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The lightning bolt icon, explicitly indicating a triggered effect

Triggered effect icon

Triggered effects are effects that activate in response to specific events. Triggered effects may belong to minions, weapons or spells (in the form of Secrets), as well as some boss Hero Powers.

Triggered effects include named abilities such as Battlecry and Deathrattle, as well as unnamed effects such as those of Cult Master, Sword of Justice and Ragnaros the Firelord. All Secrets are triggered effects. Many triggered effects must first be put into play in order to become active - such as by playing the minion, equipping the weapon, or casting the Secret - while others activate when the card itself is drawn, discarded or put into play. Different types of triggered effect often share common rules for their activation.

Since the most common types of triggers are represented by keywords such as Battlecry, the term triggered effect is sometimes used more specifically to refer to those not indicated by a keyword, but instead described explicitly in their card text. Such effects are usually - but not always - denoted when in play by a small lightning bolt icon, a flask with venom (Poisonous), or a broken heart (Lifesteal) at the bottom of the card's portrait or icon, and can usually be activated any number of times, but only while in play. Any ability that states "at the end of your turn" or "at the start of your turn" is a triggered effect, as are most that state "when" or "whenever".


Main article: Advanced rulebook

The interactions and timing of multiple triggered effects are some of the most complex rules in the game. This section is only a summary:

  • When multiple triggered effects activate at once, such as at the end of a player's turn, the effects will activate in the order in which the minions were summoned, with the minions summoned first activating their triggered effects first. Any deaths resulting from the triggers then resolve at once, followed by consequences from those deaths. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
  • Triggered effects which trigger from playing cards or casting spells may take place before or after the card takes effect, depending on the trigger. For example, activating Leader of the Pack with a Violet Teacher active will cause her to summon a fresh Violet Apprentice, who will then benefit from the Leader of the Pack buff,[1] while playing Inner Rage on a 3/1 Wild Pyromancer will destroy the minion before it can activate its effect.
  • For notes on individual types of triggered effects, see the appropriate sections.


  • Triggered effects require the card not to have been destroyed. However, the game only checks to destroy minions with 0 or negative Health when an event phase ends. This means that a minion can be triggered during the same phase in which it is destroyed, regardless of the order in which the events take place. For example, if three enemy Explosive Sheep are killed by your Flamestrike while you have an Acolyte of Pain on the board, the Acolyte will trigger three times (despite his Health reaching 0 after the first Exploding Sheep's Deathrattle) since he cannot completely die while the Sheep Deathrattles are still being handled. Once all simultaneous effects have resolved, the game will then check for any minions at 0 or lower Health, notice the Acolyte and destroy it. Conversely, Cult Master cannot trigger from the death of a friendly minion killed at the same time as the Cult Master itself, since by the time the game checks for triggers from the deaths, the Cult Master has also been destroyed.


For Wild format listings, see Triggered effect/Wild format

Below are listed all cards which possess or grant triggered effects, divided by the type of trigger.

Using Hero Powers[]

Most effects which are triggered by using Hero Powers are denoted by the Inspire keyword. For more details on that effect, see Inspire. Certain other triggered effects are not marked as Inspire effects, but are activated by the use of Hero Powers.


Card-playing triggered effects only activate when a card of the correct type is played directly from the hand. Cards brought into play through summon or put into battlefield effects will not activate these effects.

Card-playing triggered effects activate immediately after the card is played, before it takes effect.

Any card type[]



'When' and 'Whenever' effects trigger from the attempt to cast the spell, before any of the spell's effects apply, and even triggers if Counterspell prevents it:

Arcane Anomaly(475164).png
Lock and Load(475110).png
Oh My Yogg!(388980).png
Educated Elekk(329938).png
Violet Teacher(475020).png
Gadgetzan Auctioneer(475019).png
Arcane Devourer(475018).png

'After' effects trigger from the spell fully resolving:

Kor'vas Bloodthorn(474984).png
Sethekk Veilweaver(210748).png
Mozaki, Master Duelist(329890).png
Kael'thas Sunstrider(210656).png

Playing a minion from the hand[]

These effects trigger only when the minion is played directly from the hand. For effects which trigger from any form of minion summoning, see Minion summoning, below.

That minion[]

Effects which activate when the minion itself is played from the hand are denoted by specific keywords. By far the most common is Battlecry, followed by the druid keyword Choose One and the rogue keyword Combo. All three abilities cause a special effect to activate when the minion is played from the hand, although some require certain conditions to be met.

The list of such minions is too extensive to list here - see individual pages for complete lists:

Another minion

Mirror Entity(475126).png
Disciplinarian Gandling(329885).png


Minion summoning[]

Minion summoning triggered effects may activate at various points during the summoning sequence of events. They may occur before auras are applied to the minion; after auras are applied to the minion, but before any Battlecries are activated; after Battlecries have taken place, but before the minion summoning has resolved; or once the minion summoning has resolved. In some cases they may sometimes activate later in the summoning process, if they did not activate at the proper point.

Note that these effects are triggered by any eligible minion being summoned, even if they are not played from the hand, such as through Summon or put into battlefield effects. Hero powers, Deathrattles, Battlecries and Secrets can all trigger these effects. If the summoned minion has a Battlecry, this will take place prior to the activation of any triggered effects or Secrets.[2]

Whenever you summon[]

Murloc Tidecaller(475044).png
Pursuit of Justice(475049).png
Carnival Barker(388989).png

After you summon[]

Parade Leader(389050).png
Warsong Commander(475140).png
Lothraxion the Redeemed(388950).png


Attacking triggered effects activate before the intended combat actually takes place, although those based on surviving an attack do not trigger until afterwards. For triggers which activate when attacking and killing a minion, see Attacking and killing.

Hero attacks[]

Trueaim Crescent(329946).png
Ringmaster's Baton(388939).png
Rune Dagger(329996).png
Self-Sharpening Sword(329994).png
Underlight Angling Rod(210711).png
Whack-A-Gnoll Hammer(388986).png
Rinling's Rifle(388953).png
Truesilver Champion(475041).png
Boggspine Knuckles(210706).png
Illidari Inquisitor(475056).png

Minion attacks[]

Freezing Trap(475102).png
Reaper's Scythe(329964).png
Lake Thresher(329984).png
Twilight Runner(329983).png
Enslaved Fel Lord(474982).png
Marsh Hydra(210712).png

Any attack[]

Noble Sacrifice(475054).png
Explosive Trap(475103).png
Shadow Clone(388962).png
Snake Trap(475091).png
Ice Barrier(475127).png

Character damage[]

Damage-triggered effects activate immediately after damage is received, but before any deaths are resolved. On-damage triggers that cause healing can prevent a fatally damaged character from dying, as the game will not check for deaths until the end of the current phase is reached, and all simultaneous effects have been resolved.

Taking minion damage[]

This minion[]
Soulbound Ashtongue(210832).png
Bonechewer Brawler(210793).png
Gurubashi Berserker(475190).png
Bonechewer Vanguard(210797).png
Friendly minions[]
Another minion[]
Any minion[]
Frothing Berserker(475144).png

Taking hero damage[]

Bulwark of Azzinoth(210672).png

Dealing damage[]

Various effects activate in response to dealing damage, either by the minion or by the player. Poison effects are a type of triggered destroy effect which display a vial of bubbling poison in place of the usual lightning bolt icon, and use atypical phrasing in their card text.

Patient Assassin(475104).png
Water Elemental(475123).png


Healing-triggered effects activate immediately after healing is granted.

Minion death[]

Death-triggered effects activate only after the death has fully resolved, and the minion or weapon removed from play. All types of death-triggered effects, including Deathrattles, triggered effects and Secrets are queued together from oldest to newest played, with no special priority.

That minion[]

Effects which trigger from the death of the minion itself are Deathrattles - see that page for details.

Another minion[]

Scavenging Hyena(475095).png
Flesheating Ghoul(475163).png
Blood Herald(329958).png

Attacking and killing

Kargath Prime(211066).png

End of turn[]

Most end of turn effects activate at the end of the controlling player's turn, but some activate at the end of the current turn, or at the end of each turn.

The game only queues end of turn triggers once, at the start of the end of turn phase. For example, if during the end of turn phase Kel'Thuzad resurrects a minion which has an end of turn triggered effect, that effect will not be activated that turn, since the minion was not in play when the end of turn phase started.

End of your turn[]

These effects activate at the end of the turns belonging to the controlling player.

Healing Totem(275).png
Secret Passage(329903).png
Strength Totem(464430).png
Throw Glaive(389015).png
Young Priestess(475043).png
Trick Totem(330009).png
Blistering Rot(210858).png
Dragonmaw Overseer(210707).png
Grand Totem Eys'or(388960).png
Mana Tide Totem(475070).png
Mindrender Illucia(329978).png
Voracious Reader(329956).png
Ras Frostwhisper(329910).png
Baron Geddon(474992).png
Skeletal Dragon(210820).png
Worgen Abomination(89412).png
Ancient Void Hound(329944).png
Blood of G'huun(388998).png
Pit Commander(210666).png
Runaway Blackwing(442060).png

End of your opponent's turn

These effects activate at the end of the opponent's turn.

Rigged Faire Game(388943).png

End of each turn[]

These effects activate at the end of each turn, whether belonging to the controlling player or their opponent.

Onyxia the Broodmother(474986).png

End of the turn[]

These effects activate at the end of the turn after they are put into play. This is largely the same as effects that activate at the end of each turn, but only happens once.

Ashtongue Slayer(210827).png

Related cards[]

These effects are related to end of turn effects.

Start of turn[]

Start of turn effects take effect at the very start of the turn, before any cards have been drawn. Almost all take place only on the controlling player's turn, but some happen at the start of each turn, or the start of the opponent's turn.

Start of your turn[]

These effects activate at the start of the turns belonging to the controlling player.

Ashes of Al'ar(211133).png
Sphere of Sapience(329906).png
Wave of Apathy(329985).png
Open the Cages(389006).png
Cloak of Shadows(388961).png

Drawing a card[]

Effects that activate when the card itself is drawn are known as on-draw effects.

Drawing another card

Keymaster Alabaster(329918).png

Discarding a card[]

Effects that activate when the card itself is discarded are known as on-discard effects.

Boneweb Egg(329883).png
Hand of Gul'dan(210809).png

Discarding another card

These effects activate when other cards are discarded.

Tiny Knight of Evil(475025).png


These effects activate when the minion is no longer Dormant.

Imprisoned Gan'arg(210849).png
Imprisoned Sungill(210778).png
Imprisoned Felmaw(210746).png
Imprisoned Scrap Imp(210716).png
Transfer Student(211519).png
Imprisoned Observer(210681).png
Imprisoned Satyr(210678).png
Imprisoned Antaen(210700).png

Revealing a Secret[]

Equipping a weapon[]

Gaining Armor[]

Overloading Mana Crystals[]

Shuffling into deck[]

Tak Nozwhisker(90562).png


Patch changes[]

  • Patch (2014-03-11): Minions that have been blessed by Blessing of Wisdom now show the trigger “lightning bolt”. Talk about a bright idea!