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HearthstoneApr 12, 2022 2:00 pm CT

Hearthstone’s latest expansion takes us under the sea in Voyage to the Sunken City

The first Hearthstone expansion of 2022 is Voyage to the Sunken City, and it launched today, April 12, so we hope you’re just as excited as we are to explore the bottom of the sea as the adventure takes us to the sunken city of Zin-Azshari. Get ready to brave the depths, fighting the dangerous Naga and terrifying Colossal creatures.

This expansion brings 135 new cards, a new minion type, and two new keywords which allow players to toy with their decks in completely new ways. There’s a lot to explore here, so let’s dive right in.

New spell-focused minion type: Naga

Naga are a new minion type which pairs well with spellcasting. Basically, they give you bonuses if you cast spells while they’re sitting in your hand. For instance, Spellcoiler is a 2 mana, 2/3 common Naga for Mages which gains a powerful Battlecry effect (Discover a spell) if you were able to cast a spell while it was sitting in your hand — which, especially for a class like Mage, shouldn’t be difficult at all.

This expansion is also introducing spells such as Serpent Wig, a 1 mana epic Priest spell which gives a minion +1/+1, but which also adds a copy of itself back into your hand if you played a Naga while holding it. Which means that this spell is essentially endless value for as long as you have more Naga to play.

New keyword: Dredge lets you find sunken treasures in your deck

Dredge is a very interesting new keyword: it lets you look at the bottom three cards of your deck and pick one of them to bring up to the top. In a sense, it works similarly to the Discover keyword, but it also adds a compelling layer of deck manipulation.

In normal situations, the ability to look at a specific point of your deck and pick a card from there to draw next is already powerful. But it gets even more involved due to other effects that are coming in this expansion that allow you to send cards directly to the bottom of your (or your opponent’s) deck.

Sunken cards work very well with Dredge

Although it’s not an official keyword, this expansion also brings “sunken” cards, which are added directly to the bottom of your deck as a secondary effect from other cards. These sunken cards are a little more powerful than usual, due to their inherent “unavailability” — in most situations, you wouldn’t be able to easily access them, after all.

However, you can use the new Dredge effects to bubble those cards up to the top and draw them next. This interaction gives your opponent a chance to notice what you’re doing, and either prepare for it or counteract it in some way, which is great to see — Hearthstone could always use more situations that enable the possibility of back and forth plays.

New keyword: Colossal minions are so powerful they don’t fit in a single card

Minions with the Colossal keyword will come with extra “appendages” that synergize with their main body. These appendages are always summoned with the main body, even if the Colossal minion wasn’t played from hand.

This is a compelling new type of minion due to its implications to board space and board manipulation. Colossal minions feel almost like the bosses you might face in a single player game: maybe you’re not able to kill them directly at first, but you can certainly attack their appendages to reduce their power, slowly working your way until you defeat them.

And while their opponent will try to hack at those appendages quickly, the player who controls the Colossal minion will do everything in their power to protect them, ensuring that they’re as effective as possible while they last on the board. Gripping combat situations will surely arise from this.

Other cards have both familiar effects and interesting new ones

Shimmering Sunfish is a new Paladin Beast which — besides already competing for the cutest artwork of the expansion — is as “Paladin” a card as Hearthstone can get, with its ability to gain Taunt and Divine Shield if you’re holding a Holy Spell.

For Rogues, Bootstrap Sunkeneer combines the penchant that class has for messing with your opponent’s minions with the new effect of sending cards to the bottom of decks. It’s powerful “soft” removal, with the caveat that the opponent might just counteract it by using a Dredge effect to bring that minion back to the top of their deck, and draw it again.

Blademaster Okani is a neutral Legendary with the ability to Counter the next minion or spell that your opponent plays — as long as it survives until then. This is definitely a very flavorful minion, and I expect it to lead to some interesting guessing mind games.

Voyage to the Sunken City cames with a Mega Bundle that you could pre-purchase. Now that the expansion is live, that Mega Bundle is no longer available, including the incredibly cool Queen Azshara Mage hero skin. You can buy packs as usual, either one by one or multiple packs at once for a better deal.

All in all, this expansion brings some intriguing new concepts to the table. The Dredge and Colossal keywords bolster concepts like deck manipulation and board control, while also allowing for a lot of counterplay. And the new Naga minions should spice things up with their spell-based effects.

From what we’ve seen so far, Voyage to the Sunken City seems like a possible return to a kind of gameplay where board-based combat is more predominant than “one turn kill” combos. I hope it can accomplish that goal, and I’m certainly excited to see how it goes.

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