A curse is spreading through Hearthstone in the form of a card back that infects players

Normally, the most you can expect to receive after completing a game of Hearthstone is 10 gold and the satisfaction that only comes from making a stranger on the internet unhappy. But from today, you may also be lucky enough to acquire an infectious curse called… [ominous trumpet sounds] ...THE MARK OF HAKKAR. The form the mark takes is the sweet card back, which you'll earn if you complete a match against another player who has already acquired the mark. 

Note that in order to earn the card back, you must not resign or leave the game immediately. I'm not sure if you can concede after sticking around for a few turns, so to be on the safe side play the whole game out. In order to further spread the mark, you must the equip the card back, then each of your opponents will receive it after completing a match against you. Happily, you can spread the mark via friendly matches, so be sure to fire off some invites.

For all the info, check out the blog Blizzard has just posted. Here's the card back...

In order to get the mark spreading initially, the mark is being given to a number of streamers and other community types. Including me! I'm going to stream some Hearthstone on Twitch tomorrow (Wednesday 6 February) after the PC Gaming Show. That should be around 17.30 EST / 14:30 PST / 22:00 GMT. 

Be sure to tune into twitch.tv/pcgamer in order to take part.

Hakkar, the Soulflayer

Hakkar has found his way into a few decks built around cheesing out fatigue wins, most notably Druid, but has also seen play in weirder creations, like this Thijs deck, which uses Prince Liam to turn the Corrupted Blood cards into random legendaries.

I'll give out my Battle.net address on the show so you can challenge me live afterwards and be sure to get the card back. If you miss that, you can also hit me up on Twitter and ask for a game. One caveat: my account is on EU (best server), so you'll need to have an EU account in order for us to play. 

As the name suggests, the mark is a riff on Hakkar the Soulflayer, a legendary card from Rastakhan's Rumble, Hearthstone's most recent expansion. That card itself references one of the most famous events in Word of Warcraft history—The Corrupted Blood Incident—which saw a lethal infection spread through the player base due to a bug in a raid. It's well worth reading about. As is our list of the 20 best legendary cards currently in Hearthstone, which Hakkar sadly doesn't make it into, despite the fact he's proved far more playable than most people expected.

It's going to be fun to see how fast the mark spreads in the coming days. Given how sweet the card back looks, I imagine there'll be quite a few more people grinding the ladder looking for it. For those of you hopping on now, be aware that the latest batch of nerfs have also just gone live, ushering us into a new world where Equality costs a staggering 4 Mana. 

I hope I'll get to match with some of you soon, unless you're playing Odd Paladin, in which case I most definitely do not. 

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.