Discard effect

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Discard effects are effects which cause the player to discard cards from their hand. Discarded cards are removed from the game, without activating Deathrattles. Discard effects are most commonly found on warlock cards.

Discard effects are distinguished from overdraw, and remove from deck effects, both of which remove cards directly from the deck without entering the hand; and from Tracking's "discard" effect, which in fact removes cards directly from a special display zone without entering the hand. While similar to discard effects, neither is considered a discard for game purposes, and will not activate related effects.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Cards which are discarded through discard effects are revealed to the opponent, which can present a strategic disadvantage.
  • All discard effects discard cards randomly from the player's hand. As such, almost all discard effects add a substantial element of RNG and risk to the game. Deathwing is the exception, with its results entirely (and woefully) predictable.
  • Discarded minions are not considered to have died, and therefore cannot be summoned by Resurrect.[1]
  • Effects that trigger from discards trigger only when discarded from the hand, not from the deck or when overdrawn.[2]
  • Technically, "discarding" a card refers to removing it from play while it is in the hand; for example, only cards discarded from the hand will activate related effects. Removing a card from play while it is in the Play Zone (the battlefield or weapon slot) results in it being destroyed, while removing it from play while it is in the deck requires overdraw or a remove from deck effect. Tracking's "discard" effect removes cards from play while in the Set Aside Zone (the zone used for Discover effects), and thus is not considered a discard.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

The negative repercussions of a discard effect can be removed entirely by not playing that card until your hand is otherwise empty. If this is not possible, they can be minimised by making sure your hand contains only cards you are willing to lose, such as by making sure to first play your most valuable cards.

Discard effects are mostly found on warlock cards, serving as an additional cost to playing a card at an otherwise unusually low price. This may allow the warlock to put out powerful minions at an early stage of the game, or deal strong damage on demand. While the card loss is undesirable, warlocks are able to easily compensate for this using Life Tap, especially in later rounds when mana is more plentiful. While the total cost of playing such a card is therefore in fact unusually high, the ability to delay paying that price until a later round can offer a strategic advantage.

The order in which discard effects are activated is of great importance. A warlock whose hand comprises two Doomguards and a Soulfire has two ways of playing their hand. Playing a Doomguard first will guarantee both other cards will be discarded, while playing the Soulfire first will guarantee that one Doomguard is retained. In most cases the player's hand will contain a variety of cards, making it impossible to entirely predict the outcome. However, the player can still control events to some degree by choosing which cards to play before the discard effect, ensuring that those cards will not be discarded.

When it is not possible to empty the hand of all important cards before playing a discard effect, warlocks can also choose to use Life Tap to add more cards to the hand, reducing the likelihood of a specific card from being discarded. For example, a warlock with a Soulfire and a Loatheb in their hand may use Life Tap to draw an Abusive Sergeant, in the hopes that playing the Soulfire will discard the latter card instead of the Loatheb. However, if an even more valuable card is instead drawn, the warlock may regret having used Life Tap before playing Soul Fire.

Starting with The Grand Tournament, warlock cards with discard synergy effects have been added, which aid in mitigating or removing the disadvantages of discarding cards. Fist of Jaraxxus and Silverware Golem are played when discarded and have more value if doing so, while Malchezaar's Imp and Clutchmother Zavas make the warlock's hand more powerful as cards are discarded. Discard effects are the focus of the Warlock quest, Lakkari Sacrifice.

Cards[edit | edit source]

Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Soulfire Free Spell Warlock 1 Deal 4 damage. Discard a random card. Are you lighting a soul on fire? Or burning someone with your OWN soul? This seems like an important distinction.
Succubus Free Minion Demon Warlock 2 4 3 Battlecry: Discard a random card. Warlocks have it pretty good.
Howlfiend Common Minion Demon Warlock 3 3 6 Whenever this minion takes damage, discard a random card. The problem is that he carries those cards in his mouth.
Lakkari Felhound Common Minion Demon Warlock 4 3 8 Taunt
Battlecry: Discard two random cards. Guaranteed to track tar all over your carpet.
Darkshire Librarian Rare Minion General Warlock 2 3 2 Battlecry: Discard a random card. Deathrattle: Draw a card. Do NOT be late with your overdue fines.
Doomguard Rare Minion Demon Warlock 5 5 7 Charge. Battlecry: Discard two random cards. Summoning a doomguard is risky. Someone is going to die.
Cataclysm Epic Spell Warlock 4 Destroy all minions. Discard your hand. RUN FROM SKY CANDLES! THEY BURN! RUN!
Furnacefire Colossus Epic Minion General Any 6 6 6 Battlecry: Discard all weapons from your hand and gain their stats. Smelts in his mouth, not in your hand.
Deathwing Legendary Minion Dragon Any 10 12 12 Battlecry: Destroy all other minions and discard your hand. Once a noble dragon known as Neltharion, Deathwing lost his mind and shattered Azeroth before finally being defeated. Daddy issues?
Showing all 9 cards
Lakkari Felhound(55449).png
Darkshire Librarian(35221).png
Furnacefire Colossus(62924).png

Wild format

Wild icon.png  This section contains information exclusive to Wild format.
Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Astral Communion Epic Spell Druid 4 Gain 10 Mana Crystals. Discard your hand. Hey! Moon! Can I have some mana crystals?
Dark Bargain Epic Spell Warlock 6 Destroy 2 random enemy minions. Discard 2 random cards. A prime example of lose-lose negotiating.
Showing all 2 cards
Astral Communion(22334).png
Dark Bargain(22388).png

Related cards[edit | edit source]

All current discard-related effects activate only when discarding from the hand, and not removed from the deck or other zones.

Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Malchezaar's Imp Common Minion Demon Warlock 1 1 3 Whenever you discard a card, draw a card. Malchezaar used to have an imp named Dobby working for him, but there was a tragic accident.
Cruel Dinomancer Rare Minion General Warlock 6 5 5 Deathrattle: Summon a random minion you discarded this game. As that old saying goes: "you don't get into dinomancing to make friends."
Silverware Golem Rare Minion General Warlock 3 3 3 If you discard this minion, summon it. From the secret research labs of the Swiss Army.
Blood-Queen Lana'thel Legendary Minion General Warlock 5 1 6 Lifesteal
Has +1 Attack for each card you've discarded this game. As a young blood-princess she learned the proper way for a lady to curtsy, how to address fellow members of royalty, and how to bite them.
Clutchmother Zavas Legendary Minion Beast Warlock 2 2 2 Whenever you discard this, give it +2/+2 and return it to your hand. A bit of a snob: still refuses to drive anything with automatic transmission.
Lakkari Sacrifice Legendary Spell Warlock 1 Quest: Discard 6 cards.
Reward: Nether Portal. They asked, “And what must we give in return?” Gul’dan lowered his hood and answered: “Six… cards…”
Showing all 6 cards
Malchezaar's Imp(42027).png
Cruel Dinomancer(55569).png
Silverware Golem(42037).png
Blood-Queen Lana'thel(61814).png
Clutchmother Zavas(55464).png
Lakkari Sacrifice(55447).png

Wild format

Wild icon.png  This section contains information exclusive to Wild format.
Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
Fist of Jaraxxus Rare Spell Warlock 4 When you play or discard this, deal 4 damage to a random enemy. * Not actually Jaraxxus' fist.
Tiny Knight of Evil Rare Minion Demon Warlock 2 3 2 Whenever you discard a card, gain +1/+1. "No, no, no. I asked for a tiny JESTER of evil."
Showing all 2 cards
Fist of Jaraxxus(22332).png
Tiny Knight of Evil(22386).png

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Tested on 9-8-2015 by jerodast: Played Succubus obtained via Thoughtsteal, discarding Acidic Swamp Ooze, without ever having a friendly minion die. Then played Resurrect, which summoned no minion. Played a second Succubus, discarding Novice Engineer, then a second Resurrect, again resulting in no minion summoned.
  2. Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-07).