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Hearthstone Gems.jpg

Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft.

There are 5 rarities: Free, Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. Each rarity has its own color, based on World of Warcraft's gear system, and can be recognized by the color of the gem at the bottom center of the card's portrait (see display, right). The exception is cards from the Basic set, which do not feature colored gems. When opening packs, face down cards above common quality will be displayed with an appropriately-colored glow when hovered over.

For the probability that cards from card packs are of a certain rarity, see Card pack statistics.

As a rule, rarity relates only to obtaining cards, and does not directly affect gameplay. However, there are two exceptions. Most importantly, only one copy of any given legendary card may be included in a constructed deck. Additionally, a small number of rarity-related effects do exist, such as Sneed's Old Shredder, Golden Monkey and Rend Blackhand. Other expansions have also added some of these effects, and currently this mechanic is only seen related to legendary minions. Boss and Tavern Brawl cards occasionally feature exceptions, such as Rare Spear.

For more information on each rarity, see the sections below. For lists of cards in each rarity, see Free card list, Common card list, Rare card list, Epic card list and Legendary card list.

Significance[edit | edit source]

While rarity always determines the scarcity of a card, the exact significance of a card's rarity varies depending on the card set, and the current game mode.

Constructed[edit | edit source]

In constructed play, rarity determines the difficulty of adding a card to your collection.

  • Rarity determines the amount of required Arcane Dust in order to craft a card, as well as the amount of Dust awarded for disenchanting it. For a table, see Crafting.
  • For cards from expansions, and also in the Classic card set, rarity determines how likely a card is to be found in a card pack, with higher rarities occurring less often. It also determines presence in the Highest Rank Bonus chest, with higher rarities requiring a higher rank to obtain, and legendaries cards never featured.
  • For cards from adventures, rarity is of less significance. Legendaries are awarded by completing wings, while all other rarities are available equally through defeating individual bosses or Class Challenges.
  • Higher rarity cards also feature less often as rewards in Arena.

The main impact of this is that higher rarity cards are harder to obtain, and as a result are seen less often at lower levels, due to players having not yet collected them. However, at higher levels players have usually collected all desired cards, effectively removing the significance of rarity entirely. The only direct significance of rarity for constructed play is the limitation of one copy of each legendary per deck, and the rare presence of a rarity-specific effect such as Rend Blackhand or Confessor Paletress.

Arena[edit | edit source]

In Arena, rarity affects the likelihood of a card appearing for selection, but Bucket also does, which also determines what cards will be offered alongside it. Higher rarity selections are offered less often, although with a high degree of variation between runs.

This makes rarity at higher levels more important in Arena than in any other type of play. While rarity always determines the possibility of including a card in the player's deck, the randomness of rarity in Arena makes it equally significant at all levels, while in constructed it is mostly significant for newer players, who have not yet collected higher rarity cards.

Rarity also affects game balance far more in Arena than in constructed. In higher level constructed play, the only impact of rarity is that legendary cards are limited to one copy per deck. At all levels of Arena, the decision of what rarity to give a card determines which options it will be matched against, and how frequently it will appear, increasing the likelihood of players having several copies of the card in a deck. For example, a legendary card may be considered poor compared to other legendaries, and thus rarely be picked in Arena; whereas if it has been made an epic card it might be found more favourable in comparison to the other options at that rarity, and thus be picked more often. Both of these factors mean rarity will directly determine how often a card shows up in Arena matches, making the rarity of certain cards a common subject of discussion for Arena players.

Uncollectible cards[edit | edit source]

In contrast to collectible cards, the rarity of uncollectible cards has practically no significance or impact on the game.[Note 1] In some cases their rarity matches that of the generating card, while in others it varies or appears to be absent. Coloured gems on Boss cards and Tavern Brawl cards are uncommon, and have no significance (or consistent reasons for their appearance).

Design[edit | edit source]

Card rarity is chosen based on several criteria. The ease of obtaining a card is obviously a factor, as well as card complexity. The designers have stated that the new player experience, Arena balance, "excitement, also just gut instinct" come into the decision as well.[1]

Despite the stated goals, experienced Arena players have frequently disagreed with the effects of certain card rarity choices on game balance. Common cards make up the bulk of Arena decks, so the choice of assigning "Common" rarity to strong cards, such as Firelands Portal or Kabal Talonpriest, has drawn criticism from the community about uneven strengths between different classes.[2][3]

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Rarity in Hearthstone cards serves as a rough indication of quality, but an inconsistent indication of value in play. Likewise, for Classic cards and those from expansion card sets, rarity is a consistent indicator of card scarcity and crafting cost. However, for cards in other sets, rarity may bear no relation to the difficulty of acquiring cards.

Legendary cards boast some of the most powerful effects in the game, and adding a single well-chosen legendary to a deck otherwise lacking in high rarity cards can measurably improve the deck and directly win games. Some high rarity cards may also represent improved versions of lower rarity cards, providing fairly straightforward upgrades for decks using these cards. In most beginner decks, adding almost any legendary is likely to improve the deck, and in many lower-rank games, drawing and playing a lone legendary minion can single-handedly turn the tide of battle and win the game. Low-level battles are sometimes decided by who is able to draw their Tirion Fordring or Ysera first.

However, despite the undeniable power of many legendaries, rarity is not the prime determinant of victory in matches. Overall deck composition (as well as skill, luck and match-ups) is a far larger factor, and despite the power of many legendaries, most top-level players choose to include only a handful legendaries in their decks. Streamers such as Trump have demonstrated the unimportance of rarity by reaching Legend rank using no legendaries, while some such as TotalBiscuit have even constructed decks composed entirely of legendary cards, in order to demonstrate how ineffective and cumbersome such decks would be.

Ultimately, while higher rarity cards offering straight upgrades to lower rarity cards can generally be relied upon to present a superior option, the optimal deck for many deck types is often composed primarily of low and medium rarity cards, including many basic class cards. Many lower rarity cards provide essential functions and utility not found in higher rarity options, as well as low mana cost cards invaluable for early and mid game presence. As a result, a free Polymorph may very effectively counter a legendary Cairne Bloodhoof, and a basic Sacrificial Pact may turn the legendary Lord Jaraxxus into a swift defeat.

Deck composition is ultimately determined by several factors, including both individual card quality and overall deck strategy. The ability of a card to serve a deck's specific needs and approach to obtaining victory will always play a greater role in determining its viability than its rarity. However, a few well-chosen high rarity cards can turn a deck from bad to reasonable, or from good to great, and can generally be relied upon to provide some exciting and game-changing options.

Levels[edit | edit source]

Which of the five tiers of rarity a card falls under can be discerned by one of four possible gem hues below the name (white for common, blue for rare, purple for epic, orange for legendary) or being gemless (free). Further info is in the following sections:

Free[edit | edit source]

Main article: Basic

Free is the lowest level of card rarity, below Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary.

A player's collection always starts with two copies of 88 Free cards (all 43 non-class-specific cards, and 5 class-specific cards of each class). The remaining class-specific Free cards can be obtained by advancing a hero of the appropriate class to level 10, except the Demon Hunter which begins with all 10 Free cards upon completing the Demon Hunter Prologue.

All Free cards are in the Basic card set, within which all collectible and most uncollectible cards are Free (a few uncollectible ones are Common instead). This makes "Basic cards" nearly - but not exactly - synonymous with "Free cards". This was not the case before the Year of the Mammoth changed a number of Basic card rarities, since approximately half of Basic cards were Common.

It is often thought that all cards without a rarity gem are Free cards. However, the absence of a gem actually indicates that a card belongs to the Basic set, so a few such cards are actually Common, albeit only uncollectible ones.

There are 143 collectible Free cards (10 per class and 43 neutral).

For a full list of all Free cards, see Free card list.

Rarity Crafting cost Disenchanting
Free N/A N/A
Golden Free N/A N/A

Oasis Snapjaw(15).png
Power Infusion(210652).png
Raid Leader(502).png
Fiery War Axe(632).png
Bloodfen Raptor(576).png
Inner Demon(210774).png
Hand of Protection(499).png
Timber Wolf(86).png
River Crocolisk(535).png
Wild Growth(282).png
Reckless Rocketeer(560).png
Deadly Poison(87).png

Common[edit | edit source]

Common is the second-lowest level of rarity, above Free, but below Rare, Epic and Legendary. Common cards can be recognized by a white gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs do not glow when moused over. There are more Common cards than of any other rarity, and Common cards are obtained from card packs more frequently than any other rarity.

There are 1010 collectible Common cards.

For a full list of all Common cards, see Common card list.

Rarity Crafting cost Disenchanting
Common 40 5
Golden Common 400 50

Circus Medic(389030).png
Blood Herald(329958).png
Murloc Knight(22362).png
Hungry Dragon(14436).png
Amani War Bear(90197).png
Spiked Wheel(442050).png
Living Dragonbreath(151392).png
Lunar Eclipse(378797).png
Earth Shock(77).png
Arcane Amplifier(184661).png
Heroic Innkeeper(90667).png

Rare[edit | edit source]

Rare is the level of rarity above Free and Common, but below Epic and Legendary. Rare cards can be recognised by a blue gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display a blue glow when moused over.

There are 726 collectible Rare cards.

For a list of all Rare cards, see Rare card list.

Rarity Crafting cost Disenchanting
Rare 100 20
Golden Rare 800 100

Boneweb Egg(329883).png
Soup Vendor(90202).png
Questing Adventurer(157).png
Sludge Belcher(7749).png
Cat Trick(42051).png
Silver Sword(89409).png
Grand Finale(388992).png
Trick Totem(330009).png
Clockwork Goblin(90573).png
Runaway Blackwing(442060).png
Priestess of Fury(210762).png
Lesser Jasper Spellstone(73327).png
Dark Prophecy(184963).png
Saronite Chain Gang(62901).png
Grim Patron(14435).png

Epic[edit | edit source]

Epic is the second-highest level of rarity, above Free, Common and Rare, but below Legendary. Epic cards can be recognised by a purple gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display a pink glow when hovered over.

There are 482 collectible Epic cards.

There is strong evidence that a Pity Timer exists. As such, according to the hypothesis, an Epic card will be opened within 10 packs of the last opened Epic, for any given store-bought expansion set, including Classic set.

For a full list of all Epic cards, see Epic card list.

Rarity Crafting cost Disenchanting
Epic 400 100
Golden Epic 1600 400

Nagrand Slam(210754).png
Living Mana(55491).png
Djinni of Zephyrs(27234).png
Mysterious Challenger(22394).png
Ancient Void Hound(329944).png
Omega Defender(89809).png
Shadow of Death(90785).png
Rolling Fireball(151413).png
Big Bad Voodoo(90229).png
Transfer Student(211502).png
Ringmaster's Baton(388939).png
Shade of Naxxramas(7730).png
Chaos Gazer(176349).png

Legendary[edit | edit source]

Legendary is the highest level of rarity, above Free, Common, Rare and Epic. Legendary cards are indicated by an orange gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display an orange glow when moused over. Legendary cards are obtained from card packs less frequently than any other rarity. While most legendaries are extremely rare and hard to obtain, legendaries in adventure sets can be obtained relatively easily by purchasing and playing through the corresponding adventure. However, the cost of the adventure itself can be considered some compensation for this. Unlike cards of other rarities, players may only have one of each Legendary card in a deck. Collectible cards named after individual characters are always Legendary.[4] (Most named uncollectable cards are legendary, but Azari, the Devourer has no gem.)

In addition to the normal rarity gem, legendary cards also feature a dragon around the portrait, much like elites and rares in World of Warcraft. The dragon crest rests atop the image the head on the left next to the mana cost and the wing on the right.

Playing a Legendary card prompts a short piece of unique music, taken from various World of Warcraft music tracks. In addition to being powerful and interesting cards, the characters featured in Legendary cards are typically very well-known or significant within Warcraft lore. Legendary minion cards obtained through adventures tend to depict bosses from that adventure. Each class gets one or two Legendary cards specific to their class in each expansion, with all other Legendary cards being non-class-specific. Most collectible Legendary cards are minion cards, but Legendary Quests, Hero cards, weapons, and spells have been introduced in expansion packs. There are also Legendary uncollectible non-minion cards, such as Ashbringer.

There are 440 collectible Legendary cards.

There is strong evidence that a Pity Timer exists. As such, according to the hypothesis, a Legendary card will be opened within 40 packs of the last opened Legendary, for any given store-bought expansion set, including Classic set.

For a full list of all Legendary cards, see Legendary card list.

Rarity Crafting cost Disenchanting
Legendary 1600 400
Golden Legendary 3200 1600

High Abbess Alura(329941).png
Confessor Paletress(22368).png
Aya Blackpaw(49706).png
Ringmaster Whatley(388940).png
Lord Jaraxxus(482).png
Dr. Boom(12182).png
Star Student Stelina(329901).png
The Lich King(62922).png
The Fist of Ra-den(184668).png
Tenwu of the Red Smoke(388954).png
Untapped Potential(90698).png

Related cards[edit | edit source]

A handful of cards have effects that are specifically determined by card rarity. As of Galakrond's Awakening, all such cards specifically relate to legendary rarity.

Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Brightwing Legendary Minion Dragon Any 3 3 2 Battlecry: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Magicfin Epic Minion Murloc Shaman 3 3 4 After a friendly Murloc dies, add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Showing all 2 cards

Wild format

Wild icon.pngThis section concerns content exclusive to Wild format.
Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Dragon's Hoard Rare Spell General Rogue 1 Discover a Legendary minion from another class.
Frozen Champion None Minion General Mage 1 0 1 Deathrattle: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Transmogrifier Epic Minion General Any 2 2 3 Whenever you draw a card, transform it into a random Legendary minion.
Brightwing Legendary Minion Dragon Any 3 3 2 Battlecry: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Face Collector Legendary Minion General Rogue 3 2 2 Echo
Battlecry: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Zarog's Crown None Spell General Any 3 Discover a Legendary minion. Summon two copies of it.
Golden Monkey None Minion General Any 4 6 6 Taunt
Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions.
The Fist of Ra-den Legendary Weapon Shaman 4 1 4 After you cast a spell, summon a Legendary minion of that Cost. Lose 1 Durability.
Weaponized Piñata Epic Minion Mech Any 4 4 3 Deathrattle: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Bandersmosh Legendary Minion General Shaman 5 5 5 Each turn this is in your hand, transform it into a 5/5 copy of a random Legendary minion.
Prince Liam Legendary Minion General Paladin 5 5 5 Battlecry: Transform all your 1-Cost cards in your deck into Legendary minions.
Prince Malchezaar Legendary Minion Demon Any 5 5 6 Start of Game: Add 5 extra Legendary minions to your deck.
The Storm Bringer Legendary Spell Nature Shaman 6 Transform your minions into random Legendary minions.
Toki, Time-Tinker Legendary Minion General Mage 6 5 5 Battlecry: Add a random Legendary minion from the past to your hand.
Arch-Villain Rafaam Legendary Minion General Warlock 7 7 8 Taunt
Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions.
Confessor Paletress Legendary Minion General Priest 7 5 4 Inspire: Summon a random Legendary minion.
Rend Blackhand Legendary Minion General Any 7 8 4 Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, destroy a Legendary minion.
Rotface Legendary Minion General Warrior 8 4 6 Whenever this minion survives damage, summon a random Legendary minion.
Sneed's Old Shredder Legendary Minion Mech Any 8 5 7 Deathrattle: Summon a random Legendary minion.
Showing all 19 cards
Dragon's Hoard(127303).png
Frozen Champion(61823).png
Face Collector(89345).png
Zarog's Crown(73349).png
Golden Monkey(27212).png
The Fist of Ra-den(184668).png
Weaponized Piñata(89824).png
Prince Liam(89443).png
Prince Malchezaar(42031).png
The Storm Bringer(89892).png
Toki, Time-Tinker(89406).png
Arch-Villain Rafaam(90546).png
Confessor Paletress(22368).png
Rend Blackhand(14438).png
Sneed's Old Shredder(12187).png

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. As of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, the only time the rarity of uncollectible cards would have significance in Play Mode is if a Rend Blackhand were to target an uncollectible legendary minion like Baine Bloodhoof, Finkle Einhorn, or Twin Emperor Vek'nilash.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-13). 
  2. Blizzard ANZ on Twitter. (2016-08-02). 
  3. Clark, Tim (2016-08-02). Mike Donais on One Night in Karazhan, whether Priest really has a problem, and if Fiery War Axe is the best card in Hearthstone. PC Gamer. Retrieved on 2018-07-19.
  4. See, e.g., Developer Insights: Witchwood Mission Design: “…when A. F. Kay showed up in Knights of the Frozen Throne. She was just a side character, but she had this proper name, so we gave her Legendary status.”