30 Bizarre He...

30 Bizarre Hearthstone Rules


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Hearthstone is made to be a simple game to pick up. However, because of the wide variety of effects in the game, many of which have unwritten rules, the game is in practice very complex, to the point of having some truly bizarre interactions. The following is by no means a complete list, but should serve to whet your appetite for how crazy this game can get. As a note, some of these are most likely bugs, and may be fixed before the game is officially released.

  1. If you play Equality with an Amani Berserker in play, he will be a 2/1. If an Amani revives from Redemption, he will be a 5/1.

  2. A 1/1 minion is standing next to a Dire Wolf Alpha, making it a 2/1. If you play Crazed Alchemist on the token, it will become a 2/2. If instead you play Blessed Champion on the token, it will become a 3/1.

  3. A minion attacks a Hunter who has Misdirection Trap set. If the minion attacks your character instead, the minion will take damage from your weapon. However, you won’t lose a weapon durability.

  4. Many spells have an effect even if the printed text says they do nothing. At 10 mana, Wild Growth gives you an Excess Mana spell that costs 0 and draws a card. If you have no demons in your deck, Sense Demons gives you 2 Worthless Imps, which are 1/1s for 1 (not worthless!). If you play Mindgames with no creatures in your opponent’s deck, you get a 0/1 for 0 called Shadow of Nothing. Captain’s Parrot with no pirates in your deck does nothing. Innervate at 10 mana does nothing. Thoughtsteal and Mind Vision also do nothing if the opposing player has no deck or no hand.

  5. If a Warlock plays Lord Jaraxxus into a Repentance secret, you’ll have 1 HP when he replaces your character. Molten Giant also becomes uncastable until you’re at 5 life if you are Jaraxxus. If you play Lord Jaraxxus with a Blood Imp in play, you’ll have 15 HP, even though the Jaraxxus minion on the board had 16 HP. You can use Alarm-o-bot or Mindgames to cheat Jaraxxus in play, but in these cases his battlecry does not activate, and he’s simply a 3/15.

  6. A Chillwind Yeti has 1 damage, making him a 4/4. If you cast Divine Spirit and heal him, he will be a 4/9, not a 4/10.

  7. Bane of Doom summons all common demons, Felguard (a rare), but not Doomguard (a rare).

  8. Killing an opponent with Bane of Doom summons an irrelevant demon.

  9. Shadow Madness can be silenced. Mind Control cannot.

  10. If stealthed, Knife Juggler, Imp Master and Ragnaros The Firelord immediately break stealth, since their abilities count as “dealing damage.”

  11. Mirror Entity does not typically copy the Battlecry effect of a minion. For instance, if your opponent plays a Novice Engineer, you don’t get to draw a card. An exception to this is Twilight Drake, which copies based on your opponent’s hand (formerly: your hand), or any Divine Shield which also gets applied again (it’s not actually a Battle Cry). A copied Void Terror will also have a buff if the original ate a minion.

  12. Holy Nova deals damage before it heals. How is this relevant? Well, if the opponent has an Eye for an Eye, and you cast it at 2 HP, you die.

  13. The Battlecry of Aldor Peacekeeper and Humility do not affect Lightspawn at all.  The attack of Dire Wolf Alpha buff also does not affect Lightspawn.

  14. Power of the Wild  3/2 panther does not trigger Mirror Entity, because it counts as a spell.

  15. If a Blood Imp buffs a minion from 2 to 3 HP, and you cast 2 points of area damage, the minion goes to 1 HP but survives.

  16. Warrior Armor is strictly better than HP, so you should always hit with your weapon, *then* armor up. The two examples you might know about are Molten Giant not counting armor as HP for the purposes of its cost, and of course Shield Slam. The one you might not know about is that Water Elemental does not freeze you if it only takes off armor. As of the most recent patch, Alexstrasza lets you keep all armor you have when she sets your HP to 15.

  17. Traps trigger in the order you cast them. If you play a Counterspell, and then play a Spellbender, the first spell your opponent plays will get countered (even if it targeted a minion), and the Spellbender won’t trigger at all. If you play the Spellbender first and the Counterspell second, the spell will get redirected to your 1/3, then get countered.

  18. End of turn minion abilities activate in the order you summon them. For instance, if you play an Imp Master, and then create a Healing Totem that turn, the Imp Master will damage itself and then heal back to 5 HP. If you summon them in the reverse order, the Healing Totem will activate first, and you’ll only have a 4 HP Imp Master.

  19. If you have 7 minions (the max number of minions allowed on one side of the board), your Noble Sacrifice does not trigger at all.

  20. You have Violet Teacher and 5 other minions on your side of the board. If you Mind Control, the teacher token will fill your board, leaving you no room. In this case, the mind controlled minion dies instead of coming to your side of the board.

  21. Most triggers will always resolve before the spell that triggered them. For instance, Soulfire + Gadgetzan Auctioneer will draw a card before discarding it, and Power of the Wild buff + Violet Teacher will make the token, then pump it. An exception to this is Wild Pyromancer, which explicitly triggers after you cast a spell.

  22. Shaman’s hero power can only create a totem if none of that type are on the board. If you have 3 totems out, you will get the 4th totem you don’t have with 100% probability. If you have 4 totems out, you’ll get an error when you try to use your ability.

  23. If you have 1 charge left on your Sword of Justice, and play a Silver Hand Knight, the sword will pump the 2/2 Squire, not the Knight. A Snipe works the opposite way, and will kill the 4/4.

  24. Silencing Ancient of War “Rooted” form removes the health buff, leaving a 5/5 with no taunt. Silencing Druid of the Claw in taunt mode does not remove the health buff, leaving a 4/6 with no taunt.

  25. “The end is coming!” After Doomsayer utters these fateful words, he almost always dies, either by his own hand or by your opponent’s. However, if you silence him, he will live to see your next turn. If you then pump his attack above 0 with and attack with him, he’ll say, “Did I miss it?”

  26. Shadowflame and Blade Flurry both counterintuitively get buffed by +Spell Damage minions such as Kobold Geomancer. Betrayal does not.

  27. If you cast Betrayal on an Emperor Cobra, it will instantly kill everything it damages.

  28. If you Mind Control a minion that your opponent cast Blessing of Wisdom on, attacking with the minion will still draw cards for your opponent.

  29. If a full health Amani Berserker attacks a Hunter who has set an Explosive Trap, the enrage will instantly activate and he’ll take 5 damage, not 2.

  30. Your board is a lone Sylvanas Windrunner, while your opponent has a 1/1 and a Sylvanas of his own. Let’s say you trade your Sylvanas for his. If your Sylvanas came into play first, you’ll gain control of his token, but then immediately lose control of it. If yours came into play second, his deathrattle will trigger first, and you’ll get to keep the token.

That’s all for today, but again, this is by no means a complete list of the strange stuff that can happen in Hearthstone. If something isn’t listed here that you think is weird, be sure to post it in the comments!



  1. Awesome article. Didn’t know the bit about secret play order.

    This is the problem with online card games like hearthstone. In real life, you can play the rules as written. In a computer game, it comes down to coding and sometimes things may not work how you think it should. This is even more an issue for a card game where many players are used to playing cards very specifically to the rules in other games like MTG, and then to come to this is counter intuitive.

    Another example is playing a Leeroy Jenkins when your opponent has a knife juggler. Even though Leeroy states that YOU summon 2 x whelps for your opponent, it will still proc the knife juggler, even though KJ should only proc when that player summons a creature.

    Hopefully over time these things will get sorted out.

  2. If I remember correctly, Innervate at 10 mana crystals will fill up two empty crystals if you’ve already spent them. So you can still sneak out 12 mana in a turn.

  3. A lot of good info here, thanks Viva!  I’ve experienced most of these, but couldn’t quite figure out the mechanics of a few, so this is very helpfull.

  4. 14. Power of the Wild’s 3/2 panther does trigger Mirror Entity, because it counts as a spell.


    I suppose this was supposed to be a “does not trigger”. The same is true for all spells or effects that “summon” a minion, e.g. Animal Companion, Feral Spirit, Hero Powers, etc.

  5. Part of that is players incorrectly applying the rules of Magic to Hearthstone, though. Two examples I’ve seen are bouncing a Mind-Controlled creature with Sap (Hearthstone has no concept of “Controller” vs “Owner”) and killing Blood Imp with 1-health creatures on the board (Hearthstone models remaining health, not damage taken).

    And that’s before we start to consider what happens when the words on the physical cards don’t say what the designer thought they said. How many erratas has Shahrazad had? Or if you’re into FFG’s Netrunner: consider what the actual words on Personal Workshop said before FFG issued an errata to the rules in order to clarify the meaning of “Hosted”.

    The benefit of a coded implementation is that there’s an impartial arbitrator of the rules at all times – not just in a tournament where you can find a judge who has both time and a clue.

  6. Thank you – as to the Mirror Entity and weird battlecry behaviour, there is also a Frostwolf Warlord – It happened to me. I’m not sure, though, if it summoned exact copy of opponents with the buff, or if it calculated buff of my minions (there were some “global” buffs in work and I’m not entirely positive)

    • Mirror Entity and Faceless Manipulator both copy the target exactly. Since battlecries and global buff effects are applied first, these are reflected in the copy.

  7. Here’s another one to add. Redemption doesn’t actually summon a new instance of a minion as it might in MtG. The minion never ACTUALLY dies (though deathrattle effects will trigger). This is important as if you clear a board with Flesh Eating Ghoul, there’s a chance of it coming back as a HUGE beatstick.

  8. Battlecries trigger when a minion is played, not when a minion is summoned (bane of doom, alarm-o-bot).
    Mirror Entity/Faceless Manipulator copy the buff that was applied by the original’s battlecry, not the battlecry itself.
    Actually, quite a few of the things on this list can be explained by the difference between “play” and “summon”: #5, #11, #14, #23.
    The “Summon” trigger seems to explicitly happen after the “play” trigger – clearly explaining the Jaraxxus/Repentance, Jaraxxus/Blood Imp, SoJ/SHK, and Snipe/SHK interactions.

  9. Really nice read, lol at 25 :D

    If you summon Illidan and your opponent is a Driud (Malfurion) you hear a thick “Hello… Brother.”

     Kudos for this too, I love the little subtle quotes you can get from the cards ^^
     If the noble sacrifice dude survives and you attack with it, he will say: “I’m alive, hahaha”
    Another interesting game bug/mechanic:
    If your opponent’s pop your Ice-block and you get damaged from fatigue on your next turn the Ice-block effect will still absorb the fatigue damage. But if your opponent has a Leeper gnome and the Ice-block was popped, if the leeper gnome dies at the start of your turn (Doomsayer) then the Ice-block won’t absorb the 2 dmg.

  10. Not sure if this falls under “weird effect” or “bug”:
    If a minion is buffed by a passive effect from another minion – e.g., a Stormwind Champion – a Mad Alchemist will swap the buffed attack and health of that minion and the minion will gain the passive bonus again. For example, an undamaged Boulderfist Ogre on the board with a Stormwind Champion is a 7/8. Using a Mad Alchemist on the Boulderfist Ogre will turn it into a 9/8 (swapping stats turns it into an 8/7, then an additional +1/+1 is applied). I’ve never found out what happens if you silence/remove the minion providing the passive effect.

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