Hearthstone: March of the Lich King adds playable Death Knight class

The Death Knight is Hearthstone's 11th playable class and the game's most complex to date.


It's close to the end of 2022 and that means it's time for the last Hearthstone expansion of the year. However, Blizzard has something special lined up for this latest expansion. After the levity of the last few expansions, it's time to dive into something a little heavier with the long-awaited return of the Lich King. The new March of the Lich King expansion is not just bringing doom and gloom, though. He's also bringing along Hearthstone's 11th playable class: the Death Knight.

The Death Knight has some catching up to do with Hearthstone's other classes, which is why it will debut with 32 free core set cards to go along with the other 36 cards that it will receive with the new expansion. It will feature a brand new mechanic called Corpses. Individual minions that die under the Death Knight's control are added to the Corpse count, which can then be used as a form of currency to activate specific card effects. One way to add to that Corpse count is through the Death Knight's new Hero Power. Ghoul Charge will summon a 1/1 Undead minion with Charge, which dies at the end of the Death Knight's turn. This minion can simply be used as something to throw at the opponent's face, but it can be used in other ways, such as for cards that require minion sacrifices. To further help up that Corpse count, the Death Knight is getting a classic keyword for its ranks going forward. Reborn makes its return from Saviors of Uldum and will be used primarily as a Death Knight mainstay.

The other major aspect of Death Knight is that it features the most complex builds ever for a Hearthstone class and it's because of the new Rune system. Runes come in Blood, Frost, and Unholy varieties and players will select any combination of three prior to building their Death Knight deck. Depending on which Rune build is used, players will gain access to certain cards while others are locked off. This almost makes the Death Knight three classes in one, just because a Blood Death Knight plays so differently from the Frost and Unholy Death Knights. Likewise, combination Death Knights (BBF, UUF, FFB, BFU, etc.) are their own animal and can be dangerous in their own ways.

Patchwerk card art for Hearthstone: March of the Lich King
Patchwerk only requires one Blood Rune to use in your Death Knight deck.
Source: Blizzard

Notice that Ghoul Charge specifies that it raises an Undead minion. Yes, Undead is a new minion tribe that covers the myriad of living dead minions in Hearthstone. The Undead label is retroactive, applying to hundreds of past Hearthstone minions, which has led to a totally different change. The question of "Is this Undead or is this something else?" came up dozens of times, which has led to dual tribes. Minions like Skeletal Dragon (Undead/Dragon) and Cookie the Cook (Murloc/Pirate), just to name two examples, will be among those sporting new dual minion types. This promises to shake up Hearthstone in a massive way, introducing a copious amount of new interactions.

Going back to the expansion itself, March of the Lich King tells the story of the fallen Arthas leading the Scourge into battle against the Blood Elves of Qual'Thalas. With the Blood Elves' ongoing dependence on the Sunwell, this expansion will introduce the new Manathirst mechanic. Manathirst cards have base stats and occasional effects, but they'll have a much greater effect if players reach a Mana threshhold. For example, a Manathirst (10) card will activate its effect when the player has 10 Mana Crystals. The effect will not cost any additional mana to activate.

There's a lot more to say about Hearthstone: March of the Lich King and the new Death Knight class. We'll have more to say about the Death Knight, specifically, later today at Shacknews. As for the expansion itself, that is set to release on Tuesday, December 6 to Hearthstone to help round out the Year of the Hydra. To make the wait a little easier, the next month of the Hearthstone meta is about to get a little more wild. All cards from the Lich King's original expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, will be available for Standard play from now until the release of March of the Lich King. You're likely going to need a refresher on what these cards even include, so step into the wayback machine and check out the Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne topic page. For more on today's big reveal, check out the Hearthstone website.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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