Gaming: Scholomance Academy

    Going back to school has never been this exciting. Hearthstone’s newest expansion, Scholomance Academy, is finally live and boy is it something!

    Scholomance Academy is the second expansion for the Year of the Phoenix, like Ashes of Outlands, the expansion comes with 135 new cards with new interactions and mechanics. Additionally, Blizzard will be implementing a new game mode later in the expansion based on their Year of the Phoenix road map.

    Scholomance Academy is a nice change of pace from Ashes of Outlands. This expansion takes a much lighter and laidback tone compared to the nitty-gritty feel of Ashes of Outlands. For me, it somewhat resembles the feel of Rastakhan’s Rumble and the Boomsday Project with its wacky hijinks and tomfoolery in the announcement and the overall feel of the expansions.

    New cards mechanics

    Like in the previous expansions, Scholomance Academy has introduced new card mechanics Spellburst and sticking to the theme – Studies. The new Spell Burst mechanic which grants an effect when you play a spell after playing the card. This mechanic encourages you to play spells later in your turn instead of playing one right away. Certain decks, some from the Mage class benefit most from Spellburst utilizing spellburst effects such as +1 spell damage to enhance their spells as the game progress.

    The second mechanic are the Studies cards which are one cost spell-cards that allow you to discover a card and cards with the same mechanic as the discovered one will cost one less mana the next time you play them. Blizzard has added six study cards one each for Hunters, Warlocks, Priests, Druid, Warrior, and a dual-class studies card for the Mage and Shaman (sorry Rogue, Paladin, and Demon Hunter players you’ll have one oneday). The studies cards are meant to be support cards, that bring tempo to players via the one less mana.

    Dual-Class cards

    As more of a solo adventure player myself, the arrival of the dual-class card is something I was really excited about. I enjoyed playing dual-class heroes in the solo adventure mode like Reno Jackson (Mage/ Rogue) in Saviors of Uldum’s Tomb of Terrors.

    Making dual-class cards made a lot of sense for me. You see, most of the classes share some similarities with each other. Warriors, Rogues, Paladin, and sometimes the Hunter, have decks with playstyles that utilize the weapon mechanic more than minions. Mage, Shamans, and Warlock have control spell cards that typically clear the board or stall your opponents as you prepare you combos.

    Now, before you go up in arms complaining about decks that use half mage and half rogue cards or half shaman and warlock, the dual card concepts won’t bring in dual-class decks to the game (that’s game-breaking and a hell to balance); instead, the expansion has decided on 10 dual-class combinations which will have four cards each bringing the total to 40 dual-class cards. This means you can’t have a full dual-class deck.

    What the dual-class cards do is bring a fresh take on each class. Some cards bring some of the old class-based mechanics (combo, overload, choose one) to new classes. Hunters can now enjoy a choose one mechanic previously utilized by druids using Shan’ do Wildclaw, while rogues can combo the Wand Thief to discover mage spells.

    What’s making me excited for the future of the dual-class cards is the boundless possibilities it has in making decks in the future. If Blizzard plans to create more dual-class cards we may see a full dual-class deck. Who knows, mages bursting out combos to create more spells, rogues whirling blades to damage all minions in play, or hunters cheesing the choose ones to make some beefy beasts.

    If Ashes of Outlands brought new life to Hearthstone, Scholomance Academy with its dual-class cards have opened new possibilities for the game’s future.

    Words by Gabriel Pe
    Also published in Gadgets Magazine September 2020

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