Yesterday Blizzard said that Hearthstone: The Witchwood card reveals would kick off next week. Today, senior designer Peter Whalen blew that nice, neat schedule out of the water by revealing a pair of new cards in the expansion as part of a dive into the process of creating the new Echo keyword.
(To be fair to Peter, it's not like he's ruined everything, I just wasn't expecting new cards quite so soon.)
Echo is rooted in an early idea for an expansion intended to be called Murder on the Gilneas Express, which would have added a handful of new keywords to the game including one called Ghostly. "As we kept iterating, the question we asked was, 'What's the most fun version of Ghostly?' And the overwhelming answer was the cards that replicated themselves."
So while the Gilneas idea was ultimately scrapped, an evolved format of Ghostly was kept. "Now we had repeatable cards in a haunted forest, and Echo was born," Whalen says. "Ghostly cards return to your hand after they're played. As long as you have the mana, you can play them multiple times in the same turn."
To demonstrate the different ways the keyboard can work, Whalen revealed two new cards and revisited Phantom Militia—which was revealed in the announcement trailer—a 2/4 Taunt card that can be played two or three times later in the game, which Whalen said can provide can a big boost for players looking for taunt minions.
The first new card is Warpath, a scaling area-of-effect card that will provide Warriors a nice way to activate their Acolyte of Pains and Rotfaces multiple times as mana permits.
Finally, Whalen presented a new Rogue Legendary Minion with a fantastic name: Face Collector. The card adds a random Legendary minion to your hand, and also an element of variability: You can play it multiple times, but if the first card you draw is especially powerful, you may opt to play that one instead.
The Witchwood is expected to go live in mid-April, and allowing for the possibility of further surprises between now and next week, card reveals will get underway in earnest on March 26. For more insight into what's coming, don't miss our new interview with Whalen's colleague, Dean "Iksar" Ayala, who told us about the expansion, Corridor Creeper, and the strange legend of the best ladder player ever.