By: Dylan Hardy
Greetings, Traveller! Welcome back to Part Two of my Introduction to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft! Last week we started off with the very basics and a brief look at the heroes themselves. This week we’re going to tackle cards; from the basics, right to what each card effect does. So pull up a chair and sit close to the Hearth as I take you on a little journey into the cards of Warcraft.
As mentioned in Part One of this series, a player wields a deck of 30 cards chosen by them. These cards are then drawn randomly from the deck during each game of Hearthstone. Each card has a mana cost, ranging from one to ten, with a huge range of effects. There are two main types of cards in Hearthstone – minion cards and spell cards.
Minion cards are simply creature cards that you can spend mana to summon on your side of the board. Each minion has an attack and health value. For example, below you can see that Bloodfen Raptor has an attack of three, and a health of two. Any creature played will stay on the board until it is destroyed by either a card effect or its health reaches zero. Another thing is that a minion will remain inactive on the field until the next turn, unless it has the ability “Charge” – don’t worry about not knowing what this is, I’ll be going into detail about these abilities further below.
When it is your turn and your minion is active, they can attack other minions or opposing heroes of your choice. the way combat works is very simple. The minion will do its attack value to the opposing minion while taking damage equal to the opposing minion’s attack value. Whichever minion has health left after the exchange survives, and if they both reach zero, both minions are destroyed.
Along with minion cards, there are spell cards. Spells do not put any minions on the board, instead do a range of effects on minions or heroes. There is a special type of spell card called a secret. Essentially a secret is more or less a trap you play for a mana cost that will come into play once certain conditions are met. Not all classes have these secrets and a lot of the time, they won’t suit a specific deck or playstyle. Spell cards are all unique and a lot of thought should be used when deciding on which cards will go in a deck. An example of a few spell cards can be seen here.
There is another card type that isn’t mentioned above, mainly because it doesn’t affect every hero. These cards are the Weapon Cards. Weapons are cards you can play for a mana cost to equip a powerful weapon to your hero. A weapon is sheathed on your opponent’s turn and active on yours, meaning you can attack any target of your choice during your active phase. Combat still works, except the combat deals with your health and a minion’s health – you will still take damage from the exchange and if it is not your turn, you will not do any damage back. Weapons are typically used by roughly half the heroes, including Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, Shaman and Hunters. There are even decks out there that just focus on weapons! So if that is your kind of style, go for it – the possibilities are endless in Hearthstone.
Now that you have an idea on the different minions and spells that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has to offer, let’s take a look at special card effect minions can have. Some cards in Hearthstone can attack the turn they are played, while others have an effect after they are destroyed. Other cards only function if you use your hero power, while some let you “discover” random cards – how awesome is that?!
Basic: Basic cards have no special effects, they are simply minions with attack and health values with a certain mana cost. See Bloodfen Raptor above
Deathrattle: Deathrattle cards have no immediate effects – the effects of these cards happen when the card is destroyed. An example of this is Loot Hoarder, allowing players to draw a card when destroyed
Battlecry: Battlecry cards have immediate effects in the battle, ranging from giving health to your hero to destroying an enemy minion. Battlecry minions are some of the most common cards, some with some very devastating effects. Below we can see one, if not the best card in the game, Dr. Boom and his Battlecry effect.
Stealth: Stealth cards are very unique, staying hidden from targeting until attacking. Stealth is a great effect for a card to utilize and it is worth noting that cards that affect all cards on the field will still affect stealthed minions, so they aren’t invincible. An example of a stealth minion would be Jungle Panther, as seen below.
Windfury: Windfury cards allow a minion to attack twice per turn. These cards are generally used by Shaman minions and can prove to be very powerful if used correctly. Young Dragonhawk is a prime example of a windfury card.
Overload: While we’re on the topic of Shamans, there are certain Shaman cards that utilize the card effect “Overload”. Overload locks up mana crystals, resulting in less mana being used the next turn. Typically Overload cards will have fantastic effects the turn you play it for less mana the next turn. An example of an overload card can be found below.
Taunt: Taunt cards are represented with a Shield shaped form once played. Taunt minions have to be attacked first before any other minions on your side of the field, including yourself. These creatures act as a defense of sorts to protect stronger creatures or yourself for longer. Goldshire Footman is one of the first cards introduced to you in Hearthstone and can be seen below.
Charge: Charge creatures are able to attack the same turn they are played. Typically, these minions are powerful but have low health. Charge minions are found in aggressive decks but can find their niche in others as well. Wolfrider is a great example of a Three-mana cost minion.
Enrage: Enrage minions in Hearthstone trigger when they are damaged. This move generally increases in attack. Typically enrage cards are found in the Warrior decks, but there are a bunch of basic cards that are enrage as well.
Combo: Combo cards are extremely fun to play with. These cards have additional effects if used after the use of another card. These cards are exclusive to the Rogue class and have great synergy with other combo cards. Below we can see a combo card, one of my favorite card types in the entire game.
Divine Shield: Divine Shield minions are typically found in Paladin decks. These creatures have a shield, allowing them to not take damage once. They are great cards for keeping board control or destroying your opponent’s taunt minions without losing yours. Below you can see Shielded Minibot.
Inspire: Inspire cards trigger once you use your hero power. These cards came with the Grand Tournament Card Expansion. A lot of these cards can be used in combination with your hero power for some devastating effects. Tournament Medic, seen below, works great with priest decks because you get two heals from it.
Discover: Discover is the newest card effect, coming out with the League of Explorers expansion. These cards allow you to “Discover” 3 random cards and add them to your hand. A lot of RNG is present with these cards so if you feel like Lady Luck is on your side, Discover cards are up your alley! Jeweled Scarab is a great example of how the “Discover” effect works.
Other card effects without a name: Along with all of these card effects there are two card effects that do not have a name that are very important in Hearthstone. One of these is the “Can’t be targeted by spells or Hero Powers”, or unofficially, Elusive. These cards, well, are exactly what they say – these cards get around spells and Hero Powers, allowing them to be only destroyed by combat. The other is Poison, represented by a green vial of poison when the card is played and the text “Destroy any minion damaged by this minion”. Typically poison cards are pretty strong, with the ability to kill powerful minions – even taunts – in one hit of combat. There aren’t many of these cards, but they are pretty fun to play around with, if you can find room for one or two in your deck.
Well Played, Traveller, this concludes part two of the Introduction to Hearthstone series. Now that you’re accustomed to the cards of Warcraft, next week we’ll take a look at deckbuilding! Learn how to choose cards with synergy, and more in next week’s feature!