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Hearthstone going back to the basics with Core Set and Classic Format

Hearthstone Core Set and Classic Format

OG Hearthstone fans who have been playing Blizzard’s online digital collectible card game since its onset back in 2014 (back when it was accompanied by the subtitle Heroes of Warcraft) received some promising news on Tuesday; after sixteen expansions, the addition of thousands of new cards and the introduction of the Demon Hunter class, Blizzard and Team 5 are implementing a new set and game mode which will bring players back to the basics much like World of Warcraft did with WoW Classic: the Hearthstone Core Set and Classic Mode.

The Core Set “will replace Basic and Classic in Standard as a curated selection of 235 cards intended to provide a modern collection of starting cards to players of all types and make Hearthstone even more approachable for newcomers.” In addition, Classic Mode is a new format where players can craft decks using the original 240 cards from Hearthstone‘s formative years, as they were in the patch of June 2014 (before any balance changes that are in effect now were instituted).

Check out the full information per the official Hearthstone Core Set and Classic Format press release:

We’ve got some major changes on the horizon we’re ready to discuss. When card sets from Year of the Dragon (Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, Descent of Dragons, Demon Hunter Initiate) rotate to Wild at the launch of our next expansion, we’re planning to move the Basic and Classic sets to Wild as well to make way for the new Core Set!

Introducing the Core Set

The Core set replaces Basic and Classic cards in the Standard format and will contain a selection of 235 cards.

After set rotation this year, Standard will include card sets from Year of the Phoenix (Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon Races Mini-Set), the next expansion, and the new Core Set!

The Core Set will be free for all players and will replace Basic and Classic in Standard as a curated selection of 235 cards intended to provide a modern collection of starting cards to players of all types and make Hearthstone even more approachable for newcomers. Some of the Core Set cards are returning from previous sets, some are reimagined favorites, and 29 cards are completely new!

Core Set Breakdown:

  • 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 Hall of Fame (Shadowform).
  • 29 new cards (20 Class cards, 9 Neutral cards).

Like the Basic Set, you’ll earn Core Set cards by leveling up each class. All Core Set class cards are rewarded between levels 1-10 for each class, and Neutral Core Set cards will unlock based the sum of all your class levels combined, up to the combined level of 60. Golden versions of Core Set cards can be unlocked by completing Achievements associated with winning games as each class.

When you log in after rotation, you’ll automatically be granted the new Core Set cards equal to your current level for each class!*

Unlike how Basic and Classic functioned previously, the Core Set will be refreshed each year. At the end of every (Hearthstone) year, a new Core Set will take the place of the previous, comprised of new and existing cards. When that happens, the Core Set cards that are rotating will be swapped with new ones in your Collection automatically.

*Core set cards will be available in your Collection automatically at set rotation. Players will not see an in-game pop up when this occurs.

Introducing the Legacy Set

Basic and Classic cards will join Wild in the form of a card set named “Legacy”.

When the Core Set is added at rotation, we’ll be retiring the Hall of Fame entirely. The Basic and Classic sets will move to Wild under a new name—the Legacy Set, which is where most cards from the Hall of Fame will go as well. There are a few exceptions: Genn Greymane, Baku the Mooneater, and other Hall of Fame cards from the Witchwood will return to the Witchwood set, and Shadowform will return to Standard as part of the Core Set!

With the Classic Set joining the Legacy Set in Wild, all Classic cards and their Golden versions will now be craftable and disenchantable. Basic cards and their Golden versions will be granted to all players that have Wild unlocked for free at rotation, as will the normal versions of Demon Hunter Initiate cards (Golden Demon Hunter Initiate cards will still be craftable and disenchantable).

Introducing the Classic Format

Craft decks and compete using Hearthstone’s original 240 cards as they were in 2014, the year the game launched!

We’re excited to share that we’ll be launching the Classic format alongside set rotation and our next expansion! The Classic format invites players to craft decks and compete using Hearthstone’s original 240 cards as they were in 2014, the year that Hearthstone launched!

When logging in after our patch for the next expansion (before expansion content unlocks), your entire collection of Basic, Classic, and relevant Hall of Fame cards will be mirrored and available for deck building in the Classic format—as they were in the patch of June 2014 (after we made a few important changes), with any and all balance changes since then reverted. Yes, in the Classic format Warsong Commander can give minions Charge, Holy Smite can go face, and Leeroy Jenkins will cost 4 mana! If you want to relive the old-school Hearthstone experience, Classic will be the place for you!


Moving forward, unlocking the Wild format will also grant access to the Classic format. Classic’s reward systems, rank systems, and seasons will function the same as Standard and Wild, and like those formats, Classic will have its own matchmaking pool. You will be able to challenge your friends in the Classic format from Day 1, and games played in the Classic format will count towards any relevant Achievements.

Classic format cards will appear in their own section within the Collection manager and Classic format decks will have a unique border on your deck selection page to differentiate them from your Standard and Wild decks. Speaking of the deck selection page, we’re also excited to share that we’ll be increasing the total number of deck slots from 18 to 27 alongside the release of Classic!

Classic packs will now add to your Collection for the Classic format, as well as the Legacy set in Wild. If you have Knife Juggler in your Collection, you’ll have two versions of it—one that can be used in Wild with 2 Attack and 2 Health, and one you can use in the Classic format as it was in 2014 with 3 Attack and 2 Health.

Cards that were added to the Classic set later in Hearthstone’s history will not be usable in the Classic format or drop from Classic packs, but will be craftable as part of the Legacy set in Wild. This includes:

Lastly, since cards from Classic Packs are no longer usable in Standard, we’ll be replacing Classic Packs in various rewards (such as Tavern Brawls and Achievements) with other recent card packs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the Core Set only playable in Standard?
    • No. The Core set can be used in Wild as well.
  • Will the Core Set cost money?
    • No. The Core Set is free. 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.
  • Are there any dust refunds associated with this?
    • No. We are rotating Basic and Classic to Wild just like other card sets that have moved to Wild in the past, and providing the new Core Set for free. No cards in Standard or Wild are being nerfed.
  • I have every class at level 10 or higher, will I get the full Core Set at set rotation?
    • Yes, you will have the full Core Set unlocked at set rotation. Core Set cards are unlocked based on class levels (quite easily), regardless of whether you own the original card or not. Unlocking a card in the Core Set doesn’t grant you ownership of the card in its original set. You can use them for the duration of the year. Next year, a different set of cards will comprise the Core Set.
  • Will the Core Set replace Basic and Classic in Arena?
    • Yes, the Core Set will replace Basic and Classic in the next Arena rotation, which will take place at the launch of our next expansion.
  • Will we be able to get Genn Greymane, Baku the Mooneater, and the other Hall of Fame cards from the Witchwood in Witchwood card packs now?
    • Yes, you will be able to unpack all Witchwood minions that were previously in the Hall of Fame from Witchwood packs after the format changes take place.
  • What’s happening with Shadowform?
    • Shadowform is returning to Standard as part of the Core Set, but it will also be playable in Wild as part of the Legacy set, and available for use in the Classic format as well.
  • How do Classic Packs work with Standard now?
    • Classic packs still contain Classic cards, which will now be usable in the Classic format and in Wild as part of the Legacy Set. Classic cards that aren’t part of the Core Set will not be usable in Standard. We’re adjusting the rewards for a wide variety of quests/achievements/etc. that previously awarded Classic packs to have Standard-usable rewards instead.
  • Can I disenchant the Classic format version of a card and keep the version in Wild that’s part of the Legacy Set or vice versa?
    • No. You cannot disenchant or earn these cards separately. While stats, card text, and effects might be different, they are effectively the same card shown in two different ways.
  • Can I disenchant Classic format/Legacy cards?
    • Yes, Classic format/Legacy cards can be disenchanted. But as stated in the answer above, Classic format and Legacy versions of a card are not duplicates of each other; if you disenchant Leeroy Jenkins, he’ll be gone from both your Classic format Collection and Legacy.
  • Will Demon Hunter be in the Classic Format?
    • No. Demon Hunter was not in Hearthstone in 2014, so it will not be part of the Classic format.
  • Will cards in the Classic format be the exact same as they were in 2014?
    • All balance changes for these cards over the years will be reverted, but cosmetic changes will remain. For example: Felstalker will be Felstalker and will not revert to Succubus. Also, all Basic cards from the Hall of Fame will be Common rarity in the Classic format.
  • Will the Classic format see changes in the future (more expansions added, etc.)?
    • We have nothing further to announce currently, but we’re looking forward to player feedback on the Classic format!
  • Why 27 deck slots? That seems like a strange number.
    • We’re keeping the same familiar deck selection UI but adding one more page of 9 slots.
  • Are you changing the pool of cards Zephrys the Great pulls from?
    • No. Zephrys the Great is rotating to Wild with Saviors of Uldum and will still pull from the same Basic and Classic cards that are now part of the Legacy set.
  • What happens to Whizbang?
    • Whizbang will remain in Wild as part of the Boomsday set and will be updated for every major release moving forward.
  • When will the Core Set and Classic format go live?
    • While we don’t have dates to share today, the Classic format will go live with the patch for our next expansion and the Core Set will go live with set rotation when content for the next expansion unlocks.
  • Will there be a page on where we’ll be able to see the full Core Set and all the cards in the Classic format?
    • Yes! The full Core Set will be revealed a few days after BlizzConline and will be available for early deck building in the card library. The card library will be updated to include all cards for the Classic format when it goes live with the patch for our next expansion.

Tune-in to BlizzConline on February 19 to learn more about the Core Set and Classic format! We’ve got some exciting news to share before revealing some of the new and revolutionized Core Set cards!

Are you looking forward to dusting off your Chillwind Yeti, Boulderfist Ogre (“Me have good stats for the cost”), Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord and Hogger cards and getting back to the basics? Will the changes in Hearthstone Classic Format include reverting back to the original Jaina Proudmoore pre-nerf portrait art? What do you think of the announcement of the Hearthstone Core Set and Classic Format? Sound off in the comments.

RELATED:  Hearthstone 17.4.1 update nerfs Demon Hunter spell; launches new solo adventure, Trial by Felfire

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Ninja Gaiden was my rite of passage at an early age. After finally beating that game (and narrowly dodging carpal tunnel) I decided to write about my gaming exploits. These days I enjoy roguelikes and anything Pokemon but I'll always dust off Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country and StarFox 64 from time to time to bask in their glory.

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