There's a new Hearthstone Mystery achievement coming in the future and we've got some early information on it! In the Onyxia's Lair patch two weeks ago, several new references were added the game client for this mystery so let's dive right in.

In case it wasn't obvious, there are very likely to be spoilers within this article. If that's not your jam, then you'll want to go read some other content on the site.

What is the Reward for the Alterac Valley Mystery?

We'll kick things off by checking out the reward we're all going to be going for this time around. Just like the Barrens and Stormwind mystery challenges, we've got a brand new card back.

Shimmering Snowflake is the reward and it really does look beautiful!

The Alterac Valley Mystery is Not Yet Live

The Hearthstone team communicated this fact when the patch went live. They will provide an update when the achievement ultimately becomes obtainable, which makes one wonder - is this mystery going to tie into some sort of announcement? Perhaps the new Hearthstone zodiac year?

There is a Mysterious new achievement in the Gameplay > Alterac Valley section, however it is NOT achievable yet.

Stay tuned for updates on when this achievement is ready to be investigated!

Celestalon also spoke a little about the upcoming mystery and mentioned that Dom on the Battlegrounds team gave him a "dash of help".

Quote From Celestalon

It sparkles so prettily! Stay tuned for how you can acquire this beauty. Fair warning though, it won't be easy..

random question how do you come up with your ideas for these puzzles ? Are these puzzles mostly your idea or do you have a partner in crime helping you come up with them ?

Mostly my demented imagination, occasionally with a dash of help from someone else (@DCalkosz this time). Plus a bit of support of our artists, producers, localization, engineers, etc., but I try to keep that to a minimum.

New Patch = New Data

When a new patch arrives, we do a big data import into the site to bring in all the new cards, among other things, and we categorize these cards by the patch they are introduced in. So, Onyxia's Lair patch brought in 491 new cards in total into the game, some of which are a part of the mystery. Previous Hearthstone Mysteries have included several "???" cards which are used to showcase different mechanics. In the Barrens Mystery, there was a set of Locks and Keys available in the first challenge.

With the Onyxia's Lair patch, 12 cards were added that featured this "???" moniker, though one of them is an internal enchantment card, which means realistically, we only have 11. This sounds like a great starting point!

A New Hero & Power

Cariel's art gets used in a "???" card, could she be involved in the Mystery somehow?

??? Card Image ??? Card Image

We're not sure if this Hero Power is also associated with Cariel, the usual internal Hero Power links don't map that way, but we do see the hero itself related to Dagger Mastery, a Hero Power that can be found in the Book of Mercenaries solo content. Perhaps this is laziness on Blizzard's end and they simply made a clone of Cariel in Book of Mercenaries and changed her name, OR, maybe we've got a link here and the Book of Mercenaries is somehow related to the new mystery.

This sounds like a good starting point for when the time comes to start solving.

Deathrattle? Sidequests?

This time around, it looks like we've only got one new minion associated with the Mystery, and that's ???.

??? Card Image

Interestingly, this card has the Deathrattle mechanic tagged onto it. The card depicts art which is a void portal of some sort - any guesses as to what we might be doing with it?

The same art is also present on a 0-cost spell, and this spell is a little bit more interesting than our Deathrattle minion. Of course, this could be Blizzard doing some copy-paste of data to create these cards and by leaving some "junk" extra data on them, it could confuse players that are looking at this internal client data. However, this spell is a Sidequest! With a spell being flagged as such, the game should interpret that as exactly that and it means we've got some progress to make towards a goal.

??? Card Image

This Sidequest has some additional data associated with it, and that's the quest progression counter. The value is set to 20. Could this mean we have to perform 20 Deathrattles? Maybe we should check out some of the other pieces of this puzzle.

Only More Questions

With possible Deathrattle and Sidequest stuff, what do the other cards showcase? Well, there's two different pieces of art being used, a box which is on 6 different spells and a pair of boots on another.

??? Card Image ??? Card Image ??? Card Image ??? Card Image

??? Card Image ??? Card Image ??? Card Image

All of our pretty purple boxes feature the "Twinspell" keyword, which means when cast, they will provide you with another spell in-hand. Now, one thing to understand about this mechanic from the client point of view is that usually, a Twinspell card will have a second, an internal card, associated with it so when you play the first card a different card will be added to your hand that doesn't have the Twinspell keyword.

An example of this would be The Forest's Aid, which when played, adds The Forest's Aid to your hand.

The Forest's Aid Card Image The Forest's Aid Card Image

By using different entities, Blizzard can be certain that the second card here wouldn't be able to generate any additional copies since it doesn't contain any information about Twinspell itself, it only thinks of itself as a spell. This is a clever way to reduce the complexity of the mechanic - some games may opt to program in a way to flag the card during the game as already using the Twinspell part of the card, hiding the text and keeping track of that. It's a silly thing to do when you can just create a copy of the card, having the card in your game data twice, and then simply removing the keyword from the copy. This way, we're really certain no weird bugs are going to occur.

So, now that you have a background on how Twinspell works, these cards are different. All of the purple box spells have a Twinspell reference which creates a copy of themselves. So, should you get a chance to cast one of them, you'll immediately get another copy of that card in your hand. This is also how other spells have been handled in previous Mysteries when they are able to be cast multiple times.

That leaves us to the final card, the non-purple box, and we've got a pair of boots. 

An Adventurer Needs More Than Boots

If you were going to go on an adventure, would you only take a part of boots? No, but that's a damn good starting point because wet feet, aside from all the weird infections you could pick up, make a happy camper sad. These boots are about to take us on a journey to an additional set of cards found within the Alterac Valley Mystery.

??? Card Image

Internally in the Hearthstone client, all cards have a "string id", this is a unique bit of text for each card that can usually tell you what kind of card it is because Blizzard, sanely, follows a naming convention. For example, our boot friend internally is known as AV_761t6. Here's what that tells us:

  • AV: This card is from the Alterac Valley set (consistent with other Alterac cards).
  • 761: This is card id 761 from Alterac Valley.
  • t: This is a token card, that is related to card id 761.
  • 6: This is the seventh token card that is related card is 761 (tokens normally start at 0).

Instead of a t some cards will have an e which stands for enchantment. Enchantments are usually buffs that you'd see on cards. This isn't really relevant right now but while we're talking about internal ids, it seemed like a cool bit of trivia to bring up.

Now, since we know this is the sixth token card related to "AV_761", that gives us a good starting point for looking up more data in the client. Doing a search gives us plenty of related cards!

We're Going on an Adventure

AV_761 itself does not exist, which is a bit odd for a token to not have a parent. Oh well, guess we're done here- nope, there's multiple other tokens with the same ids! This is about to get very exciting.

Gold Coins Card Image Torch Card Image Compass Card Image

Axe Card Image Magmawalk Boots Card Image Dynamite Card Image

All the above cards are tokens related to our "???" boots, which appear to be reused in the Magmawalk Boots token as well. Here's what we know about the cards from a client point of view:

Being able to reuse your Compass and Axe makes it look like we may need to navigate somewhere, a maze of sorts, and maybe chop down blockages or defeat enemies. Perhaps we need to cast the "???" version of the boots to get the adventure started.

What Else is There?

If you noticed, we've got cards that aren't simply named "???" that are also attached to this Mystery, but their text involves "???". So, what other cards are there that have "???" in their text? Well, let's look at them all, starting with the Move hero power because all the other cards here are tokens associated with it (AV_760).

Move Card Image Empty Card Image Wall Card Image

Darkness Card Image Angry Treant Card Image Lava Card Image

Cracked Wall Card Image Chest Card Image Friendly Vendor Card Image

Maybe the Rush keywords don't tell us much, though it sounds like we might want to rush through whatever this is. If the adventuring items from before are a part of this, I think it's safe to say that we'll be ultimately looking for a chest.

Well, that's everything we can tell you about the new mystery. There's still a ton left to solve though, whenever it becomes available, so use this information as a starting point and see where it leads us.