It’s official – 2021 will be a Year of the Gryphon. And it’s going to show up in style, with the biggest Hearthstone rotation to date. A lot of changes are coming – we’ve already covered some of them in separate post, but here’s a quick recap of what we should expect from the new Standard year.
Here’s a new roadmap for this Standard year. To be frank – it doesn’t tell us much. Phase 1 (first expansion) shows all the things announced recently, like Core Set, Classic Format or the new Mercenaries game mode (but we don’t have an official release date for it, so it might get delayed further). There’s also a single “Spell Locked”, which we’re curious about. Is there still something they haven’t announced?
Phase 2 is absolutely standard – there’s nothing really interesting planned for it outside of the regular expansion, updates & events.
Phase 3 is again the same, but with one “Spell Locked”. Given that Team 5 has committed to releasing a lot of new game modes, I suspect that it might be one of them. Assuming Mercenaries release within the next few months, it’s possible that we’ll see another game mode late in 2021 or early in 2022.
We already know that first expansion of the year is Forged in the Barrens. However, so far we don’t know anything about 2nd or 3rd. Or, to be more precise, we don’t know any specifics. What we know is that Year of the Gryphon will feature a year-long narrative, which means that expansions will be connected by their story.
Since the first expansion is Horde-focused, it’s only natural for the second to be Alliance focused. And it looks like the third will mix up both and feature some sort of fight between those two factions.
My guess would be Stormwind City for the 2nd expansion and Alterac Valley (which was a massive, 40 vs 40 war between factions in WoW) as the third one. But, of course, we won’t really know until they’re announced!
Yearly Standard Rotation
Year of the Gryphon will feature the biggest rotation in history. That’s because on top of the regular, scheduled rotation, the entire Basic & Classic sets (so almost 400 cards in total) will also rotate. Here’s a full list of sets that will rotate out:
- Rise of Shadows
- Saviors of Uldum
- Descent of Dragons
- Galakrond’s Awakening
Basic & Classic will be replaced by the Core Set – a 235 card set that will contain some cards from Basic, Classic, Wild expansion, as well as some brand new ones. Many of the cards will be updated too. Check out a full list of Core Set 2021 cards we know so far here.
The rotation will happen alongside new expansion – we don’t know exactly when that will be yet, because no official dates were given out yet, but I would suspect mid-late March or early April at the latest.
Classic Format & Mercenaries Game Mode
If you’re bored of the regular Standard and want to play Hearthstone in new ways, this is going to be an exciting year.
To boot things off, Classic Format will be released. In this format, the game will be back in its state from June 2014, before the first adventure got released. Everything will be played like it was back then – cards that got Hall of Famed or nerfed will be back, strategies that we haven’t seen in years will be viable again and so on. You can read more about the Classic format here.
On top of that, we’re getting a brand new game mode – Mercenaries. It’s a roguelike experience with permanent progression, mixing PvE with PvP. Players take titular mercenaries through a randomly generated map with different encounters, leveling them up and collecting amazing loot. We haven’t seen any gameplay yet and don’t have a release date, but we should learn more about it soon. You can find everything we know about it so far here.
New/Returning Players Experience Update
We’ll also see some updates to new/returning players experience. Here’s a quick list of changes:
- Legendary Quest line for returning players will be shorter and award 15 packs now.
- New players Quest line will be updated, so some of the Quests can be completed in Battlegrounds. Quests will also give packs from the latest expansion instead of Classic.
- Players will now be able to unlock Demon Hunter just like any other class, without playing prologue. Prologue will be an extra PvE content and award one Demon Hunter card pack for completing.
- New players will also be able to unlock their Heroes through Book of Heroes solo content. Completing all Book of Heroes missions for a certain class will unlock that class.