Blizzard is lining up to reveal what's next for Hearthstone and, normally, that would entail the game's next expansion. While the new expansion is indeed being unveiled, that's not the only thing on the agenda. There's also the matter of revealing Hearthstone's newest game mode. That game mode is called Hearthstone: Duels and it's releasing in early access today for anybody who opts to buy into the next Hearthstone expansion.
Duels will challenge players to select a Hero, a Hero Power, and a starting treasure, similar to the single-player Dungeon Run roguelike mode from the past. The big difference is that the player's starting deck will be constructed with 15 cards from a rotating group of expansion sets. As players progress through games, their max card slots, starting health, and treasure collection will grow. There will be a Casual version of this mode and a Heroic version for those who feel they can hang with the best of the best. The latter will cost gold or a small fee to enter, similar to Hearthstone's Arena mode. Duels will continue to grow over time, starting with the release of Hearthstone's next expansion, which will double the number of starting heroes and Hero Powers for each of those playable characters.
The Hearthstone Year of the Phoenix roadmap initially called for the new game mode to show up during Scholomance Academy, but with COVID-19 affecting game development around the world, it almost looked like Blizzard wouldn't quite able to hit that target. However, the sudden October release does mean it's still arriving on schedule.
The Casual version of Hearthstone Duels will go into Early Access today, but you'll have to pick up a Madness at the Darkmoon Faire bundle in order to participate. Hearthstone Duels (including Heroic Duels) will officially go into beta on November 17 alongside the release of the upcoming Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion.