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Hearthstone Battlegrounds gets its first ever spells and three new Old God heroes

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A major new Hearthstone Battlegrounds update is scheduled to roll out tomorrow that will introduce a trio of new heroes based on the Old Gods, plus new limited-time spells called "Darkmoon Prizes" that can be played every four turns—with increasingly powerful effects as the game progresses.

"The way they will work, as of tomorrow, every few turns, every four turns in fact, there is a prize turn turn," Hearthstone streamer and caster Octavian "Kripparrian" Morosan explained. "On the prize turn, this is going to be turn four, turn eight, turn 12, and turn 16, you're going to get a chance to discover one of these spells that you can use."

The inclusion of spells is a limited-time mechanic—presumably meaning a future patch will remove them—and work in a variety of different ways: some will be single use, some have a permanent effect on minions, and a number will be quite strong, particularly when used in synergy with other effects. Kripp dug into some of the potential impact of the new spells in his video, and you can see all of spells, and what turn they become available, in the big chart below.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The roster of new heroes coming in this update includes C'Thun:

  • Saturday C’Thuns! [Costs 2] - At end of turn, give a friendly minion +1/+1. Repeat 0 Times. (Upgrades after each use!)

(Image credit: Blizzard)


  • Avatar of N’Zoth [Passive] - Start the game with a 1/1 Fish that gains all your Deathrattles in combat.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

and Y'Shaarj

  • Embrace your Rage [Costs 2] - Start of Combat: Add a minion from your Tavern Tier to your warband. Keep it.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The update will also make changes to the hero pool:

  • Galakrond has been temporarily removed from the Battlegrounds Hero Pool.
  • Sir Finley Mrrgglton has returned to the Battlegrounds Hero Pool.
  • The Great Akazamzarak has returned to the Battlegrounds Hero Pool.
  • Competitive Spirit has been added to The Great Akazamzarak’s Secret pool.

And minion pool:

  • Righteous Protector has been removed from the Battlegrounds minion pool.
  • The Beast has been removed from the Battlegrounds minion pool.
  • Crowd Favorite has been removed from the Battlegrounds minion pool.
  • Shifter Zerus has been removed from the Battlegrounds minion pool.

As well as the usual array of balance changes and tweaks, full details of which are available in the patch notes. The update is slated to go live on December 15, and as a special holiday surprise Blizzard is also giving 500 gold and five Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs to all players who log into the game before January 18.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.