Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons, a new card expansion

Hearthstone’s final card expansion of 2019 was released earlier on 10th December. Descent of Dragons gave us 140 collectable cards; a significant portion are—aptly—dragon minions and dragon synergy cards.

In Hearthstone, a new card expansion is released every 4 months. Each card expansion features around 135 new collectable cards—meaning that Descent of Dragons is the biggest card set thus far.

Descent of Dragons
Image sourced from: https://playhearthstone.com/en-us/expansions-adventures/descent-of-dragons/

In this post, I will share my thoughts on Descent of Dragons, and offer some tips on handling a new card expansion in Hearthstone.

But wait…what is a card expansion?

Card expansions are major updates in Hearthstone. New cards ensure that the game remains fresh and interesting. They also have a major impact on the meta.

Descent of Dragons is also the last card set of the Year of the Dragon. In Standard mode, only card sets from the last two standard years can be used. A standard year in Hearthstone begins every April.

As of this writing, all 6 card sets from both Year of the Raven (2018) and Year of the Dragon (2019) can be used in Standard mode.

The current available card pool in Standard mode is at its largest, and will remain so until the 3 card sets from Year of the Raven rotate out of Standard mode in April 2020.

Highlight of Descent of Dragons

The biggest highlight for me has to be the introduction of Galakrond, which created a whole new playstyle in Hearthstone. We received Galakrond hero cards for 5 hero Shield of Galakrondclasses: Warrior, Rogue, Shaman, Priest and Warlock—all for free!

The supporting cards for Galakrond decks in Hearthstone have the new keyword: Invoke. While Galakrond is not in the battlefield, it can be upgraded using invoke cards.

Invoking Galakrond twice will upgrade it to its secondary form with a stronger battlecry. Invoking another two times will upgrade Galakrond to its ultimate form.

But what surprised me was that invoking Galakrond triggers its hero power, regardless of whether it is in the battlefield, hand or deck.

For example, invoking the Warrior Galakrond twice will upgrade it to a stronger form. But every time you play an invoke card, your hero gets to attack for 3 damage. That is quite a strong and simple way to get board control or be aggressive.

Warrior Galakrond.png

How expensive are the meta decks?

Hearthstone is currently in its most expensive state ever in my opinion. One of the main reasons is due to highlander decks.

Highlander decks in Hearthstone are singleton decks, meaning you can only have one copy of each card in your deck.Zephrys

Since the release of Saviors of Uldum in August, players are encouraged to build decks in this way because of the powerful effects that can be triggered from one—or a few—legendary minions. The main powerhouse is undoubtedly Zephrys.

But unfortunately, just like control decks, highlander decks include a number of legendary and epic cards, making them very expensive. A deck can cost way over 10,000 dust to craft.

However, the real bad news for budget players is that even good aggro decks Kronx Dragonhooftypically cost around 7000-9000 dust to craft. For reference, budget decks usually cost around 2000-3000 dust.

Although Galakrond hero cards are free for everyone, the supporting cards required to build an effective Galakrond deck aren’t cheap. In fact, we are kind of “forced” to spend 1600 dust to craft the legendary minion Kronx Dragonhoof. It is an indispensable card due to its extremely powerful interaction with Galakrond.

Can I rely on meta decks from previous expansions?

If you lack resources to craft new decks in the new Hearthstone expansion, you may be tempted to stick to the good decks from the previous expansion.

However, majority of the decks from previous expansions become obsolete after a new expansion is released. And that is a huge shame if you spent a lot of dust crafting those decks.

Back in the Rise of Shadows expansion, I had great fun and success playing the Bomb Warrior deck. But ever since Saviors of Uldum was released, that deck completely lost its viability, and no one plays it anymore.

Its hard to foresee whether a deck becomes obsolete in the next expansion. So it is best to only craft a few of the meta decks. Then start saving your gold and dust at least a month before the next expansion is released.

Should I craft decks right away?

I strongly advise against this. Right after an expansion is released, the Hearthstone community will experiment with new deck ideas.

It takes around 1-2 weeks before a proper meta is established. Rushing to craft cards might result in you wasting your dust on a deck that turns out to be good for only a short period of time.

Also, always be aware that Blizzard can swoop in and nerf overpowered cards. In fact, they did just that 9 days after the release of Decent of Dragons.

When Descent of Dragons was released, Galakrond Shaman was incredibly strong. Lots of players used that deck for easy wins in ranked games, spoiling the experience of other players that had to keep facing it.

A few of the key cards in Galakrond Shaman were nerfed. So as of now, Galakrond Shaman—although still quite popular—is not the strongest deck anymore.

Unless you are lucky enough to obtain all the core cards of a deck from card packs, DO NOT rush into crafting decks too early from release day.

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