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Video Game / Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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Who said good games had to be epic in scale?

Thrall: "It is said that wars are only won upon the anvil of honor."
Jaina: "Others believe victory requires strategy, and a mastery of power."
Illidan: "War is deception, a game played best from the shadows."
Garrosh: "Only strength and raw power can assure total dominance!"
Innkeeper: "But o'course, you could forget all o' that... And just have fun!"

The pet project of a few Blizzard Entertainment employees turned into an experiment in less-than-epic game development for the company, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online game released on PC, iPad and Android tablets based on Warcraft's discontinued Collectible Card Game.

The game allows you to step into the shoes / boots / what-have-you of the original nine character classes from World of Warcraft (and the Demon Hunter), each represented by a character from the Warcraft universe. Each class has a special Support Power costing two mana (except the Demon Hunter, whose power costs one mana), which can be used once a turn (another change from the original, where hero abilities could only be used once period). Each class has its own unique cards, along with neutral cards that every class can use.


The game is very streamlined compared to most CCGs. New mana crystals are automatically gained each turn without having to play/sacrifice a card, to a maximum of 10. Mana is spent to cast Minions (creatures), Spells (one-shot effects that act directly on the game state), Weapons (which your Player Character wields to deal direct damage, but are breakable), Hero Powers (weak abilities that can be used once per turn), Hero Cards (cards that give you a new, stronger Hero), and Secrets (traps which sit on your character until triggered, typically by something your opponent does). Secrets are your only way to interact with the opponent when it's their turn: they make all the other decisions, being able to target your Minions with their own, or bypass them entirely to hit you in the face. Targeting Minions can be worthwhile, though, because — as in the original CCG — damage is not reset at the end of each turn, so applying Death of a Thousand Cuts to a large enemy creature is a viable strategy. The game also takes advantage of its digital medium to embrace certain mechanics, like shuffling things into your deck, mechanics like "50% of the time, this Minion attacks the wrong enemy," and single-player duels against AI bosses, which are much easier to implement digitally than they would be at a gaming table. Because of its emphasis on swiftness and spectacle, cards can have extravagant effects, such as wishing for the perfect card, or shuffling a copy of your opponent's deck into yours. (And that's before we get into the really absurd things played by those AI bosses.)


Like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone has its own expansions which are released every few months. In addition to the standard Expansion Pack which adds new cards, there are also Adventures, single-player campaigns where players quest through famous Warcraft raids to take on the bosses within to earn the new cards, featuring Heroic mode for those looking for a true challenge. (These also add new cards, though typically fewer of them.) The timeline for expansions is as follows:

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    Card sets 


  • Core: The Core set of Hearthstone, which comprises 235 free cards given to every player. It's made of cards from previous expansions as well as a handful of original ones, and its contents change every year. It replaces the old Basic and Classic system, giving the team more control over what's playable in Standard format.
  • Legacy: The original Basic, Classic, and Hall of Fame sets, depreciated and moved to Wild. They can still be played in Wild format, and owning them lets you use their unaltered versions in the Classic format.
  • Demon Hunter Initiate: A special card set added with the Demon Hunter class. It contains 20 cards, all of which were given for free upon completing the Demon Hunter Prologue. It is considered part of the Year of the Dragon and rotated to Wild alongside it.
  • Path of Arthas: The Death Knight class' equivalent to the Demon Hunter Initiate set, containing 26 cards designed to pair with Death Knight's Core set to create three starter decks. Unlike the Initiate set, Path of Arthas is essentially an additional mini-set, with all of the cards only available by purchasing the whole set outright (either standalone or through the March of the Lich King Mega Bundle) or via crafting — the Death Knight Prologue instead unlocks the class' Core set.

Non-expansion (Retired)

  • Basic & Classic: The original Core set of Hearthstone. Two omni-present sets of cards that would never rotate into Wild, except a few which are sent to the Hall of Fame each year. Most Basic cards were given to all players for free, with a small handful unlocked by leveling the respective class to 20. Classic cards can be opened in Classic packs, and have more complex mechanics. With the first set of 2021, these sets were depreciated and moved to the Wild format.
  • Hall of Fame: A small set of Basic and Classic cards (and a few Witchwood cards) found to be too powerful to be permanently core. These cards cannot be opened in packs but can still be crafted and used in Wild format. Like Basic and Classic, all Hall of Fame cards were be folded into Legacy or their home set with the start of the new rotation.


  • Curse of Naxxramas, July 2014: The first adventure and expansion in general featuring 30 new cards, based on the Naxxramas raid; players trekked through the horrors of the fortress to defeat the lich Kel'Thuzad and his forces. The main focus was on Deathrattle minions and synergies with minion death as well as more counters to the then-metagame.
  • Goblins vs. Gnomes, December 2014: The first expansion to add a new card pack, it added the new Mech tribe and 120 new cards with a major focus on random effects. It also added the new Spare Part keyword, an effect that randomly grants special 1-mana spells. It's not based on any particular Warcraft instance, though the overall theme of course is the explosive rivalry between the goblins and the gnomes.
  • Blackrock Mountain, April 2015: The second adventure, with 31 new cards, wherein adventurers quest through Blackrock to defeat the two rulers of the mountain, Ragnaros the Firelord, and Nefarian, son of Deathwing. It featured synergy for the Dragon tribe with the unique theme of gaining effects if you have a Dragon in your hand (Dragons existed previously, but it was just Rule of Cool), and it also had an emphasis on area damage.
  • The Grand Tournament, August 2015: The second card expansion, featuring 134 new cards with an emphasis on Hero Power synergy. It's based on the Argent Tournament event from World of Warcraft, though unlike the Argent Tournament the participants aren't so much here to prove themselves worthy to fight the Lich King and more just to beat each other up for glory and for fun. It featured the new Inspire keyword, an effect that triggers after you use your Hero Power, and the unkeyworded Joust ability, which reveals a card from each deck and grants a bonus if yours costs more.
  • The League of Explorers, November 2015: The third Hearthstone adventure, with 45 cards, focusing on the four members of the eponymous league in their quest to find and assemble The Staff of Origination. The expansion featured the new Discover keyword which lets a player pick between three cards and place one in their hand. This is also the first Adventure not based on an old WoW raid (though one of the adventure "wings" is Uldaman, a WoW zone), and many of the boss encounters and four out of the five Legendary minions are original Hearthstone characters. Discover also marked the first new keyword that returned in later sets; all previous keywords were locked to their own.

Year of the Kraken

  • Whispers of the Old Gods, April 2016: The third card expansion, with 134 new cards. Focused on the horrific Old Gods from World of Warcraft, and their rise and corruption of various minions. It did not introduce any new keywords, but there was a strong theme and mechanics based around buffing the aforementioned Old Gods before they come in to play, strengthening their effects. It also introduced Standard and Wild modes; Standard only contains cards from the most recent sets (as well as the Classic set) while Wild contains everything.
  • One Night in Karazhan, August 2016: The fourth adventure, with 45 cards. Based on the legendary Karazhan raid, the players arrive early to Medivh's wicked awesome party, only for the archmage to be nowhere in sight. Without his presence, his machinations begin to unwind and tear the place apart, leaving it up to the adventurers to save the day. It featured no new keywords, but had a strong theme of spell and secret synergy. It's also the last traditional adventure, according to Team 5; they will still exist but will be part of expansions instead and will be entirely free.
  • Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, December 2016: The fourth card expansion, with 132 new cards. It's a mafia/gangster styled set based in the seedy criminal underworld of the goblin capital, Gadgetzan. It featured the new Tri-class cards, special neutral cards that can only be used by a group of three specific classes. The expansion featured new mechanics for each of the gangs: the Grimy Goons (Warriors, Hunters, and Paladins) buff cards in your hand; the Jade Lotus (Druids, Rogues, and Shamans) summon Jade Golems that grow bigger as you play related cards; and the Kabal (Priests, Warlocks, and Mages) have a host of powerful "potion" spell cards, and legendaries with powerful effects that only trigger if your deck has no duplicates.

Year of the Mammoth

  • Journey to Un'Goro, April 2017: The fifth card expansion and the first one to come back-to-back from another expansion, with 135 cards, centered on a children's field trip lead by Elise Starseeker into the jungles of Un'Goro Crater. It added two keywords: Adapt, an ability that allows you to choose one of three random effects from a list of ten to enhance a minion; and Poisonous, the keywording of an existing mechanic (it previously appeared as the text "Destroy any minion damaged by this minion"). A new type of card was also introduced: Quests, Legendary spells that always appear in your mulligan and are placed on the board. Each Quest has a requirement, and rewards the players with an obscenely powerful card when fulfilled. Finally, it also added the Elemental tribe, which gain powerful effects if you played an Elemental on the previous turn.
  • Knights of the Frozen Throne, August 2017: The sixth card expansion and the first one to come with set of single-player Missions (replacing old Adventures), with 135 cards. This set explores an Alternate Universe where the playable heroes died and were resurrected as the Lich King's death knights. It introduced new type of card, Hero cards, which replaces the player's hero, triggering a unique effect and granting a new hero power. It also keyworded a previously seen mechanic, Lifesteal, which causes you to gain life equal to damage dealt by cards with this ability. Much like Poisonous in Un'Goro, most cards that already had this mechanic were updated with the keyword.
  • Kobolds & Catacombs, December 2017: The seventh card expansion, the set takes you into the vast caverns dug out by the kobolds in search of riches. The expansion brought 135 cards and a new single-player mode called Dungeon Run, a mode where the player starts with a 10-card deck and fights through a series of bosses, getting more cards along the way. The set also gave every class a legendary weapon, the last card type to gain the legendary status, and introduced Spellstones, spells that upgrade and have their effects increased when certain conditions are met. Finally, it also added a new keyword, Recruit, which pulls a random minion out of your deck and immediately puts it into play. While this ability did exist, it was not keyworded on to older cards, to keep the flavor of the set intact.

Year of the Raven

  • The Witchwood, April 2018: The eighth card expansion with 135 cards, set in the twisted woods of Gilneas; depicting the struggle between the worgen and a greater, wicked evil. The expansion added three new keywords; Start of Game, an effect that does something when the game begins; Echo, allowing you to replay the card as many times as you'd like on the same turn; and Rush, allowing the minion to attack other minions the turn it comes into play. All three of these appeared in varying forms in previous sets, but have been greatly expanded here. It also added the Monster Hunt mode, a new Dungeon Run using four new, unique classes instead of the regular nine.
  • The Boomsday Project, August 2018: The ninth card expansion, with 136 cards. This set explores Dr. Boom's secret laboratory in the Netherstorm, and all of his insane scientists and their inventions. The set reintroduced Mech synergies and included a new keyword mechanic for them; Magnetic, allowing you to play certain minions either on the board or as buffs for your mechs. It also added Legendary non-Quest spells and Omega cards that become more powerful when played at 10 mana. It also introduced the Puzzle Lab, a singleplayer set of puzzle challenges.
  • Rastakhan's Rumble, December 2018: The tenth card expansion, with 135 cards. This set takes place in the Gurubashi Arena, as King Rastakhan has assembled all of the troll tribes to compete for glory. The set added the new Overkill keyword, an effect that triggers when the card kills a minion by more damage than its total health. It also gave each class a Loa, a powerful Legendary with deck-restrictive conditions, and introduced Spirits, highly synergistic minions that have Stealth for a single turn. Finally, it added the Rumble Run, a new singleplayer mode where you play as rookie brawler Rikkar, fighting your way through the arena with special Shrine cards.

Year of the Dragon

This year marks a unique change, with every set following a single narrative instead of three unrelated stories. It also saw the Lackey mechanic, cards that generate special 1/1 minions for 1 mana with potent Battlecries, spread throughout the year.
  • Rise of Shadows, April 2019: The eleventh card expansion, with 136 cards. This set saw a Villain Team-Up of several antagonists from previous sets, led by the sinister Arch-Thief Rafaam, setting out to rob the mage city of Dalaran. The set featured a new keyword: Twinspell, causing a spell to add another copy of itself to your hand after being cast, although with the second copy lacking the Twinspell effect. It also introduced the Dalaran Heist, a new single-player mode where the player uses several special heroes to capture wings of the city.
  • Saviors of Uldum, August 2019: The twelfth card expansion, with 135 cards. After Rafaam's conquest of Dalaran, he sent the city to the deserts of Uldum in search of artifacts. However, the League of Explorers have returned to stop him. The set added a new keyword, Reborn, which causes a minion to return to life with 1 health the first time it's destroyed. It also saw the return of Quests, which now directly award a Hero Power. Finally, it added the Tombs of Terror singleplayer mode, where you play as one of the four Explorers and fight through the unleashed evils with dual classes and unlockable signature treasures.
  • Descent of Dragons, December 2019: The thirteenth card expansion, with 140 cards. After escaping Uldum, the League of E.V.I.L. has enacted their final scheme; resurrecting Galakrond, the progenitor of the dragons! The set focused on dragon synergies, as well as introduced two new keywords. Invoke has five different effects based on which class is playing it, strengthening their respective Galakrond Hero Card and activating their Hero Power. Sidequests are similar to Quests but aren't Legendary and require and award something much smaller.
  • Galakrond's Awakening, January 2020: The fifth adventure, with 35 cards. The final confrontation, as the League of Explorers hurries to stop the League of E.V.I.L. and save Reno from a terrible doom. This is a traditional-style Adventure, and officially the final set of the Year of the Dragon. It is the usual Single-player content for Descent of Dragons, but adds new cards to Standard. It uses a wing-based system, with players venturing through both E.V.I.L. and Explorers chapters.

Year of the Phoenix

This year introduced a brand new playable class: the Demon Hunter. The Demon Hunter employs swift attacks, demons, and their class keyword Outcast, which activates an additional effect if the card is played from either outermost spot in the hand.
  • Ashes of Outland, April 2020: The fourteenth card expansion, with 135 cards. The realm of Outland is being threatened by a mysterious new force called the Rusted Legion, which is capturing demons and even rulers of Outland and augmenting them with cybernetic parts. The set keyworded the Dormant ability, allowing minions to begin as passive Permanents and awaken after a few turns or upon filling a condition. It also featured Primes, Legendary minions that shuffle powerful bio-augmented versions of themselves into the deck on death. Also included is the solo adventure Trial by Felfire, a new set of story missions as well as a series of challenges against some of the toughest bosses in Outland.
  • Scholomance Academy, August 2020: The fifteenth card expansion, with 135 cards. Set in the wizarding school of Scholomance run by headmaster Kel'Thuzad, before it became a den of necromancy.note  The set naturally has a heavy theme of spell synergy, with the new keyword Spellburst triggering a one-time effect after you cast a spell. It also added dual-class cards, which can be played in either class and combine themes of both classes together. In place of a themed adventure, this expansion opened the Book of Heroes, a 10-part series of missions with monthly updates that tell the origin stories of each basic hero.
  • Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, November 2020: The sixteenth card expansion, with 135 cards. It's a day at the faire, and the Old Gods have returned to spread their insanity! This set featured a new triggered keyword, Corrupt, which gives the card extra effects if you play a higher-cost card while it's in your hand.
    • Darkmoon Races, January 2021: The first ever mini-setnote , with 35 cards. Taking place on the blazing trails of the Darkmoon raceway, as competitors from Outland, Scholomance, and Darkmoon all gather for an epic day of racing. This set brings back mechanics from the previous year, combining keywords in new and interesting ways.

Year of the Gryphon

This year follows a narrative focusing on ten Mercenaries - five Alliance and five Horde. Their story is told throughout the expansions as well as in the new Book of Mercenaries missions.
  • Forged in the Barrens, March 2021: The seventeenth card expansion, with 135 cards. The Barrens are a dry savannah territory, where would-be adventurers of the Horde come to prove their mettle. This set featured the new Frenzy keyword, an effect that triggers the first time the minion takes damage and survives. It also introduced Spell Schools to the game, allowing spells to benefit from tribal synergies, with the schools Arcane, Fel, Fire, Frost, Holy, Nature, and Shadow. Additionally, it featured Rank spells that become more powerful while you have 5 then 10 mana.
    • Wailing Caverns, June 2021: The second mini-set, with 35 cards. This set follows Rokara and her band of mercenaries as they venture into the Wailing Caverns. This is no ordinary adventure however, as the nightmares of Archdruid Naralex have twisted nature itself throughout the caves. This set featured Dungeoneers, minions that draw a spell and gain an effect if that spell was from a specific school, and Adventurers, eight 2/2 tokens with different bonus effects.
  • United in Stormwind, August 2021: The eighteenth card expansion, with 135 cards. After surviving the Barrens, the weary mercenaries have returned to Stormwind to rest up and gear up for their next adventure. It introduced the new Tradeable keyword, an ability that lets the card be traded into the deck for 1 mana, drawing a card to replace it. It also saw the addition of Questlines, legendary 3-part Quests that award something relatively minor for completing the first two parts but have a massive final reward. It also introduced 0-Attack "profession" weapons, and mount spells that give a minion a buff and summon their mount on death.
    • The Deadmines, November 2021: The third mini-set, with 35 cards. Finishing their Stormwind adventures, the mercenaries have tracked down more Naaru shards that have ended up in the hands of the Defias Brotherhood. This set had a Pirate theme and features a series of parrots, minions that repeat something that happened on a previous turn. Additionally, it introduced new Tradeable cards which also have a secondary benefit upon being traded.
  • Fractured in Alterac Valley, December 2021: The nineteenth card expansion, with 135 cards. The Alliance and Horde mercenaries have finally come to a head, fighting for their faction for dominance over Alterac Valley. This set reintroduced Hero cards, representing the max-level mercs with game-warping abilities. It also featured a new keyword, Honorable Kill, which grants a bonus effect if the card dealt exactly enough damage to kill a target. It also added a series of "objective" spells that have an immediate effect and continue to give benefits for two more turns.
    • Onyxia's Lair, February 2022: The fourth mini-set, with 35 cards. After defeating Kazakusan and recovering the shards of Mi'da in Alterac Valley, the mercs have tracked Lady Prestor - truthfully Onyxia - to her lair in Dustwallow Marsh for the final confrontation. In addition to bringing back mechanics, keywords, and deck archetypes from all of the year's prior sets, much like Darkmoon Races from the year before, this mini-set fittingly has a heavy focus on dragons.

Year of the Hydra

  • Voyage to the Sunken City, April 2022: The twentieth card expansion, with 135 cards. The wealthy nightborne investor Ambassador Faelin has paid a team of explorers to discover the ancient city of Zin-Azshari, which has sunken under the ocean. It's not smooth sailing however, as the city is guarded by vile naga and monstrous sea creatures. This set added a new minion tribe, Naga, which gain bonus effects if you did something while the Naga was in your hand. It also added two new keywords: Dredge, which looks at three cards at the bottom of your deck and lets you put one on top; and Colossal, which causes the minion to take up {X} extra board spaces, with the body parts having their own effects.
    • Throne of the Tides, June 2022: The fifth mini-set, with 35 cards. The ocean depths around Zin-Azshari aren't just the home of naga and sea monsters- it also acts as the battleground for a war between the naga-controlled patriarch of the krakens, Ozumat, and the Elemental Lord of water, Neptulon, who fight for control of the latter's domain. In keeping with the theme, this mini-set introduces more Naga and Elementals, in addition to building upon Sunken City's additions and class themes.
  • Murder at Castle Nathria, August 2022: The twenty-first card expansion, with 135 cards. A formal dinner party at Castle Nathria has suddenly turned grim as its host, Sire Denathrius, has been found murdered! The attendees call upon the legendary Murloc Holmes to figure out which of the guests was the killer. This set introduced a new card type — Locations, which are played on the battlefield like minions but cannot be attacked or take damage. Their activated effects can be used once every other turn and costs 1 Durability each use, and the location is destroyed once it's out of durability. It also added a new keyword, Infuse, which causes the minion to become Infused after {X} friendly minions died while it was in your hand, gaining a bonus effect.
    • Maw and Disorder, September 2022: The sixth mini-set, with 35 cards. Sylvanas has been brought before The Jailer to answer for her many, many crimes. This mini-set introduces new Accusation spells that take effect after a certain condition has been fulfilled, as well as Advanced Infuse cards that only become Infused by specific types of minions dying.
  • March of the Lich King, December 2022: The twenty-second card expansion, with 145 cards. The Lich King has awoken to lay siege to the Blood Elf capital of Silvermoon, with his legions of ravenous Undead minions at his command. This set saw the debut of the Death Knight class and its associated mechanics: Corpses, a secondary resource generated by friendly minion deaths, and Runes, a trio of symbols (Frost, Blood and Unholy) selected during deck creation that determine which Death Knight cards are eligible for use depending on your chosen combination of Runes. Additionally, the set saw the return of the Reborn mechanic as an evergreen keyword, as well as the debut of the Manathirst keyword, which empowers cards after certain thresholds of mana have been achieved without actually costing the specified mana. Finally, the Undead tribe was introduced, which also necessitated the creation of Dual Tribe minions.

Every so often, Hearthstone celebrates certain special holidays. A few of these celebrations are purely cosmetic (save for any special bundles added to the shop), such as Talk Like a Pirate Day or the Lunar New Year, which merely change each Hero's "Greetings!" emote, and there are also holidays only celebrated through special Tavern Brawls, like Noblegarden (WoW's equivalent to Easter), but there have been a number of events- both holiday-oriented and not- that are of significant note, which are listed below:
  • Midsummer Fire Festival, July (Annual): An annual Summer celebration, as the name implies. First held in July 2017, this event is themed after (and usually hosted by) Ragnaros the Firelord; festivities generally include Legendary quests that provide more rewards than standard quests, unique themed Tavern Brawls, and special bundles in the shop. There have been a few twists on the festival over the years, which are listed below:
    • Frost Festival, late July-August 2017: An event that started immediately following the end of the first Fire Festival and was hosted by Ahune the Frost Lord, who looked to top his firey rival with a festival of his own. This event featured a unique Tavern Brawl, a near copy-paste of the Fire Festival's themed Brawl literally named Ahune's Superior Brawl, as well as free weekly Arena runs with accompanying Legendary quests.
    • Fire Fest-E.V.I.L., July 2019: A mini-event that continued the story of the Year of the Dragon, and the first time where the Fire Festival had a Hostile Show Takeover. While on their way to Uldum, Dr. Boom accidentally crashed Dalaran into the side of Blackrock Mountain. The event added a brand new Tavern Brawl modelled after the Dungeon Run where the player takes control of one of the members of the League of E.V.I.L. as they climb through Ragnaros' lair. Other special Tavern Brawls and a special community challenge to more quickly reveal cards for the upcoming expansion were also a part of the event.
    • Felfire Festival of Music & VENGEANCE, June 2020: A mini-event completing the story of Ashes of Outland. Mecha-Jaraxxus is ready to conquer Outland with his Rusted Legion, and only Aranna Starseeker, sister of Elise Starseeker, and her new Demon Hunter allies can stop him. The event added Trial by Felfire, a new set of story missions as well as a series of challenges against some of the toughest bosses in Outland. In addition, the usual Fire Festival trappings were present, the Pirate tribe was added to Battlegrounds, and Aranna was introduced as an alternate Demon Hunter hero.
  • Hallow's End, October (Annual): Hearthstone's annual Halloween celebration, usually themed around The Headless Horseman. First held in October 2017, activities include themed Tavern Brawls, Legendary quests, special shop offers, and most notably, Dual-Class Arena, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: players first pick one of the ten default Heroes (all appropriately dressed in costumes), then they get to pick another class's Hero Power to use. From there, drafting occurs as normal, with cards from both of the chosen classes available for grabs.
    • Doom in the Tomb, October 2019: A mini-event that took Hallow's End's place during the Year of the Dragon, themed around The Headless Horseman haunting the Tombs of Terror in Uldum for one cursed night, and the League of E.V.I.L. and League of Explorers teaming up to take him down. This take on Hallow's End featured both Dual-Class Arena and a Tavern Brawl modelled after the Dungeon Run that saw players delve into the titular Tombs of Terror to defeat the Horseman as a member of either the League of E.V.I.L. or the League of Explorers. The most notable aspect of this event, however, was a major shake-up for the Standard meta: 23 (in)famous Wild cards were temporarily added to the format, and unlike the other parts of the event, this lasted all the way until the launch of Descent of Dragons that December.
    • Knights of Hallow's End, November 2022: 2022's Hallow's End event marked the debut of a new events system that introduces event-specific reward tracks (on top of the one for the current expansion). What really set this Hallow's End apart, though, was a new twist on Doom in the Tomb's gimmick: with March of the Lich King on the horizon, every card from Knights of the Frozen Throne was temporarily added to the Core set, and also like Doom in the Tomb, this lasted all the way until the new expansion launched in December.
  • Other:
    • Winter('s) Veil, December (Annual): The first true seasonal eventnote , initially held in December 2015 and based on WoW's annual Christmas celebrations. In addition to special quests and shop offers, this event features a special Tavern Brawl, Gift Exchange, in which players craft decks and utilize gifts dropped by Greatfather Winter to defeat their opponent. Notably, winning a match in this Tavern Brawl for the first time rewards the player with a special holiday-themed card back instead of the usual pack reward.
    • Friendly Feud, July 2016/February 2017: An event in which players could earn quest rewards through challenges to friends on their friends list. Was made obsolete when this feature was, by popular demand, made permanent later in 2017 with the launch of Journey to Un'Goro.
    • Wildfest, February-March 2018: An event celebrating the Wild format. In addition to themed Tavern Brawls, cards from all sets were made available to draft in Arena for the event's duration (excluding any cards that had already been banned or excluded from the drafting pool). Was more-or-less made obsolete following the launch of Rise of Shadows in 2019, when the current rotating draft system was introduced to Arena.
    • Taverns of Time, June 2018: A mini-event exclusive to the Arena format, based on the Caverns of Time instances. It added 28 new cards with themes of hand, deck, and card draw manipulation. The cards would all be invokedGame Breakers in Constructed, but are kept in check thanks to the Arena format.
    Game Modes 
  • Hearthstone: (often called Constructed) Build decks of 30 cards from your collection, and battle against other players. It comes in three formats, each with Ranked and Casual options.
    • Standard: Decks only use cards from the Core set as well as from the current and previous Year of Hearthstone.
    • Wild: Every card can be used, although they are still subject to any nerfs. The larger card pool results in an explosively high power level.
    • Classic: Only cards from the original Basic and Classic set can be used, in their unnerfed versions as they appeared in 2014. Owning a card allows you to play it in its current Legacy form or its unaltered Classic form.
  • Solo Adventures: Play against a challenging AI opponent, usually through a story mission. This was originally restricted to the Adventure sets, but has expanded to include more varied content.
  • Arena: Draft a 30 card deck by choosing from 1 from 3 cards offered. Compete against other players until your deck has 12 wins or 3 losses. Legal card sets rotate every few months, mixing together formats that never existed in Standard. Games require a small entrance fee (which can be payed with real money or gold), but the cards do not come from the players' collections, offering cards you might not own. Rewards are based on the number of wins achieved, roughly breaking even after four wins and becoming exponentially more valuable from there.
  • Tavern Brawl: A lighthearted gamemode with a different ruleset every week. Changes can be simple, like having a deck of random cards, but can also include game-warping rules like playing as Adventure bosses, all minions being 1 mana 1/1s, Discovering cards instead of drawing them, etc. The first win each week awards a card pack from the previous Standard-legal year.
  • Battlegrounds: An auto-battler game. Players fight in an 8 player free-for-all, taking turns recruiting, selling, and buffing minions before transitioning to 1v1 automated fights between their boards, with the winning player damaging their opponent. Each player also has access to a unique hero with their own hero power. Players gain more gold and access to stronger minions as the game goes on. Boards are kept between rounds, letting you steadily build an unstoppable army.
  • Duels: Build a deck of 15 cards from a selection of legal sets, then choose a special hero power and signature treasure to compete against opponents until you have 12 wins or 3 losses. At the end of each game, players can draft bundles of cards and occasionally gain new passive and active treasures. Hero Powers and treasures are Purposely Overpowered (Though not as much as their Solo Adventure counterparts, considering this is still Player Vs Player), and warp the game entirely. Comes in Normal, which is free to enter but just for practice or fun, and Heroic, which has an entrance fee and gives rewards for high wins (the fee and rewards are identical to Arena).
  • Mercenaries: An RPG and Roguelike-style mode. Players build a roster of Mercenaries which are earned through mode-specific card packs and quests. After building a team of 6, the player selects a bounty and progresses through a randomly-generated map to claim it. Each map is filled with encounters, both of the combat and non-combat varieties. In combat, you select three of the Mercenaries in your party to place on the board. Each Mercenary has up to three abilities to use, and once all abilities are chosen combat will resolve, with abilities taking action sequentially based on their speed. Mercenaries level up through combat to become more powerful, and their abilities are upgraded out of missions using a mode-specific currency.

Despite its youth, Hearthstone is among the likes of Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! as one of the most played card games in the world, and rakes in the cash like there's no tomorrow with an estimated 20 million dollars in revenue generated per month. It's also one of the most popular games to livestream on Twitch, generally being among the top three most viewed games at any given time, beating out even its own main series in viewership, and is one of the leading games in the eSports scene. Impressive, for what was once such a small project.

The characters subpage is here.


    Tropes A-G 
  • Absurd Phobia: According to Moroes in One Night in Karazhan, murlocs are terrified of balloons.
  • Achilles' Heel: Many heroes or specific deck strategies usually have at least one glaring weakness, even if it's a single type of card effect.
    • Legendary minions are usually vulnerable to silences, turning them into cost-inefficient bog-standard minions. Such legendaries are also vulnerable to being copied with Faceless Manipulator or stolen by the opponent using Sylvanas Windrunner's deathrattle (neutral), Mind Control (Priest) or Entomb (also Priest).
    • Strategies reliant on beefing up one minion or dependent on one card's continuous effect can be similarly undone with a silence. Like the above, these cards can also be stolen by the enemy and cause disaster.
    • In addition to being easily undone with silence, buff spells are useless if the opponent keeps your board clear of minions to buff.
    • High-damage cards are vulnerable to single-target elimination spells, including Shadow Word: Death for Priests (5 attack and above), Assassinate for Rogues (any attack level), Polymorph for Mages (turn any minion into a 1/1 Sheep), and Big Game Hunter as a neutral minion with its Battlecry (Destroy an enemy minion with 7 or more attack).
    • Rush strategies are usually impeded by cost-efficient Taunt minions, since these force them to trade two or more minions to get through them if they can't be eliminated through other means. Filling one's board with cheap, weak creatures is also vulnerable to boardclear and AOE spells. Rush strategies can also be undone by running out of steam—no card draw = no way to regain the upper hand.
    • Weapons and weapon-reliant classes like Warrior and Rogue can be screwed over by cards that destroy weapons(I.E. Harrison Jones, Swamp Ooze, Sabotage, Bloodsail Corsair).
    • Taunt minions can force attacks toward them, but they can't do anything about spells or hero powers targeting their allies or their hero. They're also vulnerable to being destroyed by a Black Knight (Battlecry: destroy an enemy minion with Taunt) or being silenced, though at least most minions will keep their stats.
    • Some minions have a drawbacks such as harmful Deathrattles (effect that triggers when the minion dies) and Battlecries, or ones that help the opposing player in exchange for more efficient stats. Silences help here.
    • The warlock spell Sacrificial Pact one-shots a demon. Any demon. Nowhere does it say that the demon has to be a minion. If the enemy hero is JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!!, this spell becomes an instant "I win" button. This weakness has been removed due to a nerf to Sacrificial Pact, which now can only target its caster's own demons.
    • Highlander Decksnote  are extraordinarily vulnerable to 'Shuffle into enemy deck' effects. While you can tell that the effect won't activate from the lack of glow on the card, it has caught even pro players off-guard. Any odd or even synergy cards that isn't Genn Greymane or Baku the Mooneater also fall under this weakness, as do almost any other deck types that have restrictions on what can be in the deck (a couple such restrictions in actual play are: "No neutral (i.e., usable by any class) cards" and "No minion cards").
  • Adaptational Heroism / Adaptational Villainy: As the game went on, several of the playable heroes receive this treatment in regard to lore. Most notable in the Whisper of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion where almost all of the playable heroes, many of whom are the Big Good in the original game like Anduin, Jaina, Thrall, Tyrande, Malfurion, Khadgar and Magni, seeking assistance from the evil Old Gods in the former (with the exception of the Paladin heroes, Uther and Liadrin, served as the Token Good Teammate) and being recruited into notorious criminal gangs in the latter.
  • Affectionate Parody: While Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain have shades of this, One Night in Karazhan is a full-blown parody of the raid dungeon it was inspired by. The original raid was a haunted wizard's tower. The Hearthstone adventure is about trying to get the tower cleaned up for a big party!
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • Harth Stonebrew, the Innkeeper, is proprietor of the magical inn to play Hearthstone at. And he's the one keeping the peace of the inn, which is visited by undeads, dragons, old gods, and other monstrosities.
    • Heroic Innkeeper has subpar stats for its cost, but with a full board she can turn into a game-ending 16/16 with Taunt. Her artwork also displays her drawing a Cane Sword out of her broom.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The Darkmoon Faire has been a relatively benign place of fun and games in World of Warcraft, but its incarnation in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion has it invoking the power of the Old Gods in its rides and games.
  • Anachronism Stew: An in-universe example: some of the heroes would never have met in the original Warcraft timeline - Gul'dan, for example, was dead before Anduin Wrynn was even born. This was even lampshaded in the tie-in comic for Knights of the Frozen Throne, with the crowd scoffing at the Pompous Thespian's story because of this.
  • Animation Bump: The trailer for March of the Lich King eschews the "animated still image" look that Hearthstone had been using for years for a 3D animated cinematic. It is quite cartoony and uses 2D assets for things like explosions, but it's still clear that they pulled out all the stops for Death Knight's official announcement.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Hearthstone's mana system is a considerable upgrade from the mana systems found in some other card games. Rather than needing specific cards in hand to extend your mana (like Magic: The Gathering's land cards) or sacrificing potentially useful cards for mana (like the old Warcraft TCG), the game automatically gives you a mana crystal turn by turn (up to a maximum of 10).
    • Unlike other Play Every Day games, Daily Quests don't have to be done that day and up to 3 can be saved and quests can be cancelled to get another one (once a day). If you get a quest to, say, win X games as a hero you don't have a deck for, you have the option to either take your time to build a good deck up or re-roll it and try to get a better one.
      • As the game goes on, quests that demand players to win PvP games are slowly removed so that even the worst or unluckiest players can still complete quests to slowly expand their collection. As of this writing, there is only one quest left (Win: win 2 PvP matches) that demand players to actually win.
    • The game provides alternatives to some cards' effects should their primary effects be rendered inapplicable/useless, although the secondary effects are generally weak.
      • Several Druid spells that give empty Mana crystals like Wild Growth are useless once you have the maximum amount. To compensate, they give you Excess Mana card which draws you another card for free.
      • The Warlock spell Sense Demons randomly picks up two demons from your deck to put into your hand. In case you've run out of demons in your deck, the game will instead give you a 1-mana 1/1 Imp Demon as a replacement for each shortage.
      • The Priest spell Mindgames summons a random minion from an opponent's deck (that is, one that hasn't been drawn yet). In the event that there are no more minions to draw, a 0/1 Shadow of Nothing card is summoned instead ("Mindgames whiffed! Your opponent had no minions left!").
      • Note that your opponent's deck may not have had any minions in it to begin with. Mage in particular can build very effective decks with no minion cards. While you can't really play without minions, you can stock your decks with spells that create minions instead of cards that are minions themselves.
    • A lot of legendaries have effects that trigger on the end of the user's turn, ensuring that you will get that benefit at least once before your opponent will most likely neutralize it if they can.
    • You can turn spare cards into material to craft cards you want. The game even has an option to automatically do this with cards that you have more copies of than you can use anyway (more than two for most, or more than one for legendaries). And if you don't care for shiny, golden cards, you can disenchant them for tons of dust to make multiple non-golden cards.
      • If you click the "craft" or "disenchant" button one too many times and create/disenchant more copies of a card than you intended to, you can undo that action and get a full dust refund. This refund lasts until you leave the crafting interface for that card.
      • Whenever a card is nerfed, for a limited time, all copies of that card can be disenchanted for their full crafting cost, essentially giving a player their dust back if they crafted the card themselves. For cards that have been moved to the Hall of Fame, you automatically gets their full dust value without needing to disenchant the cards, giving an incentive to keep those cards for use in any Wild format.
    • You also get easy access to a Basic deck for each hero, with a few more basic cards being unlocked as you level them to level 10. And you can't lose any of the basic cards so the option to try another hero is always there. With the Basic set becoming more useless over time, in 2020, it was replaced with a yearly Core set, which contains cards from vanilla and previous expansions with much more applicable use.
    • Whenever a "deal X damage to random targets" is cast, the game will avoid overkilling minions and just switch to other ones. For example, casting Avenging Wrath as a Paladin (8 damage to random enemies) will hit that 1-health minion then stop hitting it so that the damage isn't wasted.
    • If your opponent sits for a while without doing anything, a fuse will appear across the middle of the board. If it burns down, their turn ends... and all their subsequent turns start with the fuse, until they actually make an action. This is probably not anti-frustrating for your opponent (especially if said opponent is a turtling griefer, who deliberately want to waste your time so you concede), but since you don't have to wait for god-knows-how-long until they finally play something, you're happy.
      • Unfortunately, griefers can still do the so-called "roping": Deliberately letting the fuse run out without pressing End Turn while still playing cards during their turn, or press End Turn at the last second if there's no card to play, negating this penalty for the ropers and allowing them to drag on the game to annoy the other player.
    • A "pity timer" exists, which increases your chances of pulling a legendary or epic card for each consecutive pack you've opened without one, culminating at a guaranteed legendary or epic every 40 and 10 packs respectively. This timer is modified for new expansions, where you're guaranteed a legendary within the first 10 packs of an expansion.
    • Because of the fact that several Whispers of the Old Gods cards require him, a copy of C'Thun, as well as two copies of Beckoner of Evil, are automatically given to anybody who opens a Whispers pack.
    • In ranked mode, you don't start losing stars upon game losses until you reach rank 20, and it's impossible to go below 20. This makes it relatively easy for anyone to earn the card back reward for a season through sheer persistence. Ranked "floors" also ensure that players who reach ranks of multiples of 5, where they upgrade their seasonal reward, don't go below said rank, encouraging players to climb even if they don't have fully-tuned decks.
    • Legendary cards are rarity-locked, meaning that once you pull or craft a Legendary, you will no longer pull any more copies of that card until you either disenchant it or collect every Legendary from that set. As of the Year of the Phoenix, all other cards have also been rarity-locked at 2 copies, meaning less sifting through mountains of garbage Rares and Epics to get that one card you need.
    • To close the massive gap of available content between new and old players, Blizzard has implemented Ranks 50 to 26 only for new players who registered during and after October 2018, giving them the ability to play around with their low-power decks and learn the game before reaching Rank 25 and contending with the more experienced playerbase. On the way, they also earn several free packs to expand their collection.
    • Elise the Trailblazer shuffles an Un'Goro pack into the player's deck, which yields 5 Un'Goro cards when drawn and used. Unlike most other packs a player would open, this pack is intentionally rigged to contain at least one legendary or epic card, meaning you will at least get some good bang for your buck.note 
    • In a very specific case which doubles as Developer's Foresight, One Night in Kharazan includes a boss battle where the opponent's hero has taunt, forcing you to ignore any of the several, occasionally random minions he summons. Like normal situations involving two taunt enemies, either can be attacked freely if he summons, say, a Stubborn Gastropod. On the off chance that he summons Mal'Ganis, a demon that makes his controller immune to damage, the hero taunt effect will cancel out entirely until Mal'Ganis dies; ditto for any other case where a character gets Taunt and Immune at the same time.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The mage secret Counterspell immediately negates the next spell an opponent plays.
    • Silencing a card removes any text, abilities, and buffs on it. To eliminate constant board effects granted by other cards, such as the +1/+1 from Stormwind Champion, target the minion providing the buff instead.
    • Polymorph and Hex effectively do the same thing by turning the minion into a entirely different, weak creature (an 1/1 Sheep and a 0/1 Frog with Taunt, respectively).
  • Anti Poop-Socking: You get a daily quest where you can earn 40 or 60 gold from (or 100 gold from one quest), but once that's done you can only earn 10 gold by winning 3 games, which is a slow way to farm for gold. You can potentially win gold from the Arena if you win enough matches, but it costs 150 gold to enter (unless you pay with cash). You need to win more than 50 gold in prizes to make a profit if one accounts for the pack of cards (worth 100 gold) that's automatically given out as a prize. There are several achievements that grant gold, but not enough of them to be a reliable source of gold: the only ones that give gold are for unlocking all the heroes, all the basic cards, beating all the expert hero decks on practice mode, winning 100 games, winning 1000 games, and collecting all the cards.
    • There's also a cap of 100 on the amount of gold you can earn through wins per day. Of course, unless you go on a binge, you won't make it that far daily because it requires a minimum of thirty matches to make that much gold. They all have to be wins too.
  • Anti-Trolling Features: Player communication during matches is limited to six emotes: Greetings, Well Played, Thanks, Wow, Oops, and Threaten. The Wow emote was notably brought in to replace the Sorry emote, which Blizzard felt too many players were using in a sarcastic way. Players also have the option to "Squelch" the opposing player, effectively muting them, if they feel their opponent is spamming or misusing emotes.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Due to "Sorry" being one of the six options on the emote system, players can invoke it to varying degrees. It's specially appropriate (or cruel, depending on your perpective) when you're about to wipe the entire board by casting a Consecration, Lightning Storm or a Flamestrike. The most amusing "Sorry" quote probably goes to Lord Jaraxxus:
    • The Sorry emote was abused by Deadpan Snarker players so often that Blizzard had to replace it with an "astonishment"-styled emote upon the release of Whispers of the Old Gods. (It doesn't seem to have worked - players abuse that emote instead.)
    • Alexstraza also qualifies with her attack quote "I will mourn your death."
  • Arc Number:
    • 8 for Ragnaros; he's an 8-mana minion with 8/8 stats, dealing 8 damage to a random enemy at the end of every turn.
    • 5 for Ultimate Infestation, a 10-mana spell that deals 5 damage, grants 5 armor, summons a 5/5 ghoul, and draws you 5 cards. Ghouls in the pipe, five by five.
    • 7 for Dr. Boom, who was a 7-mana 7/7 on release (who also made a couple of Boom-Bots that put him above the basic War Golem) and re-release. His Hero card in The Boomsday Project is also 7 mana and grants 7 bonus armor. His reprint in Rise of Shadows as Blastmaster Boom is a 7-mana 7/7.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Kel'thuzad makes his return as the Big Bad of Curse of Naxxramas.
    • Blackrock Mountain has Ragnaros for the first two wings and Nefarian for the adventure as a whole.
    • The League of Explorers has Arch-Thief Rafaam, though mostly he just sits back and lets the heroes play MacGuffin Delivery Service.
    • The Witchwood has Hagatha the Witch, who's responsible for the Witchwood's creation.
    • Rafaam returns as the overarching villain of the entire Year of the Dragon, starting as the Villain Protagonist in Rise of Shadows before becoming a tradition antagonist in Saviors of Uldum.
  • The Archmage:
    • For one, there's Archmage Antonidas legendary minion and the Archmage Classic minion card.
    • The playable Mage Heroes are also famous in-universe for their magical prowess, with Jaina being Antonidas' star pupil, Khadgar being apprenticed to Medivh and Medivh being the last Guardian of Tirisfal, the most powerful mortal mage who have ever lived. Can also be invoked by the famous Freeze Mage deck, which is rather light in minions, but aims to devastate the enemy Hero directly regardless of board control.
    • And believe it or not, Hunter also counts with the Spellhunter archetype, which fills their deck with nothing but spells. Predictably, they generate minions through Summon Magic and Deathstalker Rexxar's Hero Power.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: During the final battle against Arthas in the Frozen Throne campaign, he will occasionally ask "Who built that deck for you?", likely startling the player if they consulted a walkthrough to beat him.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • A common trope in the flavor texts.
    SI:7 Agent: The agents of SI:7 are responsible for Stormwind's covert activities. Their duties include espionage, assassination, and throwing surprise birthday parties for the royal family.
    • Taken almost literally with the Accusation cycle from Maw and Disorder, which targets a minion and destroys it after a condition is fulfilled. The three cards in this cycle are Warlock's Arson Accusation (2 mana and destroys the target after the user takes damage), Rogue's Murder Accusation (2 mana and destroys the target after another enemy minion dies), and Priest's Theft Accusation (1 mana and destroys the target after the user plays a card copied from their opponent).
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Yes, we're talking about the Hearthstone AI who needs overpowered cards and hero abilities to be a challenge, but long story short, do not play any cards that give your opponent a Spare Part when you're fighting Emperor Thaurissan. If he gets the Time Rewinder, he'll use it on his wife... and use his hero power on you.
    • Another notable one is in the Lich King fight. If you play Majordomo Exectus as a Paladin he'll kill it, turning you into Ragnaros and summoning his own Majordomo - then he'll kill his Majordomo off, and use Ragnaros' hero power to one-shot you!
    • Zephrys the Great is Artificial Brilliance that's at your side, as long as you meet his requirement of having no duplicates in your deck. He is programmed to analyze the board and offer you the best cards for your specific situation from the Basic and Classic sets. All too often, you'll wish for a specific card, only to be offered an even better one you didn't think about. That said, he has his limitations; for example, he doesn't understand unique card effects, so he will merrily offer you Taunt minions in a futile attempt to stop Kayn Sunfurynote .
  • Artificial Stupidity: The practice mode AI was never very challenging, but with the Curse of Naxxramas patch it became a lot more obvious that the Hearthstone AI… isn’t very smart. Examples include playing minions in the wrong order so that they don’t gain synergy which they would have otherwise had, making questionable trades, and in the case of Loatheb, using a Faceless Manipulator to clone a Spore. The developers compensated for this by massively buffing the Naxxramas bosses and giving them overpowered cards that aren’t even available to players, which implies they’ve pretty much admitted defeat in getting the Hearthstone AI to anywhere near player level.
    • Arch-Thief Rafaam stands out for potentially being straight-up Too Dumb to Live. If he gets Lord Jaraxxus and Sacrificial Pact in his deck, he will have no qualms about turning into Jaraxxus and then using Sacrificial Pact on himself.
  • Ascended Extra: Many minor characters from the main game are treated as equal to lore-important characters by appearing as minions along side them or even as heroes, such as the case of Valeera Sanguinar (the Rogue hero). A more notable example would be the Murlocs: In the game they're basically just nameless Mook tribes, while in this game they have the virtue of being one of the seven tribes that can synergize with each other (sometimes to insane levels; "Murloc decks" are built around this concept). The League of Explorers even has a Murloc as an adventure guide named Sir Finley Mrrgglton while the game later added another Murlocs named Morgle the Oracle as a Shaman playable hero. Though the biggest example? There's this Eredar who is just one-note boss that not even this site lists him amongst the characters of the Burning Legion... then proceeds to not only ascend, but be a Breakout Character. Ladies and gentlemen, you face Jaraxxus, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!!!
    • Dr. Boom easily takes the cake, though. In World of Warcraft, he was a one-off quest target in the Burning Crusade expansion which most veterans don't even remember existing. In Hearthstone, he was so infamous as one of the most overpowered cards in Hearthstone history that 3 years later he gets an expansion named after him.
    • Tess Greymane is only a minor character in the original game compare to her father Genn. In The Witchwood, she is basically The Hero of the Monster Hunt adventure while her father was severely Demoted to Extra.
    • Madame Lazul is a rare Hearthstone-native example. Her only previous appearance was in the Whispers of the Old Gods trailer as the narrator. 3 years later, she's part of Rafaam's villain crew in the Rise of Shadows expansion.
    • Nemsy Necrofizzle is another Hearthstone-native example. She went from a minor character on Fen Creeper and Bog Creeper (and not the main focus of the cards themselves to boot) to a playable hero of the Warlock class.
    • Several species that weren't playable races are promoted to playable heroes both in term of Alternate skins or PvE heroes. Prominent examples in the alternate skins include: Murloc (Morgl), Mech (Sir Annoy-O), Dryad (Lunara) and Demon (Mecha-Jaraxxus). The Dalaran Heist has playable heroes of Gnoll (Ol'Barkeye for Hunter), Sethrak (Vessina for Shaman), Arakkoa (Kriziki for Priest), Elemental (Rakanishu for Mage), Vulperanote  (Captain Eudora for Rogue), Tol'Vir (Tekahn for Warlock) and Kobold race (Squeamlish for Druid), which means that 7 out of 9 classes are represented by a non-playable race.
  • Ascended Meme: Several memes from World of Warcraft have carried over to this game, such as the Raid Leader's summoning response ("Handle it!"), battlecry when attacking ("Hit it very hard!") and flavor text. ("That's a 50 DKP minus!")
    • Not to mention Leeroy Jenkins himself is an unlockable card.
    • Blackrock Mountain has a couple. The Dark Iron Arena encounter has a deck made of thirty legendaries, which was a silly joke deck among the playerbase. The Omnotron Defense System boss has a little Easter Egg: Keep using emotes, and its dialogue will change to the repeated hellos of the Annoy-o-Tron, a card known for its obnoxious quotes.
    • The Grand Tournament takes it further. Wrathgard's flavor text mentions Annoy-O-Tron, Ice Rager's says he's cooler than infamously bad card Magma Rager, and Confessor Paletress's flavor text says that the most common fear is getting the infamously bad Majordomo Executus out of Sneed's Old Shredder. And then there's Polymorph: Boar, which references the infamous Animal Companion summon, Huffer.
    • Whispers of the Old Gods is full of this. One of the set's gimmicks are corrupted versions of existing cards, which includes memetic and darkhorse characters like Annoy-o-Tron or Magma Rager. Then you get to the flavor text, which is clearly directed at the existing playerbase and comments on situations that commonly occurred in the community. An example is Validated Doomsayer's flavor text, which refers to how normal Doomsayer could drop from Piloted Shredder, generally with a major effect on the game.
    • On the Hearthstone subreddit one player told a story about how after they won an arena match, their opponent added them to passive-aggresively rage at them for being a poor jobless loser for playing Hearthstone on a weekday. Conversely, said opponent can afford to play video games because his job is so great and relies on basement dwellers giving him work to do. Or as the opponent put it, "keep feeding the pyramid, roach boy =)". After various quotes and copypastas entered the subreddit's lexicon, Blizzard added Roach Boy to the random names that would cycle by on the queue roulette.
    • The Witchwood continues the trend. Vivid Nightmare's text describes a nightmare where a person accidentally crafted a golden version of the infamously terrible Millhouse Manastorm, Vex Crow's description claims that it often summons Doomsayers (which it actually can), referencing Doomsayer's reputation as the worst case scenario of any RNG-based effect for one of two players, and Dire Frenzy once again brings up Huffer (and Huffer, and Huffer, and Huffer). The Big Bad Hagatha the Witch even gets cross-game memes into the mix with text claiming that she's a Hanzo main, referencing Hanzo's notorious reputation in Overwatch.
    • One of the spells created by The Great Akazamzarak is "Yoggers Poggers", which shuffle three Scrolls of Wonder into both players' decks, and each casts a random spell when drawn. Not only does it reference the incredibly random Yogg'Saron, it also references the PogChamp Twitch emote used for excitement when things unexpectedly work in one's favor (like, for instance, that random spell doing exactly what you need to get out of a pinch).
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The general strategy of an aggro deck or a rush deck is to hit the enemy hero relentlessly with charge minions and spells, pausing only to get rid of any Taunt minions that get in the way. The Hunter is particularly good at this, as his hero power lets him keep shooting the enemy hero for 2 damage and can't be mitigated by taunts. The Warlock Zoo Deck is pretty much this taken to the extreme: it consist mostly of cheap creatures, small buffs, and a lot of burst damage. Abusing the Warlock card draw hero power, this deck usually forgoes all non-essential board control and just seeks to absolutely steamroll opponents with tons of small, annoying, efficient minions and burst damage before they can control the board, stabilize and restore Health.
    • Exaggerated by the popular (and also much-despised) 'Face Hunter' deck, a deck so mindlessly aggressive (even Zoo Warlock uses its rush advantage to secure board control) that a bot could play it and is regularly able to secure a turn 5 or 6 kill by simply ignoring EVEYRTHING except the opponent. EVERYTHING GOES TO THE FACE!
  • Award-Bait Song: "Hearth and Home", which sounds very Disney-esque and fits more likely with an animated short of the game than with the actual game itself, nonetheless earned a nomination and won the award for "Best Original Song" at the 16th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: This is the main point of the legendary cards, boasting unique abilities, flashy effects, and act as methods of ending the game. Most legendaries, however, are very specific in their use, have drawbacks, or those flashy effects make them cost more than their non-legendary counterparts; as a result, the majority of Legendaries are often less competitively viable than the 400 dust you get from disenchanting them, but the few that are viable generally become keystone cards. Their power also tends to mark them as prime targets of hard removal spells such as Polymorph and Hex or silencing effects.
    • Millhouse Manastorm is 2 mana, 4 damage, 4 health, which is very difficult to deal with in turn one or two. The catch is that next turn, the opponent gets all spells for free. So, unless you're lucky and manage to get away with it, playing him leads to hilariously disastrous results (such as zero-cost Sprint, Pyroblast, Blessing of Kings, Mind Control...).
    • King Mukla is 3 mana, 5 damage, 5 health. Played on an empty board, he's an impressive threat (especially early in the game). However, playing him means giving the opponent two Bananas, which can be used to buff minions by 1 damage and 1 health for 1 mana per card. So you're essentially giving the opponent extra buffs to use anytime, which can backfire later on...
      • However, it turns out that King Mukla's effect can be used to devastating potential in mill decks, where the goal is to force a loss by filling up your opponent's and and making them overdraw, burning powerful cards or taking extra fatigue damage. Since the two Bananas are separate cards, playing Mukla right before another card that draws your opponent cards means two fewer spaces for cards in their hand. This is especially effective when comboed with Coldlight Oracle, which draws both players two cards, Naturalize, which destroys an enemy minion for 1 mana but draws your opponent two cards, and Sap or Vanish, which return one or all minions to their player's hand - destroying the card if there isn't room for it.
      • The entire game plan of the Mecha'Thun combo deck is to empty the hand, deck, and board, and then play a few cards to summon Mecha'Thun and then kill it right away for an instant victory. Mukla screws up this game plan at the last minute by putting Bananas in their hand. Since the combo usually takes exactly 10 mana to execute, they need to spend another turn expending the Bananas... usually on your minions, if they've been trying to keep their board clear.
    • Bolvar Fordragon, a 1 attack, 7 health minion for 5 mana with the unique ability of gaining one attack in your hand every time one of your friendly minions dies and is the proud owner of a ridiculously badass entry animation. If held in hand for a while he can have an eye-melting 21 attack, more than enough to overkill every minion in the game, which can be instantly nullified by the opponent with a simple silence. Additionally, he is a dreadful card to draw when topdecking, because of how unbelievably inefficient his base stats are compared to his cost. At the very least, he can soak a silence instead of the similarly susceptible Tirion Fordring.
    • Mimiron's Head, a 4/5 mech for 5. If you control Mimiron and at least two other mechs at the start of your turn, they combine into the V-07-TR-0N, a 4/8 with charge that can attack four times a turn. Needless to say, V-07-TR-0N very quickly ends the game. The being said, Mimiron's Head has poor stats, and can easily be killed off by your opponent. If they can't kill Mimiron, they can usually kill a few mechs at least, nullifying his effect until they can kill him. At least he has an awesome animation.
    • Deathwing, in terms of raw stats, is the single most powerful playable minion in the game (along with his Dragonlord version). He has 12 attack and 12 life, meaning he can one-hit kill nearly any other minion in the game, and survive. When played from your hand, he destroys ALL other minions on the field, clearing all immediate threats instantly. But he costs ten mana, and playing him means discarding your entire hand, so while he makes an incredibly powerful entrance, you are relying on top-decking for the next few turns, and likely unable to defend him, especially from spells that remove any minion regardless of stats. (Of course, if you actually top deck him when you're in a bad situation you have nothing to lose, and he can quite possibly single-handedly win you the game.)
    • Majordomo Executus, a 9/7 for 9 with a deathrattle which replaces your hero with Ragnaros, who now has the most powerful hero ability in the gamenote , but has a pitiful 8 health. Additionally, he's also coded to remove any armour you've built up and his 8 HP is now your maximum life so you can't recover from it note . Executus is widely considered the worst legendary in the entire game as a result, since he will regularly cost you the entire match on the turn after you play him (it's WAY too easy for most players to simply one-shot him with hard removal then kill your pasty 8-HP ass). Naturally, players have attempted to make combos involving Ragnaros's hero power, and on the rare occasion that it works (read: they don't immediately die when Executus triggers), it is glorious.
    • Whispers of the Old Gods invoked this with Blood of The Ancient One. Blood of The Ancient One is a 9 mana 9/9 with no effect, except when you control second Blood of The Ancient One. If you control both, they fuse together at the end of your turn, becoming The Ancient One - a 30/30! The fusion can't even be interrupted by your opponent since it happens on your turn. However, playing any 9 mana minion keeping it both alive for a turn is very difficult, and the extreme cost makes it nearly impossible to combo with cards that cheat out a second one on the same turn. In addition, The Ancient One himself is basically never going to die to minions, but can still get destroyed by hard removal, or even just a minion with Taunt. It's also usually better to have two 9/9s rather than one 30/30 unless you're going for the OTK, since that gives your damage more flexibility. Still, the sheer Rule of Cool of this thing has led to a lot of people creating joke decks that summon him.
    • Journey to Un'Goro introduced Quests for each of the classes - Legendary spells that give you an overpowered card after you complete certain objectives. Paladin got the short end of the stick, however. Their quest, The Last Kaleidosaur, requires them to buff six friendly minions (a task requiring at least 6 spells, minions to stay on your board, and a few turns of set-up). The reward is Galvadon, a 5 mana 5/5 that Adapts five timesnote . In theory, you could make a 14/5 Windfury with Stealth, or a 5/14 Taunt that can't be targeted by spells. In reality, you will rarely create your dream Galvadon. The randomness ensures that you'll end up making some kind of half-breed of effects, and you get a lot of useless repeat options (ex: two Windfuries do nothing). Also, Galvadon is just a minion, and there's no Charge adaptation. If you didn't get Stealth or set up an OTK, he'll just get removed.
      • The Warlock quest Lakkari Sacrifice falls into the same category. It requires them to discard 6 cards - a task that required at least 9 cards (6 discards, 3 double-discarders), but usually more. The reward is a LOT stronger than Galvadon - an indestructible portal that spawns two 3/2 imps for you every turn, but it's a value play rather than an OTK, it comes out too late to have enough impact, and the time to complete the quest is inconsistent because you can always end up discarding other cards with a discard effect. They had to print a 4-mana card that discarded your entire hand to make it any good.
    • Rin, the First Disciple Zig Zags this. On paper, just by looking at what cards she generates tells, anyone with experience with card games how squarely it falls under this trope. She has a Deathrattle which gives a spell called "The First Seal". Using it summons a 2/2 demon for a whopping 5 mana and gives you "The Second Seal", also costing 5 mana. "The Second Seal" summons a 3/3 and puts "The Third Seal" in your hand, which summons a 4/4, and so on, until you reach the fifth card — "The Final Seal", and that gives you a 6/6 and finally gives you the ultimate reward: "Azari the Devourer", a whopping 10-mana 10/10 demon that destroys your opponent's deck. So for a whopping 31 mana, you get a 10-mana minion that doesn't do anything to the board when it's played, and by the time you can play it, assuming you haven't died, your opponent has likely drawn at least a half to two-thirds of their deck. This takes several turns of effort to complete and is horrible for temponote , but in practice, control Warlock has so much insane defensive cards, healing, and board clears (but no burst damage) that forcing the opponent to go into fatigue works as a win condition for them.
    • The Darkness is a 20/20, which is enormous for any playable minion, let alone one that costs a mere 4 mana. The catch is that it starts out dormant - it can't attack or be attacked, and it's unaffected by any other effects, so you spent that 4 mana just to clog up your board. Its Battlecry shuffles 3 Candles into your opponent's deck, and The Darkness can only awaken and start attacking if your opponent draws all three, and that's a pretty big if. And if your opponent happens to overdraw a Candle or discard one directly from the deck? Tough luck, because The Darkness is now stuck in its dormant state for the rest of the game. And even if the third candle is drawn (which will most likely be on the opponent's turn), The Darkness dies to hard removal just as easily as any other minion.
    • Astral Communion is a 4-mana spell that instantly maxes out your mana crystals, letting you accelerate your mana growth by up to 6 turns. That's the "awesome" part. However, the trade-off is that casting the spell also discards your entire hand, and having that much mana isn't very useful if you have no cards to use it on. You'll also be relying completely on top-decking for the next few turns, hoping to get something that can capitalize on Astral Communion before the opponent manages to either catch up in mana or just straight-up kill you because you couldn't draw anything good.
    • Emeriss is a very powerful minion... stuck in the worst class it could possibly be in. Doubling the stats of the minions in your hand is an extremely powerful effect, but Hunters have a very hard time making good use of it. Hunters traditionally have not been a good control class and have one of the worst card draw among any class, so by the time you can play Emeriss, you will likely not hit enough minions to make her Battlecry make a big enough impact to win the game over a long run. There's also the issue that it's a 10-mana minion with no immediate board impact, so it's a late-game value play more than anything else.
    • On his own, The Lich King is a perfectly solid 8-mana 8/8 with Taunt that adds a Death Knight card to your hand at the end of the turn, giving you solid value in just about any situation. While said Death Knight cards are all powerful for their mana costs, some of them fall into this category with various drawbacks.
      • Obliterate kills any minion with no questions asked for a minuscule 2 mana, but it also causes backlash damage to your hero equal to that minion's health; depending on your class, this can range from inconsequential to potentially detrimental, and is generally not good for killing things with very high health.
      • Doom Pact destroys every minion on the board for a relatively cheap 5 mana, but also has the steep cost of discarding a card from your deck for each minion destroyed. As such, it's usually saved for when you're in fatigue already and thus ignore the drawback or you're one turn away from losing, but even in the latter case you may risk throwing away your own win condition.
      • Army of the Dead is easily the Death Knight card most dependent on the Random Number God. It's a 6-mana spell that discards the top 5 cards of your deck and summons any minions among them. Great if it generates a huge board swing in your favor, not so good if it ends up milling 5 spells (or even worse, your hero card). It's also the Death Knight card that's most dependent on your actual deck, as it's obviously much worse in a spell-heavy deck than a minion-heavy one.
    • Duskfallen Aviana makes the first card you play each turn cost 0 mana, which is obviously a pretty good effect. The problem is that it also applies to the opponent, and because you usually have to play Aviana to get her on the board, they get to use the effect first. This usually results in the opponent using Aviana's effect to get any one card for free and then destroying her so that you can't do the same, resulting in you giving them the advantage without anything to show for it.
    • Hakkar, the Soul-Flayer has a Deathrattle effect that shuffles a Corrupted Blood into each player's deck; when drawn, it damages the holder and then shuffles two more copies of itself in, meaning that the Corrupted Blood will eventually spread far enough to kill the player. But because it's a Deathrattle effect on a 10-mana minion that takes time to ramp up to critical mass and depends on your opponent drawing a specific card, this effect is horrendously slow and can be dismantled by a transform or silence effect. Hakkar himself also has god-awful stats to begin with and doesn't do anything the turn he comes down, giving your opponent a free turn to wail on your face.
      • The one deck Hakkar does find use in, however, is in mill-based Druid combo decks, who's capable of pulling out Hakkar and killing him on the same turn. Considering how Corrupted Blood works, Naturalize is extremely synergistic with it, and compared to Togwaggle Druid, Hakkar Druid is better at killing the opponent directly.
    • Marin the Fox summons a Master Chest for your opponent when played; if you then destroy the chest, you get one of four fantastic treasures with powerful effects like filling your hand with copies of a drawn card or summoning two copies of a Legendary minion. The problem is, the Chest has 8 health, and Marin sits at an awful 8 mana 6/6 statline. Without external assistance, it takes three turns for Marin to break the chest, and that's without considering that sinking 8 mana into a minion that does nothing when it comes down and has horrid stats is pretty much equivalent to giving your opponent a free turn. Further more, your opponent is free to buff the chest and use it to smack you around (especially Priests, as giving a high-health minion to the class with Divine Spirit and Inner Fire is practically handing your opponent a loaded gun and sticking your face in front of it). You could play Marin while you have other minions on the board and use those to break the chest, but let's face it - if you have that much board control, you're probably winning even without Marin's treasure and are thus better off going for the face instead.
    • In general, any minion that costs a significant amount of mana (usually 8 or more) that doesn't do anything on the turn it comes down is usually considered not worth playing, no matter how good its stats are, as they almost always make very inviting targets for enemy removal, potentially rendering your mana investment moot. This is the main difference between cards like Gruul (whose +1/+1 every turn is potentially devastating but also quite slow to get going), which saw almost no play, and Ragnaros the Firelord (whose end-of-turn effect either kills a minion or deals a hideous amount of face damage), which was good enough to be kicked out of Standard. Exceptions are made for minions with powerful, game-winning effects (like Malygos), which tend to get played in dedicated decks with ways to get around their prohibitive mana costs.
    • It's possible to become Immune with Demon Hunter for 0 mana via Blur, then play Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate, which has a chance to cast Rod of Roasting, which cast Pyroblasts until a hero dies, and since their hero is Immune, only the opponent can ever take damage from Pyroblast, guarranteeing a win. However, this is wildly impractical; first, Demon Hunters don't like to run a lot of spells, making them poor candidates for plays with Yogg-Saron. Secondly, even if Yogg does go off, it only has a 5 percent chance of selecting Rod of Roasting, making it very unlikely they'll be able to take advantage of the combo.
  • A Winner Is You: As amazing as Mechazod is, many players have wished that he received a death sequence when you defeat him during the Tavern Brawl, rather than just going straight into the "Victory" screen. Later Tavern Brawls fixed this issue though, seeing the following co-op Tavern Brawl boss, Nefarian, dies in a spectacular fashion.
  • Badass Adorable: Some cards have rather cutesy name and/or artwork (Lil' Exorcist, Wee Spellstopper, Pint-Sized Summoner, to name but a few), but this doesn't stop them from being effective in combat. Special mention to the Annoy-o-Trons, which have been known to tank TWO Deathwings at once, and the Whirling Zap-o-Matic which can end you in THREE turns if left unchecked.
  • Badass Boast: A few of the lines from the heroes and minions. Also from the Witchwood trailer: "We are the beasts that monsters fear!"
  • Bad Boss: It's one thing to send your minions to die, it's another thing to actually destroy them directly with your own cards. Do note that killing or damaging your own minions can be advantageous- one feasible strategy is to smack an Enrage minion with a nominal amount of damage in order to get their attack sky-high quickly.
    • Judging from his name, Abusive Sergeant would seem to be one but it doesn't really reflect in gameplay since he actually boosts the attack of a minion. Cruel Taskmaster, on the other hand, actually damages a minion when he is played (although he can also use his effect on an enemy minion, which has obvious applications with things like Execute).
    • Lampshaded with the Void Terror's note  flavor text:
      If you put this into your deck, you WILL lose the trust of your other minions.
    • Being a Bad Boss and pinging your own creatures is the main shtick of the Grim Patron deck, as Grim Patrons summon yet more Grim Patrons if they take damage and survive.
    • Frost Lich Jaina can invoke this as well: Her hero power deals 1 damage, and if that damage kills a minion, she will get herself a new Water Elemental. Nothing prevents you from killing your own minion to 'upgrade' it into a Water Elemental.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The League of E.V.I.L.'s Dalaran heist in Rise of Shadows goes off without a hitch, as evidenced by their Hostile Show Takeover of the Midsummer Fire Festival and the trailer of Saviors of Uldum.
  • Bad Luck Mitigation Mechanic: The developers have stated that on average they expect a player to receive one legendary card for every 20 card packs they open. However, when a new expansion is released, there is a guaranteed legendary somewhere in the first 10 packs the player opens. Additionally, if a player opens 39 packs without a legendary, the 40th will be guaranteed to have one.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: The battle with Flikk in Trial by Felfire appears to be a straightforward fight...until a Rusted Fel Reaver, the real boss, shows up and crushes him.
  • Bar Brawl: Invoked and simulated by the Grim Guzzler encounter and the card you get from it. Invoked even more specifically with the Tavern Brawl game mode.
  • Barrier Warrior: Paladins cards are able to give a minion Divine Shield and have synergy effects based around them.
  • Battle Cry: Cards with the trope name cause an effect whenever played through normal means. From dealing damage, to summoning creatures, to silencing minions, or, in the case of Jaraxxus to replacing your hero. Most legendary cards also enter to a battlecry of their choice.
    Tirion Fordring: Put your faith in the Light!
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Players can "concede" if they are certain they will be defeated, which is effectively a suicide option, saving time for everyone involved and denying the opponent the chance to get the killing blow.
    • Garrosh's "I choose death!" is even more interesting when you realize that his game-opener line is "Victory or Death!"
    • It's also quite common for beaten players to commit suicide with their cards instead of choosing "concede"—with style points for showy or elaborate suicides (e.g. buffing an enemy minion, attacking the minion to take damage, then being cherry tapped by the minion's deathrattle).
  • BFS: A lot of Paladin weapons fall under this. The Truesilver Champion heals him as he attacks, the Sword of Justice buffs minions he summons at the cost of durability, and the Ashbringer (equipped when Tirion Fordring dies) is just a really big, really tough sword. Old Gods introduced the Rallying Blade, which gives all Uther's minions with Divine Shield an extra +1/+1
  • Big Ball of Violence: The visual effect of using the Warrior's Brawl card.
  • Body Horror: Plus And I Must Scream, but overall Played for Laughs with the flavor text of Devolve. The art even shows the Big Bad Ensemble of the expansion pack (Don Hancho, Aya Blackpaw and Kazakus) being turned into Murlocs.
    Ragnaros looked down. He looked like some kind of War Golem. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME," he yelled. But all that came out was a deep grinding sound. He began to cry.
  • Boring, but Practical
    • Weak but cost-efficient cards for their effects. Yes, it's intimidating to have a Deathwing on your side of the field, but remember that the costly 10 Mana and hand-wiping card can just be undone instantly by a Big Game Hunter (Battlecry: destroy one minion with more than 7 attack) costing only 5 mana. Similarly, possessing a cheap Silence card can topple enemy strategies contingent on a single minion's effect, which can go a long way toward winning.
    • Basic cards for each class are usually not enough to make crazy strategies or decks from, but they are solid cost-efficient cards that you can always depend on. They're easy to make an effective deck with, even by beginners, but careful play by an expert can trump any number of fancy strategies. It's a commonly-cited fact that several of Hearthstone's top players have made it to Legend rank (the highest tier in ranked play) multiple times over using purely basic decks to prove a point. Unfortunately, Power Creep eventually set in, making this much harder as time goes on and more cards that outperform their Basic counterparts are released, until they were retired for the Core set.
    • The Boulderfist Ogre and Chillwind Yeti, available for all players, don't have any card effects but were the kings of stat-to-cost value back in the early days, often forcing your opponent to trade 2-for-1 or burn an expensive removal card to get rid of them.
      Boulderfist Ogre's flavor text: ME HAVE GOOD STATS FOR THE COST
    • Bloodmage Thalnos is infamous for this. With spell damage +1 and "Deathrattle: Draw a card", Thalnos is merely a mashup of two common cards, Kobold Geomancer and Loot Hoarder. However, having both effects on a single card is very useful, and Thalnos is used in a wide variety of decks. This doesn't stop players from putting off crafting Thalnos and prioritizing flashier legendaries.
    • Some of the Neutral card-drawing cards, such as Loot Hoarder and Novice Engineer, may not be as amazing as some of the flashier card-drawing cards or combos, but their cheap cost, relatively reliable self-replacing effects, and the fact it puts stats on the board can do wonders in getting your actual game-winning cards to use later in the game.
    • The Mage's Flamestrike is a basic card, meaning it's common and everyone has one. But it's one of the most powerful enemy-only-targeting board clear spells in the game, and it set the gold standard to judge others. A single application of this spell at the right moment can completely reverse the tempo of the game.
    • Ancient Watcher (which has the same stats as Chillwind Yeti for half the cost but can't attack) is a great card if you can give it either taunt or silence it so it can attack (or, if you're a Warlock, use it with Shadowflame as an improvised Flamestrike). Of course, without either, it's almost completely useless.
    • For decks, there are zookeeper and the much-maligned 'Face Hunter' deck. Both decks rely on cheap, low mana cost minions, with zoolock focusing in cost efficiency and good trades, while face hunter simply attacks the enemy character with everything it has, and are extremely powerful, with zoo gaining fast board control, and face hunter quickly whittling down the opponent, unless an effective counter is found. Zoo was one of the top decks during Spring and Summer of 2014, while face hunter has been one of the strongest from Spring 2015 to today.
    • Dr. Boom, one of the most broken cards in the game to the point where even the devs admit he was made too strong, is also fairly straightforward; he's a 7/7 for 7 mana that summons 2 1/1 Boom Bots that deal damage to random enemies on death.
    • The main appeal of C'Thun and his cultists is that they're effectively Hearthstone's starter deck, and as such they're designed to be pretty easy to use together and play with. Basically, the cultists are cost-efficient minions that trade standard effects for the ability to buff their master C'Thun, or activate powerful yet straight-forward effects if C'Thun has enough attack. The Old God himself has a pretty simple ability as well, dealing damage split amongst all enemies equal to his own attack.
    • Pyroblast, despite being an epic, is merely a 10 mana spell that deals 10 damage. It's not flashy, it's a little more dust intensive than it ought to be, and it's less efficient than Fireball, but it also only consumes a single card slot while dealing a third of the opponent's health, so it works just fine.
    • Compared to the other Old Gods (and most 10-cost minions in general), Y'Shaarj is nothing spectacular, merely summoning a minion from your deck at the end of each turn, and is usually deemed the weakest of the bunch. There are two key differences between him and his competition; he has some of the highest raw stats of any minion in the game, being a 10/10 by default (Beaten out only by the 11/11 Thaddius and the 12/12 Deathwing and equal to the Faceless Behemoth) and summoning more stats with each turn, and he has no deckbuilding requirements, meaning that if you lack the support cards of the other 10-cost cards Y'Shaarj can be slapped into a minion-heavy deck and be happy to do his job. Y'Shaarj would later get a popularity boost with the release of One Night in Karazhan's Barnes. Barnes can summon a 1/1 copy of Y'Shaarj from your deck...which could then pull out the actual Y'Shaarj from your deck.
  • Black and Nerdy: The Judicious Junior paladin card from the Scholomance Academy expansion is a smart black teenage girl. Her art shows her carrying a huge book, her summon quote shows that she actually enjoys test-taking, and her attack quote is "Aced it!"
  • Boss Battle: Aside from the actual bosses from the adventures, Hearthstone follows the card game trend of psychotically powerful yet hard to summon monsters capable of ending games by themselves, much like the tried and true formula of a boss fight.
    • The Warlock card Lord Jaraxxus is easily the most famous of these. Upon summoning, he replaces Gul'dan with himself, equipped with a 3/8 weapon, 15 HP, and a hero power that summons a 6/6 for 2 mana. Lord Jaraxxus can end games ridiculously fast thanks to his raw damage output, and is all but unbeatable without burst damage or an existing board. His exclusive emotes are a plus.
    • Anub'arak, exclusive to Rogues, is a 9 mana 8/4 who summons a 4/4 Nerubian on death and then cozily places himself back into his owner's hand. While he dies very easily, the fact that he can't truly be killed without silencing or stealing him makes his health a non-issue as long as his owner is willing to pay for his hefty mana cost, and his gigantic attack makes him too threatening to leave alive. His only real issue was being given to Rogue, a class without any good Control deck tools outside of Anub'arak himself.
    • The Golden Monkey is a 4 mana 6/6 with taunt who replaces every single card in your hand and deck with legendary minions, such as Ragnaros the Firelord, Dr. Boom, and just about every other card on this list. Actually getting it is fairly hard however, as it requires you to play Elise Starseeker, who shuffles the Map to the Golden Monkey into your deck, draw that, play it so it shuffles the Monkey into your deck, then draw the Monkey, and then finally play it when you know you won't be needing your other cards anymore.
    • C'Thun starts out as a measly 10 mana 6/6 who deals his attack damage randomly split amongst all enemies, but he boasts his own archetype of cards that either boost his stats or gain bonuses if he has at least 10 attack. With enough buffers, he can easily reach an attack and health of over 16/16, making him all but unkillable without hard removal and able to wipe out the entire enemy board on summoning.
    • N'Zoth is a 10 mana 5/7 who summons every single friendly deathrattle minion that died that game, a list which includes monstrously powerful, high-cost cards like Tirion Fordring and Sylvanas Windrunner. A sufficiently large, durable N'Zoth board is effectively unbeatable without a complete board wipe like Twisting Nether or Deathwing. It gets crazy when he can access older formats, where he can revive the bulky Sludge Belcher and the sticky Piloted Shredder.
    • Raid Boss Onyxia is not only a 10 mana 8/8 with Rush, she fills that board with 2/1 Whelps that also have Rush and she's Immune while any of her Whelps remain on the board. Just like a boss fight, you have to carve your way through her mooks before you can challenge the boss.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • The Giant cards. Their effects lower their mana costs based on particular aspects of the match (Sea Giant costs 1 less per minion on the board, Mountain Giant costs 1 less per card in the owner's hand, Clockwork Giant costs 1 less per card in the opponents hand, Molten Giant costs 1 less per owner's health missing, and Frost Giant costs 1 less for every time the owner used their hero power), meaning they can come out fairly early, with the Molten Giant and Sea Giant having the capability of costing 0 depending on the circumstances. They also have 8/8 stats, making them on par with the 8 mana Ironbark Protector.
    • Edwin VanCleef, who starts as a 2/2 for 3, but gains +2/+2 for every other card played within the turn before he is summoned. Proper play can result in a 12/12 as early as turn 5, a set of stats matched by the 10 mana Deathwing.
    • The Priest's Divine Spirit + Inner Fire combo can make any high-health minion frighteningly powerful by doubling its health and then boosting its attack to the same amount. This can turn something like the lowly 1/7 Mogushan Warden into a 14/14.
    • Shamans got a particularly nasty one in Kobolds and Catacombs. Lightwarden, from Classic, is a piddly 1/2 that gets +2 Attack each time a character is healed. Doesn't sound too bad... until you let it survive a turn and the Shaman casts Healing Rain, which heals random friendly characters 12 times.
  • Break the Haughty: So you're winning this game since the start. Board control, card advantage, everything, and your advantage keeps on mounting. Then you start to gloat your superiority.... and the Random Number God decides to side with your enemy, as your Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Breather Episode: One Night in Karazhan was intentionally made Lighter and Softer following immediately after Whispers of the Old Gods, which was surprisingly dark by Hearthstone standards.
    • Ditto Kobolds & Catacombs, a whimsical tribute to classic dungeon crawls following right after Darker and Edgier Knights of the Frozen Throne.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • It's a Collectible Card Game, so this is unavoidable since a rich player can buy lots of booster packs, but there are some mechanics in place to mitigate it: You can earn cards (more slowly) through regular playing and completing daily challenges, and you're limited to no more than two of any particular card per deck. As it stands, money can only buy booster packs, whose contents are determined randomly anyway, and easier access to the single-player Adventure wings, though these are also purchasable with gold and the card rewards have to be earned anyways. So while money can get you options, it can't directly buy you power.
    • Averted with Arena mode, where players must choose from 3 random heroes and construct their decks from a pre-set list of cards, eliminating any advantage from grinding or paying for great cards for fairness' sake. The only advantage a player can get is through experience with the game (and a healthy dose of sheer dumb luck).
    • Reinforced with "Adventure Mode" however. Each adventure consists of several 'wings' with card rewards for completing each fight in that wing. But unless you're willing to fork out cash to buy the adventures all at once you're in for a lot of grinding to unlock all the wings of the adventures. Twenty-five dollars for the whole adventure or 700 gold PER WING. 700 gold represents about a week of grinding, at the very least. Oh and those card rewards you get for playing through? Very powerful cards that CANNOT BE CRAFTED. You have to earn them through adventure, many are mandatory in most decks. These are arguably one of the most "Pay to win" aspects of the game.
    • Worth noting is that, as stated under Boring, but Practical, it's possible to actually make a pretty decent deck with the cards you start out with. Essentially the neutral Basic collection is full of simple, no frills cards with easy to understand effects, whereas Expert cards are more situational and strategic. People can (and have) made competitive decks using only Basic cards, but they don't tend to have any complex strategies or combos like the Expert level decks do.
    • In Battlegrounds mode; one can buy 'Perks'. These mostly provide non-advantageous benefits like emotes and stat tracking, but also allow you a choice of 4 Heroes instead of only 2. This makes it much more likly that someone with Perks can roll a hero seen as high-tier; or one with a power that synergises with the minion pool that game. Tavernkeeper Bob will also somewhat frequently encourage players to buy perks to 'take their strategy to the next level'.
  • Call-Back:
    • After the player defeats Gothik the Harvester in Naxxramas, an annoyed Kel'Thuzad will question why Gothik simply doesn't come back as Spectral Gothik. Come the Kel'Thuzad vs. Rafaam Tavern Brawl, Gothik appears as a card, and his deathrattle is summoning himself as Spectral Gothik for the opponent.
    • The bosses in the Knights of the Frozen Throne missions use cards from Curse of Naxxramas... including boss-only cards like Deathcharger.
    • The Warlock's classic set staple minion, the Voidwalker, says "As you command..." as it's attack callout. Mean Streets of Gadgetzan's Krul the Unshackled (a Voidlord, a much more powerful form of Voidwalker) has "As I command..." as his own attack callout.
    • Many of the Whispers of the Old Gods cards are corrupted versions of classic minions, meaning call-backs to their old lines. For example, Worgen Infiltrator's "I smell blood" and "First kill!" become "I TASTE BLOOD!" and "KILLING SPREE!". There's also a more hidden one, with Forlorn Hunter mirroring Ram Wrangler's entry quote "The beasts obey me" into "The beasts betrayed me".
    • Each of the EVIL factions in Rise of Shadows bring back a mechanic from the set they debuted in. Dr. Boom has an Omega card, Rafaam is based on the Golden Monkey, Lazul has a Forbidden spell, Togwaggle has an Unidentified card, and Hagatha uses a non-keyworded version of Echonote .
  • Came Back Strong: Several Legendary minions in Ashes of Outland are above average early-game minions which have a Deathrattle that shuffles in a Prime version of themselves into the deck, with higher cost and a powerful effect to match.
  • Canon Foreigner: While Hearthstone started out with most of its cards and legendaries being based on Warcraft lore characters, later on it added more and more original characters specifically created for Hearthstone. The Grand Tournament was the first to introduce original legendaries, (Bolf Ramshield, Skycap'n Kragg, and Nexus-Champion Saraad), then added more original characters that were integrated into its own lore, like the League of Explorers and the three gangs of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, or even alternate versions of lore characters, like an "uncorrupted" version of Ragnaros or a younger, eccentric Medivh. Nowadays, it's more common for an expansion to have mostly original legendaries over existing Warcraft lore characters.
  • Canon Immigrant: A number of Hearthstone originals did manage to sneak their way into World of Warcraft over time. The very first Hearthstone character to be added into WoW was Sir Finley Mrrrglton, and Morgl the Oracle and Skycap'n Kragg followed suit. Another thing to note is that the Tortollans, an entirely new race solely created for Journey to Un'Goro, became their own full-fledged NPC species in Battle for Azeroth.
  • Card Battle Game: The Trope Codifier. While digital collectible card games had existed beforehand, Hearthstone features several qualities and quirks that later card games would come to frequently replicate, such as the ability to delete copies of cards, especially duplicates, to generate a resource used to obtain cards, and a resource system similar to that Magic: The Gathering, but with one mana automatically generated every turn instead of having to rely on specifically dedicated resource cards that had to be drawn and played.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Post-Rise of Shadows, any nuance and subtlety the villains from over the years could've had is thrown out in favour of an over-the-top revenge scheme on "the good guys". They have a group called the League of E.V.I.L. and constantly go on tirades about villainous they are. Of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Warlocks commonly sacrifice their health for spells and summons, including their hero power. Can be mitigated in part by Life Drain spells.
    • The Imp Master minion summons a 1/1 Imp at the end of every turn at the cost of losing one health.
    • Rogue and Warriornote  often use their hp as secondary resource, where they will tank the damage and remove enemy minions with their Weapon. Smacking their face a few times can deter them from doing so.
    • Literally the battlecry ability from the Warlock legendary card Cho'Gall (the next spell you cast this turn will cost hit points instead of mana crystals).
    • The Warrior spell Reckless Flurry is a variant that casts from the user's Armor, removing all of it to damage every minion for an equal amount.
  • Catchphrase: Every card has a line for when it's summoned and when it's selected, and some have become quite popular amongst players and streamers.
    Defias Ringleader: This is our town, scrub!
    Defias Bandit: Yeah, beat it!
    • As a Meta example, many streamers have their own catch phrases and character tics.
      Trump: [something doesn't go his way] Oh the humanity!
      [every single card in his 'Trump reviews Trump reviews] Turns out that...
      Amaz: [pulls an insanely lucky draw while pumping his arms repeatedly] Yes! Yes! Yes!
  • The Cavalry: In Descent of Dragons, The League of Explorers are helped by the Blue, Green, Blue, and Bronze dragonflights, with Ysera leading them, and the League of E.V.I.L. are helped by the Black, Twilight, and Scourge dragons, with Deathwing leadning the pack.
  • Cement Shoes: The Warrior spell Sleep with the Fishes displays this... which, funnily enough, is a Murloc. Even his expression was a confused shrug.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Knights of the Frozen Throne is the darkest, most serious set to date, being based around an alternate reality where the Lich King won and turned the nine original heroes into Death Knights. Even the trailer lacks a traditional song - it's instead about Jaina giving a crazed monologue about how awesome it is to be powerful. It's also the first set to make a genuine attempt at storytelling, using various web-media to provide backstory and promote the expansion, with special mention going to the elaborate, three-part webcomic. The actual expansion lightens things up just a bit by portraying the Lich King as a comically serious Fourth-Wall Observer, though.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • "Core set" Murlocs are similar to their World of Warcraft counterparts: cheap, semi-sentient creatures that rely on crude Zerg Rush tactics to overwhelm their enemies. Then we got Murloc Knights in armor, Murloc explorers with a posh English accent, Murloc inquisitors and Silver Hand recruits, Murloc Ninjas... It's gotten to the point where, while Murlocs are already one of the most iconic Warcraft creatures, they've taken on an entirely new life in Hearthstone.
    • Dr. Boom started as a no-personality character whose only voice lines were an Evil Laugh and a grunt. When he hit Breakout Character status, the team went back and defined his personality, settling on a Ditzy Genius with a short fuse and nonsensical motives.
  • Cherry Tapping: Using Tess' Scavenge hero power before any spells have been played gives you the Small Rock spell, which costs zero mana and deals a single point of damage. While generally fairly useless, it becomes downright lethal when fighting the Whisperer, whose gimmick is that every spell has Echo, meaning that all you need is to get a Small Rock and then keep throwing rocks him until he dies.
  • Cloak of Defense: The "Robe of Protection" card grants all minions on its side of the board the effect "Can't be targeted by spells or hero powers" while it remains in play. However, this is a downplayed version of this trope; the card doesn't make minions immune to spells and they can still be affected by spells that hit everyone.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: A semi-subversion. Cards follow the World of Warcraft colour scheme to denote their rarity, however actual card power is almost completely disconnected from their rarity, which is more a measure of usability. Common cards are usually Boring, but Practical, Rares are mildly situational, Epics are highly situational and Legendaries have very exotic effects, from "deck defining" (e.g. Reno Jackson) to "if this ends up on your side of the board you lose the game" (looking at you, Majordomo Executus).
  • Combat Breakdown: It's very possible for a match between two control decks to boil down to an endurance match after both sides have exhausted all their cards, reducing both players to tapping their hero powers and watching as they slowly get whittled down by fatigue damage until one drops dead.
  • Combining Mecha:
    • Mimiron's Head combines with two or more other Mechs to form V-07-TR-0N.
    • Emulated with the Magnetic keyword in The Boomsday Project, where Magnetic Mechs can fuse with adjacent Mechs, bestowing their stats and abilities.
  • Combos: There are many possible card combos that can be pulled off; for example, a common Mage one is to Polymorph a high-stat threat (turning it into a 1/1 Sheep) then finishing it off with a 1-damage Fireblast (always available as a Hero Power), the Paladin can use Equality to set everything to 1 health before nuking the opponent's board with Consecration's 2 damage to all enemies, and (before its nerf in April 2016) Druid's use of Force of Nature into Savage Roar to deal 14 damage from an empty board was so prevalent and powerful that it was often simply referred to as "The Combo". It's also a named mechanic for Rogue-exclusive cards, which gain an additional ability if another card has been played before them in the same turn (although the previous card doesn't actually have to synergize with the Combo card).
  • Combo Breaker:
    • Mogor the Ogre and Mayor Noggenfogger effects randomize targeting. Once they're on the board, all rules about efficient trading is thrown out of the window. You'll most likely want to eliminate them before trying to perform your combo; otherwise, good luck.
    • Nozdormu limits both players' turn to 15 seconds each. If you are relying on combos with significant animation time, Nozdormu can easily throw a wrench to your well-laid plan. Obviously, aggro decks are less affected by him.
    • Originally, Hearthstone lacked cards that can be played during the opponent's turn aside from Secrets, thus it was frustratingly easy for the player to hoard the cards that constitute their game-winning combo and unleash it with their opponent unable to do anything. Mean Streets of Gadgetzan introduced cards that directly affect the opponent's hand, starting with the Dirty Rat, an overstatted Taunt minion who can drag out the opponent's key minions from their hand, ready to be removed to disrupt their combo. On a similar note, Rise of Shadows introduced two more cards: Hecklebot is similar to Dirty Rat but pulls from the deck instead of the hand, while Unseen Saboteur forces your opponent to cast a random spell from their hand.
    • Warlock have gained a multitude of cards that can destroy cards from the opponent's deck like Gnomeferatu and Ticketus and cards they're holding like Immolate. The most successful stories involve these cards destroying the opponent's win condition before they can even play it, causing them to concede almost immediately.
    • Mindbreaker Illucia is a Priest legendary which used to have the effect of swapping your hand and deck with the opponent's for a turn. Should the opponent be holding a combo piece in their hand, you can play it yourself to waste it. It was nerfed to merely copying the opponent's hand for a turn.
    • Theotar, the Mad Duke Discovers a card in each player's hand and swaps them. Even though this is technically a card-neutral effect, it can potentially steal a game-winning card right out of the opponent's hand while giving them a dud.
  • A Commander Is You: Due to the gameplay of Battlegrounds revolving around building up a persistent band of minions and having them fight it out, tribe synergies and tribal buffs are much more relevant than in the regular game, giving each tribe different playstyles as well.
    • Murlocs: Elitist, Technical, and Gimmick. Contrary to their usual playstyle, Battleground Murlocs are focused more on buffs and minion synergies than on overwhelming numbers due to the combat and board mechanics. They're also the only tribe with access to the Poisonous keyword, letting them offset their Attack stats by giving their minions the ability to one-shot opponents indiscriminately. Their tribe has many board-wide Battlecry buffs like Coldlight Seer and King Bagurgle, which can reach astronomical levels with Brann Bronzebeard. However, they have no access to Taunts, meaning that all of your Murlocs will be equally vulnerable to the enemy's powerhouses, and their early game power is weak.
    • Demons: Elitist, Brute, and Ranger. Demons are great at building huge beatsticks by consuming minions in Bob's Tavern for an early-game stat boost and scaling Wrath Weaver, Annihilan Battlemaster, or Bigfernal in the late game to crush the enemy with brute force. They also have a number of minions that summon weak demons mid-battle to use them as Red Shirts to activate other cards like Soul Juggler to ping the opponent's board or Impatient Doomsayer to generate cards. They have plenty amount of Taunt minions to help redirect attacks to huge minions or fodders for value. Their weakness is their lack of other keywords like Divine Shield, making them vulnerable to Divine Shield and Poisonous minions which can undermine their raw power.
    • Beasts: Spammer, Brute, and Specialist. Beasts are heavily focused around Deathrattle effects, including token-spamming Deathrattles like Rat Pack and Ghastcoiler and stat buffers like Goldrinn, combining both to turn what would otherwise be Cannon Fodder into legitimate threats. Combined with Monstrous Macaw, they can activate these powerful Deathrattles multiple times. Because of their spam-heavy nature, attack and death order is important, otherwise they risk clogging up their board, and they're heavily dependent on key minions staying alive.
    • Mechs: Balanced, Turtle, and Generalist. Mechs have a little bit of everything: Tavern-phase buffs, snowballing minions, and token generation, but aren't the best at any of those. Their main advantage is their staying power due to their wide array of Divine Shield and Deathrattle minions, letting them stall out the enemy by reapplying Divine Shield with Deflect-o-Bot and Holy Mecharel or resurrect high-value targets with Kangor's Apprentice and Omega Buster. Their downsides are a lack of immediate power and relatively low health; sniping their key minions will put Mechs at a severe disadvantage in combat, and heavily-buffed armies can out-grind them with sheer stats.
    • Dragons: Elitist, Turtle, and Specialist. Many Dragons have effects that scale off the number of dragons you control, such as Red Whelp. They also have cards with long-term power, like Razorgore, the Untamed and Kalecgos, Arcane Aspect which build up stats over multiple turns, and minions that snowball in-combat like Glyph Guardian and Draconid Enforcer. On top of having large piles of stats, Nadina the Red also gives them Divine Shield to make them even more durable. However, most of their scaling cards are in the late game and they gain stat at a steady and relatively slow pace, making them weak in the mid-game.
    • Pirates: Balanced, Ranger, and Economist. Early game, Pirates lean towards Spammer and rely on fodder and attack buffs to clean up the board, but late game they can have some huge scaling beatsticks, although they lack the staying power of Murlocs or Dragons. Pirates heavily capitalize on effects that activate on attack and Overkill effects, which makes them reliant on striking as early as possible. They also have minions that directly aid gold economy and effects that activate from adding new minions to their hand.
    • Elementals: Elitist, Brute, and Economist. Many Elemental synergy cards rely on playing an Elemental to buff minions, even ones you haven't bought yet, and have ways to help find Elementals or generate them. Their lineup mainly consists of scaling beatsticks that continue to grow with more Elementals played. They also have multiple sellable card generators and ways to gain free Refreshes. Their main weakness is the lack of access to stronger keywords and are reliant on rolling Elementals at a regular pace.
    • Quillboars: Balanced, Generalist, and Gimmick. The tribe's centerpiece are Blood Gems, a card which gives +1/+1 to a minion. While Blood Gems aren't restricted to buffing Quillboars and are a modest way of gaining early-game buffs, there are minions which improve the strength of Blood Gems or trigger an effect when a Blood Gem is played on them. The tribe needs to keep a balance of Blood Gem generators and Blood Gem synergizing minions to maximize their effectiveness, but aren't overly reliant on other Quillboars and can work rather well with other tribes. They are most powerful early game for their quick scaling, which slows down in the late game without ways to improve Blood Gems.
    • Nagas: Elitist, Technical, and Gimmick. Nagas have an exclusive keyword called Spellcraft, which adds a spell that gives a temporary buff each turn. Spellcraft spells are more incentivized to use on Naga minions, as many of them also have synergy effects related to Spellcraft, some of which that only target other Nagas. Spellcraft spells provide a big advantage in the early game, giving Naga comps high tempo, and are very versatile in their application, but they need to get those key Spellcraft minions fast to ensure they can win later.
  • Computers Are Fast: You may notice that if you decide to concede from an unwinnable board situation against AI, the AI will still take its sweet time to run through the entire attack/spell casting routine for almost a minute before your hero portrait explodes. This is because the AI queues up the commands in a matter of split-second, so by the time you get to see the actions, the AI would've already finished clicking the End Turn button long ago. This can be a problem, both subjective and real; see Game-Breaking Bug below.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The Curse of Naxxramas expansion introduces single-player "boss" fights. The normal version of these bosses already have hero powers that are just too cheapnote , in addition to cheap exclusive spells and several cards with no card limit note , and the heroic versions are far worse — they start with much more health than a player and devastating abilities that cost little to no mana.
    • Another example of the computer being able to blatantly eschew the rules takes place during the battle with Kel'Thuzad: If you're a Hunter and you attempt to play the the Animal Companion card, instead of getting any of your normal three options, you will instead get a 1/1 Mr. Bigglesworth.note  That's not the cheating part, however - if you manage to give Mr. Bigglesworth Taunt with a card like Houndmaster or Defender of Argus, KT's minions will ''bypass'' Mr. Bigglesworth to continue hitting you directly, as though he isn't taunting at all! Though considering that said kitty belongs to their master, it makes sense that they would refuse to kill it.note 
    • Kel'Thuzad also instantly ends your turn when you destroy all his armor, even if you aren't done playing your other cards.
    • Taken to its logical conclusion in the first battle against Rafaam: he actually steals your deck from you, forcing you to use a (hilariously underpowered) spare deck you get from Elise instead. Hope you didn't bring all your strongest legendaries with you. It doesn't help that his hero power is a permanent version of Unstable Portal, a card that's earned its place in the Game-Breaker section.
    • The Heroic mode challenge against The Crone in One Night in Karazhan involves you needing to protect an 0/10 minion named Dorthee or she will One-Hit Kill you with a 100 damage tornado hero power (it's all a reference to The Wizard of Oz). If you don't finish her by turn 8, she will cast Twisting Nether and kill you. You can delay a couple of turns with cards that make her spells cost more, make her hero power cost more or the Ancestral Spirit shaman spell that re-summons Dorthee when killed, but it was soon proven the encounter has been hard-coded to keep giving her effectively infinite Twisting Nethers.
    • Sindragosa in the Knights of the Frozen Throne mission has a card called Unchained Magic, which deals 3 damage per spell you have in your hand. But she'll never use them if you don't have any spells in your hand. But as soon as you keep one in your hand, she won't hesitate to use them. She somehow just knows.
    • The Rod of Roasting is a Dungeon Run treasure that Pyroblasts random targets until someone dies. Players have noted that, when used against final bosses, it has a suspicious tendency to get the boss down to 1 hit away from death only to turn around and Pyroblast the player's face nearly a dozen times in a row, in direct defiance of probability.
  • Continuity Nod: The various pieces of music played while the matchmaker reel is spinning are taken from the Warcraft II soundtrack (still considered by many as one of the greatest RTS soundtracks of all time).
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Many "cheese" or gimmick decks that depend on a single trick or just throw all caution to the wind. These usually will not hold up against a well-crafted Boring, but Practical deck but are very entertaining if they actually succeed. One example is the 35 legendary deck (with Prince Malchezaar to shuffle in 5 more legendaries to your deck). Even remotely competitive? Heck no. Fun? Heck yes.
  • Cosmetic Award: After achieving level 10 with heroes, you no longer get basic cards with each level and instead get golden versions of the same cards. They're neat-looking and have some additional animation, but they're purely cosmetic and can take a long time to unlock the ones in the highest levels.
  • Counterattack: If an aggro deck is Attack! Attack! Attack!, then a control deck is this. Playing a late game deck usually requires one to think like an aikido master: patiently waiting for an opponent to strike so they can counter it and make them pay for it (one example being the Paladin Wild Pyromancer + Equality combo, which uses 2 cards to clear the board of many more enemy cards). It's not unheard for late game decks to spend turns 1-9 dealing minimal damage to the enemy hero so that they have time to set up a huge counterattack.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Some cards can only be considered useful when very specific conditions are met. Hemet Nesingwarynote , for example, is a notoriously bad Legendary minion because his Battlecry is only useful if your opponent has a beast on the board and his stats are terrible to boot.
    • To a lesser extent, "Gimmick Decks" are decks built specifically around a certain special gimmick (all cards must have random effects, only Legendary minions, having your win condition tied to a very specific combo, etc.) and are usually pretty bad compared to more balanced deck.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As a saying among the Collectible Card Game community goes: "The only health that matters is the difference between one and zero". This applies especially to Priests, who can keep healing their minions as long as their HP does not reach zero by their turn. Of course, you have cards like Molten Giants, which only get cheaper the more damaged you are, that encourage you to take risks without getting yourself killed.
    • The Lightspawn card for priests averts this by having its attack always be equal to its health. Of course, this works both ways, and boosting the health of a Lightspawn is an easy way to make it a powerhouse.
    • Some heroes can have Armor, which stacks on top of your hero's Health, and in most cases just acts as extra life. There are rare circumstances where the hero can have zero or less Health from a spell, but have Armor stacked on top immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, it does not matter how armored up your hero is if their Health is zero or less, you're still dead, and that extra life is worthless.
    • The legendary minion Yogg'Saron was nerfed by being subjected to this—his battlecry is to cast random spells on random targets equal to the number of spells his summoner previously cast throughout the game. Pre-nerf, the number of spells was guaranteed, but post-nerf the spells understandably stop the moment one of them kills, silences, or "bounces" (returns to the player's hand) Yogg himself.
  • Critical Failure: It is entirely possible to accidentally hit yourself with your own damage spells, most common if you try and change your mind after selecting the spell and target your own Hero as opposed to your hand to cancel the action by mistake.
    • The same thing can happen if you summon Yogg-Saron: It's entirely possible for the target of a random Fireball or Pyroblast to be his own summoner!
    • Anything that summons a random minion can potentially screw you over, like getting Bomb Squad from your Firelands Portal or Rotface spitting out a dormant The Darkness. The classic example of this is a Piloted Shredder ejecting a Doomsayer; this one got a Call-Back on Validated Doomsayer's flavor text.
  • Crutch Character:
    • "Rush" or "Aggro" decks apply heavy pressure from turn 1 by overwhelming the opponent with lots of minions and burst damage. The downside is that these kind of decks need to dominate early on and force an early win before they run out of steam and the opponent can roll out their late game cards.
    • Whizbang the Wonderful is a legendary that changes your deck into a random preconstructed deck, selected from a list of 18 — two for each class. The decks presented are of average strength and are easily defeated by more optimized lists, but for the cost of crafting Whizbang you can access a multitude of different decks, each stocked with many epic and legendary cards, leading to a total crafting cost that far exceeds Whizbang's own. This makes Whizbang an excellent avenue for experiencing many different decks at a relatively low dust cost. With the implementation of new player ranks (50 to 26), Whizbang would be banned from those lower ranks to avoid one-sided games in that environment.
    • One of the reasons Demon Hunters absolutely dominated the meta when they first debuted was because it was very easy to build a top tier deck with them. Completing the Demon Hunter Prologue rewarded you with 20 cards, which includes two Legendaries, half of them being essential in almost all Demon Hunter decks. There's also the fact that since they were new, they needed less cards between sets to complete their deck. That, on top of having cards that were plain broken to begin with, low or high ranks, even in Wild, Demon Hunters were everywhere due to how easy it was to climb the ladder with them.
    • The Acolyte of C'thun in the "Battlegrounds" mode. Early on, it's a 2/2 reborn minion - essentially a 4/3 minion. The first few rounds make it almost unstoppable as there are no minions in Tavern Tier 1 that it doesn't at least tie with 1-on-1 (barring a Hero Powers). But being unaspected, it cannot be buffed easily without a lot of luck - and its reborn nature means that the second it dies, it will be revived with 2/1. This makes it almost impossible to build around, so it's usually thrown out of the way a few rounds in.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • The Ogre cards from GvG have chance to attack a different target than you ordered them to. However, this also makes them able to bypass Taunt minions.
    • The worgen from The Witchwood, who use their werewolf curse to fight off Hagatha.
      Genn Greymane: This curse has become our greatest strength!
  • Cute Monster Girl: Artwork for cards depicting female characters tend to be made especially cute, if not outright attractive looking, regardless of their species; trolls, orcs, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, worgen, pandaren, all of their females are depicted in an attractive light. Hearthstone is actually notable amongst Warcraft fans for being the first depiction of a female satyr, with the card Witchwood Piper depicting a cute elfin girl with digitigrade legs ending in hooves, curling goat-like horns, and a leonic tail. Other notable additions by Hearthstone art include gender-dimorphic female kobolds (the few female kobolds in World of Warcraft use the male model), as well as the first official depictions of female sethrak and tol'vir.
  • Cutting the Knot: Clever outside-the-box thinking can lead players to different, sometimes simpler, solutions to several scenarios in the Puzzle Labs.
  • Cycle of Hurting:
    • The Mistress of Pain minion from GvG heals your hero for the amount of damage she deals. In case a player with Auchenai Soulpriest took control of this minion, her healing effect will instead damage the hero... except that counts as another damage done by Mistress, which means she will try to heal the hero and only end up hurting him again, and that counts as yet another damage done, and she tries to heal and ends up hurting again... Long story short, do NOT play a Mistress of Pain with Auchenai Soulpriest lest you die a slow, humiliating death. Word of God is that this is not a bug, but because Lifesteal is to become a more common feature, it will be changed to only activate once as of the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne as opposed to trapping the player in an infinite loop.
    • Archmage Antonidas grants you a Fireball everytime you cast a spell, including those he created. He's most often triggered with Spare Parts to stockpile a few Fireballs to use as finisher, but if you can somehow reduce your mana cost by 4 (four Sorcerer's Apprentice or your enemy playing Millhhouse Manastorm), it's an infinite chain of Fireballs after Fireballs.
    • Defile does 1 damage to all minions, and repeats the process if a minion died this way. With a series of other plays bestowing other minions with Immune, it is possible to, for instance, keep an immune Necrotic Geist and Knife Juggler up while Defile keeps killing the Ghouls that Geist spawns. Geist summons a 2/2 Ghoul when a friendly minion dies, including the Ghouls themselves, causing Knife Juggler to trigger and do a point of damage to an enemy — eventually the opponent if they run out of minions — causing a near-infinite loop of 1-damage pings.note  See the Death of a Thousand Cuts entry below for a video demonstrating the loop.
    • Shadowboxer deals 1 damage to an enemy whenever anything is healed. It was a reasonable effect at the time, but with the Lifesteal mechanic that was added 3 years later, if it had Lifesteal, once it effect activated, the damage dealt would activate Lifesteal, which would activate its effect again and again until your hero was at full health, basically turning it into "Deal damage equal to your missing health split randomly among all enemies". In The Boomsday Project, it got nerfed to only activate from allied minions healing to remove this interaction due to the introduction of Zilliax, which can give Lifesteal to any Mech.
    • On the very low chance that a Priest in Wild who's played Raza the Chainednote  manages to obtain a Coldarra Drakenote , they can use their Hero Power an unlimited number of times. If they also happen to get a damage dealing Hero Power as well (such as Priest's Shadowform or Voidform, or Mage's basic Fire Bolt), they essentially wins from blowing everything up (provided the player manages to outrun the fuse). This requires some luck as Raza and Coldarra Drake are in different classes, so usually either Priest or Mage would need something such as Kabal Courier to get the needed cards.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Is very possible if playing a Priest and trying to use your Hero Power (normally restore 2 Health) to heal yourself or your minions after playing Auchenai Soulpriest or Shadowform (which causes the Hero Power to damage 2 Health instead). A particularly nasty case is a player forgetting about their Soulpriest on board and dropping Reno Jackson, killing themselves instantly.
    • Many a horror stories where players misclick the Concede button by accident. This was apparently such a major issue that the concede button was recolored red after Knights of the Frozen Throne came out, making it less likely for the player to accidentally press it.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Some cards come with extreme drawbacks to make use of and if you fail to manage these drawbacks, you might as well Concede there and then.
    • Myra's Unstable Element draws your entire deck, filling your hand and instantly putting you into fatigue. Needless to say, playing this too early or without any way to refill your deck would often do more harm than good. As a result, it's most often seen in aggro decks that need all the cards they can get to murder the opponent as quickly as possible and don't care much about fatigue, as if they run out of cards in their hand they've basically already lost.
    • Mecha'Thun requires you to empty your board, hand and deck to make use of his One-Hit Kill Deathrattle. Having an empty hand and deck is tantamount to death sentence in card games, so there's little to no chance of comeback if your gambit is foiled. Of course, most decks with Mecha'thun are built to use his Deathrattle as a win condition by destroying him immediately, rather than simply throwing him out as a Hail Mary.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Invoked with Whispers of the Old Gods. While the last several expansions went the road of Lighter and Softer (Goblins vs Gnomes focus on fun randomness and Mechanic monsters; The Grand Tournament focus on a second Grand Tournament for fame and glory removing of the Lich King context), this expansion brings upon the Old Gods with their corruption and influence to the Hearthstone universe. Just for an examples, compare the lighthearted nature of the cinematic trailers for GvG and TGT to the chilling atmostphere for Whisper. However, the expansion itself is still filled with much of the same humor in other expansions. Cards like Validated Doomsayer and Ragnaros, Lightlord know they're kind of a joke. Also the expansions flavor text is completely silly. And then there's Yogg-Saron ability to cast random spells on random targets, often to hilarious effect.
    • The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion as a whole can be seen as a darker version of the Goblin vs Gnomes expansion with characters that are ruthless and amoral criminals made up the bulk of the cards released.
    • Exaggerated by the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. Whispers still provide humorous Flavor Text on their flagship Legendaries (i.e, the four Old Gods). There's nothing funny regarding the Flavor Text of Knights' flagship Legendaries, all of them are dead-serious quotes said by the now-undead Heroes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: As the Meta goes, cards that barely see play can sometimes become insanely popular as 'Tech' card to counter the Meta. For instance, Big Game Hunter during the reign of the original Dr. Boom, and later Blood Knight is to counter the pre-nerf Giggling Inventor. Alternatively, Blizzard might create a new card specifically to counter the Meta, like Skulking Geist for Jade Idol or Eater of Secrets versus Mysterious Challenger.
  • Death Is Dramatic:
    • You would expect nothing less of Jaraxxus, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!
    • Millhouse Manastorm is a strong contender, with a deathrattle (the literal one, not in-game mechanic!) that lasts for a full 10 seconds, going progressively weaker.
    • In general, any hero's defeat is this. The hero portrait explodes in slow-motion, throwing jagged shards outward, accompanied by a death scream from said hero.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The goal of the game is to establish board control. Once you've established board control, that 1-2 damage minion can deal disproportionate amount of damage through the match.
    • A Knife Juggler that was made immune with Deathspeaker, a 1 Health and 2 Health minion, either a Grim Patron or a immune Necrotic Geist with Spell Damage +1, and Defile (all discounted with Emperor Thaurissan) creates an infinite loop of Defile, repeatedly killing newly spawned minions which causes Knife Juggler to constantly throw 1-damage knives until the opponent is (almost) dead.
    • Pen Flinger is a 1-mana 1/1 with a Battlecry that deals 1 damage, making him stat-wise identical to an Elven Archer, but he has a Spellburst effect that returns him to your hand whan you cast a spell. In decks that make heavy use of cheap spells, you can repeat his Battlecry several time over to chip away at the opponent's health. Things got so annoying with this little minion that it was nerfed to only target minions.
  • Death or Glory Attack:
    • Several cards can be this. For instance, summoning Deathwing completely clears the board, but requires you to discard your hand. Good when your enemy has few, if any card himself, not so good if he has a removal or Mind Control.
    • The Rod of Roasting, obtained during a Dungeon Run, becomes the epitome of this trope, as it randomly casts Pyroblasts until a hero dies.
  • Defeat Means Playable: The cards that you get by completing the adventure modes are usually legendaries whom you fight as bosses in those adventures, and the non-legendary cards are sometimes other enemies you fight on your way to said bosses. League of Explorers is a slightly unusual case; four of the legendaries you obtain here (Reno, Elise, Brann and Finley) are your allies in the adventure.
  • Deflector Shield: Minions with Divine Shield are impervious to the first damage they receive, regardless of how much (although multi-hit effects will dispel the shield on first hit and do normal damage thereafter). This does not block instant-kill or transformation effects, however.
  • Deliberately Different Description: The Flavor Text on most cards are generally fourth wall-breaking jokes and references. The exception are the majority of Hero cards, which have completely serious quotes from or about the depicted character.
  • Demoted to Extra: In contrast to characters like Valeera or Lord Jaraxxus, various characters with important lore are only presented as minions in this game. Notable examples would be Varian Wrynn, Illidan Stormrage (before he got promoted), Tirion Fordring, Bolvar Fordragon, Sylvanas Windrunner, all of the Dragon Aspects except for Nefarian and Onyxia, Cairne Bloodhoof, Deathwing, Grommash Hellscream, Gallywix and Vol'jin (they're Legendary, but still). This is especially glaring with the Dragon Aspects and Bolvar Fordragon given that Nefarian and Kel'Thuzad as well as their followers are the Big Bad behind two of the adventures.
  • Developer's Foresight: Several cards have hidden lines that are only heard in certain (often unexpected) situations, just in case the criteria are ever met.
    • The 2/1 Defender, summoned by the Paladin secret Noble Sacrifice, usually dies immediately when the secret is activated. But if it manages to survive, it says "Ahaha, I lived!" when attacking.
    • The Neutral minion Doomsayer destroys all minions (including itself) at the beginning of your next turn. Minions cannot attack the turn they enter the field, and he´s also 0/7, so he cannot attack even if given Charge. His summon quote is "The end is coming!", and if he somehow gets some attack and is silenced/given charge, his attack quote is "Did I miss it?"
    • Another 0-attack minion is the Shieldbearer, basically a low-cost damage sponge. If you buff it to allow it to attack, its quote is a very enthusiastic "Payback time!"
    • Some legendary cards will have special lore-relevant responses if used against a particular hero. Playing Illidan Stormrage will get the special quote "Hello... brother" if the opponent is Malfurion Stormrage. Playing Cairne Bloodhoof against Garrosh Hellscream will cause him to scold him and call him unfit to rule the Horde, while playing Vol'jin against Garrosh elicits "Who be the Warchief now?" (Vol'jin took the position after Garrosh was deposed). Playing Wilfred Fizzlebang against Lord Jaraxxus will cause him to say, "You are bound to me, demon... I think", prompting Jaraxxus to repeat his famous WoW quote: "TRIFLING GNOME! Your arrogance will be your undoing!" Playing Brann Bronzebeard against the alternative Warrior hero Magni Bronzebeard (his brother in the original game) will cause him to ask if Magni had seen their brother Muradin lately. Playing Varian Wrynn against his son, Anduin Wrynn, will cause him to proudly announce, "Your skills are growing." Play Khadgar against either Medivh or the Khadgar hero will have different opening lines.
    • If you're playing in a match of Malfurion Stormrage vs. Tyrande Whisperwind, they will start the match by greeting their beloved.
    • Prior to "One Night in Karazhan", out of the nine classes, the mage, priest, and warlock were the only ones incapable of attacking with their hero, as they lack weapons. Through various means (ex: using Lorewalker Cho to take a druid's Claw spell, or by using a Faceless Manipulator to clone Tirion Fordring), it is possible to attack with these classes, and they all have lines for such an occasion. The Priest shouts "By the light!", the Warlock exhorts his enemy to "SUFFER!", while the Mage declares "I'm ready!". As the neutral legendary card "Medivh, the Guardian" gives you a weapon with his battlecry, these lines are much easier to come across, but the weapon in question is a piddly 1/3 with a powerful effect while it's equipped, so using it to attack is probably unlikely enough to still count as this. Then Knights of the Frozen Throne brought in The Lich King, a Neutral card that can give you a 5/3 Frostmourne at the end of the turn, meaning there's a lot more opportunities to hear these lines.
    • The Warlock legendary Lord Jaraxxus replaces Gul'dan as the hero, bringing with him his own 3/8 weapon and a new hero power. However, if his weapon is destroyed or stolen from him (or more unlikely simply gets used up), his response is "WHERE DID MY WEAPON GO?!"
    • In the unlikely event that both players are able to survive several turns worth of increasing fatigue damage (a combined total of 190 damage minimum, much more if any card draw effects were used during the match) or, more likely, have ways of infinitely refilling their decks (e.g. with two copies of Kingsbane or Dead Man's Hand), the game will automatically end in a draw on turn 50.
    • In Curse of Naxxramas, in the event that a player uses a specific card against a Heroic boss who would be spectacularly weak to it, Kel'Thuzad will mock the player for taking the easy way out and negate the action without refunding the cost; complete with unique dialogue. Confirmed situations include using Alexstraza against the 99 HP Loatheb, and using the Doomsayer and Equality cards against the Four Horsemen, who start the fight with 3 2/7 minions on the board.
    • Gothik the Harvester's gimmick is that killing his minions spawns minions on your side that both cause damage to your hero and have zero attack. If you buff these minions so that they can attack, however, they will react with either "How? No!" (Spectral Trainee), "Shall not... control!" (Spectral Warrior) or "NOOOOO!" (Spectral Rider).
    • Continues in Blackrock Mountain. If you kill Emperor Thaurissan after killing Moira (which, due to his hero power, requires that you kill both on the same turn), Nefarian will congratulate you on managing to kill both of them.
      • Continuing in Blackrock Mountain, using Alextrasza against Vaelastrasz the Corrupt will have him shout "Help me. Lifebinder! Help!" Playing Deathwing against Nefarian has a similar effect where he says "D-Daddy?"
    • One Night in Karazhan has an entire catalogue of dialogue if you're playing a Mage with the Medivh alt hero. Many of them will comment your "Medivh costume"; Medivh himself will recognize you as his future self.
    • Nefarian has unique entry dialogue depending which class he is played against. This includes opponents that don't have a class, such as many Adventure bosses and the Ragnaros hero summoned by Majordomo Executus, and his Battlecry (give you two spells from the opponent's class) instead generates two copies of Tail Swipe, a card he used as a boss.
    • In similar way, boss fight against Kel'Thuzad has him comment on each class battlecry, such as calling out the Mage's "You asked for this" by pointing out that it was the player who barged into his hideout, or the Rogue's "Watch your back" with "Okay. I. Will." Unfortunately, he only reacts to the default heroes; his voice lines were not updated for alternate hero skins.
    • Druid minions that transform into beasts upon being played (Druid of the Claw, Druid of the Flame, and Druid of the Saber) normally use the attack and death sounds of their beast forms, but they still have attack and death sounds for their night elf forms in case they enter the battlefield without transforming. The Druid of the Saber, who normally transforms into a feline, is especially hilarious, as her attack line is "Hear me roar!" and upon death she imitates a cat meowing. Furthermore, they all have a hidden third form that they only turn into if you control Fandral Staghelm, whose effect combines both effects of your "Choose One" cards, including the transforming Druids.
    • During the Lich King boss fight, he always plays a spell on his first turn that gives him a massive advantage. Mages can actually counter or steal it note , and the Lich King will be outraged by this "exploit". Priests can also copy it with Mind Vision, which results in both heroes emoting in muffles.
    • Kel'Thuzad, the Lich King's right-hand man, has a special summoning line when you play him against the Lich King boss fight in the Knights of the Frozen Throne mission. Note that Naxxramas came out 3 years ago and has been rotated out of Standard for more than a year since.
    • Lord Marrowgar from Knights of the Frozen Throne has a hero power which automatically heals him to full health at the end of his turn. In the event that he gets an Auchenai Soulpriest, he will react accordingly due to the Soulpriest's effect causing him to die instantly when his hero power triggers. Pulling this off previously required incredible luck on the player's part, as Priest had no reliable way to give minions to the opponent, but with Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, every class can do it thanks to the introduction of Silas Darkmoon.
    • All of Tirion's "adventurers" from the Icecrown prologue have attack lines, which can be heard in the unlikely event that they live long enough for you to kill them with Frostmourne and re-summon them with Frostmourne's Deathrattle. This includes A. F. Kay, who can't attack at all barring the very unlikely event of you somehow silencing hernote  and the Warlock on Fire, which dies at the end of the turn and thus can't be stolen by Frostmourne.
    • On the very rare occasion that you summon Wilfred Fizzlebang with an Astral Portal during the prologue fight of One Night at Karazhan, Wilfred's ability will remove the costs from cards drawn by Medivh's hero power. It's particularly notable since Wilfred Fizzlebang otherwise only works with the Warlock's hero power.
    • Doppelgangster has a Battlecry that summons two copies of itself; however, the copies summoned are treated as different cards from the original and have a different artwork (though they enter play with the same stats as the original). If you put one of the duplicates in your hand and then play it, its Battlecry will summon the original Doppelgangster instead of another copy of itself.
    • If you put Whizbang the Wonderful in your deck, he replaces the whole list with one of the game's preconstructed decklists. This means the only way you'll ever see Whizbang in play is through card generation effects. He still has an entry animation and a proper set of voice lines programmed in case this ever happens.
    • Ysera Awakens, one of the Dream cards you can get out of Ysera, deals massive damage to everything except anything named "Ysera", including the opponent's. This also includes "Ysera, Awakened" from Descent of Dragons, and her reprint, "Ysera the Dreamer".
    • One of the possible outcomes for Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate is the Rod of Roasting, which casts Pyroblast until one hero dies. However, both heroes might be Immune, or have so much armor that the Pyroblast chain would go on for hours. The developers thought of this, and stops the Pyroblast chain at 60 pyroblasts (which is 600 damage; in comparison, heroes start with 30 health) and declares the player who played Yogg the winner.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: The practice of BMingnote , where you intentionally lord over your superiority or board control to the other player by doing unnecessary things such as wiping his entire board even when you could kill him this turn. Stories abound where that gave the enemy the breathing space he needed to perform that one combo that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Happens a lot. The enemy deviates from the established meta and use widely considered poor cards such as Twisting Nether or just normal cards that's usually not included in the deck. But playing these cards at the right moment could devastate your battle plan and break your back. Card generation effects, either randomly or via the Discover mechanic, can also land players with just the right answer to their predicament in a highly unpredictable way. Even pros are not immune to this.
    • This trope is also prone to happen when Secrets are involved. There may be only a small select pool of Secrets that see play, dramatically reducing the number of possibilities to account for, but when a Secret is randomly generated, all bets are off.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Meta example, but it is possible, with the blessings of RNGeesus for top-tier Legend pro players to lose against Angry Chicken opponents. Usually happens when a season ends and thus resets everyone's ranks. Watch Amaz's breakdown as his opponent dismantles him during one of his Streams. note 
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Inspire minions are tricky to use. They are the only minions in the game with manually activatable abilities, via using your hero power. They are effectively minions with two seperate mana costs: the one listed on the card and the previous cost with 2 added, as in order to guarantee full value from an Inspire minion you need to use the hero power in the same turn they are summoned. Playing them for the first cost means that you dropped a below-average bullet magnet that will almost certainly die before the next turn, the other is usually inferior in value to a minion without inspire that has the same cost. That said, if an Inspire minion sticks around it can get rapidly out of control, from drawing tons of spells off of Nexus Champion Saraad or summoning multiple free murlocs with Murloc Knight (with it possibly summoning another Murloc Knight!).
    • Lord Jaraxxus, a warlock legendary minion who upon summoning will outright destroy your hero and replace them with himself. He has a mere 15 hp, meaning that it's not too hard to kill him, and his high mana cost of 9 means that finding a safe time to play him is not easy. He gains a devastating hero power that can summon a 6/6 for 2 mana every turn, but he can't even use it on the turn he's summoned unless his cost is reduced somehow. To top it off, his best use is as a panic button, meaning that even if you can get away with playing him it might not be beneficial. But by god, if you pull it off the game is all but won: a 6/6 every turn is almost unstoppable, and Jaraxxus' innate 3/8 weapon makes it so that the opponent can't rely on cheap minions to finish him off. The best part? His owner is granted access to the best emotes in the game.
    • Chillmaw, a very powerful minion exclusive to dragon decks. Its a 6/6 dragon with taunt for 7 mana, which is arguably already decent, but the deathrattle is what makes it interesting. If Chillmaw's owner is holding a dragon, every minion on the board takes 3 damage. This is the only "holding a dragon" effect in the game to appear as a deathrattle instead of a battlecry, meaning that regardless of if the player is holding a dragon or not a properly timed Chillmaw can save the game, as it either forces the opponent to take a gamble or perform terrible trades just to play it safe. Of course, it could just as easily backfire if the opponent guesses correctly, and it's far easier to mundanely use Chillmaw as a lategame taunt, but the flexibility and mindgames generally secure it a spot in dragon decks.
    • In order to use Reno Jackson's effect, there can only be 1 copy of any card in your deck at the time of his summoning. What this means is that you either have to run a highlander deck where you only have one copy of any card which inevitably causes the deck to suffer, or run some duplicates and risk not drawing either of them before Reno has to hit the field. You need to be pretty good at deckbuilding to make him work. That said, what stops this from being Awesome, but Impractical is the utterly insane payoff- you get a 4/6 for 6 that fully heals your hero.
      • And with Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Mages, Priests, and Warlocks can get a taste of the Kabal's power from these deck types via Kazakus's range of powerful custom-made potions. Mages get to cast a free spell with Inkmaster Solia, Priests get free Hero Power for the entire game with Raza the Chained, and Warlocks can dump their entire hand of demons into the battlefield with Krul the Unshackled.
      • The mechanic returns in Saviors of Uldum where all classes gain access to Zephrys the Great, a 2 mana 3/2 programmed to analyse the current game state and give you the best possible card for the situation (from the Basic and Classic sets).
      • Additionally, the league of explorers returned as class legendaries using the same mechanic. Paladins got access to Sir Finley of the Sands, who lets you discover an upgraded basic hero power. Mages got Reno the Relicologist, who deals 10 damage to random opposing minions. Druids got Elise the Enlightened, who copies every card in your hand for massive combo potential. Finally, Hunters got Dinotamer Brann, who plays the classic legendary King Krush, an 8/8 minion with charge, not only with a 2 mana discount, but also the addition of Brann's own body.
      • In Descent of Dragons, another tool for singleton decks appeared in Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, a powerful late game bomb, who in addition to her own 8/8 body gives the player two random dragons for free, often providing a massive board from nowhere.
    • Defile from Knights of the Frozen Throne is a major candidate for the best board clear in the game, but is tricky to use. It's a 2 mana Warlock spell that deals 1 damage to all minions; if it kills any, it recasts itself. Clever manipulation of the board state can result in a devastating wipe that can even kills stuff that's spawned during its casting, but to set up such a wipe, you have to do some careful number-crunching while under pressure from the turn timer; one mistake can mean the difference between fully clearing the board and failing to kill most of it. Defile's big brother Lord Godfrey, introduced in The Witchwood, deals 2 damage, making for even more powerful clears with a 7 mana 4/4 attached to boot.
    • In Battlegrounds, Dancin' Deryl's Hero Power is giving a tavern minion +1/+1 twice whenever you sell a minion. Taking advantage of his Hero Power requires foresight and planning, but he pays off if you can do it well. By storing up token-summoning minions and and juggling between selling your minions and buying out minions in the tavern to focus all his buffs on one minion, he can get an incredibly buffed up minion on a single turn, and because all the token-generating minions are on Tier 1, Deryl can have an incredibly strong start and have very high-quality tripled minions by the mid game if played well.
  • Disk One Nuke:
    • To this day, completing the first level of Icecrown Citadel will get you a free, random Death Knight. The level itself uses a pre-made deck, meaning the quality of your own collection is entirely irrelevant. If you're interested in playing Wild format, almost all of the Death Knights, even the bad ones, are capable of carrying you for a long while. If you just want to play Standard, it's a free 400 Arcane Dust, which is a massive boon to your dust income and will get you much closer to getting cards you actually care about.
    • One of the major changes made by the Year of the Phoenix was the addition of starter decks. New/returning players have a choice between nine decks, one for each of the base classes, and they all include several strong cards - and you get to keep every one of them to use for later. While most of the decks are either unoptimized or just lacking in value, the Mage deck is an absolute monster - it's a Highlander deck featuring Zephrys the Great and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, two ludicrously powerful Legendary cards that can be played in any class. Even if you don't care about Mage, it's more than worth taking this deck strictly for these two.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Late in one of the earlier chapters of the Dalaran Heist, you may have to fight Queen Wagtoggle. She's not a real queen, though. Nor does she own a magic candle.
  • Down to the Last Play: Some games are very close and can easily be won by either player depending on how they spend their last turns. It's often the case that both heroes are low enough health so that the very next card-draw (for you or your opponent) will be the deciding factor.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Abusive Sergeant, "PUT ME IN YOUR DECK, MAGGOT!"
  • Drop the Hammer: Most of the Shaman's weapons are war hammers. Warrior has a couple as well. Then there's Ragnaros and his colossal Sulfuras.
    • Two literal hammer drops as well: Emperor Thaurissan enters the game board via a huge hammer slamming onto the board, while Magni Bronzebeard's hero power animation includes a smaller forge hammer striking his hero power button.
  • Dynamic Entry: Charge minions do not require a turn to get ready and can attack right away, leaving your opponent with no time to put up additional defences to counter their influence the first round. Similarly, Battlecry minions have an effect that takes place immediately, meaning that an opponent has no way to deal with their damaging effects.
    • Deathwing destroys all other minions when summoned, in addition to forcing his summoner to discard their entire hand. Deathwing, Mad Aspect is even more visually dynamic; he attacks everything.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Before the full release of the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion set, the cards from the sets were made able to be drafted in Arena mode 4 days before the official release.
    • A few cards have been given out to all players before their proper debut in their respective set and were allowed to be drafted freely in constructed decks, starting with a golden Volcanosaur for Journey to Un'Goro. Other cards that joined the list are Marin the Fox, Archmage Vargoth, Sathrovarr, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Transfer Student, and Silas Darkmoon. Other than Vargoth and Kael'thas, most of them were average Arena or meme tier cards that didn't make much of a splash in the constructed meta.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Almost every Basic and Classic card that affects both sides of the board has the word 'ALL' written in caps like that. This was immediately dropped, although older cards haven't been updated.
    • The earliest sets (pretty much everything until Whispers of the Old Gods) recycled art from the discontinued World of Warcraft TCG for almost every card. This gave the game a much grittier look, compared to the slightly more cartoony style players are familiar with now. It also meant the early sets didn't have as strong of a theme or location.
    • Dragonkin Sorcerer, Eydis Darkbane, and Fjola Lightbane all had the word you bolded to denote that their effect only worked for their controller. No future cards do this.
  • Eat Me: Can be invoked during gameplay. One boss in Adventure Mode, Gnosh the Greatworm, has a Hero Power which allows him to devour your minions whole. If he eats a Poisonous minion, he'll die instantly.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • The Grim Patron card from Blackrock Depths is a 3/3 for 5 mana. Substandard for its cost, but if it survives any combat damage, it summons a fresh copy of itself, which can summon yet another fresh copy if it's damaged as well...
    • Imp Master will summon a 1/1 imp at the end of each turn, and Murloc Knight will summon a random murloc as an Inspire ability... including the possibility of another Murloc Knight.
  • Epic Fail/Spanner in the Works: A mainstay of Hearthstone videos. The Random Number God in this game can easily screw you over, with Doomsayer as its preferred harbinger. It's one thing when your enemy has that one card that dismantles your strategy, it's another when something you yourself summoned absolutely ruins you. Watch this streamer Go Mad from the Revelation during one Tavern Brawl, for instance.
  • Epic Hail: Varian Wrynn's Battlecry lets you draw three cards and summon any minions from them for free.
    Varian Wrynn: [against anyone except his son] Behold the armies of Stormwind!
    • This becomes somewhat anticlimactic when said armies of Stormwind turn out to be nothing more than, for instance two Loot Hoarders and a Cruel Taskmaster, or if you draw only non-minion cards and get nothing on the board.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The innkeeper's name is actually Harth Stonebrew, this is never mentioned in the game.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Lord Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion is memetic for how ham-tastic all his lines are (minus his "Sorry" emote).
    • The Tiny Knight of Evil from The Grand Tournament attempts to compensate for its size with pure ham (and evil):
      Tiny Knight of Evil: Small in size, HUGE IN EEEVVVIIIL!
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The reason Boommaster Flark is a boss in Dalaran Heist - The League of E.V.I.L. wants to steal the city of Dalaran, while Flark just wants to blow it up.
    • In the finale of the League of E.V.I.L. story in Galakrond's Awakening, after Rafaam succeeds in awakening Galakrond and uses him to wipe out the Alliance and Horde, he decides to defeat Galakrond himself so that he doesn't end up wiping out all life on Azeroth.
  • Exact Words: Failure to read a card's effects in-depth can lead to some nasty surprises. Most cards that affect all minions or characters will specify this, but otherwise unless a card specifies you or your opponent, assume it applies for everyone. For example, the legendary Kel'Thuzad brings allied minions that died each turn back to life once the turn is over. This includes both your and your opponent's turns!
    • Special mention goes to the warlock spell "Sacrificial Pact". Its card text simply states, "Destroy a demon, your hero gains 5 health." It doesn't specify whether or not that demon must be a minion (or, despite the name, whether it even needs to be your demon), thus it becomes trivially easy for a warlock to kill JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION
    • Also noteworthy are cards that have the "50% chance to attack the wrong opponent" effect. "Attacking the wrong opponent" can occasionally result in bypassing minions with Taunt.
    • The difference between playing and summoning a minion is key to several card effects—playing means selecting a card from your hand, spending its mana cost, and, well, playing it. Summoning is much more flexible: it just means a minion enters the board, whether it was played, generated by a hero power or another minion's battlecry, generated by a spell (like Animal Companion or Muster for Battle), pulled from your deck/hand (e.g. Patches or an enemy Deathlord), popped from a deathrattle (e.g. Sludge Belcher or Cairne Bloodhoof), etc.
      • An example of this distinction can be seen in some of the Quests from the Journey to Un'Goro expansion. The Hunter quest requires playing one cost minions, otherwise you could cheese it with just two copies of Unleash the Hounds. The Priest quest, on the other hand, just requires summoning deathrattle minions—so you can drop a few throughout the game and then finish the quest by re-summoning them with Priest's myriad resurrect effects or with N'Zoth in Wild.
  • Explosive Breeder: Can be done with Shaman's Ancestral Spiritnote , Reincarnatenote  and Baron Rivendarenote . Watch it in action. Alternatively, the Grim Patron card from the Blackrock Mountain adventure.
    • Similarly, Dreadsteeds summon a new copy of themselves whenever they die. Combine that with a way to bring dead minions back to life like Kel'Thuzad and you can quickly build yourself a Dreadstable.
    • Spiritsinger Umbra activates any Deathrattle minion that is summoned, so Deathrattle minions that summon a minion are spawned instantly. If you do this on a Deathrattle minion that summons itself like say, a Cruel Dinomancer with your only discarded minion being another Cruel Dinomancer, then your entire board gets full with them.
  • Explosive Overclocking:
    • If you raise a minion's stat too high, the game's number-calculation mechanicnote  will suddenly treat that number as negative. If that stat is health, this means the minion instantly dies. Of course, the maximum limit is a little over 2 billion, so it's not exactly likely to happen unless you're messing around with a friend.
    • Another example is the hand size limit. You are allowed to keep up to 10 cards in hand; if you must draw cards but you already have 10 cards in hand, the cards that you would have drawn are automatically discarded. And also revealed to your opponent as they burn, to add insult to injury.
    • The Warlock card Power Overwhelming fits this trope perfectly; it gives a friendly minion +4 Attack and Health, but that minion will die at the end of your turn. Horribly.
    • Aluneth, the Legendary weapon for Mage which draws you three cards at the end of your turn. This amount of draw power is borderline absurd, and can be hugely powerful if you can play that many cards and not overdraw. But there's also no way to turn it off and Aluneth can't be used to attack, meaning that it'll quickly deplete your deck and then keep drawing, resulting in massive fatigue damage that'll kill you in around two turns.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Angry Chicken. It's normally a docile 1/1, but gains a massive +5 attack if you can injure it without killing it.
  • Fictional Zodiac: The game uses a Zodiac symbol to designate each yearly rotation for Standard format. Each year is named after an animal (usually a fictional one from the Warcraft universe), and the animal typically has something to do with one of the expansions for that year.
    • The Year of the Kraken references the squid-like N'Zoth from Whispers of the Old Gods.
    • The Year of the Mammoth is for the Lost World setting of Journey to Un'goro (although the set itself has no mammoths, but it does have a mastodon with Flavour Text poking fun at it not being in the right year).
    • The Year of the Raven calls to mind the Gothic Horror setting of The Witchwood.
    • The Year of the Dragon was an early reference to the year's finale Descent of Dragons.
    • The Year of the Phoenix pulls a double-duty reference in Ashes of Outland, first to The Phoenix rising from the ashes, but also because phoenixes are a symbol of the blood elves and for Kael'thas in particular.
    • The Year of the Gryphon refers to United in Stormwind and how gryphons are used by the Alliance as transport and aerial troops.
    • The Year of the Hydra is based on the colossal ocean monsters from Voyage to the Sunken City, Hydralodon in particular.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Nearly all decks have some high-damage spell(s) or other instant damage to act as a finisher, such as the Leeroy Jenkins minion. This is especially important for rush or aggro decks who need to beat an opponent's HP down then finish the match ASAP.
    • One of the purchasable cosmetics in Battlegrounds is special animations for getting a finishing blow on your enemy.
  • First-Player Advantage Mitigation: The developers knew that the first player would have a tempo advantage, and experimented with ways to give the second player their own advantages to compensate. They ended up going with two: The first is that they start with an extra card in their hand. The other is that they start with a copy of "The Coin", which gives them an extra Mana Crystal for one turn.
  • Fission Mailed: The fight against the Lich King, where you are given a deck that cannot play a single card with the exception of Magma Rager before he kills you. He then resurrects you as a Death Knight, and you get a Curb-Stomp Battle against Tirion.
    • Also the fight against Dragonslayer Skruk in Galakrond's Awakening. The enemy is intentionally overpowered, with 200 health and increasingly buffed minions, but when he destroys your hero, it's not game over: Chromie rewinds time and transforms into her real dragon form, with 60 health and the ability to take an extra turn for every normal turn.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Mages can use Polymorph to turn minions into a 1/1 Sheep and Shamans can use Hex to turn a minion into a 0/1 Toad that has Taunt. In The Grand Tournament, Mages also got Polymorph: Boar; while it can be used to neutralize minions the old-fashioned way, it's also usable as a buff since the boar is a 4/2 with Charge.
    • The Shaman's Devolve transforms all enemy minions into ones that cost 1 mana less than the originals, usually meaning that the opponent ends up with something weaker than what they started with. Of course, the wide range of minion stats available means that results can vary; woe betide the player that transforms their opponent's inoffensive 3/3 Antique Healbot into a 4-mana 7/7.
  • Forced Tutorial: The player is put through a series of "quests" - battles against fixed opponents with stacked decks - to show them the ropes in a controlled environment. Finishing this unlocks the main menu.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The Lich King in the Knights of the Frozen Throne missions takes his card game very, very, very seriously. Word of God says they went with this approach instead of making him more comical.
  • Flavor Text: Every card (except ones created by other cards, such as token minions or Ysera's Dream cards) has some kind of joke for its flavor text, as befits this Lighter and Softer game. Some of them are even funny.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Some cards that were previously considered laughably weak can become game-breakingly powerful with the addition of new cards and synergies. Stonetusk Boar, a 1 mana 1/1 with Charge? Weak. Stonetusk Boar after The Caverns Below or Dire Frenzy fills your deck with massive Stonetusk Boars? Start running.
  • Gathering Steam:
    • Mana accumulates at one crystal per turn until a maximum of 10 is reached.
    • As part of their class identity, Druids have ways to accumulate more mana crystals early through the use of specific cards.
    • Emperor Thaurissan is a card which reduces the cost to play any cards in your hand by 1 each turn he is in play, effectively reducing the time needed to gather enough steam to play those cards. However, most decks using Thaurissan only need his effect to go off once at the end of the turn he's played; whether he actually survives to the next turn with his below-average statline is irrelevant in most cases.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Hero-exclusive cards all fit the hero's theme, like having Beasts for Hunters/Druids, but Neutral cards are fair game for any deck. This can lead to some blatantly lore-defying situations like a Warlock having some holy knights fighting alongside his trademark demons or a Horde general having his forces composed of mostly cards aligned with the Alliance. It's even lampshaded with Cairne Bloodhoof's flavor text:
    Cairne was killed by Garrosh, so... don't put this guy in a Warrior deck. It's pretty insensitive.note 
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Nozdormu is famously broken. He's an 8/8 for 9 mana that causes both players to have a mere 15 seconds to complete their turn. It should be a simple gimmick, but because of how Hearthstone's mechanics work it becomes deceptively lethal. See, two Blackrock Mountain bosses, the Dark Iron Arena and Chromaggus, use this card in their decks, and if they play it you might as well concede because by the time the entire animation and the AI's actions finishes, in actuality the AI has already pressed the End Turn button long before Nozdormu even hits the board, which means your turn somehow has started before you even see the card you draw for the turn, giving you 3 seconds to take action at best or lose your several next turns immediately at worst. What’s worse is while they patched it for the Dark Iron Arena the glitch is still present for Chromaggus, causing untold frustration upon many. Most importantly, players can pull off the glitch too.
    • What's more, it is easier for players on the desktop to queue up commands than it is on a tablet, leading Nozdormu to be considered "tablet/phone player loses."
    • It is also considered somewhat anti-accessible- players who are visually impaired need extra time just to see what has happened and what new cards have been drawn. Some just concede if Nozdormu appears, as the game is no longer playable. Needless to say, for all the above reasons there are a lot of cries to have the card changed or removed.
    • The League of Explorers expansion gave us the Rogue minion Unearthed Raptor, a 3/4 for 3 mana that has the Battlecry of copying the Deathrattle of a friendly minion. What a potentially fun and flexible card is quickly discovered can potentially crash the game if used to many time when combined with Brann Bronzebeard (double your minions' Battlecry) and several returning effect. It got so bad that the game designers limited the potential to copy to 16 Deathrattle, and it still can freeze the system.
    • Journey to Un'Goro replicates the Nozdormu exploit. Priest gets Shadow Visionsnote  and Radiant Elementalnote . Two Radiant Elementals makes Shadow Visions completely free, letting the player constantly discover Shadow Visions over and over again. The combo does allow for silly things like insanely large Questing Adventurers, but looping Shadow Visions enough times can skip the opponent's turn due to the lengthy Discover animation. Unsurprisingly, this was hotfixed very quickly.
    • Deck of Wonders can really expose the spaghetti code behind Hearthstone's game logic. What makes Deck of Wonders "buggy" is that when a Scroll of Wonders gets drawn, it uses the random spell then draws a card, but minion deaths don't get resolved before drawing the next card. So what can happen is if you draw multiple Scrolls of Wonder in a row, it will cause clearly unintentional effects like, for instance, dealing damage to a minion that's already dead several times then Vanish returns it to the opponent's hand and cancel out its death.
    • If Majordomo Executus (who replaces his controller's hero with Ragnaros on death) and his controller are killed at the same time, the game soft-locks. The intention was for the player controlling Executus to lose without becoming Ragnaros if this happens, but it was never properly implemented.
  • Generation Xerox: If Cairne Bloodhoof gets killed, he's immediately replaced by his stat-identical son Baine. note 
  • Giant Spider: The Arachnid Quarter of Curse of Naxxramas is absolutely crawling with them. As for the final boss...
    Kel'Thuzad: Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER! MUWAHAHAHA!
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Some cards have powerful effect combined with severe drawbacks that can easily backfire on you. But in times of desperation, these drawbacks can be made moot, and playing these cards might give you a fighting chance or even win the game outright. The most iconic is perhaps Deathwing, who causes you to discard your entire hand and kills everything on the field. When you're down to only a few cards in hand and the enemy has strong board control, there's nothing to lose.
    • For Dungeon Run mode, there's Rod of Roasting which casts Pyroblast randomly until one of the heroes die. It's even lampshaded in the one of the loading tips.
      When everything else fails, there's always the Rod of Roasting.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: There isn't even an Excuse Plot, it's just Alliance and Horde (and neutral characters) in an inn, playing games with each other. Who says being sworn enemies on the battlefield means you can't enjoy a good drink and some trading card games?
  • Gold-Colored Superiority:
    • Golden versions of the heroes can be unlocked by winning with them 500 ranked games. Each. While Golden Heroes don't actually add any abilities, it can be used for strategic intimidation since your opponent will know immediately you have won a lot of ranked matches with that hero.
    • In Battlegrounds, obtaining three copies of a minion will give you a golden version of that minion with their combined stats (including buffs) and a stronger version of its ability. Playing a golden minion also lets you Discover a free minion from the next Tavern Tier, meaning you usually want to grab golden minions whenever possible.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Card draw is vital in any card game, but overdrawing would burn your card and bring you that much closer to fatigue, or if you are already in fatigue, death. Northshire Cleric is a prime culprit of this if your enemy has an AoE heal effect, and having 2 Northshire Clerics on the board is.... not recommended.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Courtesy of RNGeesus and the key component of the many Epic Fails that are the mainstay of Hearthstone videos. Have fun summoning a Doomsayer who will wipe your board clear, summoning a big fat minion for the enemy for free, playing a Yogg only to have him Pyroblast himself on the first cast, getting your card draw mechanic turned against you and mill you into fatigue... The possibilities are endless.
  • Go Through Me: Taunt minions must be destroyed before you can attack cards without taunt or the enemy hero - with the exception of hero cards and spells, which make fair game of anything on the field. The Demon Hunter legendary Kayn Sunfury lets himself and anyone else on his side go through anyone.
  • Graceful Loser: Most heroes (with the exception of Garrosh) are this when they acknowledge their defeat in their Concede quotes. It's also customary to exchange "Well Played" emotes as a substitute for the time-honored "gg" or "good game".
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Subverted with One Night in Karazhan. The trailer for the adventure made it look like a fabulous disco party, but in the adventure proper these elements take a backseat to showcase Hearthstone's interpretation of what Karazhan might have looked like in its earlier days. There's still some disco-inspired stuff in there, of course (the getup for the Medivas, the music, etc.) but not as much as the trailer made out.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The Hearthstone design philosophy for card text is to make the card text as simplistic and easy to read, but have decidedly leave out any detailed explanations for special cards and effects. If a card spawns another random card with widely varying effects, then it gets given some category but no mention of what it does. The only way to know what any of these cards do is to actually experience it yourself. The list of cards affected by this are extensive and only continues to grow.
      • From the original set: Ysera lets you draw a Dream Card. What's a Dream Card? A selection of 2 minions and 3 spells. Same goes for Elite Tauren Chieftain, which gives each player a Power Chord card. What are the Power Chord cards? 4 very different spells.
      • Even the most common and ubiquitous cards don't even get an explanation. The Hunter has the basic starter card "Animal Companion", a spell that summons a random Animal Companion. Unless you look it up, you have no idea what Animal Companions are, which ones there are, and what each of them do.
      • Also difficult for new players is the Shaman's hero power Totemic Call which says summon a random totem. What totems can it summon? How many different totems are there? There's also nothing that tells you you'll never summon a totem you already have on the board—or that as long as you have one of each, your hero power is disabled.
      • The Goblins vs Gnomes expansion added a new keyword that's described when you hover over cards: "Spare Parts - Spare Parts are 1-cost spells with minor effects." Which is great...except the game doesn't tell you what these Spare Parts actually are, and how many there are of them. The game doesn't provide any of way of figuring out what these are; they can't be seen in-game unless you're already in the middle of the match, so if you want to be prepared for these randomly summoned spells, you're gonna have to look it up elsewhere. Likewise, the Lackeys added in Rise of Shadows have a similar issue which is exacerbated by the fact that Blizzard added more of them throughout 2019.
      • The in-game text also forgot to mention that the Jade Golems from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has an intrinsic ability: The size of the golem you summon directly depends on how many Jade Golems you have summoned throughout the game, so while the first golem you summon is weak, as the game drags on the golems become gigantic. The only thing that outright indicates this is a footnote.
      • Adapt is a new keyword in Journey to Un'Goro. What is it? A choice from 3 different buffs from a pool of 10. The hover text explains it as "Choose one of 3 bonuses." Very helpful.
      • Quests are written out as "Quest: Do something. Reward: Some uncollectible card." The only way to see what the reward actually does is to play the quest and then hover over it while it's on the board.
      • Hero cards do the following: Change your hero into that card, activate a Battlecry, gain the listed Armor, and give you a new Hero Power. The problem is the doesn't mention that it comes with a new Hero Power. You can see what the Hero Power is by examining the card from your Collection, but at a glance it tells you nothing about it. That's fine, but the more complex Hero Powers have it even worse. Valeera the Hollow adds a Death's Shadow to your hand. Well what's a Death's Shadow? What are Zombeasts and how do you craft a custom one? The game also doesn't make it clear that Uther needs to control all 4 unique Horsemen for the effect to work.
      • The worst is probably Dr. Boom, Mad Genius from The Boomsday Project, whose Hero Power in both the Collection and when hovered in your hand is unhelpfully described as "Activate this turn's Mech Suit power!". No mention of the five different powers or the fact that it randomly switches between them each turn.
      • The Lich King and Arfus give you something called a "Death Knight card". Are they talking about those new Death Knight hero cards that was prominently featured? Nope. It's a random selection of 8 cards that all do something completely different. They're called Death Knight cards because they're based on the skills from Death Knights in World of Warcraft, so don't expect to give you Frost Lich Jaina on a Hunter or anything like that.
      • Rin, the First Disciple adds the First Seal to your hand. The First Seal creates the Second Seal. The Second creates the Third, and so on. The Sixth Seal adds Azari the Devourer to your hand, which destroys your opponent's deck. Nothing on Rin herself explains any of this.
      • The Invoke keyword is probably the worst instance in the whole game. Each of the five classes that use Invoke get a different effect when the card is played, based on which version of Galakrond they have available (it activates their Galakrond's hero power). This means every neutral Invoke minion has five different ways its effect can be interpreted. The ability is also written as "Use Galakrond's Power", which is an okay reminder but does nothing to help if you don't know what Invoke does. It also doesn't necessarily explain that you need to have a version of Galakrond in your deck for the effect to actually work, although thankfully all five were given out for free. Fortunately, Blizzard took measures to make the Invoke keyword as intuitive as possible: Invoke cards' in-game tooltips say what they actually do, and putting an Invoke card in a deck without Galakrond will cause the game to remind you that they only work with Galakrond and offer to put Galakrond in for you.
    • Some card interactions that change in specific, usually rare, circumstances go unexplained until you try it out. Wild Growth says it gives you an empty mana crystal, but if you use it at full mana you suddenly get an Excess Mana card that costs 0 mana and lets you draw a card. This, along with Astral Communion, are the only ways to get Excess Mana, so without online help the only way to know that happens is to just try it out of curiosity. Likewise, Sense Demons will generate 1/1 Imps if you have no Demons in your deck. They stopped doing this later on and instead just made unsuccessful spells fizzle, probably to avoid this trope.
    • The Grand Tournament brings us a card that flat out lies about what it does in an attempt to be concise. The Mistcaller claims to give all minions in your hand or deck +1/+1, but in fact it if cards are brought out of your deck and put onto the battlefield directly, they will not get any bonus. To be accurate, the card would need to read "Give all minions in your hand +1/+1. For the rest of the game, all minions you draw gain +1/+1." Similarly, Knight of the Wild reads "Whenever you summon a Beast, reduce the Cost of this card by (1)." The card never specifies that you have to be holding it while summoning a beast for the discount to apply. To their credit, the dev team picked up on this and used more accurate abilities for Prince Keleseth and Arcane Giant, which have similar text.
    • The Blackrock Mountain expansion brought a new legendary card: "Majordomo Executus", with: "Deathrattle: Replace your hero with Ragnaros, the Firelord." So, when he dies, you'll have Ragnaros as your new hero. Now, most players think of Ragnaros as a really powerful and game-changing legendary minion capable of winning games on his own; so of course, letting him replace your hero would be just as good, right? Nope. While becoming Ragnaros does give you his minion ability "Deal 8 damage to a random enemy" as your new hero, he also has a measly 8 health, meaning you're VERY easy to kill. And unlike Jaraxxus, you don't even get Sulfuras, Ragnaros' weapon, to back you up. Ragnaros also overrides any Armor you had left, and even an active Ice Block's immunity, so essentially, becoming Ragnaros is a VERY risky play that will most often than not cost you the game. And of course, the game doesn't tell you about any of this. Even the boss encounter when you face off against Majordomo and Ragnaros misleads you, because Ragnaros spawns with 8 Health and 8 Armor in Normal mode, probably making some players think that it's not as risky as it actually is.
    • Zephrys the Great's effect is worded vaguely: "If your deck has no duplicates, wish for the perfect card". What this actually means is that you choose one of three cards from the Basic and Classic sets algorithmically calculated to offer the best value for your specific situation at the moment you play Zephrys. Oh, and the algorithm considers the size of your hand but doesn't know what specific cards you're holding (in other words, it only considers information your opponent knows). None of this is stated in-game, of course.
    • Blizzard is generally good at averting this when it comes to nerfs, as launching the game after a nerf patch pulls up an unskippable text box that shows the original card(s) alongside its nerfed version with an outline to show what changed. That is except for Yogg-Saron and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, whose nerf screens showed a red outline around the text box... and no changes. This was because these cards were nerfed "under the hood" as it were: Yogg's effect will be interrupted if he was Silenced or left the battlefield, and Alexstrasza was made unable to create copies of herself. You needed to read up online to find out how these cards were changed.

    Tropes H-Z 
  • Harmless Freezing: The Freeze ability prevents a character from attacking for one turn, after which they thaw out no worse for wear. Granted, there are ways to avert this with spells like Shatter, Ice Lance, and Ray of Frost that gain lethal bonuses against frozen targets, and the fact that some Freeze effects come with damage already.
  • Hellfire: Purview of the Warlock class, from the aptly named Hellfire, Soulfire, Shadowflame, and Demonfire.
    Demonfire is like regular fire except for IT NEVER STOPS BURNING HELLLPPP
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: All classes have at least one card that can damage multiple targets at once, and several neutral cards can do the same. These types of cards are usually what dismantle minion-rush decks by taking out many cheap minions at once.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The aptly-named Paladin secret Noble Sacrifice immediately summons a 2/1 Defender to Taking the Bullet when an enemy attacks. Since he only has one hitpoint, he will almost certainly die to the attack.
    • The Mage secret Spellbender can do this by summoning a 1/3 Spellbender minion to become the target of an enemy spell, though this can also happen to defensive or buffing spells.
    • At the end of Bru'kan's Book of Mercenaries chapter, he pulls off a Mutual Destruction to defeat Tamsin Roame once and for all so the other mercs can follow Onyxia to her lair.
  • Heroic Second Wind:
    • Late-game Paladin cards have a tendency to pull this off by healing their hero for a huge amount with likely some other bonuses on top, like Lay On Hands (8 mana for 8 health and 3 cards) and Libram of Hope (9 mana to heal for 8 and summon a 8/8 with Divine Shield and Taunt, which can have its cost reduced).
    • Any time a control (or other late game) deck of any class succesfully weathers the onslaught of an aggro deck is an example of this trope, and the aggro deck is likely to lose unless he has gained a massive advantage. Such as a mill druid down to 3 health succesfully taking down a warrior at full health and 19 armor. Needless to say, coming back from an extreme deficit isn't always a given, but it's better to persevere unless you know the game is completely unwinnable.
    • Reno Jackson is a card introduced in the League of Explorers adventure that encourages this trope. By playing a deck with reduced consistency (since you can't have duplicates in your deck to trigger the effect), you can get a potentially enormous heal that can put you right back into the game against aggro decks, right when your own late-game minions begin to come into play.
  • Highly Specific Counterplay: In the "Unite against Mechazod!" tavern brawl event, Mechazod has an attack called "Kill Lorewalker Cho" which it will only use in response to someone playing the Lorewalker Cho card.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • It's very easy to turn an enemy's advantage into one of your own. For example, countering a Lightwell, which heals friendly characters, with a Lightwarden, which gains attack power every time a character is healed, and unless they can stop it they can only watch as you turn that small 1/2 Lightwarden into a monster. Or encountering a 2/4 Frothing Berserker, which gains one attack every time any minion takes damage, which can become a huge problem if you can't kill it within one or two turns before it begins snowballing.
    • Priests have numerous spells that can crush an opponent with his own cards, including some that take possession of an enemy minion (temporarily or permanently) and a few that copies random cards from an opponent's deck...
    • On the other hand, Priests also have a number of cards that can turn healing powers into damaging powers, which can screw themselves over if they end up needing to heal themselves really badly but can't because their power is permanantly Shadowform (deal 2/3 damage)...
    • Most embodied by Faceless Manipulator. Goes into borderline Troll grade when done at the right time. Examples include using two of them (more likely in a control druid deck) to copy something like Ragnaros the Fire Lord. This includes even your own, making THREE of them spew 8 damage fireballs at the end of your turn.
    • Cards like Mad Bomber or Wild Pyromancer that can damage a player or their own minions can do this.
    • Cards such as the Northshire Cleric and the Cult Master allow the player who controls them to draw additional cards, but in the first place, you can only have up to ten cards in your hand, and if you're forced to draw additional cards they instead get discarded; in the second place, if the battle lasts long enough for that player to run out of cards, these minions instead accelerate the fatigue damage. Indeed, this is an effective way to defeat Noth in the Curse of Naxxramas expansion.
    • Feugen and Stalagg are minions that spawn Thaddius (who has the second most powerful combat stats in the game) if one dies after another has already died that game. This does not depend on who played the first minion to die, so a player can use the other player's minion to help spawn their own Thaddius. The most extreme example is the heroic Thaddius boss fight. During this fight, the boss spawns a Feugen and Stalagg on their own, although these do not spawn anything when they die. Their deaths do count, however, if the player uses their own Feugen or Stalagg. The Thaddius fight thus allows a player to kill him with himself, and makes this process easier.
    • Some minions have detrimental Deathrattle, which can utterly screw you over. Most notably the Deathlord from Naxxramas adventure. Sure you get a beefy 2/8 Taunt minion, but if you're unlucky, that can easily backfire with the enemy getting a lategame minion way earlier than they should.
    • Since Blackrock Mountain, Rogue has gotten at least one card per update that grants the user random cards from the opponent's class. Furthermore, the Karazhan adventure gave Rogues a minion that lowers the cost of cards they hold from another class by 2 mana, making them easier to be played. While stealing cards is similar to what Priest can do, this adds a bit of strategy as you can get cards the opponent could use but may not have, versus random cards they do have but may not be useful with your deck.
    • The first fight with Rafaam has him steal your deck to use against you, but there is nothing stopping you from building a bad deck to sabotage his efforts, making his Unstable Portal hero power the only threat in the fight.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The last tutorial mission is against Illidian Stormrage, who, as the game tells you, you can't win against ("This fight is totally not fair. Blame the terrible game designers."). Subverted in that the decks are stacked so that he looks intimidating early on, but a bit later the player can easily turn it around, demonstrating how even losing battles can be won.
    • In the prologue of the Knights of the Frozen Throne adventure, the Lich King destroys Jaina with his completely overpowered cards before reinforcements arrive, and before you draw anything that you have the mana to play except a lowly Magma Rager... and then he raises Jaina from the dead, which leads to the second half of the battle... Jaina vs. Tirion.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Several varieties exist in the game, including the well known wolf rider. The Grand Tournament expansion added a lot more, with mounted units as a theme, including a gorilla riding a hippo and a murloc riding a frog.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The Fire Fest-E.V.I.L. event starts with Ragnaros preparing to host another Fire Festival, before the League of E.V.I.L. crash into Blackrock Mountain and decide to take it over while they wait for Dr. Boom to fix their city/airship.
  • HP To One:
    • The Paladin spell Equality changes all minions' HP to one. It would be a real shame if the enemy Uther just happened to have a Consecration, Avenging Wrath, or played a Wild Pryomancer to sweep your side of the field... They also have a variant that reduces attack instead of HP.
    • The Hunter spell Hunter's Mark does this to one minion. Even if a Hunter has no minions to dispatch the marked minion, an easy follow-up is to use any of their damage-dealing spells or Rush minion to finish it off. The Hunter Legendary Veranus sets all enemy minion's health to 1.
    • The Paladin legendary High Priest Thekal sets the player's health to 1, but grants them Armor equal to the amount of health lost, allowing them to heal themselves and gain more effective health.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Doppelgangster card is a 2/2 Dwarf gangster whose Battlecry summons 2 more 2/2. But considering he has glowing eyes and purple skin, which is never seen in other dwarves before (The Dark Iron Dwarves have soot-black skin and red eyes), and that his summoned minions are the Faceless Ones, it's clear that this 'Dwarf' is very likely a Faceless himself. Another one is the Darkshire Councilman; if you look closer at his artwork, his shadow is eerily tentacle-y. Played for Laughs with Convincing Infiltrator, which is obviously a Faceless One in a Paper-Thin Disguise trying to pretend he's a "fellow human".
  • Hurricane of Puns: The entire Maw and Disorder miniset is just an excuse to cram as many courtroom puns into a card set as they possibly could. That's not a hyperbole, either — the dev team admitted that they started with the puns first and designed cards around them for the set. Some examples include the Nature spell Dew Process, the Warlock spell Habeas Corpses that resurrects a friendly minion, the Rogue Secret Perjury turns itself into a Secret from another class, the Paladin minion Class-Action Lawyer that has an effect if you have no neutral cards, the neutral minion Tight-Lipped Witness (who literally has their Mouth Stitched Shut) that stops Secrets from being revealed, the Paladin spell Order in the Court which orders your deck from highest to lowest cost and draws a card; it just goes on.
  • I Am Your Opponent: As Jaraxxus is summoned to the field, he makes clear that you will be facing him and not the puny warlock he just replaced.
    Jaraxxus: You face Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion!
  • Ironic Echo: In Whispers Of The Old Gods, corrupted versions of earlier cards were released. These cards had altered versions of their original quotes to show the effects of their corruption:
    Kobold Geomancer: You no take candle!
    Evolved Kobold: I take your candle.
  • I Know You Know I Know: When Secrets are in play, the mindgames get ramped up when players try to avoid triggering them or minimize advantage swings when they go off. In general there's a pool of the most commonly used Secrets, but beware of not expecting THAT Secret, especially in Arena.
  • An Ice Person: Mages can use a number of ice-based spells that usually involve freezing opponents (preventing them from attacking for a turn). Mage decks built around freeze effects are extremely efficient at stalling out matches as they hit enemy face with spells. Knights of the Frozen Throne and Fractured in Alterac Valley gave Shamans cards that can Freeze minions.
  • I Meant to Do That: Or, as they say, "there is no missed lethal, only hilarious BM". It's entirely possible for a player to somehow miss dealing lethal damage to the enemy hero, be it due to miscalculation, misclicks, or what have you, and still manage to win the game later on.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The game includes an emote system, which lets you threaten or taunt an opponent. For instance, many players delight in giving the opponent a "Well played" or "Wow" after they mess up or get screwed by RNG.
    • The Evil Heckler card throws some mean insults at your opponent, reminiscent of a certain movie about a certain group of knights looking for a certain piece of silverware.
    • Evil Heckler's mantle was later taken up by Vulgar Homunculus from Kobolds and Catacombs, which also has a number of randomly selected voice lines used when attacking or being played, all of which are juvenile insults. Exaggerated with Hecklebot from Rise of Shadows, which has a grand total of nine different responses for being played and nine more for attacking, all of which are insults directed at the opponent. Appropriately enough, Evil Heckler, Vulgar Homunculus, and Hecklebot all have the Taunt keyword.
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • The Paladin hero card from Knights of the Frozen Throne, Uther of the Ebon Blade, changes the Hero Power to summon the Four Horsemen. When all 4 of these 2/2s are on the board at the same time, they strike the enemy hero at once and obliterate them. Not even Ice Block can save them.
    • The Boomsday Project introduces Mecha'Thun, a 10-mana neutral minion whose deathrattle destroys the enemy hero... provided its player has absolutely nothing left on board, in hand, and in deck (barring active secrets, weapons, and permanents).
    • Can be inverted into an instant fail condition for several decks. With certain decks, if you make them discard or overdraw the right card, their entire strategy becomes useless.
  • Insufferable Genius: The Dalaran aspirant, in all of his quotes:
    [when played] Knowledge is power, and I know a lot.
    [attack quote] So, here's where you're wrong!
  • It Will Never Catch On: While many pro players make accurate predictions about which cards in an upcoming pack are worthless/game-changing, they are occasionally dead wrong, most notably with the Mysterious Challenger, which was dismissed until it became the core of the Game-Breaker Secret Paladin.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • Mage has quite a lot of utility, having a nice spread of spell cards.
    • Paladins in general have some of everything: healing, buffing, weapons, decent spells, in addition to never being short on minions. However, they usually aren't the best at any particular one of those, though they do have the most cards with the Divine Shield property.
    • In the metagame, a midrange deck is a mixture between an aggro deck (early-game) and a control deck (late-game). These usually do not have as much early game damage as an aggro deck nor the same stranglehold of the board as control decks, but they can do both simultaneously.
  • Joke Character: A couple cards seem to exist solely for comedic value. One example is the Angry Chicken, a 1-cost creature with one of the most powerful Enrage effects in the game (+5 attack, giving it a potential 6 attack for 1 mana). The problem? It only has one health, meaning it requires some form of health buff to activate its effect without dying. Said health buff is nearly always better spent on a more useful minion such as an Ogre or Yeti. That said, beating your opponent down with a chicken might be amusing enough for some players to do it anyway.
  • Keystone Army: Some decks are highly reliant on a single card as keystone of their strategy (for example, Archmage Antonidas, Shudderwock, Sire Denathrius, some of the Death Knight Hero cards, etc. If you can somehow make them lose the card through discard or overdraw effects, there's a good chance that your opponent will concede there and then.
  • Kill 'Em All: Knight of the Frozen Throne is set in a timeline where every playable Basic Hero is defeated and resurrected as Death Knight, which are examplified by Hero Cards that gains 5 Armor and replace your current Hero Power with a new one.
  • King of Beasts: It's the name of a card, which is logically a lion. Stat-wise (King Krush and Giant Sand Worm are tied for the biggest) and popularity-wise (the most common here is Savannah Highmane, which is also a lion), it's not the best by far among Beast cards, though it gets it King status by becoming stronger if you have more Beasts already in play.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Both Yogg-Saron and Deathwing, Dragonlord command this in their summon quotes:
    Yogg-Saron: Bow down before the God of Death!
    Deathwing: The dragons shall kneel before me!
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Player can concede (traditionally accompanied by a "Well Played" emote) when they know they can't win, in order to save their opponent the trouble of finishing them. This is usually realized by counting up the damage on both sides and realizing that their opponent can finish them off in the next turn before they can do the same. Some, however, insist on not quitting the game until the enemy player actually kills them, perhaps hoping that the enemy either doesn't realize that they a guaranteed victory or they make a mistake in the process, giving them just the last one or two turns that they need.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The Colossal minions introduced in Voyage to the Sunken City are mostly made of unfathomably huge Sea Monsters of various types. They represent this by coming into play alongside a set of Cognizant Limbs that take up extra board spaces, since their bodies are too big for one card. The only ones that don't fit this trope are Gaia and (funnily) The Leviathan, which are Humongous Mecha, and Neptulon, who is a humanoid elemental and more of a generic Kaiju.
  • Large Ham: The Stormwind Champion and numerous other cards ham up their quotes upon being summoned and Jaraxxus is only not-hammy when he apologizes. Even the tokens of such minions are Large Hams, firmly dropping onto the table at high-speed.
    Stormwind Champion: BEHOLD! the might of STOOOOOOOOOORMWIND!
    Stormpike Commando:
    I've got a
    Wild Pyromancer:
    Do you LIKE to play with FIYAAAAH?!
    Al'Akir, The Windlord:
    Jaraxxus: OBLIVION!
    Grim Patron: EVERYONE, GET IN HERE!note 
    Coldwraith: Winter is here... AND IT'S CAAAWLD!
    Chillblade Champion: I'll CUT them DOWN TO SIZE!
    • In the Naxxramas expansion, Kel'Thuzad definitely qualifies for this.
      Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER! MUAHAHAHA
      Just being nearby Loatheb causes your flesh to rot. So I recommend a melee class.
      You keep KILLING MY MINIONS. Stop it! Stop it right this minute!
      Of course I played well. I'm Kel'Thu-freaking-zad!
      Victory tastes so sweet... Like a milkshake. No, maybe more like a bar of chocolate.
      My power is overwhelming! And yet, I did not die horribly at the end of the turn.
    • The characters themselves are pretty large hams when you consider the in-universe Excuse Plot that they're playing a card game at an inn. Phrases like "I will crush you!" somehow don't have the same impact when you're not actually in a combat situation.
    • Jaraxxus and the Ragnaros hero are such large hams that even their emotes and the names of their hero powers ("INFERNO!" and "DIE, INSECT!" respectively) are written in ALL CAPS.
  • Last Chance Hit Point:
    • The Paladin secret Redemption can almost simulate this by resurrecting a fallen minion with 1 HP left. The game still sees it as a death and new summon, so the Deathrattle activates, Battlecry is skipped, and so on.
    • Mages have Ice Block which stops any attack or spell that does lethal damage and makes her immune for the rest of the turn. Players expecting this secret often divide their damage such that their opponent's health is as low as possible before triggering the secret, fulfilling the trope to the letter.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • An actual card, even being voiced by the man himself. 5 mana, 6/2, has Charge (can attack immediately), and summons two 1/1 whelps for the opponent (enough to kill him on the next turn). At least he has angry chicken.
    • More generally, any card like the true Leeroy Jenkins card (low cost, high attack, low life, comes with Charge) is meant as a suicidal fast-hitting attacker that will usually die quickly.
    • Kobold Barbarian from Kobolds and Catacombs fits the trope to a T; instead of you ordering it to attack something, this minion automatically attacks a random enemy at the start of your turn. Similarly, there's Swamp King Dred, which automatically attacks any minion the opponent plays, even if that minion is Poisonous or bigger and nastier than Dred himself (which is comparatively rare as Dred is significantly overstatted at 9/9 for 7 mana).
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Divine Shield grants invulnerability to one attack, which sounds like a purely defensive spell. Then keep in mind that all minions counterattack, so using it offensively effectively gives you a free kill for one mana (which can be rather cost efficient).
  • Lethal Joke Character: Joke cards can become lethal under the right circumstances.
    • Any Murloc rush deck, which depends on spamming Murlocs (the resident Butt-Monkey and Joke Character) in large numbers early on then buffing all of them in order to steamroll the opponent before any high price-tag cards come into play. Surprisingly effective, if only because no one usually sees it coming - and even when they do, a properly-played Murloc deck is terrifyingly effective.
    • The Angry Chicken seems to have to put into the game specifically for players that want a challenging card to work with. It's the worst card in the game unless you can buff its health and then damage it, whereupon it's suddenly extremely powerful relative to its cost. Fear the Chicken synergy! The Angry Chicken also got a shot in the arm with the addition of Deathstalker Rexxar, which can slap its Enrage effect onto a much bigger body. An Oasis Snapjaw or Stegodon that gains +5 attack upon taking damage is nothing to sneeze at.
    • Sacrificial Pact for Warlocks is generally regarded as mediocre and/or counterproductive since it kills a Demon for +5 health, so unless facing another Warlock, it just reverses summoning a Demon . However, should the enemy Warlock sacrifice themselves to summon Lord Jaraxxus, he technically counts as a Demon, so using Sacrificial Pact will end the game on the spot.
    • Anything with 0 attack and high health (like the Lightwell) can be this in the hands of a Priest, using Divine Spirit to double that already high health and then Inner Fire to raise their attack to the same level. With just 5 mana, that 0/5 Lightwell would suddenly be a 20/20 Behemoth.
    • Fel Reaver from the GvG set gets a bad rap because he makes you discard 3 cards from the top of your deck every time your opponent plays a card. However, as explained here, discarding a good card does not guarantee you will draw it in the first place due to the random draw mechanic, and if you manage to win the game before you run out of cards, the Fel Reaver might as well have no drawback at all. That said, his power shines more in Arena where the rest of your deck is more disjointed and you can afford to lose the cards; in constructed, a player would want to have and use the cards since they're central to the deck's strategy.
    • Yogg-Saron, Hope's End from Whispers of the Old Gods is the current world record holder for this. With an effect as silly as his (casting random spells with random targets for every spell his owner casted that game), it was quite the shock that he turned out to be the best board clear in the game, as he was statistically likely to draw his owner plenty of cards while wiping out all enemy minions, with other effects like summoning more minions or potentially just giving you the ability to kill the enemy right there. In fact, his lethalness outshined the joke part so bad, he had to be nerfed.
    • The basic card Stonetusk Boar is a 1 mana 1/1 with Charge, and it doesn't take long to come to the realization that this card is pretty bad in of itself, even with Beast synergies. However, there are a few cases cases where it actually shines — Quest Rogue, whose quest results in the Boar becoming a much more fearsome 4/4, and Death Stalker Rexxar's Hero Power, where he can graft Stonetusk Boar's Charge effect onto anything bigger and make it much more fearsome without dramatically inflating the base card's cost.
      • The Witchwood has the cards Dire Frenzy, which grants a +3/+3 buff to a beast and then shuffles 3 copies of that minion with the buff into your deck, and Emeriss, whose Battlecry doubles the stats of all minions in your hand. Stonetusk Boar happens to be one of the best minions to combo with these cards; its Charge ability lets you make use of the boosted stats immediately, and its 1-mana cost makes the copies easily searchable with cards like Witchwood Piper and Tol'vir Warden while letting you flood the board with them easily. Needless to say, Stonetusk Boar becomes a lot less of a joke when buffed to 8/8 and played three at a time.
      • The Boomsday Project gives way to "Topsy-Turvy Priest", where Stonetusk Boar is a win condition for a combo. The deck involves using Test Subject to copy Divine Spirits to pile on the Boar, followed with Topsy Turvy to switch that massive health into massive attack for a One-Hit Kill via massive damage off the charging Boar. Furthermore, the combo also requires you to copy Vivid Nightmare with Test Subject, letting you duplicate the Boar as many times as you need to bust through any number of Taunts assuming you can play your cards quickly enough without messing up your combo.
    • Dirty Rat is a 2 mana 2/6 Taunt whose Battlecry plays a minion from your opponent's hand. Playing him on Turn 2 tends to go wrong, such as giving the enemy Druid an 8/8 Ancient Protector. However, it is one of the first cards that directly affects your opponent's hand, and playing it mid-late game when you have Removal potentially disrupts their combo by dragging their keystone minion out to be killed. Or denying a powerful Battlecry like Reno Jackson. Or blowing up their board by dragging out a Doomsayer.
    • Weasel Tunneler is a 1 Mana 1/1 with a peculiar Deathrattle of shuffling himself to the enemy's deck. Widely considered a crappy gimmick card, Savjz invented the 'Weasel Priest' deck, which utilizes multiple resurrections, Deathrattle activators and minion copying to flood his opponent's deck with Weasels, thus 'diluting' their card draw, and making them less likely to draw their required cards in time.
      Savjz: Spend 2 Mana, take 2 damage and draw a Weasel. You can't summon your Doomguard when all you get are Weasels.
    • Bolf Ramshield from The Grand Tournament has an ability that basically makes him a taunt minion, except worse: whenever your hero takes damage, Bolf takes it instead. The opponent's minion, however, takes no damage, so Bolf can literally be killed without him affecting your opponent's board in any way. If you somehow manage to obtain both Tree of Life and Auchenai Soulpriest or Embrace the Shadow, the result is usually all minions and both heroes dying, resulting in a draw, but if you have Bolf on the field, he'll soak up the damage and allow you to live to win the match. Good luck actually having all the necessary cards on hand, though.
      • With Maw and Disorder, Bolf has become a powerful servant for the Jailer. The Jailer makes all your minions Immune for the rest of the game, and with this, Bolf takes no damage from all the damage he redirected from your hero, making your hero Nigh-Invulnerable unless the opponent can remove him using non-targeted destruction effects.
    • Despite his incredibly high 4/4 stats for a 2-mana minion, Millhouse Manastorm almost never sees play in regular game modes as his Battlecry gives the opponent free spells on their next turn, which can easily lead to them building an insurmountable advantage or straight-up killing you. Tavern Brawls are a different story: because many Brawls with randomized decks tend to be relatively light on spells, with damage and removal in particular being almost nonexistent, a turn 2 Millhouse gives you an early powerhouse that can be very difficult to punish. He's also one of the best 2-drops to get from random effects like Piloted Shredder or Vex Crow, as this gives you a huge pile of stats without the hindering Battlecry.
    • The Silence Priest deck in its entirety. Individually, the key cards are laughably weak: Humongous Razorleaf is an overstatted minion that can't attack and is thus useless on its own, and Purify silences your own minion to draw a card, making it hopelessly outclassed by the Basic card Power Word: Shield. But put them together, and you can easily get a massive beater very early on that also synergizes well with the Priest's buff spells. In fact, the Razorleaf's uselessness works in the deck's favor: if the opponent chooses to destroy it, they waste a disproportionate amount of resources on a useless minion, but if they leave it up it'll smash their face in.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Compared to the rest of the Warcraft franchise, it's just a bunch of people (both Alliance and Horde) setting their differences aside to enjoy drinks and card games in a tavern. 90% of the cards' Flavor Text even puts a humorous spin on the more serious parts of the Warcraft canon when it comes to notable characters/factions.
    • The Curse of Naxxramas adventure mode is much lighter in tone compared to the original raid, with Kel'Thuzad sounding more like a comically bumbling necromancer who keeps assuring you that the next minion of his will surely destroy you.
    • Initially averted by Blackrock Mountain, where its two main villains were much more sinister and serious, even if their minions were fairly goofy. Played straight starting with the third wing, where Nefarian winds up divulging in a hilarious meltdown that only escalates from there.
    • The main artwork of every character is much more cartoony, especially on Tavern Brawls.
    • One Night in Karazhan is an intentional Breather Episode following the Darker and Edgier (by Hearthstone standards, anyway) Whispers of the Old Gods, and basically an Affectionate Parody of the World of Warcraft raid it is based on.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Dunemaul Shaman is a 5/4 minion for 4 mana plus Overload and a has a 50% chance to attack the wrong target. Discounting the Overload and Clumsy aspects, he's reasonably tough and strong for his cost, but most dangerously, also comes with Windfury. You do not want to let him wail on your face, as he can wipe off 33% of your health every turn.
    • King Krush is a 9-mana 8/8 with Charge, who can take a colossal chunk of health off the opponent or can bust through a tough minion, while having enough health to require several minion trades before it goes down.
    • In general, minions with similar attack/health value and possessing Charge, Rush, and/or Windfury is this.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Alluded to with the 'Ice Lance' card, which freezes a character, or deals four damage if said character is already frozen. Played straight with the Whispers of the Old Gods card Shatter (destroys a Frozen minion) and The Witchwood card Snap Freeze (basically Shatter crossed with Ice Lance; destroys the target if it's frozen, freezes it otherwise).
  • Lovecraft Lite: The Whispers of the Old Gods expansion. In particular, it introduces a corrupted version of Stormwind as its new battlefield, which parodies many Lovecraftian Tropes (a church's window becomes a huge eye that sheds a tear if you click on it a few times).
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • No doubt any player can attest to praying to draw that one card that can save them from a troublesome situation or help them win the game.
    • The Shaman's Hero Power summons a random totem out of a possible four. This ability is programmed to not summon duplicates, so the outcome gets less random as you gather each basic totem.
    • Several of the Shaman's cards involve more random effects than the other classes. This includes Lightning Storm doing 2 to 3 damage to each enemy minion, Crackle that deals anywhere between 3 and 6 damage, and Evolve and Devolve which transform minions into random ones costing 1 mana more or less.
    • The Hunter's Animal Companion spell works essentially the same way, with 3 possible beasts summoned by it.
    • Also, many card effects that target random minions/characters. On one hand, their randomness allows them to go through protection effects which prevent you from targeting, say, a Stealthed minion with a kill spell. On the other hand, try killing that one stealthed minion with, say, Multi-Shot, when your opponent has more than two minions out in the field.
    • The Thoughtsteal card, which lets Priests copy two random undrawn cards from their opponent's deck, Mind Vision, which lets Priests copy a random card in an opponent's hand, and Mindgames, which lets you randomly summon a minion form your opponents deck to the battlefield.. You can use stolen cards no matter what, but it's up to the Random Number God whether you draw a game-winner and (hilariously) kill someone with their own trump card... or one that's entirely useless to you (getting a Rogue's Deadly Poison is no good without a weapon to use it on).
    • Perhaps best typified by the Warrior's Brawl. Destroy all minions (including yours) but one, chosen at random. Often played on a board containing only enemy minions, allowing for up to a 6-for-1 card trade and possibly destroying extremely powerful minions.
    • The opponents you get in general and their decks. Match-making does its best to match you with opponents of equal skill (especially during peak playing hours), but whether any opponent is bringing his trump deck (that may smash yours to pieces) or his cruddy experimental deck that he's tried once is all a matter of luck.
    • Arena mode. You get 90 random cards generated and have to make a deck by choosing 30 of them (1 per set of 3 presented to you). Other than having to be neutral or available to your hero, these can be any 90 cards, which makes for some... interesting possibilities. Will you get just the right cards for the strategy you were planning on or will your deck end up a train-wreck? Will you get the chance to pick from some epic or legendary cards or will you be stuck with bog-standard ones? Part of the fun of playing Arena is playing with decks that would be impossible or insane to run in Constructed mode, and then beat opponents with those decks anyway.
    • The Hunter class challenge from Curse of Naxxramas. The player's deck consists of nothing but 30 Webspinner minions, which upon death add a random beast to the player's hand. Made significantly less frustrating by the fact that the boss the deck faces is Loatheb, who is susceptible to the rushdown decks beasts are meant to specialise in.
    • A similar thing happens in the Mage class challenge in Blackrock Mountain. Instead, it's 30 Unstable Portal spells, which add a random minion to your hand that costs 3 less. Like the Hunter challenge, you fight a boss who is easily susceptible to this deck, it being the Dark Iron Arena (which has 30 legendary cards, which while powerful, are very expensive, meaning many cheaper, better minions can beat him). Also, the boss tends to play Millhouse Manastorm in the first couple of turns (since his mana cost makes him one of the only things that can be cast early on), allowing you to immediately convert ALL of your portals into creatures.
      • That said, the Dark Iron Arena does have one thing going for it that can make it a lot tougher; one of the other two mana minions in the deck, Lore Walker Cho. Though he has no attacks, Cho's ability means that any spells you cast are given to the boss, which really stings if he plays Millhouse Manastorm the turn after he plays Cho, if not the same turn, and you have no way of removing him save by playing Unstable Portal and hoping for a strong charge minion.
    • Prone to happen in Tavern Brawls. One such Brawl gives the players a deck filled with random minions that cast a random spell of their matching cost when summoned (targets chosen randomly). Another does the reverse, with a deck full of random spells that summon random minions when cast. Yet another has random minions whose costs change randomly each turn, and another involves a deck full of Shifter Zerus that transforms into random minions at the start of each turn. The list goes on.
    • To get the most bang for the buck out of Elise Starseeker, you have to randomly draw a card she shuffles into the deck, then randomly draw another card shuffled into the deck by that card, and then hope that the random legendary minions you get won't ruin your synergy and leave you with a worse deck. Outside of that unlikely scenario she's just a Sen'jin Shieldmasta without taunt, but it makes it all the more awesome when you do get to play the full potential of the effect.
    • The so-called 'Randuin Wrynn' deck consists entirely out of cards with random elements to them. For extra fun, some of his cards copy random cards from the OPPONENT'S hand or deck.
    • The Discover mechanic will give you three random cards or effects within certain conditions (such as the player's class), letting you pick one. You could get something game-breakingly powerful, or three options that are completely mundane.
    • The Dungeon Run and Monster Hunt modes, being inspired by Roguelikes, require a lot of luck to win, both with regard to which card choices you get and which bosses you face.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Many minions brandishing shields have defensive gimmicks. Garrosh can also Shield Block to generate a lot of armor points, and draw a card.
  • Mad Scientist: Has its own card, though a few other characters like Dr. Boom and Professor Putricide also count. According to the Boomsday Project Lab Logs, every head scientist at the Boomsday Labs is one.
  • Magic Eater: The Blood Knight is a standard 3/3 minion for 3 mana. Upon play however, he removes all Divine Shield effects and gaining 3/3 for each removed. There are also the Mana Wyrms and various Troggs, which gain attack whenever a spell is cast.
  • Magikarp Power: Many cards get buffed every time a certain action is performed by its player (or both players), like +1/+1 for Questing Adventurer every time a card is played or +1 attack for Mana Wyrm every time a spell is cast (which is very often for mages). It's important to kill these cards fast before their stats/bonuses snowball out of control. These sorts of cards are often called "soft taunts"- nothing is actually making you focus them, but only a fool would let them live for a moment longer than possible.
    • As far as decks go, some decks focus heavily on late game and don't try to dominate the board early on and just try to control the board and turtle (often called "control" decks). The risk of running such a strategy is that if one cannot hold off the enemy onslaught early on and they gain a significant advantage, the game might be lost before any heavy-hitters get a chance to be effective.
    • Say a Priest drops a 1/5 or some such creature with no taunt. Doesn't seem like it's worth taking out. Then on the next turn: double health (2 mana), double health (2 mana), attack = health (1 mana). Now it's a 20/20. This trope is why savvy players will kill each and every weak minion they can if their opponent might buff them. A 1/1 Silver Hand Recruit is laughable in the late game, but not if Uther buffs it with Blessing of Kings then Blessed Champion to make it a 10/5.
    • Special mention goes to Gruul, a legendary minion that starts 7/7 for 8 mana BUT gains +1/+1 at the end of every turn. Yes, both your and your opponent's turns. Either silence/eliminate him immediately or be prepared to face a behemoth.
    • Bolvar Fordragon, a Paladin legendary minion with 1/7 stats for 5 mana. While he's in the player's hand, he gains +1 attack every time a friendly minion dies. When played normally, he's crap, but after a half dozen or so turns of holding him the opponent suddenly has a 9/7 to deal with.
    • C'Thun has a unique spin on this in that the buffing can happen while he's in your deck. In fact, it's the entire purpose of his deck, using his cultists to power him up to the point that playing him wins you the game on the spot.
    • The Jade Golems from Gadgetzan has an unwritten ability where its size depends on how many Jade Golems you have summoned throughout the game. The first Jade Golem you summon will be a measly 1/1, but once you've summoned enough, they'll start to show up with double-digit Attack and HP.
    • Pogo-Hopper is a humble 1-mana 1/1 that gets stronger for each other Pogo-Hopper you've played in the game. Between Rogue's many bounce cards and even Lab Recruiter to shuffle in more copies of it, it's not unusual to see a Pogo-Hopper exceed 15/15.
    • Ironically, Murlocs in Battlegrounds are at their peak in the late game. They have a middling early game and a bad mid-game, but late game their board-wide Battlecry buffs give the entire warband gigantic stats and can one-shot enemies with Poisonous. Dragons are a close second, where their scaling minions takes time to build up, but over time the stats add up and their board-wide Divine Shield lets them go two-for-one on other minions.
      • Some Battlegrounds heroes fall under this as well. For example, George the Fallen's Hero Power gives a minion Divine Shield for a whopping 2 Gold, but this heavy investment pays off very well in the late game. Mr. Bigglesworth is the most extreme version of this, where he basically has no Hero Power until someone else gets eliminated, where he can then Discover one of their minions, with any buffed stats and Golden status.
  • Mama Bear: Some sticky minions have Deathrattle that involves calling out their parent. Did you just kill that Raptor Hatchling or Direhorn Hatchling? Wait 'til their bigger, nastier parent appears.
    • There's also Mama Bear in Battlegrounds, which gives any summoned beasts a huge stat boost.
  • Manipulating the Opponent's Deck: There are several cards designed to mess with the opponent's hand and deck, or make them reluctant to draw more cards:
    • Cards such as Coldlight Oracle and Naturalize make the opponent draw cards. This can be utilized as part of a 'mill' strategy to force the opponent to discard cards because they've hit the hand size limit, and make them take fatigue damage by having them draw from an empty deck.
    • The Rogue spell Beneath the Grounds shuffles three Nerubian Ambushes into the opponent's deck. When drawn, they each summon a 4/4 Nerubian for the player that cast the spell. This is a bit of Early-Installment Weirdness - there have been many similar Rogue cards released since, but with the caveat that they shuffle beneficial cards into their own deck.
    • Iron Juggernaut, Clockwork Goblin, Seaforium Bomber, and Wrenchcalibur shuffle bombs into the opponent's deck that explode and do damage when drawn. Similarly, Hakkar the Soulflayer shuffles a Corrupted Blood into both player's decks - when drawn, it does 3 damage to the player and shuffles another two Corrupted Bloods into their deck.
    • Weasel Tunneler and Bad Luck Albatross add weak 1/1 minions to the opponent's deck, leading to wasted draws.
    • Excavated Evil deals 3 damage to all minions and shuffles itself into the opponent's deck. Not only does this slow down aggro players, it also puts a completely dead draw into their deck. Likewise, another Priest spell, Psychic Scream, shuffles all minions on the board into the opponent's deck, which can include useless tokens.
    • Prior to her rework, Mindrender Illucia forced you and the opponent to swap hands and decks for one turn, giving you a chance to take waste or even make use of key cards from their deck. Thanks to some unforeseen usage,note  the card was heavily nerfed in patch 21.3 to just give the user a copy of the opponent's hand rather than actually swapping them.
    • Glide causes you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw four new cards. If you can cast it from either of the outermost positions in the hand, it forces your opponent to do the same. Potentially this lets you go +4 while they go as much as -6.
    • Flik Skyshiv destroys a targeted minion and all cards with the same name as it, regardless of whether they're in play, in players' hands, or in their decks.
    • Whirlpool destroys all minions on the board and all copies of it the same way Flik does.
    • Skulking Geist destroys all 1-mana spells in both player's hands and decks.
    • King Togwaggle swaps you and your opponent's decks around, but gives the opponent a 5-mana card that switches the decks back. If you can find a way to burn that card (read: playing him while the opponent has a full hand) or get a copy of that card yourself, you can make the switch permanent.
    • Warlocks have a number of cards that can destroy cards in their opponents deck, including Gnomeferatu (destroy the top card), Altar of Fire (destroy three cards from both decks), Tickatus (remove five cards from the opponent's deck if corrupted), Void Contract (destroy half the cards in both decks), and Azari the Devourer (destroy all remaining cards in the opponent's deck).
    • The Darkness summons a dormant 20/20 minion, then shuffles three candles into the opponent's deck. If all three are drawn, The Darkness awakens.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class:
    • The Demon Hunter, being the first ever new class, is one of these. They have a 1 mana Hero Power instead of the normal 2 mana.
    • The Death Knight class requires selecting three Runes with any deck they build, using any number of Blood, Frost, and Unholy Runes. Many Death Knight cards require you to have chosen a specific Rune in order to add them to your deck, with more powerful cards requiring two or three of the same Rune.
    • The standard win condition is to bring your enemy Hero's HP to 0 by hitting their face with minions, spells and maybe weapons. However, there are certain archetypes that aim to win the game in a different manner:
      • Mill Decks also aim to deplete the enemy health, but through Fatigue rather than direct damages.
      • "Exodia" decks rely on certain card combinations that when unleashed, are supposed to finish off the enemy in one turn. Exodia Paladin in particular rely on summoning four token minions who will then kill the enemy Hero regardless of health or even Immunity, something Exodia Mage can't do.
      • Mecha'thun from Boomsday has a Deathrattle which will kill the enemy hero if you have no cards left in hand, deck and on board. The most mechanically unusual card printed so far, since its activation condition is something considered to be very bad in normal play.
    • Millhouse Manastorm in Battlegrounds has a very unusual Hero Power: he pays 2 Gold to buy a minions instead of 3, but rerolls cost twice as much and tavern tiers cost 1 extra. He has a lot of buying power on a good roll and can use token minions to "bank" Gold, but having a much more costly Reroll means he has to buy aggressively in order to not fall behind.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Some cards seem to actually be aware that they are cards in a game, at least according to their card descriptions.
      Abusive Sergeant: PUT ME IN YOUR DECK, MAGGOT!
    • Kel'Thuzad also blurts out a meta comment if his underling Maexxna plays Sea Giant.
      Kel'Thuzad: Sea Giant? Maexxna, that is NOT on my approved card list!
    • C'Thun has a couple meta comments if you buff him enough times.
      C'Thun: Your deck betrays you.
    • The Lich King is pretty much made of this, from threatening to disenchant the player for Arcane Dust to complaining about someone nerfing his weapon. Even his card description gets in on the fun.
      All that I am: anger, cruelty, vengeance, 8 attack - I bestow upon you, my chosen knight.
  • Metagame: Mostly manifests in popular opinion of which deck(s) are strongest, which changes fairly regularly. Averted for the most part, since opponents are chosen randomly, it's a matter of luck whether one deck's central strategy counters the others', so even a "win against everything" deck is likely to run into a counter. Most of the meta-strategy comes from knowing the possible cards a particular hero has at their disposal then playing accordingly.
  • Monster Clown: Carnival Clown. Although in his defense, he is trying to be a Non-Ironic Clown. He only becomes monstrous if you can Corrupt him.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Because the animation and voice over of each minions is independent of each other, you and your opponent can end up playing several minions with voice over work clashing widely in tone and feel with each other. For example:
      Shrinkmeister: Let us see if this works. (Hilarious)
      Cabal Shadow Priest: Let me change your mind (Creepy and unsettling)
      Sylvanas Winrunner: Let none survive (Proud and combative)
    • In a specific example, the cinematic trailer for Curse of Naxxaramas was gritty and mysterious until the last 5 seconds featuring the Innkeeper.
    • Blackrock Mountain has a threefor. At first it tries to be intimidating, but Ragnaros' Large Ham and Nefarian's Deadpan Snarker back and forth keeps it amusing. Then you start Blackwing Lair and learn that Vaelastrasz's fate is basically the same, forced to fight you by Nefarian's brainwashing while still being completely mentally aware of what he's doing, and nothing is done to remove the emotional pain of the fight if you know his backstory. And then after that heading to Chromaggus, the game's mood gets lighter again, though Nefarian continues to grow more angry and sinister than Ragnaros at his worst.
  • Mook Commander: Certain minions such as Stormwind Champion and Southsea Captain provide aura-type buff to other minions on the field. This can result in interesting interactions, such as Silencing the buffed minions does nothing, or a 1-health minion not losing health if pinged with only one damage.note 
  • Mook Maker: Several heroes have plenty of cards/hero powers to make mooks, while some minions such as Onyxia can summon additional mooks.
  • More Dakka:
  • Mutual Disadvantage:
    • The legendary minion Nozdormu limits both players' turns to 15 seconds, a potentially useful effect if one is very quick at thinking on their feet.
    • Several cards will have a detrimental effect to all minions on the field (including yours). Destroying all minions (called "board-clear" or "wiping") can be beneficial if your opponent has a significant advantage.
    • Mogor The Ogre from GvG causes all minions to attack the wrong target 50% of the time. The game is about carefully trading minions to gain board control, but once Mogor is on the board, all bets are off. You may want to use a spell to remove him due to how disruptive he is.
    • Mayor Noggenfogger is Mogor the Ogre to the next level. He'll randomize all minions attacks and all targeted spells and hero powers. The only thing that can reliably remove him is a big AoE spell.
    • Mojomaster Zihi cuts both players down to 5 mana crystals when she's played. Mutual as it is, a well-timed one can cripple an opponent's combo deck without really affecting yourself.
  • Mythology Gag: Nearly all the bosses of the Naxxramas expansion are lifted directly from the original Naxxaramas raid in World of Warcraft. As such, there are several references to the characteristics of each boss and how each was fought, including some Ascended Memes like Heigan shouting "Dance, fools, dance!" in reference to the "Heigan Dance" re-positioning strategy.
    • One Night In Karazhan has a few, usually coming from Moroes, Medivh's butler, who laments that Majordomo Executus has arrived too soon, he is not prepared for Illidan's arrival, and Reno Jackson tries to loot some silverware. In the same adventure, Prince Malchezaar uses Gorehowl in his boss fight, a reference to the long unexplained and confusing source of the weapon drop in World of Warcraft.
    • In the first mission in Knights of the Frozen Throne against Tirion, despite claiming he's assembled "the finest warriors of Azeroth", resembles more of a terrible raid party, including a DPS who can't deal damage, a tank who can't Taunt, and an AFK party member. It also references the olden days of World of Warcraft raids, including a Warlock that kills themselves with fire and a Hunter that rolls always rolls Need on a "hunter weapon".
  • Name-Tron: Annoy-o-tron is definitely the most well-known. There's also the V07-TR-0N and Omnitron Defense System, both taken from World of Warcraft. Rise of Shadows introduced Oblivitron, a tank built by mages.
  • Nerf: Blizzard used to take a very, very hands-off approach to balancing the game, preferring to allow the players to find ways of dealing with Game-Breaker decks or releasing new cards in the next set that counter previously strong strategies. As a result, on the rare occasions that they do make any changes to existing cards, they would only nerf, never buff, because they don't see a card being too weak (or even completely and utterly worthless for any purpose whatsoever) as a "problem" and try to keep any changes minimal, but on extremely rare cases they might give it a minor compensatory buff (such as giving a minion +1 HP to compensate for increasing its mana cost, which is a severe nerf). They've also earned something of a reputation for a "sledgehammer" nerf style where they will deal with a problematic card (most infamously Warsong Commander) by utterly destroying it and rendering it completely unplayable. Blizzard has been more lax with sledgehammer nerfs since 2019, however, making balance changes more frequently and have started to actually buff weaker cards and even un-nerf cards that have been sitting in Wild for some time.
  • Nice Kitty...: Cornered Sentry summons three 1/1 raptors for the enemy when played. Her summoning quote?
    Cornered Sentry: Nice little raptors...note 
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Non-Indicative Name: Stealth minions are just as visible as other minions, they just can't be targeted by enemy spells or attacks. Untargetted and Area of Effect damage can still hit them though.
  • Noob Cave: Practice mode, where players can face an AI of each hero using their basic deck. It's good to unlock the heroes and dry-run new decks, but can't be used to unlock most daily quests.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • One of the most surprise useful cards is Purify. Purify is a two mana spell which Silences a friendly minion and draws a card, and became one of Hearthstone's biggest memes on release. It turns out, it's pretty damn good with Humongous Razorleaf, as the Un'goro meta demonstrated.
    • During part one of the Ice Crown adventure, Lady Deathwisper will open each of her turns by reducing all of your minions' health to one, thus rendering high-health cards designed for tanking damage utterly worthless. The best minions to pick when fighting her are cards with particularly low health in exchange for high damage. Of course, this perfectly fits the description of Magma Rager, with its singular hit point and five attack, costing only 3 mana to summon in.
    • Blood Knight is a forgettable soft counter to Divine Shield minions, which destroys all Divine Shields in play and gains +3/+3 for each one. It became a lot less of a joke when Giggling Inventor was released, a 5 mana minion that summoned two Annoy-o-trons. Granted, Giggling Inventor got a well-deserved nerf, but there was a legitimate time when people were running Blood Knight for an easy 3 mana 9/9 wall-buster.
  • Now It's My Turn: How Aggro counter decks or strategies often play out. The opponent simply takes the early-game punishment while steadily setting up their board, then late-game, clear the opponent's field and dole out punishment of their own with a nigh impenetrable board, often while at low health.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: A particularly egregious example in recent times. IMDb lists a lot of voice actors from both America and Canada, but not all of them have assigned characters. And while several of those actors have been confirmed, it ultimately remains unclear as to who anyone else voiced, or if the list is even accurate.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Several adventure and mission bosses disallow card effects that could very easily trivialize the boss fight. Examples include Naxxramus bosses preventing you from using Alexstrasza to blow away their 60-90 Health to 15note . All Hero Power disrupting cards like Mindbreaker and Grizzled Wizard were designed to not work against adventure bosses as well. There's also Prince Malchezaar, who was specifically made to not get insta-killed by Sacrificial Pact.
    Prince Malchezaar: Hahaha! That could never work on a true Eredar Lord!
    • When SN1P-SN4P, a minion with built-in Echonote  and Magneticnote  was introduced, it immediately caused concerns for abuse. Theoretically, if you could give a Magnetic minion Echo and get its mana cost down to 0, you could Magnetize it onto any existing mech an infinite number of times until the timer runs out, not to mention with Coppertail Impostor, you would have a Mech with Stealth that could much more easily survive the next turn to have a mech to Magnetize onto. There was already one card that could easily create a 0-cost SN1P-SN4P in Standard: Reckless Experimenter. As a result, Blizzard prematurely nerfed Reckless Experimenter to not reduce cost below 1 just to prevent easy infinite damage setup... but it didn't stop people from abusing this in Wild, where you could just use Summoning Portal and Mechwarper instead. It became common enough that Blizzard decided to flat-out prevent Echo cards from having its cost reduced below 1.
      • Unstable Evolution is a spell that can be cast multiple times on the same turn. It's functionally identical to Echo, but doesn't have the keyword because Blizzard is very fussy about adding non-evergreen keywords outside of the set they were introduced in. Blizzard then later added the Echo keyword into Unstable Evolution because a new card, Radiance of Azshara, would otherside make its repeatable copies cost 0 mananote .
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: A brief riff of heroic-sounding chanting plays when either Tirion Fordring or Archmage Antonidas (the Paladin and Mage legendaries, respectively) are summoned. For those who are curious, the clips come from the Call To Arms theme.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • A few different spell cards flat-out destroy a minion without registering damage, and every class has a unique one. A couple of minions will also instantly kill any minion that they deal damage to (whether by attacking or being attacked). Amusingly, Lord Jaraxxus is still considered a Demon when he replaces your Warlock hero, so he is vulnerable to another Warlock's Sacrificial Pact spell, ending the match on the spot.
    • Poisonous minions instantly kill anything they damage, regardless of health. Notably, they need to deal actual damage, so Divine Shield will protect their target from the Poison effect. If you can somehow give a Minion who damages all enemy minions (such as Despicable Dreadlord or especially Dreadscale, thanks to Deathstalker Rexxar) Poisonous, your enemy is going to have a very bad time. The Dungeon Run boss Ixlid can summon Extremely Poisonous minions, which works on Heroes.
    • Uther of The Ebon Blade's Hero Power summons a 2/2 Horseman of the Apocalypse, a boost from his previous 1/1 Silver Hand Recruit. But see, if he manages to summon all four of the Horsemen, the enemy Hero instantly loses regardless of Health, Armor, or even Immunity.
  • Original Generation: Hearthstone started based almost entirely off of what the Warcraft series established, but gradually started adding flavor and characters unique to Hearthstone. Nexus-Champion Saraad and Bolf Ramshield, a pair of legendary minions introduced in The Grand Tournament, were two brand new characters that aren't able to be found anywhere in World of Warcraft, and by Mean Streets of Gadgetzan we start seeing expansions with an entire ensemble of original creations for Legendaries, with most future expansions following this trend. Journey to Un'Goro even added an entirely new sapient species to the mix.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Buffing your enemy's minion? Using that removal spell on your own minion? Forcing your enemy to draw more cards than he can handle? The possibilities are endless.
  • Overt Operative:
    • The Draconid Operative. He's supposed to be an infiltrator for the Kabal, but not only does he make it obvious he's a dragonkin, he also has a habit of announcing his presence by yelling "SECRET AGENT, COMING THROUGH!"
    • Happened again in Rise of Shadows. Convincing Infiltrator is a Faceless One wearing a cloak and wooden mask, who enters the battlefield saying "Greetings, fellow humans!" To make this even more ridiculous, Faceless Ones are shapeshifters.
  • Palette Swap: The Book of Heroes single-player content re-uses some cards with the same effect but with a different art and even a different name in order to match the narrative more appropriately.
  • Pirate: One of the minion types. They're generally aggresive and focus on board flooding and weapon synergies, and are most common in Warrior and Rogue.
  • Pirate Parrot:
    • From the original launch of the game, there's Captain's Parrot, a 2 mana 1/1 that simply draws a Pirate from your deck.
    • The Deadmines introduced a series of parrot minions that repeat something that happened on a previous turn (geddit?), such as Mage's Grey Sage Parrot that repeats the last spell you cast that cost 5 or more mana or Paladin's Sunwing Squawker that casts the last buff you played on itself. These effects even carry over between turns, letting you really cheat mana potentially.
  • The Plague: Hakkar, the Soulflayer tries to simulate the infamous Corrupted Blood incident back in World of Warcraft. His Deathrattle shuffles a Corrupted Blood to each player's deck, which deals 3 damage when drawn and adds two more copies of itself to the deck. With enough bad draws, it will quickly multiply and ensures the victim to take more and more damage before succumbing.
  • Player Archetypes: Hearthstone was originally designed to appeal to the more "Casual" Timmy and Johnny, as a large number of cards released each expansion seems to lean towards Cool, but Inefficient when considering the game's competitive "meta". This has lead to many complaints from the game's more "hardcore" Spike-type fans, who often complain about the competitive scene being dominated by two or three optimized deck archetypes.
  • Play Every Day:
    • Daily Quests actually avert this, since they get added automatically whether you log in or not, and that you can save up to three daily quests in your quest log. This means you merely have to log in and play every third day to get everything, unless you want to reroll the Daily or Weekly Quests.note 
    • The Daily Tasks in Mercenaries mode play this very straight, with a daily task that has to be completed every day. This is not counting the other mercenary-specific tasks that reset themselves every day if nor completed. Thankfully, abandoned mercenary-specific tasks can come back with enough luck instead of being missed forever.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Naturally, mages have a variety of fire magics in their arsenal, including Fireball (4 mana, deal 6 damage), Flamestrike (7 mana, 4 damage to all enemy minions), and Pyroblast (10 mana, deal 10 damage) in addition to their hero powers. If a mage possesses Archmage Antonidas (their legendary), every cast will generate another Fireball card. Including the newly spawned Fireballs.
    • The Wild Pyromancer. "Do you like to play with fire?"
  • Power at a Price:
    • The Warlock in a nutshell. Gul'dan has access to Demons that are very good for their cost in Mana, but cost him in other ways like HP, discarding cards, or breaking a Mana crystal. As a result of having access to heavy-hitters earlier than he ought to, the general strategy of Warlocks is to rush them and dominate the match before an opponent can catch up.
    • The Overload mechanic for Shamans. Cards that Overload cause the player to be short X number of Mana crystals next turn to balance out how abnormally strong the card is for its current cost.
    • As for Warriors, they have a lot of cards that are contingent on one's own minions being damaged.
    • Some Neutral minions also have high stats for their mana cost but with a catch. Some cause the enemy to benefit (giving them extra mana crystals, for instance) while others just impede your future turns (like jacking up your minions' mana costs).
    • Some Battlecry effects can become more of a disadvantage to the player if they wish to play the minion anyway, which might result in them having to silence one of their own minions or returning a minion to their hand without the usual benefit.
    • The Lich King grants powerful Death Knight cards to his controller, but a few have extreme drawbacks that would make you think twice from using them. Namely Doom Pactnote , Army of the Deadnote , and Obliteratenote 
  • Power Copying: The Epic minion Sideshow Spelleater replaces your Hero power with your enemy's. While it doesn't work versus AI, it does work on the empowered Hero powers and especially beneficial if you manage to copy Lord Jaraxxus' or Ragnaros' Hero powers.
    • If you want to create a true Mirror Match situation, what you do is copy the opponent's deck with Archbishop Benedictus after emptying your deck, copy their hand with Azalina Soulthief, and copy their Hero Power with Sideshow Spelleater.
  • Power Creep:
    • In its early incarnation, Boring, but Practical minions with excellent stats such as Chillwind Yeti and Boulderfist Ogre were commonly used. Nowadays there are minions with equal stats but also come with other effects, making them superior to vanilla versions. In general, incremental value has been largely overtaken by combos or fast, aggressive lists. Even value staples like Piloted Shredder and Dr. Boom have largely phased out in Wild.note 
    • In the vanilla game, a minion's subtype mattered. You could put Wild Pyromancer in your deck; a 3/2 with an ability, or Bloodfen Raptor; a 3/2 that was a Beast. The trade-off was that the minion would be better with synergy. Nowadays, neutral Beasts are frequently printed with vanilla stats and upsides, making their Basic counterparts pretty bad in comparison. It's even doubled over power creep, since tribal synergy has only gotten stronger.More detail 
  • Power Equals Rarity: Zig-Zagged. Rarer cards tend to have better effects, making them more mana efficient than Basic ones.note  However, some Basic cards are considered very mana efficient for their cost, to the point that they are considered the gold standard for their category. note  Plus there are a LOT of "Legendaries" that are complete and utter unplayable trash only good for the 400 dust you get for disenchanting them, most infamously The Boogeymonster.note 
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: All Murloc cards say the same thing on being summoned, but the more powerful Murlocs (especially the Murloc Warleader and the legendary Old Murk-Eye) have deeper voices.
  • The Power of Rock: Putting down the Elite Tauren Chieftain puts one of a handful of Magic Music riffs into both players' hands.
  • Power Up Mount: There's a few spells that are this in flavour, which work by buffing a minion by +X/+Y and giving them an effect, as well as a Deathrattle to summon an X/Y minion with said effect. For example, the paladin spell Spikeridge Steed gives a minion +2/+6, Taunt, and summons a 2/6 Stegodon when it dies. United in Stormwind added a whole cycle of spells like this.
  • Practical Taunt: Minions with Taunt force opponents to go through them before minions without taunt, forming a very important line of defense for Glass Cannon creatures. Hero powers and spells go right by them, though.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: When summoned, Medivh's Valet says, "Excuse me, you are on fire." If his battlecry activates, he will then toss a flame at a designated target.
  • Promoted to Playable: Illidan Stormrage was promoted from a crappy and hopelessly Power Creeped Classic Legendary to the base hero of the new Demon Hunter class. This promotion also lead to his original card incarnation to be replaced with Xavius, who is mechanically almost completely identical to the old Illidannote .
    • Arthas the Lich King also became the base hero for the new Death Knight class in March of the Lich King.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage:
    • Golden copies of Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftan were given out for free to players during the beta (Gelbin was for making a real money purchase while ETC was for attending Blizzcon 2013). Both cards are next to useless, with symmetrical and very random effects. To make them even worse, they're restricted to Wild format as well. Even before the introduction of formats, neither of them could be drafted in Arena.
    • Marin the Fox, given out during Blizzcon 2017, is in the same boat. Although in his defense, he's much more Awesome, but Impractical than outright terrible, but he's still too impractical to see play in any real deck. He likewise became Wild-only once K&C rotated out.
    • Sathrovarr, given out during Blizzcon 2019, gives you three copies of a minion for your battlefield, hand, and deck. Only problem is he costs a whopping 9 mana and requires you to have the minion already on board. The only decent practical use for him is with a strong 0-cost minion like Shirvallah or in Wild Malygos Druid combo decks where the Aviana/Kun combo makes his cost not matter.
    • Averted big time with SN1P-SN4P. That card is very strong, to the point where it might be a little overpowered. Of course, that was the point - adding a new card to the game to shake up the meta. Unlike Gelbin and ETC, he was given to every single player for free, so everyone was on fair ground.
  • Punny Name:
  • Purposely Overpowered:
    • A lot of the Tavern Brawl game mode-exclusive cards would be downright Game Breakers if played in regular matches.
    • The Treasures you get Dungeon Run and similar PVE modes are absolutely gamebreakingly powerful. But given it's a Roguelike, you'll need these uber-powerful items.
    • Being a PVP version of Dungeon Runs, Duels features extremely overpowered treasure cards and hero powers to use. It's balanced by both the constantly growing semi-random decks and the fact that everyone has cards that are just as broken.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Some bosses in the Solo Adventures can feel like this, but the best example is the third mission of Osris Temple from League of Explorers; The 'boss fight' (running away from a crumbling temple) lasts exactly 10 turns with an exact specific pattern, with only one randomizer note  aside from your draw.
    • The whole concept of the Puzzle Labs, where you're given a predetermined board state and hand, with the goal of either defeating the enemy hero that very turn, replicate their board state, clear the board, or to survive a load of incoming damage.
  • Random Effect Spell: Hearthstone fully embraces its digital design space by introducing lots of cards with very random effects.
    • Examples go as far back as Unstable Portal in GVG adding any minion in the entire game to your hand and reducing its cost by 3. This is usually garbage, but could easily win you the game if you roll high enough, which is why it saw play in oldschool Tempo Mage decks.
    • The Mad Bomber card (and later its bigger cousins, Madder Bomber and Maddest Bomber) deals multiple damage spread out randomly among everything on the board. If the Random Number God is in a good mood, it can easily turn a game in your favor. Most of the time, it will just nuke everything on your side of the board.
    • Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, has been officially christened by the Hearthstone fanbase as the Random Number God. He's a 10 mana 7/5 that will cast a random spell with a random target for every spell you've cast that game. On average he will clear the board (including himself), draw a ton a cards from your deck, discard all of yours, summon more minions, kill those, and then throw Pyroblasts who-knows-where.
    • The Mage spells Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron and Rune of the Archmage as well as the legendary Solarion Prime are beautifully chaotic examples. The first casts 10 random spells at 10 random targets, Rune casts 20 mana worth of Mage spells that attempt to target enemy characters, and Solarion casts 5 Mage spells that also target enemies.
    • Yogg-Saron returns in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire as Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate. If you played 10 spells, he'll spin the wheel for one of six totally wacky effects: His old Battlecry effect, filling your hand with spells that cost 0 for the turn, destroying every other minion and gain their stats, stealing three enemy minions, filling the board with random minions and giving yours Rush, and a small chance to cast Pyroblast at random targets until you or the enemy dies.
  • Randomized Transformation: Shamans have access to various evolve and devolve effects, which transform minions into random ones that cost 1 more or 1 less respectively. While a higher-cost minion will generally be better, it's still a highly variable effect. You could turn your 3-drop into an 8/8 Nozdormu the Timeless, but you could just as easily turn it into a 1/1 Wicked Skeleton.
  • Randomly Generated Quests: The game uses a daily and weekly quest system, which you complete to earn rewards. You get one daily quest every day and three weekly quests every Monday, and can reroll one of each per day if you don't like the requirements. Quests are usually things like playing enough cards of a specific type, dealing damage to the opponent, playing games as specific classes, or winning games in certain gamemodes.
  • Random Number God:
    • Many cards can deal random numbers of damage or target a random enemy. The RNG is affectionately referred to as RNGesus among streamers, and you can expect prayers before a major play.
    • The overuse of RNG-based mechanics is actually the game's biggest criticism from people who don't like it and is a source of constant arguments about whether it's a good thing or not. Although all CCGs use an inherent amount of RNG by default, Hearthstone openly embraces randomness on a previously-unseen scale, with cards drawing from potentially dozens of possible effects, some of which can win or lose you an game in an instant (just ask anyone who ever saw a Doomsayer pop out of a Piloted Shredder).
    • Mayor Noggenfogger, for a whopping cost of 9 Mana, will randomize every target. It doesn't apply to just minions like Mogor the Ogre, it applies to every spell and hero power, too. Anything that can be targeted will be random. He can make your opponent hit Deathwing with their weapon, attack face through your Taunt, heal the opponent's completely healthy minion, or cast Fireball on themselves, or he can do the exact same thing to you. Also, he completely randomizes Emotes. There's even a small chance to use the removed "Sorry" emote!
    • If you thought Yogg'Saron's random spells were wacky, why not have one go off every turn? With The Amazing Reno, his Hero Power does just that. Sure, the chain of events won't be as chaotic, but he can just as easily give you or screw over the board at just the right or wrong time.
  • Raptor Attack: There are a handful of raptor minions, most famously the Basic vanilla 3/2 minion Bloodfen Raptor.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: There have been a good number of recorded instances of misplays due to bad play order involving The Coin. A great example of this involve Haunting Vision and Kalecgos, which provide a mana discount to spells right after playing it or the first spell of your turn, respectively. You can guess what happens if you try to coin out a Kalecgos at 9 mana or a discounted spell you just discovered and you're 1 mana short. An even worse example is if you use it with Electra Stormsurge. Even the flavor text mocks you for playing The Coin right after Electra. This also shows up in the Puzzle Lab, where one puzzle gives you a Coin and a Celestial Emissary (gives +2 Spell Damage on your next spell). It's very possible to mess up this puzzle by wasting Celestial Emissary's Spell Damage on The Coin, ending up 2 damage short.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Hitting the “Cancel” button while waiting for an opponent causes one of these, albeit a very short one.
  • Reduced Mana Cost:
    • This is one of the strongest effects in the game, since it removes the chief limitation you have each turn. Mana-cheating staples like Sorcerer's Apprentice and Shadowstep see tonnes of play. Emperor Thaurissan, a 6-mana legendary that simply reduces the cost of the cards in your hand by 1 at the end of your turn, is considered one of the best cards ever printed and still sees Wild play. Mana cost reducers are some of the most frequently nerfed cards as well.
    • One very notable example is Robes of Gaudiness, a Passive treasure introduced in the Dalaran Heist that halves the cost of every card, rounded down. Far and away the best treasure ever, it lets you steamroll bosses by itself, since your highest-cost cards will be five mana at most. It had the honour of being slashed to almost never occurring in single-player, and was banned from Duels in less than 24 hours.
  • Resurrective Immortality:
    • Dreadsteed is a 4 mana 1/1, but returns to the board at the end of the turn whenever it's destroyed. Prior to an Obvious Rule Patch due to Defile, it instead resummoned itself instantlynote .
    • Zerek, Master Cloner is a Priest Legendary that resummons itself on death so long as you cast a spell on it while it was alive.
    • The Reborn mechanic is a limited version of this. The first time a Reborn minion dies, it comes back with 1 health.
  • Reset Button: The practice of "Board Clear", where you try and clear the enemy's (and sometimes, your own as well) side to put a stop on the enemy's momentum and let the minion development phase to begin anew. Incredibly vital when the enemy has the advantage, and clearing a fully-developed board can often break the enemy's back, ending the fight there and then.
    • On a more specific note, the Druid's Tree of Life spell restores all characters (minions and heroes) to their full hp.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Paladins can get the Avenge Secret by completing Naxxramas. If any of your minions die during the enemy turn, one of your minions get a +3/+2.
    • And from Blackrock Mountain adventure, we have Emperor Dagan Thaurissan. Kill his wife, and he can use his hero power. That hero power deals 30 damage.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: The Blood Magic Tavern Brawls cause all spells to be Cast from Hit Points. Between Mage's direct damage spells, Paladins unloading a lot of buffs on a cheap Charge minion, and Druids having fantastic draw power and the ability to attack the opponent directly, games end as soon as turn 1 or 2, with one player burning through their health to kill the opponent as fast as they can or die trying.
  • Roguelike:
    • The Kobolds and Catacombs expansion gave the single-player Dungeon Run mode, which is basically a card-based Roguelike. You start with 10 cards and 15 health, and as you progress, you get more cards to fill your deck and more importantly, absolutely powerful treasures to help you along the quest. And given that Roguelikes in general are Nintendo Hard, you'll need those treasures. Finally, the cards you get, the treasures, and even the bosses you fight are randomized every time, ensuring no two Dungeon Run experience will be the same. The Witchwood and Rastakhan's Rumble had their own variations, albeit less replayable ones than the original.
    • Rise of Shadows introduced the largest version of this yet, with multiple wings and unlockable Hero Powers and decks. Saviors of Uldum further added to this, with each explorer having a large set of unlockable items.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: A popular genre of Hearthstone videos. Set up a complicated sequence that gets triggered and watch the ensuing hilarity. For example, summoning Jaraxxus triggered Knife Juggler that killed Explosive Sheep that killed Sylvanas that Mind Controlled Jaraxxus...
  • Rule of Funny: Most of the cards' flavor texts are written to be funny one way or another.
  • Running Gag:
    • Any card with an unclear name (such as Lightspawn and Spellslinger) will have flavor text asking what exactly the name is.note 
    • There's been a minor fixation with the comically bad Magma Rager ever since The Grand Tournament. Its infamy for its incredibly awful Health gave a rise to Rager spinoffs that are mostly only slightly better than it. Then there was League of Explorers, where in your first battle against Rafaam he'll make fun of you for having Magma Rager in your deck. Some of the Magma Rager's cousins include:
      • Ice Rager from The Grand Tournament, who has the advantage of having double its health at 2 Health. Its flavor text jokes that he's cooler than Magma Rager.
      • Am'gam Rager from Whispers of the Old Gods, although it's equally terrible for the opposite reasons; it's a 1/5 instead of a 5/1. Yet, the flavor text jokes that it's "peerc rewoP".
      • Shadow Rager from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, a Rogue-specific version. This one has Stealth to make up for its horrible health, so although it will die from a Maelstrom Portal, it can't be killed with a Fireblast.
      • Wax Rager in Kobolds & Catacombs's Dungeon Run has all the stats of Magma Rager, except that it's a rare Treasure card that it revives itself instantly on death.
      • Steel Rager in The Boomsday Project, while it costs 1 more mana, it's got Rush to take advantage of its attack. It's also a Mech.
      • Faceless Rager in Rise of Shadows has Magma Rager's crappy stats by default, but it has a Battlecry that copies a friendly minion's Health, making it the first Rager card to be actually good.
      • Divine Rager from Scholomance Academy, another 4 mana Rager that adds Divine Shield to the mix but is still pretty much unplayable.
      • Madness at the Darkmoon Faire throws in Rock Rager, which is doubly better than Magma Rager as a 5/1 Taunt for 2 mana, and yet is still woefully underpowered.
      • March of the Lich King has Scourge Rager. It has a whopping (for a Rager) 4 Health and Reborn, but its Battlecry makes it kill itself when played, effectively turning it into a vanilla 5/1 that can be healed.
    • The Grand Tournament expansion introduced Refreshment Vendor, a card that talks about buying funnel cakes when played. Later sets gave us Undercity Huckster and Priest of the Feast, who also talk about funnel cakes. Even hidden flavor texts are not safe from this: Kabal Trafficker also mentions funnel cakes in her flavor text, and the Devilsaur Egg's flavor text claims that it's a key ingredient in the recipe.
  • Sarcasm Mode: The emotes often come off as this to many people, which is made more ambiguous by the lack of any other chat in random play. It doesn't help that many of the heroes' voices sound smug and condescending.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: The flavor text for Bloodlust is simply "blaarghghLLGHRHARAAHAHHH!!" Not that it needs any more, since the sound of the spell being cast is unmistakable.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: The appropriately named BEEEES!!! from Uldum, which summons a swarm of bees to attack a target. Can notably also be cast on your own minions, making it useful for triggering Overkill effects on minions that can survive the attacks (like, say, a Linecracker).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: To get Azari the Devourer, you need to summon a certain legendary minion whose battlecry is giving you the First Seal card into your hand. Casting the First Seal summons a demon and Second Seal. You need to keep casting the Seal until the Fifth and final Seal, which gives you Azari whose battlecry outright destroys the enemy's deck, immediately sending them into fatigue. That being said, since it takes a total of 41 mana for this effect to take place, to call it Awesome, but Impractical may be an understatement.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Doomsayer minion destroys all minions on the board (including himself) if he is alive at the start of your turn. In other words, the end of the world only happens because he's there predicting it.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Before its rotation from Standard, there was a "Cursed Blade Challenge" going around, involving the player equipping Cursed Bladenote  from their very first turn, never letting it get used up or get broken (or at least replacing it shortly afterwards without taking damage in between), and defeating the opponent only while both players are in fatigue (to avoid minimizing the downsides of the Blade by rushing the opponent down). It needed ridiculous luck to beat, but it was satisfying to do so.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Druids can make use of Innervate (+1 mana for that turn only) and Wild Growth (+1 empty mana crystal to be filled next turn) to play cards of higher mana cost that could normally be played at that stage in the game. They can also use Biology Project (+2 mana for both players for the price of 1 mana) to deliberately invoke this. In fact, if you have both copies of Innervate and Biology Project while going second with The Coin (another free +1 mana), it's actually possible to play something for 6 mana as early as turn 1! With The Grand Tournament expansion, Astral Communion discards your hand but grants you 10 mana crystal for 4 mana, which means you can play big minions way, way earlier, as long as you actually draw them... There's also Duskfallen Aviana, who makes the first card played each turn cost 0, which is good... except for the fact the effect works for your opponent first.
    • Nozdormu the Timeless, a Paladin legendary, maxes out both player's mana crystals as early as turn 4, instantly bringing the game to its late game phase.
    • Rogue has a lesser version named Preparation, which gives them a 2-mana discount on their next spell. On one hand, Preparation can't stack with itself unlike Innervate (and only works with spells), but on the other hand, it's a bigger discount, and it works very well with the Rogue's Combo cards. Mean Street of Gadgetzan gave Rogues a Counterfeit Coin, which is basically the same as the usual Coin in terms of effect, but thus allows Rogues to play more expensive cards sooner than normal. It gets even crazier with Academic Espionage from The Boomsday Project, which shuffles in 10 random cards cards from your opponent's class which cost 1 mana, which means it's actually possible to play something as much as 10 Mana on turn 2 if you play Coin + Preparation + Academic Espionage.
    • The Giant Warlock deck (or Handlock) can do this in a sense. The whole point is to exploit his Gul'dan's hero power to keep hurting himself and drawing cards so that he can play Mountain Giant (12 mana, costs 1 less for each card in his hand) and Molten Giant (25 mana, costs 1 less for each point of damage your hero has taken) much faster than normal.
    • Many, many ways to cheat out minions early have been devised in Hearthstone's history, including but not limited to:
      • Cards that summon weaker copies of another minion (Barnes, Shadow Essence, Dollmaster Dorian); while weak on their own, any Resurrection effect will bring them back to life with full stats
      • Recruit cards with high level or no level restrictions (Possessed Lackey, Gather Your Party)
      • Cards that summon certain minions out of their hand (Skull of the Man'ari, Coffin Crasher)
      • Cards that swap out minions with something else (Madam Goya, Dr. Morrigan)
      • Cards that summon random minions in a controlled method (Ancestor's Call, Eureka!, Duel!), if you build your deck around big minions
      • Or any combination of the above. Here's an example: On turn 5, Rogue plays Kobold Illusionist, triggers Deathrattle with Necrium Blade, summons a 1/1 Sliver Vanguard that was in their hand, Silver Vanguard dies and Recruits a 8-mana minion like Ragnaros or Lich King.
  • Servile Snarker: Unlike other minions, a handful of demons don't feel like fighting and consistently make their grievances clear.
    Blood Imp: Sure, send the little guy!
    Flame Imp: Ugh, is this really necessary?
    Imp Gang Boss: Fine! Gosh!
    Felguard: Too pathetic to fight your own battles?
    Malchezaar's Imp: I don't wanna!
    Witchwood Imp: This was NOT in my contract.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: This is the default setting in this game: Whenever a card is transformed into a different card, it will remain as that new card for the rest of the match. This becomes important once you include recycling effects such as reanimation; If your Ragnaros gets polymorphed into a sheep then killed, you will revive him as a sheep and not Ragnaros.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Sometimes the best move is to do nothing and just pass. As some cards require a minionnote  as a valid target, keeping your board empty might make them unable to reduce the size of their hand and thus risk overdrawing and burning their key card. Thijs in particular is a fan of this. It's just turn 2 and the enemy Druid hit his Warrior for free 1 damage? Joke's on the Druid, as that gives extra card draw with Battle Rage. Enemy is Mecha'Thun Druid with 4 cards left in hand? Play nothing so the Druid can't use their Wrath or Spellstone, sending them over the edge and play Mecha'thun too early.
    • Quest Priests playing Activate the Obelisk is notorious for invoking this, as their quest requires healing 15 Health. The best thing for the opponent to do in the early turns is to avoid attacking the Priest to slow down their quest progress.
  • Shoot the Medic First: It's generally a good idea to target continuously healing minions (Lightwell in particular) as soon as possible before they become a nuisance. The Repair Bot has the unique distinction of randomly healing both friendly and enemy characters, making it a potential liability for its owner as well. The biggest of this is Kel'Thuzad, who will resurrect any dead minion at the end of every turn. Either you silence or take him out first, or your efforts will be futile.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • Bloodmage Thalnos is a 1/1 Legendary for 2 mana that adds +1 spell damage and a Deathrattle that draws you a card. Too simple to be worth silencing, he is considered an excellent addition in a wide variety of decks.
    • Acidic Swamp Ooze is a basic card, a 3/2 for 2 mana, making it a solid minion to play in most cases. However, its weapon-destroying Battlecry is simply invaluable versus weapon users. The only other minions that outright destroy enemy weapons are Gluttonous Ooze or Harrison Jones, which are epic and legendary respectively.
    • In general, Class-specific cards are just plain more efficient than the Neutral ones. For example, Water Elemental may deal less damage than Chillwind Yeti, but it's also tougher and comes with Freeze effect which is incredibly useful against weapon users.
    • The Tavern Brawl "Top 2" enforces this. Players choose only two cards and their deck is filled with fifteen of each. Thus players are forced to come up with extremely simple strategies to win. The sequel, Top 3, does the same but with ten copies of three cards.
  • Situational Sword: Some cards are very good at dealing with certain situations only, but since opponents can come with any deck, it's a matter of luck whether they'll actually see any real use. It should be noted that such cards are generally looked down upon during deck construction as they occupy valuable deck space, but if obtained via random card generation or through the Discover mechanic they may have been generated in the exact situation where they shine best.
    • One example is the Blood Knight, a 3-cost 3/3 minion who removes all divine shields on that are on the board at the time of play and gains +3/+3 for each shield removed this way. Extremely useful against (or for) Paladins and the non-class specific divine shield minions, but otherwise just an average 3-cost minion that could potentially take up a slot for a better card.
    • Big Game Hunter is another classic example, able to neutralize any minion with 7 or more attack when played... great against many Legendaries or buff-dependent strategies, but against aggro decks that employ a Zerg Rush, that will rarely come into play.
    • Eater of Secrets is all but explicitly stated to be the counter to Secret Paladin. With no secrets to remove, a 2/4 for 4 Mana is crappy. With one secret, 3/5 is under par, but at least it removed a secret, and all the better if it was a Mage's Ice Block standing between you and victory. After your opponent just played Mysterious Challenger? They just got a major pain in the ass to remove. Lampshaded by its summoning quote, which seems to directly address the Mysterious Challenger.
      Mysterious Challenger: Who am I? None of your business!
      Eater of Secrets: I know who you are!
    • Skulking Geist is a hard counter against Jade Druid (specifically, the card Jade Idol) due to its effects of destroying all 1-cost spells in all players' decks. However, by the time a 6-cost minion hits the board, most other decks can make do without their 1-cost spells anyway, and Skulking Geist's horrid stats won't help much in that case. Hilariously enough, Skulking Geist also spells disaster against anyone who played the spell Explore Un'Goro, which replaces their entire deck with copies of a 1-mana spell that Discovers a random card.
  • Single-Use Shield: Divine Shield protects a minion from the first instance of damage it would take. This allows minions to survive a blow from even the mighty Deathwing, but the shield also breaks under a single point of damage.
  • Skill Gate Characters:
    • C'thun and his cultists are Hearthstone's version of a starter deck, being easy to use, easy to understand, and since most of the synergy cards are neutral, playable in every class.
    • All of the final bosses from the adventures are meant to be huge, game ending bombshells for people who don't have the dust or gold income to afford a more powerful one. Prince Malchezaar is probably the best example, as he shuffles 5 random legendaries into your deck, letting you play with extremely strong cards you don't own. However, as a player's collection expands and their deck adopts a more focused strategy, Prince Malchezaar starts running the risk of thickening the deck with cards that don't contribute to the strategy, leading to unfavored draws.
    • Aggro decks are generally considered beginner's decks: easy to pick up and learn and good at stomping their way through the lower ranks, but fall off as you climb the ladder and meet players that can shut them down more effectively. That being said, a skilled player can viably play aggro decks at higher levels and many players do hit Legend with them, but a new players tend to be more successful with aggro decks than the other deck archetypes.
    • Whizbang the Wonderful is less so a card and more of a deck randomizer. Playing a deck with Whizbang in it results in him giving you a random deck recipe made by Blizzard, allowing you to play with at at least 100 cards you may or may not already own. The decks feature coherent strategies and solid cards, but are un-optimized, meaning that a wealthier player will likely be able to make something better and won't see any reason to use him. That said, he also allows poorer players to gain access to a massive chunk of the game's library for just 1600 dust! His successor - Zayle, Shadow Cloak - does the same thing, only with 2 major differences: the recipes are more limited (only 5 decks are available compared to Whizbang's 18) and he does not have to be opened in a pack or crafted, as purchasing the Dalaran Heist adventure will unlock him for free.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Parodied in Curse of Naxxramas as Kel'Thuzad presents Maexxna.
    Kel'thuzad: Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER! MUAHAHAHAHA!
  • Splash Damage Abuse: Like some other card games, AOE spells can be used to indirectly damage or de*stroy minions that cannot normally be targeted, usually because of Stealth, their inherent spell protection, or simply hiding behind an annoying Taunt minion.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • The Mage class received this complaint due to the fact that Jaina is the player's starting hero, the class has many powerful (sometimes to the point of Game-Breaker status) cards such as Fireball, Frostbolt, Flamestrike, Polymorph, etc. What pushed this over the edge for the players is the announcement that the recent patch would add Khadgar - the second alternative hero for Mage after Medivh instead of other classes (Rogue, Priest, Druid, Shaman and Warlock) that didn't even receive one.
    • In term of cards, C'Thun is clearly this for the Whisper of the Old Gods expansion because of the number of cards that specifically buffed it compare to the other Old Gods who simply support other cards type that existed prior (N'Zoth for Deathrattle minions, Yogg-Saron for spells and Y'Shaarj for big costed minions).
    • In a more meta example, if Blizzard prints several class-specific cards that are meant to create an archetype and it ends up being terrible, players will complain and claim they're "wasted card slots". The same applies if Blizzard prints a few cards over several expansions that are either archetype cards that are not enough to make a low tier archetype good enough (Ex. The constant trickling of Discardlock cards in 2017) or give a class too good cards when they're already at the top of the meta (Ex. Shaman in 2016, Priest in 2017).
  • Status-Buff Dispel: Silence effects are useful for negating whatever buffs an opposing minion has (especially Deathrattle effects). The Priest spell Mass Dispel does this on all enemies at once.
  • Status Effect-Powered Ability: Mages have a number of cards that gain bonus effects if used on Frozen targets, usually dealing extra damage or outright destroying the target.
  • Stealth Pun: One Night in Karazhan's disco theme isn't totally out of left field. In World of Warcraft, Karazhan is a dungeon that opens to players at level 68, and is useful for leveling and gear for some levels thereafter. In other words, it's a seventies dungeon.
  • Stone Wall: Some taunt cards balance out high health with little to no attack power, though giving a creature the same attack power as their health can cost as little as one mana with the right card. Some non-taunt minions also have these kinds of stats, making them perfect for other cards that give minions taunt.
  • Streamer-Friendly Mode: Streamer Mode censors the player's name and Battletag, as well as their opponent's name, to protect streamers' privacy.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: While it has existed since classic, GvG brought a multitude of explosive cards such as Darkbomb, Lightbomb, Madder Bomber, Bomb Lobber, and more.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: Normally, dealing excessive damage to a minion is discouraged as a core concept of the game is efficient trading of minions, but it's invoked with the Overkill mechanic introduced in Rastakhan's Rumble. You gain bonus effects by dealing more damage than necessary to kill a minion. Even before Rumble, Mage had Explosive Runes, a Secret that damages an enemy minion and then inflicts any excess damage to the enemy hero.
  • Switch-Out Move: The whole point of the Alarm-o-Bot is to sneak big creatures into play on the sly. Players of Animate Dead decks from Magic: The Gathering will feel right at home.
  • Symmetric Effect:
    • As part of their Power at a Price design, many Warlock cards inflict a penalty on both players. For example, Hellfire damages everything in play, including both heroes, and Altar of Fire mills the top three cards of each deck.
    • In opposition to Warlocks, several Druid cards give positive effects to both players. Grove Tender has a "Choose One" effect that either grants both players 1 extra mana crystal or draws one card for both players, and Dew Process makes it so that both players draw an extra card at the start of their turn for the rest of the game. Duskfallen Aviana is an example of a symmetric effect primarily benefitting the user's opponent. She makes the first card on each player's turn free. Unfortunately, this means that your opponent gets to take advantage of it first, so they can get a free card and then kill Aviana before you get to use her effect.
    • Two of Paladin's major themes are having "fair" effects, and manipulating minion stats. They have multiple cards that change the stats of both friendly and enemy minions in play, including Equality (to 1 health), Sunkeeper Tarim (to 3/3), and Shrink Ray (to 1/1).
    • The "project" cycle (Biology Project, Demonic Project, Research Project, and Weapons Project) from The Boomsday Project are all cheap spells that give something to both players, related to their respective class's strengths. Likewise, the vendors from Madness at the Darkmoon Faire (Armor Vendor, Prize Vendor, Banana Vendor, and Knife Vendor) are neutral minions with symmetrical Battlecries.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors:
    • Your deck will most likely be this: strong versus certain opponents and weak against others. A basic example would be the Aggro - Midrange/Tempo - Control deck. Aggro would beat Midrange before they can get their key cards, Control could not keep up against the Tempo of Midrange decks, and Aggro would not be able to penetrate Control's defense.
    • Naturally, the metagame changes so there will be a different case of Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors every time. And of course, depending on the decks and player skill levels in question, decks can potentially beat decks intended to counter them.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Loatheb in the Naxxramas expansion. He begins the fight with 75hp (in contrast to the standard 30), but the unique spell cards he uses create spores that, when defeated, give your minions +8 attack.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Can be done with the battlecry effects of Youthful Brewmaster or Ancient Brewmaster, which sends an allied minion back to its owner's hand. One can make a strategy out of getting double use out of battlecry minions by summoning, withdrawing, then summoning again (or just to recall wounded powerhouses then re-summon at full health). Rogue also has a few cards that do the same, with one of them, Vanish, even causing minions to return en masse.
    • The Shaman "Reincarnation" spell works in a similar fashion, but destroys the target and then resurrects it, which not only skips the need to summon it again, but also triggers Deathrattle effects.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: The game acknowledges International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day by giving all characters special greeting emotes for the occasion. Well, except a few...
    Gul'dan: Pirate's Day? I don't get it...
    Khadgar: We celebrate... sea criminals today?
    Rastakhan: When de king approves, it is called privateering.
    Sylvanas: Shiver me - eh, whatever.
  • Take That!:
    • The final tutorial quest is the first one to use all the rules and start the players off on even footing. The advice text tells you it's horribly unbalanced and you should blame the game designers. (Though ironically, your opponent does have some incredibly powerful creatures and cheap spells at his disposal, and the decks are stacked so you'll get an easy victory if you keep your head. The lesson here is to learn how it's always possible to turn a game around.)
    • The common Loot Hoarder card is a general Take That! toward the more greedy players of World of Warcraft, specifically the line, "Mind if I roll 'Need'?" (A common way to hog loot used to be to click "Need" rather than "Greed" every time an item dropped, even if one didn't really need it.)
    • The flavor text of the card Cursed Blade: "The curse is that you have to listen to 'MMMBop' on repeat."
  • Take Up My Sword: Tirion Fordring, the Paladin-exclusive legendary minion, does this to Uther when he finally dies by passing on his Ashbringer, a potent 5/3 weapon.
  • Taking You with Me: Rarely, it is possible for games to end on a tie; but the only way to do so is to do something that kills both the enemy hero AND your own. This usually happens because one player cannot win, but can prevent the opponent from taking the victory. The game displays both hero frames exploding (signifying a loss); however, it does not actually count as a loss. For instance, should you end on a tie on an Arena run, it will not increase your loss count, nor your win count.
    • Perhaps the most spectacular way to accomplish this is to somehow acquire the Druid spell Tree of Life (restore all characters' HP to full) as a Priest and playing it while Auchenai Soulpriest (turn all your healing effects to damage) is under your control. The result is the simultaneous implosion of every single minion and hero.
    • There are also minions whose deathrattles may end up taking out a few other minions (and/or a hero) down, such as Abomination and Obsidian Statue. Mecha'tun has one of the more interesting case of Taking You with Me: If he is killed when his owner has nothing left in deck, hand and field, he instantly kills the enemy hero.
  • Tempting Fate: A big part of the fun in watching Streamers. Its best not to act cocky when things are going go your way, for fear of drawing the RNG's ire. So you got a board of four 8/8s, whose Deathrattle summons two more 8/8s each. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Thanatos Gambit: Deathrattle minions trigger their effect when they die - as such, it is sometimes beneficial to lose your minions. Go through the trouble of slaying the opposing Paladin's Tirion Fordring? The Ashbringer that Uther gets might be what he was really after all along. This is especially true when someone plays Baron Rivendare (which doubles all your Deathrattle triggers) on their turn and start killing off all their Deathrattle minions to get huge advantages. Other cards gain attack power when a minion - any minion - dies, with often ludicrous results.
    • One of the best examples is probably Sylvanas Windrunner, a 6 mana 5/5 whose Deathrattle will possess a random enemy minion when she dies. Opponents who cannot silence her are usually forced to expend their minions rather inefficiently to prevent them from being taken away, which is usually what her owner is counting on.
    • Another example are the various "egg" cards that were printed. They have 0 Attack and their Deathrattle summons a minion with much better stats for their cost. If they kill it too early, the opponent needs to deal with the minion that it summons. If they leave it alone, it gives the opponent a chance to buff them.
    • When Deathrattle trigger effects are involved, the gambit becomes even more risky. Using the above example, do you want to risk leaving that egg alive so they can play Play Dead or Necrium Vial to double or triple its Deathrattle without killing the minion, or do you kill it immediately and just deal with whatever minion it spawns right now instead of maybe making things worse the next turn?
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Several of the weekly Tavern Brawls will make a given minion or class considerably more powerful/useful than normal. The trope also applies to "tech" cards.note 
    • The Spiders Everywhere brawl made sure the only minions players had were beasts, making Tundra Rhino (which gives all your beasts charge) one of the most useful minions around.
    • Likewise a Too Many Portals brawl (which replaced all minions with Unstable Portal) made the Sorcerer's Apprentice's ability to reduce cost of all spells incredibly powerful.
    • While the Double Deathrattle Battler (which double the effect of every Deathrattle) understandably saw a massive increase of minions with Deathrattle, a surprisingly useful card to have in this Brawl is Lil' Exorcist - a Neutral 2/3 for Taunt that has her stats increase by 1/1 for every Deathrattle minion your opponent controls, as it forces your opponent to trade into her with their Deathrattle minions and potentially save you if they have lethal.
    • Not a specific card, but the chat feature became extremely useful in the Brawl United Against Mechazod! as it allows both players to cooperate and know which card to play to get maximum benefit. Of course, this particular brawl also makes cards that benefit the opponent, such as Millhouse Manastorm and Lorewalker Cho, extra useful for helping your partner out.
    • When it comes to specific cards, some cards may have unintended consequences. For example, Bolf Ramshield from The Grand Tournament is considered a very bad card. Poor stats for its 6 mana cost, plus it takes damage if your hero is attacked (making him a glorified 0/9 Taunt in most cases), but does not deal damage to minions that attack you directly. However, come Whispers of the Old Gods, it turns out that Bolf's unique ability allows him to eat an entire C'Thun battlecry of any arbitrary size, leaving the hero unscathed. While you do lose your board, it does give you a turn to remove C'Thun.
    • The "Top 2" Tavern Brawlnote  saw a massive influx of Mech Decks, all consisting of Mech Warper (reduces the cost of all mechs in your hand by one) and another mech card. As early as turn two could see players with nearly full boards of minions they summoned for free.
    • Hungry Crab and Golakka Crawler both are cheap creatures designed to kill very specific targets (Murlocs and Pirates respectively), and so will see play depending on the prevalence of either minion type, both in and out of Tavern Brawl.
    • Several cards are so situational that it would be considered madness to even put them in a constructed deck. However, if picked up through the Discover mechanic, there's the possibility that they were discovered in the exact situation where they would shine the most.
    • The Miniature Warfare Brawl makes several expensive minions that normally don't see much use, such as Northsea Kraken, into powerhouses. A shining example is Alexstrasza; while her effect of setting someone's health to 15 isn't bad per se, she often gets sidelined in normal games. Here, she can be dropped on turn 1, immediately halving the enemy's health from the get go.
    • Nightmare Amalgam is a 3-mana 3/4 with the quirk of being treated as all minion types. It didn't make much of a splash in constructed play since it debuted at a time where tribe synergies and minions with no real effect didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, and the only real use it saw was as a beefy early-game murloc or elemental. However, Battlegrounds is all about tribe-specific buffs, which made Nightmare Amalgam the heart of more Battlegrounds strategies than any other card since it benefits from all of them. And to top it all off, it's the only dragon in the game for Zoobot or Menagerie Wizard to buff. Nightmare Amalgam warped the game to the point of Complacent Gaming Syndrome and Blizzard decided to completely remove it from the gamenote .
    • Sacrificial Pact is a 0-cost card that kills a demon to heal for 5. It has long been deemed too clunky to use for healing and too situational to be a tech card. It couldn't compete with other healing cards that didn't require sacrificing tempo, and there were a very limited number of enemy demons to be worth using on, and that's if you manage to run into a Demon Warlock deck. While the card did start to see some play in Galakrond Warlock, which vomited more than enough 1/1 Imps to sacrifice, when Demon Hunters arrived and absolutely trashed the meta, Sacrificial Pact suddenly became the best anti-meta tech card to play, so much so that every single Warlock deck ran Sacrificial Pact just to counter Demon Hunters. It got nerfed to target only friendly demons not long after.
  • Those Two Guys: George and Karl, two Silver Hand Recruits that gets mentioned in the flavor text for Lost in the Jungle and Vinecleaver from Journey to Un'goro as a Running Gag. Then in Dungeon Run the two would show up as a boss encounter. In the Year of the Dragon, the two get separated and George joins the League of E.V.I.L. to avenge Karl's death, only for the following expansion to show Karl just got lost in Ul'dum. By the end of the storyline, the two reunite with each other.
  • Time-Limit Boss:
    • The Crone on Heroic Mode in One Night in Karazhan. After turn 8, she'll draw and play a Twisting Nether every single turn, eventually letting her kill you with her Hero Power.
    • A. F. Kay from the Dungeon Run. She starts by doing nothing for six turns, but realises she's in a fight then plays Boots of Haste and fills the board with 8/8 minions. If she's not dead by that point, you will be.
    • Certain deck archetypes aiming for one-turn-kills are basically this. Some of the notorious ones are Shudderwock Shaman from Witchwood and Mecha'thun from Boomsday. Unless you can throw a wrench in their plans, your chance for winning is limited by how fast they can get their key cards and complete their win condition.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • The Grand Tournament is set in a colossal tournament where all are invited to compete.
    • Rastakhan's Rumble is built around a tournament between trolls, and its Rumble Run solo adventure is focused around leading a rookie troll combatant to glory in the ring.
  • Trash Talk: Rather than allow direct chat between players, Blizzard limits in-match communication to a set of six emotes note . Players have developed a complex and nuanced language out of these emotes, managing to display frustration, sarcasm, and appreciation depending on the circumstances. If you don't want any of it, you can squelch your opponent.
  • Troll:
    • The Annoy-o-Tron card, a 1/2 mech with Taunt and Divine Shield to stop any offensive, with a red afro, flashing lights for eyes, and bells, repeatedly chanting Hello! Hello! Hello!
    • Hecklebot, notable for having 18 different taunting voicelines as it is played or attacls. Its flavor text even says "Built by goblins, designed by trolls."
  • Turns Red:
    • Enrage minionsnote  will trigger their effect while damaged, and this effect can be anything from massively increased damage to attacking twice a turn, making it prudent to finish them in one hit or at least minimize the damage they can do. Healing them to full again makes them calm down, though. A few cards have other similar gimmicks related to taking damage, and this can get out of control very quickly, for example, letting Frothing Berserker or Gurubashi Berserker alive for too long after they start taking damage can end the game fast. Appropriately enough, enraged minions have a red aura over their card art.
    • The Warrior can invoke this himself with Mortal Strike, which deals more damage if his health is low.
    • Forged in the Barrens introduced the Frenzy keyword, which activates when the minion survive taking damage the first time.
  • Unpredictable Results: There are a lot of cards utilising random effects with such a wide variance of possible options that they're completely and utterly unpredictable. Even the popular Piloted Shredder can alternately summon a Millhouse Manastorm when it dies (very good for its owner), a Darnassus Aspirant (terrible for its owner since you suffer the Deathrattle without benefiting from the Battlecry) or a Doomsayer (potentially catastrophic for either player depending on who has more to lose). Whether or not this constitutes good design or a balance nightmare is an issue of great contention among the player base.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Patchwerk, one of the Naxxramas bosses, doesn't have any cards. That said, it can easily take you out in six turns because of its sheer power: a weapon that never runs out of charges (its deathrattle returns it to the boss's hand) and a hero power that destroys any minion. This extends to his Battlegrounds hero incarnation, where his Hero Power is just a passive max Health bonus.
    • The Ogre-type cards in the GvG expansion are powerful for their mana costs, but have a 50% chance of hitting the wrong target when they attack.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Despite only having the emote system for communication, GIFT is still in full effect and some people will spam emotes constantly, or just use emotes inappropriately, or just make unnecessary or pointless plays (like sacrificing minions without killing anything, or wasting spells that do little to nothing) before actually killing the opponent, just because they can.
  • Vanilla Unit:
    • There are plenty of minions with no rules text, no rules text besides a keyword, or no rules text besides a Battlecry (an ability that triggers when the minion is played from your hand).
    • The Giant archetype consists of big, expensive minions whose only ability is a cost reduction ability. While you have to exploit the cost reduction to make them worth playing (some of the costs exceed 10 mana, the maximum number of mana crystals, making the ability mandatory to play them at all), once they hit the field, they're essentially vanillas.
  • Victory by Endurance: The goal of Mill decks is to exhaust the enemy's deck and watch them die from Fatigue. In Dungeon Run mode, cards fitting said archetype is fittingly labeled as 'Exhaustion'. Can also be done by extreme Stone Wall tactics, healing yourself and refilling your deck as your enemy slowly exhausts theirs and succumb to Fatigue. Dead Man's Hand Warrior is pretty much the epitome of this tactic; the deck has no direct damage at all, but it can repeatedly shuffle armor-giving and board-clearing cards into the deck to destroy the opponent's minions repeatedly and gain armor faster than the enemy can wear it down.
  • Villain Episode:
    • Whispers of the Old Gods, an entire expansion based around the theoretical awakening of C'Thun, Yogg-Saron, N'Zoth, and Y'Shaarj as they attempt to conquer and corrupt Azeroth.
    • Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, which followed three notorious crime leaders in a gang war for control of the city.
    • Knights of the Frozen Throne, a What If? scenario where The Lich King succeeded in destroying Azeroth and corrupting its best heroes into Death Knights.
    • Rise of Shadows, a Villain Team-Up of all of Hearthstone's Original Generation villains attempting to rob the city of Dalaran.
  • Villain Song: Some of the trailers for certain expansions/updates feature songs sung by villains to indulge in their evilness:
    • The trailer for Whispers of the Old Gods is accompanied by one of the Old Gods' servants, Madam Lazul, singing about their wickedness and how hopeless it is to resist them. The Old Gods get another one with Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, a spooky music box melody about how much of an absolute nightmare the Darkmoon Faire really is.
    • Rise of Shadows' trailer has Rafaam singing his evil plan to other villains gathered, regarding his plan to take Dalaran for all that its got.
    • Trial by Felfire features Mecha-Jaraxxus and his Rusted Legion boasting of how invincible and indomitable he and his forces are, and how they'll conquer Outland, all set to a heavy metal-inspired composition.
    • Mercenaries features Lady Katrana Prestor and Kazakus singing a duet about their scheme to conquer Azeroth - by enlisting a group of mercenaries to do their dirty work.
    • The Deadmines mini-set presents Mr. Smite and the Defias gang singing a shanty about how scary and greedy they are, with Edwin VanCleef himself joining near the end and making threats towards his crew.
    • Onyxia's Lair features Lady Prestor gleefully boasting to the mercenaries about how she compltely played all of them as she takes on her true form.
  • Viral Unlockable: The Blood of Hakkar cardback, which is unlocked by playing against someone who currently has it equipped. It automatically equips afterwards, meaning you'll also spread the virus (unless you switch to something else before playing again).
  • The Virus: Infectious Sporeling from Ashes of Outland expansion provides a twist to the Poisonous mechanic. If this minion damages a target, the target turns into another Infectious Sporeling. And the target can spread the infection further. Even the flavor text references Agent Smith's famous line:
    The best thing about being me—there’s so many 'me's
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Some low-cost minions are nothing special in terms of stats, but have useful effects or have the potential to grow stronger- the challenge is keeping them alive long enough to be useful. For example, Alarm-o-Bot is a weak 0/3 for 3 mana minion, but it can potentially bring Deathwing straight to the field as early as turn 3, bypassing its detrimental Battlecry as well.
    • Al'Akir the Windlord, the Shaman legendary minion, can be considered to be this. It has 3/5 stats for 8 mana, which is beyond weak for its cost. However, it also has Windfury, Taunt, Divine Shield, and Charge properties, making it have the most effects of a single minion in the game.
    • Kabal Legendaries from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan combine poor stats for their cost with extreme effects when their activation condition is fulfilled.
    • Zilliax is a 3/2 for 5 mana, but has a fearsome combination of Lifesteal, Divine Shield, Taunt, and Rush. Him being Magnetic also lets him bestow all these abilities to an adjacent Mech.
    • The various Lackey cards introduced in Rise of E.V.I.L. are 1-mana 1/1 minions. Definitely weak, but they come with various effects that can absolutely give your opponent a bad time. Or alternatively, you, if the Faceless Lackey gives you a Doomsayer.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Victory is decided based on whose main hero character reaches zero health first, regardless of what's on the rest of the board. A player can utterly dominate the field with a wall of minions that could steamroll the opponent next turn, but it's all moot if the other player finishes them off with a spell or hero power before that happens.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: The Priest spell Shadow Madness takes control of a 3 attack or less minion until the end of the current turn. If it actually survives, it will go back to its original owner.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Related to Tempting Fate above; some minions have detrimental Battlecry or Deathrattle, or one that the enemy can capitalize extensively. The biggest of this is Millhouse Manastorm, a 4/4 for 2 mana is overstatted, but his Battlecry allows your enemy to cast all spells for free next turn. It's only Turn 2, what can possibly go wrong by playing Millhouse against a Hunter?
    Thijs: Sometimes you gotta show balls, guys. It's only Flanking Strike, well it's not very... IT'S SPELL HUNTER!
  • When Trees Attack: Malfurion has a few cards like this. He has a trio of huge Ancient minions that act as his exclusive heavy-hitters, and he can summon smaller Treants with a spell (either instantly or by giving his minions a Deathrattle) or with Cenarius' Battlecry effect.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • A category of Minions nicknamed 'Sticky' have Deathrattle effects that immediately summons another minion of equal or weaker strength, notably the neutral common card Harvest Golem, the Hunter-specific Savannah Highmane and the neutral legendary Cairne Bloodhoof. This is a useful property, as it forces an opponent to either silence it or expend more cards/mana to take it out than normal.
    • This effect can be achieved through other means, such as the Paladin secret Redemption which will resurrect a destroyed minion with 1 HP left, making it more of a hassle to deal with. And then there's Priests, whose healing powers and cards can make killing a high-health minion take ridiculously long if you can't reduce its HP to 0 in one turn. There is also Shaman's Ancestral Spirit, which is a bit like Paladin's Redemption except that it resurrects a killed minion with full health.
    • Gothik The Harvester of Naxxramas summons minions that, when defeated, summons a minion without attack on your side of the field, each of these nigh-useless minions damages their owner for one health each turn. Taking up space and, because they're on your side, make them extremely difficult to get rid of for good.
    • Particularly frustrating and difficult with the Legendary minion Kel'thuzad, which resummons at the end of every turn all friendly minions that died that turn. Yes, every turn, including your opponent's.
    • The Goblins vs Gnomes expansion added three more, although unlike the other examples they spawn a random minion rather than a specific one. Piloted Shredder spawns a random 2 cost minion, Piloted Sky Golem spawns a random 4 cost, and Sneed's Old Shredder spawns a random Legendary, which may include another copy of itself! However, these minions typically cost more than the minions they spawn; Sneed's something of an exception, as there are other Legendary minions who cost 8 mana or more.
    • Rattlegore is a 9/9 minion with a Deathrattle that resummons itself with -1/-1 stats. The first time he dies, he comes back as an 8/8. When he dies again, he's a 7/7, then a 6/6, and so on and so on until he dies as a 1/1.
    • The Grand Tournament added Dreadsteed, which is the most extreme example of this trope in Hearthstone. Any time Dreadsteed is killed it returns to the field at the end of the turn.note 
  • Weird Beard: Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound is the most powerful of the Old Gods, and it possesses 2 tentacles below its eyes which evoke the image of a mustache. Hilariously, it curls heavily, giving the image of a Dastardly Whiplash.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Unlike most other card games, running out of cards in your deck will not instantly kill you, but rather every time you must draw cards, you will take incremental Fatigue damage, which will eventually do you in if the lack of new cards to play doesn't finish you off first. One can exploit this by somehow forcing an opponent to draw cards to kill them with Fatigue (by killing off all their minions while their Cult Master is in play, for instance) if it's not possible to just kill him directly.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Four Horsemen are the boss of the Military Quarter. Even though only one of them is technically the enemy hero and has only 7 HP, the other 3 start as 1/7 minions on the field and make their hero immune as long as they are alive.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: The cards Feugen and Stalagg are 5 mana 4/7 and 7/4's respectively and aren't too amazing on their own. However if the other one already died, they summon the 11/11 Thaddius minion.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: The Saronite Chain Gang, which shows a group of chained-up Draenei being forced to mine Saronite for the Scourge, and appropriately comes into play with a copy of itself.
    How loooong can this go on? (How loooong can this go on?)
  • Worm in an Apple: Blood Witch Gretta from the The Witchwood is depicted holding an apple with worms sticking out from it and several of her lines are to get the player to eat the apple. Her hero power is Blood Red Apple, a passive ability that makes spells drain health instead of mana.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In Ranked Play, players commonly underestimate their true ranking within their region. A player who is, say, Rank 13 in the region may expect to be better than 50% of all players, when really, based on the chart Blizzard provided[1], they're really better than 80% of all players.
  • You Bastard!:
  • You No Take Candle: The kobolds all invoke the trope upon being summoned. The Kobold Geomancer card even says this verbatim when summoned.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: The Rusted Legion's primary goal, as with the Burning Legion. Instead of merely converting races into demons, they embody the spirit of the trope name by converting them into demon cyborgs.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Gul'dan's intro phrase. Thematically, Mill Warlock is this, as they directly destroy or discard the enemy's hand or deck instead of forcing them to overdraw, symbolically destroying their oppponent's mind and soul.
  • Zerg Rush: There are several cards that invoke this, and it's the basic strategy of a rush deck. Variants include:
    • Murloc rush, with the buff abilities of some of them being reliant on either having multiple murlocs, or summoning multiple murlocs.
    • Uther and Thrall, who summon low powered minions with their hero powers, can use this strategy too. The Odd Paladin archetype allows Uther to constantly churn out weenies, two at a time, with his hero power. The deck's main strategy is to simply throw wave after wave of Silver Hand Recruits, often augmented by various buffs, at the opponent until they run out of answers and fold under sheer weight of numbers.
    • Onyxia's battlecry effect is to fill all remaining slots on your side of the board with 1/1 whelps.
    • "Zoolock" decks embody this trope. The deck runs many low-cost minions and goes wide with them, and on top of the Warlock's strong early-game minions like Flame Imp and Voidwalker combined with some cheap buffs, It lets them overwhelm the opponent if they don't have any AoE spells to deal with them all.
    • The Hunter card Unleash the Hounds, which summons a 1/1 Hound with Charge for each enemy minion on the field. Gaining 4 Hounds can lead to eliminating a 4-health threat by just quickly brute-forcing it. If this spell is cast while the Hunter has a Starving Buzzard in play, they also draw a card for every hound summoned, fueling this trope further!
    • Druids accomplish this with Treants. They have a classic card that summons 3 2/2 Treants and another that makes their minions summon a Treant on death. Various expansions have added more Treant summoning spells, and one focus from The Boomsday Project was on Treant synergy.

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hearthstone



The human kingdom had supported the Alliance during the Second War, but King Greymane had no qualms about severing all ties to the outside world when it became clear that the Alliance needed Gilneas more than Gilneas needed the Alliance. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, darkness fell on Gilneas after the Greymane Wall's gates had been closed, and the Worgen curse ravaged the nation. Before long, Gilneans were fighting against Gilneans in a bloody civil war that left the kingdom in tatters. Remarkably, the people of Gilneas have somehow managed to hold on to the last vestiges of their humanity... for now.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / Uberwald

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