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Hearthstone's big Ashes of Outland expansion is live

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Hearthstone's big Ashes of Outland update is live, and that means the Demon Hunter class—the first new class in the game's six-year history—has now joined the action. The new class is free for all players who complete the free Demon Hunter prologue campaign, along with ten Demon Hunter basic cards, a 20-card Demon Hunter Initiate set, and a pre-built Demon Hunter starting deck list.

Ashes of Outlands, which kicks off Hearthstone's Year of the Phoenix, will add 135 new cards to the game, along with a new Outcast keyword that grants big bonuses to cards played from the left or right-most position in your hand, and new Primes and Imprisoned Demons minions: When a Prime's deathrattle is triggered, a powerfully upgraded version of itself is shuffled back into your deck, while Imprisoned Demons are visible but untouchable for two turns after they're played, but then spring to life and unleash powerful effects.

Players who log into Hearthstone between now and June 29 will be given the Kael’thas Sunstrider Legendary minion for free, and if you're new to the game (or long lapsed) you'll also get a free deck from the class of your choice for giving it another shot. A new, free solo adventure that will see Illidan Stormrage and the Demon Hunters square off against the Rusted Legion is also on the way, although there's no date on that just yet.

We took the Demon Hunter class for a spin in a pre-release session in March, and found it something like a cross between the Rogue and Warlock classes: "It's a fast, aggressive class, but hopefully not as one-dimensional as, say, Hunter tends to be," Tim said in his analysis. More recently, we whipped up four speculative strategies for taking it on that you can dive into here.

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.