Once a year Blizzard changes things up with our beloved Hearthstone, rotating old card sets to become Wild-only, severely limiting the Standard card pool and making drastic changes to the meta. This can all be a bit confusing, so here's the definitive answer to how set rotations work. Below you will also find historical information on each of the rotations we've seen.
Hearthstone Set Rotation Basics
- Once per year with the release of the first expansion, usually in April, the rotation takes place.
- In addition to the regular sets that are available for play in Standard, a Core Set of cards is also available. (See Year of the Wolf Core Set)
- This set contains cards that are available for free to all players.
- Each year, some cards in the Core Set will be replaced by different ones.
- Cards in the Core Set are typically from older expansions, though Blizzard sometimes creates brand new cards as well.
- Any card from an existing set that moves into Core will move back to its original set if it leaves the Core Set in a future year.
- Standard format, upon rotation, is restricted to sets released in two calendar years. (2022 = sets from 2021 and 2022).
- The first set of a year also marks the new name of a "Hearthstone Zodiac" year. (Kraken, Mammoth, Raven, Dragon, Phoenix, Gryphon, Hydra, Wolf).
List of Standard Rotations
These are all the rotations that Standard has gone through with the most recent showing up first.
Year of the Wolf (2023)
The Year of the Wolf was officially announced on March 23, 2023 and started on April 11, 2022, with the launch of Festival of Legends.
- Festival of Legends
- Expansion 2
- Expansion 3
Year of the Hydra (2022)
The Year of the Hydra was officially announced on April 5, 2022 and started on April 12, 2022, with the launch of Voyage to the Sunken City. It concluded with the launch of Festival of Legends on April 11, 2023.
Year of the Gryphon (2021)
The Year of the Gryphon ran from April 2021 - 2022. This year introduced a major overhaul into how set rotations worked with the addition of the Core Set. The Core Set replaced the Basic and Classic sets, to keep Hearthstone fresh and exciting with relevant cards. Any cards that were no longer a part of the Core Set were moved into the Legacy set. This also introduced the removal of the Hall of Fame set as it was no longer needed.
- This was the first introduction of a Core Set.
- Cards from Classic and Basic have been moved to the Legacy set if they don't belong to another set.
- The Hall of Fame was removed from the game. Cards went back to their original sets.
Year of the Phoenix (2020)
The Year of the Phoenix ran from April 7, 2020 to March 30, 2021.
Year of the Dragon (2019)
The Year of the Dragon ran from April 9, 2019 to April 7, 2020.
Year of the Raven (2018)
The Year of the Raven ran from April 12, 2018 - April 9, 2019.
Year of the Mammoth (2017)
The Year of the Mammoth ran from April 6, 2017 - April 12, 2018. This rotation introduced the concept of the Hall of Fame where certain cards were removed from the Classic set so they could no longer influence the Standard meta.
Year of the Kraken (2016)
The Year of the Kraken ran from April 26, 2016 to April 6, 2017. This was the first set rotation that happened in Hearthstone's history.
Standard arrived with the launch off Whispers of the Old Gods, the first expansion of the Year of the Kraken.
Curse of Naxxramas, and Goblins vs Gnomes cards became Wild only.
Additionally, promotional and reward cards were moved to a new set dubbed the Hall of Fame:
This year started with the release of Journey to Un'Goro. Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers became Wild only.
Additionally, these cards were moved to Hall of Fame:
This year started with the release of The Witchwood. Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan became Wild only.
Additionally, these cards were moved to the Hall of Fame:
This year started with the release of Rise of Shadows. Journey to Un'Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs became Wild only.
Additionally, these Classic cards were moved to the Hall of Fame:
For the first time ever, some cards from a newer set were also removed from Standard:
For another first, two Basic cards were sent to the Hall of Fame and replaced as well:
They were replaced with these cards, which will always remain in Standard:
This year started with the release of Ashes of Outland. The Witchwood, The Boomsday Project, and Rastakhan's Rumble became Wild only.
Additionally, Classic Priest and neutral cards were moved to the Hall of Fame. Many of these cards had been staples since the release of the game, including:
The Priest class received some changes, and several of its original cards joined the Hall of Fame as well:
In order to maintain the same number of class cards available, some new replacements were released which will always be playable in Standard:
The list of each expansion per year is a bit confusing, shouldn't it start like:
Year of the Kraken: April 26th 2016 - April 6th 2017
Might be worth updating this with the core set ;)
Year of the Phoenix was the first year without a mage card going to the hall of fame!