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HearthstoneMar 3, 2021 2:00 pm CT

Here’s what we think the next Hearthstone expansions for the Year of the Gryphon are

The Year of the Gryphon is about to start in Hearthstone. And as is tradition, the reveal of a new Hearthstone year comes with an art that teases what the three expansions in it will be — months before the second and third expansions are even announced.

In the above picture, you can see the art with the three Year of the Gryphon expansions. The first one is already known to be Forged in the Barrens — an expansion that will feature a heavily Horde-influenced thematic. Quilboars will jump into action and become a brand-new tribe for Battlegrounds. Rumor has it that even Mankrik’s Wife can be found in there!

But fear not, Alliance fans: Hearthstone game designer Cora Georgiou has already stated — in multiple interviews — that an Alliance-themed expansion set is also coming for Hearthstone, further down the line. And that gives us an enormous clue as to what the next two expansions in that art above could end up being.

As mentioned, this first expansion is the Horde-themed Forged in the Barrens set, and it features a red gem in the center, likely to represent the Horde. The second expansion has a blue gem in the center. And the decorations are similar to castle walls, with a blue banner (or carpet) with gold trims — the Alliance colors. There is little doubt — in my mind, at least — that this will be the Alliance-themed set, right after Forged in the Barrens is over.

The second Year of the Gryphon expansion will (probably) be Alliance-themed

The theme for the second expansion’s art evokes Stormwind — which makes sense, as that is arguably the most iconic Alliance place in World of Warcraft. But does that mean that Expansion 2 will be a Stormwind-based set? The Barrens aren’t the center of the Horde, after all — they’re not even where the Horde capital city of Orgrimmar is located. Maybe the Stormwind-like art indicates only the overall theme, but not the precise location where the expansion ends up taking place.

Personally, I would love to see this expansion be set in a zone that is also faction-specific to the Alliance, and near the home city, but not the actual home city itself — a parallel to The Barrens in relation to the Horde. And my favorite place would be the Alliance-controlled zone of Duskwood.

Think about it: Duskwood is extremely ripe with fun and interesting things that could come to life in the form of a Hearthstone set. You’ve got the cursed Worgen running in the woods, and the Night Watch trying to keep them in check. Creepy spiders creeping around, and a cemetery filled with powerful undead minions. A mad scientist crafting the super-iconic abomination Stitches, who most certainly still “want to play.

And there are even the Dark Riders of Karazhan roaming the land in search for artifacts — which could be tied into past cards from the One Night in Karazhan set — and the mystery of the Scythe of Elune, a legendary Artifact said to be lost in those dark woods. Seriously, there is a lot of potential for Duskwood as a Hearthstone set!

But even if Expansion 2 is not set specifically in Duskwood, we can guess with confidence that it will be Alliance-themed. Which leads us to taking a look at Expansion 3, where the gem is no longer simply red for the Horde, nor blue for the Alliance — but rather, it is both at the same time. And shattered, arguably by war, while placed against a snowy backdrop.

Snow… Alliance and Horde fighting… what could that mean? Oh, that’s right: Alterac Valley!

The third Year of the Gryphon expansion is (probably) Alterac Valley

For those unfamiliar, Alterac Valley is a battleground in World of Warcraft where the Stormpike Dwarves of the Alliance and the Frostwolf Orcs of the Horde are locked in perpetual war over the territory. It features several NPCs who are members of the Horde and Alliance military forces, commanding their troops — some of them as iconic as the Shaman who taught Thrall everything he knows, Farseer Drek’thar.

The Battleground also features mechanics such as contributing resources to the war effort and summoning powerful minions like Ivus the Forest Lord to join the fray — both things that could easily be spun into fun new Hearthstone mechanics. Perhaps we could even get the towers and graveyards that players can capture during the fight showing up as cards: We did have an example of that kind of mechanic in Book of Heroes: Anduin, which recently came out.

All in all, I’m fairly confident that Expansion 2 will be themed after some Alliance zone or location, while Expansion 3 will be a Horde vs. Alliance expansion, likely set in Alterac Valley. But what do you think? Do you have any speculations of your own? Go wild!

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