Hearthstone "Descent of Dragons" Coming Next Month, Battlegrounds Auto-Battler Next Week

The most dragon-filled Hearthstone expansion yet.

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Hearthstone news has been overshadowed by an ongoing controversy of late, but Blizzard used its fan event BlizzCon to promote the next big expansion coming to its popular digital CCG. It's called Descent of Dragons, and it's coming on December 10. Pre-purchases are now open.

The new expansion boasts more dragons than any other single expansion. To that end the five EVIL classes--Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior--will be able to use the Galakrond Hero Card, with unique powers for each. Upgrading Galakrond before playing with the new Invoke keyword will double and then quadruple its Battlecry power, whether he's in your hand or deck--similar to the C'Thun card from Whispers of the Old Gods. All five versions of Galakrond will be a free login bonus when the set launches.

Blizzard also announced that each class will get its own Legendary dragon. The first of these shown off was a Druid Legendary, Ysera Unleashed. It shuffles 7 Dream Portals into your deck that summon random dragons. A new Shaman card, Lightning Breath, does 4 damage, but also hits neighbors if you're holding a dragon. The announcement also revealed "Sidequests" mechanic, similar to Quests but with smaller, early-game rewards. Sidequests won't start in your hand like regular Quests.

This will be the third and final expansion of this annual season of Hearthstone, which has told a continuous, ongoing story. In the first part, Rise of Shadows, the arch-thief Rafaam gathered a "League of EVIL" composed of other Hearthstone villains and stole the entire magical city of Dalaran. In the second part, Saviors of Uldum, the heroic League of Explorers rose to take on a set of plagues unleashed by Rafaam's goons. This final piece will complete the story. Check out our gallery of all the cards revealed so far.

As usual, the new expansion is available for pre-purchase now. A 60-pack bundle for $50 includees a Golden Legendary and Shattering card back. The 100-pack Mega Bundle includes those plus a Deathwing Warrior Hero alternate. They cost $50 and $80, respectively.

Blizzard also announced a completely new mode for Hearthstone called Battlegrounds. The new 8-player mode is inspired by the popular auto-battler genre, and has you team up to send minions against AI opponents. An open beta will begin on November 12, but BlizzCon and Virtual Ticket holders can start playing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Blizzard also crowned a new champion during the weekend's festivities. Chinese player Li "VKLiooon" Xiaomeng won the first of the new "Grandmasters" championship events, becoming the first female global champion. In comments after the match she encouraged females watching not to be discouraged by people who say esports is not for them.

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