Hearthstone 20.0 patch notes detail ‘The Great Unnerfing’

The Annoy-O-Tron, a robot with an orange wig who honks a horn and rings a bell
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Hearthstone's 20.0 patch is set to arrive on March 25, and as befits such a large, round patch number, it's going to be "a big one." The update nerfs Nitroboost and makes a few changes to Battlegrounds, and more importantly it sets the table for the upcoming launch of the Classic Format that will use all 240 of the game's original cards, in their original 2014 incarnations.

Unveiled in February, Classic Format is like World of Warcraft Classic for CCGs: It takes players back to the early days—specifically, the patch of June 2014—with all subsequent balance changes undone. "In the Classic format Warsong Commander can give minions Charge, Holy Smite can go face, and Leeroy Jenkins will cost 4 mana," Blizzard said at the time, which I imagine makes sense to people who play the game. "If you want to relive the old-school Hearthstone experience, Classic will be the place for you!"

To make that happen, the patch will mirror your entire collection of relevant Basic, Classic, and Hall of Fame cards when it goes live, then revert them and make them available for deck building. Classic cards will appear in their own section of your Collection Manager, and you'll be able to expand your collection further with Classic packs, which will drop two versions of cards—one for Classic format and one for Legacy in Wild, with different stats where applicable.

Classic format leaderboards will go live on March 30 with the launch of the Forged in the Barrens expansion, which will also see the new Core Set replace the Basic and Classic sets in Standard. Cards making up the Core Set will be slightly different than originally announced:

  • 88 cards returning from Classic (54 class cards, 34 neutral cards).        
  • 52 cards returning from Basic (41 class cards, 11 neutral cards).        
  • 55 cards returning from Wild (36 class cards, 19 neutral cards).        
  • 4 cards returning from Ashes of Outland (4 Demon Hunter Class cards).        
  • 4 cards returning from Demon Hunter Initiate.        
  • 1 card returning from Hall of Fame (Shadowform).        
  • 31 new cards (20 Class cards, 11 Neutral cards).    

"After taking time to consider community feedback, we’ve replaced the previously announced Core set versions of Stonetusk Boar and Bluegill Warrior with two brand new minions—Emerald Skytalon and Redgill Razorjaw!" Blizzard said.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Blizzard also updated the Shaman Hero power to replace the Wrath of Air (Spell Damage) Totem with a new totem, Strength Totem, which gives +1 Attack to a friendly minion at the end of your turn.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

"The Great Unnerfing" will see the reversion of nerfs to 36 cards rotating to Wild. There will be five days between the rollout of the patch on March 25 and the set rotation on March 30, and Blizzard warned that "we’re expecting the Standard meta to be very interesting this weekend." Here's what's changing:


  • Mana Wrym - Old: [Costs 2] 1 Attack, 3 Health. → New: [Costs 1] 1 Attack, 2 Health
  • Wrym Weaver 0- Old: [Costs 5] 3 Attack, 6 Health. Spellburt: Summon two 1/3 Mana Wryms. → New: [Costs 4] 3 Attack, 5 Health. Spellburst: Summon two 1/2 Mana Wryms
  • Conjurer’s Calling - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]
  • Dragoncaster - Old: [Costs 7] → New: [Costs 6]


  • Flare - Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 1]
  • Hunter’s Mark - Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 1]
  • Starving Buzzard - Old: [Costs 5] 3 Attack, 2 Health → New: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 1 Health
  • Dinotamer Brann - Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 7]


  • Charge - Old: [Costs 1] Give a friendly minion Charge. It can't attack heroes this turn. → New: [Costs 3] Give a friendly minion +2 Attack and Charge
  • Bloodsworn Mercenary - Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health. → New: 3 Attack, 3 Health
  • Scion of Ruin - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]


  • Spirit Claws - Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 1]
  • Flametongue Totem - Old: [Costs 3] 0 Attack, 3 Health. → New: [Costs 2] 0 Attack, 2 Health
  • Invocation of Frost - Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 1]
  • Dragon’s Pack - Old: Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. If you've Invoked twice, give them +2/+2. → New: Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. If you've Invoked twice, give them +3/+3
  • Corrupt Elementalist - Old: [Costs 6] → New: [Costs 5]


  • Keeper of the Grove - Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health. → New: 2 Attack, 4 Health
  • Ancient of Lore - Old: Choose One - Draw a card; or Restore 5 Health. → New: Choose One - Draw 2 cards; or Restore 5 Health


  • Power Word: Shield - Old: [Costs 0] Give a minion +2 Health. → New: [Costs 1] Give a minion +2 Health. Draw a card


  • The Caverns Below - Old: Quest: Play five minions with the same name. Reward: Crystal Core (For the rest of the game, your minions are 4/4). → New: Quest: Play four minions with the same name. Reward: Crystal Core (For the rest of the game, your minions are 5/5)
  • Edwin VanCleef - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]
  • Blade Flurry - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 2]
  • Necrium Apothecary - Old: [Costs 5] → New: [Costs 4]
  • Galakrond, the Nightmare (Applies to upgraded versions) - Old: Draw 1 card. It cost (1). → New: Draw 1 card. It cost (0)


  • Call to Arms - Old: [Costs 5] → New: [Costs 4]


  • Fiendish Rites - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]


  • Undertaker - Old: Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain +1 Attack. → New: Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain +1/+1
  • Leper Gnome - Old: 1 Attack, 1 Health → New: 2 Attack, 1 Health
  • Knife Juggler - Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health. → New: 3 Attack, 2 Health
  • Frenzied Felwing - Old: 3 Attack, 2 Health. → New: 3 Attack, 3 Health
  • Bad Luck Albatross - Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]
  • Saronite Chain Gang - Old: Battlecry: Summon another Saronite Chain Gang. → New: Battlecry: Summon a copy of this minion
  • Arcane Golem - Old: 4 Attack, 4 Health. → New: 4 Attack, 2 Health. Charge
  • Bonemare - Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 7]
  • Archivist Elysiana - Old: [Costs 9] → New: [Costs 8]
  • Dragonqueen Alexstrasza - Old: Battlecry: If your deck has no duplicates, add 2 other random Dragons to your hand. They cost (1). → New: Battlecry: If your deck has no duplicates, add 2 other random Dragons to your hand. They cost (0)

Magical Spell Schools will be added to previously released Spells in Standard and Wild by the patch, which Blizzard said "will add synergies and a new layer of depth throughout your collection." The update will also make changes to the Hearthstone Rewards Track ahead of its first-ever refresh on March 30, which will double the number of core reward levels from 50 to 100, and halve the amount of XP required to achieve each new level. 

When the patch goes live, incomplete Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Gameplay and Duels achievements will no longer grant Rewards Track XP—instead, you'll pick it up through new Forged in the Barrens Achievements. Blizzard is also giving away a Golden Classic Card Pack to everyone who logs in after the 20.0 update goes live, so you’ll probably want to pick that up too.

Naturally, the update will also make a range of bug fixes and gameplay changes—check out the full list below, and the full patch notes at playhearthstone.com.

  • Increased the number of available deck slots from 18 to 27.
  • Moved the Seasonal Ranked Rewards Chest to the Deck Selection screen. Additionally, the Seasonal Ranked Rewards for March will give Forged in the Barrens packs instead of Madness at the Darkmoon Faire packs.
  • Added progress bars for each Achievement category in the Journal.
  • Updated the guaranteed Weekly Quest Win 5 Games of Ranked Play Mode to be re-rollable.
  • Updated several loading tips to reflect recent changes.
  • Updated Arena Rewards to now include Forged in the Barrens packs and no longer include Classic packs.
  • Updated Tavern Brawls to reward one Year of the Phoenix pack instead of a Classic pack.
  • Updated both new player Legendary quest lines so that several of the quests can be completed in Battlegrounds and will offer pack rewards from recent expansions instead of Classic packs.
  • Removed the returning player missions against Malfurion, Tyrande, and Hakkar and updated the Legendary quest line for returning players to reward a total of 15 card packs from recent expansions.
  • Updated free decks for new and returning players (recipes can be found here).*
  • Updated Book of Heroes so that completing all Book of Heroes missions for a class will now unlock that class.
  • Updated the Demon Hunter class so that it can be unlocked by playing against the class in Play mode or beating the class in Practice mode. Completing the Demon Hunter prologue will still unlock the class but will now reward 1 Demon Hunter class pack for players that have yet to complete it.
  • Fixed a bug where Wild cards would not appear in the Collection without having Demon Hunter unlocked.
  • Fixed a bug where Zephrys the Great would not offer Mass Dispel or Shadowflame when your board was full.
  • Fixed a bug where cards that target Deathrattle minions, such as Play Dead, would still work with Deathwarden in play.
  • Fixed a bug where minions buffed by Soul of the Murloc would not show a Deathrattle icon.
  • Fixed a bug where Khadgar would not copy Vectus’ Deathrattle effects on Plagued Hatchling.
  • Fixed a bug where Sparkjoy Cheat casting a secret from your hand would trigger an opponent’s Counterspell and still put the secret into play. It will now no longer trigger Counterspell.
  • Fixed a bug where Shenanigans would not trigger if the opponent’s first card drawn was a “Cast When Drawn” card.
  • Fixed a bug where Shadow Clone would trigger despite having a full board.
  • Fixed a bug where playing Crystal Core and Humble Blessing in the same match would not grant the persistent stat effect of whichever was played second.
  • Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where minions that buff others would not visually update all minions that are spawned during combat.
  • Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where the Prize Wall Hero Power would not show the correct number of turns left for players other than Tickatus.
  • Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where secrets generated from Prestidigitation showed a Gold cost despite not costing any Gold to cast.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where the win counter could show -1.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where duplicate card buckets could appear.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where your deck would not appear on the end of run screen.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where the Deathstrider Treasure could cause crashes when triggering multiple Deathrattles.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where the Soulcial Studies Hero Power could still appear as Coming Soon.
  • Fixed a Duels bug where Prince Malchezaar’s start of game effect would not activate if Prince Malchezaar was drawn from Small Pouches.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking the victory banner in Solo Adventures would not exit the match.
  • Fixed a bug in Trial by Felfire where the adventure would not show as completed despite earning its respective completion Achievement.
  • Fixed a bug in Trial by Felfire where the fight with Gruul the Dragonkiller could lock the game.
  • Fixed a bug with Book of Heroes Valeera where minions drawn by Varian Wrynn would not be placed on the board despite having adequate board space.
  • Fixed a bug with Book of Heroes Valeera where the AI would play Sleep with the Fishes for no value.
  • Fixed a visual bug with Book of Heroes Valeera where minions in play at the start of a match would appear ready to attack during the Mulligan.
  • Fixed a visual bug with Book of Heroes Valeera where Rehgar Earthfury would appear unable to attack despite being able to attack.
  • Fixed a visual bug with V-O7-TR-ON’s entrance animation.
  • Fixed a visual bug where Imprisoned Phoenix would briefly appear to give its Spell Damage buff while Dormant.
  • Fixed a visual bug where parts of the Zhuge Liang Anduin and Diao Chan Valeera Hero Skins were not appearing animated.
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.