Over the lasts couple of years, Hearthstone has been undergoing some significant changes, but the introduction of a Core Set is by far one of the biggest shifts in the way players will be playing Standard constructed going forward.
Since the introduction of Standard rotation back in April 2016, the Standard format would consist of card sets form the current and previous year plus Basic and Classic sets.
The system has been working like this over the last five years, but things are about to change drastically when the next Standard rotation comes in March 2021.
Instead of Basic & Classic sets as a cornerstone of the Standard format, Blizzard introduces a Core set.
Let's see what is this Core set and how it will impact the game and its future.
What is Hearthstone's Core set?
The symbol of a Core set (Picture: Blizzard)
A Core set will be a set of handpicked cards by the Hearthstone design team which will change each year with the Standard rotation.
The Core set replaces Basic and Classic cards in the Standard format and will contain a selection of 235 cards.
Unlike Basic and Classic sets, the Core set won't be a permanent part of the Standard format, and it will change each year, but we currently don't know how drastic these changes will be.
This will allow for each new Standard year to fill fresh and exciting but also allow for balance changes in the Standard format without a need for card nerfs when you can simply remove problematic cards from the Core set.
What cards will be in the Core set?
The Core set will get 29 brand new cards (Picture: Blizzard)
With each new Standard year rotation, there will be a new Core set, but Blizzard hasn't yet revealed how significant these changes will be.
For the Year of the Gryphon, which is the next Standard rotation coming in March 2021, the Core set will consist of 235 curated cards, specifically with the current Standard sets in mind.
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Most of the cards in the Core set will still be from the Basic and Classic sets, but there will be over 50 old cards returning from Wild sets, and some completely new cards as well!
Here's the full breakdown of the Core set cards:
- 88 cards returning from Classic (54 class cards, 34 neutral cards).
- 54 cards returning from Basic (41 class cards, 13 neutral cards).
- 55 cards returning from Wild (36 class cards, 19 neutral cards).
- 4 cards returning from Ashes of Outland (4 Demon Hunter Class cards).
- 4 cards returning from Demon Hunter Initiate.
- 1 card returning from the Hall of Fame (Shadowform).
- 29 new cards (20 Class cards, 9 Neutral cards).
Wild cards coming to Core set
Some of the Wild cards will be returning to the Standard rotation with the introduction of the Core Set.
As developers explained, the idea is that some old cards might have new roles with the new cards and they want to reintroduce them to Standard in order to push some new archetypes or simply to explore new possibilities and see how will players use them in combination with new cards.
Assassinate and Warden now cost one less mana (Picture: Blizzard)
For this year, 55 wild cards will be returning from Wild, and some of them will be even buffed. Two cards revealed to be returning are Menagerie Warden and Tomb Pillager.
Buffed Classic and Basic cards
Many vanilla cards from the oldest Hearthstone era are completely outdated and can not compete with the power level of new Hearthstone sets, so some cards will receive small buffs in order to make them more competitive.
For example, Assassinate and Sprint will now cost one less mana, while many core Shaman overload cards will now be significantly better.
Iconic Overload Shaman cards are receiving significant buffs (Picture: Blizzard)
In addition, Shaman is getting Spell Power Totem removed from the Hero Power, and instead, the 4th Basic Totem will be Strength Totem, which gives a friendly minion +1 Attack at the end of your turn.
New versions of the original Hearthstone Dragons
The legendary trio of Hearthstone Dragons from the Classic set, Ysera, Malygos, and Deathwing, is getting reworked with somehow altered abilities and new artworks.
Ysera and Deathwing are buffed, while Malygos is being redesigned due to his power level in OTK combo decks.
The legendary Dragons have been redesigned (Picture: Blizzard)
Is Hearthstone's Core set free? How to get the Core set cards?
Yes, the Core set will be completely free for all players. Once you reach level 10 with a class, you’ll have all Core set class cards for that class unlocked forever. A total level of 60 across all classes will unlock all Core set neutral cards forever. When cards in the Core set rotate for the first time, the applicable cards in your Collection will automatically swap out for new ones.
When is Core set coming out?
The very first Hearthstone Core Set is scheduled for release with the start of the Year of the Gryphon, which will happen in March 2021.