Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain
You have been dubbed “Slayer of Stupid, Incompetent, and Disappointing Minions,” as you prepare to face the final few encounters in the Hidden Laboratory of Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain. You have Nefarian’s cheeky, evil attitude to thank for your ridiculous new title, and it’s small touches like these that really make the trek through several of World of Warcraft’s most popular dungeons and raids feel perfect.
Whether you’re managing the jeers of the crowd and legendary minions en masse in the Dark Iron Arena or attempting to keep Baron Geddon’s bomb from blowing you up, the feel of adventure is refreshing in these single-player encounters and challenges. Unlike Hearthstone’s first adventure, Naxxramas, which tackled a single raid, Blackrock Mountain features highlights from a handful of dungeons and raids.
From brazen dwarves to classic big bads like Ragnaros, Vaelastrasz, and Rend Blackhand, the encounters are all cleverly designed to make players think outside the box and come up with ways to win, typically involving many of the same mechanics as the battles from WoW – in digital card game form!
While not all of the encounters are stellar, most of them are lively and interesting. Managing Garr’s magma, dealing with cool “transition” mechanics during some of the big final battles (You didn’t think you’d get to fight Ragnaros without dealing with Majordomo Executus first, did you?), and seeing the implementation of these raid battles in Hearthstone’s setting is top-notch. There are a couple of lesser encounters, but with three to four fights per wing and one or two class challenges, you’re getting a lot of adventure from Blackrock’s five wings. The new Mage challenge is especially entertaining – winning a battle with a deck of nothing but Unstable Portals. If you still want more, you can tackle heroic modes for a special card back after you wrap up normal mode for 31 all new cards.
The unlockable cards run the gamut, but there are a solid number of dragon-centric cards that may make dragon decks viable in future competitive play. There are a number of new legendaries to acquire, among the coolest being Rend Blackhand “The Legendslayer,” Chromaggus, and Nefarian himself. While it’s tough to speculate what will be the big standouts from Blackrock Mountain, the last adventure set brought us plenty of constructed staples with things like Loatheb, Sludge Belcher, and the now-nerfed Undertaker. It’s possible that dragons won’t become a true competitive option until they see some more tools in an expansion, but things like Dragon Consort and Blackwing Technician are certainly going to be put to the test in the months to come.
Blizzard’s second adventure continues the high standard that Naxxramas set for the digital card game, with plenty of unique voices, sounds, cards, and encounters that ooze their respective World of Warcraft counterpart’s flavor while adding their own unique elements to the ever-evolving Hearthstone landscape. While there’s not a whole lot for players to do in the single-player campaign after they punch out the content on normal and heroic difficulty, the cards that can be acquired here will have impact in casual, ranked, and arena play for years to come.
The feel of adventure is refreshing in these single-player encounters and challenges.