Class is the primary determinant of a hero's powers and abilities, and the strongest factor in deck selection. While each hero represents a unique character with their own personality, portrait and sounds, their class determines their Hero Power and which class-specific cards they are able to play. Each hero belongs to only one class (often multiple heroes represent each class) though all heroes of a given class function identically, using the same cards and Hero Powers.
Cards which are dual-class will have one background color on the left and another on the right. For purposes of "another class" cards, both halves must be different from the player to qualify.
New players start with only the mage class available, and must unlock the others through defeating them in matches in either Practice mode or Play mode. Unlocking all 10 original classes also unlocks various other game features: the Arena, adventures, and "Expert" difficulty Practice mode.
Below is a list of the current classes, with a brief description of each class' notable mechanics. For more detailed information, see individual class pages.
List of classes
- Playable classes
- Demon Hunter: Agile fighters who call upon demonic allies and fel magic. Outcasts of society, Demon Hunters attack with their blades and claws, using fallen allies to fuel their power. Not ones to shy away from a fight, Demon Hunters specialize in granting their hero Attack damage for one turn.
Demon Hunter cards have a dark green frame with fel green highlights that resemble Illidari tattoos.
- Druid: Shapeshifting protectors of the wild, with powerful Taunt minions and adaptable Choose One effects, druids are also able to accelerate their rate of mana accumulation, allowing them to access high-mana-cost cards earlier than their opponents. Druids are a versatile class, capable of using the forces of nature and primal rage to crush their enemies or empower their allies.
Druid cards have a brown frame with yellow highlights that resemble thorns.
- Hunter: Trackers and huntsmen, with a synergy with Beasts, a selection of bows, and a supply of cunning deadly traps, hunters never miss their mark. Whether unleashing their Beasts upon the enemy or sniping them from afar, hunters possess relentless and immediate damage capabilities.
Hunter cards have a forest green frame, with a thin border in the shape of leaves or shrubs.
- Mage: Masters of arcane, fire and frost, mages wield formidable single-target and area of effect damage spells, and can freeze enemies in their tracks. Mages have a strong spell-synergy, capable of turning minor incantations into devastating Fireballs, and can employ a range of magical Secrets to redirect enemy effects, protect themselves from damage, or stop the deadliest foe or spell in its tracks.
Mage cards have a light blue frame, highlighted by a thick line of arcane runes.
- Paladin: Stalwart champions of the Light, wielding sturdy weapons and gifting the recruits of their order with Divine Shields and a range of powerful Blessings. Paladins can also have a range of spells to heal themselves or smite their enemies, weaken foes, and Secrets to protect vulnerable targets.
Paladin cards have a yellow frame with rays of light eminating from around the card art.
- Priest: Devout healers with powerful restorative abilities, Priests use the power of Light to sustain themselves and their allies while pacifying enemies, but they can also use their darker abilities to manipulate and destroy enemies, peering into or even seizing control of their opponents' minds.
Priest cards have a white frame, highlighted by a simple series of downward-pointing lines.
- Rogue: Subtle and evasive assassins, using flurries of swift sharp strikes to slice and incapacitate enemies, rogues prefer to wield light daggers, laced with deadly poisons. Rogues prefer to assault their opponents in rapid bursts of activity, activating Combos to gain powerful additional effects.
Rogue cards have a black border, highlighted by angular lines.
- Shaman: Masters of the elements, shamans command the service of mighty elementals, and even the Elemental Lords themselves. Shamans can Overload their mana in order to rise to the needs of the moment, with their attacks producing varying potency. Shamans can also summon Totems to boost their powers.
Shaman cards have a dark blue frame, highlighted by a lightning design.
- Warlock: Calling nightmarish Demons to their aid, warlocks are willing to sacrifice their own life, cards, and even their own minions to overwhelm their enemies. Regarding their own lifeblood as nothing more than a currency, warlocks readily trade away their Health to draw additional cards, but must often pay a terrible price for the services of the infernal beings with whom they consort.
Warlock cards have a purple frame, with a border of demonic sigils around the card art.
- Warrior: These lords of war use heavy weaponry and deadly attacks to slam and devastate the battlefield. While their skill with armor and shields allows them to soak up the mightiest of blows, their gladiatorial bloodlust brings synergy with Enrage and on-damage effects, sending their minions charging at the enemy.
Warrior cards have a red frame, with spikes protuding from the highlight lines.
- Death Knight: Due to their falling to the temptation of ultimate power, Death Knights' abilities are far more powerful than that of the other class and often have large sacrificial costs to the user. The abilities of a Death Knight cannot be wielded by just anyone - only those who call on a mighty champion of darkness can use their power.
Death Knight cards have a very dark - almost black - blue frame, with frosty blue highlights and ice covering parts of the border.
While the accessibility of all class cards and Hero Powers is determined by the hero's class, the following cards have effects that are specifically dependent on class.
- One rule for the developers in class design is to make sure that each of the classes "feels very strongly like its World of Warcraft class." This encourages the maintenance of constraints such as which classes have access to weapons and Secrets.
- As of Goblins vs Gnomes, adding specific minion type "themes" to classes is one "fun" way in which the designers aim to "make each class feel distinct and have its own flavor".
- Along with Hero Powers, class-specific cards are the main way of creating distinct playing styles and experiences for the different classes. However, in some cases effects allow players to use cards belonging to another class, such as , or . When a class starts imitating a behaviour specific to another class, this is known as "class bleed". In many cases, a small amount of class bleed can be fun and interesting, but too much can cause the classes to lose their sense of uniqueness or even their identity. As a result the developers try to maintain "the right amount" of class bleed in the game. For example, when designing the Discover keyword, the developers intentionally restricted the effect to class and neutral cards, as the keyword's initial ability to draw cards of any class added too much class bleed to the game.
- While class power is something the designers constantly struggle to balance, ultimately they feel having all classes precisely balanced is less important than ensuring that each has a time to shine.
- Class identities, which describe the strengths, limitations and weaknesses of each class, have only been formally described in June 2019. The hope is to avoid endless debates about whether a given new class-specific card does or does not fit in its class identity.
- The only World of Warcraft classes currently missing from Hearthstone are death knight, and monk, with Demon Hunter finally being added in April 2020.
- In August 2014 Yong Woo stated, "the fact of the matter is that we already have 9 classes, and we feel there already is a ton of diversity and we frankly think that it has enough complexity right now for most people to sink their teeth into. So currently, we have no plans to add additional classes." In December 2014 Ben Brode stated "There are pros and cons [to adding a new class] and we have to figure out when, if ever, the right time would be." Brode elaborated: "A good design exercise is to think: "How many classes is too many?" My sense is that it's closer to 9 than to 20." In July 2017, Blizzard announced the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, which would feature the brand new hero card type, allowing Hearthstone's nine classic heroes to transform into death knight versions of themselves. When asked if this implementation of death knights had killed the possibility of whole new classes ever coming to the game, Mike Donais replied that "We’ve always said that we like the nine classes we have. We work really hard to try to give some class identity to those nine classes, and it’s tough, because nine is a lot. Adding a tenth or eleventh class isn’t something we’re interested in. It’s too hard to make class identity exist when there are that many different classes. So yeah, we’re not excited about the idea of making new classes."
- More alternate heroes are planned for development in the future.
- The class colours in Hearthstone are notable for not always matching the traditional colours for those classes from World of Warcraft. Specifically, the rogue in World of Warcraft uses yellow, while in Hearthstone it uses black; the paladin uses pink, while in Hearthstone it uses yellow; the warrior uses brown, while in Hearthstone it uses red; and the druid uses orange, while in Hearthstone it uses brown. There are also numerous differences in shade, such as the hunter, which uses a deep green as opposed to its traditional avocado-like shade. According to Lead Artist Ben Thompson, this is because the colours in World of Warcraft were chosen largely based on suitability for use in the game's chat interface; with Hearthstone the developers therefore decided to choose in some cases new colours that they felt better suited the classes.
- In August 2016 Ben Brode stated that of all the classes he felt the team had the hardest time designing warlock spells, stating "We need to carve out more design space for them."
- At one point during the game's initial development there were two heroes for each class, one representing the Alliance and one representing the Horde. For details on early choices for each class, see Design and development of Hearthstone.
- JR Cook (2014-04-13). Interview with Eric Dodds and Jason Chayes, PAX East 2014.
- Ben Brode quoted on reddit. (2016-10-03).
- Blizzard Hearthstone Developer AMA - Ben Brode, Yong Woo and Christina Sims!.
- IGN.com - HEARTHSTONE: CREATING THE DISCOVER MECHANIC. (2016-01-17).
- Hearthhead BlizzCon 2016 liveblog. (2016-11-05).
- Developer Insights: Class Identity, Hall of Fame, and New Cards. (2019-06-25).
- GamesCom Interview: Hearthstone Observer Mode Coming Soon. (2014-08-25).
- Blizzard Hearthstone Developer AMA - Ben Brode, Yong Woo and Christina Sims!. (2014-12-15).
- Mike Minotti (2017-07-19). Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne -- creating Death Knights and Un'Goro's legacy | VentureBeat | PC Gaming | by Mike Minotti. Retrieved on 2017-07-22.
- Ben Thompson on Twitter. (2015-02-15).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-03-23).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-08-03).
- Good Game Well Played - Designing Competitive Hearthstone with Ben Brode. (2016-08-10).