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Taunt
Enemies must attack minions that have Taunt.

The shield-like Taunt visual effect

Taunt is a minion ability which forces the opposing player to direct any melee attacks toward enemy targets with this ability.

Minions with Taunt (commonly referred to as Taunts) serve to protect their allies by forcing the enemy to deal with them first, preventing them from attacking other friendly minions or the controlling hero until the Taunts are removed. However, Taunts have no effect on spells, Hero Powers or other damaging effects. Minions with Taunt are displayed on the battlefield encased in a shield.Taunt is mainly useful to counter aggressive decks, which focus on dealing damage to your hero, but is still one of the strongest abilities in hearthstone.

One of the most powerful effects in Hearthstone, confusion over how Taunt works is one of the main reasons new players quit the game.[1]

Functionality[]

A video explaining Taunt in Hearthstone made by the Curse Gamepedia YouTube Channel.
  • The Taunt ability works by limiting which characters the opposing player can target with direct "melee" attacks from their own characters. Only these direct attacks - when a minion or hero physically moves to attack an enemy target - are affected by Taunt. All other types of effects are completely unaffected by Taunt, including spells, Hero Powers, and minion effects such as those of LegacyElven Archer or LegacyKnife Juggler.
  • If the opponent has one or more Taunt minions on the battlefield, the player will only be able to direct melee attacks at one of the minions with Taunt. If they try to attack a non-Taunt target while there is an enemy Taunt minion on the battlefield, they will be given the error message "A minion with Taunt is in the way".
  • If the opponent has more than one minion with Taunt, the player will be able to choose which one of them to attack.
  • Players do not have to attack Taunt minions, but cannot attack any other characters while there are enemy Taunt minions on the battlefield. A player may choose not to attack at all rather than attacking an enemy Taunt, which may be strategically advantageous.
  • As with all minion abilities, destroying a Taunt minion or removing it from the board will immediately take it out of play, cancelling the Taunt effect. The Taunt ability can also be removed from a minion through Silence and Transform effects like LegacyKeeper of the Grove and LegacyPolymorph.

Advanced[]

  • A unique conflict comes into play when a single minion has Stealth or Immune and Taunt active. The Taunt effect is temporarily negated by the Stealth or Immunity, and will not take effect until the minion loses its buff.
  • Taunt only restricts attacks where the player is selecting a target for a character attack action. Abilities like Auto-Attack and the triggered effect of Journey to Un'GoroSwamp King Dred will bypass Taunt.
  • Rush minions can bypass heroes with Taunt, this can be seen in the One Night in Karazhan Adventure encounter, The Curator.

Strategy[]

Taunt is a key strategic ability in Hearthstone. It allows a minion to act as a 'tank', protecting other targets from melee attack while forcing the enemy to attack them first. Critically though, Taunt only affects target selection for melee combat, where the player sends their minion or hero to attack an enemy target. Spells, Hero Powers and ranged attacks, such as that of LegacyElven Archer, are not affected by Taunt, and can be targeted regardless. Non-targeted effects such as area of effect (LegacyFlamestrike) and random target effects (LegacyArcane Missiles) are also unaffected.

The value of a Taunt minion lies in its ability to dictate the focus of combat on the board. Generally, this is to divert attacks away from more valuable or vulnerable targets, and toward the Taunt. Taunts can be very useful in the late game to prevent the opponent from directing all attacks at the hero themselves, quickly finishing the game. It can also be important for protecting valuable minions such as those with special effects or abilities. Without a Taunt these minions may be quickly removed, preventing the player from benefiting from their effects. Taunts can sometimes also prevent combat outright (for a turn or two), such as when facing down a vastly inferior minion. While the choice between attacking a hero and attacking their minions is a key strategic point in the game, Taunt minions make this decision for your opponent, preventing them from sneaking in extra attacks on your hero and forcing them to focus on your designated champion.

The best Taunt minions generally have a high Health value, allowing them to engage in combat with several enemies before they are destroyed. Health-increasing and healing effects such as the priest hero power can be very useful for topping-up Taunts.

Like all abilities, Taunt represents a points trade-off with other possible qualities. Building the right proportion of Taunt minions into a deck is therefore a key strategic decision. Too many taunts can leave you short on other abilities, or routinely playing minions with lower stats than necessary. Too few taunts can leave your special minions vulnerable, your hero open to attack, and prevent you from capitalizing on their powers. Different classes, strategies and players have different synergies and attitudes to the use of Taunts, with some decks relying on numerous Taunts as a core element of their strategy, and others eschewing them entirely.

Since they only affect melee combat, Taunts are generally most effective against decks which rely on minion attacks to defeat the opponent. Decks which focus on spells or Hero Powers to deal lethal damage will be minimally affected by Taunts.

Taunts generally represent a slowing down of the game, with the Taunt ability usually present on a card in place of additional stats or other useful effects. This makes Taunts effective in control decks which seek to delay the game until they can afford to play their expensive cards or powerful combos. In contrast, Taunts are far less valuable in aggro decks, which seek to defeat the opponent in the first few rounds, since these decks are less concerned about incoming damage, preferring to focus on dealing damage as quickly as possible although cards such as LegacyVoidwalker, Journey to Un'GoroTar Creeper, and Journey to Un'GoroStonehill Defender are still widely used in aggro decks to protect more valueable minions with higher value, such as LegacyRaid Leader or LegacyLightwarden.

One key thing to remember in the use of Taunts is that they are always vulnerable to Silences and destroy effects. An indomitable Taunt can be neutralised with a single LegacyIronbeak Owl or LegacyAssassinate, wrecking plans to defend minions or the hero itself, Rastakhan's RumbleShieldbreaker's only purpose is to remove Taunt considering how widely used this effect is. Taunts can also be specifically removed by LegacyThe Black Knight, or may be purposefully countered with direct damage spells or Charge minions in order to clear the way for attacks. Transformations can also remove the Taunt ability, although LegacyHex will not, since the resulting LegacyFrog itself has Taunt. Taunts can be a target of Mind control effects, leaving their previous owner vulnerable. Players may also use return effects such as LegacySap or LegacyFreezing Trap to cunningly remove Taunts for a turn or two.

Decks seeking to burst the player down will often use cheap forms of removal such as these before using plays such as LegacyUnleash the Hounds to finish the opponent off. Using multiple Taunts can strongly reduce the likelihood of this happening, but cannot prevent it entirely.

Granting Taunt[]

While the Taunt ability is usually granted by the minion's card text, it can also be gained from various enchantments and spells. See the table below for a full list. Granting Taunt to a minion is a highly strategic decision, with consequences which can be hard to predict. It may force the opponent to attack the target first, prompt them to use removal upon the target, or serve to give them a larger selection of targets to attack.

Players often choose to grant Taunt to a powerful minion which can withstand several attacks, or is capable of destroying any minion which attacks it. Giving Taunt to a high-Attack minion may force the opponent to sacrifice a tough minion or suffer substantial damage themselves using a weapon. However, high-Health Taunts are generally considered preferable, due to their increased longevity in the line of fire.

In some particular circumstances, granting Taunt to a valuable enemy minions with cards such as LegacyAncestral Healing and LegacyMark of the Wild can be efficient too, not only does this cause the minion to be unprotected by other Taunts, making it vulnerable to minions such as Kobolds & CatacombsStoneskin Basilisk and Journey to Un'GoroStubborn Gastropod, it can also be conveniently destroyed by LegacyThe Black Knight.

Taunt can be used to force an opponent to trigger the minion's Deathrattle, such as with LegacyAbomination and LegacyTirion Fordring. Players can grant Taunt for a similar purpose, choosing targets such as LegacySavannah Highmane and LegacyCairne Bloodhoof to manipulate the opponent's actions and trigger useful synergies. However, Deathrattle Taunts are easily countered with effects such as silences.

It is almost always preferable to keep valuable targets protected by at least one Taunt, which is arguably the key purpose of Taunts. For this reason, it is generally a bad idea to grant vulnerable targets Taunt, since this strongly enables and encourages the enemy to attack that minion. In the case of Taunt-granting positional effects such as LegacyDefender of Argus this can mean sacrificing a value buff, but may still be the better choice. In some cases positional effects can make it impossible to avoid granting Taunt to a minion, making the playing of that card problematic.

Soft taunt[]

Minions described as 'soft taunts', although lacking the Taunt ability, have the potential to give the controlling player such a benefit that its removal or silencing quickly becomes a priority for their opponent. Such minions may have the ability to gain the stats rapidly (LegacyLightwarden, LegacySecretkeeper), to clear the board (LegacyDoomsayer), to buff other minions (LegacyMurloc Warleader, LegacyTundra Rhino), to summon them (LegacyHogger, LegacyXavius) or to benefit from summoning them (LegacyKnife Juggler), to provide card draw (LegacyNorthshire Cleric, LegacyCult Master), mana discount (LegacySorcerer's Apprentice), Spell Damage (LegacyMalygos) or armor (LegacyArmorsmith) etc. Minions may also become soft taunts in certain decks, such as LegacyInjured Blademaster in Combo Priest, which can be expected to be targeted with LegacyDivine Spirit and LegacyInner Fire. Minions with high Attack but low Health such as LegacyMagma Rager may also act as soft taunts if the player wishes to avoid suffering their attack.

Essentially, any minion which is a priority to remove can be considered a 'soft taunt'. The term is not fixed but is granted subjectively according to a player's sense of priorities.

Because soft taunts generally represent a minion of special value, it is usually to the advantage of the controlling player to do their best to protect these targets. This can help keep the minion alive a little longer, and also force their opponent's hand by requiring them to go to costly lengths in order to remove the minion, before its effects turn the tide of the game against them. However, these strategic decisions hinge upon the perceived value of the minion. Players can use this to lead their opponent to attack apparently valuable minions which are in fact not critical to their strategy. For example, a mage playing a Spell Damage minion can expect their opponent to quickly remove the minion if possible, due to its potential to increase the mage's damage output. However, a mage without any spells in their hand may choose to play a Spell Damage minion simply in order to distract their opponent from another target of greater value. This can cause the opponent to sacrifice a minion or waste a valuable removal spell of their own in order to destroy this apparently important minion, inadvertently clearing the way for the mage to play a different strategy the next round. This can also be used much like a literal taunt minion to buy the mage time or to dictate which of the possible minions the opponent must attack.

Players need to be aware of the attractiveness or 'soft taunt' status of their minions; for example, minions with Spell Damage are often best played in the same round as a damaging spell, ensuring that the minion is not destroyed before the player can get at least some use from its effect.

Cards with Taunt[]

This section lists Taunt minions or minions that can gain Taunt when played.

Collectible[]

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
SW 451.png
CORE ICC 038.png
CORE CS2 065.png
CORE GVG 085.png
SW 306.png
CORE ULD 271.png
UPCOMING 78153.png
BAR 743.png
BAR 026.png
WC 004.png
AV 323.png
CORE UNG 928.png
TSC 938.png
CORE OG 218.png
BAR 750.png
ONY 002.png
CORE TRL 252.png
TID 714.png
BAR 069.png
CORE UNG 833.png
ONY 024.png
CORE CS2 179.png
AV 135.png
BAR 535.png
BAR 021.png
BAR 846.png
BAR 313.png
AV 328.png
SW 054.png
CS3 024.png
DED 500.png
TSC 020.png
BAR 917.png
TSC 609.png
AV 286.png
AV 133.png
BAR 310.png
AV 325.png
TSC 917.png
AV 291.png
AV 337.png
CORE NEW1 010.png
SW 037.png
SW 068.png
CORE UNG 848.png
WC 040.png
CORE EX1 383.png
TID 077.png
CORE LOOT 137.png

Uncollectible[]


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
DED 001bt.png
DED 001c.png
TSC 656t.png
TSC 076t.png
WC 034t2.png
SW 076t.png
AV 258t6.png
TSC 639t3.png
TSC 639t2.png
TSC 639t.png
TSC 941t.png
UPCOMING 78436.png
SW 031t8.png
TSC 076t2.png
AV 337t.png
AV 323t.png
SW 429t.png
TSC 026t.png
SW 428t4.png
TSC 660t.png
TSC 076t3.png
TSC 919t.png
SW 433t3.png
TSC 962t.png
TSC 650t.png
SW 443t.png

Sources of Taunt[]

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format

Taunt-generating cards[]

This section lists cards which generate Taunt minions.


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
SW 079t.png
DED 001.png
SW 428t2.png
WC 022.png
BAR 550.png
SW 433t2.png
WC 028.png
SW 031t.png
BAR 841.png
AV 258pt.png
SW 306.png
TSC 941.png
WC 003.png
AV 113p.png
BAR 533.png
CORE NEW1 031.png
WC 027.png
CORE EX1 248.png
SW 079.png
AV 323.png
SW 088.png
CORE EX1 246.png
SW 026.png
TSC 919.png
BAR 072.png
CORE EX1 165.png
TSC 650.png
BAR 848.png
BAR 846.png
TSC 650a.png
AV 342.png
SW 429.png
SW 076.png
TSC 609.png
TSC 026.png
BAR 538.png
SW 443.png
TSC 639.png
TSC 076.png
AV 337.png
TSC 660.png
WC 034.png
ONY 005tc3.png
AV 258.png
CORE EX1 573.png
TSC 962.png
TSC 656.png
AV 339.png

Taunt-granting cards[]

This section lists cards which grant Taunt to other minions or to itself.


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
AV 142t.png
SW 067.png
CORE CS2 009.png
ONY 005ta2.png
CORE LOOT 124.png
TSC 060.png
TSC 059.png
CORE EX1 093.png
ONY 005tb2.png
SW 071.png
SW 443.png
SW 081.png

Related cards[]

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
BAR 841.png
BAR 549.png
BAR 537.png
AV 321.png
BAR 540.png
SW 081.png

Achievements[]

Name Requirements Rewards
Tanks! You're welcome. (1/5) Play 100 cards with Taunt. 10 Achievement Point.png
Tanks! You're welcome. (2/5) Play 300 cards with Taunt. 10 Achievement Point.png
Tanks! You're welcome. (3/5) Play 1000 cards with Taunt. 10 Achievement Point.png
Tanks! You're welcome. (4/5) Play 3000 cards with Taunt. 10 Achievement Point.png
Tanks! You're welcome. (5/5) Play 10000 cards with Taunt. 20 Achievement Point.png

Trivia[]

  • Cited in 2015 as one of the most common reasons new players left the game, according to Ben Brode a "shocking percentage of players" used to finish the tutorial without understanding Taunt, or even "get stuck" in the King Mukla encounter due to the mechanic.[1] Ambiguous emotes - "I must attack that minion with Taunt" - are cited as the main issue, and have since seen updates.[1]
  • Early in development, attacking a Taunt minion would cause it to lose Taunt. However, when a bug cropped up that caused minions not to lose Taunt when attacked, the developers realised that it was much simpler and more fun for Taunts to retain the ability, and the behaviour was kept.[2]

Patch changes[]

  • Patch 1.0.0.4944 (2014-03-11): Minions who have Taunt and Stealth now have an effect that more clearly indicates that Taunt is temporarily disabled during Stealth.

References[]

 
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-06). 
  2. Ben Brode quoted on reddit. (2016-10-03). 
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