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Jaina Proudmoore(320).png

In Hearthstone, each player is represented by a hero. Each hero starts with 30 Health. If that value is reduced to zero, the hero will be destroyed thus losing the game. Each hero represents one of the 9 classes, determining which class specific cards can be put into the deck. Heroes also come with their own hero power, a special ability which further defines the play style of that class. Each hero represents a major character from the Warcraft universe and has their own portrait and emotes.

Players can choose which hero to play and create custom decks for each class. All players begin the game with Jaina Proudmoore (mage) and can unlock the other classic heroes by defeating them in Play mode or Practice mode. Alternate heroes are additional heroes which must be purchased or unlocked before they can be used, featuring special effects and animations.

Heroes by default do not have an Attack value, but can use various means to gain Attack or equip weapons. Heroes with an Attack value can attack other targets, similarly to minions, and will take damage from targets they attack accordingly.

When dealing damage, the hero is often referred to as "the face", as in "dealing 10 damage to the face", in contrast to attacking other targets. "Going for the face" is used to describe directing attacks straight at the enemy hero.

Experience[edit | edit source]

Each hero begins at level 1 and can gain levels through earning sufficient experience (XP). Heroes can reach a maximum of level 60. XP is gained through winning games in any game mode. Winning games against real players awards bonus XP.

Up to level 10, reaching every even level with a hero will unlock a pair of new basic class cards. Above level 10, golden versions of existing class and neutral cards are granted upon reaching certain levels. Raising your first class to level 10 also completes the hidden "Level Up" quest, awarding the player one card pack. You must also have at least one level 20 hero to participate in Tavern Brawls. Aside from these restrictions and rewards, experience and level do not affect gameplay in any way.

Ben Brode has stated that experience gains are based on several factors, primarily the number of cards played and the number of minions killed.[1] Prior to this statement, one player attempting to discover the underlying formula asserted that experience earned per match was based on either the number of actions taken or the number of cards played during the course of the match.[2] For example, winning or losing a game where the player played no cards and took no actions will reward no XP.[2]

Playable heroes[edit | edit source]

Hearthstone features a roster of playable heroes, each associated with a particular class. In addition, heroes can sometimes be replaced mid-match by special replacement heroes not otherwise choosable.

For a comparison and overview of the hero classes, and the strengths and abilities of each hero, see class.

Classic heroes[edit | edit source]

Classic heroes are available to all players for free, although each must first be defeated by the player before they are unlocked. Jaina is the exception, available to all players from the tutorial onwards.

Malfurion Stormrage(621).png
Icon Druid 64.png

Icon Hunter 64.png

Jaina Proudmoore(320).png
Icon Mage 64.png

Uther Lightbringer(257).png
Icon Paladin 64.png

Anduin Wrynn(110).png
Icon Priest 64.png

Valeera Sanguinar(2).png
Icon Rogue 64.png

Icon Shaman 64.png

Icon Warlock 64.png

Garrosh Hellscream(635).png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Alternate heroes[edit | edit source]

Alternate heroes feature special animations and effects, but must be purchased before they can be used.

Alleria Windrunner(14694).png
Icon Hunter 64.png

Icon Mage 64.png

Magni Bronzebeard(14693).png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Lady Liadrin(31127).png
Icon Paladin 64.png

Icon Mage 64.png

Replacement heroes[edit | edit source]

Replacement heroes cannot be selected for play prior to a match, but can be brought into play through specific cards, replacing the player's current hero.

Lord Jaraxxus(406).png

Ragnaros the Firelord(14654).png

Playing the warlock card Lord Jaraxxus or allowing the neutral minion Majordomo Executus to die will "destroy" the player's original hero and replace them with the Lord Jaraxxus or Ragnaros hero, respectively. The loss of the original hero does not cause them to lose the game; instead, the new hero remains under the control of the player, but has its own portrait, emotes, and hero power. The replacement heroes cannot be selected as regular heroes, and can only be accessed using the corresponding cards.

For more information on the replacement process, see Lord Jaraxxus and Majordomo Executus.

Tavern Brawl heroes[edit | edit source]

Main article: Tavern Brawl card

Tavern Brawls may allow players to take control of special heroes, specific to games within that Brawl. Similar to bosses, these heroes may start with vastly inflated Health and Armor, and have access to special Hero Powers.

For a list, see Tavern Brawl cards.

Bosses[edit | edit source]

Main article: Boss

Bosses are unique computer-controlled heroes encountered in adventures and the tutorial. Bosses are not selectable by the player and are not encountered in other modes of play.

Each boss features a unique hero power and selection of cards. Bosses may use regular collectible cards, but also have access to unique boss cards, special and often extremely powerful cards which are not available to players. Boss battles are generally designed to offer a specific challenge, usually featuring a strong theme or style, forcing the player to find a way to defeat them. Players often must alter their decks or construct new ones in order to beat specific bosses, with each having its own strengths and weaknesses.

For a list of all bosses currently in the game, see Curse of Naxxramas , Blackrock Mountain, League of Explorers and Tutorial.

Golden heroes[edit | edit source]

Golden versions of all 9 default heroes.

Whenever a player completes 500 wins in Ranked Play mode with a given hero, that hero will be permanently replaced with a golden version. These are similar to golden cards, with golden borders and special animations, and will automatically be used instead of the regular version in Casual and Ranked play, as well as Duels and Arena.

Hero powers and those minions and weapons created by hero powers will also be affected, with fully animated golden versions.[3][4] Specifically Searing Totem, Wrath of Air Totem, Healing Totem, Stoneclaw Totem, Wicked Knife, and Silver Hand Recruit summoned by golden hero powers will be golden.

Players can track their wins progress with each hero on the Ranked deck selection screen, with the number of wins out of 500 listed beneath the currently selected hero's portrait. Wins from before the introduction of the golden heroes feature do not count toward golden heroes.[5]

Once unlocked, golden heroes cannot be disabled.[4] However, this functionality may be added in the future.[4]

Pictures of the golden heroes can be found here. A video showing three of the golden heroes' animations can be found here.

Alternate heroes[edit | edit source]

Magni Bronzebeard, the game's first alternate hero
Main article: Alternate hero

Alternate heroes are cosmetic 'skins' for existing classes. Each alternate hero belongs to a specific class, and provides an alternative to the classic hero for that class. Alternate heroes are purely cosmetic and do not affect gameplay in any way, making use of the same Hero Power and class cards as the classic hero for that class.[6][7]

Five alternate heroes are available so far: Magni Bronzebeard, serving as an alternative to Garrosh Hellscream; Alleria Windrunner, replacing Rexxar; Medivh, replacing Jaina Proudmoore; Lady Liadrin, replacing Uther Lightbringer; and Khadgar, replacing Jaina Proudmoore. Further alternate heroes are expected to be released in the future.

Like the game's nine original heroes, each alternate hero is a major character from Warcraft lore, and comes with their own portrait and emotes. In addition, alternate heroes bring special art for the 'hero tray' (the panelled area near the portrait), unique animations when using their Hero Power, and "entering the game" animations.[7]

Some alternate heroes come with a corresponding unique card back, which can be used with any deck.[8]

Strategy[edit | edit source]

While much of the game involves trading minions and making wise use of cards to gain control of the board, almost all Hearthstone battles are ultimately resolved through dealing damage to the enemy hero. Despite this, because of the opportunity for repeated damage presented by control of minions, it is generally more important to address the ongoing threat of enemy minions than to simply deal damage to the enemy hero. However, once the enemy hero's Health has reached a certain level, it becomes most important to simply direct all attacks at the enemy hero, regardless of the state of the board. The assessment of target priority is an ongoing strategic challenge of Hearthstone.

When the player is capable of dealing fatal damage to an enemy hero that turn (known as "having lethal"), it is always best to do so that turn. At these times, taking normally prudent actions such as removing threatening minions, rather than simply attacking the enemy hero, can in fact directly cause the player to lose the game.

Aggro decks tend to focus on dealing damage to the enemy hero as quickly as possible and sacrifice late game potential in order to provide greater power and capabilities during the earlier game. Focused on defeating the enemy before they have the chance to retaliate, these decks often ignore board control in favour of directing all attacks at the enemy hero itself.

Flavor text[edit | edit source]

When viewed in the Collection, each hero comes with their own flavor text:

Malfurion Rexxar Jaina
The lord of the night elves is a wise and noble leader. Yes, those antlers are real. He only feels at home in the wilderness with his beasts. Super secret: Misha is his favorite. The Kirin Tor’s leader is a powerful sorceress. She used to be a lot nicer before the Theramore thing.
Uther Anduin Valeera
Leader of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Best-selling author of The Light and How to Swing It. The future King of Stormwind is a kind, gentle soul. Except when he’s in Shadowform. Expert assassin. Deadly gladiator. Best knife skills in her cooking class, according to survivors.
Thrall Gul'dan Garrosh
Thrall quit his former job as Warchief to save the world and spend more time with his family. Talented, persuasive and hard-working. Too bad he wants to feed your soul to demons. This former Warchief of the Horde isn’t bitter about being deposed. Not at all.
Alleria Medivh Lady Liadrin
The high elf Ranger Captain is a peerless archer. Ask any of the orcs she used for target practice. The Guardian of Tirisfal is a force for good. Demonic possession is a manageable condition. Obtained through an upcoming World of Warcraft promotion.
Magni Khadgar
Lord of Ironforge. King of Khaz Modan. Grand Explorer. Moira’s Dad. Most Huggable Leader. His statue in Stormwind reflects his heroism, not his ego.

Prototype heroes[edit | edit source]

Throughout the initial development of Hearthstone, a number of additional heroes were experimented with but ultimately excluded from the final release of the game. Heroes that have been seen in pre-alpha concept art, screenshots, and footage for the game include: Cho'gall, Garona Halforcen, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Teron Gorefiend, Tyrande Whisperwind, Tirion Fordring, Varian Wrynn, and Vol'jin.

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • Patch
    • Golden Heroes have been added and now can be unlocked after winning 500 Ranked games with a Hero! Track your progress on the deck selection screen in Ranked Mode.
    • Unlocking a hero now plays that Hero’s emote. Well met!
  • Patch - The maximum level is now 60, and you can earn XP in any game mode up to max level.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-09-15). 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reddit (October 2013). How is experience gain caluclated in hearthstone matches?
  3. HearthPwn.com - Golden Heroes Coming Soon! (2014-03-06)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 HearthPwn.com - Golden heroes coming soon (2014-03-06)]
  5. Facebook - Hearthstone
  6. Zeriyah on Twitter. (2015-06-04). 
  7. 7.0 7.1 http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/19508175/heroes-emerge-new-hearthstone-heroes-are-coming-6-4-2015
  8. Zeriyah on Twitter. (2015-06-04).