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Hearthstone is showing its villainous side in next expansion Rise of Shadows

Arrives next month.

Blizzard has announced that Hearthstone's next expansion, Rise of Shadows, will be coming to all the things (PC, iOS, and Android, to be exact) on April 9th.

Rise of Shadows marks the start of Hearthstone's first-ever year-long storyline, and focusses on a coalition of villains - including familiar faces such as King Togwaggle, Madame Lazul, Dr. Boom, and Hagatha the Witch - as they terrorise the land.

"After suffering defeat at the hands of the League of Explorers," explains Blizzard in a flourish of scene-setting, "Arch-Thief Rafaam realised that his designs on Azeroth would require more roguery than he alone could muster. In the years since, he has dwelled in the shadows, recruiting the greatest antagonists Hearthstone has ever seen to join the League of E.V.I.L.".

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All of which sets the stage for an expansion that enables players to indulge their nefarious side, using 135 "dastardly" new cards. These include new 1/1 minions known as Lackeys, described as "low-level operatives [that] will be crucial in unleashing the League's sinister Schemes", while Schemes are new spells that grow in power each turn they remain in a player's hand.

There's also talk of a mysterious crime-fighting team, known as the Defenders of Dalaran, that can unleash Twinspells - Spells that duplicate themselves when cast, ready to be cast again on a later turn. Blizzards says it will reveal more on the Defenders of Dalaran soon.

Those in a pre-purchase mood have two options as far as Rise of Shadows goes; there's a 50-pack bundle (£44.99) that includes a random Legendary and the Jewel of Lazul card back. Alternatively, there's the 80-pack Mega Bundle (£69.99), featuring a random golden Legendary, the Jewel of Lazul card back, and the new playable priest hero Madame Lazul. Both of these bundles are available now until April 9th.

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