I would describe myself as a very casual player of Hearthstone.  I have been doing Ranked Play (when I like the card back enough to fight for it), but I typically find it frustrating.  As such, I rarely ever venture into the Arena.  It just doesn’t seem like the right place for me.

So far, I’ve gone into the Arena twice.  The first time was when I got a quest that let me get into the Arena for free.  The second time was this one – when Blizzard let everyone into the Arena for free (one time, only) so they could check out the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards before the expansion was released.  This was the pre-launch event for the expansion.

As expected, I lost three matches right away.  It didn’t cost me anything but my time, and I ended up with a free Arena pack when I was done. The screenshots you see in this blog were taken on December 4, 2014.

I was amused at how Blizzard announced that players could get into the Arena for a free try. They sort of role-played it in a way that captured the spirit of the (then) upcoming Goblins vs Gnomes expansion.

It says: Goblins and Gnomes have been tinkering with the Arena!! Get a sneak peek at new cards there with a free Arena run!  Of course, I had to give that a try. I knew that I would lose every match since the Arena not only attracts players who are way more competitive than I am, but also because those other players would have much more experience in the Arena than I did.

My hope was that the players I was matched with would put together an Arena deck filled with the new cards from the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion.  I wanted to see what they were, what they did, and to enjoy whatever explosions happened (even if it was my cards exploding).

The free Arena run gave me an entry ticket that was signed by Gallywix.  He is the Trade Prince of the Goblins in World of Warcraft.

I decided to choose the Rogue Deck.

When you play in the Arena, you aren’t allowed to bring your own deck.  Instead, you put one together from a random mix of cards that the game presents you with. I picked as many cards from the upcoming expansion as possible.

Unfortunately, my opponents didn’t decide to play with very many of the new cards.  I’ve no idea why.  Maybe they just weren’t as curious about the new cards as I was.  Or, maybe they had a certain “build” that they wanted to use because it was working for them – and the new cards would alter it.  I have no idea.

I still got to see, and use, some interesting cards from the new expansion before it launched. Here are a few “highlights” from the three matches that I lost (one after the other).

I got to use a Faerie Dragon card for the first time! I don’t have one outside of the Arena (and was only borrowing this one).  The card annoys me because I find it difficult to kill – so it was really nice to finally be able to use it.  That card is not from the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion.

The Clockwork Gnome is definitely part of the cards from the new expansion.  The text on that card says: Deathrattle: Add a Spare Part card to your hand.

Here’s a look at some of the new cards that I got to play… or, at least, put on the board for a little bit.

This match was going well for me until my opponent put a Mechanical Yeti on the board…

…and followed it with a Clockwork Giant.  On his next turn, he used another card to grow the Mechanical Yeti really big.   Oh well, I wasn’t expecting to win.  At least this match let me see some new cards!

The third, and final, match went by very quickly.  My opponent didn’t seem to have very many of the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards in his deck.  That was disappointing!  One cool thing about this match was that I got to play the Patient Assassin card.  It is a Epic card (which is indicated by the purple gem).

The Patient Assassin card says: Stealth.  Destroy any minion damaged by this minion.  It turns out this is a card from the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion.

The coolest card my opponent played was the Spider Tank (which is also from the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion).  It says nothing at all on it other than to note that it is a mech.

I had now accrued three losses in the Arena.  Do that, and your turn is all over and done with.

Fortunately, a player gets some prizes at the end of their Arena run even if they lose all three matches.  Of course, the better you do, the better the prizes you will receive.

One of my prizes turned out to be 30 gold.  That sounded good to me!  I’m currently trying to save up gold so I can unlock the rest of the “Curse of Naxxramus” content.

The other prize was a brand new pack of cards!  My hope was that this pack would contain some of the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards.

That didn’t happen.  Instead, it contained cards from before the expansion existed.  (Those are called Classic cards).

Why?  I think the reason was that if the pre-launch event gave players new Goblins vs Gnomes cards, those cards would be played before the expansion was actually launched.  Or, players would expect to be able to use the new Goblins vs Gnomes card immediately and then would get angry when they learned that they couldn’t do it.  That would not have gone well at all!

After leaving the Arena, I noticed that the button that would send me back into the Arena (if I wanted to go) looked a little bit different than usual.  It appears that the Goblins, or the Gnomes, or maybe both, weren’t quite done messing with the Arena.  They electrified the button!

What cards were hidden inside the free Arena pack?

Shadowstep is a card that can only be used by the Rogue deck.  The text says: Return a friendly minion to your hand.  It costs (2) less.  The gem in this card indicates that it is Common.

Holy Wrath is a card that can only be used by a Paladin deck.  The text says: Draw a card and deal damage equal to its cost.  The blue gem in this card indicates that it is Rare.

Southsea Deckhand is a card that can be played by All Classes.  That means you can put it in any deck.  The text says: Has Charge while you have a weapon equipped.  I’m amused that this is a 2/1 card because the icon for Rank 21 in Ranked Play is the Southsea Deckhand.  The white gem in this card indicates that it is Common.

Circle of Healing is a card that can only be used in a Priest deck.  The text says: Restore 4 Health to ALL minions.  The white gem in this card indicates that it is Common.

Mark of Nature is a card that can only be used in a Druid deck.  The text says: Choose One – Give a minion +4 Attack; or +4 Health and Taunt.  The white gem in this card indicates that it is Common.

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