At the start of each Hearthstone year, Blizzard Entertainment reevaluates the Basic and Classic sets to select the cards that stand out and push classes in a different direction than the rest of their tools. These cards then enter the Hall of Fame to allow the unique class identities, including their strengths and weaknesses, to shine.

For the upcoming Year of the Dragon, the cards moving to the Hall of Fame are Naturalize, Doomguard, Divine Favor, the powerful Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane — as well as their complementary cards Gloom Stag, Black Cat, Glitter Moth, and Murkspark Eel.

The biggest surprise of the Hall of Fame entries this year are clearly that of Baku and Genn. Despite only arriving last April as part of The Witchwood expansion, these two cards are being sent off a year before they would have naturally rotated out.

This is mainly because of the warping effect that those two had on the Hearthstone meta, brought about by them giving upgraded hero powers in exchange for players using either even or odd cards, respectively, in their decks.

Blizzard, having felt that Genn and Baku might end up overshadowing what they are going to introduce in the Year of the Dragon, said the move was done to “breathe new life into Standard and maintain overall health of the ladder”.

Since Gloom Stag, Black Cat, Glitter Moth, and Murkspark Eel are complementary to the Even-Odd mechanic that Baku and Genn introduced, it made sense that they went along with them.

Moving on to the other cards, Doomguard’s move should not be that big of a surprise due to the design team’s struggles with balancing around Charge minions. As for Naturalize and Divine Favor, the former was likely moved because Druid was not designed to be a class with cheap hard removal, while the latter has been too much of a staple in hyper-aggressive Paladin decks for its own good.

With that said, arguably the biggest surprise for this year was that both Malygos and Gadgetzan Auctioneer have avoided the Hall of Fame again. While this may be because those two cards have added so many different archetypes in the game so far, there’s always next year.

Year of the Dragon is shaping up to be quite the new update for Hearthstone, so stay tuned for more content on it from us soon.