Year of the Dragon Returning Player Guide

Year of the Dragon Returning Player Guide

Well met and welcome back! Maybe it’s been months or years since you last joined us in the Tavern, but we’ve rounded up all the important changes you may have missed.

Year of the Dragon

Standard Rotation

The Year of the Dragon has started, meaning that players are no longer able to purchase packs in-game from the Journey to Un'Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds & Catacombs expansions. Any cards from those expansions will no longer be playable in Standard game modes, and are now available for use only in Wild game modes.

Standard is the 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.

Wild is the format where anything can happen. When you queue up for Wild, you’ll be cozying up with the crazy fun of Hearthstone with all cards ever released. As more and more cards are added over time, the wilder and more unpredictable Wild will be!

Ranked Play

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.

You will no longer earn the monthly card back by reaching Rank 20. Instead, you can earn each season’s card back by winning 5 games in Ranked Standard or Wild at any rank.

Upon achieving certain milestones in Ranked Play, it will no longer be possible to lose ranks beyond those milestones for that season. The milestones are Rank 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend.

Your reset will not be based on the stars you earned over the season. Instead, you’ll reset to four ranks below the highest rank you achieved during the season. Players at Legend reset to rank 4, 0 stars. All ranks will have 5 stars.

Arena Updates

With Rise of Shadows, the Arena will start a regular rotation of available cards from both new and older expansions. We updated the 500 Wins requirement for Golden Heroes to include Arena wins along with Ranked wins.

New Solo Content

Play free Solo Adventure content from current and previous expansions like Dungeon Run, Monster Hunt, Puzzle Lab, and Rumble Run, available under Solo Adventures in-game.

  • Rumble Run: It’s time to smash down the gates and take the Gurubashi Arena by storm. You’ll take on the role of Rikkar, a fiery young troll who’s eager to fight for the glory of his Loa! Pick your team by selecting one of three Shrines, each one dedicated to one of the nine Loa of Rastakhan’s Rumble.
  • Puzzle Lab: Head over to The Puzzle Lab to help the Boom Labs head scientists and their assistants overcome challenging obstacles to their research! Each lab represents one of four different puzzle types: Lethal, Mirror, Board Clear, or Survival.
  • Monster Hunt: Take on the role of one of four veteran monster hunters who are venturing deep into the Witchwood on Hagatha’s trail. Each of these heroes has their own favorite tricks—a special hero power or ability that you’ll need to master if you hope to survive the hunt.
  • Dungeon Run: Dungeon Run is a “rogue-like” mode where you’ll face deadly encounters and collect incredible Treasures to build a deck worthy of a hero! When your Dungeon Run starts, you’ll choose a Hero and receive a starting deck consisting of 10 cards. You’ll use it to overcome eight encounters of increasing difficulty to clear the run.

New Classic Cards

The following cards can now be crafted or opened in Classic card packs:

  • Call of the Void
  • Icicle
  • Pilfer
  • Tome of Intellect

Hall of Fame

The following cards have been moved to the Hall of Fame, and are only playable in Wild:

  • Azure Drake
  • Baku the Mooneater
  • Black Cat
  • Coldlight Oracle
  • Conceal
  • Divine Favor
  • Doomguard
  • Genn Greymane
  • Glitter Moth
  • Gloom Stag
  • Ice Block
  • Ice Lance
  • Molten Giant
  • Murkspark Eel
  • Naturalize
  • Power Overwhelming
  • Ragnaros the Firelord
  • Sylvanas Windrunner

Deck Building & Sharing

Smart Deck Builder

Hearthstone's even BETTER at helping you build decks than ever before! We've created a Smart Deck Builder that:

  • Helps you build established, proven decks using your collection.
  • Helps you choose the strongest stand-alone cards from what you have available if you’re short of an established deck.
  • Completes decks from the deck selection screen with a single click.
  • Easily converts Wild decks to Standard with a single click using the intelligent card replacement algorithm.
Deck Importing

It’s now possible to copy and import Hearthstone decklists! It’s fast and easy to share your decklist with friends, or try the latest decklist from your favorite streamer, pro, or fansite. Copy a deck by selecting the hero portrait at the top in your collection and pressing the copy button. Hearthstone knows when a valid decklist is copied, and you’ll be asked if you want to use it when you create a new deck.

Friendly Challenge Deck Sharing

Get a look at this—now you can share your decks with friends during a Friendly Challenge! This feature isn’t currently available for Tavern Brawl or Fireside Brawl.

Random Card Back Selector

Picking an outfit for the day is tough and picking a card back for a match is even harder, but we’ve cooked something up in the Tavern to make it a little less difficult! Let the Innkeeper curate your card back collection. Select the Random card back for a deck, and a random card back from your Collection will be chosen each time you play.

Quest Updates

Daily Quest Updates
  • More gold, less hassle. Most Daily Quests are now easier to complete, and all quests that previously awarded 40 gold will now award 50 golR
Reroll Legendary Quest
  • Choose your challenge! To give players more freedom over how they’ll be rewarded while playing Hearthstone, we have now added the ability to reroll legendary quests (Special event quests, Expansion launch quests, etc.) into standard daily quests.

It’s Always Better with Friends

Recruit A Friend

You can invite friends to play Hearthstone and gain cool rewards! Pick up the new Shaman hero, Morgl The Oracle, when your first recruit achieves 20 combined levels across all classes. Earn a free Classic card packs for up to four more recruits! ALL your recruits can earn a free Classic pack!

New Player Ranks

We’ve added New Player Ranks to help ease newcomers into the fray, so it's a great time to introduce a friend to Hearthstone!

  • New Ranks from Rank 50 to 26 for new players only.
  • New players can earn a total of 22 free packs just by ranking up in New Player Ranks, Earn 3 free Classic card packs by reaching milestones at Rank 45, 40, 35, and 30. Upon graduating up to Rank 25, earn 2 Classic card packs, and 2 packs each of the most recent four Hearthstone expansions.
  • There's no loss of stars for losing a match while in New Player Ranks.
  • New Player Ranks earn end of season rewards (the same rewards as reaching Rank 25).
  • Players can skip the New Player Ranks (but they'll miss out on milestone card pack rewards!)
  • Players in the New Player Experience are unable to craft the Whizbang the Wonderful card until they reach Rank 25 or manually exit the New Player Experience.
  • New players can unlock Wild Format and Casual mode by reaching Rank 25. As before, Tavern Brawls unlock after achieving Level 20 with any Class.

Maybe It Has Been a While . . .

Unlock up to 18 deck slots!

Gain access to 9 additional deck slots by unlocking all nine Hearthstone Heroes, bringing your total number of deck slots to 18. If you’ve already unlocked all nine Heroes, your new deck slots are waiting for you in the Collection Manager: just delete or edit the Basic decks you’ll find in your deck list.

Tavern Brawl

Each week, a different Tavern Brawl will pit you head to head versus another player using exciting and unique rules. One week might feature preset decks, while another week could have you crafting a brand new Tavern Brawl deck following specific guidelines, while others might offer buffs to specific minion types. The possibilities are endless! Tavern Brawl unlocks for players who have at least one Hero at level 20.

Spectator Mode

Watch your friends play through their games of Hearthstone and observe their epic victories all with the click of a button! Spectator Mode is accessed through the Friends list by clicking on the “Spectate Match” button next to your friend’s name.

Play on the Go, Better than Before

While Hearthstone has been officially supported on iOS and Android phones for a while now, we’ve further optimized Hearthstone's app size so the initial download of the Hearthstone client for mobile is now smaller. It will be necessary to re-download app data, but Hearthstone will take up a lot less space now! Phones now use lighter weight card art to reduce app size.

The option to download via cellular data is no longer saved between sessions. You’ll be prompted to provide permission when new data needs to be downloaded. To improve performance, downloads are now paused while in a match.

Players attempting to reconnect to matches should now have a smoother overall experience. Support for modern phones, such as the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S8 & S9, has been added to utilize more available screen space.


Pardon our dust! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be transitioning blog comments over to our new forums. At that time all historical blog comments will be lost. During the transition, you can still join the conversation by heading over to our General Discussion Forums.