Hearthstone takes place in turns. Each turn gives a player the opportunity to act. At the end of each turn, play is passed back to the other player. A round describes one turn for each player.
Order of play
At the start of each of their turns, the player gains a Mana Crystal (up to a maximum of 10), and attempts to draw a card. The player is then free (but not forced) to take action, playing cards, using their Hero Power, and/or attacking with their minions or hero. Once all possible actions have been taken, the "End Turn" button will light up, often accompanied by the "Job's done" voiceover.
Each turn lasts a maximum of 75 seconds, at which point it will end automatically. However, animations can cause the turn to last longer than 75 seconds. To compensate, when the start of the player's turn is delayed, extra time is added to their turn to compensate. This time is known as the 'slush', and makes up the difference between when the player's turn starts on the server and when it appears to start in the client. This time appears to take place at the end of the current turn but is actually added to the start of the next turn. However, the slush time does not always fully account for the entire length of the animations.
- For example, in Practice mode, Nozdormu introduces a refreshed turn timer of 40 seconds when played, 30 seconds for turns after a turn in which the player presses the "End Turn" button, and 20 seconds for turns after a turn in which the player does not press the "End Turn" button.
- Nozdormu also introduces a longer turn timer when played in some adventures. For example, in the One Night in Karazhan Class Challenges, Nozdormu introduces a 100 second turn timer when played, and for turns after a turn in which the player does not press the "End Turn" button, the turn timer is 70 seconds.
When around 20 seconds are remaining in the current turn, a burning rope fuse will appear across the centre of the battlefield, illustrating the time remaining. Once the fuse has reached the "End Turn" button, the turn will end. Failing to take all desired actions before the rope burns down completely is known as "roping".
At the end of each turn, play is passed to the other player, and their next turn begins.
If a player takes no actions during their turn and the time limit expires, that player's next turn will begin with an even faster burning fuse, giving them around 7 seconds to play. However, as soon as the player takes any action, the fuse will disappear, and the player's total turn time will be extended to the usual 75 seconds.
- Many triggered effects activate at the start or end of either the player's turn, or each player's turn. See Triggered effect#End of turn and Triggered effect#Start of turn for a list.
- Each game of Hearthstone has a limit of 89 turns. At the start of the 90th turn, both heroes will explode, and the game will end in a draw. This means that Player 1 has 45 complete turns (turn 1, 3, 5... 87, 89), while Player 2 has 44 complete turns (turn 2, 4, 6... 86, 88). Player 2 does not start turn 90, he will not draw a card nor will start of turn triggers happen. This limit is very rarely reached, due to fatigue damage.
- Neither the turn countdown timer nor the round counter is visible to players.
- In the alpha, the turn timer was 90 seconds, but it was changed to 75 seconds before the release of the beta.
- With Patch 10.2.0.23180, the turn timer for the first two turns of a match are now shorter.
- In exceptional cases, the player can be required to interact after pressing the "End Turn" button. This happens if, for example, the Plague of Wrath Twist is active in the singleplayer Tombs of Terror adventure and the player's rightmost minion is a Vicious Fledgling, as if the Vicious Fledgling hits the enemy hero after the end of turn the player is required to choose an adaptation for it.
The terms turn and round are often confused by Hearthstone players, and can mean different things in other games. The text of numerous cards such as Ragnaros the Firelord, Power Overwhelming, Competitive Spirit and Loatheb clearly use turn to refer to individual player turns, rather than the completion of a round, which occurs only after the second player completes their turn and control passes back to the player who was chosen to go first at the start of the match.
- Gameplay - An exploration of Hearthstone's basic gameplay.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-09-05).
- Tested by User:Aegonostic in September 2019
- Tested by User:Aegonostic in September 2019
- Yong Woo on Twitter. (2016-06-04).
- This appears to be around 22.5 seconds, but animation lag makes precise measurement difficult.
- Full time appears to be 10 seconds, however, the remained is wasted in non-playable animation time. Playable time appears to be approximately 7.5 seconds.
- Patashu (2015-06-07). Maximum Length (in turns) of a Game (Blackrock Mountain Edition).
- Droggelbecher (June 19, 2015). Turn time has been reduced from 90 to 70 seconds. That's a huge change and nobody knows about it.. Retrieved on 2018-12-30.
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