With the new March of the Lich King expansion getting closer and closer to its release date (which, in case you missed it, is December 6th), the question of which Legendary cards might receive the coveted Diamond quality treatment has featured prominently among the Hearthstone community.
As you might know, Diamond cards were introduced back in Forged in the Barrens as the 'ultimate' cosmetic: while they aren't craftable, disenchantable, and cannot be opened from packs, Diamond cards feature a 3D animation of a collectable Legendary from the same set. Therefore, they do not bring any gameplay implications: they're just very shiny!
Some examples of Diamond cards we've received throughout the expansions.
Of course now that we are also aware of yet another cosmetic quality tier in the form of upcoming Signature cards, this space is starting to become rather crowded. But, we're only going to focus on the Diamond 'direction' in here! As it turns out, March of the Lich King is going to feature even more of them than anyone might've possibly expected.
You Get a Diamond Card, And You Get One, Everybody Gets One! Especially Mages
Blizzard has recently shared more information regarding the upcoming "reroll" feature: while doing so, the blog post mentioned an example regarding the Mage Legendary Grand Magister Rommath, which gave us indirect proof that Rommath will receive a Diamond quality version for the next expansion.
To be more specific, Blizzard mentioned that Rommath will be on the March of the Lich King Tavern Pass: this means that it won't be available for free to everyone, but you'll have to purchase the new expansion's pass first.
However, this raises additional questions: does this mean that we already know both Diamond Legendaries for March of the Lich King? Why did Mage receive yet another Diamond Legendary option; something many people in the community were very quick to notice and point out?
Starting from the first question, the answer is no: unlike any other expansion in the past, March of the Lich King will feature a whopping total of 5 Diamond Legendaries! Hearthstone Features Lead Chadd "Nervig" Celestalon unveiled it in a recent Twitter thread, together with many other interesting insights.
Quote From Celestalon
Most expansions have 2 or sometimes 3 Diamond cards. This time, there are 5.
In particular, Celestalon revealed that their initial intention was to "Diamondize" the entire canon Blood Elf council, consisting of Halduron Brightwing, Grand Magister Rommath, Lor'themar Theron and Blood Matriarch Liadrin; on top of it, Team 5 planned to give Death Knight one Diamond Legendary.
Quote From Celestalon
In this case, we planned to diamondize the entire canon Blood Elf council: Halduron, Rommath, Lor'themar, Liadrin, plus one of the the Death Knight cards.
In the end, the team had to pivot: Celestalon noted that, for as good as it is, Halduron Brightwing's art couldn't take on the "Diamondization" particularly well, so they ended up giving Death Knight an additional (and "officially unknown" so far) Diamond card - perhaps it could be one Deathbringer Saurfang? It's a Core card, so who knows...
Quote From Celestalon
However, things don't always go as planned; not every art piece is well-suited for being diamondized. That turned out to be the case with Halduron's art; a beautiful piece, but it posed problems for diamondizing.
So, we looked for suitable alternatives, and ended up swapping Haldruon for a second Death Knight card. It's the launch of DK, people are going to be excited about it, and another of theirs was a known character that was well-suited to it.
The second, as we have been aware of the first designated Diamond card for Death Knight for a longer while now: Lady Deathwhisper will become a purchasable option. This particular cosmetic was mentioned in the Death Knight Deep Dive article that Blizzard published together with the new class announcement. More specifically, it states that this can be achieved by buying the Golden version of Path of Arthas (purchasable with either money or 7000 Runestones, or as part of the Pre-Purchase Mega Bundle for the expansion), or found as a standalone product.
Quote From Blizzard
The entire Path of Arthas is included in the March of the Lich King Pre-Purchase Mega Bundle. Once the expansion goes live, the Path of Arthas will also be available for standalone purchase in either normal (2000 Gold or 1500 Runestones) or Golden offerings (money or 7000 Runestones). The Golden version includes Golden copies of all the cards in the Path of Arthas and a bonus Diamond copy of the Lady Deathwhisper Diamond Legendary card.** Path of Arthas cards can’t be opened from packs, they can only be purchased as part of the pre-purchase Mega Bundle, purchased as a standalone purchase, or crafted.
** Lady Deathwhisper Diamond Legendary card will also be available for purchase as a standalone product.
Moreover, as we have already mentioned: many members of the Hearthstone community took issue with the fact that Mage already has 2 and a half Diamond Legendaries in Balinda Stonehearth, Commander Sivara and Jandice Barov. What's the point in giving the class another Diamond option, when there are other classes like Hunter, Demon Hunter and Warlock which have yet to receive any?
Fortunately for us, Celestalon shared some insights on this matter as well. Here are the most salient points:
- Diamond (and Signature) cards are decided fairly early in the design process, so that artists have enough time to do their work.
- It is possible that, during development, one card gets moved from one class to another.
- This is exactly what happened with Grand Magister Rommath, which was initially a Neutral Legendary and was later moved to Mage.
Quote From Celestalon
Thought of more relevant info to share. We also have to decide on which cards to make Diamond and Signature art for, early enough in the process, to have time for that to happen in time. And a lot can still change in that time when it comes to card design.
For example, there is at least 1 Signature card for every class. But there is also one card that was in DK when we picked it for Signature, and moved to Neutral. And one that was in Neutral, and moved to… you guessed it, Mage.
I know, I know, I can hear the "Devs love Mages!" cries from here. But it wasn't that way when we picked it to Signature! It wasn't intended that Mages got 2 Signatures, it's just the result of simultaneous processes that both take time. (The extra one is free, from event.)
Sneak Peeks From the Death Knight Showmatch
During the Death Knight Preview Showmatch tournament that took place on Twitch last week, we got the chance to take a closer look at how Patch 25.0 will look like: over the duration of the event, those with keen eyes were able to spot several details, hinting at unannounced novelties that Team 5 is very likely to introduce to the public in the coming weeks. While we've already covered the fact that, once Patch 25.0 goes live, Hearthstone will receive a new in-game event, some people were sharp enough to spot certain Diamond cards and their animations!
The first one is Lor'themar Theron, Neutral Legendary from the March of the Lich King expansion which will receive a Signature version too.
Picture taken from Nohandsgamer's stream (Source).
The second known example is Lady Deathwhisper, Triple Frost Death Knight Legendary minion from Path of Arthas. If you've been following the official broadcast, you could even catch it in action during Day 1, featured in a Round 6 match between Meati and Cantelope.
Picture taken from Meati's stream (Source).
Ben Hearthstone also mentioned that they caught a glimpse of Diamond Deathbringer Saurfang, although they weren't fast enough to take a screenshot or some other proof to share with the community.
Time will give us all the answers we need, although it seems strange to us that Team 5 might've created a Diamond version of a card that is part of the Core Set, an expansion that isn't craftable to begin with! Some sort of an achievement?
Retroactive Diamond Cards on the Way
On a final note, Celestalon confirmed Team 5's intention to keep releasing more Diamond cards for past expansions!
Some very popular cards from the past (or the present, hi Brann) that definitively deserve a Diamond upgrade.
Quote From Celestalon
Any Plans to Diamondize some older popular legendaries? Emperor Thaurissan, Brann Bronzebeard, Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, The Lich King all stand out as good contenders!
Yep, still planning to do more of that over time!
In case you're not aware, we've actually published a number of articles with wishful suggestions as to which Legendaries from older sets Team 5 should upgrade to Diamond. If you're curious, make sure to check them out and tell us what do you think!
- Hearthstone's First Two Years - The Initial Sets
- The Year of the Kraken
- The Year of the Mammoth
- The Year of the Raven
- The Year of the Dragon
- The Year of the Phoenix
Fantastic Diamond Cards and Where to Find Them
Apart from Lady Deathwhisper (and partially Grand Magister Rommath), we have no solid information regarding how you'll be able to obtain Diamond Lor'themar Theron and all the other featured Diamond Legendaries: in order for that to happen, we'll probably have to wait for the reveal season to be over, and the new patch notes to appear.
However, we can look at the past and see how we could obtain all the other Diamond cards that have been released so far:
- Purchasing the Tavern Pass - starting from Forged in the Barrens, purchasing the Tavern Pass has always granted players a bonus Diamond card, unlockable on each respective expansion's paid Rewards Track.
- For example, Barrens got us Blademaster Samuro, Stormwind brought Varian, King of Stormwind and Alterac awarded Korrak the Bloodrager.
- Obtaining at least 25 Legendary cards from the same expansion, part of the Achievements system - a very stiff requirement, but the 4 Legendaries added in each expansion's Mini-Set definitely help towards this count.
- Purchase directly from the in-game shop - although it has happened only once in the past with Drek'Thar (a marketing operation which was met with rather poor reception), this is exactly what's planned to repeat in a few weeks with Lady Deathwhisper.
What do you think about all these upcoming Diamond cards and their higher than usual number? Are you going to do all it takes to collect them? Let us know in the comments below!
Their choices for Diamond cards are often strange to me. Lor'themar Theron, for instance - how many people will be successfully playing him? It isn't a great card, and if it were it'd be a niche card.
I think the most often played cards should be Diamond. That in mind, it'd be fun if the Diamond card were decided AFTER the expansion launch - imagine a Horde V Alliance sort of event to decide which legendary gets the Diamond treatment.
The art cycle for Standard could make that difficult, granted, but perhaps it could work for Diamondizing Wild cards?
As per Celestalon's comment, the diamond versions are decided by artwork, not by playability. We don't know what goes into designing these diamond cards aside from that. Artwork and the card's viability have nothing to do with each other either so expect many more diamond cards to be unplayable.
That's exactly what we had with Vanndar and Drek'thar in AV (not counting the very expensive Drek'thar version being made available to purchase later on).
Diamond Kel'Thuzad please