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Hearthstone brings the Year of the Wolf and changes to the Core Set in April 2023

Some returning fan-favorite keywords, card pool updates, card text and stats adjustments, and more!

Festival of Legends, the first expansion for Hearthstone in 2023, debuts concurrently with the Year of the Wolf in April 2023. As the Forged in the Barrens, Unified in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion sets rotate out of Standard, we will bid farewell to them and welcome upgrades to the Core Set this year in April. Following this rotation, the revised Core Set will be included in Standard along with the expansions Journey to the Sunken City, Murder at Castle Nathria, March of the Lich King, and Festival of Legends.

The game will concentrate its efforts on improving Hearthstone and Battlegrounds throughout the Year of the Wolf, adding more new cards and Battlegrounds upgrades than ever before. Later on in the year, players will get a few surprises in store for you, like a Wild-focused update and a fun new way to play with older cards.

Core Set Updates in Hearthstone

Forged in the Barrens, Unified in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley are the three Year of the Gryphon expansions that Standard will soon be saying farewell to. Following the rotation, Standard will have the revised Core Set, March of the Lich King, Murder at Castle Nathria, Journey to the Sunken City, and Festival of Legends. Almost 70 cards from the Core Set will be replaced with new ones this year, which is a significant change in the Year of the Wolf roadmap for Hearthstone.

Hearthstone Year of the Wolf
Image via Activision

This year, the developers are adding new keywords to the Core Set, adding cards that have just rotated out of Standard, and changing the Core Set’s philosophy. Also, Devs want to be more accommodating with the Core Set throughout the year by allowing for both planned and unforeseen balancing changes.

Keyword Update: Tradeable

The term “tradeable” was first used in United in Stormwind. Cards marked as Tradeable can be played for their usual cost or exchanged for another card in your deck. Since its debut, Tradeable has gained a tonne of popularity. It is simple to comprehend, it smooths out draws, and it improves the playing experience for situational cards. In conclusion, it’s a solid keyword whose departure from Standard was lamented by players.

Hearthstone Year of the Wolf
Image via Activision

Tradeable will become an evergreen keyword this year, which means that we plan to use it in most expansions for the foreseeable future, similar to how Rush or Divine Shield are used. Because to the fact that Tradeable is currently only found in Unified in Stormwind and Fractured in Alterac Valley, we’re starting by introducing a couple of those expansions’ more well-liked Tradeable cards into Core. Yet, throughout the Year of the Wolf and for years to come, you should anticipate the introduction of new Tradeable cards.

Returning Keyword: Magnetic

The name “Magnetic” was used to describe specific mechs in The Boomsday Project. Mechs with Magnetic might be played normally or right next to another Mech on the board to fuse with it, giving the Mech in play access to its stats, effects, and enchantments. Battlegrounds is still using the magnetic mechanism, which is entertaining and tasty. This year’s Core Set will once again include a set of Magnetic cards, including Zilliax, the beloved symbol of harmony, accuracy, and perfection.

Magnetic is not evolving into an evergreen keyword, in contrast to Tradeable. Thus, these Magnetic cards might not remain in Core after this update. Having said that, we do intend to keep creating amusing Mechs and other cards that appeal to these resurfacing Magnetic cards. Devs are interested in finding out what kinds of decks these cards will be drawn to as well as their influence on the playing pitch.

Priest Tune Up and new Keyword: Overheal

With this Core Set update, Priest seems like it needed a little polishing as the game gears up for the debut of Festival of Legends. In order to perform this kind of tune-up, we looked at the class’s fundamental mechanics, modified them to encourage play patterns that players like, eliminated support for play patterns that don’t work, and then realigned themes and mechanics moving forward.

Healing is the first thing that people consider when they think about the central priest fantasy. Yet typically, the primary ideas of other classes, such as damage or even armor, are stronger and more adaptable than healing. The first choice the developers had to make was whether to reject that identity or embrace it and improve it. Finally, the developers came to the conclusion that since Priest’s healing is so well-known, we owed it to Priest’s followers to implement healing.

Hearthstone Year of the Wolf
Image via Activision

The situational aspect of healing is not changed by simply printing larger healing effects, and doing so runs the risk of those effects turning into burn-through cards like Embrace the Shadow. The devs also experimented with modifying Priest’s Hero Power, and while some of those tests were intriguing, changing Hero Powers comes at a hefty cost and requires a great deal more confidence than we currently have.

To make healing more adaptable and rewarding, we instead developed a new keyword: Overheal. When a card’s maximum health is restored, an effect known as Overheal is activated. Like Combo is for Rogue, Overheal is a brand-new evergreen class mechanic, therefore Overheal cards should be commonplace this year and in the years to come. Additionally, it implies that Priest healing cards will still be printed, including some that use the new Overheal keyword.

Of course, there are other Priest identities besides healing. Despite its recent success, Aggro Priest has a history of being quite inconsistent. In order to maintain the consistency of the Shadow identity, devs are going to tighten that identity up a bit by adding Darkbishop Benedictus to Core. Similarly to how Beasts are a major component of the Hunter character, we are also including Undead as part of the Priest identity coming forward.

In the future, devs hope to be able to perform these types of tune-ups more frequently. They focus more on ongoing improvement of Hearthstone over time than they do on one-time, significant shakeups. These adjustments enable us to address issues that affect classes as a whole rather than just one set, such as when a core identity requires modification or when sets A and B don’t work well together.

By experimenting with the class without any Secrets in this Core Set, devs have prepared the groundwork for a closer look at Paladin, for example. Later in the year, devs intend to reevaluate that change and consider more fine-tuning for the class in this Year of the Wolf in Hearthstone.

Are you excited about the Hearthstone Year of the Wolf? Do let us know in the comments below!

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