BlizzCon 2015: Hands-on with the League of Explorers in Hearthstone

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League of Explorers

I’ve had a pretty steady love/hate relationship with Hearthstone ever since its beta days. On the one hand, I love the game, but only when I have the right cards and decks at my disposal. On the other hand, I hate losing, so naturally, when my opponent manages to turn the tables, I end up literally flipping my own.

Still, I find I’m getting sucked further into addiction alley each time I play Hearthstone, particularly since Tavern Brawl was introduced a while back. I’ve now started wondering if it’s time I began exploring other aspects of the game, such as the various solo adventures. I can’t think of a better one to start with than the League of Explorers, which was announced at BlizzCon 2015 just earlier today.

In a nutshell, it’s a new campaign, where players will join the likes of Reno Jackson, Brann Bronzebeard, Sir Finley Mrrgglton (not a typo), and Elise Starseeker in a quest to find a priceless artifact. Naturally, this means there are a bunch of new cards coming to Hearthstone, and a new mechanic too. I got to try it all very briefly in a hands on session. I chose a premade Assassin deck, teamed up with Reno Jackson, and embarked on one of the adventure’s early quests, where I was tasked with escaping a hazardous temple.

new board 2

Yes, my opponent was a damn temple, and as luck would have it, its hero power was to place a plethora of enemies and traps in my way, making my dazzling getaway all the more complicated. In order to win, I didn’t have to chip away at the temple’s health pool, but rather, I had to survive 10 turns instead. How difficult could it be?

Not as hard as I thought as a matter of fact. I managed to escape the blasted place on my first try! I assure you, I am no skilled Hearthstone player – this was all likely dumb luck! That, or the deck Blizzard had premade was super amazing (which it probably was).

I needed to make sure lightning wouldn’t strike twice though, so I grabbed the other premade demo deck (which was for Shaman) and prepared for another trip into the doomed temple. This proved to be far more challenging. That game went something like this…

  • Early days… nothing to worry about just yet.
  • Oooh a glowing pool.What should I do – gain an extra card or get an extra mana crystal? Think I’ll go with the latter
  • An enemy! Have at thee!
  • I’ve approached a pit of spikes. I can either walk across slowly and take 5 damage, or I can risk swinging across with the chance that I’ll take no damage, or 10. I’m feeling rather adventurous…
  • WTF 10 DAMAGE? COME ON YOU %#&@!
  • I play one of the new cards which has the discover mechanic. It locates three random beast cards that are not in my deck at all. I choose one with taunt. I’m lacking such cards, so need that particular one quite desperately.
  • It’s added to my hand. Neat!
  • Oh my… a boulder has appeared on the board in the middle of my minions. It’s description mentions something about all cards on its left dying each turn.
  • NO NO NO! I’m playing all my cards on the right from now on dammit!
  • Reno suspects the ceiling will collapse next turn. I’m not sure what that will do, but I fear for my life.
  • My hero is down to like 6 health. Hooboy… I still have to survive like another 5 turns!
  • I’ve come across a statue. I can either draw 2 cards, or I can restore 10 health. Um, health please.
  • OH GOD WHY WE PISSED OFF THE STATUE APPARENTLY AND NOW IT’S APPEARED ON THE BOARD AS A 10/10 CREATURE!
  • Phew, the ceiling collapsed, taking that mofo down in one crushing blow…
  • Oh, all my creeps are dead now too. FUUUUU! Time to play more cards.
  • Reno reckons he knows a shortcut which will allow me to require one less turn to escape the temple. I can either ignore him, or take his advice.
  • I took his advice. One less turned required… yay! Wait, where did that 7/7 minion come from?
  • This is going to be close…
  • So so so so close…
  • Wait, I won? I WON! I ESCAPED THE TEMPLE!
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It took me two attempts to win that particular level with the Shaman deck. I’m pretty sure that when I have my own deck in play, I’m going to have to work a whole lot harder to make sure I have appropriate cards that will see me through.

new board

Whatever though – I loved my brief taste with the League of Explorers, and I’m looking forward  to experiencing the rest of the campaign when it lands. When will that be? Months away? Not at all.

The League of Explorers adventure will be out as soon as next Thursday – the 12th of November. Prepare your decks, it’s going to be awesome! You can check out all the new cards that’ll be coming to the adventure right here.

 

Last Updated: November 7, 2015

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

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