Deadmines Mini-Set - Hearthstone Visits the VanCleefs
The first week of November couldn't come soon enough for Blizzard fans of all colors: The long-awaited WoW Patch 9.1.5 releases this coming Wednesday - but not only that!
On November 2,
Hearthstone introduces the next mini-set of 2021 called
. The second content patch of the United in Stormwind expansion leads Hearthstone players into one of Warcraft's most popular and memorable dungeons. The gold mine turned headquarter of the Defias Brotherhood located under Westfall established a ton of evergreens in Azeroth lore, including the story of everybody's favorite bandit family: the VanCleefs.
I'm Tharid, a writer for Wowhead's sister site Hearthstone Top Decks, and I'll be covering the new content around Hearthstone's mini-set Deadmines and Patch 21.6. If you want to check out the most recent news about the expansion, head over to
Deadmines - This Year's Alliance Counterpart
Most players with a basic knowledge of Warcraft lore shouldn't be surprised about United in Stormwind's mini-set theme choice. As we all know, Hearthstone's current year-long storyline still tells
the story of two rivaling mercenary groups making their way through Azeroth
on the hunt for the mysterious Naaru shards - all while playing along with the iconic Warcraft faction war between Horde and Alliance.
During all that, the Horde group of mercenary adventurers made their pitstop in the
, the mini-set of Hearthstone's first expansion of the running Standard year. Team 5 decided to twist the mysterious original dungeon story by turning Naralex, sleeping druid and protagonist of the Wailing Caverns storyline, into a void-possessed nightmare. They eventually manage to retrieve the corrupted Naaru shard that put Naralex out of his emerald dreams.
With the introduction of the
to the Hearthstone universe, it is now the Alliance part of the mercenary tale that will be told.
Once a profitable gold mine, the Deadmines fell victim to the First War. The pirate crew led by
eventually called the haunted caves its home, only to be brutally killed by the Defias Brotherhood, who then established their base of operations within the mines.
Over the years, the brotherhood led by master thief
more and more became a political threat for the Alliance. But at the same time, a suspicious lady called
had infiltrated the Stormwind House of Nobles, and thus it didn't listen to the woes of the Westfall people.
Interestingly enough, Lady Prestor also plays a starring role in the current Hearthstone storyline! Together with
, a shady Zandalari salesman, she tries to get ahold of the mysterious Naaru shards that were found all over the Barrens.
In the linked cinematic trailer, VanCleef's gang members are waving around with golden Naaru shards. That again implicates that they managed to steal those shards from Katrana and the Alliance mercenaries who had just brought them to Stormwind - and that is where the soon-to-be-released mini-set sets the stage!
Pirates and Parrots!
Besides the serious main plot implications, Hearthstone's mini-sets try to paint a clear picture of the given theme. While the Wailing Caverns introduced the Adventurer card tokens, the Deadmines set goes all out on the pirate fantasy by letting the parrots of Warcraft loose!
Deadmines experts will recognize three of the four pirate sidekicks:
support the pirate cave fantasy and, thanks to their Repeat Battlecry effects, open up interesting deckbuilding possibilities.
But these cute little beasts aren't the only minions that paint the beautiful Deadmines picture.
As you can see, Edwin hasn't spared any expenses to defend what the Brotherhood has stolen - and with him are his most trustworthy minions:
, and, most importantly,
Cookie the Cook
A boatload of mystery revolves around the Defias Brotherhood - but one of them is revealed through Hearthstone card flavor text!
, the charismatic tauren and head honcho of Edwin, allegedly survived the cleansing of the Deadmines back in the day and found a new home in Pandaria under the name
. Mr. Smite's flavor text introduces him as Yorik, confirming the speculations that he, in fact, has hidden among the yaungol of Pandaria after his time with the brotherhood - a fact that has always been hinted at by one of Yorik's drops,
Mr. Smite's Brass Compass
A much less mysterious addition to the game is the new version of Hearthstone's Edwin VanCleef.
After many years of total dominance, the original VanCleef of Hearthstone was buried once and for all with the last Standard rotation. However, something was missing since then, and it is great to see that Team 5 doesn't shy away from reprinting iconic characters with different - and hopefully much more balanced - card text.
The Year-Long Storyline - Cariel's Book of Mercenaries
Just one week after
, the newest edition of Book of Mercenaries will be released. This time around, players will get the chance to take a good look at the origin story of
, a human paladin that seeks to stop the wrongdoings of her sister
, the undead warlock who summoned the dreadlord Anetheron into the heart of Stormwind.
The Hearthstone community wholeheartedly agrees on the fact that both gameplay and storytelling improved a lot over the last few chapters of Book of Mercenaries.
The latest edition featuring Tamsin Roame
undoubtedly introduced her as the main antagonist of the year by showcasing a gruesome encounter against Cornelius Roame, her very own father. The final fight alone showcased an unusually dark tone in Hearthstone storytelling and a welcomed change in comparison to the very lighthearted setting of Blizzard's card game.
The Future is GAAS - But Story is King
The upcoming mini-set yet again shows that Team 5 still relies on its core game modes and thus invests a ton of development resources. Adding 35 cards more over the course of an expansion is nothing to scoff at - in fact, it's a healthy sign that the Hearthstone team is growing and optimizing their workflows. Games as a Service, also called GAAS, seems to be the name of the game for Hearthstone now more than ever - not last because of the recent game mode additions.
But after all these years, it's just as great to see that Hearthstone doesn't miss a beat when it comes to the overall fantasy of the game.
The year-long narrative around Hearthstone's mercenaries easily attracts fans with the usual silly, point-blank approach of every expansion and mini-set theme. The details in storytelling, however, create a whole new level within Hearthstone's very own identity.
The current storyline takes place in a past world of Warcraft, and the fact that the writing team added a whole new exciting layer of history without retconning major characters or locations like the Deadmines turns Hearthstone in its current form into a very cozy, familiar, and safe place for every Warcraft fan.
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