'Hearthstone' Rise of Shadows Card Reveal: Lucentbark Makes Restoration Druid Work (EXCLUSIVE)

Rise of Shadows, the latest expansion to hit Blizzard's Hearthstone, is full of dastardly bad guys and heroes to thwart them. The 135-card set brings faces old and new that hope to shape the meta into something entirely different. The latest card revealed (a Newsweek exclusive) is Lucentbark. This Druid Legendary is the first in a line of cards from Rise of Shadows that attempts to establish Restoration Druid as a deck archetype.

Lucentbark hearthstone card reveal Druid Legendary Rise of Shadows exclusive
Lucentbark is a Druid Legendary with spunk Blizzard

"Healing is a core theme of Druids in World of Warcraft, and we had always intended for it to be something that Druids in Hearthstone could do, but it never really saw much play," Designer Chadd Nervig told Newsweek. Currently, Druid only has access to two healing cards: Ancient of Lore and Healing Touch, both of which aren't really used in competitive play. Nervig said more cards "that synergize with healing" in both Druid and Neutral will be added in the Rise of Shadows expansion, like Crystal Power and Crystal Stag (and there will be more to come.)

Druid has struggled to find an identity after a series of nerfs to Nourish, Wild Growth and Innervate. The class either dominates the game, like with Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Jades, or disappears from the meta entirely, like with Rastakhan's Rumble. This move seems like an attempt to breathe life back into Malfurion without giving him another overpowered card (I'm looking at you Ultimate Infestation).

"The Restoration Druid archetypes is one of the ones I'm personally most excited about for Rise of Shadows, and we think it's fun to play, and fun to play against," Nervig said.

Lucentbark hearthstone card reveal rise of shadows exclusive
A sketch of Lucentbark Blizzard

Who is Lucentbark?

Lucentbark is an entirely new character created for Hearthstone. "He may look grumpy, but the small woodland creatures that inhabit his forest (and even his own branches at times) always bring a smile to his face," Nervig said. "He is quite friendly toward Dalaran, and so immediately came to its aid, to drive out the invaders."

The Hearthstone development team, Team 5, had to figure out how to make Lucentbark fit into the expansion. It started off as a card simply titled "Tree" that goes dormant (like Sherazin Corpse Flower) and comes back to life after healing a certain amount. Applebough is a Treant in the streets of Dalaran that sells apples, which the developers thought would be a perfect identity for "Tree." That design didn't last long, adding Treant synergy to the card's kit might lead to unexpected issues.

Team 5 theorized how Druids could impact the giant, floating city of Dalaran. With Applebough being the only Druid-adjacent character in World of Warcraft's zone, they had to get creative. "We asked ourselves how Druids would help Dalaran," Nervig said. "The answer we came to is that Crystalsong Forest (which Dalaran spent much of its time floating over) is a beautiful and unique blend of nature and magic, and so Druids would pull from there to aid Dalaran." That's when the idea for Lucentbark, an Ancient who's grown in Crystalsong Forest, started to take shape.

Hearthstone Rise of Shadows launches on April 9 on PC and mobile.