After highlighting the Horde with Forged in the Barrens then the Alliance with United in Stormwind, Blizzard brings together the two iconic factions in a final battle, a place of battles between World of Warcraft players. Divided in the Alterac Valley is the third and final expansion of the Year of the Griffin, the nineteenth of the Blizzard card game. In this sense, she does not revolutionize anything: just like her older sisters, she brings a set of 135 new playable cards, a new keyword and a mechanic never seen before.
But before we get into these new features, let’s start with the main star of Divided in the Alterac Valley : heroes. This is a type of card that is already known to Heartstone veterans since it entered in August 2017 when the expansion was released. Knights of the Frozen Throne. These legendary cards allow players who play them to control a character much more powerful than the one corresponding to the chosen class (Shaman, Hunter, Demon Hunter, Warlock, Druid, Warrior, Mage, Paladin, Priest and Thief). They are all accompanied by a war cry (effect that is triggered when the card is played from the hand) and a special heroic power (usable once per turn).
And overall, it’s a winning bet made by Blizzard. These hero cards bring a new way of playing, encourage the creation of new decks without being essential. To say that they are not powerful would be a lie, but it must be recognized that they cannot carry entire parts on their shoulders as it could have been in the days of Knights of the Frozen Throne. A finding all the more appreciable insofar as new players arrive and may feel obliged to put their hands in their pockets when a set of cards arrives.
Beyond the hero cards, a new keyword accompanies the Alterac expansion: it is the Honorable Victory. This mechanic is activated when the amount of damage inflicted corresponds to the number of life points (or HP) of the target opponent. In short: an opposing servant is at 2 VP. If the player inflicts exactly two damage to that creature with a card with the text honorable victory, a bonus effect will be triggered. And a week after the expansion, this keyword does not leave an indelible mark in play. While it is difficult to say if this impression is related to the lack of decks with cards with this keyword, it is certain that honorable victory mark less than did exchangeable, the keyword for United in Stormwind. Roughly speaking, VH offers less strategic depth and is less central to player decision-making.
An observation that can also be made for Goals. These are spells that change the course of the game, for a limited time. For example, the snow cemetery is a map Thief which allows whoever plays it to trigger their death groans (bonus effect that occurs when a minion dies) twice for three turns. As for the mechanics of Honorable Victory, the Goals are just new spells more than a full-fledged type of cards that would refresh a losing game of new stuff.
If we can regret the strategic depth of these novelties, we must salute the ability of Blizzard to have published 405 maps in connection with the Horde / Alliance clash. A conflict that takes on even more meaning with an indirect battle between the players. Since the expansion’s release, players have had to choose between one of two factions. Once the Alliance or Horde is chosen, the player recovers honor after the games they play.. As the honor points he earns, the player rises in rank (as in WoW) and recovers rewards.
But of course, the entertainment offered by an extension does not depend only on the quality of the cards and the keywords published. It also depends on the decks played by the opponent. However, the latter often chooses decks meta, which is to say one of the strongest decks in the game. This meta is unstable at the start of the expansion: professional players test new features and try to find the best performing decks. And for the moment, these are Garrote thief and Warlock Quest… decks from the previous expansion, which have already undergone modifications aimed at reducing their potency. So yes, some new card decks are emerging such as Paladin Trogg or Shaman Frost.. However, they are not yet strong enough to shake up current decks.
Winning games with these 2 decks feels incredibly easy compared to the ” new op nerf pls decks ”. The meta either didn’t change much or we didn’t figure out good new decks. Don’t feel like any nerves are needed for the most part unlike maybe buffs instead. pic.twitter.com/bBa1Rrhmwx
– Kevin Eberlein (@Casie_HS) December 12, 2023
Winning two games with these decks seems a lot easier than with the “new too strong decks”. Either the meta hasn’t changed that much, or we haven’t been able to find good new decks.
An observation observed by Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, professional player of Heartstone and member of the European league of “Grandmasters“bringing together the 48 best in the world.
In general, the cards of the expansion Divided in the Alterac Valley is more at the service of World of Warcraft fans than to players looking for a brain-warming card game experience. Conclusion obliged or even forced to a year of Griffon which put forward the two emblematic factions of the game of Blizzard, this nineteenth expansion gets its feet in the battlefield. The fault of less exciting mechanics and a meta stuck in the extension before. The wait may be long before the arrival of the new Hearthstonian year, probably scheduled for next spring.