Minions with Taunt (commonly referred to as 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 damaging effects. Minions with Taunt are displayed on the battlefield encased in a shield.
One of the most powerful effects in Hearthstone, confusion over how Taunt works is one of the main reasons new players quit the game.
Functionality[edit | edit source]
- The Taunt ability works by limiting which characters the opposing player can target with direct melee attacks. Only these direct attacks - when a minion or hero physically moves to attack an enemy target - are affected by Taunt. All other types of effects are completely unaffected by Taunt, including spells, Hero Powers, and minion effects such as those of Elven Archer or Knife Juggler.
- 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. If they try to attack a non-Taunt target while there is an enemy Taunt minion on the battlefield, they will be given the error message "I must attack that minion with Taunt".
- Players do not have to attack Taunt minions, but cannot attack any other characters while there are Taunt minions on the battlefield. The player may choose not to attack with a minion rather than attacking an enemy Taunt, such as if doing so would be strategically unwise.
- If the opponent has more than one Taunt, the player will be able to choose which enemy Taunt to attack.
- As with all minion abilities, destroying a Taunt minion or removing it from the board will immediately take it out of play, cancelling the Taunt effect. The Taunt ability can also be removed from a minion through Silences, and transform effects like Polymorph.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- 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.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
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 target selection for melee combat, where the player sends their minion or hero to attack an enemy target. Spells, Hero Powers and ranged attacks, such as that of Elven Archer, are not affected by Taunt, and can be targeted regardless. Non-targeted effects such as area of effect (Flamestrike) and random target effects (Arcane Missiles) are also unaffected.
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, with some decks relying on numerous Taunts as a core element of their strategy, and others eschewing them entirely.
Since they only affect melee combat, Taunts are generally most effective against decks which rely on minion attacks to defeat the opponent. Decks which focus on spells or Hero Powers to deal lethal damage will be minimally affected by Taunts.
Taunts generally represent a slowing down of the game, with the Taunt ability usually present on a card in place of additional stats or other useful effects. This makes Taunts effective in control decks which seek to delay the game until they can afford to play their expensive cards or powerful combos. In contrast, Taunts are far less valuable in aggro decks, which seek to defeat the opponent in the first few rounds, since these decks are less concerned about incoming damage, preferring to focus on dealing damage as quickly as possible.
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, since the resulting Frog itself has Taunt. Taunts can be a target of Mind control effects, leaving their previous owner vulnerable. Players may also use return effects such as Sap or Freezing Trap 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.
Granting Taunt[edit | edit source]
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.
Soft taunt[edit | edit source]
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 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.
Cards with Taunt[edit | edit source]
This section lists all card which possess or provide a source of Taunt.
|Name / Desc||Rarity||Type||Subtype||Class||Cost||Atk||HP||Description|
Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions.
|Rusty Horn||None||Spell||Any||1||Give a minion Taunt.|
|Ancestral Healing||Free||Spell||Shaman||0||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||Free||Spell||Shaman||3||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||Free||Minion||General||Hunter||4||4||3||Battlecry: Give a friendly Beast +2/+2 and Taunt. "Who let the dogs out?" he asks. It's rhetorical.|
|Mark of the Wild||Free||Spell||Druid||2||Give a minion Taunt and +2/+2. (+2 Attack/+2 Health) Not to be confused with Jim of the Wild.|
|Sen'jin Shieldmasta||Free||Minion||General||Any||4||3||5||Taunt Sen'jin Villiage is nice, if you like trolls and dust.|
|Voidwalker||Free||Minion||Demon||Warlock||1||1||3||Taunt No relation to "The Voidsteppers", the popular Void-based dance troupe.|
Divine Shield The inventor of the Annoy-o-Tron was immediately expelled from Tinkerschool, Tinkertown, and was eventually exiled from the Eastern Kingdoms altogether.
|Anodized Robo Cub||Common||Minion||Mech||Druid||2||2||2||Taunt. Choose One -
+1 Attack; or +1 Health. It's adorable! AND OH MY GOODNESS WHY IS IT EATING MY FACE
|Booty Bay Bodyguard||Common||Minion||General||Any||5||5||4||Taunt You can hire him... until someone offers him enough gold to turn on you.|
|Dread Corsair||Common||Minion||Pirate||Any||4||3||3||Taunt. Costs (1) less per Attack of your weapon. "Yarrrr" is a pirate word that means "Greetings, milord."|
|Druid of the Claw||Common||Minion||General||Druid||5||4||4||Choose One - Charge; or +2 Health and Taunt. Cat or Bear? Cat or Bear?! I just cannot CHOOSE!|
|Druid of the Claw||Common||Minion||Beast||Druid||5||4||6||Taunt|
|Evil Heckler||Common||Minion||General||Any||4||5||4||Taunt To be honest, heckling is not the most effective form of evil.|
|Fen Creeper||Common||Minion||General||Any||5||3||6||Taunt He used to be called Bog Beast, but it confused people because he wasn't an actual beast. Boom, New Name!|
|Fierce Monkey||Common||Minion||Beast||Warrior||3||3||4||Taunt Fierce monkey. That funky monkey.|
|Fossilized Devilsaur||Common||Minion||General||Any||8||8||8||Battlecry: If you control a Beast, gain Taunt. This was the only job he could get after the dinosaur theme park debacle.|
|Frostwolf Grunt||Common||Minion||General||Any||2||2||2||Taunt Grunting is what his father did and his father before that. It's more than just a job.|
Taunt The gnomes are valiant and ready to return to their irradiated, poorly ventilated homeland!
|Goldshire Footman||Common||Minion||General||Any||1||1||2||Taunt If 1/2 minions are all that is defending Goldshire, you would think it would have been overrun years ago.|
|Ironbark Protector||Common||Minion||General||Druid||8||8||8||Taunt I dare you to attack Darnassus.|
|Ironfur Grizzly||Common||Minion||Beast||Any||3||3||3||Taunt "Bear Carcass 1/10"|
|Lord of the Arena||Common||Minion||General||Any||6||6||5||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||Common||Spell||Druid||3||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||Common||Spell||Mage||1||Summon two 0/2 minions with Taunt. Oh hey it's Mirror Image! !egamI rorriM s'ti yeh hO|
|Mogu'shan Warden||Common||Minion||General||Any||4||1||7||Taunt All these guys ever do is talk about the Thunder King. BOOOORRRINNG!|
|Obsidian Destroyer||Common||Minion||General||Warrior||7||7||7||At the end of your turn, summon a 1/1 Scarab with Taunt. No obsidian is safe around the Obsidian Destroyer!|
|Shieldbearer||Common||Minion||General||Any||1||0||4||Taunt Have you seen the size of the shields in this game?? This is no easy job.|
|Silverback Patriarch||Common||Minion||Beast||Any||3||1||4||Taunt He likes to act like he's in charge, but the silverback matriarch actually runs things.|
|Tauren Warrior||Common||Minion||General||Any||3||2||3||Taunt. Enrage: +3 Attack Tauren Warrior: Champion of Mulgore, Slayer of Quilboar, Rider of Thunderbluff Elevators.|
|Tournament Attendee||Common||Minion||General||Any||1||2||1||Taunt He was so excited to get season tickets to this year's Grand Tournament. He normally doesn't get them at first and has to buy them from Ogre scalpers.|
|Unstable Ghoul||Common||Minion||General||Any||2||1||3||Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions. Filling your Ghouls with Rocket Fuel is all the rage at Necromancer school.|
|Abomination||Rare||Minion||General||Any||5||4||4||Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 2 damage to ALL characters. Abominations enjoy Fresh Meat and long walks on the beach.|
|Arcane Nullifier X-21||Rare||Minion||Mech||Any||4||2||5||Taunt
Can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers. There was some hard talk between gnome magi and engineers about inventing this mech.
|Deathlord||Rare||Minion||General||Any||3||2||8||Taunt. Deathrattle: Your opponent puts a minion from their deck into the battlefield. "Rise from your grave!" - Kel'Thuzad|
|Defender of Argus||Rare||Minion||General||Any||4||2||3||Battlecry: Give adjacent minions +1/+1 and Taunt. You wouldn’t think that Argus would need this much defending. But it does.|
|Felguard||Rare||Minion||Demon||Warlock||3||3||5||Taunt. Battlecry: Destroy one of your Mana Crystals. Yes, he'll fight for you. BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO LIKE IT.|
|Feral Spirit||Rare||Spell||Shaman||3||Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Overload: (2) Spirit wolves are like regular wolves with pom-poms.|
|King of Beasts||Rare||Minion||Beast||Hunter||5||2||6||Taunt. Battlecry: Gain +1 Attack for each other Beast you have. He never sleeps. Not even in the mighty jungle.|
Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each enemy Deathrattle minion. Warlocks have the town exorcist on speed dial in case they unleash the wrong demon.
|Master Jouster||Rare||Minion||General||Any||6||5||6||Battlecry: Reveal a minion in each deck. If yours costs more, gain Taunt and Divine Shield. Needs just a few more ratings points to become Grandmaster Jouster.|
Deathrattle: Summon a 1/2 Slime with Taunt. DO NOT GIVE HIM A ROOT BEER.
Battlecry: Give a minion Taunt. Come at me, bro.
|Sunfury Protector||Rare||Minion||General||Any||2||2||3||Battlecry: Give adjacent minions Taunt. She carries a shield, but only so she can give it to someone she can stand behind.|
|Sunwalker||Rare||Minion||General||Any||6||4||5||Taunt. Divine Shield She doesn’t ACTUALLY walk on the Sun. It's just a name. Don’t worry!|
|Target Dummy||Rare||Minion||Mech||Any||0||0||2||Taunt The engineering equivalent of a "Kick Me" sticker.|
Costs (1) less for each minion that died this turn. The roots, the roots, the roots is on fire!
|Wyrmrest Agent||Rare||Minion||General||Priest||2||1||4||Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain +1 Attack and Taunt. Keeping tabs on the Grand Tournament is priority #1 for the five mighty Dragonflights!|
|Ancient of War||Epic||Minion||General||Druid||7||5||5||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.|
|Coghammer||Epic||Weapon||Paladin||3||2||3||Battlecry: Give a random friendly minion Divine Shield and Taunt. So you ripped this out of a machine, carved some runes on it, stuck it on a handle, and now it's a weapon of great divine power? Seems legit.|
|Earth Elemental||Epic||Minion||General||Shaman||5||7||8||Taunt. Overload: (3) Nothing beats rock.|
|Enhance-o Mechano||Epic||Minion||Mech||Any||4||3||2||Battlecry: Give your other minions Windfury, Taunt, or Divine Shield.
(at random) His enhancements are gluten free!
|Twilight Guardian||Epic||Minion||Dragon||Any||4||2||6||Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain +1 Attack and Taunt. A result of magical experiments carried out by the Black Dragonflight, it's not his fault that he's a vicious killer.|
|Al'Akir the Windlord||Legendary||Minion||General||Shaman||8||3||5||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||Legendary||Minion||General||Druid||9||5||8||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.|
Deathrattle: If you're holding a Dragon, deal 3 damage to all minions. Chillmaw keeps trying to ruin the Grand Tournament, and she would've done it too, if it weren't for those dang kids!
|Hogger||Legendary||Minion||General||Any||6||4||4||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||Legendary||Minion||General||Paladin||8||6||6||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.|
|Showing all 68 cards|
Related cards[edit | edit source]
|Name / Desc||Rarity||Type||Subtype||Class||Cost||Atk||HP||Description|
|Bolster||Common||Spell||Warrior||2||Give your Taunt minions +2/+2. The best offense is a good defense.|
|King's Defender||Rare||Weapon||Warrior||3||3||2||Battlecry: If you have a minion with Taunt, gain +1 Durability. "King's Attacker" is a shield. Funny, huh?|
|The Black Knight||Legendary||Minion||General||Any||6||4||5||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.|
|Showing all 3 cards|
Patch changes[edit | edit source]
- Patch 18.104.22.16844 (2014-03-11): Minions who have Taunt and Stealth now have an effect that more clearly indicates that Taunt is temporarily disabled during Stealth.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-06).
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