Christmas just came early for Hearthstone's goblin-fancying fans, as Blizzard revealed 53 new cards from the impending Goblins vs Gnomes expansion, which is due out sometime this month. The info dump is similar to a move Blizzard pulled just before the release of The Curse of Naxxramas, and given that senior designer Ben Brode has previously confirmed that the full set will be revealed before launch, it suggests that might be imminent. Our educated guess is next week, which doesn't give theorycrafters and deck builders long to chew on the deluge of new cards before battle commences.
In addition to that knowledge bomb, Blizzard has also announced a balance change that nerfs three of Hearthstone’s most notorious cards will be made in an upcoming patch. The cards in question—Soulfire, Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and Flare—have all had their mana costs increased by 1, raising them to 1, 6, and 2 respectively. These three cards, most notably the Auctioneer, have long been considered strong candidates for the nerfbat, but the decision still comes as a surprise.
Until this point, only four cards in total had been changed since the game left beta in April—all of which were nerfs, and three of the four cards coming from the Hunter class—so nearly doubling that total in a single patch will be sure to spark debate in the community.
While there might not be any official word on the release date for Goblins vs Gnomes, all the servers were down for an abnormally long maintenance session earlier today. Community manager Zeriyah confirmed on Twitter that a release date will be given ahead of time, which now that we're into December will presumably happen soon. You can see all the newly announced cards on the Hearthstone facebook page, (or a more organized version over at HearthPwn.com), and we’ll be sure to update our review in progress soon.
[Update: The class-based Legendaries have now also been added, meaning the entire Goblins vs Gnomes set is now known. This is not a drill people. It's happening.]