Ben Lee: Greetings. We’re truly excited to share with you everything that’s coming to Hearthstone this year. But first, let’s take a quick look back at the Year of the Phoenix. We added our first new class, the Demon Hunter, and ventured into the ruthless Outlands. Then we went to Scholomance Academy and got to explore Dual-Class cards and their powerful synergies; and with our third expansion of the year — we brought you Hearthstone’s biggest update ever alongside the menacing Old gods in the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire.

We launched a brand-new game mode: Duels — that saw more than 10 million matches on its first day. We also introduced a long awaited achievement system; and made a significant overhaul to the rewards and progression within the game. Now it’s time to say farewell to the Year of the Phoenix and see what’s in store for Hearthstone this year.

Welcome to the Year of the Griffin. Over the last couple of years, we’ve made big changes to Hearthstone. Throughout the Year of the Griffin, we want to keep delivering fun, new experiences and make sure that the tens of millions of you playing Hearthstone are always excited to login. First up, we’ll be giving the standard format it’s biggest shakeup ever with the launch of the core set, later this year.

The core set replaces the old basic and classic sets with a collection of 235 cards made up of some of the best from throughout the years — as well as 29 awesome brand-new cards; and the best thing about the core set is that it’s entirely free. So there’s never been a better time to get into Hearthstone.

Here are three of Hearthstones’s legendary dragons, re-imagined. Feel more up-to-date and competitive for modern-day Hearthstone. Ysera the Dreamer. You’ll finally receive her full arsenal of dream coins right away. She’s a nightmare for your opponents.

Malygos the Spellweaver. He’ll fill your hand with spells and is a powerful late-game play. Worthy of the Aspect of Magic.

And finally, everyone’s favorite black dragon: Deathwing the Destroyer. He’s still as destructive as ever, but timed correctly, he won’t leave you empty-handed.

We’ll also be launching a brand-new format: classic where you can play Hearthstone as it was when it first launched. The Classic format will be fully supported, complete with ranks and rewards using Hearthstone’s original set of cards.

So, if you want to relive the old-school experience, then classic is the place for you. With Classic revisiting the past, now let’s take a look to the future, and explore the first expansion of the Year of the Griffin.

That’s right. We’re heading to one of Warcraft’s most iconic locales: The Barrens; and we will come face-to-face with the heroes that inhabit it, starting with one of the Horde’s most iconic and well-known characters… a fierce loyalist, one-time Warchief that embodies the honor, loyalty, and spirituality of the Horde: Shadow Hunter Vol’jin.

Shadow Hunter Vol’jin is a neutral legendary that allows you to either bolster your own board, or weaken that of your opponent’s; and to celebrate the announcement of Forged in the Barrens, this card is available for free, for everyone, later today. So login into Hearthstone and claim your free copy of Shadow Hunter Vol’jin.

And as a bonus, we’re also giving away the brand-new 30 years of Blizzard card back.

Next, we have another hero of the Horde who is making his first appearance in Hearthstone. The legendary Blademaster Samuro, featuring the new keyword Frenzy. Frenzy activates the first time a minion takes damage and survives.

In Samuro’s case, this can be used to clear your opponent’s board.

Heroes of the Horde, like Samuro, are famous for that combat prowess, but others like Thrall are known for that powerful elemental magic. Take a look at this new Shaman spell: Chain Lightning. Chain Lightning is a spell in a new cycle of cards that rank up and become more powerful when you have 5 and 10 mana, ensuring that they are always useful at every stage in the game.

You’ll also notice that they’re categorized as nature spells. With Forged in the Barrens, we will be permanently introducing spell schools across the entire game, which enables a whole host of exciting new strategies.

And don’t worry, members of the Alliance. We’ll be featuring some of your most beloved heroes and locales later this year. But what I love most about the Warcraft universe is its amazing characters; and our final announcement is our most ambitious addition to Hearthstone yet.

It introduces a brand-new way to play with your favorite heroes: Hearthstone Mercenaries. Mercenaries features strategic RPG gameplay, where you build teams consisting of some of the most iconic heroes and villains from the Warcraft universe, including timeless characters, like the infamous Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros, the Elemental Lord of Fire.

You can also expect to see some of Hearthstone’s fan favorites, like the unstoppable Devilsaur… King Krush; and the ever-growing Gruul the Dragonslayer. You’ll lead them in battle, through highly replayable roguelike missions, where the map is randomly generated every time you play; and each node represents a unique challenge for your team to take on.

Your heroes gain levels, new abilities, equipment, and can even evolve into more powerful versions of themselves. It’s scheduled to launch later this year, and we’ll have more to share with you down the road. Everything you’ve seen today is just a taste of what’s coming in the Year of the Griffin.

So don’t forget to tune in to our deep dive panel after the opening ceremony — where we’ll share more details on the Core Set, the new Classic format, Forged in the Barrens, and our plans for Battlegrounds and Duels, as well as our upcoming single-player content. I want to thank the team for their amazing work; and on behalf of all of us at Hearthstone, we want to thank the many millions of you who play our game.

Your dedication and support is what drives us to make awesome updates and pursue ambitious and fun ideas. We can’t wait to kick off the Year of the Griffin with all of you; and we hope to see you in the game soon. Next up, you’ll get an update on all things Diablo.


1. Intro2. Chains of Domination3. Burning Crusade Classic
4. Hearthstone5. Diablo