Journey to Un'Goro
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Journey to Un’Goro: New Mechanics, New Cards

Feb 28, 2017
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We’ve known for a while that the new Hearthstone expansion would involve the Un’Goro crater, an area in World of Warcraft filled with dinosaurs and elementals. Now the official launch trailer has gone live! The Jouney to Un’Goro announcement includes an all new cinematic, as well as a discussion with Ben Brode and Jason Chayes. Along with the reveal came four new cards, two of which contain entirely new mechanics. The video can be seen here.

New Shaman Card – Volcano

Journey to Un'Goro Volcano - New Shaman Card
I’ll be blunt: Volcano is an incredibly uninteresting card. It hits both players’ boards, so you will virtually never play it with minions on board. It’s another, less effective, Elemental Destruction. Or, if you’d rather hit a single target, it’s a much less effective Hex. Obviously the benefit is that it can be a slightly worse version of both of these cards, rolled into one. However, the mana cost is incredibly high. Seven mana and you can’t even mitigate a majority of it, like Elemental Destruction. Volcano might see play, but it will be exclusive to Control Shaman. This isn’t the worst thing, since we really don’t need more aggressive cards. But even if Volcano is embraced by players, the fact remains that it’s a boring card.

Mage Legendary – Pyros

Journey to Un'Goro - Pyros: New Mage Legendary
Pyros, on the other hand, is awesome. It’s an incredibly vanilla minion, but it has the huge benefit of being good on nearly every turn. Unless you are in the middle of dying, you’ll always get value from it. The value lies largely in the fact that you can play the card on turn two without losing value later. Pyros is okay at all points during a game, and not incredible at any. Balanced and effective. And really cool with N’Zoth. I actually really like this card, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t see any play.

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New Mechanic – Adapt

Journey to Un'Goro Verdant Longneck
Verdant Longneck brings with it an entirely new mechanic: Adapt. Adapt is very similar to Kazakus’ ability. When you play it, three of ten possible options pop up, and you pick one. We previewed six of them in the video, and the options include like Windfury, Taunt, and +3 Attack. I don’t like this mechanic. Discover was cool because you had a large pool to choose from, and usually you didn’t know what you were going to be offered. Kazakus was neat at first, but very quickly became boring and overly RNG reliant. Players aren’t exactly pleased with how random Kazakus ends up being, particularly when he’s used to end games. I’m anticipating that players will end up turning their backs on the new Adapt mechanic.

Imagine you’re about to die, and you draw Verdant Longneck. You know you need a taunt. You’re staring at the card, thinking to yourself “I know I lose 70% of the time.” That’s neither fun nor interesting. Unfortunately, I think Adapt will be another mechanic that makes Hearthstone feel more frustrating. Hopefully Journey to Un’Goro only has a few Adapt minions, and they don’t see much play.

New Mechanic #2 –  Quests

Journey to Un'Goro - Awaken the Makers Quest Mechanic
Awaken the Makers introduces the other new mechanic in Journey to Un’Goro: Quests. Quests are the exact opposite of Adapt, at least for me. Where Adapt is painfully boring and random, Quests are reliable and awesome. You play a card that has a quest on it, and in this case, your objective is to play seven Deathrattle minions. Then, once you’ve completed said quest, something incredible happens. In this case, you summon Amara, Warden of Hope.

Journey to Un'Goro - Amara, Warden of Hope

As you can see, finishing a quest in Journey to Un’Goro gives you a massive reward for your efforts. With Awaken the Makers, you’re essentially getting Reno + 10 extra health, as well as an 8/8 taunt. For one mana and seven deathrattle minions. Oh, and Quest cards always appear in your mulligan. You can choose not to keep them, if you think you need the extra card, so they don’t hurt either. Hopefully the rest of Journey to Un’Goro leans more heavily on Quests than it does Adapt.

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Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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