What You Need to Know about Hearthstone’s New Core Set and Other Changes


Hearthstone will completely change the standard and wild formats with the introduction of its new sets named Core Set and Legacy, as well as the new game mode Classic.

Currently, Hearthstone features two sets named Classic and Basic. Both are considered entry level and friendly to new players, especially since cards from Basic are given to players for free. These sets do not rotate at the end of a standard season and are always standard-legal. This means the developers have to be careful about what cards they include in future sets so they don’t have overpowered or unintended interactions with these non-rotating cards.

The Hearthstone team decided on Feb. 9 to rework these two sets with a new system. This includes the introduction of the Core Set, the non-rotating standard set replacing Classic and Basic. This also means the team will rework the Hall of Fame set, but that will be explained later in this article.

These changes will take place once Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, Descent of Dragons, and Demon Hunter Initiate rotate, but before players can access any content from the new set

The New Core Set

The Core Set consists of 235 cards, comprised mostly of cards from the current Classic and Basic. The team will also supplement this set’s selection with various cards that already exist. This set will also feature 29 new cards created just for this set, as well as reimagined cards from Classic and Basic.

The Core Set is free to access for everyone, similar to how Basic works right now. Like the Basic set, cards will be earned by leveling up your classes, or by reaching combined class level totals. Golden versions of these cards are earned through achievements and winning games.

From playhearthstone.com
This chart highlights what the new Core Set will be comprised of this year. For the most part, Classic and Basic cards will make up the bulk of this set.

Though the set doesn’t rotate, the individual cards in it will be replaced by a new set of Core Set cards each Hearthstone year, typically in April. If a player earned Core Set cards the previous year, they would not have to work again to earn those cards, as they will be given those new cards based on the levels earned prior. Like with Basic, these cards cannot be crafted nor disenchant.

Cards from the Core Set will have some relation with the older formats.

If the team happens to add an existing card to the Core Set pool, such as the wild-format card The Lich King, players will have access to a Core Set and a wild version of The Lich King. They can dust or craft the wild version while still being able to play with the Core Set version until it rotates out. Core Set versions of cards will have an indicator to differentiate them from their real set counterparts.

So, what happens to all of those cards from Classic and Basic if they’re no longer the quintessential standard cards each year? They will be moved to a new set in wild called Legacy.

The “New” Legacy Set

Players will still be able to craft or disenchant Classic cards like they can now. All players who have access to wild will receive all of the Basic cards and their golden versions, as well as all regular versions of Demon Hunter Initiate cards, for free.

The store will continue to sell Classic packs, but those packs will pull from the Legacy pool of cards. How these packs will behave will be discussed later in this article.

As a reminder, to gain access to the wild format, players can either participate in a Tavern Brawl that includes wild format cards or possess a wild card in their collection.

The Hall of Fame set is wild only, and is reserved for cards too powerful or unfun for standard. Since the team is removing this set, there are plans to rehome those banished cards to Legacy. Ragnaros the Firelord and Sylvanas Windrunner are two examples of cards made for Classic but were exiled to the Hall of Fame for promoting unbalanced play strategies in standard.

In April 2019, the Hearthstone team moved the cards Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane, among others cards, from The Witchwood set to the Hall of Fame due to their meta-warping stranglehold they had on standard. That meant that you could not pull these cards from The Witchwood set, and crafting was the only way to obtain them.

Those cards will return to The Witchwood, as it would be odd to even see them in Legacy when they originated in the former set. However, the card Shadowform is moving to the Core Set. This card was sent to the Hall of Fame in March 2020 because the team felt it didn’t align with how it wanted the Priest class to function in standard.

Classic Format

Finally, the team is introducing a new format named Classic. This will feature all of the cards from Basic and Classic in their 2014 forms, around patch That means they’ll be unnerfed compared to what players see now.

This means players will be able to play with cards like the 4-mana version of Leeroy Jenkins or the 2/1 version of Leper Gnome. This also means the Enrage keyword is coming back just for this format.

The player’s collection will be mirrored for this format. If the player owns the 5-mana Leeroy Jenkins from the Legacy set, that player will also “own” a 4-mana version of Leeroy Jenkins in the Classic format.

These will technically be the same card, but just different for each mode. This is not a copy of the card, but rather it’s another version players may access in Classic.

Cards will be mirrored in the Classic format. For example, the 5-mana Leeroy Jenkins pictured is the actual version of this card. The green 4-mana version is the playable "copy" of the same card for Classic format. The green card can only be used if the un-highlighted card is owned. The green highlighted card may only be played in Classic format.

This means that if players dust their 5-mana version of Leeroy Jenkins in Wild, they will lose access to the 4-mana version of Leeroy Jenkins in Classic. Also, players will only have access to Classic cards if they craft their Wild counterparts, or pull them from a Classic pack.

Classic will have its own rank system and rewards, like wild and standard. It will also contribute to the 500 and 1,000 wins hero portrait progressions and various game achievements.

When the aforementioned cards Ragnaros the Firelord and Sylvanas Windrunner, among others, were moved to the Hall of Fame set, they were replaced by other cards, like High Inquisitor Whitemane and Brightwing. This was to make sure the Classic set would still have the same number of cards available to players after removing the troublemaker cards. These replacement cards will move to the aforementioned Legacy set and will not be available in the Classic format.

In addition, all cards from the Classic set will be legal in the Classic format, so those previously mentioned cards added to Classic to replace cards sent to the Hall of Fame, like Icicle and Pilfer, can not be obtained in the new Classic packs.

However, cards like Leeroy Jenkins and Ragnaros, which were previously placed in the Hall of Fame, can be pulled from Classic packs.

Fun Facts

In addition, there are some fun facts that address some questions players may have about the new changes:

  • Players will now be able to have up to 27 decks saved, which is an increase from the 18 players could save.
  • The Core Set will replace Classic and Basic in the Arena Mode.
  • Cards that had their art changed will not be reverted for the Classic format. This means that, while Succubus existed in 2014 and Felstalker replaced it in 2019, Succubus will not be available in the Classic mode and only Felstalker will be available to play. This includes all other cards that had their art changed, like Headcrack and Eviscerate.
  • Zephyrs the Great will continue to offer players the cards previously from Classic and Basic but now they will come from the Legacy set. Since this card is already rotating to Wild, this will have no impact on Standard.
  • Whizbang the Wonderful will stay in the Boomsday Project and his randomized decks will be updated continuously.
  • Since Demon Hunter didn’t exist back in 2014, it will not be a legal class to play in the Classic format.
  • The Sorry emote will not be available in Classic mode, even though it existed in 2014.
    However, players may use any hero portrait for Classic mode.
  • There will most likely not be balance changes made in the Classic mode, but the Hearthstone website hints that the team is looking for player feedback on the Classic mode.

Blizzard intends to feature more information about the Core Set at BlizzConline on Feb. 19. In fact, they’re going to spoil the entire core set at Blizzconline, and it’ll be available for early deck building.

A lot is changing in Hearthstone, so what do you think about these changes?

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