Hearthstone Fractured in Alterac Valley review – Math is meta

Connor Knudsen

Hearthstone’s new Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion adds a new mechanic and some downright wacky new legendary cards that veteran players will love but continues to make the game harder to start for new players. 

Hearthstone, the Activision Blizzard card game, has been running strong for nearly 10 years since its 2014 launch.

The game has continued to adapt over these several years, adding in the popular Battlegrounds auto-battler mode and, most recently, the new Mercenaries mode. All the while adding new seasonal expansions and cards for its classic mode.

And now, to close out 2021, Hearthstone has released its latest expansion, Fractured in Alterac Valley, that adds a new mechanic and 135 new cards that are sure to impact the meta.

Fractured in Alterac Valley: Key Details

  • Price: Free-to-play with optional $19.99 Tavern Pass
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 7, 2021
  • Platforms: PC / Mobile

Fractured in Alterac Valley Trailer

“Wait, let me get my calculator out for this Honorable Kill”

The new mechanic in Alterac Valley is called “Honorable Kill” which rewards players for dealing exactly enough damage to finish off their target. If Overkill is the brute’s way of doing business, Honorable Kill is the opposite, as it is a more refined way to victory.

Getting another new mechanic adds a layer of skill to the game that veterans will appreciate, giving us just one more thing to think about when calculating a turn. However, on the flip side, it is just another hurdle that new players would have to jump over if they wanted to understand Hearthstone at an in-depth level. But, to be fair, this is something every longstanding game deals with as it evolves, so you can’t knock Blizzard too much for rewarding its loyal players.

What’s more, some of the 18 Honorable Kill cards are sure to make an impact on the meta. The sole Legendary using the new mechanic, Wing Commander Mulverick, has the potential to snowball a battle in a turn or two with its ability: Rush. Your minions have “Honorable Kill: Summon a 2/2 Wyvern with Rush.”

All in all, Hearthstone has added more game-breaking mechanics in the past. Honorable Kill should slot in nicely with the game and shouldn’t feel too overpowered, especially in the hands of lower-ranked players. The mathematicians out there, though, should be feared for their precision.

Legendaries that are ready for some wild plays

fractured in alterac valley legendary cards
Which of the neutral legendaries are you most excited to try out?

Fractured in Alterac Valley receives some wicked new Legendary cards that should prove to make some wild plays. Of the 25, each class receives two and there are five neutrals for players to collect.

Of them, I have my eyes on two cards in particular that I’m hoping can provide some absolutely hilarious plays. These are the 1-cost neutral card, Ivus, the Forest Lord, and the 5-cost Druid hero card, Wildheart Guff. These two do the following:

  • Ivus, the Forest Lord: Battlecry: Spend the rest of your Mana and gain +2/+2, Rush, Divine Shield, or Taunt at random for each.
  • Wildheart Guff: Battlecry: Set your maximum Mana to 20. Gain a Mana Crystal. Draw a card.

Imagine getting 20 mana, slowly building up your extra crystals, just to drop Ivus and have him absolutely blow up. This is something I hope can exist in the meta for Druid enthusiasts purely for the memes. But, in all seriousness, each of these cards has great potential in high-caliber decks.

Otherwise, each class looks to get its own set of Legendaries that will likely shape the meta moving forward. Be on the lookout for Deathrattle Priest, Paladins buffing cards in their hands, and Hunters to continue casting secrets at an exorbitant rate.

Rating: 7.5/10

hearthstone fractured in alterac valley quest
Will you back the Alliance or the Horde as you rank up in the battle for Alterac?

This, for all intents and purposes, is exactly what an expansion should be for Hearthstone. Some exciting new cards, a mildly exciting new mechanic/keyword, and a fun new questline that spices some narrative into the card game. This game is at a point where it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, just keep the oil changed and rotate the tires occasionally.

Fractured in Alterac Valley does just that. I’m excited to keep playing and dive into my new questlines – for the Alliance!

Reviewed on PC.

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