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Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy: A look at Kel’thuzad’s lore and new card reveals

Blizzard

Blizzard officially announced brand-new Hearthstone Scholomance Academy expansion earlier this morning and as usual, a sneak peek at some of the cards which will be made available upon launch.

Before we take a look at the new cards, a quick look at the character who is shaping up to be an integral player in the upcoming expansion and why he’s in human form if we already encountered his lich form in the Curse of Naxxramas expansion six years ago.

A quick look at Kel’thuzad’s history prior to and after this expansion

Much like some of the other expansions in the Hearthstone mythos, such as One Night in Karazhan and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Scholomance Academy looks to take place in either an alternate timeline or a different point in time prior to the Curse of Naxxramas and Knights of the Frozen Throne expansions. This is evident in the fact that Kel’thuzad is still a powerful human mage and not yet an undead necromancer otherise known as a lich. Kel’thuzad was formerly a member of the Council of the Six, the ruling council of Dalaran, of which only the most powerful and brilliant of mages can become a part; his exploits dabbling in the dark arts caused his expulsion from the Kirin Tor and brought him into shady alliances with Anub’arak (who gave him a tour of Naxxramas); made him the first human servant of the Lich King; and eventually to the doorstep of Scholomance Academy.

In the main World of Warcraft timeline, Scholomance is where Kel’thuzad began recruiting members of his Cult of the Damned and, under the influence of the Lich King, spread the dreaded Plague of Undeath across Lordaeron until he was finally stopped by Arthas Menethil in the events of Warcraft III (before Arthas became a Death Knight and the Lich King, obviously).

Artist: Luke Mancini

Interestingly enough, it was Arthas, after becoming a Death Knight, who would be the one to transform Kel’thuzad from maverick human mage into his mighty lich form, making him an integral figure to the Scourge. To resurrect Kel’thuzad as a powerful undead spellcaster, Arthas had to slay Uther the Lightbringer and retrieve King Terenas’ funeral urn from the Knight of the Silver Hand. Arthas then dumped his father’s ashes out of the urn and replaced them with Kel’thuzad’s remains. Arthas and the Scourge then marched to the High Elf Kingdom of Quel’thalas to dump Kel’thuzad’s remains into their magical fountain, the Sunwell, destroyng it and the kingdom itself, just to resuscitate Kel’thuzad. Subsequently, Kel’thuzad summoned Archimonde the Defiler into Azeroth and following the departure of Arthas to Northrend, became the commander of the Scourge of Lordaeron from a floating necropolis you might be familiar with: Naxxramas.

Will we see Kel’thuzad’s transformation to lich form, forming a narrative bridge to the Curse of Naxxramas expansion? Will the mighty Mr. Bigglesworth make his return in valiant kitty cat fashion? We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

New Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy cards

Here’s a look at the new cards that have been revealed thus far in the Hearthstone Scholomance Academy expansion, as well as their corresponding World of Warcraft lore.

Shan’do Wildclaw

“She holds both an academic post and a scratching post.”

Choose One – Give Beasts in your deck +1/+1; or Transform into a copy of a friendly Beast.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Druid, Hunter
Cost to Craft: 1600 / 3200 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 400 / 1600 (Golden)
Artist: Zoltan Boros

One of the new Dual Class cards, Shan’do exhibits a Hunter/Druid class combination and appears to be a Night Elf Druid. Although there is no specific Shan’do Wildclaw character in World of Warcraft lore, the word shan’do is an appellation of respect in the language of the Night Elves, with the meaning “honored teacher.” Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, for instance, is referred to with the title “shan’do,” Maiev Shadowsong being one such character to refer to him in the manner. Malfurion also addressed the demigod Cenarius, Lord of the Forests and patron god of all Night Elf druids with the same designation.

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One combo that already screams out at us: Turn 10 Dinotamer Brann + Shan’do Wildclaw. (Dat King Krush insta-damage.) Or how about Winged Guardian + Shan’do, setting up the possibility for four total sticky Winged Guardian minions on the playing field?

Wand Thief

Combo: Discover a Mage spell.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Mage, Rogue
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: Arthur Bozonnet

Well, so much for Blizzard getting rid of low-cost RNG cards.

A Dual-class Mage/Rogue minion, Wand Thief looks to be a very solid 1-mana-cost card that could benefit the Rogue class by giving them access to some of Mage’s powerful board clears. The artwork by Arthur Bozonnet depicts a pink-haired, pigtailed gnome rogue lifting her cloak to reveal a collection of stolen wands for sale.

Rattlegore

Deathrattle: Resummon this with -1/-1.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Warrior
Cost to Craft: 1600 / 3200 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 400 / 1600 (Golden)
Artist: Ivan Fomin

Rattlegore is a boss encountered within the World of Warcraft Scholomance dungeon, a reconstructed bone golem found in the Chamber of Summoning. Rattlegore is a fairly bulky boss in WoW, which is translated into his stickiness as a minion in Hearthstone Scholomance Academy; without a silence or transformation, Rattlegore yields the frightening potential of 45/45 minion value, which could be an absolute nightmare for opponents in a Control Warrior deck if the meta allows.

Wretched Tutor

Spellburst: Deal 2 damage to all other minions.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Neutral
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: James Ryman

An example of the new Spellburst keyword in Hearthstone Scholomance Academy, Wretched Tutor depicts a sinister looking female Draenei channeling purple magic from a Necronomicon-looking book. A neutral minion with respectable stats even without the Spellburst effect, Wretched Tutor should be very useful as a board clear for all classes.

Goody Two-Shields

“These are my shields. There are at least two like them, and both are mine.”

Divine Shield. Spellburst: Gain Divine Shield.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Rare
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Paladin
Cost to Craft: 100 / 800 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 20 / 100 (Golden)
Artist: Anton Zemskov

Another Spellburst card, this powerful-looking minion fills a glaring void in 3-drops for the Paladin class and should fit well into any Paladin archetype with Libram buffs. (Sorry about the power creep, Scarlet Crusader.)

Goody Two-Shields’ flavor text refers to a quote from the United States Marine Corps’ Rifleman’s Creed, which all U.S. Marines must memorize before receiving proper rifle instruction and maintenance. The Creed begins, “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.”

Cult Neophyte

Battlecry: Your opponent’s spells cost (1) more next turn.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Rare
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Neutral
Cost to Craft: 100 / 800 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 20 / 100 (Golden)
Artist: Matt Dixon

Cult Neophyte sports a mini-Loatheb effect; it remains to be seen whether this minion can be used to effectively mitigate or block decks from using crucial spells or if the Battlecry isn’t quite powerful enough. We’ll be keeping our eye on this one.

Troublemaker

“Prepare for trouble!” “Make it double!”

At the end of your turn, summon two 3/3 Ruffians that attack random enemies.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Rare
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Warrior
Cost to Craft: 100 / 800 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 20 / 100 (Golden)
Artist: Matt Dixon

Some of the best cards in Hearthstone history have been those with an instant effect on the board state, such as Ragnaros, the Firelord and Dr. Boom. Troublemaker, though ostensibly not as powerful as the aforementioned cards, is still a high-statted minion with a powerful, instantaneous effect on the board. Imagine playing this card and Rattlegore on a curve? And no, I don’t want to imagine playing against this in Arena.

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According to his flavor text, Troublemaker is a fan of Pokemon Team Rocket members Jesse and James, too.

Onyx Magescribe

Spellburst: Add 2 random spells from your class to your hand.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Neutral
Minion Type: Dragon
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: Mauricio Herrera

A bulky Dragon minion with a solid Spellburst effect, Onyx Magescribe looks like it’ll be integral to Dragon decks as well as a worthy RNG-gifting consideration to regular decks as well.

Diligent Notetaker

Spellburst: Return the spell to your hand.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Rare
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Shaman
Cost to Craft: 100 / 800 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 20 / 100 (Golden)
Artist: Peter Stapleton

Looks like studying pays off after all. The Shaman class has been itching for a decent 2-drop and they got it in the form of Diligent Notetaker. Potential stand-out card synergy: Notetaker’s powerful Spellburst effect plus Mutate? Or Invocation of Frost in a Galakrond Shaman deck?

Transfer Student

This has different effects based on which game board you’re on.

Type: Minion
Rarity: Epic
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Neutral
Cost to Craft: 400 / 1600 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 100 / 400 (Golden)
Artist: Ivan Fomin

One of the most flavorful and interesting cards introduced so far in the Hearthstone Scholomance Academy expansion is this sly little fox. Although the Transfer Student’s Ability is about as vague as it gets, Redditor deevee12 put together this list of the various board effects the minion will proffer:

Board

Effect

Orgrimmar

Battlecry: Deal 2 damage.

Stranglethorn

Stealth, Poisonous

Stormwind

Divine Shield

Pandaria

Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +1/+2.

Naxxramas

Deathrattle: Add a random Deathrattle minion to your hand.

Goblins vs Gnomes

Battlecry and Deathrattle: Add a Spare Part card to your hand.

Blackrock

At the end of your turn, reduce the Cost of a random card in your hand by (2).

Grand Tournament

Inspire: Draw a card.

LoE (Excavation)

Battlecry: Add a random weapon to your hand.

LoE (Museum)

Battlecry: Discover a new Basic Hero Power.

Old Gods

Battlecry: Spend all your Mana. Summon a random minion of that Cost.

Karazhan

Battlecry: Add a Karazhan Portal spell to your hand.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

Battlecry: Give a random minion in your hand +2/+2.

Un'Goro

Battlecry: Adapt.

Knights of the Frozen Throne

Deathrattle: Add a random Death Knight card to your hand.

Kobolds & Catacombs

Battlecry: Recruit a minion that costs (2) or less.

Witchwood

Echo, Rush

Boomsday

Taunt. Battlecry: If you have 10 Mana Crystals, gain +5/+5.

Rastakhan's Rumble

Rush, Overkill: Draw a card.

Rise of Shadows

Battlecry: Add a Lackey to your hand.

Uldum (Feet)

Reborn

Uldum (Windmill)

Battlecry: Add an Uldum Plague spell to your hand.

Dragons

Battlecry: Discover a Dragon.

Outland

Dormant for 2 turns. When this awakens, deal 3 damage to two random enemy minions.

Scholomance

Battlecry: Add a Dual Class card to your hand.

Spells

Here’s a look at some of the spell cards introduced so far in Hearthstone Scholomance Academy, including First Day of School, Devolving Missiles,

First Day of School

Add 2 random 1-Cost minions to your hand.

Type: Spell
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Paladin
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: L. Lullabi & K. Turovec

Devolving Missiles

Shoot three missiles at random enemy minions that transform them into ones that cost (1) less.

Type: Spell
Rarity: Epic
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Mage, Shaman
Cost to Craft: 400 / 1600 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 100 / 400 (Golden)
Artist: Matt Dixon

Lightning Bloom

Gain 2 Mana Crystals this turn only. Overload: (2)

Type: Spell
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Druid, Shaman
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: Vlad Botos

Nature Study

Discover a spell. Your next one costs (1) less.

Type: Spell
Rarity: Common
Set: Scholomance Academy
Class: Druid
Cost to Craft: 50 / 400 (Golden)
Disenchanting Yield: 5 / 50 (Golden)
Artist: SARIYA


Which Hearthstone Scholomance Academy card is your favorite revealed thus far? Are you looking forward to potentially interacting with Kel’thuzad himself before he became a Lich? Sound off in the comments.

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Ninja Gaiden was my rite of passage at an early age. After finally beating that game (and narrowly dodging carpal tunnel) I decided to write about my gaming exploits. These days I enjoy roguelikes and anything Pokemon but I'll always dust off Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country and StarFox 64 from time to time to bask in their glory.

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