It's almost time for the Lich King to march upon the city of Silvermoon! No matter which side you are on, we are still a week away from seeing how that struggle might unfold. Best prepare your provisions or reinforce your defenses as the countdown towards what's going to be arguably the biggest Hearthstone expansion to date begins now. 

As this Patch 25.0 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 December 6. Some of the added content for various Hearthstone modes becomes available outright, while some of it will remain locked for a little while longer. It's always that one strange week of being suspended between the two sets: Murder at Castle Nathria which is about to fade away, and March of the Lich King which is about to step in and take over.

The pre-expansion patch traditionally hit the desktop clients to begin with; but it didn't actually take long for the mobile storefronts to catch up (or at least that's true for Android and iOS nowadays, while Amazon tends to lag behind). As the update was released around 10 AM Pacific, it only took about an hour for most of the mobile players to be able to join in on the fun. 

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. 

Also do mind, Castle Nathria Achievements lose their XP bonus once the game is patched to the newest version. If you still wish to finish up collecting any of it, you can always try to postpone updating for as long as you are able - until the Hearthstone client pretty much "forces" you to do so. 

And here are the full patch notes, for reference:

As for a more detailed overview of everything there is to take notice of, now or in the near future:

Castle Nathria Achievements Out, Lich King Achievements In 

No more XP to be had from the Murder at Castle Nathria set, as we've been warning about for the past few days. Hopefully you claimed what you could!

Quote From Blizzard
Murder at Castle Nathria Achievements will stop awarding XP with the launch of Patch 25.0, whereas the Rewards Track will swap over with the launch of March of the Lich King on December 6.

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 fully unlocked on December 6. And even if you manage to finish any, you might wish to hold onto that precious XP for the next featured Rewards Track.

No Marching on Silvermoon Just Yet

As already mentioned, we will have to show some patience and wait until December 6 before all the cards from March of the Lich King become fully available. Meanwhile, you might be able to stumble upon them (or their Discover effects) across your Duels runs. 

Blizzard hasn't posted any special patch video overviews this time around, so this seems like a good time to feature the chilly expansion cinematic trailer once more: 

New Undead and Dual-Type Minions Swarm the Tavern

The Scourge is here early, ready to crash the tavern and take away all your ale. And it's not just the multitude of older minions that has now gained the designated Undead tag as their tribe; some of them can even belong to two distinct factions! This might open up a number of previously unseen synergies. 

Quote From Blizzard
A new minion type has been added with March of the Lich KingUndead! Hundreds of minions from past card sets have been given the new Undead type, along with an army of minions in this expansion. With the addition of Undead, we’ve also added Dual-Type Minions so that we can best capture the essence of these minions. Some past and new minions will now feature two minion types, such as Undead Dragons and Demon Pirates.

MurmyEmerald SkytalonPatches the PiratePlaguemaw the Rotting

Early Constructed Hearthstone Balance 

We learned the what and why of it some weeks ago, but it took until Tuesday, November 29 for the announced card changes to actually go live. If you've been hating on Theotar, the Mad Duke, this second nerf might prove to be rather appealing (although as we saw in Death Knight Showmatch, that didn't exactly stop many competitors from running him anyway). Ice Revenant is more of a precaution, taken with potential March of the Lich King meta in mind.

Theotar, the Mad Duke Card Image Ice Revenant Card Image

But wait, there might be more. Even though the Hearthstone World Championship is scheduled to take place on December 16-18, the Final Design team is ready to step in should anything start looking like it's too overpowered for the new expansion: 

Quote From Aleco
We made sure to have a balance change window available shortly after expansion launch, and we’re ready to make immediate adjustments […]

This is also the final week to enjoy the temporary presence of Knights of the Frozen Throne in Standard!

Duels to the Death... Knight

It's not surprising that Knights of the Frozen Throne set has been invited to stay with Duels for longer (rather than just as a temporary extension of the Core Set), given its thematic overlap with March of the Lich King. Speaking of the latter, you can already start seeing some of the new cards featured across various Buckets, providing you with more options for your decks in between the games. Random and Discover effects might apply as well. 

The revamped Bucket System is also live, so there might already be enough of a distinct feel to the whole thing.

All the rest will have to wait, however. Especially the two new Death Knight heroes. They're not allowed to join in until the Lich King gives out the marching order on December 6

And that's also when the current Duels season will come to an end, retiring any runs in progress and compensating the Heroic ones with a free Tavern Ticket. Make sure you're ready when the time comes!

Chromie as the Time-Tinkering Mercenary

Not exactly what we expected (as it doesn't really say "Death Knight" or anything of the kind), but Chromie is set to find the way to our Village encampment in the near future. Not until December 6, however, when the Mercenary will be instantly claimable from the new free Rewards Track

Unfortunately, the Rattlegore Event is still missing in action. Although the character itself can now be crafted or found in the packs.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Mechanized

Another minor update for another game mode, Battlegrounds seem to prefer mecha-gnomes over any more Death Knights or Undead creatures. Admittedly, they've already got the Lich King there. 

A new Hero and a new Quest Reward; beyond that Bob's Tavern should remain fairly peaceful. 

Step Into the Arena 

We've still got the final week of Dual-Class shenanigans, since a while ago with all Basic cards and Legacy set for Demon Hunter. Get your fill in, as it won't be long now. A new rotation has already been announced for December 6. 

Just like with Duels, Knights of the Frozen Throne will remain in the game mode to overlap with March of the Lich King. Themes and all. 

Quote From Blizzard

On December 6, when March of the Lich King 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:

  • Core
  • Curse of Naxxramus
  • Mean Streets of Gadgetzan
  • Knights of the Frozen Throne*
  • The Witchwood
  • United in Stormwind
  • March of the Lich King
  • Path of Arthas

Additionally, Death Knight will be added as a playable class in Arena. When playing as a Death Knight, Arena deckbuilding will dynamically update as you pick cards so that the Death Knight Rune system is followed.

Mmm, Death Knights. The Rune System will be a curious thing to have for the Arena. And yes, there is also a free Tavern Ticket to gain here. Don't forget! Not that we won't try to remind you again, anyway. 

Improved Duplicate Card Handling

Another new feature that's already live with Patch 25.0, and one we've already discussed in greater detail along with all of its potential implications.

It should be lovely, really. And in case you find yourself in need of a quick reminder: 

Quote From Blizzard

We often include specific non-disenchantable cards as part of Reward Tracks, Events, Achievements, and Shop purchases. Starting with 25.0, if you claim one of these, but already own a lower quality copy that’s disenchantable, you’ll get a popup that offers to re-roll the lower quality copy to a different card of the same rarity from that card set.

For example, Diamond Grand Magister Rommath is on the March of the Lich King Tavern Pass. If you already own a Golden Rommath when you claim the Diamond, you’ll immediately get a popup offering to reroll Golden Rommath into a different March of the Lich King Golden Legendary (which, of course, respects duplicate protection). This feature also applies when you find a Signature card in a pack!


New Rewards Track, Tavern Pass, and Cosmetics

The March of the Lich King Rewards Track is not yet enabled in the game, as that will only take place with the expansion launch on December 6. But you should already be able to view all of the upcoming new Ranked Hero 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 25.0. It might help you decide whether this future Tavern Pass deal is tempting enough to grab! 

Anything else, we've already detailed in its own dedicated post: 

On the Horizon

There are more Hearthstone things that won't really be of any concern until December 6 hits, and March of the Lich King rolls along. And we'll definitely talk about them in greater detail by then. A couple of in-game events have already been teased:

The Death Knight Prologue (to unlock the free Core Set class cards) will also become available just then. 

We'll keep updating this post with more information as we continue marching along with the Lich King, so make sure to check back later! Is there anything from Patch 25.0 that you are already happy to see in the game, or it's mainly all about looking forward to the Death Knights?