Forged in The Barrens & Year of the Gryphon Launch Roadmap / Survival Guide

The biggest launch in the history of Hearthstone is just ahead of us. Because we’re getting so many things at the same time, it might get… a little bit confusing. Even more so since not everything launches at the same time – we have two main release dates, but also a pre-launch event in between those. We’re constantly getting questions about what launches when, if the expansion will be available on 25th, what about Classic format and so on.

That’s why we figured out that the best way to keep everything clear is releasing a sort of “roadmap” or survival guide that you can refer to during the next week to know exactly what happens and when it happens. Click on each of the We hope that you find it useful!

March 25

  • Patch 20.0 Release – March 25 is one of the big dates because that’s when Patch 20.0 containing all the card changes, information and so on goes live. As a part of the patch, Nitroboost Poison is getting nerfed to 2 mana, Overlord Saurfang and Barrens Blacksmith launch in Battlegrounds, a total of 545 spellls from old expansion are getting their Spell Schools assigned and so on. But wait, there’s more!
  • Classic Format – As a part of Patch 20.0, Classic format launches. Classic format will take players back to June 2014, back when only Basic & Classic (hence the name) sets were available. For many players, it will be very nostalgic to go back to the “early days” of the game, and for those who started playing it much later, it will be a chance to experience how the game looked like before any expansions were released. You can find a list of cards that will change compared to the current Standard with some history here and a list of decks we want to test out when it launches here.
  • Nerf Reverts To 36 Cards – One of the bigger features of the patch are reverts of 36 nerfs for the older cards. Some of them are already exclusive to Wild, but others are still in Standard. Which means that between the patch and the expansion, many Standard cards will get buffed, and it might heavily impact the meta.
  • Big Duels Update – While I know that many of you don’t particularly like the format (honestly, I’m with you there), it still has many fans, and it’s getting a major update. New expansions are added to the rotation (including Forged in the Barrens, which can’t be used for deck building until it launches, but cards from it can already be found in drafting buckets), 25 new Passive Treasures, 5 balance changes, extended ban list, and Hero Powers / Treasures are now easier to unlock.
  • New Achievements – After patch releases, Darkmoon Faire achievements will no longer give you XP, so it’s your last chance to complete them if you still want extra XP. We’ll get a list of new, Forged in the Barrens achievements instead and those will grant XP now (although I imagine that most of them won’t be finishable until expansion’s launch).

March 26

  • Pre-Release Weekend – Between March 26 and March 29, players will be able to host private Fireside Gatherings and participate in pre-release weekend. Sadly, since regular, open Fireside Gatherings are banned because of the current pandemic situation, you will only be able to play with friends & family you invite to your home. Still, you will be able to open your Forged in the Barrens pre-purchase packs early and play two special Tavern Brawls. One will allow you to use cards from new expansion, while the other will use deck recipes (so even if you didn’t pre-purchase, you can still play it).
  • Duplicate Protection Issues – Directly relating to pre-release pack openings, Blizzard has issued a statement about duplicate protection. Given that regular Mankrik & Diamond Blademaster Samuro can be picked on Level 1 from rewards track (Mankrik for everyone, Samuro for Tavern Pass owners), opening your packs early can lead to opening one of those cards before you claim them, which basically means opening a duplicate. To prevent that, Blizzard is issuing a full Dust refund for those two cards – so feel free to open your packs early without worrying about it.

March 30

  • Forged in the Barrens Launch – First expansion of 2021 called Forged in the Barrens launches with 135 new cards. The set is a start of another year-long narrative, which starts with the Horde perspective, then going to Alliance in the middle of the year, finishing in what seems to be a battle between two factions during the final expansion.
  • Year of the Gryphon Standard Rotation – Upcoming rotation will be the biggest one in history. Basic, Classic, Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, Descent of Dragons and Galakrond’s Awakening all rotate out. That’s a total of almost 850 different cards. Some of them make a comeback in Core Set, but it’s still massive and will be a major shakeup to the meta. We wrote a series of articles detailing the most important cards rotating out – you can find them out here: Part 1 (Neutral), Part 2 (Demon Hunter, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin), Part 3 (Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior).
  • Core Set 2021 – Basic & Classic sets will rotate out, but it doesn’t mean that players won’t have any “base” for deck building. Core Set will launch instead of those. It will contain 235 cards – some from Basic/Classic, others from Wild expansions, as well as 31 new cards. Core set will be free for all players (it will have similar unlock requirements to Basic cards) and a part of it will rotate yearly – devs have mentioned that around 30% of the set will change every year.
  • New Rewards Track & Diamond Cards – Rewards track is getting a refresh. When Forged in the Barrens launches, all players will get reset to Level 1 and will work their way up through the track again. There are some changes compared to the one we have right now – “base” part will have 100 levels instead of 50 (but each will require half the XP, which simply means that the progression is faster) and we’ll get slightly more rewards throughout the track. We detailed all the changes, as well as the new Tavern Pass here. Additionally, a new type of cosmetics will launch – Diamond Cards. It’s a new cosmetic type of cards above Goldens – but only two will be available this expansion (Blademaster Samuro & Bru'kan).

April 6

  • Book of Mercenaries (Rokara) – First Book of Mercenaries, which is a new series of PvE content centered around the 10 new “Mercenary” characters introduced in this expansion, launches a week after expansion’s release. It will tell the story of Warrior Mercenary – Rokara and finishing it will grant one Warrior class pack. Overall, the experience should be very similar to Book of Heroes, but instead of learning stories of characters already existing in the lore, we’ll get to see new ones.

As you can see, there’s a lot of new stuff coming over the next week. If we have missed anything, let us know in the comments!


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Myer
    March 24, 2021 at 9:28 am

    so now it’s bassicaly better to open packs before claiming Mankrik since 1600 dust is better than a random legendary

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      March 24, 2021 at 9:52 am

      You can’t open regular Mankrik from packs, only Golden.

      But you’re still technically right – if you find Golden Mankrik, then you can turn it into any Golden Legendary or 2 regular Legendaries.

      However, keep in mind that’s only correct for launch, when full Dust refunds still last.

  2. Foom
    March 24, 2021 at 9:22 am

    You mentioned that, “After patch releases, Darkmoon Faire achievements will no longer give you XP, so it’s your last chance to complete them.”

    Why would a lack of XP stop you from obtaining the achievement? I’m wondering if they’re still achievable for collectors sans XP, pushed to a sort of ‘Feats of Strength’ category, or removed from the game entirely.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      March 24, 2021 at 9:54 am

      I should have worded that better. It’s your last chance to complete them if you still want extra XP. They will still, of course, be in game and you will still be able to complete them just for achievement points. I fixed it.

  3. Jdeg9142
    March 24, 2021 at 1:05 am

    Worth mentioning as well that we will be getting a free golden classic pack with the launch of classic, Ysera will be eligible for a dust refund with the dream card reworks, and I believe that the cards that were buffed from classic into the core set (lightning storm or feral spirit for example) will be changed alongside the wild unnerfs!

    • Jdeg9142
      March 24, 2021 at 1:05 am

      Though I’m not 100% certain on my last point. The first two are definitely worth mentioning though!

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        March 24, 2021 at 10:31 am

        You’re 100% right about the first two points, but I’m also not sure about the third one. I can’t find that information anywhere.

  4. H0lysatan
    March 23, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Please add that on March 26th, old achievements no longer give XP rewards, and will be changed into FitB achievements.

    “Finally, please note that incomplete Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Gameplay achievements will no longer grant Reward Track XP after the 20.0 patch is released, and instead a new set of Forged in the Barrens Gameplay achievements will, so don’t forget to finish and claim those before they’re gone!”
    Quote from Blizzard

    I think it’s weird when new achievements start on March 25th, but the new reward track start on March 30th.

    • H0lysatan
      March 23, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      typos, *March 25th*

    • H0lysatan
      March 23, 2021 at 1:51 pm

      Also, please add April 2-4 – Twitch Drops for Forged in the Barrens Packs
      And I can’t find it anywhere, but it seems there won’t be any L.Quest like old times anymore.

    • Z3ro
      March 23, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      This Expansion Related Achievements leave a bad taste in my Mouth

      first of all you are forced to play them in Ranked (drops your MMR)

      Some are just bait to Craft Shitty Cards (Greybough, Maxima Blastenheimer)

      and on top of that you are forced to do them in a certain time Window (if you want the XP)

      Stuff like this should be fun imo, but to be honest most of them force you to play some specific built deck for the Achievement or are RNG Bullshit

      why cant you at least do them in unranked or with a friend ……

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        March 23, 2021 at 6:45 pm

        For that reason I just ignored them. I finished like 1/5 of them while just playing the game and don’t really care about the rest. They don’t give that much XP anyway.

        I think that you should be able to finish them in unranked, but I disagree about friendly games. You could just set it up with a friend (or alt account) and finish the hardest ones very easily.

        • Z3ro
          March 23, 2021 at 9:34 pm

          at some point i was motivated to go for them at this Point I have like 1/3 of them and gave it up aswell

          some I just cant do cause i miss the Cards, others just look so boring even on paper

          just feels bad to miss out on xp=gold for the Expansion

      • H0lysatan
        March 23, 2021 at 10:30 pm

        We’ll see if the new achievements will net us with a bigger XP rewards, since Duel XP reward took about ~15K last time. But I hardly doubt they will add more XP rewards.
        Just remember, don’t stress over it. Just play like you want as usual. The achievement score does nothing anyway.

        • Z3ro
          March 25, 2021 at 6:50 am

          ye these Achievement Points do nothing atm i know

          i was referring to the ones that also grant Bonus XP

      • A person who reacts to this
        March 24, 2021 at 9:14 am

        Yeah if you don’t do them automatically they are not worth the time it takes to build a deck around the Achievements and play it. So they are mostly there for fun. Tried going for some of them I didn’t get automatically but realized that in the same amount of time I got more or the same from just playing a normal ranked game instead.

  5. Supertumagh
    March 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    When will you update the Deck Builders? It’ll be fine theorycrafting this time

  6. Nerose
    March 23, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Should we start a new arena or heroic duel run?

    • H0lysatan
      March 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, arena run going to rotate, so it’s best to do the usual lose-twice shenanigan.
      I don’t know about duels. I’ve read somewhere (maybe reddit) that duels just ended without giving back the ticket.