Minions are persistent 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 even the opposing hero. Minions with Taunt can act as defenders, 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.
While most minions are recognizable creature or character types from World of Warcraft, some, such as the legendary minion cards, depict major characters from Warcraft lore. Hearthstone also expands the Warcraft universe a little, with further exploration of established themes, and some new additions of its own.
Playing a minion card places that minion onto the battlefield. This process is known as 'summoning'. Each minion has a mana cost value, shown in the top left corner of the card, which shows the amount of mana you must pay to summon the minion. Successfully playing a minion card will transform the card into the minion itself, which will then appear upon the battleground represented by a portrait. Once summoned the minion will stay on the battlefield until it is destroyed or returned to the hand of its owner. Minions can be destroyed by reducing their Health to zero, or by using destroy effects such as to remove them directly. Note that if a minion is returned to its owner's hand, or shuffled back into the owner's deck, its Attack and Health will return to their original values, and any enchantments will be removed. However, transformations will not be reversed by returning a minion to its owner's hand or deck; the transformed minion is considered an entirely different card from what it was transformed from, and that is what is "returned" to the deck.
Minion placement is sometimes significant, as certain positional effects take effect depending on position. For example, deals high damage to a single target with splash damage onto adjacent minions, while is a minion that provides an Attack buff to adjacent minions. When summoning a minion, the player can choose where to place it. However, once a minion has been placed it cannot be moved or re-placed, although the removal of a minion will cause the minions formerly adjacent to it to become adjacent to each other. Minions summoned or taken control of through spells, minion abilities or Hero Powers such as will always appear at the right of the battlefield, for both the player and their opponent.
Each player can normally have a maximum of 7 minions on the battlefield at any time. Once 7 friendly minions are on the field, the player will not be able to summon further minions. Minion cards and summon effects such as will not be playable, and any minion Battlecries and Deathrattles that summon other minions will be wasted. Other means of acquiring minions such as mind control effects will also be unplayable. However, it is possible to have more than 7 minions at once through the action of certain simultaneous effects or queued events, such as the combined Deathrattles of a with , or a minion controlled by returning to its previous side of the board.
Minions may be played directly from the hand, or through the effects of other cards or minions, and some effects distinguish between these two types of summoning. For example, Battlecries only activate when minions are played directly from the hand, while related triggered effects usually respond regardless of how the minion was summoned. Playing cards directly from the hand is termed 'playing', while the term 'summoning' is used to refer to either method. Indirect methods of bringing minions into play are the Summon ability, where a card creates a new minion in the battlefield, put into battlefield effects, which place a minion card from the deck directly into play, and transform effects, which replace one existing minion with another. Transform effects are not considered summoning, but still act to bring new minions into play, by replacing existing minions.
- "Attack the hero? Or the enemy minions? Answering correctly can often turn the tide of battle." - Practice mode tip
The only action players can direct minions to take is attacking. However, many additional effects and interactions can result from an attack, creating a wide range of gameplay options when multiple minions are in play. Additionally, many cards target or otherwise affect minions when played from the hand, many triggered effects do the same, and minions can themselves be attacked by enemy characters.
Minions enter the battlefield in a state of exhaustion (indicated by a "zzz" above them), and cannot attack while they are exhausted. Using a minion to attack will also exhaust it. Exhaustion lasts for one turn. Minions with Charge or Rush do not enter the battlefield exhausted. Exhaustion occurs however the minion entered the battlefield, whether through a play from the hand, a Summon effect, a put into battlefield effect, or a transform effect.
Minions enter the battlefield in a state of exhaustion (indicated by a "zzz" above them), and cannot attack while they are exhausted. Using a minion to attack will also exhaust it. Exhaustion lasts for one turn. Minions with Charge or Rush do not enter the battlefield exhausted. Exhaustion occurs however the minion entered the battlefield, whether through a play from the hand, a Summon effect, a put into battlefield effect, or a transform effect. The exhaustion that results from being summoned is sometimes known as summoning sickness, but with the release of is now also officially known as being asleep.
Each turn, any minion that is not exhausted can be commanded to attack one target. Minions with Windfury can attack twice. Minions can be commanded to attack enemy minions or the opposing hero. Minions can also be attacked directly by heroes, if the hero has increased their Attack stat by equipping a weapon or using certain spells. Druids can also use to do this.
In combat between minions it does not matter which target attacked which; each minion will suffer damage equal to the Attack of the other. This damage is dealt to both targets simultaneously. If either minion's health is reduced to zero (or below) they will be destroyed and removed from the battlefield. With combat involving heroes, direction of attack is important. If a hero attacks a minion, both targets will take damage equal to the Attack of the other, but if a minion attacks a hero, only the hero will take damage; any weapon equipped by the hero will not be used, and so will also not lose Durability. If a minion causes a hero's health to reach zero, the hero is destroyed, ending the game and granting victory to the surviving hero.
All minions have the innate ability to attack, except those such as which are specifically unable. Minions with 0 Attack (such as Mirror Images) cannot attack, but if their Attack reaches 1 or higher, they will become able to. Minions can also be prevented from attacking on any given round through effects that Freeze or otherwise incapacitate them, such as . However, incapacitated minions will still defend themselves if attacked.
Many minions possess abilities which can grant them additional powers or have special effects in response to certain events. As well as being attacked, minions can also be affected by numerous friendly spells, healing them, granting them new abilities, or using them to activate other cards; abilities.
Certain abilities or properties will be reflected in a minion's portrait on the board through the addition of various features.
- Ability to attack this turn is shown by a bright green frame
- Exhausted minions are indicated by a "zzz" text floating up from the portrait
- Taunt is shown by a large shield-like border
- Triggered effects are shown by a small lightning bolt icon on the bottom of the portrait
- Deathrattle is designated by a skull on the bottom of the portrait
- Inspire effects are shown by a small blue flag icon on the bottom of the portrait
- Poison is designated by a flask of bubbling poison on the bottom of the portrait
- Spell Damage is designated by blue magical sparks over the portrait
- Ongoing effects are designated by a pulsing yellow glow around the portrait
- Stealth is designated by smoke across the portrait
- Lifesteal is designated by a broken pink heart at the bottom of the portrait
- Windfury is shown by moving wind torrents over the portrait
- Silence is shown by shining purple bands across the portrait
- Enrage is shown by red boiling blood around the portrait
- Freeze is shown by ice crystals around the portrait
- Divine Shield is shown by a translucent yellow cocoon around the portrait
- Immune is shown by a rotating white border around the portrait
- Rush is shown by a shifting thick green border around the minion.
- Reborn is shown by a cracked blue glow around the minion.
- Elusive minions are shown with a yellow fog
- Spellburst and Frenzy minions are shown with a yellow sparkle on the bottom of their portrait.
- Minions whose stats or abilities were magically increased have yellow magical sparks over the portrait
- Numerous individual enchantments have unique visual effects, and there are too many to list here. A few examples:
Several specific minion types exist, often referred to as tribes or races, after similar concepts from other collectible card games. A minion's type does not directly affect the behaviour of the minion, but allows it to be affected by certain type-specific effects. For example, grants Charge to all friendly Beast minions while it is in play, while grants all friendly Murlocs +2 attack. Most minions do not have a type, but where present minion type is stated at the bottom of the card.
Hearthstone features the following minion types:
- Beast - The most common specific type of minion, Beasts are capable of quickly forming a strong offense, and are favored by hunters (and to some extent, druids), with numerous synergistic effects providing strength in numbers.
- Demon - Almost exclusively available to warlocks and demon hunters, summoning these powerful minions often comes at a price, with their undercosted stats offset by harmful abilities.
- Dragon - Featuring more legendary cards than any other specific type, many Dragons come with powerful abilities. Dragon synergy mainly comes in the form of effects that require holding one in your hand.
- Elemental - Introduced in Journey to Un'Goro, these minions depict elemental spirits who have attained raw physical form. Playing an elemental allows elemental synergy effects to activate on the next turn.
- Mech - Introduced in Goblins vs Gnomes, they often reward the presence of another friendly Mech on the field with additional effects, be it through Battlecries or their specific Magnetic keyword.
- Murloc - Typically a low-cost yet aggressive type, many Murlocs grow in power with each other friendly Murloc on the field, allowing them to quickly overwhelm an unprepared opponent.
- Naga - Introduced in Voyage to the Sunken City, Naga often gain bonus effects if a spell was cast while the Naga was in hand. Alternatively, synergy spells gain effects if a Naga was played while the spell was in hand.
- Pirate - Favoring weapons and swashbuckling heroes ready to leap into the fray, many Pirate minions offer benefits based on the controlling hero's weapon.
- Quilboar - Introduced in Forged in the Barrens, these currently only exist for flavor in Constructed, although still benefit from effects like and .
- Totem - Totems are available almost exclusively to the shaman class, and are typically 0-attack minions with repeatable benefits. Certain effects become stronger the more Totems the player controls.
- All - Introduced in The Witchwood, this is the rarest minion type. These minions benefit from and are affected by every type effect in the game.
- General - The majority of minions do not possess a specific type, but are considered general minions. These minions do not benefit from any specific type effects.
Minion card list
Unfortunately, wiki limitations mean it is not possible to provide a single list of all minion cards. However, more specific lists can be found on pages such as Taunt, Charge, Beast, Mage, Legendary card list, One Night in Karazhan and Triggered effect. For a list of such pages, see the template at the bottom of this page.
Hearthstone features a wide range of effects which affect minions.
- Effects specifically related to summoning and playing minions are listed below, as are effects specifically dependent on the presence of minions on the battlefield.
- For effects specifically related to specific minion types, see individual type pages, e.g., Beast.
- For abilities possessed by minions, or which grant abilities to minions, see individual ability pages, e.g., Deathrattle.
- For effects related to minion death, see Death-related.
These cards have effects related either to the summoning of minions in general, or the playing of minions from the hand specifically.
These cards have effects that depend on the number and types of minions on the battlefield.
These cards have effects related to any minion type. For cards that interact with specific types, see the individual type pages.
- The Mechanical and Elemental types were originally among these unused tags, until they were added to the game and retroactively applied to a number of pre-existing minions at the same time. Mechanical was renamed to Mech and added with Goblins vs Gnomes. Elemental was added in Journey to Un'Goro.
- While these types may show potential for future gameplay directions in Hearthstone, their current appearance in the game data is simply a remnant from the game's early development stages. Some of these types can be seen in early screenshots, such as this one from the game's alpha.
- The developers have considered adding an Undead minion type ever since the development of Curse of Naxxramas, and Mike Donais describes it as "the minion type that has come up the most often". The type was "talked about [...] a lot" during the development of Knights of the Frozen Throne, but the team ultimately decided that it was "not quite worth it" to implement. An Undead type may still be added one day, but there are currently no plans to do so. In Donais' opinion, there aren't too many disadvantages to making a new minion type, but one of the reasons the team chose not to do it was because of the addition of the Elemental type in the preceding Journey to Un'Goro expansion, and "doing two new minion types in a row didn't really make sense to me".
- Card frames
- Dual-class frames
Hunter prior to Patch 126.96.36.199613
- Hearthstone Mythbusters. (2015-02-08).
- Yong Woo on Twitter. (2015-08-07).
- Journey to Un’Goro promotional email: NEW MINION TYPE: ELEMENTAL Nothing is more primal than the elements themselves. Harness the power of the Elemental Minion Type cards and unleash them on your opponents.
- Chadd Nervig on Twitter. (2020-04-16).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-24).
- 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.