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Area of effect (AoE) is the term for an effect which affects all characters of the specified type. Common targets for AoEs include all enemy minions, all minions, and all characters.

AoE is defined in contrast to 'single-target' and 'multiple target'. While AoEs may affect multiple targets, they have no limit to the number of targets affected, and their targets are determined by the nature of the AoE (e.g., "all minions") rather than by selecting a set number of individual targets. Positional effects function as limited-area AoEs, but in game terms are multiple target effects. AoEs are distinguished from multi-targets spells such as LegacyArcane Missiles and LegacyCleave, which are essentially multiple single-target effects.

The term AoE refers solely to the effect's target and does not describe its actual outcome. The most common types of AoE are healing and damage-dealing spells.


  • AoEs affect all valid targets simultaneously. However, triggers resulting from each character affected are still applied one at a time, in the order the minions were played.
  • AoEs affect all targets before any related triggers are activated. For example a LegacyCircle of Healing will heal all minions before any Northshire Clerics will begin to activate.


The effect of an AoE on a given target is not diminished by the presence of more targets. This means that AoEs are generally more valuable the more valid targets are in play, since the AoE takes full effect on all of them. Damage-dealing AoEs can be very effective for tackling large groups of minions. AoEs tend to be most effective against large groups of weak minions, and least effective against small numbers of powerful minions.

AoEs can be very useful for dealing damage to targets with Stealth. Although stealthed minions cannot be targeted directly, AoEs will still affect them. Mage is a class with strong AoE damage abilities, but all classes have some form of AoE available.


Below is a breakdown of the many types of AoE.

*Cards like Baron Geddon and Brawl exclude one minion from the effect, but hit all other targets as described. Ysera Awakens and Dread Infernal are two other examples of this type of targeting. Minions such as Stormwind Champion that provide ongoing AoE buffs similarly exclude themselves from the effect.

**Cards like Holy Nova, Blizzard, Fatespinner, and Breath of the Infinite have combined or alternate effects and thus falls into multiple categories.


For Wild format listings, see Area of effect/Wild format

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