Hearthstone Glossary of Terms

Hearthstone Glossary of Terms by Raz

Greetings! I made this post long ago in the general forums during beta and it never got stickied. It has since gone the way of the dodo. Well, I figured it might be helpful for folks here so I thought i’d repost it. Please post if you have any questions or see errors or mistakes I can correct and I’ll happily update this. Also feel free to request a sticky since I think this can be helpful for a wide range of players. Hope you enjoy!

Achievement – An in-game acknowledgement of a certain accomplishment, such as winning 100 matches or unlocking all basic cards. Each one usually offers a one-time reward.
Adjacent – The minions that are directly next to a certain minion, on both sides.
Arcane Dust – A material generated by disenchanting cards, or won in arena play, that is used to create new cards.
Area of Effect (AoE) – An action that is applied to multiple characters simultaneously, usually without targeting any of them directly or specifically.
Armor – Protection against attacks, which is removed by damage before health is lost. There is currently no known maximum value for armor.
Attack – The process of having a character deal damage to another character based on attack values.
Attack (Value) – “How much damage [something] deals.” The attack value of a minion is displayed at the bottom-left corner, while attack values for heroes are given by weapons, hero powers, or other spells.

Battlecry – “Does something when you play it from your hand.” These effects only occur when a minion is summoned from a player’s hand, therefore they are not triggered by resurrection effects or changes in owner.
Battlefield – Middle portion of the game board, split into two sides, where minions exist once summoned. Each player can only have up to 7 minions on their side at any time.

Card – A spell, minion, or weapon in a player’s deck or hand. Each deck can only have up to 2 of any particular card in it, except for Legendaries (see Rarity), which have a limit of 1 per deck of each.
Character – Term used to indicate both minions and heroes, used on card text to indicate that an effect can be used against minions and/or heroes.
Charge – “Can attack immediately.” This eliminates the usual one-turn delay on minion activity (see Exhaustion).
Coin – A bonus card only given to the player who goes second at the start of a match. It provides one extra mana on one turn and counts as a spell.
Combo – “A bonus if you already played a card this turn.” Any card previously played in a turn triggers the combo, but a combo effect can only happen once and is not an additive effect based on playing more cards (unless otherwise noted, e.g. Edwin VanCleef).
Controller – The player who currently has a minion on his/her side of the battlefield is that minion’s controller. Certain cards let players take control of a minion, moving it from the opponent’s side to their side of the battlefield. This does not trigger Battlecry effects.
Cost – The amount of mana that must be spent to play a card. It is indicated at the top-left corner of every card.
Counter – “A card that is countered has no effect.” Currently only used by the Mage card Counterspell.
Crafting – Creating cards from Arcane Dust. The cost to make a new card depends on its rarity.

Damage – Removing a certain amount of health from a character. The term “direct damage” is often used to refer to targeted, rather than AoE (see Area of Effect), effects.
Deathrattle – “Does something when it dies.” This effect is triggered by death due to loss of health and outright destruction (see Destroy), but is lost when a minion with deathrattle is transformed (see Transform).
Deck – The collection of 30 cards a player can draw from during the course of a match. It is located at the right side of the battlefield during a match, and typically includes cards from a specific hero and neutral minions.
Deck Types – These are terms often used to refer to decks that have certain themes or play styles.
Examples include:

  • Rush Deck – Designed to defeat an opponent quickly, often by bringing out many small minions during the early game.
  • Stall Deck – Designed to let the player last a long time, and gain a late game advantage to defeat an opponent.
  • Mill Deck – Designed to make the opponent draw more cards than can effectively be used, and defeat the opponent through damage and fatigue (see Fatigue).
  • Murloc/Pirate Deck – Designed around a particular type of minion, such as murlocs or pirates, and victory usually relies on synergy between these minions.

Defeat – When one player reaches zero health, and the opponent has at least one health, then he or she is defeated. A defeat rewards less experience to a hero than a victory.
Destroy – Removing a minion from the battlefield without dealing any numerical damage, so the removal ignores effects like Divine Shield and Immunity.
Discard – Taking a card from a player’s hand and removing it from the game without it ever having an effect. This is often done if a player has too many cards in his or her hand, or due to effects from other cards.
Disenchanting – Destroying a card to gain arcane dust. The amount of dust granted through disenchanting depends on card rarity, though gold cards give more dust than normal versions.
Divine Shield – “The first time this minion takes damage, ignore it.” It’s important to note that the shield will not protect against effects that destroy a minion without dealing numerical damage.
Draw – Taking a card from a player’s deck and placing it in that player’s hand. This is done with one card at the start of every turn, and can occur as the result of other cards and effects.
Durability – A value that indicates how many times a weapon can be used to attack. Each attack typically removes one durability. It is displayed at the bottom-right of a weapon.

Enemy – During a match, enemy characters are the hero and minions on the opposite side of the battlefield, owned by the opponent player.
Enrage – “While damaged, this minion has a new power.” Note that the enrage effect is only active when the minion has less than maximum health, and healing to full health removes the enrage effect.
Exhaustion – The condition a minion has only on the turn it is summoned, which prevents it from attacking – sometimes also called “summoning sickness” by players (see Charge for an exception).
Experience – An intangible reward granted to players at the end of a match. Experience is used to gain levels, and the amount rewarded to players is directly proportional to the length of a match.

Fatigue – Damage dealt when a player must draw a card, but has no deck to draw from, often at the start of a turn. It is additive for each time a player must draw without a deck to draw from: 1 damage the first time, 2 damage the second time, 3 damage the third, etc.
Freeze – “Frozen characters lose their next attack.” Frozen heroes cannot attack with weapons, but can play cards and use hero powers. The freeze effect lasts until the start of the next turn of the player of the spell or minion that freezes the target – this means that an attacking minion that becomes frozen, will unfreeze at the start of the next turn.
Friendly – Term used to refer to the hero and minions that you own on the battlefield, as opposed to enemy characters on the other side.

Game Options – Different ways in which a player can play a match in Hearthstone. The three basic types are:

  • Arena – A play mode in which a player chooses from 3 pre-selected heroes and creates a deck, one card at a time, from a random draft.
  • Constructed Play – The term used for matches in which players use either basic decks or ones they have constructed ahead of time. This includes both Ranked and Casual play.
  • Practice – A play mode in which a player is matched against a non-player opponent, controlled by the game itself.

Game Phases – The part of a match that two players are currently in. While other games often have multiple phases that occur each turn, in Hearthstone these terms are generally used to indicate how far along a match has progressed. The three most common phases are:

  • Early Game – The first few turns for each player, usually lasting until about the 4th mana crystal has been created.
  • Mid Game – The time when a player has between 4 and 8 mana crystals.
  • Late Game – The turns when a player has enough mana to use pretty much any card, usually with 8+ mana crystals available.

Gold – Currency used to buy packs of cards and enter the arena (see Game Options). Gold is earned by winning matches and completing quests.
Gold Card – Copies of cards with bold borders and special animations on them. They are visually different from normal versions, but are identical in terms of effect, cost, health, attack, and durability values.

Hand – The cards a player has drawn from the deck, but has not yet played, which the player can see and use. A player can only have up to 10 cards in his or her hand at any time.
Heal – To restore a certain amount of health to a character.
Health – “How much damage [something] can take.” When a minion reaches zero health, it dies; when a hero reaches zero health, its player is defeated. The starting health for all heroes is 30, and it can never go over that amount. Minion starting health is displayed at the bottom-right corner, and does not have a known maximum value.
Hero – The Warcraft character associated with a specific class and the unique set of cards that class can use; e.g. Jaina Proudmoore, Garrosh Hellscream, and Thrall.
Hero Power – A unique ability that each hero has, which costs 2 mana and does not count as a spell or attack.

Immune – “Can’t be damaged.” While immune, a target cannot be damaged even by multiple sources in a single turn. Minions with immunity can still be removed by effects that deal no damage (see Destroy).

Level – A number indicating experience with a particular hero. Between levels 2-10, additional basic cards for a hero’s deck are unlocked, while gold versions of basic cards are unlocked past level 10.

Mana – A resource spent each turn during a match to play cards. It is restored at the start of every turn to a maximum amount based on mana crystals (see Overload: X for exception).
Mana Crystal – “When your turn starts, you’ll gain a new crystal and fill empty ones.” A representation of maximum mana, typically gained at the rate of one each turn, and emptied as mana is spent. Players can only have a maximum of 10 mana crystals.
Minion – A creature on the battlefield, summoned by a minion card or other effect (see Friendly and Enemy for distinctions).

Overload: X – “You have X less mana next turn.” This effect does not remove any mana crystals from a player, but only limits how many of them are refilled with mana on the following turn.
Owner – This term is no longer used in Hearthstone. In beta, it referred to the player on whose side of the battlefield a minion currently existed. The initial owner of a minion was the player that summoned it, but certain cards let another player take control of a minion and become its new owner. Cards that used the term “owner” replaced it with “controller” for the sake of clarity.

Pack – A bundle of 5 random cards purchased or won by players. Each pack contains at least one Rare or better card, though some players have found packs with multiple cards of higher rarity.
Player – The person who is actually playing Hearthstone, represented each match by a certain hero, depending on which deck the player chooses.

Quest – A daily goal offered to players with a reward for completion. The size of the reward, in gold, depends on the difficulty of the quest.

Rarity – How likely a certain card is to be found in a pack. While rarity can indicate power, that is not always the case. Rarity is indicated by a colored gem in the middle of all non-basic cards, with different colors for each type (see below).

  • Basic – These cards are provided with a starting deck, or can be unlocked at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. They are never found in packs and have no gem on them.
  • Common – The most common non-basic cards in the game. They are frequently found in packs and have a white gem on them.
  • Rare – Every pack of cards has at least one rare card in it, though more or better cards may also be found in them. Rare cards have a blue gem on them.
  • Epic – These cards are harder to come by, and many packs will not contain any cards of epic quality. Epic cards have a purple gem on them.
  • Legendary – The rarest cards in the game, representing unique heroes and villains from Warcraft lore, such as Sylvanas Windrunner or Ragnaros. Legendary cards are indicated by a silver dragon portrait around the top of the minion’s picture and an orange gem in the center of the card. While a deck can have up to 2 of any other type of card, only 1 of each legendary can be included in a deck.

Removal – Term used, often by players, to refer to a card or act designed to remove a minion from the battlefield. This can be done through numerical damage or destruction (see Destroy).

Secret – “Hidden until a specific action occurs.” Can only be cast on a player’s turn, but once in play it can be triggered on any player’s turn.
Silence – “Removes all card text and enchantments.” Does not work on permanent changes such as Polymorph (see Transform) or Mind Control, and will not remove Battlecry effects from other minions.
Spell – A card that does not summon a minion or equip the hero with a weapon, but has one or more other effects on the heroes, minions, and overall battlefield.
Spell Damage +X – “Your spell cards deal X extra damage.” This value is added to any spell that deals numerical damage, even if the number is not shown on the spell card. It is additive among all friendly minions that offer a spell damage bonus.
Stealth – “Can’t be attacked or targeted until it deals damage.” It’s important to note that AoE (see Area of Effect) damage still hits minions with stealth, since AoE requires no targeting. Players can target their own friendly minions with stealth for buffs, heals, and other effects.
Summon – The process of a minion appearing on the battlefield. This can occur when a minion card is played, or when other effects bring a minion onto the field.

Target – A minion or hero that is selected to receive a particular effect, usually through an arrow or targeting reticule controlled by a player.
Taunt – “Enemies must attack minions that have taunt.” Spells and hero powers can ignore taunt, but heroes attacking with a weapon cannot. When attacking an opponent with multiple taunt minions, the attacker can choose targets freely among those with taunt.
Tie – When both players reach zero health at the same time, then the game ends in a tie. This counts as a defeat for both players with regard to gaining experience and completing quests, but does not count as a loss in the arena.
Transform – A permanent change to a minion, such as those made by Polymorph and Hex, which lasts for the rest of a match. This cannot be removed by Silence or by returning the minion to the owner’s hand.
Turn – The time in which one player can summon minions, play spells, and take other actions. Each turn can last up to 90 seconds.

Victory – When one player brings the opponent to zero health, while having one or more health, then he or she is victorious. A victory rewards optimal experience, based on how many turns have passed in a game, and is often required to complete quests and gain gold.

Weapon – A type of card that gives a hero attack value, letting the hero attack an opponent, but it only lasts as long as it has durability. Each attack typically removes one durability.
Windfury – “Can attack twice each turn.” A second attack can only be used if the minion or hero with windfury survives the first attack that turn.

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