Here’s all you need to know about the Core Set update for 2023’s Hearthstone Year of the Wolf.

With the Year of the Wolf approaching, the Hearthstone Core Set will undergo a gigantic update. Most importantly, serial offender Brann Bronzebeard and fan favorite Reno Jackson will leave the Core Set alongside their League of Explorers colleagues. Some other iconic cards from recent meta decks will follow suit, most notably Druid’s Earthen Scales and Priest's Radiant Elemental.

Old staples, including Warlock’s Defile, Paladin’s Muster for Battle, and the Neutral Zilliax, will be back in action. “Unity. Precision. Perfection.” Additionally, the Tradeable keyword will receive an encore in the Core Set. Read on as we discuss these changes.

Year of the Wolf graphic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Year of the Wolf graphic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Hearthstone Core Set update

The Core Set reveal is a great occasion for any type of player. While novices can rejoice at the thought of having powerful cards for free, seasoned players mark it as the beginning of the theorycrafting season. Before this moment, new expansion cards from the Festival of Legends have existed in a sort of limbo of uncertain synergies. Not anymore! Expect informed and heated debates from meta experts and class specialists from today until the expansion release.

While the day started with the sad news that a decisive figure in Hearthstone esports is leaving Blizzard, a bunch of “Core-ny” puns from the people involved in the Core Set reveal lightened up the mood. If you’re feeling inspired, then add your own pun to the mix.

New Hearthstone Core Set keywords for Year of the Wolf: Tradeable and Magnetic

Speaking of inspired, a current keyword has graduated to the evergreen club. Sure, after maxing its Overdraft, Tradeable has graduated! Throw your hats in the air for Tradeable's addition to the Core Set. This flexible United in Stormwind addition allows you to draw when you don’t need the card.

Moreover, Magnetic returns, although temporarily. Zilliax’s iconic voice line will resound once again, be in standalone or in tandem with an existing Mech, by adding its stats and effects onto it.

Brann Bronzebeard and Reno Jackson exploring away from the Core Set

If the return of a fan favorite from Wild didn’t spoil it, Blizzard giveth and Blizzard taketh away. Beards and mustaches may be growing out of style, since it’s time to say goodbye to Brann Bronzebeard and Reno Jackson, along with the whole League of Explorers gang.

Brann Bronzebeard’s Core Set exit has been long overdue. His effect meant no strong Battlecries could exist, as nerfs showed time and time again. Reno Jackson’s absence will upset gimmick deck enjoyers. On the other hand, his effect has historically worked better during the last expansions of the year when more great standalone cards were in the pool. And here comes a fortunate caveat.

Brann Bronzebeard (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Brann Bronzebeard (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Reno Jackson (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Reno Jackson (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Hearthstone devs commit to updating the Core Set throughout the Year of the Wolf

As developer Cora “Songbird” Georgiou stressed during her Core Set update reveal, there are plans in store to balance and even sometimes retire outliers. Furthermore, they plan to add new Core cards to complement the expansions. Now those are some changes worthy of a digital card game! Now that we’ve underlined the broad changes, let’s talk specifics!

Demon Hunter aggro throwback

Illidan and his glaive-wielding friends have their less-used cards removed in favor of some older staples. Most notably, Kayn Sunfury is a key aggro enabler.

Demon Hunter update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Demon Hunter update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Druid Core Set update

Druid’s armor synergies are scaled down with the removal of Earthen Scales, but the Eclipse package returns. What spells are you dreading to see doubled by Solar Eclipse?

Druid update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Druid update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Hunter aggro threat

Hunter’s aggro package is bolstered by the versatility of Doggie Biscuit and the Ragnaros-like threat of Dragonbane. And if you miss the old Firelord, boy, have we got a surprise for you!

Hunter update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Hunter update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Mage Core Set update

Kalecgos’ mana cheating gives way to more honest workers like Stargazer Luna’s draw engine and the Fire spell package.

Mage update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Mage update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Neutral nostalgia

The most important change of all: Murloc Tinyfin to Snowflipper Penguin. Hopefully, the Year of the Mrgle is next. Jokes aside, Brann Bronzebeard and the other explorers give way to iconic Legendaries from the past. Ragnaros, the Firelord, Dr. Boom, Zilliax, and a cheaper The Black Knight provide a sense of nostalgia to this Core Set update.

Tech cards like Cult Neophyte, Dirty Rat, Eater of Secrets, and Tradeables Royal Librarian and Rustrot Viper complement the Core Set by ensuring no strategy is left uncountered.

Neutral update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Neutral update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Paladin's Year of the Dude

There can only be one Rag, so Ragnaros, Lightlord is replaced by Lothraxion, the Reedeemed. Alongside Muster for Battle, this might be the Year of the Dude. Government name: Silver Hand Recruit.

Paladin update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Paladin update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Priest's new direction for Year of the Wolf

Radiant Elemental and Lyra the Sunshard are going away, meaning Anduin’s spell shenanigans might just be over. Darkbishop Benedictus is staying, cementing Shadow Priest’s identity. It's a satisfying epilogue after years of Shadowform being a meme. Priest’s Undead synergy is kept alive by the adjustment to Catrina Muerte. Moreover, Overheal, the new keyword, gets some love.

Priest update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Priest update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Rogue: Shadowstep hasn't stepped out

Rumors of Shadowstep’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. An improved Secret package emerges, headlined by Shadowjeweler Hanar. Additionally, Fan of Knives is back at just two Mana. Eviscerate, too.

Rogue update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Rogue update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Shaman Core Set update

Meanwhile, Overload and Totem synergy might enthrall Shaman enthusiasts.

Shaman update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Shaman update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Warlock Core Set update

Big Demons are always a selling point. But Defile is *chef’s kiss*!

Warlock update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Warlock update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Warrior Core Set update

Warriors’ new direction seems to focus on Taunt, with some useful removal also added in the mix. Will it be enough to swing Garrosh back to relevance?

Warrior update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Warrior update (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Death Knight

Last but not least, Death Knight’s recent addition to the game left the class in no urgent need of a change. But add a few expansions of new cards and who knows?

Year of the Wolf conclusion

That’s the gist of the Core Set for Year of the Wolf. Of course, changes of this size cannot fit into a single article or video. Even the official Hearthstone website provided the full list of Core Set updates within separate links. They’ve created a neat infographic on outgoing Core cards and their replacements to underline their parity.

Furthermore, here's another infographic of adjustments to the remaining Core cards, as well as new additions. Text versions of both outgoing cards, incoming cards, plus adjustments are also available for accessibility.

In conclusion, Year of the Wolf exhibits a promising start, in theory. It boasts a well-adjusted Core Set, a rocking first expansion, Festival of Legends, as well as a coherent roadmap of welcome changes. Be sure to keep yourself up to date with how the year progresses by following our Hearthstone section. We also cover wider esports news on esports.gg.

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