Icecrown Card Back

Blizzard launched Season 5 of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's Ranked Play this morning. Season 5 gives players another card back and another chance at a big cash prize.

The new card back is inspired by Icecrown. It has a grey stone border and light blue body. The edges and center are accented with fluorescent blue.

In case you're wondering about the lore: Icecrown was the frozen home of the Lich King. The Lich King was once Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron before being corrupted by the cursed sword Frostmourne. He then led an army of undead against the mortal races. World of Warcraft players stormed this fortress and defeated the Lich King at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack.

If you're not wondering about the lore: boy, that sure is a cool-looking card back!

"Warning: Brain freeze, shivers, and chattering teeth may accompany the use of the Icecrown card back. The cold never bothered me anyway," Blizzard says of the Season 5 reward. I see what they did there.

You can earn the Season 5 card back through Ranked Play. You just have to get from Rank 25 to Rank 20 by the end of the month. If you do, the Icecrown card back will appear in your inventory on September 1st.

As usual, your rank from the previous season determines your starting point in the new season. You'll get one bonus star for every rank you earned in Season 4. Some players are already Rank 20 based on their strong Season 4 showing. However, Blizzard notes that you need to log in at least once this season to get the reward.

The very best players will have extra incentive in Ranked matches: money. The top 16 players from Season 5 will be invited to play in a Hearthstone Championship Qualifier Tournament. The top 4 players in each regional Qualifier Tournament (Americas, Europe, China, Korea/Taiwan) will go on to compete at the Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon 2014 with a $250,000 prize pool.

Season 5 should be an interesting one. The meta is being shaken up by the introduction of new cards by Curse of Naxxramas. Naxxramas is a single-player expansion that lets players earn 30 cards, six of which are Legendary. Nine are specific to classes.

It's difficult to gauge how much of an impact the expansion's new additions will make right now; Blizzard has only released two of Naxxramas' five wings so far. This is the first time that they've introduced new cards to the game since launch, though, so it's the biggest shake-up to the status quo we've seen. If you decide to tackle Curse of Naxxramas, be sure to consult our guide.

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