Now in full release, the makers of The Elder Scrolls: Legends have at this point probably abandoned any hope of making a serious dent in Hearthstone’s player base. But they should be more worried that Gwent seems to have already surpassed Legends in terms of popularity, despite still being in beta. So what to do? Release more cards, of course—starting with its first full-sized expansion, which arrives on June 29, and theme them around the most popular part of its source material: Skyrim. The Heroes of Skyrim set will contain 150 new cards, bristling with Nords, Dragons and Shouts, and I got to play a couple of games here on the E3 show floor, where two decks are available to try.
The main point of interest is the addition of Shouts. As you can see from Relenting Force at the top of the page, these new actions scale in power as you play each copy, with the final iteration being especially strong. The animation accompanying the Shout was suitably bombastic, although the ‘Fus Ro Dah’ audio remains to be added. There were also several synergy cards that did things like draw Shouts from your deck, so it’s clearly going to be a big ‘build around’ device in the set.
The developer manning the booth told me each class color will have its own shout, and these will all be common rarities. Good news, given the disappointment of being expensive legendaries. Developer Dire Wolf Digital are keeping a lot of the cards under wraps, presumably in a bid to drip feed reveals over the coming days, but I noted down a few for reference, which you can read about below. I’ve also scattered the other cards spoiled so far around the page and in the gallery at the bottom.
Mentor of the Watch is a 3 magicka, Endurance, 2/2 Imperial with the text: ‘Prophecy, Guard, Summon: Give a creature in your hand Guard. It was notable because it introduces a similar mechanic to ‘hand buffing’ in Hearthstone, which to be honest never really took off, but may end up being better value in Legends.
Dragon Cult Ghost is a 3 magicka, Endurance, 3/3 Spirit with the text: ‘Spend all your magicka to play Dragon Cult Ghost. Its power and health are equal to the magicka spent.’ Which sounds a lot like Forbidden Ancient from Hearthstone, which, uh, also didn’t see a ton of play. Anyway, it’s another new mechanic for Legends, and the card is reasonably versatile, if a little boring.
Snowhawk Detachment is a 5 magicka, Willpower, 3/5 Imperial with the text: ‘Guard, Summon: +1/+1 if you have another creature with Guard.’ I’m not sure this one requires a ton of insight. It’s a decent defensive option, though a little conditional for my liking for an effect that’s hardly incredible.
Shearpoint Dragon is a 6 magicka, rare, Agility 4/4 Dragon (duh!) with the text: ‘Summon: Give a creature -2/-2. When you reduce a creature’s power or health with another effect, reduce it by an extra 1.’ Seems good, and is certainly also evidence that Dire Wolf remains unafraid of cramming a dangerously dense amount of text onto its cards.
Dragonplate Armor is a 4 magicka, common, Endurance item with the text: ‘+2/+2, Summon: +2/+2 if you have a Dragon in your discard pile.’ This had sweet art and I’m looking forward to trying some Dragon-synergy decks.
As for how it all played, the answer is exactly like Legends but with some cool new mechanics. Nothing else I could see had changed, although the Dire Wolf dev on-hand for the demo did tell me they’re still hoping to put out a new game board at some point, but from the sound of it I wouldn’t assume that will be when the set launches. I’ll be diving back into Legends when Heroes of Skyrim hits later this month.