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Jaina Proudmoore(320).png

A hero is a character in the Warcraft universe representing the player. In Hearthstone, this concept is expressed in three interrelated but distinct ways:

  1. Heroes are gameplay characters representing players or bosses within a match. Heroes have attributes like Health, take damage, and can sometimes even attack, just as minions do. If a player's hero dies, they lose that game. This meaning of "hero" pertains specifically to game mechanics within a battle.
  2. A hero is a collectible individual from Warcraft lore, with its own portrait, personality and style. Each hero represents a class, and can be used in any games played with a deck of that type, making each hero a "skin" for its class. One classic hero of each class is available to new players, while alternate heroes are obtainable through purchase or awards. Golden heroes are versions of the classic heroes with gold UI elements, similar to golden cards. This meaning of "hero" is mostly cosmetic, with no gameplay difference between two heroes of the same class.
  3. Hero is a synonym for one of the ten Hearthstone classes within a player's account. These "heroes" earn experience after each game, gaining access to cards and other rewards. However, all rewards are earned based on the class played rather than the specific individual hero. Similarly, it is the class chosen for a deck rather than the specific hero which determines the class cards and Hero Power in games with that deck.

Characters in battle[edit | edit source]

See also: Character

All player heroes have 30 Health at the beginning of a game, and take damage when attacked by minions or hit by spells and effects. When a hero is killed, almost always by having its Health reduced to 0 or below, the corresponding player loses the game. Heroes by default do not have an Attack value, but can use various means to gain Attack such as equipping weapons. Heroes with an Attack value can attack other targets, similarly to minions, and will take damage from targets they attack accordingly.

In addition to having Attack and Health attributes, participating in combat, and taking damage, heroes can be affected by some of the same conditions or abilities that minions are, namely Destroy, Freeze, and Immune effects. On the other hand, they differ in several ways too. Heroes do not have mana costs, although some cards that create replacement heroes do. Heroes can gain Armor and equip weapons, which minions cannot. Heroes cannot be targeted by spells or effects that specify "minion" rather than "character", and some effects can only affect heroes, not minions. Heroes are also capable of attacking on their first turns, unlike most minions.

When dealing damage to a hero, the hero is often referred to as "the face", as in "dealing 10 damage to the face", in contrast to attacking other targets. "Going for the face" is used to describe directing attacks straight at the enemy hero.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

While much of the game involves trading minions and making wise use of cards to gain control of the board, almost all Hearthstone battles are ultimately resolved through dealing damage to the enemy hero. Despite this, because of the opportunity for repeated damage presented by control of minions, it is generally more important to address the ongoing threat of enemy minions than to simply deal damage to the enemy hero. However, once the enemy hero's Health has reached a certain level, it becomes most important to simply direct all attacks at the enemy hero, regardless of the state of the board. The assessment of target priority is an ongoing strategic challenge of Hearthstone.

When the player is capable of dealing fatal damage to an enemy hero that turn (known as "having lethal"), it is always best to do so that turn. At these times, taking normally prudent actions such as removing threatening minions, rather than simply attacking the enemy hero, can in fact directly cause the player to lose the game.

Aggro decks tend to focus on dealing damage to the enemy hero as quickly as possible and sacrifice late game potential in order to provide greater power and capabilities during the earlier game. Focused on defeating the enemy before they have the chance to retaliate, these decks often ignore board control in favour of directing all attacks at the enemy hero itself.

Individual heroes[edit | edit source]

All players begin the game with Jaina Proudmoore (mage) and can quickly unlock the other classic heroes by defeating them in Play mode or Practice mode, or, in the demon hunter's case, completing their introduction prologue. Alternate heroes must be purchased or unlocked before they can be used, featuring special effects and animations. Heroes can also sometimes be replaced mid-match by special replacement heroes not otherwise choosable, while others can be played or fought during special encounters.

For a comparison and overview of the hero classes, and the strengths and abilities of each one, see class.

Classic heroes[edit | edit source]

Classic heroes are available to all players for free, although each must first be defeated by the player before they are unlocked. Jaina and Illidan are the exceptions - Jaina is available to all players from the tutorial onward, and Illidan is unlocked by completing the Demon Hunter Prologue.

Illidan Stormrage(210710).png
Icon Demon Hunter 64.png
Demon Hunter

Malfurion Stormrage(621).png
Icon Druid 64.png

Icon Hunter 64.png

Jaina Proudmoore(320).png
Icon Mage 64.png

Uther Lightbringer(257).png
Icon Paladin 64.png

Anduin Wrynn(110).png
Icon Priest 64.png

Valeera Sanguinar(2).png
Icon Rogue 64.png

Icon Shaman 64.png

Icon Warlock 64.png

Garrosh Hellscream(635).png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Alternate heroes[edit | edit source]

Main article: Alternate hero

Alternate heroes can be purchased or occasionally earned, acting as alternate "skins" for existing classes. These heroes have special art, emotes, animations, and in some cases card backs, and are always animated, even if you haven't unlocked the golden hero for that class. The differences are purely cosmetic; each uses the same Hero Power and class cards as the classic hero of the same class. Even if you have not unlocked the golden version of a hero, you will still get an animated character and Hero Power, but the minions/weapons that are produced by your Hero Power will not be golden.[1][2]

Alleria Windrunner(14694).png
Icon Hunter 64.png
Source: Purchase from the shop

Icon Mage 64.png
Source: Purchase from the shop

Magni Bronzebeard(14693).png
Icon Warrior 64.png
Source: Purchase from the shop

Lady Liadrin(31127).png
Icon Paladin 64.png
Source: Reach level 20 in World of Warcraft

Icon Mage 64.png
Source: Various promotions

Morgl the Oracle(35369).png
Icon Shaman 64.png
Source: Recruit A Friend

Tyrande Whisperwind(42261).png
Icon Priest 64.png
Source: Various promotions

Maiev Shadowsong(55649).png
Icon Rogue 64.png
Source: Win 10 Standard games during Year of the Mammoth

Prince Arthas(63011).png
Icon Paladin 64.png
Source: Defeat the Lich King with all nine classes

Nemsy Necrofizzle.png
Icon Warlock 64.png
Source: Participate in a Fireside Gathering

Icon Druid 64.png
Source: Win 10 Standard games during Year of the Raven

Icon Warlock 64.png
Source: Purchase The Boomsday Project Mega Bundle

Sir Annoy-O(90144).png
Icon Paladin 64.png
Source: Purchase the 2018 Hallow's End Special Bundle

King Rastakhan.png
Icon Shaman 64.png
Source: Purchase the Rastakhan's Rumble Special Bundle

Madame Lazul.png
Icon Priest 64.png
Source: Purchase the Rise of Shadows Mega Bundle

The Thunder King.png
Icon Shaman 64.png
Source: Purchase the Master's Bundle

Elise Starseeker (hero).png
Icon Druid 64.png
Source: Purchase the Saviors of Uldum Mega Bundle

Icon Warrior 64.png
Source: Purchase the Descent of Dragons Mega Bundle

Sylvanas Windrunner (hero).png
Icon Hunter 64.png
Source: Purchasable during December 2019

Dame Hazelbark(151551).png
Icon Druid 64.png
Source: Purchase the 2019 Winter Veil Special Bundle

Lady Vashj (hero).png
Icon Shaman 64.png
Source: Purchase the Ashes of Outland Mega Bundle

Aranna Starseeker.png
Icon Demon Hunter 64.png
Demon Hunter
Source: Purchase the Felfire Festival Bundle

Icon Mage 64.png
Source: Purchase the Scholomance Academy Mega Bundle

Horseman Uther(330024).png
Icon Paladin 64.png
Source: Purchase the Horseman Uther Bundle

Icon Warlock 64.png
Source: Purchase the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Mega Bundle

Icon Warrior 64.png
Source: Reach level 25 with a Tavern Pass during Madness at the Darkmoon Faire

Honored heroes[edit | edit source]

Honored heroes are alternate portraits of the Classic heroes that are unlocked by having 1,000 wins as that class in Ranked or Arena mode. They are functionally identical to regular alternate portraits, but do not provide a new voice set. Like other alternate heroes, they are always animated.

Demonic Illidan.png
Icon Demon Hunter 64.png
Demon Hunter

Shan'do Malfurion.png
Icon Druid 64.png

Wanderer Rexxar.png
Icon Hunter 64.png

Fire Mage Jaina.png
Icon Mage 64.png

Lightforged Uther.png
Icon Paladin 64.png

King Anduin.png
Icon Priest 64.png

Cap'n Valeera.png
Icon Rogue 64.png

Warchief Thrall.png
Icon Shaman 64.png

Shadow Gul'dan.png
Icon Warlock 64.png

Corrupt Garrosh.png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Rewards Track heroes[edit | edit source]

Rewards Track heroes are alternate portraits of the Classic heroes that are unlocked by reaching level 50 on the Rewards Track in a season. You will be able to choose one Rewards Track hero to permanently unlock each time you reach this. They are functionally identical to regular alternate portraits, but do not provide a new voice set. Like other alternate heroes, they are always animated. Each of the Rewards Track heroes are based on their class' respective Tier 1 armor set from World of Warcraft (or tier 20 for Demon Hunter, due to them not having a tier 1).

Demonbane Illidan(389194).png
Icon Demon Hunter 64.png
Demon Hunter

Cenarion Malfurion(389181).png
Icon Druid 64.png

Giantstalker Rexxar(389180).png
Icon Hunter 64.png

Arcanist Jaina(389187).png
Icon Mage 64.png

Uther Lawbringer(389179).png
Icon Paladin 64.png

Anduin of Prophecy(389191).png
Icon Priest 64.png

Nightslayer Valeera(389176).png
Icon Rogue 64.png

Earthfury Thrall(389170).png
Icon Shaman 64.png

Felheart Gul'dan(389184).png
Icon Warlock 64.png

Garrosh of Might(389167).png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Tavern Pass heroes[edit | edit source]

Tavern Pass heroes are alternate skins that can be earned from the Rewards Track by players with a Tavern Pass. They are functionally identical to regular alternate portraits, but do not provide a new voice set. Like other alternate heroes, they are always animated. Up to six Tavern Pass heroes are available each season, with each class for the season having three.

Season 1 (Madness at the Darkmoon Faire)

Icon Mage 64.png

Apprentice Jaina(389188).png Archmage Jaina(389189).png Kul Tiran Jaina(389190).png

Icon Shaman 64.png

Thrall, Son of Durotan(389173).png Alterac Thrall(389174).png Wolfrider Thrall(389175).png

Book of Heroes[edit | edit source]

Book of Heroes heroes are alternate skins that could be purchased for a brief period after that hero's respective chapter in the Book of Heroes has been released. They are functionally identical to regular alternate portraits, and provide partial new voice sets. Like other alternate heroes, they are always animated.

Scholar Jaina(330026).png
Icon Mage 64.png

Warsong Rexxar(330025).png
Icon Hunter 64.png

Nagrand Garrosh(330021).png
Icon Warrior 64.png

Second War Uther(330023).png
Icon Paladin 64.png

Replacement heroes[edit | edit source]

Replacement heroes cannot be selected for play prior to a match, but can be brought into play through specific cards, replacing the player's current hero.

Lord Jaraxxus(406).png

Ragnaros the Firelord(14654).png

Playing the warlock card Lord Jaraxxus or allowing the neutral minion Majordomo Executus to die will "destroy" the player's original hero and replace them with the Lord Jaraxxus or Ragnaros hero, respectively. The loss of the original hero does not cause them to lose the game; instead, the new hero remains under the control of the player, but has its own portrait, emotes, and Hero Power. The replacement heroes cannot be selected as regular heroes, and can only be accessed using the corresponding cards.

For more information on the replacement process, see Lord Jaraxxus and Majordomo Executus.

Hero cards[edit | edit source]

Main article: Hero card

Hero cards are a card type that replace the player's current hero, give them a small amount of Armor and replace their Hero Power with a new one. However, the player's current and maximum Health remains the same.

Encounter heroes[edit | edit source]

Main articles: Boss card and Tavern Brawl card

Adventures or Tavern Brawls sometimes allow players to take control of special heroes, specific to games within one encounter. Similar to bosses, these heroes may start with vastly inflated Health and Armor, and have access to special Hero Powers.

City of Stormwind(31160).png
White King.png

Prototype heroes[edit | edit source]

Throughout the initial development of Hearthstone, a number of additional heroes were experimented with but ultimately excluded from the final release of the game. Heroes that have been seen in pre-alpha concept art, screenshots, and footage for the game include Cho'gall, Garona Halforcen, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Teron Gorefiend, Tirion Fordring, Tyrande Whisperwind, Varian Wrynn, and Vol'jin - a number of whom have since been added as minion cards or, in the case of Tyrande, alternate heroes.

Bosses[edit | edit source]

Main article: Boss

Bosses are unique computer-controlled heroes encountered in adventures, the tutorial, and single-player Tavern Brawls. Bosses are not selectable by the player and are not encountered in other modes of play.

Each boss features a unique Hero Power and selection of cards. Bosses may use regular collectible cards, but also have access to unique boss cards, special and often extremely powerful cards which are not available to players. Boss battles are generally designed to offer a specific challenge, usually featuring a strong theme or style, forcing the player to find a way to defeat them. Players often must alter their decks or construct new ones in order to beat specific bosses, with each having its own strengths and weaknesses.

For lists of all bosses currently in the game, see the pages for each adventure and the tutorial, as well as the single-player Tavern Brawls.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The same Warcraft character might be available as both a hero and a playable minion; for example, the alternate hero Khadgar and the playable hero Hagatha the Witch are both available as minions (Khadgar and Swampqueen Hagatha). Presumably, this means classic heroes like Jaina and Thrall are potential minions in future expansions, though this has not happened as of November 2020.

Hero classes and experience[edit | edit source]

Main article: Level

Each class begins at level 1 and can gain levels by earning sufficient experience (XP). Heroes can reach a maximum of level 60. XP is gained through playing games in any game mode. Winning games against real players awards bonus XP.

Up to level 10, reaching every even level in a class will unlock a pair of new basic class cards. Above level 10, golden versions of existing class and neutral cards are granted upon reaching certain levels. Raising your first class to level 10 also completes the hidden "Level Up" quest, awarding the player one card pack. You must also have at least one level 20 class to participate in Tavern Brawls. Aside from these restrictions and rewards, experience and level do not affect gameplay in any way.

Ben Brode has stated that experience gains are based on several factors, primarily the number of cards played and the number of minions killed.[3] Prior to this statement, one player attempting to discover the underlying formula asserted that experience earned per match was based on either the number of actions taken or the number of cards played during the course of the match. For example, losing a game where the player played no cards and took no actions will reward no XP, while winning in the same conditions will provide a small amount of XP. [4]

Golden heroes[edit | edit source]

Golden versions of the original nine heroes.

Whenever a player completes 500 wins in Ranked or Arena Play mode with a given hero, that hero will be permanently replaced with a golden version. These are similar to golden cards, with golden borders and special animations, and will automatically be used instead of the regular version in Casual and Ranked play, as well as Friendly Challenge and Arena.

Hero powers and those minions and weapons created by hero powers will also be affected, with fully animated golden versions.[5][6] Specifically Searing Totem, Wrath of Air Totem, Healing Totem, Stoneclaw Totem, Wicked Knife, Poisoned Dagger, and Silver Hand Recruit summoned by golden hero powers will be golden.

An alternate portrait of each standard hero is unlocked at 1,000 ranked or arena wins; this alternate portrait is selectable from the collection. For example, at 1,000 Rogue wins, players can choose either the alternate "Cap'n Valeera" portrait, or the standard Valeera.

The alternate heroes, while always being animated, will receive a golden hero power and portrait border upon reaching 500 wins in Ranked Play mode.

Players can track their wins progress with each hero on the Ranked deck selection screen, with the number of wins out of 500 listed beneath the currently selected hero's portrait. Wins from before the introduction of the golden heroes feature do not count toward golden heroes.[7]

Once unlocked, golden heroes cannot be disabled.[6] However, this functionality may be added in the future.[6]

Pictures of the golden heroes can be found here. A video showing three of the golden heroes' animations can be found here.

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • Saviors of Uldum logo.png Patch (2019-10-08): Having 1,000 wins in Ranked or Arena now unlocks an alternate portrait for that class, including wins previously earned.
  • Rastakhan's Rumble logo.png Patch (2019-03-14): Arena wins now count towards the 500 for earning a gold hero. (Only applies to wins after 13.4 went live; earlier Arena wins are not counted.)
  • Journey to Un'Goro logo.png Patch (2017-06-01) Ranked wins for each hero will now tally beyond 500.
  • Whispers of the Old Gods logo.png Patch (2016-07-12): The experience bar will no longer fill up after winning a game at max level. (This change was not successfully implemented until Patch
  • Patch (2014-03-11):
    • Golden Heroes have been added and now can be unlocked after winning 500 Ranked games with a Hero! Track your progress on the deck selection screen in Ranked Mode.
    • Unlocking a hero now plays that Hero’s emote. Well met!
  • Patch (2013-10-02): The maximum level is now 60, and you can earn XP in any game mode up to max level.

References[edit | edit source]

Playable heroes
Default heroes
Icon Demon Hunter 32.png Icon Druid 32.png Icon Hunter 32.png Icon Mage 32.png Icon Paladin 32.png Icon Priest 32.png Icon Rogue 32.png Icon Shaman 32.png Icon Warlock 32.png Icon Warrior 32.png
Illidan 64.png
Malfurion 64.png
Rexxar 64.png
Jaina 64.png
Uther 64.png
Anduin 64.png
Valeera 64.png
Thrall 64.png
Guldan 64.png
Garrosh 64.png
Alternate portraits
Icon Demon Hunter 32.png Icon Druid 32.png Icon Hunter 32.png Icon Mage 32.png Icon Paladin 32.png Icon Priest 32.png Icon Rogue 32.png Icon Shaman 32.png Icon Warlock 32.png Icon Warrior 32.png
1,000 wins portraits
Demonic Illidan 64.png
ShandoMalfurion 64.png
WandererRexxar 64.png
FireMageJaina 64.png
Fire Mage
LightforgedUther 64.png
KingAnduin 64.png
CapnValeera 64.png
WarchiefThrall 64.png
ShadowGuldan 64.png
CorruptGarrosh 64.png
Rewards Track portraits
Demonbane Illidan 64.png
Cenarion Malfurion 64.png
Giantstalker Rexxar 64.png
Arcanist Jaina 64.png
Uther Lawbringer64.png
Anduin of Prophecy 64.png
Nightslayer Valeera 64.png
Earthfury Thrall 64.png
Felheart Guldan 64.png
Garrosh of Might 64.png
Tavern Pass portraits
Apprentice Jaina 64.png
Archmage Jaina 64.png
Kul Tiran Jaina 64.png
Kul Tiran
Thrall, Son of Durotan 64.png
Son of Durotan
Alterac Thrall 64.png
Wolfrider Thrall 64.png
Book of Heroes portraits
WarsongRexxar 64.png
ScholarJaina 64.png
SecondWarUther 64.png
Second War
SI7Anduin 64.png
NagrandGarrosh 64.png
Seasonal portraits
HorsemanUther 64.png
GuanYuUther 64.png
Guan Yu
ZhugeLiangAnduin 64.png
Zhuge Liang
DiaoChanValeera 64.png
Daio Chan
LüBuGarrosh 64.png
Lü Bu
Alternate heroes
Icon Demon Hunter 32.png Icon Druid 32.png Icon Hunter 32.png Icon Mage 32.png Icon Paladin 32.png Icon Priest 32.png Icon Rogue 32.png Icon Shaman 32.png Icon Warlock 32.png Icon Warrior 32.png
Promotional and special events
Lunara 64.png
Liadrin 64.png
Arthas 64.png
Tyrande 64.png
Maiev 64.png
Morgl 64.png
Nemsy 64.png
Annhylde 64.png
Purchasable heroes
Aranna 64.png
Elise 64.png
Hazelbark 64.png
Alleria 64.png
Sylvanas 64.png
Medivh 64.png
Khadgar 64.png
Kel'Thuzad 64.png
Annoy-O 64.png
Lazul 64.png
Rastakhan 64.png
TheThunderKing 64.png
Thunder King
LadyVashj 64.png
Jaraxxus 64.png
Magni 64.png
Deathwing 64.png