The Undead swarm is upon us while Silvermoon Elves brace themselves for impact, as March of the Lich King releases today! Hearthstone expands ever further with 145 distinct cards, as well as a brand new Death Knight class, letting you play as the renowned Lord of the Scourge. There's lots of other notable things, too, which can make for a stressful time for those unprepared. So it's a good thing we're here to assist!
Welcome to our March of the Lich King Survival Guide, where we'll walk you through what is Hearthstone's biggest expansion yet! This is a general overview, with relevant links to other resources on the site should you wish to learn any additional details. Now, let's put on our winter gear and get ready for the arrival of the literal coolest bad guy on Azeroth!
When Does March of the Lich King Launch?
March of the Lich King should launch at or around 10 AM Pacific (1 PM Eastern, 19:00 CET). Refer to the countdown below - make sure your computer's clock is correct.
March of the Lich King Quick Facts
- New Class: Death Knight - The 11th class in the game is quite literally very cool.
- Class Mechanic: Corpses - Every time a minion dies, gain a Corpse. Spend Corpses to gain powerful effects.
- Deckbuilding Mechanic: Runes - Death Knight cards can have one of three runes: Blood, Frost, and Unholy. These dictate how you build your deck.
- Path of Arthas - A set of 26 cards which cannot be found in packs and must either be crafted of purchased with 2000 Gold or 1500 Runestones.
- Learn more with our in-depth look at all things Death Knight.
- 145 new cards added to the game - That's an extra 10 compared to the previous expansions, to account for the new class. Visit our March of the Lich King Expansion Guide to see them all.
- New Keyword: Manathirst - Gain a bonus effect if you have reached a certain amount of permanent mana crystals.
- Returning Keyword: Reborn - Last seen during the Year of the Dragon, Reborn is now an Evergreen keyword, meaning we'll see it from time to time in the future. When a Minion with Reborn dies, it comes back with 1 Health and without the Reborn keyword.
- New Minion Type: Undead - For Minions that are mostly dead, but not completely.
- Dual Type Minions - Minions that have more than one Type. That Invincible looks menacing.
- Improved Card Duplicate Protection - This update is already in effect.
- New Cosmetic Card Quality: Signature Cards - Uncraftable and unique, they replace Normal Commons in packs (~1 in 181).
March of the Lich King Freebies
We've got a couple of freebies in March of the Lich King, including the refreshed Rewards Track.
- Log in to receive a free copy of The Sunwell Legendary.
- This has been available since the patch that introduced the pre-order bundles, so you may already own the card.
- Visit the Rewards Track to claim a free Lor'themar Theron Legendary for Constructed, and free Chromie for Mercenaries.
- Storming through the initial levels doesn't take long if you have your weekly Quests available, with expansion and Standard card packs along the way and perks such as Random Epic/Legendary card. Here is our advice!
- New and returning players can get a free deck if they haven't logged-in for the past 120 days. This now also works and refreshes even if you have previously taken advantage of the offer.
Reminder: Sync Your Collection to Out of Cards Automatically
We've got a plugin available for Hearthstone Deck Tracker! You can use this plugin to automatically sync your collection, which can help you find decks to play on the site with personalized crafting costs.
- You can access your collection manager by using your user dropdown on the site's navigation. Click "HS Collection".
- Collections are private and are not shared with other users.
- Calculations are performed in-browser to prevent the servers from melting.
We have a new type of Minion in the tavern. This tribe is all about animated corpses, walking skeletons, and other beings that should be dead but aren't. They have their own unique mechanic, with effects that trigger if a friendly Undead died after your last turn (basically during your opponent's turn or your own).
Death Knights make use of Undead the most (we'll get to them), but Druid, Rogue, Priest, Shaman, and Warlock also dip their toes into the new tribe this expansion.
Undead tend to be something else as well, so Blizzard has introduced Dual-Type minions into the game. This will be retroactively applied to older cards as well, at it will not be limited only to Undead minions. This should open up design space for future cards, as well as allow for better decks focused on tribal synergies.
Rattle Your Dead
To tie in with the theme of undeath, several classes will get some Deathrattle synergy this expansion. Rogue is no stranger to the morbid keyword, but Shaman and Warlock will get support for it for the first time. Druid, Priest, and Warlock are also getting resurrection effects, as that's how Undead are made. These 5 classes are thematically allied with the Scourge, and in service of The Lich King.
Manathirsting for Vengence
If the aforementioned 6 classes embrace the Undead and their power, the remaining 5 reject it and fight against it. Demon Hunter, regular Hunter, Mage, Paladin, and Warrior all make use of the Manathirst mechanic, which gains a bonus effect if you have the specified amount of Mana Crystals (they don't have to be unspent, just that you've reached that threshold).
To reflect this opposition to the Scourge, the cards for these classes are themed around Blood Elves, who were greatly affected by The Lich King when he destroyed The Sunwell. Each Class also gets a Blood Elf Legendary minion (pictured below) to solidify this association.
Those classes also offer support for archetypes or mechanics that they already had access to in the past. Here's what each one is getting:
- Demon Hunter - Outcast.
- Hunter - Hero attacking, Zombeast.
- Mage - Arcane Spells.
- Paladin - Divine Shield.
- Warrior - Taunt.
March of the Lich King Diamond and Signature Cards
This time around, there are 5 featured Diamond cards for the expansion. But some of them have to be purchased separately. You can learn more here.
18 new Signature Cards follow their own "reverse duplicate protection" rule and can be found as an additional bonus mainly through packs and some special means. Here is everything you should know about them.
March of the Lich King Coins
Two coins to raise the dead with:
- Silvermoon Coin - Earned by completing 90 levels of the Rewards Track. (Requires paid Tavern Pass)
- Scourge Coin - Earned by collecting 145 unique March of the Lich King cards.
New March of the Lich King Achievements
Blizzard has added a fresh batch of achievements to the game for March of the Lich King. If you're looking to farm experience, these have some great potential in helping you complete the Rewards Track earlier than by just playing games alone. You can check out all the new XP achievements here!
Class Breakdown and Day 1 Decks
Like last expansion, we've combined our class reviews with Day 1 decks for you to play. Aside from the Undead/Blood Elf split mentioned in the previous sections, each class also gets a specific mechanic to try out in the expansion. Check out our class reviews below to see what's in store for each. If you're looking for more decks to try out, we've got you covered.
Saving the best for last, we have a new class in the game! This is the second class to be introduced, after Demon Hunter, and the 11th one overall. There's quite a lot to discuss here, so let's break it down into digestible chunks.
Unlocking the Class and Path of Arthas
Before you can unlock the class, you'll need to finish a prologue mission, similar to how Demon Hunter worked. This will give you access to the class and it's Core Set of cards.
Then there's Path of Arthas, a 26-card set whose cards can't be obtained from packs, only by crafting them or buying the set for 2000 Gold/1500 Runestones. It's basically a mini-set for DK.
Runes and Corpses
Runes are a new deckbuilding mechanic exclusive to Death Knights. Their cards can have between 0 and 3 runes of a certain type, and there are 3 types of runes: Blood, Frost, and Unholy. You can combine the runes however you want, assuming the cards you put in your deck match the combination you chose. For example, if your deck is Blood, Blood, Unholy (or BBU, for short), you can't put Lord Marrowgar in it, as he's UUU.
A class needs a Hero Power, and that's Ghoul Charge for Death Knight. It summons a 1/1 Ghoul (2/1 when upgraded) with Charge that dies at the end of your turn. This works great with Corpses, a keyword specific for Death Knights. When a minion dies, you get a Corpse, and there are cards that spend Corpses to gain various effects.
You can learn more about Death Knight's mechanics from our dedicated guide.
Duels Death Knights
Aside from constructed, the new class is also coming to Duels with two new heroes: Scarlet Leafdancer and Sai Shadestorm. If you're itching to see what they can do, we have four deck theorycrafts for you to check out. Or, if you prefer the classics, we have seven decks for you to try with the new passive treasures that were added with the two Death Knights.
March of the Lich King Trailer
Well, this is different. This is Hearthstone's very first fully animated trailer (as opposed to using some still images with minimal motion), and it's pretty damn great! This one also gives us a small glimpse of gameplay, to get us hyped for the expansion. Hopefully, the old style of cinematic isn't completely gone, as it had its own charm. In the meantime, enjoy Arthas vs Liadrin!
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