Blizzard had a lot to announce in today’s Hearthstone livestream, showing off a new expansion and a slew of other new information and cards related to the new year, the Year of the Phoenix, highlighted by the first new base class in the game: the demon hunter.

Like demon hunters in World of Warcraft, the Hearthstone DH is an aggressive attacker, as indicated by its hero power. This only gives +1 attack for the turn, but it also only costs one mana, letting the DH activate it on nearly every turn, and many of the class cards key off hero attacks. You can also get a lot of small minions to serve you, and when they die, you’ll be able to take advantage of their sacrifices with a variety of beneficial effects.

The demon hunter’s new keyword is called Outcast, and it provides a bonus to certain spells if you play them while they’re the left-most or right-most card in your hand. Thus, you can play one for the bonus the turn it comes into your hand, but if you don’t, you might have to wait a while before you can utilize its advantage again.

When the demon hunter is released, you’ll be able to acquire a set of class cards and a deck by completing a brief prologue, with more cards arriving, as usual in future expansions. That prologue will be available on April 2 and be free to all players.

Shortly thereafter, you’ll be able to get your virtual hands on the next expansion, Ashes of Outland. It drops on April 7 and introduces Primes, a new set of legendary minions that are shuffled into your deck when they die; when they return, they’re even more powerful than before.

Much more information also revealed during the stream, including a detailed roadmap for the coming Year of the Phoenix. Ranked play is getting a revamp, changing to a system where players will advance from Bronze 10 to Diamond 1 to Legendary, with better and more immediate rewards. There will also be a returning player experience, where you play as young Illidan Stormrage. Complete that and you’ll get a deck in the class of your choice.

The Hall of Fame is also seeing some movement, with several general cards and a suite of priest cards — including some of the class’s most iconic cards, like Northsire Cleric and Divine Spirit — vanishing into the ether of Wild. Priest, in fact, is getting a significant overhaul, with six of its class cards receiving buffs and one more, Power Word: Shield, getting a slight nerf.

Catch the entire livestream in the embedded video below, or find out more details about the Year of the Phoenix, new demon hunter class, and upcoming Ashes of Outland expansion on the Hearthstone website.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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