The first-ever Hearthstone Battlegrounds season, Rise of the Naga, will get underway on May 10 with a reset of player ratings, a new hero, and an all-new minion type: The naga, a magic-focused race that will grant spells or become more powerful when spells are played around them (and also, not coincidentally, are the focus of the current Voyage to the Sunken CIty expansion).
First, a note about Hearthstone Battlegrounds seasons, because you might recall that Battlegrounds has in fact had previous seasons, such as the one that wrapped up in January. In April, however, Blizzard announced that Battleground would begin organizing its "major moments" into seasons, which it said "will help give a clearer idea of when big changes—like special events, keywords, or system changes—are coming to the mode, as well as when they will be ending." In other words, same name, different purpose.
Back to the matter at hand: Some of your new naga minions will be able to take advantage of a new keyword, Spellcraft, which grants a spell each turn that can provide a temporary buff to your minions. Spellcraft spells leave your hand at the end of each turn, but if your hand is full, they will "wait" until a free spot opens up rather than being destroyed or delayed.
Battlegrounds' new hero is also naga: Queen Azshara, once the beloved ruler of the Kaldorei Empire, who along with many of her Highborne followers fell into the depths of the Great Sea after the collapse of the Well of Eternity and was transformed by the Old Gods into the serpentine naga.
Blizzard also offered a few tips on handling these new minions:
- Each Spellcraft minion generates a Spellcraft spell every turn.
- Spellcraft effects only last until your next Recruit phase. That means that each turn you get to choose where you put your spells for the next Combat.
- Spellcraft spells leave your hand at the end of your turn—if you don’t use them, you lose them!
- Spellcraft spells are generated as soon as you play the Spellcraft minion, and at the start of each Recruit phase.
- If your hand is full, Spellcraft spells will “wait” until there is a free space in your hand, instead of getting destroyed or being delayed a turn.
- Golden Spellcraft minions will generate Golden versions of the Spellcraft spells, with double the effect.
- Some Naga care about when you play spells. That includes Spellcraft spells as well as things like Coins, Blood Gems, and triple rewards.
A total of five minions will be removed from Hearthstone Battlegrounds in patch 23.2, which will kick off Rise of the Naga. They'll be replaced by 21 new minions—16 naga and five other types—and a pair of "returning favorites." A full reveal of all the new naga minions and mechanics will take place on May 9; ahead of that, you can get previews of what's coming from these streamers:
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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.