Triggered effect

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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".

Notes[edit | edit source]

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.

Advanced[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Cards[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Spell-casting[edit | edit source]

Whenever[edit | edit source]

'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
Mana Wyrm(263).png
Oh My Yogg!(388980).png
Counterspell(475128).png
Educated Elekk(329938).png
Tamsin Roame(487644).png
Crossroads Watch Post(487673).png
Violet Teacher(475020).png
Ogremancer(330007).png
Gadgetzan Auctioneer(475019).png
Arcane Devourer(475018).png
After[edit | edit source]

'After' effects trigger from the spell fully resolving:


Kolkar Pack Runner(487652).png
Kor'vas Bloodthorn(474984).png
Sethekk Veilweaver(210748).png
Guff Runetotem(487665).png
Rimetongue(464313).png
Spirit Healer(463932).png
Veteran Warmedic(487647).png
Mozaki, Master Duelist(329890).png
Kael'thas Sunstrider(210656).png
Deviate Dreadfang(63502).png

Playing a minion from the hand[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Wailing Vapor(63073).png
Firemancer Flurgl(487662).png
Mirror Entity(475126).png
Mor'shan Watch Post(487675).png
Playmaker(329897).png
Saddlemaster(442049).png
Disciplinarian Gandling(329885).png

Secret-playing[edit | edit source]

Minion summoning[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

After you summon[edit | edit source]

Lushwater Scout(464069).png
Parade Leader(389050).png
Warsong Commander(475140).png
Lothraxion the Redeemed(388950).png

Attacking[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Battlefiend(475082).png
Trueaim Crescent(329946).png
Whetstone Hatchet(63374).png
Ringmaster's Baton(388939).png
Rune Dagger(329996).png
Silverleaf Poison(464123).png
Sword of the Fallen(500135).png
Self-Sharpening Sword(329994).png
Underlight Angling Rod(210711).png
Whack-A-Gnoll Hammer(388986).png
Outrider's Axe(464301).png
Rinling's Rifle(388953).png
Truesilver Champion(475041).png
Boggspine Knuckles(210706).png
Gorehowl(475131).png
Illidari Inquisitor(475056).png

Minion attacks[edit | edit source]

Judgment of Justice(62921).png
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[edit | edit source]

Noble Sacrifice(475054).png
Bamboozle(210821).png
Explosive Trap(475103).png
Misdirection(447).png
Shadow Clone(388962).png
Snake Trap(475091).png
Ice Barrier(475127).png

Character damage[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

This minion[edit | edit source]
Soulbound Ashtongue(210832).png
Bonechewer Brawler(210793).png
Gurubashi Berserker(475190).png
Moonfang(442044).png
Bonechewer Vanguard(210797).png
Friendly minions[edit | edit source]
Armorsmith(475151).png
Another minion[edit | edit source]
Any minion[edit | edit source]
Frothing Berserker(475144).png

Taking hero damage[edit | edit source]

Darkglare(210810).png
Bulwark of Azzinoth(210672).png

Dealing damage[edit | edit source]

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.


Frosted Elemental(464314).png
Patient Assassin(475104).png
Water Elemental(475123).png

Healing[edit | edit source]

Healing-triggered effects activate immediately after healing is granted.

Minion death[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Another minion[edit | edit source]

Avenge(475055).png
Scavenging Hyena(475095).png
Flesheating Ghoul(475163).png
Blood Herald(329958).png


Attacking and killing

Kargath Prime(211066).png

End of turn[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Burning Blade Portal(464331).png
Healing Totem(275).png
Secret Passage(329903).png
Strength Totem(464430).png
Throw Glaive(389015).png
Young Priestess(475043).png
Evocation(210741).png
Trick Totem(330009).png
Blistering Rot(210858).png
Dragonmaw Overseer(210707).png
Grand Totem Eys'or(388960).png
Mana Tide Totem(475070).png
Voracious Reader(329956).png
Ethereal Arcanist(125).png
Ras Frostwhisper(329910).png
Baron Geddon(474992).png
Skeletal Dragon(210820).png
Worgen Abomination(89412).png
Troublemaker(329864).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.

Plagiarize(329991).png
Rigged Faire Game(388943).png

End of each turn[edit | edit source]

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

Gruul(18).png
Onyxia the Broodmother(474986).png

End of the turn[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

These effects are related to end of turn effects.

Start of turn[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Nightmare(334).png
Sigil of Silence(487666).png
Ashes of Al'ar(211133).png
Sphere of Sapience(329906).png
Wave of Apathy(329985).png
Apothecary's Caravan(464326).png
Open the Cages(389006).png
Prospector's Caravan(464053).png
Sigil of Flame(487637).png
Sigil of Summoning(63264).png
Soldier's Caravan(464307).png
Soothsayer's Caravan(464116).png
Tinyfin's Caravan(464060).png
Cloak of Shadows(388961).png

Drawing a card[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Awakening[edit | edit source]

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
Magtheridon(210747).png
Imprisoned Antaen(210700).png

Revealing a Secret[edit | edit source]

Equipping a weapon[edit | edit source]

Gaining Armor[edit | edit source]

Overloading Mana Crystals[edit | edit source]

Shuffling into deck[edit | edit source]

Tak Nozwhisker(90562).png

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]


Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • Patch 1.0.0.4944 (2014-03-11): Minions that have been blessed by Blessing of Wisdom now show the trigger “lightning bolt”. Talk about a bright idea!

References[edit | edit source]