World of Warcraft's most infamous disaster is becoming a Hearthstone card

The dark ages of WoW

The Corrupted Blood Incident was just one of many disastrous moments in WoW's history. If you want to read about the others, check out our feature where we sit down with Blizzard developers to look back on moments like the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj.

Few moments are as memorable in all of World of Warcraft history as the Corrupted Blood Incident. On September 13, 2005, a player returned from the grueling new Zul'Gurub raid and summoned his pet in one of Azeroth's capital cities only to find that, due to a bug, the pet had acquired a debuff that wasn't supposed to exist outside of the raid. 

Called Corrupted Blood, this negative effect would deal constant damage to its target until they died—but even worse was the fact that it was highly contagious. Anyone within a certain range of an infected player automatically contracted the disease and soon died. In a matter of hours, World of Warcraft's capital cities had become ground zero of a deadly plague, and they stayed that way for over a week.

"It was all unintentional, it was just a bug," Blizzard chief of staff Shane Dabiri told us in our feature where Blizzard devs reflected on the Corrupted Blood Incident and other disastrous moments in WoW's history.

And now, 13 years later, Hearthstone is finally paying tribute to that cataclysmic moment in its own, cool way. Meek Hakkar, the Soulflayer, the boss from which corrupted blood originated, now transformed into a Hearthstone card.

He's one of the new cards Blizzard revealed as part of the upcoming Rastakhan's Rumble expansion, which sources many of its cards from troll culture and lore. Hakkar is a 10-Mana legendary 9/7 with a powerful effect. When Hakkar dies, both players shuffle a Corrupted Blood card into their deck. When drawn, Corrupted Blood immediately casts and forces that player to take three damage. But here's where it gets fun: Once that resolves, two copies of Corrupted Blood are shuffled back into your deck. 

The idea here is that, with enough unlucky draws, a player could fill their deck up Corrupted Blood and eventually—like WoW players of yore—fall victim to it. It's not clear exactly where Hakkar will fit into the new meta, but high level players are debating the viability of the card in fatigue-based combo decks over on the Competitive Hearthstone subreddit.

Regardless of how viable Hakkar and Corrupted Blood ends up being, it's a great way to honor one of World of Warcraft's most infamous events. Now if only there was a way to get Corrupted Blood to infect other players outside of just a single match...

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.