Cards are the basic pieces that make up the game of Hearthstone. Each card represents an action that the player can take by playing that card. There are five main types of cards: minion cards, spell cards, weapon cards, hero cards, and location cards.
Cards are either collectible or uncollectible. Collectible cards come from a variety of card sets, including expansions, adventures, mini-sets, the Core set, and the special sets Legacy and Demon Hunter Initiate. Uncollectible cards can come from card sets as well, but most come from game modes such as Battlegrounds, Duels, Solo Adventures, and Tavern Brawls. Only collectible cards can normally be used by players to create decks to play in the Casual and Ranked regular play modes.
Card types and features
- For how the game is played, see Gameplay#Rules
Mana is the main resource needed to be spent to play cards. All cards feature a mana cost in the top-left corner, typically ranging from 0 to 10 mana. (Some cards cost more than 10 mana, such as or .) Each card features a portrait, a title, and a main panel with card text. For minion, weapon, and location cards, the main panel describes special effects or abilities that the card possesses. For spell cards, the main panel describes the effect of playing that card.
- Minion cards have an Attack value in the bottom-left corner, and a Health value in the bottom-right corner.
- Weapon cards have an Attack value in the bottom-left corner, and a Durability value in the bottom-right corner.
- Spell cards have only a mana cost attribute. The ability of the card is described by the card text.
- Hero cards have a mana cost attribute and an Armor value in the bottom-right corner. Hero cards replace a player's hero and Hero Power when played, and they have abilities described in the card text.
- Locations have a mana cost attribute and a Durability value in the bottom-right corner. The ability of the card is described by the card text, and reduces the durability when used.
Card text described in the main text panel of a card is arguably the most important feature of a card. Card text can appear on any card and can describe any number of abilities. Some abilities appear frequently on cards, and these are bold-faced as keyword abilities. Some keyword abilities worth mentioning are Battlecries, Taunts, and Deathrattles. The descriptions of these abilities can be found on their respective pages. Most but not all abilities can be removed by using Silence effects, such as with .
- Main article: Card set
Cards are divided into many card sets in Hearthstone. A complete list of card sets includes: Expansion sets, adventure sets, and mini-sets, as well as the special sets Core, Legacy, and Demon Hunter Initiate. Card sets reflect how a card can be obtained, and they determine whether a card can be valid to be played in Standard format, a game format for both new and current players.
Most Core cards are automatically included in a player's collection, while other Core cards are unlocked by reaching level 10 with a class, or reaching a comined level of 60 between all classes. Craftable Legacy cards, and cards from expansions and mini-sets, such as Forged in the Barrens and Wailing Caverns, are obtained from opening their corresponding card packs, as well as through crafting. Cards from adventure sets, such as League of Explorers, are acquired through crafting, or through defeating certain bosses in their corresponding adventure.
For more information on card sets and a list of all card sets, see the main article: Card sets.
- Main article: Class
Cards are categorized into classes and can be either class-specific or Neutral. Class-specific cards are categorized into ten main classes, with access to these cards restricted only to heroes of that class. Cards in each class have their own unique playstyles; for example, Mage is known for playing with spells, Priest is known for playing with healing, etc. In addition to cards in the ten main classes, cards can also be of a Neutral class. Neutral cards are available to be included in the decks of heroes of any class. Summarily, collectible cards are divided into a total of ten main classes alongside an omnipresent Neutral class:
- Main article: Rarity
Rarity determines the difficulty at which it is to acquire a card, with higher rarities typically being more powerful but harder to obtain from packs and more expensive to craft. Five rarities exist in total:
- Main article: Collectible
Cards are either collectible or uncollectible. Collectible cards can be added to a player's collection, while uncollectible cards cannot. Both collectible and uncollectible cards comprise the playable cards that can be used in games.
Collectible cards are viewed and inspected through the My Collection screen. New players start the game with a collection of basic cards which includes a large range of neutral minion cards and 5 basic cards specific to each class.
- Main article: Collection manager
Players can receive new cards in a number of ways:
- by leveling heroes
- from card packs, which may be bought with real money or gold, or rewarded from Arena wins or certain unique quests
- from mini-set offerings, which may be bought with real money or gold, or opened from card packs of the mini-set's corresponding expansion
- by crafting a new card from Arcane Dust
- by defeating bosses and completing wings in adventures
- a few specific cards can be obtained as rewards for completing unique quests, or as part of promotions
Players can include up to 2 of any individual card in a single deck, with the exception of legendary cards, which can only be included once in each deck. Extra cards can be disenchanted for Arcane Dust, a resource used in the creation of cards, with rarer cards being able to be disenchanted for more dust. Players are not able to trade cards with other players.
and are exceptions most rules applied to collectible cards. They never start in a deck in play mode, and cannot be part of 30-card decks. They can, however, complete a deck by themselves. When added to a deck, they will remove all other cards in the deck. These one-card decks will have custom hero portraits in the collection manager unique to them, and they transform into random premade decks when entering play mode. For further information, see Whizbang the Wonderful#Notes and Zayle, Shadow Cloak#Notes
- Main article: Golden card
All collectible cards are available to be obtained in a golden version, a purely aesthetic enhancement. They can be found in packs, or crafted with dust either from scratch, or by upgrading a regular card.
- Main article: Minion
Minions are permanent creatures on the battlefield that will fight for their hero. Minion cards can be recognized by their Attack (a number displayed on a yellow sword, in the bottom left corner) and Health (a number displayed on a red blood drop, in the bottom right corner). Minions are controlled by the player who summoned them, and can be commanded to attack their opponent's minions, or the opposing hero, while minions with Taunt can act as tanks, preventing the opponent's forces from attacking the hero directly with melee attacks until that minion is destroyed. Minions are a major element in battles between heroes, and are usually responsible for the majority of all damage dealt in a game. Minions are the most common type of card.
For a full list of minion cards, see Minion.
- Main article: Spell
Spell cards are cards that can be played to trigger a one time effect or ability, described in the card's text. In contrast to a minion or weapon card, a spell card will expire immediately after it has been used. Spell cards do not have Attack or Health attributes, and are the second most common type of card.
For a full list of spell cards, see Spell.
- Main article: Weapon
Weapons are special cards which can be equipped by heroes. Each weapon has an Attack value and a Durability value. Each hero can only equip one weapon at a time, and equipping a new weapon will destroy the old one. Attacking using a weapon deals damage equal to its Attack, and reduces its Durability by 1. When a weapon's Durability is reduced to zero, the weapon will be destroyed. All classes have at least one weapon available to them, with demon hunters, hunters, paladins, rogues, shamans, and warriors being the main classes to focus on weapons.
For a full list of weapon cards, see Weapon.
- Main article: Hero card
Hero cards are cards which, upon being played, replace the controlling player's hero, giving them a small amount of Armor (the number of which is displayed on a gray shield icon, in the bottom right corner) and replacing their Hero Power with a new, unique one, but retaining the player's current and maximum Health. Hero cards were first introduced in the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, and marks the first time an entirely new card type has been added to the game since launch. Hero cards are the least common type of card. All collectible hero cards are of legendary rarity.
For a full list of hero cards, see Hero card.
- Main article: Location
Locations are played onto the battlefield for an initial cost, and then have an ability that can be activated for free on the player's turns. Each activation costs 1 durability and has a cooldown of 1 turn where it cannot be used. As such, each location has a cost and a durability value as attributes. Reducing a location's Durability to zero destroys it. Locations were first introduced in the Murder at Castle Nathria expansion, and marks the second time an entirely new card type has been added to the game since launch.
For a full list of location cards, see Location.
- Main article: Uncollectible
Uncollectible cards are cards which cannot be added to a player's collection; in other words, players cannot permanently acquire these cards. Most uncollectible cards are generated from collectible cards during regular play; however, some uncollectible cards are not seen during actual play, such as debug cards and credits cards.
- Main article: Battlegrounds#Cards
Battlegrounds cards are uncollectible only used in Battlegrounds. Unlike in constructed, minions in Battlegrounds have a Tavern Tier instead of a mana cost, and spells and minions cost gold instead of mana to obtain or play.
- Main article: Mercenary
Cards in Mercenaries may be either Mercenaries or minions. Each mercenary is categorised into one of 3 roles: Caster, Fighter, and Protector. Each mercenary has three attributes: level, attack, and health.
- Main article: Boss card
Tavern Brawl cards
- Main article: Tavern Brawl card
Tavern Brawl cards are special cards only available to players when participating in a specific Tavern Brawl. They are not available outside of their specific Tavern Brawl events.
- Main article: Removed card
Removed cards are valid Hearthstone cards which have been removed from play. These cards can no longer be collected or found in-game. All of the current list of removed cards were removed during the game's alpha or closed beta test phases.
While the majority of the characters, abilities and weapons in Hearthstone come from World of Warcraft, or the Warcraft universe in general, some have made their debut with Hearthstone itself. Hearthstone has also introduced numerous new character types, and titles for existing types.
- Main article: Removed card#Unused
Unused cards are cards which, although appearing in the game in some way, are never available for players to use.
- Main article: Credits card
Credits cards are non-playable cards that depict members of the Hearthstone development team. These cards are not found in play, but are displayed during the game's credits, accessed through the options button from the game's main menu. There are 17 credits cards, depicting the 15 members of Team 5, and the game's two executive producers.
- Main article: Debug card
Debug cards are cards designed for testing and debugging Hearthstone. Designed for use in a specific testing environment, these cards often feature outlandish powers, and are not available to players.
- Main article: System card
- Main article: Card back
Card backs are a Hearthstone feature which allows players to replace the standard design on the reverse of their cards with alternate designs. Players can earn alternate card backs through fulfilling various criteria, such as winning 5 games in Ranked mode in a season of Ranked play, or completing certain quests. Several different card backs are available to collect, with each offering a distinct animated design. Players can choose which available card back to use, with the selected design displayed in-game on the backs of the player's cards, visible to both the player and their opponent. Card backs are purely decorative and do not affect gameplay in any way.
- Main article: Card art
The art used on Hearthstone's cards is one of the most striking and memorable aspects of the game's artistic design. These small yet detailed images are usually taken from far larger pieces of art, with only a small section used in the game. The majority of card art for Hearthstone was previously used for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, but some pieces were specially commissioned for the game, such as that for .
For a list of cards using World of Warcraft Trading Card Game art, see World of Warcraft Trading Card Game art.
Original cards in Hearthstone
- Main article: Original cards in Hearthstone
Hearthstone cards were originally primarily based on pre-existing characters introduced elsewhere in the Warcraft universe. However, over time Hearthstone — while still set in the Warcraft universe — has introduced many new characters and concepts exclusive to Hearthstone. At the end of 2016, a name change occurred for the game, changing "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" to simply "Hearthstone".
- Patch 220.127.116.11077 (2022-07-26): Location cards added.
- Patch 18.104.22.16857 (2017-08-08): Hero cards added.