The initial buildup for One Night in Karazhan was mixed; on the one hand, players were excited to receive some new cards and freshen up the meta. On the other hand, the cards that were revealed before the launch… well, they turned out to be unusual or straight out bad (we’re looking at you, Purify).
Still, I was looking forward to the new experience. After all, I’m always game for collecting new cards, and the promotional material promised an expansion with a lighthearted, fun tone.
When I started the introductory mission, I was expecting to have to choose a deck and fight the boss. Not so; it starts with a pre-built deck of overpowered cards and a fresh new way to play the game. It’s pretty easily beaten on one’s first try, but nevertheless, I had a lot of fun.
Each of the four wings after that included plenty of fun challenges. The first wing introduced a chess-like battle to the world of Hearthstone; the second ; the third included bosses with Taunt and who could only be damaged by their own minions; and finally, the fourth introduced some mechanics that forced creativity while trying to keep buffs on you and off of the opponent. While the randomness of the game could hinder some of the fun, I found most of the boss fights to be intriguing and satisfying.
But of course, Hearthstone adventures are about a whole lot more than the boss fights; the most important part is the new cards. There are 45 new cards that add a whole bunch of new flavor to the game. There aren’t a whole lot of new mechanics included (save for a card that adds 5 extra Legendary minions to your deck at the very start of the game), but there are plenty of cards that synergize well with current archetypes. A few are just bizarre (there’s a handful that encourage building a deck with Beasts, Dragons, and Murlocs), and some are terrible (again, Purify), but all around it’s a pretty decent set of new cards.
More importantly, though, this new set could be responsible for some upcoming changes in Hearthstone; specifically, certain cards are being banned from the Arena mode because they’re either too powerful or not strong enough. This comes after Blizzard specifically stated before One Night in Karazhan was released, that the new Purify card would not be included in Arena. (This isn’t the first card to be banned from Arena, though; C’Thun and his buff cards were banned from Arena when the last expansion launched because it would be virtually impossible to build a decent deck with them in that game mode.) I appreciate that Blizzard is listening to feedback and trying to figure out ways to improve the game as a whole, but… perhaps a better solution would have been to give certain classes better cards to begin with.
All in all, though, I recommend this expansion. The boss fights offer plenty of challenge, and the new cards definitely help to shape the meta going forward.
Price: $20 or less.
Platform(s): Windows, macOS, Android, iOS.