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Runes: a new deckbuilding layer coming to Hearthstone with Death Knights in the March of the Lich King expansion. How do they work? cover image

Runes: a new deckbuilding layer coming to Hearthstone with Death Knights in the March of the Lich King expansion. How do they work?

#Guides

The new Death Knight class presents a new deckbuilding puzzle to Hearthstone with Runes. Learn how to specialize your decks!

Death Knights aren't coming alone in the March of the Lich King expansion on December 6th, they are bringing Runes, a new Hearthstone deckbuilding feature. Hearthstone uses Runes to portray the Death Knight class identity and their possible strategies. But what are they, and how do they work? Join the undead army in this March of the Lich King guide.
Death Knight Runes come to Hearthstone - Image via Blizzard
Death Knight Runes come to Hearthstone - Image via Blizzard

Death Knight Runes: a new dimension for Hearthstone deckbuilding

The March of the Lich King expansion brings to Hearthstone an extra deckbuilding layer for the new Death Knight class in form of Runes. Don't worry, they have nothing to do with Runestones. Allow me to explain.

"With March of the Lich King, the next expansion for Blizzard’s digital card game, players will take up the mantle of the new Death Knight class, plus apply a new layer to deckbuilding with Runes, exclusive to Death Knights."

Blizzard about Runes in Hearthstone
Some Hearthstone Death Knight cards will have an indicator below their Mana cost associated with Runes. This mechanic is exclusive to this new class and has three different types associated with different strategies:
  • Blood Runes (Red): Fight for board control and play big minions. These decks drain opponents thanks to health manipulation magic.
  • Frost Runes (Blue): Blast opponents with icy and direct damage. These types of decks involve spell synergy and mana control. The icy part means freezing enemies as well. 
  • Unholy Runes (Green): Make use of the new Corpse resource mechanic by raising Undead armies. These decks let players flood the board with minions. 
Each Death Knight Rune type is represented in Hearthstone by a different color and shape. Death Knight class cards will all belong to one of those types and will have a associated cost of 1 to 3 Runes. You can see some examples below.
Death Knight cards - Image via Hearthstone
Death Knight cards - Image via Hearthstone

Runes and Deckbuilding

The deckbuilding restrictions in place for the Runes presents a new concept in Hearthstone. When you start building a Death Knight deck, three open slots are available to determine which Rune type you want to play.
Death Knight Rune selection - Image via Blizzard
Death Knight Rune selection - Image via Blizzard
You can select all three to be the same type, or on the other hand, you can have flexibility to mix and match, but it comes with a cost. This will allow you to build a highly synergistic or versatile Hearthstone deck using cards with different Rune values.
If you choose for example a combination of 2 Blood Runes and one Frost Rune for your Death Knight deck this will come with some limitations Hearthstone players haven't seen before. Under that combination, you can include any card that has a value of 2 Blood Runes or less, meaning that 3 Blood Runes cards aren't elegible for your deck.
Hearthstone Runes deck building - Image via Blizzard
Hearthstone Runes deck building - Image via Blizzard
Furthermore, since you've devoted an slot to Frost Runes, you will be able to include any Frost Rune card with a Frost Rune value of 1. As long as you respect the Rune value limitation given by your Rune choice you can include as many Hearthstone card of that type into your Death Knight deck as you want.
Remember that if you don't dedicate any slots to a specific type of Rune, you won't be able to include cards from that Rune category, regardless of their Rune value. If you still don't understand how Runes work, you can visit the official blog post for more information.

More about the March of the Lich King expansion

This is a great way of creating great and powerful class cards. But at the same time, have the ability to control their collective powerlevel and avoid game-breaking synergies. If you don't enjoy the deck-building aspect of the game, don't worry. You can still paste a deck code from HsReplay and jump into the action.
Remember that the March of the Lich King Hearthstone expansion brings a ton of new content. Make sure you check our other guides on:
Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Hearthstone news and updates, and remember, there must always be a Lich King.
Manuel "Rane" Delgado
Manuel "Rane" Delgado
Editor | Twitter @RaneTDF
Manuel “Rane” Delgado is an experienced Hearthstone caster, content creator, and tournament organizer from Argentina. He started his career on Esports casting his own tournaments, now he currently casts the Hearthstone Esports circuit for the LATAM region, among other content creation and tournament organization.