It was inevitable that Blizzard would eventually have to do something to address the issue of newer Hearthstone players not having access to old cards. Last year, some Internet crank suggested Magic: The Gathering-style set rotation, and that will soon become reality.

The new Standard format only allows cards from the Basic and Classic sets, as well as anything released in the last two calendar years. The “reset” will occur when the year’s first expansion is released, and for 2016, that will be when an unnamed expansion releases in the spring. When that happens, cards available for Standard format will include Basic/Classic cards and anything released in 2015 or 2016: League of Explorers, The Grand Tournament, and Blackrock Mountain. (Sorry, Goblins vs. Gnomes and Curse of Naxxramas.) When the first expansion of 2017 comes out, we’ll lose LoE, TGT, and BRM, but have everything released in 2016 plus that new expansion.

You can still play using any cards in the Wild format. Both formats are available in friendly, casual, and ranked play. Ranked play will be split between the two formats, and you’ll have to decide which to play for each match. Your monthly rewards will be based on your highest of the two rankings. Arena will still pull from all cards available in Hearthstone, and you can use all cards in solo PvE play.

The dev blog announcing the changes also contained some other important news. Before the spring expansion hits, players who have unlocked all nine heroes will receive an additional nine deck slots, bringing their total up to 18. When the expansion does come, adventures and expansions that aren’t part of the Standard set mix won’t be available for purchase after the rotation occurs. You can still craft cards from those sets using Arcane Dust.

This last part rubs me a little the wrong way. A big reason why set rotation is required in physical card games like Magic is because older expansions are difficult or expensive to get a hold of; only so much of an expansion printed 15 years ago is still actually in existence. That’s not a concern for a digital game like Hearthstone. There are no supply/demand issues, so artificially removing them from sale makes little sense to me.

Still, I’m pretty stoked about the changes and think they’ll play a big part in keeping Hearthstone alive and kicking for quite a while. What are your thoughts?

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. Razer on February 6, 2016

    This is will slightly decrease the cost of getting into the game (AKA netdecking), but you’ll starting over again every year. Still a total scam. Excuse me while I light my money on fire instead.

  2. Hantzie on February 3, 2016

    Any card game has to make this kind of thing at any point, because when the card pool increases it’s harder to maintain the game fairly balanced. So it was expected at any moment.

    • Ishonumom on February 3, 2016

      I am not if you are a troll or what but I have to inform you my son that this is a digital card game.
      So no, they do n ot have to do this. I feel bad for everyone who has spend money on this game because they took their cards away basicaly, and for new players it is even harder.

      Now they have to grind in order to rent adventure cards.

      “wild” mode is a joke.

      Ok sonny? Now dont show your face here no more unless you want me to teach you a lesson.

      • Hantzie on February 3, 2016

        Well, i’ve played some digital card games before HS and everyone did this or similar, it’s easier to do this than “buffing” or “nerfing” every card to fith the new expansions and keep balanced. I’m not saying, it’s fair for new players or not, but that’s a fact. Even digital card games can’t handle with a large pool of cards, for the sake of balance.