Murder at Castle Nathria, Hearthstone’s newest expansion, feels great. I never thought I’d be writing this blog, as I’ve quit the game so many times (and rarely on amicable terms), that I could’ve sworn to you just a few weeks ago that I had zero interest in ever coming back. But the truth is, Murder at Castle Nathria is a blast, and the game’s meta feels fun, fast, and – at times – as delightfully frustrating as it ever has.
To dive in a little deeper, let’s start with the mechanics and go from there.
Right off the rip, Murder at Castle Nathria’s Infuse keyword has really grabbed me. I don’t think I’ve seen a keyword like this (except last expansion’s Dredge, which is also pretty great) that seamlessly fit into the game’s other mechanics and keywords – which at this point are becoming too much to keep track of. Keywords are probably incredibly daunting for new players to try and remember, and even for someone like me that has played Hearthstone off and on since beta, they’ve become a chore to memorize.
Luckily, Infuse is very straightforward. If you’ve got an Infuse card in your hand, hang onto it. Once a number of your friendly minions die equal to the card’s Infuse number, the card will gain the listed special effect. This gives players some great ways to swing board control in their favor, gain extra draw power, or just pump minions up to become even bigger. Can’t (or don’t want to) wait for the Infuse benefit? The card’s probably still pretty strong! But patience pays off big with Murder at Castle Nathria.
Location, Location, Location
The other new card type for this expansion, Locations, is also really shaking up the way people build their decks. Location cards take up a spot on your board like a minion would, but can’t be “killed” by removal spells or enemy minions. Each Location does something different, and there’s one unique location per class.
Once every other turn, you can simply drag the Location to cast it onto one of your minions (or enemies) and gain the benefits of that effect. Each Location has a one turn cooldown, but this type of variation in the card types you see in Hearthstone is an incredibly welcome change. A buff or debuff that can be applied at-will when it’s off “cooldown” without fear of triggering Secrets? YES PLEASE.
Ranked Feels Fresh, Finally
All these new mechanics have really shaken up Hearthstone’s meta as well. A few weeks back I was not impressed watching some Hearthstone Grandmasters matches, as it seemed like every deck being used involved two players playing solitaire on their sides of the board for a few minutes until one of them had an OTK win condition built out. Not great. The current Ranked ladder, however, is FAST. Hearthstone’s meta is awash with decks that constantly jockey for board control, remove minions en masse, and pump damage unlike anything I’ve seen in probably the last half dozen expansions.
It feels good to grind Ranked ladder again, because there’s so many options (and affordable ones at that) to counteract previously invincible control decks with board-shredding tempo archetypes.
Overall, I’m loving Murder at Castle Nathria. If you haven’t played in a while, jump back in. You probably have a ton of cards to disenchant which will give you a nice leg up on the new meta. If you’re totally new to the game, you can always start with the “Classic” set and ranked mode, where everyone has the same cards. It’s a great way to get a taste for the game.
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