Witchwood's Newly-Revealed Shudderwock is Hearthstone's Most Complicated Card to Date

Witchwood's Newly-Revealed Shudderwock is Hearthstone's Most Complicated Card to Date

Why Witchwood's newest legendary gave Hearthstone's team headaches.

On the face of it, Hearthstone isn't a very complicated from a technical standpoint. It has some nice effects, a distinctive art style, and that's about it. But Witchwood's newest legendary shows just how hard it can be to implement a new card in Hearthstone.

Meet the Shudderwock, a legendary exclusive to the Shaman class. The Shudderwock is a nine-cost minion with six health and six attack, which is fairly unremarkable by that tier's standards. What makes it shine is its battlecry text—it will repeat all other battlecries from cards you played this same, with targets chosen at random.

Battlecries are a big part of Hearthstone, as they often define the strength of a card. They can strengthen the whole field, introduce unique effects, or just clear the board. This has made Shudderwock the single hardest card to implement in Hearthstone history, director Ben Brode told us.

Brode used Deathwing to illustrate what makes Shudderwock so difficult from a technical standpoint. Deathwing is a legendary that swoops around, burns the field, and then lands, which is a visual effect tied to its gameplay mechanic.

Shudderwock folds that effect into upwards of 16 other battlecries, which can happen in any order. Consequently, the Hearthstone team has had to create a new animation for Deathwing in order to avoid interrupting the flow of the gaameplay.

Shudderwock is also complicated in other ways. "Now a battlecry can be on Shudderwock, which is doing 16 different things, and some other battlecry could come in and mess with one of the variables," Brode explained. "So we had to make sure each battlecry worked in a world we had never considered before we started implementing and designing cards."

Brode called it a "heroic effort" by Hearthstone's engineering and art team. It even outstrips the effort put into the infamous Yogg-saron, a legendary that replays every spell cast to that point. Yogg-saron was a favorite of players who liked pure insanity in their decks, and Shudderwock seems poised to be more of the same.

Shudderwock was part of Witchwood's final card reveal, joining cards like Prince Liam, who can transform all one-cost cards in a deck into legendary minions. Witchwood is Hearthstone's latest expansion, featuring a Worgen theme as well as new mechanics like Echo.

We talked to Brode about a variety of subjects ahead of Witchwood's impending release, including Blizzard's plans for Hearthstone's dust economy. Witchwood's release date is April 12.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Read this next

Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan Just Threw in His Support for Blitzchung

"I think the suspension should be reduced more or eliminated. But that's just me."

A Devolver Co-Founder Makes A Plea For Publishers To Rethink Predatory Microtransactions

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson likens addictive titles to crystal meth.

Blizzard's Commitment to Free Expression Doesn't Mean Much With Blitzchung Still Banned

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Blizzard calls its suspension of Blitzchung for voicing support for the ongoing Hong Kong protests a "tough Hearthstone esports moment."

Hearthstone Battlegrounds is Blizzard's Puzzling Reaction to Auto Chess

Its autobattling, but also very much Hearthstone.

Blizzard President Apologizes for Hearthstone Controversy, Doesn't Change Ruling

Brack apologized, but didn't change the company's stance despite protest.

Suspended Hearthstone Pro Blitzchung Signs With Esports Team

Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, the player at the center of Blizzard's Hong Kong controversy, is now a player for Tempo Storm.

BlizzCon 2019 is Blizzard's Most Crucial Show in Years

The wayward company has a chance to set its tone for the future, for better or worse.

More News

Rune 2 Publisher: Bethesda's Closure of Human Heading Studios is "Shocking News"

Publishing partner Ragnarok LLC says it learned of studio's closure at the same time as everyone else.

Here's Why Pokemon Fans Should Take the #GameFreakLied Claims With a Grain of Salt

Sword and Shield might reuse assets, but model wireframes aren't the end of the argument.

Several Big Google Stadia Features Won't Go Live Until 2020

Family sharing, Android compatibility, and more are missing the launch window.

Pokemon Sword and Shield's Director Has a Pretty Simple Explanation for Why Exp. Share is Always On

The new game's director explains why one feature is locked in the On position.

More on PC

Rune 2 Publisher: Bethesda's Closure of Human Heading Studios is "Shocking News"

Publishing partner Ragnarok LLC says it learned of studio's closure at the same time as everyone else.

Rockstar is Promising Imminent Patch for Red Dead Redemption 2's Stuttering Woes

PC players with Nvidia gear have been hootin' and hollerin' for a fix.

AOC Reveals Her League of Legends Ranking, Which is Actually Higher Than Rick Fox's

Let's get an exhibition match in Summoner's Rift going.

A Massive Stardew Valley Update is Dropping Very Soon

The free 1.4 update is just around the corner for PC players.

Xbox X019 Could be Where All of Microsoft's Shiny New Studios Start to Bear Fruit

It looks like the many, many studios of Xbox will have some news to share.

Bethesda Starts a New Studio Around the Original Prey Development Team

Human Head also worked on Prey 2 for Bethesda prior to its cancellation in 2014.

Shovel Knight's Final Expansions Are Coming Next Month

They'll mark the end of Treasure Trove, but not for our brave blue Knight.