The new Hearthstone expansion is round the corner. Which changes will the new Hearthstone year bring to freshen the game experience?

Hearthstone has released the Expansion announcement schedule for the first set of 2022. On March 15th, on top of the Hearthstone Expansion reveal, devs will talk about the Core Set rotation and plans for 2022. What do we know, and what can we speculate from this?

2022 first Hearthstone Expansion

Today, in a joint social media campaign, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft announced the reveal schedule for their respective expansions, starting on March 15th. The first Hearthstone Expansion of the year will come with massive changes. We already know some of them, others are all about speculations.

There is no announced date for the expansion to go live. However, if you check the Hearthstone shop, the last Onyxia's Lair Miniset is available until April 4th. So is April 5th the date for the next expansion?

Plans For 2022

With every first Hearthstone expansion, the Dev team also announces the Road Map of the year. This next expansion will bring Core Set changes and three expansions rotating out of Standard. The community is incredibly hyped and hungry for news.

2021 Year of the Gryphon Road Map
2021 Year of the Gryphon Road Map

We can already start speculating about the storylines coming in 2022. There is a pattern in which Hearthstone expansions have year-long storylines in odd years and individually themed sets in even years.

  • 2019 - Year of the Dragon: Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, and Descent of Dragons sets - The League of Explorers vs the League of EVIL year-long storyline
  • 2020 - Year of the Fenix: Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy, and Madness at the Darkmoon Faire sets - Individually themed
  • 2021 - Year of the Gryphon: Forged in the Barrens, United in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley sets - Horde vs Alliance year-long theme
Year of the Gryphon image by Blizzard
Year of the Gryphon image by Blizzard

Is the Year of the Raptor coming in 2022? Some theories think so. This theory is based on the background of the previous image. The pic shows 4 creatures, with three of them corresponding to previous expansions. Is the Raptor next?

Last week we got some teases from Ben Lee when he disclosed he was leaving his Hearthstone Game Director position. Ben mentioned that a big character is coming this year to Hearthstone. Could that be the Lich King? Is that a hint that we will be getting a brand new class? Questions that will start to be answered on March 15th.

Core Set changes

The Core Set is a set of 235 free cards for the Standard format that Blizzard introduced last Blizzcon in 2021. The core set includes cards from different Hearthstone Expansions and has two main purposes. One is to give the Hearthstone design team flexibility when crafting expansions since they can decide to rotate some cards out if they think they are limiting card design.

Furthermore, the core set also makes Hearthstone more approachable to new and returning players since they will always have a base of free and playable cards in their collection. The Core Set will change with the first Hearthstone Expansion of the year, and Ben Lee, Hearthstone Game Director, teased the community on the topic last week.

“There are some familiar faces coming back. There may be some cards that were rotated out from core that is coming back.”

Right now, the core set contains 235 cards. These cards come from different expansions and former Classic and Basic sets. Here is the current breakdown:

  • 88 cards returning from Classic (54 class cards, 34 neutral cards).
  • 52 cards returning from Basic (41 class cards, 12 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).
  • 31 new cards (20 Class cards, 11 Neutral cards).

Hearthstone Expansions rotating out of Standard

With the first 2022 Expansion, the three 2020 Hearthstone sets will rotate out of Standard. This makes the next expansion the most influential in terms of meta changes. The Expansions that will rotate out to wild are:

Year of the Fenix Hearthstone Expansions rotating out in 2022 - By Blizzard
Year of the Fenix Hearthstone Expansions rotating out in 2022 - By Blizzard

Will this next expansion be Warcraft-themed, or will we get brand new characters unique to Hearthstone? Iksar has talked many times about cross-IP in Hearthstone, but we are yet to discover if we get some.

Stay tuned to for more Hearthstone news and updates. See you next time in the tavern.

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