Earlier today, Blizzard unveiled Hearthstone's 10th playable class. The Demon Hunter will be the centerpiece of the new Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland expansion, but those looking to try the new class out won't have to wait until it's released. No, the Demon Hunter will be playable on April 7, with players able to start working to unlock it on April 2 through the free Demon Hunter Prologue misisons.
So what is the Demon Hunter class? How does it work? What are its mechanics? Are we prepared?
Shacknews recently had the opportunity to try out the Demon Hunter for ourselves and we have some early pointers for Hearthstone players.
Demon Hunter Hero Power - Hearthstone
The Demon Hunter Hero Power is basically half the Druid Hero Power, in that it offers +1 Attack without the +1 Armor. Because of that, the cost of the Demon Hunter Hero Power is cut in half. This can combined with a number of cards that can amplify the Demon Hunter's attack power and make it an aggressive force on the board.
Demon Hunter Basic Cards and Starter Set - Hearthstone
Here are all of the cards that players can expect to earn by completing the Demon Hunter Prologue Missions.
How to unlock Demon Hunter - Hearthstone
The Demon Hunter will be free to all Hearthstone players. However, you'll have to work for it. On April 2, Blizzard will release the Demon Hunter Prologue missions, which will tell the story of Illidan Stormrage. Complete these missions and you will receive the Illidan Stormrage Demon Hunter hero for free, along with the Demon Hunter starter set.
Demon Hunter strategies - Hearthstone
Demon Hunter has a number of strong opening plays, even if it's just simply Hero Power on Turn 1. Sightless Watcher will do a world of good on Turn 2, allowing you to pick what goes to the top of your deck. Use that effect wisely.
Of the Demon Hunter's cards, many of them include Attack boosts for the Hero character. Weapons like Flamereaper and Aldrachi Warblades will be a powerful tool, especially when combined with class cards like Twin Slice and strong Neutral minions like Captain Greenskin. Don't be afraid to trade with threatening minions, especially if you have the Lifesteal resources to make up for it. One thing to note about Demon Hunter is that there a lot of Attack-boosting cards for your hero character. The 8-Cost Inner Demon card will give your hero +8 Attack, but can be very expensive. However, if you combine it with Kael'thas Sunstrider, you might have a potential finishing combo. Simply drop Kael'thas and use the 0-Cost Twin Slice and Second Slice, which will make the Inner Demon play free. That's +12 Attack for just 6 Mana, a play that Leeroy Jenkins would be proud of.
Outcast effects can determine who goes ahead over the course of a game, but don't be afraid to use cards without them. Sometimes, a card can be strong enough on its own without the Outcast effect. For example, Consume Magic as a Silence effect is good enough on its own if there's something particularly threatening on-board. Illidari Felblade not having that Immune effect isn't ideal, but if there's something on-board that could potentially do damage on the next turn, then use it. Outcast effects should be seen as pleasant bonuses, but don't think of them as mandatory for success, with one noteworthy exception. The new Altruis the Outcast Legendary can be critical in keeping the board under control, so try and get some Outcast bonuses while you're taking advantage of his effect.
More than anything, the early days of Demon Hunter will be defined by a player's resiliency with the available Neutral cards. So don't be afraid to put together a strong Highlander deck. Zephrys the Great and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza can be difference-makers in any deck and should fill much of the void that would normally be filled by class cards. This will also allow for extra flexibility by allowing room for stronger Neutral Legendaries, like Archmage Vargoth, which can play nicely with spells like Mana Burn, Blade Dance, Soul Cleave, or Feast of Souls. The Demon Hunter may not have a strong finisher yet, but that'll be where Zephrys could come in handy.
Whatever your strategy may be, try and mulligan for Sightless Watcher to start your game. Again, this is a solid Turn 2 play, giving you a 3/2 minion and allowing you to put a potential follow-up or win condition card at the top of your deck to draw next.
We'll undoubtedly see more powerful Demon Hunter strategies and combos come into play as Hearthstone enters the Year of the Phoenix. If we see anything especially handy or game-breaking, we'll update our strategies section. In the meantime, be sure to get prepared, because the Demon Hunter comes to Hearthstone on April 7.