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A target is a specific character or location that a player action is "aimed at". Targeted effects are those that require a target to play, while others are untargeted. A spell, Hero Power, Battlecry, or a location's ability may be targeted, while one character's attack on another is always targeted. Choose One and Combo effects work exactly like Battlecries for targeting purposes.

Targets are often selected by players as part of taking actions. Other times, cards choose targets randomly, or always affect a predetermined target. Players can only choose one target per action, although that may cause additional effects which apply to characters beyond the target. Those that choose randomly may also affect multiple targets. Some Triggered effects may switch an effect's target to a different character than originally chosen.

Generally, both friendly and enemy characters may be targets. Some abilities place restrictions on which targets are valid. Players cannot choose "no target" if a valid one exists, even if that means targeting a friendly minion with a harmful effect or vice versa. Sometimes this can be surprisingly beneficial, if a normally harmful effect would actually be helpful due to the specific situation or card.

One of the priorities of the Hearthstone game designers was to make the game quick and easy to interact with. For this reason, the only time targets need to be selected by players is when they initiate actions on their turn. Additionally, character-to-character targeting always indicates an attack action, although triggered effects may cause subsequent side effects from the attack.

See Random effect for more details on random target selection.

Targeting restrictions[]

Many player-selected and most randomly selected targets have restrictions beyond "a character", while abilities that always hit the same target of course must specify what that target is. The most common distinctions are between enemy or friendly characters, and between heroes and minions. Most hero-specific effects also specify whether it is the player's hero or the opponent's, although LegacyAlexstrasza may target either one. If a card only specifies "enemies", it refers to the enemy hero as well. Many other restrictions are also possible, based on minion type, statistics, and text/abilities. As of Whispers of the Old Gods, Goblins vs GnomesSteamwheedle Sniper is the only card that changes the targeting of another effect, specifically turning an auto-targeted ability into a player-directed one.

These targeting restrictions can sometimes make random effects not at all random due to the existence of only one valid target (or set of targets).

Elusive minions cannot being targeted by either player's spells and Hero Powers. However, they can still be hit with randomly targeted or untargeted effects, and can be selected by players making attacks or playing Battlecries. Stealth and Immune prevent all player targeting from the opponent only, although they too can be hit by random or untargeted effects. Immune, of course, has the additional benefit of preventing damage even if it is hit. This makes it especially inconvenient to employ random targeting against an opponent using an Immune character, which may absorb hits that could otherwise have damaged more vulnerable targets.

"Permanent" minions cannot be targeted, including by random target or AoE effects. Despite this, they still take up places on the battlefield, and will effectively 'soak' positional effects such as LegacyFlametongue Totem or LegacyCone of Cold without effect.

Locations cannot be targeted by normal means, such as by dealing damage or restoring health. A location can only be targeted by an action if a card (e.g. Murder at Castle NathriaDemolition Renovator) specifically says so.[1]

Spells, Hero Powers, and weapon Battlecries[]

See also: Spell, Hero Power, Weapon

Targets are selected for spells, Hero Powers, and weapon Battlecries in the same way. The text below uses the collective term "action" to refer to all of those plays, and "card" to specify a spell or weapon played from the hand.

Targeting of player-chosen actions is done by selecting a playable card or Power and then selecting the target character. Actions for which there is insufficient mana are unplayable and cannot initiate this process; the same is true for Hero Powers that are exhausted for that turn. A bold red arrow leads from the action source to the intended target, moving as different selections are made. The opponent can see the targeting arrow as well during this process. The opponent's view includes the hand position of the card being played (or shows that it is the Hero Power), but the identity of the card is not revealed until the play is actually "locked in". If the target is valid, the action will complete. If the target is invalid, an error message will be presented, and if the player targets an empty area, the action is cancelled - in either of these cases no card is revealed. Players cannot take an action and choose "no target" if it normally requires one, which in some cases forces players to select non-ideal targets to gain from side effects of the play.

For automatically selected targets, whether random or predetermined, the player simply drags the card onto the board or clicks the Hero Power, and target selection is handled by the game.

When there are no valid targets at all, different consequences occur depending on the card and type of targeting. Specific notes can be found on card pages.

  • A spell or Power requiring a player-chosen target, for instance LegacyFireblast or LegacySwipe, can never be used without one.
  • When the target(s) are random characters, a spell or Hero Power can generally not be played without at least the stated number of valid random targets, for instance 1 enemy minion for LegacyDeadly Shot or 2 for LegacyCleave. However, if a spell has a mix of random and untargeted effects, it may be castable even without targets - for instance Goblins vs GnomesSabotage works to destroy a weapon even with no enemy minions in play.
  • Weapons with random Battlecries can be played regardless of available targets, even if that means their Battlecries have no effect.

Minion Battlecries[]

See also: Summon, Battlecry, Choose One, or Combo

Most minions are played from the hand to an empty slot on the player's board with no targeting. However, those with Battlecries or related abilities may cause targeted effects. Players can never select the Battlecry card as its own target, and there are no Battlecry cards that include themselves in randomly targeted effects.

All minion plays begin the same way: first selecting a playable minion (the player must have enough mana) from the hand and then selecting the desired board position. Most minions would be put into play at this point, but an additional targeting step takes place for a minion with a player-targeted Battlecry. Similarly to spells, a bold red arrow leads from the minion being played to the intended target, moving as different selections are made. The opponent can see the targeting arrow as well during this process, except from their perspective the card will still be in the hand, since it has not actually been played at this point, making it indistinguishable from a spell. The arrow reveals the hand position of the minion being played, but its identity is not shown until a target has been finalized. If the target is valid, the minion summoning will be completed. If the target is invalid, an error message will be presented. If the player targets an empty area, the minion play is cancelled or "undone": the minion is not revealed, its selected board position is "forgotten", and it is visually returned to the hand, which it never truly left.

For automatically targeted Battlecries, whether random or predetermined, the player simply drags the minion into the desired board position as with any other, and target selection is handled by the game. If a minion has a player-targeted Battlecry but there are no valid targets, it is played as if it had no Battlecry at all - once the board position is selected, the minion is summoned and the Battlecry has no effect.

Note that if any valid target is available for a Battlecry, the minion cannot be played without selecting one. As with spells, players wishing to play minions with situationally inconvenient Battlecries may be forced to select friendly targets for detrimental effects, or enemy minions for beneficial ones, in order to get the minions onto the board. Unlike spells however, minions are never prevented from being played due to a lack of Battlecry targets.

Attacks[]

Main article: Attack

When attacking, the target is often called the "defender". All attacks are ordered by selecting an attack-capable character and using the targeting arrow that appears to select the desired defender. As with the other targeting actions, the arrow is visible to both players even before the attack order is completed. A player may commence the attack by selecting a valid target, will get an error message if selecting an invalid target, and can cancel the attack by selecting empty space or by right-clicking. Only enemy characters may be targeted in an attack, but certain triggered effects may change the defender to a new character, including a friendly one, before combat begins. Some effects may even cancel the attack entirely, in which case the player may initiate a new attack without being bound by previous targeting choices.

Attacking characters can generally target any enemy that is not Immune or in Stealth. However, enemy Taunt minions restrict the valid targets for an attack to only those with Taunt.

It is extremely rare for there to be no targets to attack, since either the opposing hero or a Taunt minion should be attackable nearly all the time. Thus, only an Immune opponent with no attackable minions, such as a warlock with a Stealthed Goblins vs GnomesMal'Ganis, could result in such a situation. In this case, no attacks can be targeted, so no attacks can be ordered at all.

Locations[]

Main article: Location

Unlike spells and battlecries, locations do not have immediate targeting effects when played. Instead, they are put on the battlefield and have an ability that can be activated at any point. In a way, targeted location abilities work similarly to hero powers in that regard.

Much like hero powers, a targeted location ability is used by holding and dragging the location to a valid target, or clicking the location and then its target.

Locations themselves cannot be targeted by normal means (see #Targeting restrictions).

Cards with targeted effects[]

For Wild format listings, see Target/Wild format

Target a friendly minion[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
SW 023.png
WC 007.png
CORE EX1 144.png
CORE ULD 191.png
REV 920.png
BAR 910.png
REV 923.png
SW 067.png
TSC 211.png
TSC 069.png
CORE EX1 362.png
REV 362.png
DED 009.png
CORE UNG 108.png
CORE EX1 195.png
REV 351.png
REV 371.png
CORE EX1 049.png
REV 333.png
SW 064.png
CORE ICC 809.png
AV 312.png
CORE GIL 828.png
ONY 005tb9.png
TSC 649.png
REV 517.png

Target an enemy minion[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
SW 460.png
CORE CS2 108.png
SW 052t4.png
DED 503.png
REV 506.png
BAR 315.png
CORE EX1 382.png
SW 317.png
AV 138.png
CORE CS2 076.png
TID 920.png
AV 331.png
ONY 024.png
DED 517.png
TSC 933.png
ONY 005ta5.png
TID 709t2.png
BAR 848.png
SW 417.png
DED 525.png
REV 370.png
REV 017.png
REV 017t.png

Target either player's minion[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE CS2 072.png
CORE CS2 188.png
AV 136t.png
WC 022.png
SW 108.png
CS3 027.png
ONY 005tc6.png
CORE CS1 130.png
CORE EX1 302.png
SW 052t6.png
REV 842.png
REV 990.png
SW 108t.png
TSC 215.png
AV 324.png
CORE EX1 410.png
SW 027.png
CORE BOT 453.png
ONY 025.png
CORE GIL 801.png
REV 249.png
SW 090.png
AV 266.png
AV 329.png
BAR 044.png
BAR 044t.png
BAR 044t2.png
CORE CS2 073.png
CORE EX1 059.png
CORE EX1 603.png
DED 009.png
CORE ICC 055.png
REV 983.png
DED 518.png
BAR 549.png
CORE CS2 009.png
ONY 005ta2.png
ONY 005ta1.png
SW 316.png
ONY 027.png
REV 939.png
CORE EX1 622.png
CORE EX1 391.png
ONY 012.png
WC 021.png
TSC 056.png
CORE EX1 154.png
BAR 916.png
REV 290.png
SW 452.png
CORE EX1 275.png
AV 315.png
TSC 956.png
SW 087.png
CORE BT 801.png
DED 523.png
AV 292.png
TID 717.png
AV 338.png
CORE CS2 203.png
REV 602.png
TID 708.png
SW 458.png
DED 502.png
TSC 651.png
AV 250.png
AV 322.png
CORE UNG 817.png
ONY 005tb14.png
ONY 005tb8.png
TSC 775.png
CORE EX1 005.png
CORE CS2 092.png
REV 248.png
CORE EX1 046.png
CORE EX1 246.png
SW 432.png
CORE DAL 371.png
BAR 032.png
CORE EX1 194.png
SW 066.png
AV 224.png
TSC 775t.png
ONY 006.png
CORE EX1 564.png
ONY 005tb2.png
BAR 080.png
CORE EX1 309.png
SW 443.png
ONY 005ta6.png
BAR 308.png
TSC 061.png

Target a friendly character[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE CS2 045.png

Target an enemy character[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TSC 023.png
TID 001.png
TSC 932.png

Target either player's character[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE DS1 185.png
CORE CS2 189.png
TSC 963.png
CORE AT 055.png
TSC 952.png
CORE EX1 238.png
CORE AT 037.png
SW 114.png
TSC 637.png
SW 412.png
CORE EX1 011.png
BAR 801.png
AV 200p2.png
DED 513.png
CORE TRL 307.png
CS3 022.png
AV 259.png
REV 601.png
REV 601t.png
AV 202p.png
AV 207p.png
SW 110.png
CORE BRM 013.png
BAR 541.png
AV 212.png
BAR 040.png
ONY 032.png
AV 207p2.png
BAR 319.png
BAR 319t.png
BAR 319t2.png
SW 321.png
DED 512.png
TID 074.png
CORE AT 064.png
ONY 010.png
TSC 058.png
CORE EX1 134.png
TSC 017.png
SW 088.png
CORE CS2 029.png
BAR 316.png
SW 442.png
ONY 018.png
AV 131.png
REV 013t.png
CORE CS2 042.png
CORE NEW1 008.png
TID 716.png
CS3 031.png
CORE EX1 279.png

Target an enemy location[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
REV 023.png

References[]

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