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A Secret is a spell card that is cast normally but has a delayed, hidden effect, which only takes place when a specific event occurs. When a Secret is played, a Secret icon appears on the caster's portrait, but the name and details of the Secret are not revealed to the opponent until the card is activated by its hidden condition.

Secrets can only be activated on the opponent's turn, preventing the player from triggering them themselves. There is however one exception - Competitive Spirit, which activates at the start of the player's turn.[1]

Secret is also the name of the ability all Secret cards have.

Secret cards are limited to mages, paladins and hunters.

Notes[edit | edit source]

A shaman with mage and paladin Secrets.
  • All Secrets available to a class have the same mana cost. This prevents opponents from guessing the Secret based upon its cost, which is the only information revealed when a player plays a Secret from their own class.
  • Each class' Secrets are a different colour: pink for mages, yellow for paladins, green for hunters. If a player plays a secret belonging to another class, it will retain its original class colour.[2]
  • In some cases a Secret's triggering event may occur, but the Secret's effect cannot activate. This can happen with Mirror Entity and Noble Sacrifice if there is no room remaining on the hero's board, with Avenge if there are no friendly minions left on the board, and with multiple Secrets when a Secret's specific target is removed by another effect, such as a previous Secret (see below). In such cases, the Secret will simply remain in place without taking effect, revealing itself, or giving any indication that its trigger condition was met.
  • The limited choice of Secrets available to each class allows experienced players to logically determine the identity of unrevealed Secrets. Since each Secret has a specific trigger, players can intentionally test the Secret to attempt to determine its effect, attempt to draw the Secret out with weak cards and actions, or simply hedge their bets in order to minimise its negative consequences. For example, a player facing a mage with a single active Secret may choose to summon a weaker minion before summoning a stronger one, in case their opponent has Mirror Entity, and then attack with the weaker minion first, in case that Secret is a Vaporize.
  • While they have special trigger conditions, Secrets are spells, and will activate all spell-related effects. Likewise, Secrets that deal damage can be improved by Spell Damage.
  • When Secrets and triggered effects are activated from the same trigger, the effects will activate in the order in which they were played.[3]
  • If a hero is destroyed by the activation of an enemy Secret, the game will end there, without allowing any triggering actions to complete.[4] Example: Both players are at 2 Health. One player sends a Stormwind Knight to attack the enemy hero, thus activating the opponent's Explosive Trap. The Trap deals 2 damage to the first player, defeating them. The game then ends with the Stormwind Knight frozen mid-attack, with the second player still at 2 Health, resulting in a win for the second player. On the other hand, Secrets always resolve before the game can end, allowing Secrets such as Eye for an Eye to result in a draw, with both heroes destroyed as a result of the same action. For further details, see Advanced rulebook#Secrets.

Multiple Secrets[edit | edit source]

  • Players cannot have more than one copy of the same Secret active at any one time. Players are unable to play Secret cards which match one of their active Secrets.
  • When played directly from the hand, players can have up to 5 different Secrets active at a time. Once this limit is reached, the player will be unable to play further Secret cards.[5] Kezan Mystic also does not allow the player to exceed 5 Secrets.[6] Mysterious Challenger will not play more than 5 Secrets from your deck.[7]
  • As of January 2015, a bug[8] allows Mad Scientist to place additional different Secrets into play through its Deathrattle, even if this causes the number of Secrets to exceed 5.[2][9][10] Secrets beyond the 5 limit will activate and take effect normally, and in the correct order.[11]
  • Multiple Secrets can trigger from a single event, for example a minion attacking the hero will activate all Explosive Trap, Misdirection and Freezing Trap secrets active on that hero at the time.
  • Only one Secret can take effect at a time, and multiple activated Secrets will always take effect in the order in which they were played. For example, a minion attacking a hunter who has played Misdirection followed by Freezing Trap will be Misdirected before then being returned to the controlling player's hand. This can make the order in which Secrets are played extremely significant.
  • If a Secret removes the specific target for another Secret which was already triggered, the second Secret will not take effect, since it now lacks a target. For example, if Freezing Trap removes the minion which would have been the target of Misdirection, the Misdirection will not trigger, since it no longer has a target.
    • Note that this rule only applies for Secrets which require specific targets; Secrets such as Explosive Trap and Snake Trap do not require targets, and will always take effect once triggered, even if the original trigger minion has been removed from play.

Secrets[edit | edit source]

Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Avenge Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When one of your minions dies, give a random friendly minion +3/+2. Several paladins have joined together to deliver justice under the name "Justice Force." Their lawyer talked them out of calling themselves the Justice League.
Bear Trap Common Spell Hunter 2 Secret: After your hero is attacked, summon a 3/3 Bear with TauntYou'll never guess what's in that conveniently bear-sized, bear-smelling box.
Dart Trap Common Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When an opposing Hero Power is used, deal 5 damage to a random enemy. Five years of tap-dancing lessons are FINALLY going to pay off!
Duplicate Common Spell Mage 3 Secret: When a friendly minion dies, put 2 copies of it into your hand. The one time when duping cards won't get your account banned!
Explosive Trap Common Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When your hero is attacked, deal 2 damage to all enemies. It traps your food AND cooks it for you!
Eye for an Eye Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When your hero takes damage, deal that much damage to the enemy hero. Justice sometimes takes the form of a closed fist into a soft cheek.
Freezing Trap Common Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When an enemy minion attacks, return it to its owner's hand and it costs (2) more. "Dang, that's cold." - appropriate response to Freezing Trap, or a mean joke.
Ice Barrier Common Spell Mage 3 Secret: When your hero is attacked, gain 8 Armor. This is Rank 1. Rank 2 is Chocolate Milk Barrier.
Mirror Entity Common Spell Mage 3 Secret: When your opponent plays a minion, summon a copy of it. "You go first." - Krush'gor the Behemoth, to his pet boar.
Noble Sacrifice Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When an enemy attacks, summon a 2/1 Defender as the new target. We will always remember you, "Defender!"
Redemption Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When one of your minions dies, return it to life with 1 Health. I am not sure how you get demptioned the first time. It’s a mystery!
Repentance Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When your opponent plays a minion, reduce its Health to 1. Repentance often comes in the moment before obliteration. Curious.
Sacred Trial Common Spell Paladin 1 Secret: If your opponent has 3 or more minions and plays another, destroy the newly played minion. You have chosen poorly.
Snipe Common Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When your opponent plays a minion, deal 4 damage to it. A great sniper hits the spot. Just like a delicious flank of boar. Mmmmm.
Competitive Spirit Rare Spell Paladin 1 Secret: When your turn starts, give your minions +1/+1. Competition can be an inspiration to improve oneself. Or kill all the competitors.
Counterspell Rare Spell Mage 3 Secret: When your opponent casts a spell, Counter it. What's the difference between a mage playing with Counterspell and a mage who isn't? The mage who isn't is getting Pyroblasted in the face.
Effigy Rare Spell Mage 3 Secret: When a friendly minion dies, summon a random minion with the same Cost. Burning man, brah.
Misdirection Rare Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When a character attacks your hero, instead he attacks another random character. Sometimes it's as simple as putting on a fake mustache and pointing at someone else.
Vaporize Rare Spell Mage 3 Secret: When a minion attacks your hero, destroy it. Rumor has it that Deathwing brought about the Cataclysm after losing a game to this card. We may never know the truth.
Ice Block Epic Spell Mage 3 Secret: When your hero takes fatal damage, prevent it and become Immune this turn. Ice is nice, and will suffice!
Snake Trap Epic Spell Hunter 2 Secret: When one of your minions is attacked, summon three 1/1 Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?
Spellbender Epic Spell Mage 3 Secret: When an enemy casts a spell on a minion, summon a 1/3 as the new target. While it's fun to intercept enemy lightning bolts, a spellbender much prefers to intercept opposing Marks of the Wild. It just feels meaner. And blood elves... well, they're a little mean.
Showing all 22 cards

Hunter[edit | edit source]

Bear Trap(22364).pngDart Trap(27227).pngExplosive Trap(344).pngFreezing Trap(99).pngSnipe(553).pngMisdirection(447).pngSnake Trap(210).png

Mage[edit | edit source]

Duplicate(7732).pngIce Barrier(672).pngMirror Entity(569).pngCounterspell(531).pngEffigy(22267).pngVaporize(160).pngIce Block(28).pngSpellbender(309).png

Paladin[edit | edit source]

Avenge(7729).pngEye for an Eye(206).pngNoble Sacrifice(158).pngRedemption(657).pngRepentance(642).pngSacred Trial(27217).pngCompetitive Spirit(22460).png

Related cards[edit | edit source]

The following cards have specific synergy with Secrets, such as providing additional effects when Secrets are cast, or destroying Secrets already in play.

For cards which have synergy with spells in general, but not specifically with Secrets, see Spell-related.

Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Mad Scientist Common Minion General Any 2 2 2 Deathrattle: Put a Secret from your deck into the battlefield. His mother wanted him to be a mage or a warlock, but noooooooo, he had to go and be a scientist like his father.
Eaglehorn Bow Rare Weapon Hunter 3 3 2 Whenever a friendly Secret is revealed, gain +1 Durability. First Lesson: Put the pointy end in the other guy.
Ethereal Arcanist Rare Minion General Mage 4 3 3 If you control a Secret at the end of your turn, gain +2/+2. The ethereals are wrapped in cloth to give form to their non-corporeal bodies. Also because it's nice and soft.
Flare Rare Spell Hunter 2 All minions lose Stealth. Destroy all enemy Secrets. Draw a card. Not only does it reveal your enemies, but its also great for parties!
Illuminator Rare Minion General Any 3 2 4 If you control a Secret at the end of your turn, restore 4 Health to your hero. "LUMOS!" is not what they yell. What do you think this is, Hogwarts?
Kezan Mystic Rare Minion General Any 4 4 3 Battlecry: Take control of a random enemy SecretThey pretend to be wise and enlightened, but they mostly just hate to be left out of a secret.
Kirin Tor Mage Rare Minion General Mage 3 4 3 Battlecry: The next Secret you play this turn costs (0). The Kirin Tor reside in the floating city of Dalaran. How do you make a Dalaran float? Two scoops of ice cream, one scoop of Dalaran.
Secretkeeper Rare Minion General Any 1 1 2 Whenever a Secret is played, gain +1/+1. She promises not to tell anyone about that thing you did last night with that one person.
Mysterious Challenger Epic Minion General Paladin 6 6 6 Battlecry: Put one of each Secret from your deck into the battlefield. He may sound surly and antisocial, but he's actually just really shy.
Showing all 9 cards
Mad Scientist(7748).pngEaglehorn Bow(363).pngEthereal Arcanist(125).pngFlare(630).pngIlluminator(12214).pngKezan Mystic(12252).pngKirin Tor Mage(411).pngSecretkeeper(483).pngMysterious Challenger(22394).png

History[edit | edit source]

Secrets likely evolved from the cancelled "Combat Tricks" feature, removed early in the game's development. Similar to Secrets, these allowed players with active Combat Tricks who attacked their opponent to play a card on their opponent's turn, disrupting their play. Ultimately it was found that removing Combat Tricks actually made the game more fun, as well as further improving its speed. It seems the idea was not wholly abandoned though, since Secrets appear to represent a weaker form of the same mechanic.

Rogues originally had Secrets, but this was moved to Paladins during the game's alpha. The designers were struggling to give the Paladins a class identity while Rogues already had "a ton a sneaky things" with Backstab, Stealth and Combo effects. The change served to refocus each class' strategic focus, helping to give Paladins "something that was their own thing" and giving Rogues a clearer picture of what the class wanted to do.[12]

The apparent original line-up of Rogues, Hunters and Mages may reflect a connection between Secrets and the Stealth/Camouflage/Invisibility mechanics in World of Warcraft, with these the only classes (except Druid) capable of employing such mechanics to ambush their opponents, similar to the function of Secrets in Hearthstone. In this respect Secrets are more similar to World of Warcraft Stealth than the Hearthstone Stealth ability itself, allowing the player to genuinely surprise the opponent.

Patch[edit | edit source]

With Patch, secrets were made to only be triggered on the opponent's turn. Prior to this, players could intentionally trigger their own secrets, allowing them to make use of them as additional spell effects, rather than counter-abilities.

While most secrets were unaffected, some interesting play options were intentionally removed by this change. The developers stated that the ability to trigger your own secrets was preventing them from creating new and powerful secrets, due to being easily triggered by the controlling player prior to this change. While removing certain strategic possibilities, this change was therefore intended to allow for the creation of a diverse range of new secrets. The subsequently announced Curse of Naxxramas mage secret Duplicate was confirmed as an example of a card that the earlier design would have prevented from being implemented.[13]

This rule was accepted as standard for all Secrets, until nearly 18 months later when The Grand Tournament added a specific exception, in the form of Competitive Spirit.

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • The Grand Tournament logo.png Patch (2015-08-18): Competitive Spirit is added, the first Secret to specifically break the rule that Secrets can only activate on the opponent's turn.
  • Patch (2014-03-11): Secrets can now only activate on your opponent’s turn.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Tested in Patch (TGT patch)
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-12-08). 
  4. Observed by User:Taohinton, 2014-12-25. Attacking with Stormwind Knight into Explosive Trap, player at 2 Health, opponent at 24 Health.
  5. [1] Tested by User:Taohinton and User:Xinhuan 2015-02-01
  6. Hearthstone Mythbusters Ep.6. (2014-01-30). 
  7. Screenshot - Deck contained 8 different Secrets when Mysterious Challenger was played.
  8. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-02-01). 
  9. Hearthstone Mythbusters. (2015-02-08). 
  10. [2] Tested by User:Taohinton and User:Xinhuan 2015-02-01
  11. [3] Tested by User:Taohinton and User:Xinhuan 2015-02-01
  12. Senior Game Designer Ben Brode talks Hearthstone. (2014-12-19). 
  13. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-05-29).