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Expansions are major card set additions to the game of Hearthstone. Expansions introduce large amounts of cards into the game, in contrast to adventures,[1] with expansions featuring around 130-145 new cards and adventures only around 30-45 cards.

Cards introduced into the game through expansions are referred to as expansion cards, and these are obtained chiefly through card packs, crafting, or Arena rewards.

As of early 2017, the developers plan to release three expansions each year, each featuring around 130 new cards.[2] Starting with the second release of 2017, expansions will also feature optional solo-player content, effectively integrating an adventure into each expansion.[2]

Hearthstone's first expansion was Goblins vs Gnomes, released in December 2014.

List[edit | edit source]

See also: Card set list
# Format Set Release Year Rarity* Collectible
5 Standard Journey to Un'Goro April 6, 2017 Mammoth 49/36/27/23 135
4 Mean Streets of Gadgetzan December 1, 2016 Kraken 49/36/27/20 132
3 Whispers of the Old Gods April 26, 2016 Kraken 50/36/27/21 134**
The Grand Tournament August 24, 2015 49/36/27/20 132
1 Goblins vs Gnomes December 8, 2014 40/37/26/20 123

* Rarity distribution is provided in the format: Common/Rare/Epic/Legendary.

** The non-golden versions of C'Thun and Beckoner of Evil are currently uncraftable, but players can obtain them for free by opening their first Whispers of the Old Gods pack.

Goblins vs Gnomes[edit | edit source]

Goblins vs Gnomes banner.jpg
Main article: Goblins vs Gnomes

Goblins vs Gnomes (often abbreviated as GvG) was the first expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The second infusion of new cards to be added to the game, the expansion features 143 new cards (123 of which are collectible), with a strong mechanical theme, and introduced the Mech minion type, as well as debuting the long-awaited spectator mode. The expansion was debuted in an arena-only launch event on December 4th, 2014, with the full launch taking place on December 8th/9th/10th.

The Grand Tournament[edit | edit source]

The Grand Tournament banner.jpg
Main article: The Grand Tournament

The Grand Tournament is Hearthstone's second expansion, launched August 24th, 2015. With more than 130 new cards, the expansion features a strong theme of Hero Power-related effects, as well as seeing the introduction of the first full new keyword since the game's release - Inspire - allowing minions to grant special effects each time the player uses their Hero Power. It also introduced a new non-keyword mechanic, Joust.

Whispers of the Old Gods[edit | edit source]

Whispers of the Old Gods banner.png
Main article: Whispers of the Old Gods
Whispers of the Old Gods is Hearthstone's third expansion, launched April 26th, 2016. Featuring 134 new collectible cards, this sinister expansion revolves around the dark influence of the Old Gods, ancient and unspeakably evil creatures that have long lain hidden, imprisoned in the dark places of the world millennia ago. Despite their imprisonment, these shadowy beings' influence can be felt in every corner of Azeroth, twisting and corrupting any who hear their maddening whispers. With an army of followers performing forbidden empowerment rituals, the tentacles of these massive horrors are growing rapidly toward the light, eager to bring their own kind of excitement to the sunlit kingdoms and merry taverns of Azeroth.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan[edit | edit source]

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan banner.jpg
Main article: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

Released December 1, 2016, Hearthstone's fourth expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, features 132 new collectible cards. Set in the bustling, lawless port city of Gadgetzan, the expansion features characters from the city's three ruling crime families - the brutish Grimy Goons, the assassins of the Jade Lotus, and the shadowy spellcasters of the Kabal. With their own minions, spells and weapons, each family is formed from an allegiance of three different Hearthstone classes, resulting in multi-class cards, usable by heroes of any of those three classes.

Expansion cards[edit | edit source]

Expansion cards are cards added to the game through expansions, or the game's original release, rather than through adventures or other means.

How to get[edit | edit source]

All expansion cards that are currently part of Standard format are obtainable through the same means: in card packs, through crafting, or as Arena rewards. Golden versions of Standard expansion cards may also be found in the Highest Rank Bonus chest at the end of each Ranked season. Wild format expansion cards are only available through crafting.

Notably, expansion cards are obtained through game-wide means, rather than content-specific means such as completing specific boss encounters, as with adventure cards. Expansion cards are added to the game in relatively large batches, becoming immediately available through all normal means, while adventure cards are added in small batches as each wing of the corresponding adventure is released. This tends to have a far larger impact on the game's meta.

Standard format[edit | edit source]

Main article: Standard format

When the first new expansion is released each year, all card sets that weren't released in the same year or the year prior are removed from Standard format. Cards from these removed sets are termed Wild cards and can only be used in Wild format matches. For details on how the Standard format year works, see The Standard year.

Expansions and adventures[edit | edit source]

Starting in 2014, only a few months after the game's release, Hearthstone presented two different forms of content: adventures and expansions. The former featured a small number of cards and a substantial solo experience, with special bosses and challenges; while expansions brought far larger amounts of cards, but without solo content of any kind. Additionally, while adventures' cards were earned through defeating bosses, expansions' cards were earned through regular means such as crafting and card packs.

Despite these differences, in more general parlance, adventures can be considered equivalent to expansions in other games, with substantial changes to the game's basic play experience that far exceed the impact of a regular patch. For example, Curse of Naxxramas, the game's first adventure, is commonly considered its first 'expansion'.

Between the release of the game in March 2014 and the start of the Year of the Mammoth in spring 2017, Hearthstone saw an alternating pattern of adventures and expansions. However, in early 2017 the developers announced plans to integrate future adventure content into expansions. Starting with the second expansion of 2017, each release will feature optional single-player missions, themed around the expansion and serving to illustrate its story, setting and characters. These missions will be free of charge, but may not award cards in the same way or numbers in which adventures have until now. Further details will be announced later in the year.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • By the time an expansion is released, Team 5 are "already working a lot on future expansions",[3] including "not only the next [expansion] but the one after that as well".[3] Lead Designer Ben Brode states that the team always have "3-ish expansions in development",[4] although it is likely this also includes adventures. According to Senior Producer Yong Woo, the developers are always "trying to get ahead of the curve".[3]

Speculation[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

"Only YOU can decide who will be the victor in this epic conflict."
  • Eric Dodds has jokingly referred to a potential The Lich King vs Battle Pets expansion.
"There was another idea out there... well actually it wasn't really an idea out there, but I was kinda wishing it would have been [...] because it's one that I think would be super awesome, is the idea that maybe we could do something like, you know, "THE LICH KING... VS... BATTLE PETS" [...] of course I've only put that up there to have a little fun with it, but on the other hand as I've been looking at it and thinking about it, it... it's starting to grow on me, actually..."[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hearthpwn: Fireside Chat - BlizzCon Panel
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Year of Mammoth Proportions!. (2016-02-16). 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Yong Woo, live on stream. (2014-12-13). 
  4. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-09-7). 
  5. The Grand Tournament announcement. (2015-07-22).