Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland - What’s New in the Latest Expansion?

Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland - What’s New in the Latest Expansion?

Hearthstone’s Ashes of Outland was announced during the game’s 2020 Showcase. Here’s what you need to know.

Note: Apologies for an error related to our CMS. The author of this article is actually James Law, not the author listed above. We'll update when we can.

Hearthstone’s Ashes of Outland is one of the game’s most substantial updates yet. Demon Hunter has arrived with a bang as the first new class since launch, there are some hefty tweaks to ranked mode, among plenty of other changes too. Our friends at Metabomb have put together a quick breakdown of everything that’s arriving with the new expansion just below.

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Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland - A Quick Overview

The Year of the Phoenix is set to introduce some of the biggest changes since Hearthstone first launched. Here’s a look at all the new changes Ashes of Outland has in store.

When Does Ashes of Outland Release?

Hearthstone Ashes of Outland will release on April 7th 2020. Going by previous expansion launches, this means you’ll be able to update the game at 6pm GMT (11am PST, 2pm EST).

How Does the New Demon Hunter Class Work?

Definitely Ashes of Outland’s most exciting addition, Demon Hunter will introduce all new, aggressive ways to play Hearthstone which could very well spice up the meta. If you’ve ever played World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade expansion, you’ll recognise Illidan Stormrage as the game’s Demon Hunter poster boy - with a card game twist, of course.

On April 2nd, you’ll be able to play the Demon Hunter Prologue, a 4-part adventure describing Illidan’s transformation into a Demon Hunter from his own point of view. Players will receive 10 Demon Hunter cards from the basic set, as well as 20 more ‘Demon Hunter starter cards’ upon completion. And from then on, each expansion will grant the new class 15 cards of its own, instead of the 10 every other class gets. Hopefully this’ll help this class break into the meta a little quicker.

The new keyword for Demon Hunters is ‘Outcast’. It gives you a bonus for playing a card when it’s the left - or right- most one in your hand. For example, Eye Beam usually costs 3 mana to cast, and deals 3 damage to an enemy minion with Lifesteal. However, if you play all cards to its left, or topdeck it, Eye Beam costs 0, which should give you far more flexibility thanks to its Outcast ability. Other cards have different bonuses for Outcast, not just mana reduction, so make sure you play out your cards in the right order to maximise your benefit.

Demon Hunter’s Hero Power offers some unique plays too. Demon Claws only costs 1 mana, and gives your Hero +1 Attack this turn. Its lower cost means it’s easy to slot into more turns, and the Hero attack power it grants, also gives you better synergy with the cards in your deck. Battlefiend is a great example of this - if you can get your Hero to attack every turn, you’ll be buffing the minion’s attack by 1 every turn too.

You’ll even find Illidan in Hearthstone’s Auto Chess mode, Battlegrounds. He’s got a similar passive Hero Power that lets your left - and right - most minions attack immediately at the start of combat. This is likely pretty powerful stuff, so we expect him to sit high on Metabomb’s Battlegrounds tier list.

How Are Returning Player Bonuses Changing?

If you haven’t touched Hearthstone in a while, the revamped Returning Player experience should help you get to grips with things a little quicker than before. Now, you’ll be able to join Illidan on his adventures, and as a reward, you’ll get a free deck from a class of your choice - lovely stuff. Sure, it’s not cheap to build your card collection, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins, We’ll Miss You

Our sweet prince is gone. That’s right, Leeroy Jenkins has been banished (unless you play Wild format). Elsewhere, Mountain Giant, Mind Control Tech, Spellbreaker, and Acolyte of Pain are also being rotated out of Standard format. This should give the Hearthstone team more space to design some fresh, engaging cards, but these fan favourites will be sorely missed.

Priest Won’t be as Aggro Anymore

Priest has been under scrutiny for a while now, so much of the community has seen this coming. Blizzard’s toned down its aggro potential and ramped up the mind control, healing theme the class was originally themed around. This means 6 classic Priest cards are being removed from Standard to be replaced with some brand new additions.

Auchenai Soulpriest, Prophet Velen, Holy Fire, Shadowform, Divine Spirit, and Northshire Cleric are all being taken out of Standard, with all-new control focused cards to replace them. We’re especially looking forward to seeing how Shadow Word: Ruin performs - it’s 4 mana for a potential full board wipe which could get pretty ridiculous in a lot of decks.

Ranked Mode Will be Much Clearer

Hearthstone’s ranked system has been fine-tuned with Ashes of Outland’s arrival. Along with new star bonuses, which let you progress through the lower ranks more easily, an entirely new system has been put in place to rank players. In a similar vein to games like Overwatch, players will start in Bronze, battle their way up to Diamond, and aim for Legend if they’re super serious competitors. With MMR matchmaking giving players a more level playing field, this ranked system should make it easier to see where you’re ranked in relation to everyone else.

For more info on Hearthstone’s latest announcements for the Year of the Phoenix, head on over to our friends at Metabomb. They’ve got all sorts of guides for the Ashes of Outland expansion, as well as tips on how to play Aggro Demon Hunter, a deck which will get you up and running with the new class in no time.

Jake Green

Guides Editor

Jake is a former freelance writer who now heads up guides for USG. He spends his days dreaming of an X-Files dating-sim and will play literally any game with monkeys in it. He has an unhealthy obsession with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and would pretty much trade a kidney for Skate 4 at this point.

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