A few months ago we learned that Hearthstone's next expansion would begin the Year of the Dragon, and now that the Rise of Shadows expansion has officially dropped, the Year of the Dragon has indeed begun. You can expect the expansion to bring 135 new cards themed around a formidable gang of evildoers, and for a limited time players can claim a free Legendary minion card by logging in.

The Rise of Shadows expansion is the first release in the Year of the Dragon, and it will serve as part of an overarching story that connects to the next two expansions planned for the year. This release also signifies a new focus on single-player content, thought the next Hearthstone single-player experience isn't actually scheduled to arrive until May. I suppose that's something for players to look forward to, though you have to wonder why Blizzard stagers its content instead of releasing a finished product all at once.

The release of this new expansion also means the Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds & Catacombs card sets will transition to exclusives in Wild. So Sadly there are a few cards going away. There's also a new quest chain available in the new expansion, where players can earn up to twelve free card packs, and if you'd like to know more about what you can expect from the Rise of Shadows expansion, make sure to check out the Play Store changelog listed below.

WHAT'S NEW
Rise of Shadows: Live April 9!
* 135 New Cards
* New Lackey and Scheme mechanics, and new Twinspell Keyword
Shadow Bundle
* Get 9 Rise of Shadows packs and an Arena ticket, available April 9 - 16
Arena Rotation
* The first Arena set rotation will begin with Rise of Shadows

Hall of Fame
* Doomguard, Naturalize, Divine Favor, Baku the Mooneater, Genn Greymane, and all even/odd supporting cards have been moved to the Hall of Fame

Hearthstone
Hearthstone
Price: Free+

Press Release

RISE OF SHADOWS NOW LIVE, UNLEASHES THE LEAGUE OF E.V.I.L. IN HEARTHSTONE

Get up to no good with 135 wicked new cards in the latest expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s hit free-to-play digital card game For a limited time, players can log in to claim a free Archmage Vargoth Legendary minion card* and complete quests to earn up to 12 free card packs

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 — Azeroth’s most notorious villains have joined forces and are planning something nefarious involving the mystical floating city of Dalaran. Today’s launch of Rise of Shadows™, the newest expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s smash-hit free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone®, invites players to get in on the action with 135 all-new cards featuring mechanics and keywords expressly designed for doing no good.

This formidable gang of ne’er do wells—led by Arch-Villain Rafaam—has styled itself The League of E.V.I.L., and they’re tired of the indignities they’ve suffered at the hands of Azeroth’s do-gooders. To pull off their brazen deed, they’ve cooked up sinister Schemes—cards that grow in power the longer they remain in-hand—and they won’t think twice to put the spurs to their Lackeys—1/1 minions that make up for their lack of brawn with potent Battlecries.

Unfortunately for them, the Defenders of Dalaran won’t go down without a fight. Wielding mighty Twinspells, which generate a copy of themselves in players’ hands once they’re cast, the Defenders could put a serious damper on the League of E.V.I.L.’s plans.

“With Rise of Shadows, we’re kicking off the biggest story we’ve ever told in Hearthstone and offering players a bunch of wicked new cards to get crafty with,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion also marks the beginning of a brand-new year of Hearthstone content—the Year of the Dragon—and we have a lot more in store for players in 2019.”

Players with a penchant for skullduggery also have a lot to look forward to with the next Hearthstone single-player experience, scheduled to arrive in May. This grand Solo Adventure—the most ambitious Hearthstone has seen yet—will consist of five epic chapters, the first of which will be free to everyone. Subsequent chapters can be unlocked for 700 gold each or purchased as an all-inclusive package for 19.99€/£16,99. Players will earn three Rise of Shadows card packs for every chapter they complete, and more rewards await those who finish all five. Keep an eye on riseofshadows.com for further details.

For a limited time, players who log in to Hearthstone will get a free copy of Archmage Vargoth*, the wise and powerful Kirin Tor leader. Harnessing fearsome, uncontrollable magic, this four-mana Legendary minion recasts a friendly spell at the end of his controller’s turn, with targets selected randomly. Starting today, players can also begin to complete a series of limited time quests to earn up to 12 card packs—including 5 Rise of Shadows packs. In addition, from April 9 through April 16, players can purchase the Shadow Bundle, containing 9 Rise of Shadows packs and an Arena ticket for 9.99€/£8.99. †

Rise of Shadows is available now for Windows® and Mac® PCs; Windows, iPad®, and Android™ tablets; and iPhone® and Android phones. Card packs can be purchased individually or in discounted bundles from the in-game Shop at the same pricing as all other Hearthstone card packs. Players now have the chance to win Rise of Shadows card packs as quest rewards or prizes in the Arena and can craft cards from the expansion by using Arcane Dust collected from disenchanting unwanted cards.

*Must log in by July 9, 2019 to redeem offer. Limit one per account.

†Only one purchase per account.

About Hearthstone

With more than 100 million players worldwide, Hearthstone is Blizzard Entertainment’s internationally acclaimed, free-to-play digital card game designed for novice and veteran card-slingers alike. Players can choose from nine powerful hero classes and customize their decks with minions, spells, and weapons based on the unique fantasy of the Warcraft® universe. Featuring a variety of game modes ranging from epic head-to-head duels to story-driven Solo Adventures, Hearthstone offers a vibrant and rewarding experience stacked with strategy, personality, and fun. Hearthstone is available globally for Windows and Mac PCs; Windows, iOS, and Android tablets; and mobile phones.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone, Overwatch®, the Warcraft, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multi-franchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-two #1 games‡ and numerous Game of the Year awards. The company's online gaming service, Blizzard Battle.net®, is one of the largest online-gaming services in the world, with millions of active players.

‡Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.