A New Way to Play

A New Way to Play

Exciting changes are coming to the Tavern! We’re proud to announce that we’re introducing game formats to Hearthstone! Whether you’re just getting into Hearthstone or you’re a seasoned veteran, the new Standard format will help keep Hearthstone fresh, exciting, and accessible for years to come, while the Wild format will preserve everything you already know and love about Hearthstone!

The New Standard
Standard is a new format in Play mode that allows players to go head-to-head using only the most recently released Hearthstone cards. You’ll play Standard using a deck built solely from a pool of cards that were released in the current and previous calendar year, along with a core foundation of the Basic and Classic card sets (which will always be valid for Standard). You’ll be matched against other players who are also using Standard decks.

New description, same great taste!

Standard promises a fresher Hearthstone experience!

  • Standard will help make for a more dynamic and balanced metagame.
  • A select set of cards makes each new card have more impact!
  • The developers will have more freedom to design exciting new cards.
  • It lets newer players jump in faster without having to collect as many cards.

Standard is only available as a format in Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual play, so it won’t affect Arena, Solo play, or Adventures.

Wild Will Be Wild
Wild is our new name for the Hearthstone you already know, because it’ll be the format where anything can happen. While Standard puts a bright spotlight on recently released cards and brings a more balanced experience, when you queue up for Wild, you’ll be cozying up with the crazy fun of Hearthstone you’re already familiar with. Of course, as more and more cards are added over time, the wilder and more unpredictable Wild will be!

In terms of gameplay, nothing is changing for Wild: you’ll be able to finish quests, earn gold, rank up on the ladder, get card backs, earn Legend rank, and use all the cards you’ve already collected to build a Wild deck, just like you always have. When you queue up for Ranked or Casual play with a Wild deck, you’ll always be matched with other players who are also using Wild decks.

New Wild Button!

Ranking Up
When Standard is introduced you’ll be able to choose between Standard and Wild for Ranked play, and you'll have a separate rank for each format, so you can earn ranks and hit Legend in both Wild and Standard if you wish! You’ll only collect ranked rewards at the end of the season based on the highest rank you attained in one format or the other, but not both, so feel free to play whichever you like best!

Time for Reflection
The arrival of Standard format will also be an excellent time for us to take stock of Hearthstone. While normally we’re quite conservative about making balance changes to Hearthstone cards (and we’ll continue to be in the future), we’re planning to take the new Hearthstone year as a golden opportunity to re-evaluate a number of cards in the Basic and Classic card sets, including class cards, and make some long-considered adjustments.

More information on which cards are changing and why will be available as we draw nearer to the arrival of Standard format.

More Deck Slots? More Deck Slots!
Yes! More deck slots! Prior to the arrival of Standard we’ve got a buff planned for your Collection Manager! If you’ve unlocked all nine heroes, you’ll also unlock nine more deck slots, raising your total number of deck slots to eighteen.


Release the Kraken!
Standard format will arrive this spring! When the momentous moment arrives, you’ll be able to build Standard decks using the following sets:

  • Basic
  • Classic
  • Blackrock Mountain
  • The Grand Tournament
  • The League of Explorers
  • The Spring 2016 Expansion

Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes will not be part of Standard. When we release the first new Expansion each year, every set that wasn’t released in the same year or the year prior will cycle out and no longer be part of the Standard format.

That’s also when the new Standard year begins. Each new Hearthstone year is symbolized by one of the zodiac constellations twinkling in Azeroth’s night sky. The moment when a new constellation comes into alignment heralds the start of the year and a time of jubilation and raucous revelry wherever Hearthstone is played!

This inaugural Standard year will be known as the Year of the Kraken, so get ready to make some waves!

Gone Wild
Adventures and Expansions that are not part of the Standard format will no longer be available for purchase from the Shop—this year, that includes Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes. If you want any cards you missed out on for Wild play or just to fill out your collection, you’ll be able to craft them using Arcane Dust—even cards from Adventures that were previously un-craftable. Speaking of Adventures, if you’ve purchased at least the first wing of an Adventure before it cycled out, you’ll still be able to finish acquiring and playing the remaining wings.

Wild Crafting!

We’re Pumped!
We’ve worked hard to pave the way for Standard, and we’re really excited about all the great things this new format will bring to Hearthstone: fresher gameplay, more impactful expansions, and—since Standard will become the official format of the Hearthstone Championship Tour—an even more exciting competitive scene. All in all, we believe that Standard will end up being the most fun way to enjoy Hearthstone.

We hope you’re excited too, and we can’t wait to hear what you think.

We’re sure you have questions, so read the FAQ, and if you’ve still got questions, we’ll be happy to help!

Table of Contents
General Questions
Deck Management
Crafting, Disenchanting, and Collecting Cards
Ranked Play and Esports

General Questions

I didn’t read the blog. What are you doing?
We’re adding formats to Ranked and Casual in Hearthstone’s Play mode. Standard format (Standard for short) will only allow decks that include cards released in the current and previous calendar year, along with a foundation of the Basic and Classic card sets. Wild format is the same Hearthstone you already know, which allows players to make decks from any card in their collection (including all of the cards allowed in Standard).

What’s a format?
In a card game, format refers to the rules and restrictions that govern what kind of cards can be included in a deck.

Why are you adding formats?
Formats allow us to achieve some important goals for Hearthstone. Standard format will provide a fresher and more dynamic metagame, give developers more freedom and flexibility when designing new cards, and will help newer players wade into Hearthstone more easily. Meanwhile, Wild format will provide a crazy, anything-goes experience that involves all the cards that have ever been released—just like the Hearthstone you’re already familiar with.

How often will Standard format change?
Standard format will be updated with the first new Expansion released each year. When that happens Standard format will be updated to include card sets from the current and previous calendar year.  The Basic and Classic card sets are always part of the Standard format.

Why are Basic and Classic always part of Standard?
These cards serve as a foundation for Hearthstone. They help give Hearthstone its flavor, they have mechanics that are great for introducing new players to the game, and players who have taken a break can return to Hearthstone confident that they’ll be familiar with these cards.

What is the Year of the Kraken?
The Year of the Kraken is a thematic way to refer to the first year of Standard format play. Next year, when the first new Expansion of the year is released, a new Hearthstone year will begin, Standard format will be updated, and a different mythical beast will symbolize the year!

Deck Management

What happens to my existing decks once Standard is introduced?
Your decks that are entirely composed of cards that are allowed in Standard format will become Standard format decks. Any of your decks containing Wild format cards will automatically be converted to Wild decks. They can be converted to Standard decks by selecting or moving your mouse cursor over a deck’s title bar and then choosing Standard format. Any Wild format cards in the deck will then be marked for replacement.

Are Standard cards labeled in the Collection Manager?
Individual cards are not labeled by format, though there will be visual cues in the Collection Manager to let you know whether you are building a Standard or Wild deck. There will also be a filter in the Collection Manager to display only Standard format cards.

Are the new deck slots only available for use with Standard decks?
You can use the new deck slots for either Standard or Wild decks. These extra deck slots become available after unlocking all nine Hearthstone heroes.

Crafting, Disenchanting, and Collecting Cards

How will collecting cards work?
Adventures and Expansions that are part of Standard format will be available for purchase with gold or real money. Card sets that aren’t part of Standard format won’t be available for purchase from the in-game Shop, but you will be able to craft any of those cards using Arcane Dust, including cards from Adventures that previously could not be disenchanted or crafted.

How will purchasing Adventures work?
You will be able to purchase Adventures that are part of the current Standard format normally. Adventures that are not part of Standard will no longer be available for purchase. If you already own at least one wing of such an Adventure, you’ll have the option to unlock the remaining wings using in-game gold.

Can I still craft or disenchant cards that aren’t part of Standard format?
Yes, you can craft or disenchant all of these cards—including cards from Adventures which previously could not be disenchanted or crafted—for their normal Arcane Dust value. This excludes Basic cards, which can never be crafted or disenchanted.

Note that you can also craft and disenchant cards from Standard format Adventures, as long as you’ve already earned them by completing the necessary challenges.

Will Reward set cards such as Gelbin Mekkatorque and Old Murk-Eye be part of Wild or Standard format?
All current Reward set cards, including Promo cards, will be restricted to Wild format.

When Standard format arrives, the Captain’s Parrot and Old Murk-Eye cards won’t be given for collecting their associated classic cards, but can instead be crafted (and disenchanted).

Acquiring the Promo cards Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftain remains unchanged: the normal versions of these cards can still be crafted or disenchanted, while the golden versions were acquired via special events and cannot be disenchanted or crafted.


How will random effects work in Standard?
Random effects (including summoning random minions or cards, the Discover mechanic, transformations, or any other similar effects) will only summon cards that are eligible for the format you are playing. Thus, random effects in Standard will summon only cards that would be usable in the Standard format. All cards are legal in Wild format, so such effects will function as they always have.

Can I earn rewards in both formats?
You can earn gold, complete quests, level your heroes, and earn wins toward Golden heroes in both formats in exactly the same way. Your end of season Ranked Play bonus and card back will be awarded based on the highest rank you obtained in either Wild or Standard, but not both. End of season bonuses and Arena rewards will only include cards that are usable in Standard format.

Will Arenas use Standard format?
Arena, along with other Hearthstone play modes, such as Solo play, Adventures, etc. are all Wild by default. With the exception of the occasional Tavern Brawl, Standard format only applies to Ranked and Casual play in Play Mode.

Will Tavern Brawls use formats?
Tavern Brawls have different rules each week, so some Brawls will be in Wild format, while others could be in Standard format, but they’ll all be crazy fun!

Will my Adventure decks be affected by the new formats?
Adventures will be in Wild format, thus allowing you to use your entire collection to build Adventure decks.

How will matchmaking work?
When you queue up in Standard, you will be matched with players using decks that were created using Standard format rules. The Wild queue will include players who queued into it using both Wild format and Standard format decks, since the Wild format encompasses Standard format decks as well.

Can I play a Standard deck in Wild?
Yes! The Wild format includes your entire collection regardless of release date, including all of your cards that are usable in Standard format, so you can queue up for Wild using a Standard format deck directly.

Can I play Friendly Challenges in Standard format?
Yes! You will have the option to issue a Friendly Challenge using Standard or Wild format, and your opponent will only have the option to use decks of the appropriate format.

Ranked Play and Esports

How will Ranks work in Standard and Wild?
When Standard format arrives, your current rank will be “split” and applied to both Standard and Wild in Ranked play. For example, if you are Rank 5 when formats arrive, you will be Rank 5 in Standard and Rank 5 in Wild.

Afterwards, you'll have a separate rank and match making rating for each format, so you can earn ranks and hit Legend in both Wild and Standard individually. You’ll only collect ranked rewards at the end of the season based on the highest rank you attained in one format or the other, but not both. Regardless of which format you earned your rewards in, end of season bonuses will be comprised of cards that are usable in Standard format.

Note that you’ll have one match making rating that is shared between both Standard and Wild formats when playing in Casual.

Which of my Ranks will be shown to my Battle.net friends?
Your current best Rank, whether Standard or Wild, will be automatically displayed to Battle.net friends.

Will you feature the top 100 Ranked players for both the Standard and Wild formats?
Currently, we plan to feature only the top 100 players in Standard format.

Can I earn Hearthstone Championship Tour points by competing in Ranked in both formats?
No. Standard will be the only format that offers Hearthstone Championship Tour points for 2016.

Will all official Blizzard esports events be played in Standard format?
Yes. Standard is the official format of the Hearthstone Championship Tour and the Hearthstone World Championship in 2016.


Will card backs and custom heroes be useable in any format?
Yes, all the card backs and heroes you’ve collected can be used in all formats.

Will the Basic and Classic cards you update for the Year of the Kraken be disenchanted for full value?
While Basic cards can never be crafted or disenchanted, Classic cards that have been changed during the review can be disenchanted at their full dust value for a limited time.

With Play Mode split between Standard and Wild, will it take longer to find matches?
We don’t expect the introduction of formats to have a significant effect on the time it takes to find a match.

Can I still Play Adventures that aren’t available in the Shop?
You’ll only be able to play Adventures that you already own. If you already own at least one wing of an Adventure before it becomes Wild format only, you’ll be able to unlock and play the remaining wings using in-game gold, but not real money.

As a new player, I don’t see an option for Wild format in Play Mode. How do I play in Wild Ranked or Casual?
To unlock the option to create Wild decks and play Wild format, you can craft any card that is not part of  the current Standard format. If you already have such cards in your collection, then Wild format will already be unlocked by default.

Will any sets that leave Standard format become part of Standard again in the future?
There are currently no plans to add Wild format only sets back into the Standard format.

What’s the new 2016 Expansion?
It’s really, really cool. We think you’ll like it. You’ll find out what it is soon™.