May 29, 2023
Frostmourne will be a collectible card in Hearthstone's March of the Lich King set

Frostmourne will be a collectible card in Hearthstone’s March of the Lich King set

On December 6 (December 7 in ANZ/Asia-Pacific), Hearthstone will change forever, with the release of the game’s 11th playable class – Death Knight, and the March of the Lich King expansion. The new class brings super interesting gameplay, with a Blood, Frost, and Unholy rune system for deck building that allows players to specialize in one, two, or all three of these areas. Along with that is a new hero power called Ghoul Rush, which summons a 1/1 ghoul with a charge that dies at the end of the turn. It’s a ping that also guarantees you a corpse – which is another new death knight mechanic. (Any friendly minions that die add to your corpse counter, and then you can spend those corpses for a bonus effect through a host of different death knight cards.)

We’ve got all the news covered in detail here, as well as some fascinating Death Knight development info here. For now, however, we’re releasing some absolutely iconic Lich King cards (from the Knights of the Frozen Throne set) that return to the game as collectible Death Knight class cards.

“When we started developing Death Knight,” says Hearthstone Feature Manager Chadd Nervig, “we were looking at the cards we had made for the Lich King in Knights of the Frozen Throne and seeing which ones might be potential ideas. for death knight cards. I think it was a good idea to start – hey, there’s an existing base there, can we try making these trading cards? And maybe we’ll have to make some numerical tweaks to them, as they were more of a treasure type item before, but trying them out we found several of them to be fine.

The best example of this is Frostmourne, the weapon of the Lich King, which is back without any change.



“We knew we had to get Frostmourne in somehow,” says Nervig. “So we started with the actual Lich King token… [and] we were wondering – is the power level correct? Yeah. It turns out that it is. So we have Frostmourne as a trading card. Exactly – no change – from what it was.

The reason for this is interesting, and only partly has to do with the fact that Hearthstone cards are simply more powerful across the board in 2022 than they were in 2017. [about] be in a specific class. With Death Knight, we can tune Death Knight as a whole knowing that Frostmourne is part of their set. Whereas before Lich King was a neutral card – maybe we could have done it in a specific class, but it seemed more fitting to come straight from the Lich King in Knights of the Frozen Throne.

As for the larger pool of eight Lich King cards, “some of them are sort of duplicated by other ideas or…were not really appropriate for regular play,” Nervig explains. “Something like stealing your opponent’s minion from your deck and playing it – for Death Grip – wasn’t the kind of thing we wanted Death Knight to do on a regular basis, but something like Army of the Dead? We have a Changed the design a bit, but summoning a swarm of minions is exactly what we’d like them to do.

Death Grip is not returning, while Army of the Dead has changed quite a bit.

Death Grip is not returning, while Army of the Dead has changed quite a bit.

Deciding what to do with Death and Decay, meanwhile, which ultimately failed to return, was more a matter of flavor for each rune than anything else. “We had different forms of AOE for them,” Nervig explains, “but alignment with the different runes was important to us, and we wanted the AOE… [be] some small in Frost, some bigger in Blood. Death and Decay was…ungodly, [so it] didn’t end up adapting very well there…”

These three classic Lich King cards do NOT return.

These three classic Lich King cards do NOT return.

“Another that matched really well was Obliterate,” he continues. “Obliterate we wanted to add a rune requirement to it so it requires a blood rune and we ended up tweaking the art a bit for gameplay reasons – we wanted it to not be a spell school in the type Blood instead of a shadow spell school, so we tweaked the art to be more red than more purple, so that’s fine.

Yes, it's much more of a blood card now.

Yes, it’s much more of a blood card now.

The original Anti-Magic Shell, on the other hand, gave your minions +2/+2. “It was a bit sharp, a bit extreme of an effect,” comments Nervig. “So we’ve toned that down to just +1/+1 and adjusted the mana cost appropriately for a to fit in as well. Overall it was just a [process of] – use them as a starting point because it was really cool to be able to bring these cards back. And some of them worked really well and we’re really happy with them.

Old and new.

Old and new.

Now that The Lich King is back in Standard format – along with the rest of the Knights of the Frozen Throne set – as part of the Knights of the Hallow’s End event, you may have noticed a few minor changes to these old ones. cards. “The cards are still functionally the same,” Nervig explains, “but we changed the wording of the old Lich King card to say ‘add Lich King cards to your hand’ instead of saying ‘add Death Knight cards to your hand”, so there’s no confusion about – okay, does he now draw 68 Death Knight cards? No… Lich King and Arfus still give you those Lich King cards.

“Army of the Dead, we also felt the design change was thematically very similar, but functionally different enough that we changed the name from the old. So the old is now” Army of the Frozen Throne” – he still does exactly what he did [before], but just so there is no confusion. We thought the new Death Knight class had a spell named Army of the Dead was too big and we had to have it.

Death Knight and March of the Lich King are coming to Hearthstone on December 6 (December 7 in ANZ/Asia Pacific), and to see the pre-order bundles along with all the cards as they’re revealed, be sure you to visit the official March of the Lich King site.

Cam Shea has been playing Hearthstone since beta and his favorite class is Priest…which really tells you everything. When he’s not playing games, he’s rave era breakbeat mix.

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