What Makes Up Each Class’s Identity

hearthstone 3 - What Makes Up Each Class's Identity

The new expansion has (not) been announced and reveal season is around the corner. And during reveal season, there is a certain amount of talking about what belongs or doesn't belong in a class, so I wanted to make a list of what, historically, has been each class's class identity. Along with each element of a class's identity, I give several examples of cards that contribute to it, prioritizing "payoff" cards over "enabler" cards (for example, Houndmaster as an example of Hunter's beast identity over Savannah Highmane). The examples are not meant to be exhaustive and I tried to spread them out over multiple eras of Hearthstone when possible.

There were some synergy/package-y things that were hard to classify or describe (Is there a Shaman theme around cards like Madam Goya and White Eyes?) and it's generally pretty arbitrary which things to consider as a real theme (There are no Paladin cards that reward Taunt, so is Taunt really a Paladin theme? Is it enough to simply have a lot of Taunt cards? Can Druid have Spell Damage as a theme if it has almost no Spell Damage cards?). Additionally, naming what a class's weakness is hard because it's defined by a lack of cards and it's unclear what is meant to be an intentional weakness and what is simply those cards not being printed yet.

I only realized those problems after I started making the list though, and since I already made the list, I'm going to post it.



Card types/Synergies

  • Choose One (Wrath, Keeper of the Grove, Fandral Staghelm, Wardruid Loti)
  • Mana ramp (Wild Growth, Darnassus Aspirant, Jade Blossom, Greedy Sprite)
  • Mana cheating (Aviana, Twig of the World Tree, Kun the Forgotten King, Dreampetal Florist)
  • Buffing hero attack (Claw, Gnash, Gonk the Raptor, Savagery)
  • Armor (Feral Rage, Ironwood Golem, Ferocious Howl, Jasper Spellstone)
  • Summoning many minions (Addled Grizzly, Crypt Lord, Wispering Woods, Dark Wispers)
  • AoE buffs (Savage Roar, Mark of the Lotus, Soul of the Forest, Cenarius)
  • Card draw/cycle (Ultimate Infestation, Nourish, Wrath, Starfire, Ferocious Howl)
  • Treant "tribe" (Treespeaker, Dendrologist, Mulchmuncher)
  • Healing (Healing Touch, Moonglade Portal, Tree of Life)
  • Taunt (Mark of the Wild, Strongshell Scavenger, Hadronox)
  • Minions with 5+ attack (Jungle Giants, Celestial Dreamer, Tortollan Forager, Giant Anaconda)
  • Big minions (Gloop Sprayer, generic big minions like Tyrantus)
  • Beast tribe
    • Big beasts (Witching Hour, Stampeding Roar, Predatory Instincts)
    • Cards that are good with beasts on board (Mark of Y'shaarj, Virmen Sensei, Menagerie Warden, Druid of the Fang)
  • Recruit 4-or-cheaper (Oaken Summons, Grizzled Guardian)
  • Big hand (Bewitched Guardian, Forest Guide)


  • Hard removal (except for Naturalize/Mulch/Recycle)
  • Handling wide boards (except for Spreading Plague)


Card types/Synergies

  • Beast tribe (Houndmaster, Call Pet, Crackling Razormaw, Kathrena Winterwisp)
  • Burn damage (Kill Command, Quick Shot, Arcane Shot)
  • Secrets (Emerald Spellstone, Cloaked Huntress, Professor Putricide)
  • Situational non-AoE removal (Multishot, Crushing Walls, Wing Blast, Explosive Shot)
  • Deathrattle minions (Forlorn Stalker, Play Dead, Corpse Widow, Necromechanic)
  • Spells or something (To My Side, Rhok'delar, Zul'jin, Lock and Load)
  • "If your hand is empty" (Brave Archer, Quick Shot, Core Rager)
  • Mech Tribe and Goblin Bombs (Boommaster Flark, Bomb Toss, Fireworks Tech)
  • "Immune while attacking" weapons (Gladiator's Longbow, Candleshot)
  • Handbuff (Smuggler's Crate, Hidden Cache, Trogg Beastrager)
  • Card Draw That Isn't Actually Card Draw (Stitched Tracker, Tracking, Deathstalker Rexxar)
  • Spells that summon minions (Unleash the Hounds, Animal Companion, Baited Arrow)
  • 1-cost minions (The Marsh Queen, Tol'vir Warden, Toxmonger)
  • Poisonous minions (Toxic Arrow, Venomstrike Trap, Venomizer, Carrion Drake)


  • Board clears
  • Card draw (except for Master's Call and Deathstalker Rexxar)
  • Healing (except for Deathstalker Rexxar)


Card types/Synergies

  • Burn damage (Fireball, Firelands Portal, Pyroblast, Forgotten Torch)
  • Random spell generation (Babbling Book, Primordial Glyph, Ethereal Conjurer)
  • Freezing things, including AoE freeze (Frost Nova, Coldwraith, Snap Freeze, Blizzard)
  • Spell damage (Arcane Blast, Cosmic Anomaly, Unexpected Results, Dalaran Aspirant)
  • Elemental tribe (Frost Lich Jaina, Pyros, Steam Surger, Bonfire Elemental)
  • Secrets (Kirin Tor Mage, Arcane Keysmith, Medivh's Valet)
  • Copying minions (Duplicate, Simulacrum, Molten Reflection, Echo of Medivh)
  • Damage-based AoE (Flamestrike, Twilight Flamecaller, Arcanosaur)
  • "Missile"-type damage (Arcane Missiles, Goblin Blastmage, Meteorologist, Cinderstorm)
  • Cards that work with cheap spells (Flamewanker, Demented Frostcaller, Vex Crow, Archmage Antonidas)
  • 5+ mana spells (Dragon's Fury, Dragoncaller Alanna, Raven Familiar)
  • Big hand (Meteorologist, Astromancer, Archmage Arugal, Book of Specters)
  • Hero power (Coldarra Drake, Fallen Hero, Ice Walker, Spirit of the Dragonhawk)


  • Healing (except for Frost Lich Jaina and Arcane Artificer)
  • Taunt minions


Card types/Synergies

  • Minion buffs (Blessing of Kings, Seal of Champions, The Last Kaleidosaur, Lynessa Sunsorrow)
  • Divine shield (Argent Protector, Grimestreet Protector, Bolvar Fireblood, The Glass Knight)
  • AoE handbuff (Grimestreet Enforcer, Glowstone Technician, Grimestreet Outfitter)
  • Healing, especially healing the hero (Seal of Light, Pearl Spellstone, Blackguard, Ivory Knight)
  • Dude "tribe" (Quartermaster, Level up!, Lightfused Stegodon)
  • Murloc tribe (Murloc Knight, Anyfin Can Happen, Vilefin Inquisitor, Hydrologist)
  • Dragon tribe (Cathedral Gargoyle, Nightbane Templar, Dragon Consort)
  • Secrets (Mysterious Challenger, Bellringer Sentry, Hydrologist)
  • Debuffing enemy minions (Aldor Peacekeeper, Keeper of Uldaman, Humility)
  • Small minions (Small-Time Recruits, Steward of Darkshire, Call to Arms)
  • Mech tribe (Annoy-o-Module, Kangor's Endless Army, Glow-Tron)
  • Taunt (Tirion Fordring, Righteous Protector, A New Challenger…)


  • Defensive removal


Card types/Synergies

  • Healing, especially healing minions (Northshire Cleric, Circle of Healing, Mana Geode, Nightscale Matriarch)
  • Dragon tribe (Drakonid Operative, Twilight Acolyte, Duskbreaker, Dragonfire Potion)
  • Casting many spells (Lyra the Sunshard, Dragon Soul, Radiant Elemental, Sand Drudge, Grave Horror)
  • Copying opponent's cards (Thoughtsteal, Mind Vision, Chameleos, Psionic Probe)
  • Stealing opponent's minions (Shadow Madness, Mind Control, Embrace Darkness, Cabal Shadow Priest)
  • AoE clears (Lightbomb, Dragonfire Potion, Psychic Scream, Mass Hysteria)
  • Reviving minions (Resurrect, Eternal Servitude, Onyx Bishop, Diamond Spellstone)
  • Minion buffs, especially health buffs (Power Word: Shield, Temple Enforcer, Glitter Moth, Velen's Chosen)
  • Weaponizing minion health (Inner Fire, Confuse, Topsy Turvy)
  • Summoning copies of minions with set stats (Zerek's Cloning Gallery, Shadow Essence, Herald Volazj, Mirage Caller)
  • Deathrattle minions (Awaken the Makers, Reckless Experimenter, Twilight's Call, Dead Ringer, Coffin Crasher)
  • Healing effects doing damage (Auchenai Soulpriest, Auchenai Phantasm, Embrace the Shadow)
  • Silence (Silence, Purify, Kabal Songstealer, Mass Dispel)
  • Debuffing enemy minions (Shrinkmeister, Twilight Acolyte, Vol'jin)


  • Non-situational cards with initiative


Card types/Synergies

  • Playing many (cheap) cards
    • The Combo mechanic
    • Coins (Tomb Pillager, Trade Prince Gallywix, Counterfeit Coin, WANTED!)
    • Many cards in one turn (Edwin VanCleef, Biteweed, Spectral Pillager)
    • Echo synergy (Mistwraith)
    • Razorpetals (Razorpetal Lasher, Razorpetal Volley)
  • Pirate tribe (Captain Hooktusk, Raiding Party, One-eyed Cheat, Cannon Barrage)
  • Weapon buffs (Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Kingsbane, Leeching Poison, Envenom Weapon)
  • Card draw/cycle (Sprint, Myra's Unstable Element, Shiv, Fan of Knives)
  • Single-target removal (Assassinate, Vilespine Slayer, Sap, Walk the Plank)
    • Poisonous (Patient Assassin, Plague Scientist, Pit Snake, Envenom Weapon)
  • Burgle (Burgle, Ethereal Peddler, Tess Greymane, Spectral Cutlass)
  • Deathrattle cards (Unearthed Raptor, Myra Rotspring, Onyx Spellstone, Roll the Bones)
  • Bounce (The Caverns Below, Shadowstep, Gadgetzan Ferryman, Pogo-Hopper, Cheat Death)
  • Shuffling cards into decks (Lab Recruiter, Gang Up, Academic Espionage)
  • Shuffling spiders into decks (Beneath the Grounds, Faldorei Strider)
  • Stealth (Shadow Rager, Shadow Sensei, Master of Disguise, Valeera the Hollow)
  • 1/1 copies of minions (Shadowcaster, Sonya Shadowdancer, Gurubashi Hypemon, Kobold Illusionist)
  • Burst damage (Eviscerate, Cannon Barrage, Cold Blood)


  • Board clears (except Vanish sometimes)
  • Healing


Card types/Synergies

  • Overload (Tunnel Trogg, Likkim, Lava Shock, Sapphire Spellstone)
  • Burn damage (Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Crackle, Totemic Smash)
  • Tokens (Thunderhead, Voltaic Burst, Primalfin Totem)
  • AoE buffs (Flametongue Totem, Totemic Might, Bloodlust, Primal Talismans)
  • Windfury (Windfury, Windspeaker, Whirling Zap-o-matic, Rockbiter Weapon)
  • Battlecries (Shudderwock, Murmuring Elemental, Blazing Invocation, Rumbling Elemental)
  • Minion transformation (Evolve, Devolve, Thrall Deathseer, Lotus Illusionist, Hex)
  • Totem tribe (Windshear Stormcaller, Thing From Below, Primal Fusion, Totem Cruncher)
  • Elemental tribe (Kalimos Primal Lord, Earthen Might, Fire Plume Harbinger, Menacing Nimbus)
  • Some weird spell thing (Zentimo, Electra Stormsurge, Spirit of the Frog, Haunting Visions, Hagatha the Witch)
  • Murloc tribe (Unite the Murlocs, Neptulon, Brrloc, Everyfin Is Awesome, Siltfin Spiritwalker)
  • Random numbers (Lightning Storm, Crackle, Fireguard Destroyer)
  • Spell damage, sort of (Spirit Claws, spells that benefit from spell damage)
  • Freezing things (Ice Breaker, Cryostasis, Moorabi, Voodoo Hexxer)
  • Healing (Vitality Totem, Healing Rain, Healing Wave, Hallazeal the Ascended)
  • Reincarnation (Reincarnate, Ancestral Spirit, Big Bad Voodoo, Spirit Echo)


  • Removal not tied to overload/randomness


Card types/Synergies

  • Sacrificing
    • Health (Kobold Librarian, Flame Imp, Unlicensed Apothecary, Wrathguard)
    • Minions (Dark Pact, Shadowflame, Grim Rally, Void Terror)
    • Mana crystals (Blastcrystal Potion, Felguard)
    • Cards (Discard mechanic)
  • Discard (Lakkari Sacrifice, Silverware Golem, Fist of Jaraxxus, Soulwarden)
  • Hand/deck disruption (Rin the First Disciple, Demonic Project, Gnomeferatu, Void Contract)
  • Demon tribe (Crystalweaver, Ectomancy, Sense Demons, Bloodreaver Guldan)
  • AoE clears (Hellfire, Twisting Nether, Defile, Shadowflame)
  • Hero taking damage (Duskbat, Amethyst Spellstone, Hooked Reaver, Nethersoul Buster, Floating Watcher)
  • Tokens (Possessed Villager, Darkshire Councilman, Forbidden Ritual, Fiendish Circle)
  • Handbuff (Soul Infusion, Spirit of the Bat, Omega Agent, Doubling Imp)
  • Lifesteal (Mistress of Pain, Amethyst Spellstone, Blood-Queen Lana'thel, Deathweb Spider)


  • Warlock cards are generally weaker to compensate for having the best hero power (except for the exceptions)


Card types/Synergies

  • Damaging things a little
    • Whirlwind effects (Whirlwind, Warpath, Death's Bite, Scourgelord Garrosh)
    • Beneficial self-damage (Crush, Rotface, Battle Rage, Blackhowl Gunspire, Sudden Genesis)
    • Removal for damaged minions (Execute, Sleep With The Fishes, King Mosh, Devastate)
    • Hurting but not killing (Slam, Blood to Ichor, Val'kyr Soulclaimer)
    • Bonus effect if hero below a certain health (Mortal Strike, Revenge)
    • "While damaged" (Bloodhoof Brave, Grommash Hellscream, )
  • Armor (Shield Slam, Shield Block, Geosculptor Yip, Bladed Gauntlet, Reckless Flurry)
  • Weapons (Malkorok, Mithril Spellstone, Upgrade!, Orgrimmar Aspirant)
  • Charge (Warsong Commander, Alexstrasza's Champion, Kor'kron Elite)
  • Rush (Town Crier, Akali the Rhino, Spirit of the Rhino, Woodcutter's Axe)
  • Taunt (Fire Plume's Heart, Bolster, King's Defender, Sparring Partner)
  • Handbuff (Brass Knuckles, Grimy Gadgeteer, Stolen Goods)
  • Dragon tribe (War Master Voone, Alexstrasza's Champion, Emberscale Drake, Stranglethorn Lancer)
  • Mech tribe (Dyn-o-matic, Dr. Boom Mad Genius, Omega Assembly)
  • Recruit any minion (Gather Your Party, Woecleaver)
  • Pirate tribe (Bloodsail Cultist, N'Zoth's First Mate)


  • Card-efficient small removal (rip FWA)

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