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HearthstoneNov 17, 2021 10:00 am CT

Fractured in Alterac Valley is Hearthstone’s next expansion, featuring the return of Hero Cards

As we had already been expecting for at least eight months, Hearthstone’s next expansion — the third and final chapter of the Year of the Gryphon — will take us to the battlegrounds of Alterac Valley. It has a ton of new features, including Hero Cards and the Honorable Kill keyword.

Before we break it all down, here’s the cinematic trailer, which showcases the Frostwolf Clan of the Horde and the Stormpike Guard of the Alliance duking it out, aided by the Mercenaries from both factions.


Hero Cards are making their return

That’s right, this fan-favorite concept that premiered years ago, on the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion — but remained alive even in current Standard mode through our beloved Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion, Jaraxxus — is making its return on Fractured in Alterac Valley.

Hero Cards completely replace your hero, giving them, at the very least, a new Hero Power and some armor, but often some other feature like a powerful weapon, or a potentially game-changing Battlecry effect.

Each class will get their own Hero Card. The two examples we have so far are:

  • The Paladin hero, Lightforged Cariel, costs 7 mana and comes with a 2/5 weapon — actually a shield — with two powerful properties: infinite attacks, since it doesn’t lose Durability, and making Cariel only take half damage, rounded up. She also deals 2 damage to all enemies with her Battlecry, and her Hero Power buffs a random minion in your hand with +4/+4 — meaning that you’ll have all the tools to survive for longer while making your troops very strong.
  • The Druid hero, Wildheart Guff, costs 5 mana, meaning that he’ll be probably get played earlier in the game. His Battlecry is ridiculous: he sets your maximum Mana to 20. This is a brand-new effect, which should allow the Druid player to play combos like never before. Guff also immediately ramps you up with one Mana Crystal — filled, meaning that you can use that point of mana immediately — and draws you a card. And if that wasn’t enough, his Hero Power also allows you to either draw a card or gain a filled Mana Crystal. Wow!

A new keyword, Honorable Kill, rewards you for dealing precise damage

This new keyword could be seen as the opposite of the Overkill keyword — which triggers when you deal more damage than you needed to. With Honorable Kill, the idea is to be deliberate with your attacks, so that if your target has, say, two health, you need to deal exactly two damage to them.

A very good example of how this keyword will be used is on the new card Gnome Private, a neutral minion that costs 1 mana, has a 1/3 body, and whose text reads “Honorable Kill: Gain +2 Attack.” Which means that, at first, our adorable little gnome will need to deal 1 damage to something that has exactly 1 health left, at which point she’ll grow to 3 Attack. She’ll then need to deal her 3 damage to something that has exactly 3 health left if she wants to grow again to 5 Attack — and so on.

New spells, called Objectives, have effects that last for three turns

Objectives are spells that grant you very powerful effects, but with a set expiry time.

  • Dun Baldar Bridge costs four mana and makes it so that, for three turns, any minions you summon gain +2/+2 — notice that it says summon, not play (from hand), so this power also affects tokens generated by your Hero Power, or by other cards, for instance.
  • Snowfall Graveyard costs three mana, and simply makes your Deathrattle effects trigger twice for the next three turns — an effect that we’ve seen a few times before, such as from Baron Rivendare, and which is always very fun to play with.

Choose from one of two free golden Legendaries, and work towards a Diamond card of your preference

In keeping with the Horde vs. Alliance theme of this expansion, once patch 21.8 goes live, players will be prompted to choose between two Neutral Legendary cards from the new set: the Horde’s Drek’Thar, and the Alliance’s Vanndar Stormpike. They will immediately receive a golden copy of their chosen card.

But afterwards, as you keep playing the game, you’ll earn points toward your chosen faction, with the ultimate prize being a Diamond card representing your chosen champion. And after this expansion is over, you should also receive a Golden copy of the Legendary you didn’t choose at first, so that all players walk away with both.

You can find more information in the official blog, including details on the pre-purchase bundles, which are already available — one of them featuring a Vanndar Stormpike Warrior Hero Portrait and cardback.

Fractured in Alterac Valley launches globally on December 7.

Originally posted 11/16/2021. Updated 11/17/2021.

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