Hearthstone was the only free-to-play Blizzard game making news at BlizzCon 2019 (unless you count some minor Heroes of the Storm news), and there was actually quite a bit to reveal. Somewhat expected was a new expansion reveal; less expected was the announcement of an entirely new game mode, a merging of a the digital card game with the popular auto-battler genre that has been all the rage in 2019.
The new expansion is titled Descent of Dragons, and it completes the three-part story of this year’s expansions, following Rise of Shadows and Saviors of Uldum. As befitting Hearthstone’s Year of the Dragon, the expansion features more dragons than any previous set, with each class getting its own legendary dragon. There are five new hero cards, each representing the dragon progenitor Galakrond, that upgrade for every card you play that has the new Evoke keyword. (Long-time players will recognize it as being similar to the C’Thun-pumping mechanics of Whispers of the Old Gods.) Players will receive all five versions of Galakrond for free simply by logging in when the set goes live on Dec. 10. You can pre-purchase the set now on the Blizzard site.
The more surprising news came in the announcement of a totally new game mode, Battlegrounds. This is an eight-player mode that resembles auto-battlers like Dota Underlords and League of Legends‘ Teamfight Tactics. You’ll recruit minions and set them to fight each other, and the last player standing is the victor. You can get into the early access for the mode on Nov. 5 if you attended BlizzCon or pre-purchased Descent of Dragons. If you haven’t, you’ll have to wait a week later, until the open beta starts on Nov. 12.