Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows is live

Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows, the new expansion set that sees some of the game's most notorious bad guys getting up to no good as The League of E.V.I.L., is now live. Which also means that the annual set rotation has happened, meaning cards from Journey to Un'Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs will no longer be eligible for play in the Standard Mode. 

Rise of Shadows will bring 135 new cards to the game, as well as a new type of "token" card called, appropriately, Lackeys. Lackeys don't come from packs, but are instead created by other collectible cards; they're low-cost and low-stat cards—1-Mana, 1/1—but each has a relatively powerful accompanying ability, so expect plenty of experimentation with the little critters for the first couple of days.

Other new mechanics coming in Rise of Shadows include Scheme cards, which become more powerful the longer they remain in your hand; Twinspell, which enable you to cast the same spell twice, similar to the Echo keyword from Hearthstone's 2018 expansion The Witchwood; and Callback cards, which aren't keywords but rather a way to bring ideas from previous expansions back into action in themed subsets of Rise of Shadows cards. Tim went deeper into what it all means in our Rise of Shadows reveal last month. 

Interestingly, Rise of Shadows will be the first Hearthstone expansion to go live simultaneously around the world—if you're reading this, then it doesn't matter where you are, it is (barring technical problems) live. Logging in during the launch of Rise of Shadows will unlock the Archmage Vargoth Legendary card for free—in fact the card began being dished out last week, so people could mess around with him—as well as "some truly Legendary launch quests." Details are up at playhearthstone.com

Finally, if you're wondering where the new revamped PvE mode is, that will be arriving around a month from now once you've been thoroughly milked for packs and/or had fun bouncing down the ladder with your homebrew fatigue Shaman deck.

Andy Chalk

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.