Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful or more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft.
There are 5 rarities: Free, Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. Each quality has its own colour, based on World of Warcraft's gear system, and rarities can generally be recognised by the colour of the gem at the bottom center of the card's portrait (see display, right). The exception is cards from the Basic card set, which do not feature coloured gems. When opening packs, face down cards above common quality will be displayed with an appropriately-coloured glow when hovered over.
As a rule, rarity relates only to obtaining cards, and does not directly affect gameplay. However, there are two exceptions. Most importantly, only one copy of any given legendary card may be included in a constructed deck. Additionally, a small number of rarity-related effects do exist, such as Sneed's Old Shredder, Golden Monkey and Rend Blackhand.
Significance[edit | edit source]
Constructed[edit | edit source]
In constructed play, rarity determines the difficulty of adding a card to your collection.
- Rarity determines the amount of required in order to craft a card, as well as the amount of Arcane Dust awarded for disenchanting it. For a table, see Crafting.
- For cards from expansions, and also in the Classic card set, rarity determines how likely a card is to be found in a card pack, with higher rarities occurring less often. It also determines presence in the Highest Rank Bonus chest, with higher rarities requiring a higher rank to obtain, and legendaries cards never featured.
- For cards from adventures, rarity is of less significance. Legendaries are awarded by completing wings, while all other rarities are available equally through defeating individual bosses or Class Challenges.
- Higher rarity cards also feature less often as rewards in Arena.
The main impact of this is that higher rarity cards are harder to obtain, and as a result are seen less often at lower levels, due to players having not yet collected them. However, at higher levels players have usually collected all desired cards, effectively removing the significance of rarity entirely. The only direct significance of rarity for constructed play is the limitation of one copy of each legendary per deck, and the rare presence of a rarity-specific effect such as Rend Blackhand or Confessor Paletress.
Arena[edit | edit source]
In Arena, rarity determines the likelihood of a card appearing for selection, and which cards will be offered alongside it. Higher rarity selections are offered less often, although with a high degree of variation between runs.
This makes rarity at higher levels more important in Arena than in any other type of play. While rarity always determines the possibility of including a card in the player's deck, the randomness of rarity in Arena makes it equally significant at all levels, while in constructed it is mostly significant for newer players, who have not yet collected higher rarity cards.
Rarity also affects game balance far more in Arena than in constructed. In higher level constructed play, the only impact of rarity is that legendary cards are limited to one copy per deck. At all levels of Arena, the decision of what rarity to give a card determines which options it will be matched against, and how frequently it will appear, increasing the likelihood of players having several copies of the card in a deck. For example, a legendary card may be considered poor compared to other legendaries, and thus rarely be picked in Arena; whereas if it has been made an epic card it might be found more favourable in comparison to the other options at that rarity, and thus be picked more often. Both of these factors mean rarity will directly determine how often a card shows up in Arena matches, making the rarity of certain cards a common subject of discussion for Arena players.
Uncollectible cards[edit | edit source]
In contrast to collectible cards, the rarity of uncollectible cards has no significance. In some cases their rarity matches that of the generating card, while in others it varies or appears to be absent. Coloured gems on Boss cards and Tavern Brawl cards are uncommon, and have no significance (or consistent reasons for appearance).
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Card rarity is chosen by the designers based on several factors. The ease of obtaining a card is obviously a factor, including new player experience and Arena balance. Beyond that, card complexity, "excitement, also just gut instinct" come into the decision.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Rarity in Hearthstone cards serves as a rough indication of quality, but an inconsistent indication of value in play. Likewise, for Classic cards and those from expansion card sets, rarity is a consistent indicator of card scarcity and crafting cost. However, for cards in other sets, rarity may bear no relation to the difficulty of acquiring cards.
Legendary cards boast some of the most powerful effects in the game, and adding a single well-chosen legendary to a deck otherwise lacking in high rarity cards can measurably improve the deck and directly win games. Some high rarity cards may also represent improved versions of lower rarity cards, providing fairly straightforward upgrades for decks using these cards. In most beginner decks, adding almost any legendary is likely to improve the deck, and in many lower-rank games, drawing and playing a lone legendary minion can single-handedly turn the tide of battle and win the game. Low-level battles are sometimes decided by who is able to draw their Ragnaros the Firelord or Ysera first.
However, despite the undeniable power of many legendaries, rarity is not the prime determinant of victory in matches. Overall deck composition (as well as skill, luck and match-ups) is a far larger factor, and despite the power of many legendaries, most top-level players choose to include only a handful legendaries in their decks. Streamers such as Trump have demonstrated the unimportance of rarity by reaching Legend rank using no legendaries, while some such as TotalBiscuit have even constructed decks composed entirely of legendary cards, in order to demonstrate how ineffective and cumbersome such decks would be.
Ultimately, while higher rarity cards offering straight upgrades to lower rarity cards can generally be relied upon to present a superior option, the optimal deck for many deck types is often composed primarily of low and medium rarity cards, including many basic class cards. Many lower rarity cards provide essential functions and utility not found in higher rarity options, as well as low mana cost cards invaluable for early and mid game presence. As a result, a free Polymorph may very effectively counter a legendary Cairne Bloodhoof, and a common Sacrificial Pact may turn the legendary Lord Jaraxxus into a swift defeat.
Deck composition is ultimately determined by several factors, including both individual card quality and overall deck strategy. The ability of a card to serve a deck's specific needs and approach to obtaining victory will always play a greater role in determining its viability than its rarity. However, a few well-chosen high rarity cards can turn a deck from bad to reasonable, or from good to great, and can generally be relied upon to provide some exciting and game-changing options.
Free[edit | edit source]
Free is the lowest level of card rarity, below Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. All Free cards belong to the Basic set, and therefore do not have any coloured gems at the bottom-center of the card's art. Most Free cards are Spells.
Two of each Free card are automatically included in the player's collection.
Free cards are often confused with Basic cards, since all Free cards are part of the Basic set. However, only half of all Basic cards are Free, with the other half being Common.
There are 59 collectible Free cards (5 per class and 14 neutral).
For a full list of all Free cards, see Free card list.
Common[edit | edit source]
Common is the second-lowest level of rarity, above Free, but below Rare, Epic and Legendary. Common cards that are not from the Basic set can be recognised by a white gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs do not glow when moused over. Basic common cards do not feature the white gem, but are still marked as Common cards. There are more Common cards than of any other rarity, and Common cards are obtained from card packs more frequently than any other rarity.
Basic common cards that are non-class-specific are automatically included in the player's collection, while all class-specific Basic common cards can be obtained by levelling a hero of the appropriate class to level 10. Common cards from other sets can be obtained through the means usual to those sets.
One 'common' misconception is that there are no Common Basic cards; half of all Basic cards are in fact Common, but simply do not feature a gem. In the case of Basic class cards, the Common rarity indicates that they can only be obtained through levelling that class; while the rarity of Basic neutral cards has no known significance.
There are 365 collectible Common cards: 74 in the Basic set (5 per class and 29 neutral), 94 in the Classic set (6 per class and 40 neutral), 40 in the Goblins vs Gnomes set (2 per class and 22 neutral), 49 in The Grand Tournament set (3 per class and 22 neutral), 50 in the Whispers of the Old Gods set (3 per class and 23 neutral), 18 in the Naxxramas set (1 per class and 9 neutral), 15 in the Blackrock Mountain set (1 per class and 6 neutral), and 25 in the League of Explorers set (2 per class and 7 neutral).
For a full list of all Common cards, see Common card list.
Rare[edit | edit source]
Rare is the level of rarity above Free and Common, but below Epic and Legendary. Rare cards can be recognised by a blue gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display a blue glow when moused over.
There are 218 collectible Rare cards: 81 in the Classic set (5 per class and 36 neutral), 37 in the Goblins vs Gnomes set (3 per class and 10 neutral), 36 in The Grand Tournament set (3 per class and 9 neutral), 36 in the Whispers of the Old Gods set (3 per class and 9 neutral), 4 in the Naxxramas set (all neutral), 11 in the Blackrock Mountain set (1 per class and 2 neutral), and 13 in the League of Explorers set (1 per class and 4 neutral).
For a list of all Rare cards, see Rare card list.
Epic[edit | edit source]
Epic is the second-highest level of rarity, above Free, Common and Rare, but below Legendary. Epic cards can be recognised by a purple gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display a purple glow when hovered over.
There are 122 collectible Epic cards: 37 in the Classic set (3 per class and 10 neutral), 26 in the Goblins vs Gnomes set (2 per class and 8 neutral), 27 in The Grand Tournament set (2 per class and 9 neutral), 27 in the Whispers of the Old Gods set (2 per class and 9 neutral), 2 in the Naxxramas set (both neutral), 2 in the League of Explorers set (both neutral), and 1 in the Reward set (neutral).
For a full list of all Epic cards, see Epic card list.
Legendary[edit | edit source]
Legendary is the highest level of rarity, above Free, Common, Rare and Epic. Legendary cards are indicated by an orange gem located at the bottom-center of the card's art, and when opening packs will display an orange glow when moused over. In addition, legendary cards also feature a dragon around the portrait, much like elites and rares in World of Warcraft. Legendary cards are obtained from card packs less frequently than any other rarity.
Each class currently has four Legendary cards specific to their class, except hunter which has five, with all other Legendary cards being non-class-specific. Currently, all Legendary cards are minion cards, with the exception of the Ashbringer, an uncollectible paladin weapon obtained through the Legendary minion Tirion Fordring.
Unlike cards of other rarities, you may only have one of each Legendary card in your deck. Playing a Legendary card prompts a short piece of unique music. In addition to being very powerful cards, the characters featured in Legendary cards are typically very well-known or significant within Warcraft lore. Legendary minion cards obtained through adventures tend to depict bosses from that adventure.
While most legendaries are extremely rare and hard to obtain, legendaries in the Naxxramas set can be obtained relatively easily once the Curse of Naxxramas adventure has been unlocked, as can the legendary cards in the Blackrock Mountain and League of Explorers sets. However, the cost of purchasing the adventure itself can be considered some compensation for this.
There are 113 collectible Legendary cards: 33 in the Classic set (1 per class and 24 neutral), 20 in the Goblins vs Gnomes set (1 per class and 11 neutral), 20 in The Grand Tournament set (1 per class except 2 for Hunter and 10 neutral), 21 in the Whispers of the Old Gods set (1 per class and 12 neutral), 6 in the Naxxramas set (all neutral), 5 in the Blackrock Mountain set (all neutral), 5 in the League of Explorers set (all neutral), 1 in the Reward set (neutral), and 2 in the Promotion set (both neutral).
For a full list of all Legendary cards, see Legendary card list.
Related cards[edit | edit source]
A handful of cards have effects that are specifically determined by card rarity. As of Whispers of the Old Gods, all such cards specifically relate to legendary rarity.
|Name / Desc||Rarity||Type||Subtype||Class||Cost||Atk||HP||Description|
Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions.
|Confessor Paletress||Legendary||Minion||General||Priest||7||5||4||Inspire: Summon a random Legendary minion. She sees into your past and makes you face your fears. Most common fear: Getting Majordomo out of Sneed's Old Shredder.|
|Rend Blackhand||Legendary||Minion||General||Any||7||8||4||Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, destroy a Legendary minion. Rend believes he is the True Warchief of the Horde and he keeps editing the wikipedia page for "Warchief of the Horde" to include his picture.|
|Showing all 3 cards|
In development[edit | edit source]
- The developers have stated that legendary spells and weapons may be a possibility in the future.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-13).
- JR Cook (2014-04-13). Interview with Eric Dodds and Jason Chayes, PAX East 2014.