PAX East 2018 Hearthstone: The Witchwood Interview
I attended the PAX East 2018 Hearthstone press invitational event to interview game director Ben Brode where I asked questions about the new Hearthstone: The Witchwood expansion. He explained in detail how the Rush and Echo keywords work, the Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater game mechanics, and the Monster Hunt.
BEN BRODE PRESENTATION
Ben: The Witchwood. It’s a set all about the Gilneans. The Hearthstone’s take on werewolves. These are humans who turn to basically werewolves. It’s all about the creepy force that surrounds the city of Gilneas.
The forest that becomes twisted over time is due to a witch in the Witchwood, and she has been twisting the trees and the creatures in the forest into horrible monsters, but the Gilneans are mosters themselves. So it is sorta like a monster vs monster battle.
There is some fun stuff like the Monster Hunt — which is a new single-player mode. It is very reminiscent of the dungeon run from Kobolds & Catacombs. The Monster Hunt — you start out with kind of a weaker deck, and you fight a series of 8 bosses. If you can beat them, you will earn new cards for your deck, and you get empowered over time. The cards on this mode are completely unfair in multiplayer matches. It’s really fun to be able to defeat an AI opponent; and it is very hard, but if you lose you can start over and try again.
It is completely free. There is no way to spend money even if you wanted to; and players really enjoyed the dungeon runs, and played a ton of dungeon runs; and in The Witchwood we are doing the same thing again, but we are introducing a new take on some Heroes. So these are heroes that are the class of heroes like what we use in Warrior cards and with abilities with new Hero Powers.
The Cannoneer is Darius Crowley. You can start with a cannon on the battlefield. The Hero Power is “Fire the Cannon!” And depending on where the cannon is positioned, it will hurt the minions across from it. You need to position your minions so the cannon is on the right spot, at the right time so that when you fire the cannon you do maximum damage. Something really cool about the new heroes, they have got cool stories, some of these heroes have nemesis.
If you defeat the Monster Hunt with all four heroes, they join up together into an epic boss fight. Four worgen against the witch Hagatha. An epic finale.
This is a really cool card. One of the things that we said we were excited about worgen is delivering the fantasy of these humans that can transform into worgen and back. Every turn this card is in your hand, it swaps Attack and Health. If your opponent has a 4/4 minion, you really want the 4/2 because it will trade pretty well there. But if the opponent has two 2/2 minions, then you would want to go with the 2/4 because then you would trade off both of those minons effectively.
So depending on what your opponent is doing, you will wait for the right turn to play the worgen on the right form to maximize your ability to win the game.
NEW KEYWORD: ECHO
There is a new mechanic named Echo. It is a new keyword. You can play this card as many times as you have the mana to do it in a single turn. So the Walnut Sprite on the right is a 3-Mana 3/3. You probably wouldn’t play that on turn 3 if you had it, because you need to contest the board, but actually maybe this game is not about contesting the board and going tempo. It is really about getting the most value out of your cards, so you are going to hold it until Turn 6 to put two copies of it. Or you wait until Turn 9 and get three copies of it with the mana available. It is really a really determining win when you are trying to play these cards to their maximum value.
A new thing we are doing is two Legendary minions. Genn Greymane is the King of the Worgen, and he asks a tough question: Are you willing to build a deck with only even-Cost cards? If you are, he will make your Hero Power cost 1-Mana — which is a huge power boost.
And Baku the Mooneater asks, if you want to build a deck with only odd-Cost cards, he will upgrade your Hero Power. An upgraded Hero Power is twice as effective. So a Warrior instead of getting 2-Armor, you get 4. A Mage instead of 1 does 2-Damage of Hero Power; and these are HUGE power boosts, but you have to give up half of the Hearthstone prize. It is only even-Cost cards or odd-Cost cards. It is a really interesting deck building and conundrum. What are you willing to give up to get these powers?
NEW KEYWORD: RUSH
Rush is a version of a “Charge.” Charge allows you to attack face immediately. Rush you can only attack minions immediately. You can’t go straight to the enemy Hero, but with Rush you can go straight for any enemy minion. It is super fun, because It allows you to come back into the game if you are losing. It gives you a feeling of control and power on your own terms.
Prince Liam is one of the Legendaries that we are getting soon. Transforms all 1-Cost cards in your deck into Legendary Minions; and maybe you can stack your deck to have a very explosive early game. Play Prince Liam and it transitions your deck into a powerhouse.
Shudderwock is the craziest card we have ever made. It repeats all Battlecries that you have played in that game. So if you played 20 Battlecries, then Shudderwock starts going off executing every single Battlecry you ever played throughout that entire game. It is totally insane, it’s the hardest card that we have ever made. but it’s really fun.
PAX East 2018 Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Reveals