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HearthstoneMar 15, 2019 9:00 am CT

Rise of the Shadows: The League of E.V.I.L. invades Dalaran in Hearthstone’s newest expansion

The previews for the next Hearthstone expansion have been all over the map. The first teaser video featured a Troll fortune teller, which seemed to suggest something along the lines of the Darkmoon Faire. Subsequent teasers kept the fortune teller, but added a motley crew of characters: Togwaggle, Hagatha, Dr. Boom, and finally Rafaam. Just how could such an unusual cast of characters come together? Sure, Hearthstone is weird, but this mish-mash of characters was really weird.

But that didn’t stop the Hearthstone devs from coming up with what may just be the silliest Hearthstone expansion yet: Rise of the Shadows. The theme of this expansion is all about super-villainy. The game’s recent villains have come together to form the Evil League of Evil League of E.V.I.L. and strike at the heroes who have vexed them (that’s us). Their first target is the flying city of Dalaran, and I’m sure attacking a city of the world’s most powerful Mages will work out just fine.

The expansion launches on April 9 with the typical 135 new cards, including some particularly fun additions like Chef Nomi, who will summon six 6/6 Greasefire Elementals if your deck is empty. That could be an interesting closer for a deck with powerful card draw, like a Rogue with Myra’s Unstable Element (which immediately draws your entire deck). After all, we’re invading Dalaran, so of course we’re going to encounter some of Nomi’s disastrous cooking experiments.

And like every expansion, there are some new keywords to learn, because what would an expansion about villainy be a few diabolical plans? I’m just surprised that “secret lair hidden inside a volcano” isn’t a new card type. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Lackeys: 1-mana, 1/1 minions with reasonably powerful battlecries. These aren’t cards themselves: instead, they’re created by other EVIL cards. We’ve only seen one EVIL card so far, the EVIL Miscreant, a Rogue card with a Combo ability that adds two Lackeys to your hand.
  • Schemes: These spells become more powerful each turn they’re in your hand. We’ve only seen one so far, Hagatha’s Scheme, which deals 1 damage to all minions… then 2, then 3, then 4… You see where this is going. These could make for some interesting mulligan choices.
  • Twinspell: When you cast these spells, you get a copy of the spell — without the Twinspell keyword — added to your hand.

What’s this going to cost me?

As is the norm, you can pre order 50 packs of Rise of the Shadows, a special card back, and a random legendary card for $50 — and the dollar-a-pack deal is a pretty good one. But if that isn’t enough cards for you, $80 you can get 80 packs, the card back, the random legendary, and a Madame Lazul Priest hero. If you were going to buy more packs anyway, now you have more packs at the same dollar-a-pack rate, plus a new Priest hero.

It’s not exactly friendly on the wallet — particularly with the return of for-purchase adventure modes (yet to be announced). I’m really looking forward to their return… but not to the hole they’ll punch in my wallet. In the meanwhile, you still have a few  eeeks to farm up more gold.

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