As has become the generous norm, players can take advantage of some free packs and cards for a limited time: log in shortly after The Witchwood launches, and you'll receive three Witchwood card packs and a random Class Legendary card from the set. If you manage to pull the new hero card Hagatha the Witch, you'll be well on your way to trying a new Shaman deck archetype that revolves around random spell generation.
For anyone who hasn't yet delved into The Witchwood's premise, it's a Halloween-esque adventure into the region of Gilneas, home of the werewolf Worgen race, which also happens to be full of monsters and creepy-crawlies. New mechanics in this set include Echo, which lets you recast cards on the same turn, and Rush, which acts like the instant attack of Charge but only works against opposing minions. Game director Ben Brode and Sean "Day" Plott will be hosting a final card reveal livestream on April 9 at 11am PT on the official Twitch channel (embedded above), which should be just as merry and full of hearty belly laughs as their Kobolds & Catacombs adventure.
Having talked extensively to Hearthstone designers Dave Kosak and Dean Ayala about The Witchwood, I'm stoked for the new meta that comes with a fresh set and a Standard rotation. You can check out a gallery of all the currently revealed Witchwood cards on Hearthstone's Facebook page, and our pals at PC Gamer have had their resident high Legend player predicting the power level and viability of all The Witchwood Legendary cards to see what'll be worth keeping versus dusting. Personally, I'm itching to make an Aggro Warrior deck full of Rush minions, because Fatigue Warrior just doesn't do it for me. Hunter looks like they'll have some amazing options as well, and the even/odd deck builds are quite intriguing to explore for every class.
If you or someone you know is just starting out in Hearthstone, be sure to check out our guide to the best Hearthstone decks for beginners!