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.
  • Most 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 and Cataclysm are notable exceptions, with results entirely predictable. Some of the cards from Rastakhan's Rumble discard a specific card instead.
  • 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.
Felstalker Free Minion Demon Warlock 2 4 3
Battlecry: Discard a random card. This puppy chews up cards instead of shoes.
Nightshade Matron Common Minion Demon Warlock 4 5 5
Battlecry: Discard your highest Cost card. Throws shade at those "high-cost" minions.
Wicked Whispers Rare Spell Warlock 1
Discard your lowest Cost card. Give your minions +1/+1. When the Old Ones whisper, others will scream.
Expired Merchant Rare Minion General Warlock 2 2 1
Battlecry: Discard your highest Cost card.
Deathrattle: Add 2 copies of it to your hand. The "best by" date is more like a guideline.
Fungal Fortunes Rare Spell Druid 3
Draw 3 cards. Discard any minions drawn. Far superior to a beanstalk boondoggle.
Chaos Gazer Epic Minion Demon Warlock 3 4 3
Battlecry: Curse a playable card in your opponent's hand. They have 1 turn to play it! No matter the game rules, it's always playing Go Fish.
Evocation Legendary Spell Mage 2
Fill your hand with random Mage spells. At the end of your turn, discard them. You too could be the winner of the national spelling spree!
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
Wicked Whispers(378845).png
Expired Merchant(90723).png
Chaos Gazer(176349).png
Fungal Fortunes(210659).png
Nightshade Matron(210812).png

Wild format

Wild icon.png  This section contains information exclusive to Wild format.
Name / Desc Rarity Type Subtype Class Cost Atk HP Description
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.
Reckless Diretroll Common Minion General Warlock 3 2 6
Battlecry: Discard your lowest Cost card. "Reck less!? ME WRECK MOAR!"
Lakkari Felhound Common Minion Demon Warlock 4 3 8
Battlecry: Discard two random cards. Guaranteed to track tar all over your carpet.
Shriek Rare Spell Warlock 1
Discard your lowest Cost card. Deal 2 damage to all minions. The first warning sign of an oncoming warlock temper tantrum.
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.
Book of Specters Epic Spell Mage 2
Draw 3 cards. Discard any spells drawn. Known throughout the land as the Spooky-nomicon.
Astral Communion Epic Spell Druid 4
Gain 10 Mana Crystals. Discard your hand. Hey! Moon! Can I have some mana crystals?
Cataclysm Epic Spell Warlock 4
Destroy all minions. Discard your hand. RUN FROM SKY CANDLES! THEY BURN! RUN!
Dark Bargain Epic Spell Warlock 6
Destroy 2 random enemy minions. Discard 2 random cards. A prime example of lose-lose negotiating.
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.
The Soularium Legendary Spell Warlock 1
Draw 3 cards. At the end of your turn, discard them. Worst field trip ever.
Showing all 12 cards
The Soularium(89881).png
Book of Specters(89416).png
Darkshire Librarian(35221).png
Reckless Diretroll(90180).png
Astral Communion(22334).png
Lakkari Felhound(55449).png
Dark Bargain(22388).png
Furnacefire Colossus(62924).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
Hand of Gul'dan Common Spell Warlock 6
When you play or discard this, draw 3 cards. His skull also draws three cards. Imagine how many cards he could draw with HIS ENTIRE BODY!
Boneweb Egg Rare Minion General Warlock 2 0 2
Deathrattle: Summon two 2/1 Spiders. If you discard this, trigger its DeathrattleNoblegarden is going to be really exciting this year!
Showing all 2 cards
Boneweb Egg(329883).png
Hand of Gul'dan(210809).png

Wild format

Wild icon.png  This section contains information exclusive to Wild format.
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.
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."
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.
Fist of Jaraxxus Rare Spell Warlock 4
When you play or discard this, deal 4 damage to a random enemy. * Not actually Jaraxxus' fist.
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."
Soulwarden Epic Minion General Warlock 6 6 6
Battlecry: Add 3 random cards you discarded this game to your hand. Reduce, reuse, resoul.
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…”
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.
High Priestess Jeklik Legendary Minion General Warlock 4 3 4
Taunt, Lifesteal
When you discard this, add 2 copies of it to your hand. If you love Jeklik, set her free. YOU CAN'T GET RID OF HER.
Blood-Queen Lana'thel Legendary Minion General Warlock 5 1 6
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.
Showing all 10 cards
Lakkari Sacrifice(55447).png
Malchezaar's Imp(42027).png
Clutchmother Zavas(55464).png
Tiny Knight of Evil(22386).png
Silverware Golem(42037).png
Fist of Jaraxxus(22332).png
High Priestess Jeklik(90182).png
Blood-Queen Lana'thel(61814).png
Cruel Dinomancer(55569).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).