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Hearthstone's next expansion homes in on Horde heartland Kalimdor

Strategy RPG mode coming later this year.

Hearthstone's big Blizzconline announcements include the game's next expansion, in-game year, and a strategy RPG mode named Hearthstone Mercenaries coming later in 2021.

As announced last week, Hearthstone will soon get a big shake-up with the introduction of a new 235-card Core Set, which replaces the previous Basic and Classic sets. There's also a new Classic Format, so you can play Hearthstone exactly as it was when it launched back in 2014.

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All of that arrives at the start of the Year of the Gryphon, which sorts and expands spell cards into seven-type groups, and also brings new expansion Forged in the Barrens.

Horde players will feel right at home in this latest release, which is set in Kalimdor and feature numerous references to the World of Warcraft original. 135 new cards feature Shadow Hunter Vol'jin, quilboar raiders and (of course) Mankrik's wife.

10 new legendary character cards will be included, and there's a new keyword - Frenzy - which activates an effect the first time a minion survives damage.

Looking ahead to later in the year, Blizzard has pencilled in a launch for new game mode Hearthstone Mercenaries. You'll use cards to build a team of Warcraft and Hearthstone characters and send them into battle, where they can power up and eventually become legends. More on that in the future.

Tweaked versions of some familiar faces feature in Hearthstone's new Core Set.

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