Right on the heels of the announcement of The Year of the Dragon, Blizzard has announced the first Hearthstone expansion of 2019, Rise of Shadows. The expansion will launch on April 9 with the pre-release happening on April 5. To complement this, Patch 13.5 was released today giving everyone the brand-new features announced with the Year of the Dragon including random card backs, a smarter deck builder, and the new fireside gathering improvements. That last one is important because now, your local fireside gatherings can take part in the pre-release events! Set up a gathering at your house with your friends and open your packs 4 days early and play with your new cards!

The Rise of Shadows expansion looks to bring faction warfare back to Hearthstone. The two factions announced are the League of Evil and the Defenders of Dalaran. Each faction will have a class leader which are as follows:

League of Evil

  • Priest: Madame Lazul (The Fortune Teller)
  • Rogue – Togwaggle
  • Shaman – Hagatha
  • Warlock: Rafaam
  • Warrior: Dr. Boom

The Defenders of Dalaran will be the other four classes of Mage, Druid, Hunter, and Paladin but heroes were not revealed yet for this faction.

There will be three new mechanics in this expansion!

New Keyword: Twincast – These spells, when cast, will add a copy to your hand without the Twincast keyword. This is basically a nerfed version of Echo.

Lackeys – These are 1/1 tokens generated by cards that go into your hand. These tokens will have various Battlecry effects

Schemes – These are cards that grow in power each turn that they are in your hand.

The reveal video mentioned that old mechanics will be returning but they didn’t state which mechanics would be just yet.

Now let’s talk about the money. Of course, all packs and cards are free if you opt to pay with in-game gold and if you’re rich in that aspect then the only thing you’ll miss out on are the extra goods but you want those, don’t you? Of course, you do. So here’s what you’ll get for your money

Standard Pre-Order

  • 50 Rise of Shadow Packs
  • The Jewel of Lazul card back
  • A random legendary Rise of Shadow card
  • Price: $49.99

Mega Bundle Pre-Order

  • 80 Rise of Shadow Packs
  • The Jewel of Lazul card back
  • A random GOLDEN Rise of Shadow legendary card
  • New Priest Hero: Lazul
  • Price: $79.99

Week 1 Deal

  • 9 Rise of Shadow card packs
  • 1 Arena Ticket
  • Price: $10.00

Patch 13.5 is available now and pre-orders (in theory) should also be available now; however, at the time of this writing, the in-game shop was closed and it wasn’t available on Battle.net. If you’re reading this post at a later date, this issue is, most likely, fixed already.