It's almost time to enter the menacing Castle Nathria! But as its ancient gates start opening in a rather unhurried manner, we better brace for a full week of camping on the outskirts. The spirit of Sire Denathrius is still very picky about what kind of guests are even allowed in. 

As this 24.0 update is meant to prepare the ground for the launch of the newest expansion, we are actually not going to see everything unlocked properly until August 2. But at least most of the added content for various Hearthstone modes becomes available outright.

The patch hit only desktop clients to begin with; but it seems like it didn't take long for mobile storefronts to catch up this time around. If you had auto-updates disabled, you may need to choose to run the process manually (if you are logged out of the game you might be required to do so before being able to enter the tavern again, anyway).

Remember, if you update your desktop client but not the mobile application and then log in, you might not be able to launch the latter afterwards. And vice versa, until all devices are synced to share the same game version. 

Quote From DeckTech
For major patches the mobile patch always comes a few hours after the desktop patch. And yes, that's by design.

Update: It looks like both iOS and Android storefronts were very quick to enable early manual updates! By now the patch should be fully downloadable on all devices. 

Do mind, Sunken City achievements lose their XP bonus once the game is patched to the newest version, and Heroic Duels runs are going to be retired and refunded, granting a Tavern Ticket plus rewards for your progress. If you still wish to finish up either of these things, you can always try to postpone updating for as long as you are able - until the Hearthstone client pretty much "forces" you to. 

And here are the full patch notes, for reference: 

Duels and Mercenaries got the biggest share of balance changes, but there are also other aspects of this sizeable content update to explore:

Sunken Achievements Out, Castle Achievements In 

No more XP to be had from the Sunken City set, as we've been warning about for the past few days.

Quote From Blizzard
Reminder, Voyage to the Sunken City Achievements will stop awarding XP with the launch of Patch 24.0 on July 26, whereas the Rewards Track will swap over with the launch of Murder at Castle Nathria on August 2.

There is a new set of achievements related to the upcoming expansion, but most of them won't be doable until the new cards become unlocked. And even if you manage to finish any, you might wish to hold onto that precious XP for the next Rewards Track.

No Solving Murders Just Yet

As already mentioned, we will have to show some patience and wait until August 2 before all the cards from Murder at Castle Nathria become fully available. Meanwhile, you might be able to stumble upon them (or their Discover effects) through your Duels runs. 

Hearthstone YouTube channel has also posted this small overview video to go along with the patch: 

Some New Quests Replace Some Old Quests

Shortly after the patch went live, we've started seeing reports of a couple of new Quests appearing in players' journals: Daily "Activate a Location 6 times" and Weekly "Play 30 Infuse cards". There could be even more for all we know. 

This is something we knew was coming eventually, and it also most likely means the daily "Tradeable" and the weekly "Stormwind Questlines" quests are no longer in the pool. 

Quote From DeckTech
Is the team aware of granting players new Weekly Quests, after a re-roll, such as “Play 30 Infuse cards”? Can’t really complete them, so we basically waste 1 slot.

Yeah, team’s aware. Plan is to update timing in a hotfix later this week. That’ll be added when I get a chance after morning meetings. People who already got them can just reroll, hold onto them until expansion launch, or complete them in Duels.

As for the new quests, you could indeed try your luck completing them in Duels if you are so inclined, but that could turn out to be a very slow process. Thus the only correct answer is probably to just reroll for the time being. They are meant to be done with the new Castle Nathria cards, and what we are seeing is a familiar downside of Blizzard's current patching process.

Final Week of Peace for Constructed Hearthstone & Near Future

This isn't terribly surprising or anything, as we haven't been expecting any shake-ups with the new expansion right around the corner, but Game Designer Aleco Gereco (from the Final Balance team) still felt like sharing the following statement: 

Quote From Aleco
No standard balance changes are coming with 24.0. We are planning to patch as soon as we can after the new set is out, which is ~2 weeks.

There is a Masters Tour scheduled for August 12, so it's probably safe to assume there won't be anything happening before that (unless something proves to be so unexpectedly broken it would demand an emergency balance hotfix).

Meanwhile, the 100th Ranked Season is slowly heading towards the finish line. What could happen in the near future, if need be? We've got a handful of hints, even if one of them is half-serious at best. 

Quote From Aleco
Are there plans to reverse any warrior nerfs? I miss CW :(

I don't want to make any plans for buffs/nerfs before we see how the new expansion shakes things up, but I've def heard the feedback surrounding CW and will keep it in mind when it comes time to work on the patch!

Quote From Aleco
have you given any more consideration to nerfing celestial alignment for next expansion its by far my most unfun card ever :(

It's still on my shortlist of cards for the next live balance patch window - which is after the release of the next set.

Quote From Aleco
i asked @AlecoGereco to revert brute very nicely and i've been a good boy this year

It might be time to un-shoot the brute

Celestial Alignment Card Image Irebound Brute Card Image

A Witchy New Duels Season

You might've noticed how The Witchwood set bears some striking resemblance to the upcoming Murder at Castle Nathria, especially when it comes to the overall mood and atmosphere. After all, that's where we first met Detective Murloc Holmes. Some other art pieces might also seem familiar if you've ever played the solo content Monster Hunt.

So it's only fitting this Duels update would bring that older expansion into the fold. Along with Darius Crowley Hero and a number of relatable Treasures. Not to mention balance changes being on point. 

It also looks like there's been at least one more card ban than what we were told by the patch notes - we won't get to use Priest's Questline Seek Guidance on top of all the other already listed culprits.

Quote From Ates Bayrak
was this intentional?? it was not listed in the patchnotes

Certainly intentional


Seek Guidance Card Image

Hopefully you also took the chance to make good use of your Heroic runs, earning rewards and a free Tavern Ticket with the new season taking over!  

Sir Finley, the Mercenary

It took a while, but Sir Finley is fin(-e)ally on his way to join the rest of the League of Explorers at our Village encampment. But no added Murloc power until the expansion launch on August 2, where it will be instantly claimable from the new free Rewards Track

Effective immediately, there is also a huge amount of balance changes affecting an impressive number of Mercenaries. And many people should be happy to see Doppelganger toned down again (this time for good?). 

Doppelganger Card Image

Besides that, we're going to have to wait all the way until August 16 before the final Old God special limited-time event arrives with C'thun. Curious what the upcoming tasks might ask of us this time? We've already been able to take a good look at all 10 of them! 

Emotive Battlegrounds

Free base Battlegrounds Emotes for everyone, at long last! Now, make sure not to spam your 'happy cows' (too) excessively. 

Special (presumably paid) emotes are also going to become their own thing one week after the expansion launch, on August 9 (a hint at the new upcoming form of Battlegrounds Perks?). With the first set being very Castle Nathria thematic at that, allowing to replace any of the base emotes at you see fit. Also, on that note: 

Quote From DeckTech
[…] just to confirm: the BG emotes are slots you can individually select, not an all-or-nothing.

Don't want to see anyone using emotes in your games, be it as a distraction or presumed "bming"? It's a good thing there is now a "Mute All" option available in the Battlegrounds! You only need to click on the opposing hero portrait or your current Bartender in order to choose it. 

Besides the addition of another new Hero, the other balance changes seem fairly minor. Hearthstone Battlegrounds Lead Designer John McIntyre had this to say on the matter: 

Quote From John McIntyre
24.0 is a HUGE patch for Hearthstone. Although it may seem counter intuitive, larger patches will have fewer balance changes in them. There is more to be tested, so they have to be locked down earlier and are less reactive. We do have a balance patch for BGs planned

Lastly, the final discount for the existing Battlegrounds Perks has appeared through the in-game Hearthstone Shop. We don't really know for how much longer they're going to be active, however - it could be just a couple of weeks. Purchase at your own risk.

Meanwhile in the Arena

We didn't really bring up Arena during our Patch 24.0 coverage (not even to talk about Tavern Ticket refunds) for a very good reason - similarly to Constructed, nothing new is going to happen for the game mode until the Castle Nathria expansion launches on August 2.

That means it's been over a month since the special Taverns of Time event came back with the current set rotation. Besides some early draft power level adjustments and one Cavern Dreamer earning itself a very justified nerf, there haven't been any other changes. 

Cavern Dreamer Card Image

But we do know what to expect once the Castle Nathria's gates finally open: 

Quote From Blizzard

Arena Updates

On August 2, when Murder at Castle Nathria launches, all current Arena runs will end and a new Arena season will begin. The eligible card sets will rotate so that the following sets will make up the Arena card pool:

One Night in Karazhan
Saviors of Uldum
Rastakahn’s Rumble
Scholomance Academy
Madness at the Darkmoon Faire
Murder at Castle Nathria

Plus their respective Mini-Sets (that part is being implied nowadays). Curiously enough, this will make Darkmoon Faire the only larger expansion in the coming rotation, not counting Core 2022. Going to be one of the smallest Arena card pools in recent memory? And almost exclusively Wild flavored at that, besides Murder at Castle Nathria. 

Faster Pack Opening

If you'd like to mash your spacebar key for a greater purpose, this quality of life update might just be for you! 

Quote From Blizzard

Bug Fixes and Game Improvements

  • You can now hold down the Spacebar to continuously open packs.

Multiple Favorite/Random Hero Skins

Another new feature we talked about ahead of time, now joining the wider selection of card backs! 

Quote From Blizzard
Players can now favorite multiple heroes from the same class in the Hearthstone Collection Manager. If a deck has no specific hero assigned to it, a random hero will be used each game. By default, the random hero is pulled from your pool of favorites, but you can also opt into total randomness by unchecking the “Favorites Only” toggle on a deck, expanding the pool to all eligible heroes you own, just like with card backs. The “Favorites Only” toggle starts checked, but if you decide to uncheck it, we leave it unchecked for future decks you create.

Updated Returning Player Experience

Tell your friends if they haven't visited the tavern in a longer while, for this offer might be tempting enough to enter the Castle Nathria grounds! 

Quote From Blizzard
It is once again an amazing time to come back to Hearthstone! The quest rewards and free deck offered to Returning Players are no longer limited to once per account. Anyone who has been gone from the game for 120+ days will receive the Returning Player rewards, even if they've gotten them before! Let your friends know!

Worth keeping in mind, for anyone whom it might concern:

Quote From Celestalon
Once 24.0 launches, the special returning player rewards (quests and free deck), will be repeatable. So even if you already got them once before, if you’ve been gone 120 days and come back, you’ll get them again.

Wait til 24.0 launches if you want to get these though, or you’ll reset that timer!

New Rewards Track and Skins 

The Castle Nathria Rewards Track is not yet enabled in the game, as that will only take place with the expansion launch on August 2. But you should already be able to view all of the upcoming new skin options through your Collection Manager (or have a look here, where we conveniently list them all) if you've patched to the game version 24.0. It might help you decide whether this future Tavern Pass deal is tempting enough to grab! 

Coincidentally, we've also learned why the Blizzard blog post did not include one large screenshot fitting in as many potential rewards as possible - which is something we saw previously on more than one occasion: 

Quote From DeckTech
curious why there wasnt a screenshot (like sunken city) with all the tavern pass rewards i.e. one that showed the battlegrounds/ hero skins

My understanding is they did a test and that version got worse responses. Presumably because players felt overwhelmed. They went with the version that got better responses.

Hearthstone Shop Updates 

As always, new major patch means new deals in the Hearthstone shop (both in-game and on the Go have a quick peek in case there is anything that catches your fancy. We now have a special post online that covers everything there is to see: 

The highlights include two returning hero skins with discounted pricing; also being purchasable with in-game Gold.

We'll keep updating this post with more information as we continue exploring these locked Castle grounds, so make sure to check back later! What's going to be your first order of business with this major patch?