After a whole 48 hours of mourning for Hearthstone's doomed Mercenaries mode, it's now time move on in the form of a new mini-set coming to Standard next week. I'm delighted to say that Naxx will once again soon be out. Yes, the next slimline expansion is called Return to Naxxramas and it drops on February 14, because card games are for the lovers.
The set contains 38 cards, four of which are Legendary minions, and we can exclusively reveal one of the coolest, most flavourful of those below.
Yep, your boy Rivendare is back, and he's brought his equally dead friends. Rivendare, Warrider is a neutral minion with 6/6 stats that costs 6 Mana. His text reads: "Deathrattle: Shuffle the other 3 Horsemen into your deck." But what do they do, you impatiently trill. Well, as Rivendare and chums are servants of the Lich King and World of Warcraft's answer to the four horsepeople of the apocalypse, the answer is very much 'nothing good'.
Here they are:
So the mini-game that Blizzard is setting up is:
1) Play Rivendare.
2) Speed draw through the rest of your deck to find his friends.
3) Play the remaining three horsemen and also have them die.
4) Destroy the enemy hero, regardless of how much health or armor they have.
We've seen similar kinds of insta-win effects in the past with stuff like the Seek Guidance quest for Priest and, of course, the previous appearance of the Horsemen with the Paladin card Uther of the Ebon Blade's hero power. And from my experience of playing those, it's pretty safe to say that you're going to need a very slow, grindy deck in order to find the time to get all four minions onto the board, especially given that they also cost 6 Mana, and have your opponent kill them.
This kind of effect is also very weak to things like Polymorph or Primordial Wave, which transform the card rather than killing it, making it almost impossibly for you to trigger the condition.
To mitigate the likelihood that your opponent zergs you down after playing Rivendare before you can find and play the other three Horsemen, his colleagues do at least each come with a defensively-minded keyword in the form of either Lifesteal, Rush, or Taunt. No doubt canny players will also find ways to cheat the horsemen out of their hands somehow.
I can certainly see Rivendare going into a very value-orientated deck with a ton of life gain. Something like Triple Blood Death Knight, probably, or [sigh] Priest. Control players tend to love goofing around with this kind of effect, so I think it's bound to get experimented with quite a bit.
Speaking of Death Knight decks, Return to Naxxramas contains the first card with different coloured runes in the form of Frost Queen Sindragosa and the first location card for the new class. The mini-set also adds seven new dual-tribe minions and, uh, a bunch of corgi-themed cosmetics, which I have to assume somehow relates to senior designer Cora Georgiou's own adorable dog.