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Hearthstone is celebrating 10 years of RNG mayhem with free cards for everyone and a new nostalgia-themed expansion

Can you believe Hearthstone turns ten this year? My bank manager can, because over the course of that decade I could have bought a small car rather than a near-complete card collection, but here we are. This week, Blizzard released a slew of announcements about what to expect from what it has dubbed The Year of the Pegasus. (Fun fact: Pegasus was the game’s internal codename during early development.)

Let’s run through them:

From today: free cards for logging in

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The celebrations kicked off earlier today with a patch that added 12 brand new cards for everyone, including a legendary. Each of the 11 classes received a “Gift” card, all of which cost 1-Mana and generate a temporary copy of an iconic card from your class. So, for example, the Warrior version is called Garrosh’s Gift and it reads: “Discover a temporary Execute, Shield Block, or Brawl”.

What I like about the Gifts is that they essentially function like a mini sideboard, enabling you to run extra copies of single-target removal, board clears, card draw etc. Obviously, you’re paying a premium for that flexibility because you have to pay 1-Mana up front and have to use the card you pick on the same turn. But it’s a cool concept, and clearly leans on the success of E.T.C., Band Manager from Festival of Legends, which was also a sideboard on a stick.

In keeping with the nostalgic theme, which looks like it’ll be prevalent all year, you’ll also get a very cool legendary called Harth Stonebrew—who’s none other than Hearthstone’s own innkeeper, and has been used in marketing materials since launch, but never actually been collectible in-game.

He costs 6-Mana and comes with a suitably cool effect: “Battlecry: Replace your hand with an iconic one from Hearthstone’s past. (Once per game.)

In practice, what that actually means is that when you play Darth your entire hand—regardless of how many cards you’re holding—will be swapped for eight cards from one of the game’s most famous decks. Note that what you receive could be from any class. The first time I played Darth Stonebrew I was on Druid but got a full hand of synergistic cards from the “Mill Rogue” archetype. The second time, I got stuff from “Libram Paladin”. The third one was “Cubelock”.

As to whether the effect is any good, it’s obviously incredibly situational, but I think it could be viable in decks that empty their hands fast. Suddenly having a fresh eight cards to play with, even if they don’t jibe with your original gameplan, is still powerful.

March 11: Get some World of Warcraft goodies

Given that it provided the source material, it’s only right that WoW pays tribute to its little brother. From March 11 you’ll be able to snag the new Fiery Hearthsteed mount for WoW, again just for logging into Hearthstone. For the following week, Blizzard says Hearthstone matches will be popping up in WoW’s capital cities too: “Stick around long enough and you’ll face a special encounter where you can defeat iconic minions to add to your deck and earn other fun new Hearthstone-themed rewards!”

I have no idea what this will actually entail as I haven’t played WoW since 2016, and then it was only to level a character to 20 so I could get a free Hearthstone portrait. Circle of life, I suppose. March 11 will also see Twitch drops live for 24 hours as part of a Community Day Anniversary Celebration, and a new Legendary Quest that will enable you to earn a pretty sweet 10th Anniversary card back.

From February 27 to March 19 there is also an in-game Hearthstone event that drops golden versions of all the Gift cards. Right now the golden version of Harth Stonebrew is listed in the collection as coming from an event, so fingers crossed it includes him, although I don’t see him on the accompanying image. Predictably, the Diamond version costs cash money, and those are too rich for even my whale blood.

March 19: New expansion and core set rotation

Last but very much not least is the next major expansion: Whizbang’s Workshop. In keeping with the theme, this set of 145 cards leans hard on Hearthstone’s history. The star of the show is undoubtedly Zilliax 3000 Deluxe, one of the coolest things the team has designed. For the first time, this is a card that you customise during deck building:

“Zilliax 3000 Deluxe comes with 8 different functional modules and 8 different cosmetic modules that you can combine to make a Zilliax of your very own … pick two different functional modules to set Zilliax’s combined cost, stats, and effects—and then pick a cosmetic module to match your style.”

Blizzard says that there are up to 200 possible combinations.

The initial raft of revealed cards also features multiple references to previous powerhouses. There’s a riff on Dr Boom that looks stupidly powerful, a nod to the 4-Mana 7/7 meme, and a new version of Corridor Creeper called Corridor Sleeper, which you can also play now if you pre-order the mega bundle.

My bank manager doesn’t advise doing that, but she does note that, as usual, you do get a free login legendary which is also available today. It’s an 8-Mana neutral Elemental called Colifero the Artist, with text that reads: “Battlecry: Draw a minion. Transform all other friendly minions into copies of it.” As is often the case with these, it’s a wacky effect that you’ll really need to build around to benefit from, but should be fun to mess about with while waiting for the new set.

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Whizbang’s Workshop also features a new keyword: Minaturize. When you play a minion with this effect, you’ll receive a 1-Mana 1/1 copy of the same card in your hand, opening up the ability to double dip on powerful effects at a fraction of the original cost. Check out the initial batch of reveals below.

On March 19, the same day that Whizbang’s Workshop releases, the game’s Core set will also do its annual rotation. There are way too many cards leaving and being added to list here, plus a smattering of entirely new cards that have been created to help round out some classes. Again, the theme is nostalgia, with the likes of Leeroy Jenkins, Fiery War Axe, and Doomguard returning to the mix. You can see the whole thing in the form of an infographic. The cards leaving are on the left, and the ones being added are on the right. Ooooh, hello Sylvanas!

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