Skip to main content

‘Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne’ expansion to launch in August

Hearthstone: Announcing the Knights of the Frozen Throne
During Hearthstone‘s recent Champion Tour event in Shanghai, Blizzard announced that Knights of the Frozen Throne will be the next expansion set for its genre-defining digital card game. As the name suggests, the upcoming set of 135 new cards for the game will return to one of the most popular settings in Warcraft history: Northrend and the Frozen Throne (introduced in the eponymous expansion for Warcraft III).

The Frozen Throne was once the icy prison of the shaman Ner’zhul, whose soul merged with prince Arthas of Lordaeron during the events of Warcraft III to form the Lich King, master of the undead Scourge and one of the most iconic villains in the Warcraft universe. He reared his head again in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft, which introduced the Death Knight class.

Accordingly, Death Knights will be one of the headline features of the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion for Hearthstone. Every class will have a legendary card that transforms them into a Death Knight, replacing their hero power. The one example provided so far is Deathstalker Rexxar, a 6-cost hunter card that, on playing, deals 2 damage to all enemy minions and grants Rexxar five armor. More importantly, however, it also changes his hero power to “Build-a-Beast,” described as “craft a custom Zombeast.”

According to lead designer Ben Brode in the announcement video (spoken, not rapped), this will work sort of similarly to crafting custom spells with Kazakus. Using the hero power will present the player with three random beasts, then another three, fusing the stats, abilities, and costs of the chosen two into a single new minion that goes into the player’s hands. For instance combining a Rat Pack with a Bloodfen Raptor would create a 5-cost 5/4 minion that floods the board with five 1/1 rats on death.

“You can do some really disgusting things when you jam two of these beasts together,” according to Brode.

The heavy theme of the undead also means that the Deathrattle mechanic will feature prominently in cards from the set. First revealed within this is the Shallow Gravedigger, a 3-cost, 3/1 neutral minion with the Deathrattle: “Add a random Deathrattle minion to your hand.” This isn’t a terribly powerful effect or stat-line in a vacuum, but assuming that there are other Deathrattle synergies to be found in the set, it will likely be more effective in context.

One deck into which the Shallow Gravedigger probably immediately slots is one with the priest quest from Journey to Un’Goro, Awaken the Makers, which rewards you with a powerful minion after summoning seven Deathrattle cards. As a Deathrattle that then gives you another one, it serves a similar function to the Stonehill Defender in the warrior quest, or more closely Webspinner in beast synergy decks.

Lastly the set will also codify another keyword ability that, like Poisonous in the previous set, already exists without a name in the card pool. Lifesteal cards will restore any damage dealt to the attacking player’s health. This effect was already active and written out on cards like Wickerflame Burnbristle and Mistress of Pain, but now it can be more succinctly applied to other cards.

Two examples offered so far are Chillblade Champion, a 4-cost 3/2 Charge/Lifesteal minion for paladin, or Spirit Lash, a 2-cost Lifesteal spell that deals 1 damage to all minions. Lifesteal as a keyword for spells is particularly interesting, since it would presumably allow players to take advantage of spell damage increases for greater healing, like how Shamans currently can with Hallazeal the Ascended.

In addition to 135 cards, Knights of the Frozen Throne will also include single-player content along the lines of previous Adventure expansions, which have been discontinued by Blizzard in lieu of more frequent full expansions. There will be two wings with three boss fights each, as well as a prologue and final boss. Beating each of the wings will earn a pack of cards from the set, and tackling the prologue will grant a random free new hero card, such as the Deathstalker Rexxar described above.

Where many players complained about receiving duplicate legendaries while opening packs from the previous expansion, Blizzard’s recent policy change on pack opening will remove that possibility, ensuring no duplicates as well as a guaranteed legendary card in the first ten packs opened from a new set.

Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne will launch in August, with more card reveals between now and then. Players can take advantage of the now-standard pre-order offer of $50 for 50 packs and a custom card back.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
How to sign up for the Hades 2 playtest
Melinoe fighting in a dark forest.

We first saw Hades 2 last year when it was announced, but it has yet to receive a release date. We know it will first be coming to early access, just like the first game, but the only timeframe we have is the second quarter of 2024. It appears that Supergiant might be closing in on that date, however, as you can now sign up for the first playtest and experience the game even before it comes to early access. This technical test is a said to be a major step toward early access to resolve any technical problems before a wider audience can play. Here's how you can sign up to be part of a small team selected to play the game before anyone else.

Read more
The best Fallout 4 mods
Everyone's Best Friend

The Fallout games, at least since Fallout 3, have been absolutely massive games in both scale and popularity. The post-nuclear-war setting is rife with interesting stories to experience and monsters to kill. Fallout 4 was the last single-player entry in the series before Fallout 76 took the game into a persistent multiplayer experience. A large appeal of these games is how you are able to actually role-play and immerse yourself in the game world, which isn't so easy with other players jumping around in their underwear. Thanks to mods, it has never been a better time to revisit the last "pure" Fallout game.

Just like Skyrim, Fallout 4 mods are incredibly popular. Some are inspired to fix the numerous bugs and glitches Bethesda games have become famous for, while others look to add new features. As open and dynamic as the base game is, mods just open the door to an almost endless supply of tools you can use to extend the life of your game. With so many mods available, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. We've sorted through all the best Fallout 4 mods out there and came up with the best ones you should install before stepping out of the vault once again.
Full Dialogue Interface

Read more
All cross-platform games (PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Two squads of heroes clash in an Overwatch 2 trailer.

Cross-platform support is becoming more important in the world of video games. Multiplayer hits like Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 and Fortnite have pushed crossplay into the limelight, and now most AAA multiplayer games release with at least partial cross-platform support. Finding every cross-platform game is no easy feat, though, so we did the hard work to bring you a comprehensive list of games that support crossplay.

Unfortunately, there aren't any rules when it comes to crossplay, so each game handles the feature a little differently. To make matters more confusing, certain backward-compatible games on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X still support crossplay on the most recent hardware, even if there isn't an official release for that hardware.

Read more