From Liquipedia Hearthstone Wiki
Game Information
Release Dates:
2013-08-16 (Closed Beta)
2014-03-11 (Retail)

Hearthstone (formerly titled Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft[1]) is a digital collectible card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The objective of the game is to reduce the opponent hero's Health to 0. Players alternate turns, during which time they can spend mana to play cards. These may be minions, spells, weapons, or secrets, each of which have an influence on the course of the game. Each hero has a particular 2-mana Hero Power and a variety of hero-specific cards. Under appropriate conditions, heroes can attack and heal, just like minions. Players construct decks from cards they have unlocked to play on the ladder called Play Mode or draft temporary decks to enter into the Arena. Each deck is 30 cards; on the ladder, each card may appear twice in a deck, with the exception of Legendary cards, which can appear once.

This article is an overview of the game. For a guide to get into Hearthstone, see Getting Started with Hearthstone.


Main article: Cards.

Just a quick overview, link to main page.

Basic Attributes[edit]

Main article: Attributes.

Just a quick overview, link to main page.


Main article: Minions.

Minions are cards which fight to assist and deal damage to your opponents Hero, most cards come with Abilities of some sort.


Main article: Spells.

Spell cards are a one time use, and have some kind of effect or Ability. Spell cards expire immediately after use.


Main article: Weapons.

Just a quick overview, link to main page.


Main article: Abilities.

Just a quick overview, link to main page.

Game Modes[edit]

Main article: Game modes.

Hearthstone has currently five different game modes. A draft mode called the Arena, constructed mode called the Play Mode, Challenge mode for battling with friends, Tavern Brawl that changes weekly, Practice mode for honing skills versus AI and Solo Adventures that includes single player challenges Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain.

Play Mode[edit]

Main article: Play Mode.

Play Mode is a basic ladder format where players battle against each other with decks built from their own collection of cards. Often referred as constructed the Ranked Play mode is the main competitive element in Hearthstone. In the Play mode progress is represented by ranks from 25 to 1 and finally Legend ranks. Ladders are reset every month with the change of Season. Every three wins in the Play mode rewards players with 10 Gold up 100 Gold a day. Also a new Card Back is awarded to players who at the end of Season are ranked 20 or higher.


Main article: Practice.

Practice offers players a chance to battle it out versus AI using either pre-made Basic decks or with decks of their own creation. Recommended for players who have just picked up the game this mode is an easy way to familiarize with the game and earn some Hero Levels to complete their collection of Basic cards.

Solo Adventures[edit]

Main article: Solo Adventures.

Solo Adventures are short campaigns in which players battle their way through Hearthstone iterations of some iconic World of Warcraft scenarios. Currently two Solo Adventures Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain have been released. Both Solo Adventures introduced a new Card Set that can only be obtained by defeating the Adventure.


Main article: Arena.

Arena, loosely based on the booster draft format found in many TCG/CCGs, is a game type that is entirely separate from constructed deck game modes and focuses on deck construction from random drafts. Arena is the only game mode currently that has a cost of entry, requiring either $1.99 or 150 gold from the player per run. A player may have only one Arena run active at a time, but there is no time limit in which to finish that particular run. In an Arena run, a player must first select one of three randomly selected heroes and then build an entirely new deck for the selected hero from a series of randomly selected cards. Players are shown three random cards at a time and must choose one of the three to be put in their deck. This selection process is done until a full deck (30/30) has been created. Though the cards are selected randomly, there is a uniformity of card rarity—that is to say, if one of the card choices in a group is legendary, all of the card choices will be legendary, and so on. Because of the random nature of Arena, basic deck limitation rules found in constructed are bypassed; therefore, a player can potentially have more than two of any particular card in their deck, and, though highly improbable, could also have more than one of the same legendary.

Once the hero has been selected and the deck constructed, the player then can queue up for Arena matches against other players who have built decks in exactly the same fashion. An Arena run ends when either the player has lost a total of three games with that particular deck, or if the player has won a total of 9 times (without losing three) with that particular deck. When an Arena run is finished, the player will receive a random series of rewards that vary based upon how many wins were acquired on that particular run. The rewards can include arcane dust, gold, rare single cards, as well as packs of expert Hearthstone cards; and the amounts of gold and arcane dust found in each reward will increase based upon win-rate. However, the rewards will always include at least one pack of expert Hearthstone cards regardless of win-rate.

Tavern Brawl[edit]

Main article: Tavern Brawl.

Tavern Brawl lets players experiment new kinds of decks and scenarios with weekly changing rulesets and game mechanics. Available for five days a week Tavern Brawl presents players with decks that for example consist of only Webspinners and some Class Spells.


Magic: The Gathering[edit]


Even the casual observer would be able to note an influence from Magic: The Gathering, the grandfather of all collectible card games, so let's take a look at some similarities and differences between Magic and Hearthstone. For the uninitiated Magic: The Gathering was the first collectible card game created in 1993 by Richard Garfield and introduced by Wizards of the Coast.

Deck Size[edit]

In Hearthstone you have 30 cards in a deck, while in Magic you have to have at least 60 with no upper limit other than what you can reasonably shuffle. The difference is not as large as it first appears though. This is because of the mana differences discussed above. In Magic, you need to factor in the land cards you need to generate mana into the 60 card minimum deck size. Generally, you will use someplace between 21-24 land in a deck. This means that the deck sizes are really not that different, since they end up being roughly 36 cards for Magic and 30 cards for Hearthstone.



Both Magic and Hearthstone utilize mana as a resource, however that is where the similarities between the resource systems end for the most part. In Hearthstone, players automatically gain one mana crystal per turn until the maximum of ten has been reached. The crystals refill between turns. In Magic players gain mana from tapping land. Mana is generated in 5 different colours as well as colourless. Players are required to ensure that they have enough land, of the appropriate colour, in their deck to ensure they draw enough land over their turns so that they can play their spells, making resource management in Magic a lot more complicated.

Colours vs. Classes[edit]

An obvious difference between the two is that in Magic you select your deck by colour, and in Hearthstone you pick a class as your character. In Magic you have 5 colours of cards to choose from, each with their own specific flavour. There are also colourless artifacts cards and multi-coloured cards with 2 or more colours required to cast them. Any player can take any or all colours of cards, but are required to use the correct colour of mana to summon them, making it difficult to use more than 2 colours in a deck reliably. In Hearthstone, you choose between 9 classes that each has a set of cards with different effects that are available to only them. They each have a theme that defines that class. All classes also have access to a large pool of common cards that help round out your deck.

Card Types[edit]

Hearthstone has just three card types - Weapons, Minions, and Spells. In Magic: the Gathering there are creatures (which minions are nearly direct copies of), sorceries (nearly identical to spells), lands, artefacts (which among other have subtype - equipment which is used differently than Hearthstone's weapons), enchantments (which includes both auras played on other permanent types as well as global enchantments) and planeswalkers. Formerly there were also Mana Source and Interrupt type cards but these were eventually rebranded as Instants to simplify game mechanic.

Combat and Damage[edit]

In Magic: the Gathering it is impossible to attack directly creatures controlled by opponent - player can only designate attacking creatures which - by default - attack only opponent. Then the defending players declares defending creatures, assigning 1 or more defender's to any attackers he chooses to block. Also there is only one combat phase which resolves all combat in the same time (by default). In Hearthstone, however, the combat is always initiated by attacker against any target he chooses, unless there's a creature with Taunt in play. Also it's important to note that all damage in Hearthstone is permanent while in Magic: the Gathering all creatures are effectively healed by the end of each phase. This generally makes summoning non-combat utility creatures in Magic: the Gathering a lot safer while also making the Hearthstone more volatile and arguably more dynamic. Also the permanent damage would be probably harder to implement in tabletop card game, while in computer game it's not an issue and something easier to grasp for a player familiar with video games in general.

Ability to influence opponent's turn[edit]

In Magic: the Gathering each player - to a degree - can affect what's happening in opponent's turn. Specifically speaking: Instant card types (and in old editions: also Interrupts and Mana Source cards) as well as permanent's abilities can be activated as a reaction to player's action or by the end of some phases of the turn. In Hearthstone the only way to influence what's happening in opponent's turn is to play Secret effects, that are - however - handled automatically by game engine. This difference leads to a lot more tactically complicated flow of the turn in Magic: the Gathering but makes the turn be more enjoyable for casual PvP online game. This also completely avoids the concept of stack of effects which could be confusing to new players.

Round structure[edit]

Turn structure in Hearthstone is relatively simple and there are apparently only three phases:

  • Beginning of the turn - when all effects that happen at the beginning of the turn occur, card is drawn and amount of mana crystal is increased (if applicable),
  • Main phase when cards are played and minions attack and
  • End of turn when all effects that happen at the end of the turn occur.

In Magic: the Gathering the turn structure is a lot more complicated:

  • Beginning phase which has three steps:
    • Untap Phase
    • Upkeep
    • Draw
  • First Main Phase
  • Combat Phase
    • Beginning of Combat
    • Declare Attackers
    • Declare Blockers
    • Combat Damage (possibly in two steps)
    • End of Combat
  • Second Main Phase
    • End Phase
    • Clean Up

Even without explaining what is happening in which phase/step, it's clear that Magic: the Gathering is much more structured and requires more planning, as some effects can take place only in specific phase of a turn. It's worth to note, however, that some phases in Magic: the Gathering make sense because the games is handled by people rather than computer.


In Magic: the Gathering there are relatively few cards that rely on randomness, the only unrare exception being discarding card at random from hand. Hearthstone - on the other hand - have many cards which effects are more or less random, which leads to a lot less tactical game experience. Cards like Ragnaros the Firelord or Sylvanas Windrunner or even Shaman's Totemic Call ability can - depending on the random effect - have dramatic influence on the flow of the game.


There are also other influences, for example Legends of Norrath.


What is the official story / lore of Hearthstone?

External links[edit]