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Taunt

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A video explaining Taunt in Hearthstone made by the Curse Gamepedia YouTube Channel.

Taunt is a minion ability which forces the opposing player to direct any melee attacks toward enemy targets with this ability. Taunts serve to protect their allies by forcing the enemy to deal with them first, preventing them from attacking other friendly minions or the controlling hero until the Taunts are removed. However, Taunts have no effect on spells, hero powers or other direct damage effects.

If the opponent has one or more Taunt minions on the battlefield, the player will only be able to direct melee attacks at one of the minions with Taunt. However, the opponent is able to choose which enemy Taunt to attack, or may simply choose not to attack. Minions with Taunt are displayed on the battlefield encased in a shield.

Contents

[edit] Strategy

The shield-like Taunt visual effect

Taunt is a key strategic ability in Hearthstone. It allows a minion to act as a 'tank', protecting other targets from melee attack while forcing the enemy to attack them first. Critically though, Taunt only affects melee combat - spells and ranged attacks are not affected by Taunt.

The value of a Taunt minion lies in its ability to dictate the focus of combat on the board. Generally, this is to divert attacks away from more valuable or vulnerable targets, and toward the Taunt. Taunts can be very useful in the late game to prevent the opponent from directing all attacks at the hero themselves, quickly finishing the game. It can also be important for protecting valuable minions such as those with special effects or abilities. Without a Taunt these minions may be quickly removed, preventing the player from benefiting from their effects. Taunts can sometimes also prevent combat outright (for a turn or two), such as when facing down a vastly inferior minion. While the choice between attacking a hero and attacking their minions is a key strategic point in the game, Taunt minions make this decision for your opponent, preventing them from sneaking in extra attacks on your hero and forcing them to focus on your designated champion.

The best Taunt minions generally have a high Health value, allowing them to engage in combat with several enemies before they are destroyed. Health-increasing and healing effects such as the priest hero power can be very useful for topping-up Taunts.

Like all abilities, Taunt represents a points trade-off with other possible qualities. Building the right proportion of Taunt minions into a deck is therefore a key strategic decision. Too many taunts can leave you short on other abilities, or routinely playing minions with lower stats than necessary. Too few taunts can leave your special minions vulnerable, your hero open to attack, and prevent you from capitalising on their powers. Different classes, strategies and players have different synergies and attitudes to the use of Taunts.

One key thing to remember in the use of Taunts is that they are always vulnerable to silences and destroy effects. An indomitable Taunt can be neutralised with a single Ironbeak Owl or Assassinate, wrecking plans to defend minions or the hero itself. Taunts can also be specifically removed by The Black Knight, or may be purposefully countered with direct damage spells or Charge minions in order to clear the way for attacks. Transformations can also remove the Taunt ability, although Hex will not. Players may also use return effects to cunningly remove Taunts for a turn or two.

Decks seeking to burst the player down will often use cheap forms of removal such as these before using plays such as Unleash the Hounds to finish the opponent off. Using multiple Taunts can strongly reduce the likelihood of this happening, but cannot prevent it entirely.

[edit] Granting Taunt

While the Taunt ability is usually granted by the minion's card text, it can also be gained from various enchantments and spells. See the table below for a full list. Granting Taunt to a minion is a highly strategic decision, with consequences which can be hard to predict. It may force the opponent to attack the target first, prompt them to use removal upon the target, or serve to give them a larger selection of targets to attack.

Players often choose to grant Taunt to a powerful minion which can withstand several attacks, or is capable of destroying any minion which attacks it. Giving Taunt to a high-Attack minion may force the opponent to sacrifice a tough minion or suffer substantial damage themselves using a weapon. However, high-Health Taunts are generally considered preferable, due to their increased longevity in the line of fire.

Taunt can be used to force an opponent to trigger the minion's Deathrattle, such as with Abomination and Tirion Fordring. Players can grant Taunt for a similar purpose, choosing targets such as Savannah Highmane and Cairne Bloodhoof to manipulate the opponent's actions and trigger useful synergies. However, Deathrattle Taunts are easily countered with effects such as silences.

It is almost always preferable to keep valuable targets protected by at least one Taunt, which is arguably the key purpose of Taunts. For this reason, it is generally a bad idea to grant vulnerable targets Taunt, since this strongly enables and encourages the enemy to attack that minion. In the case of Taunt-granting positional effects such as Defender of Argus this can mean sacrificing a value buff, but may still be the better choice. In some cases positional effects can make it impossible to avoid granting Taunt to a minion, making the playing of that card problematic.

[edit] Notes

  • A unique conflict comes into play when a single minion has Stealth and Taunt active. The Taunt effect is temporarily negated by Stealth, and will not take effect until the minion loses its Stealth buff.

[edit] Soft taunt

Minions described as having a 'soft taunt' are cards which, although lacking the Taunt ability, possess a quality which is beneficial or desirable enough for the controlling player that the removal of the minion quickly becomes a priority for the other player. (For instance, Questing Adventurer can quickly become a game-breaker if not dealt with immediately.) While the opponent is not forced to attack these minions, they may swiftly become the primary focus of the player's attacks, in the hopes of removing them as quickly as possible.

This attack priority is usually created due to special card text, including triggered effects, Spell Damage, Windfury, Enrage and Poison effects. Minions such as Magma Rager with high Attack but low Health may also act as soft taunts if the player wishes to avoid suffering their attack. Essentially, any minion which it is a priority to remove can be considered a 'soft taunt'. The term is not fixed but is granted subjectively according to a player's sense of priorities.

Because soft taunts generally represent a minion of special value, it is usually to the advantage of the controlling player to do their best to protect these targets. This can help keep the minion alive a little longer, and also force their opponent's hand by requiring them to go to costly lengths in order to remove the minion, before its effects turn the tide of the game against them. However, these strategic decisions hinge upon the perceived value of the minion. Players can use this to lead their opponent to attack apparently valuable minions which are in fact not critical to their strategy. For example, a mage playing a Spell Damage minion can expect their opponent to quickly remove the minion if possible, due to its potential to increase the mage's damage output. However, a mage without any spells in their hand may choose to play a Spell Damage minion simply in order to distract their opponent from another target of greater value. This can cause the opponent to sacrifice a minion or waste a valuable removal spell of their own in order to destroy this apparently important minion, inadvertently clearing the way for the mage to play a different strategy the next round. This can also be used much like a literal taunt minion to buy the mage time or to dictate which of the possible minions the opponent must attack.

Players need to be aware of the attractiveness or 'soft taunt' status of their minions; for example, minions with Spell Damage are often best played in the same round as a damaging spell, ensuring that the minion is not destroyed before the player can get at least some use from its effect.

[edit] Cards with Taunt

Name Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Gnoll Gnoll {0None Minion Any icon.png Any 2 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Treant Treant {0None Minion Druid icon.png Druid 1 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Ancestral Healing Ancestral Healing {0Free Spell Shaman icon.png Shaman 0 Mana icon.png Restore a minion to full Health and give it Taunt. I personally prefer some non-ancestral right-the-heck-now healing, but maybe that is just me.
Restore a minion to full Health and give it Taunt. I personally prefer some non-ancestral right-the-heck-now healing, but maybe that is just me.
Hex Hex {0Free Spell Shaman icon.png Shaman 3 Mana icon.png Transform a minion into a 0/1 Frog with Taunt. If you Hex a Murloc... it really isn't much of a change, is it?
Transform a minion into a 0/1 Frog with Taunt. If you Hex a Murloc... it really isn't much of a change, is it?
Houndmaster Houndmaster {0Free Minion Hunter icon.png Hunter 4 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Battlecry: Give a friendly Beast +2/+2 and Taunt. "Who let the dogs out?" he asks. It's rhetorical.
Battlecry: Give a friendly Beast +2/+2 and Taunt. "Who let the dogs out?" he asks. It's rhetorical.
Mark of the Wild Mark of the Wild {0Free Spell Druid icon.png Druid 2 Mana icon.png Give a minion Taunt and +2/+2. (+2 Attack/+2 Health) Not to be confused with Jim of the Wild.
Give a minion Taunt and +2/+2. (+2 Attack/+2 Health) Not to be confused with Jim of the Wild.
Sen'jin Shieldmasta Sen'jin Shieldmasta {0Free Minion Any icon.png Any 4 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Taunt Sen'jin Villiage is nice, if you like trolls and dust.
Taunt Sen'jin Villiage is nice, if you like trolls and dust.
Stoneclaw Totem Stoneclaw Totem {0Free Minion Totem Shaman icon.png Shaman 1 Mana icon.png 0 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Voidwalker Voidwalker {0Free Minion Demon Warlock icon.png Warlock 1 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt No relation to "The Voidsteppers", the popular Void-based dance troupe.
Taunt No relation to "The Voidsteppers", the popular Void-based dance troupe.
Booty Bay Bodyguard Booty Bay Bodyguard {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 5 Mana icon.png 5 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Taunt You can hire him... until someone offers him enough gold to turn on you.
Taunt You can hire him... until someone offers him enough gold to turn on you.
Dread Corsair Dread Corsair {2Common Minion Pirate Any icon.png Any 4 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt. Costs (1) less per Attack of your weapon. "Yarrrr" is a pirate word that means "Greetings, milord."
Taunt. Costs (1) less per Attack of your weapon. "Yarrrr" is a pirate word that means "Greetings, milord."
Druid of the Claw Druid of the Claw {2Common Minion Druid icon.png Druid 5 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Choose One - Charge; or +2 Health and Taunt. Cat or Bear? Cat or Bear?! I just cannot CHOOSE!
Choose One - Charge; or +2 Health and Taunt. Cat or Bear? Cat or Bear?! I just cannot CHOOSE!
Druid of the Claw Druid of the Claw {2Common Minion Druid icon.png Druid 5 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 6 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Fen Creeper Fen Creeper {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 5 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 6 Health icon.png Taunt He used to be called Bog Beast, but it confused people because he wasn't an actual beast. Boom, New Name!
Taunt He used to be called Bog Beast, but it confused people because he wasn't an actual beast. Boom, New Name!
Frog Frog {2Common Minion Beast Any icon.png Any 0 Mana icon.png 0 Attack icon.png 1 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Frostwolf Grunt Frostwolf Grunt {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 2 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt Grunting is what his father did and his father before that. It's more than just a job.
Taunt Grunting is what his father did and his father before that. It's more than just a job.
Goldshire Footman Goldshire Footman {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 1 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt If 1/2 minions are all that is defending Goldshire, you would think it would have been overrun years ago.
Taunt If 1/2 minions are all that is defending Goldshire, you would think it would have been overrun years ago.
Ironbark Protector Ironbark Protector {2Common Minion Druid icon.png Druid 8 Mana icon.png 8 Attack icon.png 8 Health icon.png Taunt I dare you to attack Darnassus.
Taunt I dare you to attack Darnassus.
Ironfur Grizzly Ironfur Grizzly {2Common Minion Beast Any icon.png Any 3 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt "Bear Carcass 1/10"
Taunt "Bear Carcass 1/10"
Lord of the Arena Lord of the Arena {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 6 Mana icon.png 6 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Taunt He used to be a 2100+ rated arena player, but that was years ago and nobody can get him to shut up about it.
Taunt He used to be a 2100+ rated arena player, but that was years ago and nobody can get him to shut up about it.
Mark of Nature Mark of Nature {2Common Spell Druid icon.png Druid 3 Mana icon.png Choose One - Give a minion +4 Attack; or +4 Health and Taunt. Druids call it the "Mark of Nature." Everyone else calls it "needing a bath."
Choose One - Give a minion +4 Attack; or +4 Health and Taunt. Druids call it the "Mark of Nature." Everyone else calls it "needing a bath."
Mirror Image Mirror Image {2Common Spell Mage icon.png Mage 1 Mana icon.png Summon two 0/2 minions with Taunt. Oh hey it's Mirror Image! !egamI rorriM s'ti yeh hO
Summon two 0/2 minions with Taunt. Oh hey it's Mirror Image! !egamI rorriM s'ti yeh hO
Mirror Image Mirror Image {2Common Minion Mage icon.png Mage 0 Mana icon.png 0 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Misha Misha {2Common Minion Beast Hunter icon.png Hunter 3 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Mogu'shan Warden Mogu'shan Warden {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 4 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 7 Health icon.png Taunt All these guys ever do is talk about the Thunder King. BOOOORRRINNG!
Taunt All these guys ever do is talk about the Thunder King. BOOOORRRINNG!
Shieldbearer Shieldbearer {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 1 Mana icon.png 0 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Taunt Have you seen the size of the shields in this game?? This is no easy job.
Taunt Have you seen the size of the shields in this game?? This is no easy job.
Silverback Patriarch Silverback Patriarch {2Common Minion Beast Any icon.png Any 3 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Taunt He likes to act like he's in charge, but the silverback matriarch actually runs things.
Taunt He likes to act like he's in charge, but the silverback matriarch actually runs things.
Tauren Warrior Tauren Warrior {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 3 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt. Enrage: +3 Attack Tauren Warrior: Champion of Mulgore, Slayer of Quilboar, Rider of Thunderbluff Elevators.
Taunt. Enrage: +3 Attack Tauren Warrior: Champion of Mulgore, Slayer of Quilboar, Rider of Thunderbluff Elevators.
Unstable Ghoul Unstable Ghoul {2Common Minion Any icon.png Any 2 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions. Filling your Ghouls with Rocket Fuel is all the rage at Necromancer school.
Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions. Filling your Ghouls with Rocket Fuel is all the rage at Necromancer school.
Abomination Abomination {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 5 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 2 damage to ALL characters. Abominations enjoy Fresh Meat and long walks on the beach.
Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 2 damage to ALL characters. Abominations enjoy Fresh Meat and long walks on the beach.
Deathlord Deathlord {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 3 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 8 Health icon.png Taunt: Deathrattle: Your opponent puts a minion from their deck into the battlefield. "Rise from your grave!" - Kel'Thuzad
Taunt: Deathrattle: Your opponent puts a minion from their deck into the battlefield. "Rise from your grave!" - Kel'Thuzad
Defender of Argus Defender of Argus {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 4 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Battlecry: Give adjacent minions +1/+1 and Taunt. You wouldn’t think that Argus would need this much defending. But it does.
Battlecry: Give adjacent minions +1/+1 and Taunt. You wouldn’t think that Argus would need this much defending. But it does.
Felguard Felguard {3Rare Minion Demon Warlock icon.png Warlock 3 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Taunt. Battlecry: Destroy one of your Mana Crystals. Yes, he'll fight for you. BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO LIKE IT.
Taunt. Battlecry: Destroy one of your Mana Crystals. Yes, he'll fight for you. BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO LIKE IT.
Feral Spirit Feral Spirit {3Rare Spell Shaman icon.png Shaman 3 Mana icon.png Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Overload: (2) Spirit wolves are like regular wolves with pom-poms.
Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Overload: (2) Spirit wolves are like regular wolves with pom-poms.
Slime Slime {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 1 Mana icon.png 1 Attack icon.png 2 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Sludge Belcher Sludge Belcher {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 5 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Taunt. Deathrattle: Summon a 1/2 Slime with Taunt. DO NOT GIVE HIM A ROOT BEER.
Taunt. Deathrattle: Summon a 1/2 Slime with Taunt. DO NOT GIVE HIM A ROOT BEER.
Spirit Wolf Spirit Wolf {3Rare Minion Shaman icon.png Shaman 2 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Taunt
Taunt
Sunfury Protector Sunfury Protector {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 2 Mana icon.png 2 Attack icon.png 3 Health icon.png Battlecry: Give adjacent minions Taunt. She carries a shield, but only so she can give it to someone she can stand behind.
Battlecry: Give adjacent minions Taunt. She carries a shield, but only so she can give it to someone she can stand behind.
Sunwalker Sunwalker {3Rare Minion Any icon.png Any 6 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Taunt. Divine Shield She doesn’t ACTUALLY walk on the Sun. It's just a name. Don’t worry!
Taunt. Divine Shield She doesn’t ACTUALLY walk on the Sun. It's just a name. Don’t worry!
Ancient of War Ancient of War {4Epic Minion Druid icon.png Druid 7 Mana icon.png 5 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Choose One - +5 Attack; or +5 Health and Taunt. Young Night Elves love to play "Who can get the Ancient of War to Uproot?" You lose if you get crushed to death.
Choose One - +5 Attack; or +5 Health and Taunt. Young Night Elves love to play "Who can get the Ancient of War to Uproot?" You lose if you get crushed to death.
Earth Elemental Earth Elemental {4Epic Minion Shaman icon.png Shaman 5 Mana icon.png 7 Attack icon.png 8 Health icon.png Taunt. Overload: (3) Nothing beats rock.
Taunt. Overload: (3) Nothing beats rock.
Al'Akir the Windlord Al'Akir the Windlord {5Legendary Minion Shaman icon.png Shaman 8 Mana icon.png 3 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Windfury, Charge, Divine Shield, Taunt He is the weakest of the four Elemental Lords. And the other three don't let him forget it.
Windfury, Charge, Divine Shield, Taunt He is the weakest of the four Elemental Lords. And the other three don't let him forget it.
Cenarius Cenarius {5Legendary Minion Druid icon.png Druid 9 Mana icon.png 5 Attack icon.png 8 Health icon.png Choose One - Give your other minions +2/+2; or Summon two 2/2 Treants with Taunt. Yes, he's a demigod. No, he doesn't need to wear a shirt.
Choose One - Give your other minions +2/+2; or Summon two 2/2 Treants with Taunt. Yes, he's a demigod. No, he doesn't need to wear a shirt.
Hogger Hogger {5Legendary Minion Any icon.png Any 6 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 4 Health icon.png At the end of your turn, summon a 2/2 Gnoll with Taunt. Hogger is super powerful. If you kill him, it's because he let you.
At the end of your turn, summon a 2/2 Gnoll with Taunt. Hogger is super powerful. If you kill him, it's because he let you.
Tirion Fordring Tirion Fordring {5Legendary Minion Paladin icon.png Paladin 8 Mana icon.png 6 Attack icon.png 6 Health icon.png Divine Shield. Taunt. Deathrattle: Equip a 5/3 Ashbringer. If you haven't heard the Tirion Fordring theme song, it's because it doesn't exist.
Divine Shield. Taunt. Deathrattle: Equip a 5/3 Ashbringer. If you haven't heard the Tirion Fordring theme song, it's because it doesn't exist.


[edit] Related cards

Name Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
The Black Knight The Black Knight {5Legendary Minion Any icon.png Any 6 Mana icon.png 4 Attack icon.png 5 Health icon.png Battlecry: Destroy an enemy minion with Taunt. He was sent by the Lich King to disrupt the Argent Tournament. We can pretty much mark that a failure.
Battlecry: Destroy an enemy minion with Taunt. He was sent by the Lich King to disrupt the Argent Tournament. We can pretty much mark that a failure.


[edit] Patch changes

  • Patch 1.0.0.4944 (2014-03-11): Minions who have Taunt and Stealth now have an effect that more clearly indicates that Taunt is temporarily disabled during Stealth.