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Enemies must attack minions that have Taunt.
The shield-like Taunt visual effect

Taunt is a minion ability which forces the opposing player to direct any melee attacks toward enemy targets with this ability.

Minions with Taunt (commonly referred to as Taunts) serve to protect their allies by forcing the enemy to deal with them first, preventing them from attacking other friendly minions or the controlling hero until the Taunts are removed. However, Taunts have no effect on spells, Hero Powers or other damaging effects. Minions with Taunt are displayed on the battlefield encased in a shield.Taunt is mainly useful to counter aggressive decks, which focus on dealing damage to your hero, but is still one of the strongest abilities in hearthstone.

One of the most powerful effects in Hearthstone, confusion over how Taunt works is one of the main reasons new players quit the game.[1]

Functionality[edit | edit source]

A video explaining Taunt in Hearthstone made by the Curse Gamepedia YouTube Channel.
  • The Taunt ability works by limiting which characters the opposing player can target with direct "melee" attacks from their own characters. Only these direct attacks - when a minion or hero physically moves to attack an enemy target - are affected by Taunt. All other types of effects are completely unaffected by Taunt, including spells, Hero Powers, and minion effects such as those of  Elven Archer or  Knife Juggler.
  • If the opponent has one or more Taunt minions on the battlefield, the player will only be able to direct melee attacks at one of the minions with Taunt. If they try to attack a non-Taunt target while there is an enemy Taunt minion on the battlefield, they will be given the error message "A minion with Taunt is in the way".
  • If the opponent has more than one minion with Taunt, the player will be able to choose which one of them to attack.
  • Players do not have to attack Taunt minions, but cannot attack any other characters while there are enemy Taunt minions on the battlefield. A player may choose not to attack at all rather than attacking an enemy Taunt, which may be strategically advantageous.
  • As with all minion abilities, destroying a Taunt minion or removing it from the board will immediately take it out of play, cancelling the Taunt effect. The Taunt ability can also be removed from a minion through Silence and Transform effects like  Keeper of the Grove and  Polymorph.

Advanced[edit | edit source]

  • A unique conflict comes into play when a single minion has Stealth or Immune and Taunt active. The Taunt effect is temporarily negated by the Stealth or Immunity, and will not take effect until the minion loses its buff.
  • Taunt only restricts attacks where the player is selecting a target for a character attack action. Abilities like Auto-Attack and the triggered effect of  Swamp King Dred will bypass Taunt.
  • Rush minions can bypass heroes with Taunt, this can be seen in the One Night in Karazhan Adventure encounter, The Curator.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Taunt is a key strategic ability in Hearthstone. It allows a minion to act as a 'tank', protecting other targets from melee attack while forcing the enemy to attack them first. Critically though, Taunt only affects target selection for melee combat, where the player sends their minion or hero to attack an enemy target. Spells, Hero Powers and ranged attacks, such as that of  Elven Archer, are not affected by Taunt, and can be targeted regardless. Non-targeted effects such as area of effect ( Flamestrike) and random target effects ( Arcane Missiles) are also unaffected.

The value of a Taunt minion lies in its ability to dictate the focus of combat on the board. Generally, this is to divert attacks away from more valuable or vulnerable targets, and toward the Taunt. Taunts can be very useful in the late game to prevent the opponent from directing all attacks at the hero themselves, quickly finishing the game. It can also be important for protecting valuable minions such as those with special effects or abilities. Without a Taunt these minions may be quickly removed, preventing the player from benefiting from their effects. Taunts can sometimes also prevent combat outright (for a turn or two), such as when facing down a vastly inferior minion. While the choice between attacking a hero and attacking their minions is a key strategic point in the game, Taunt minions make this decision for your opponent, preventing them from sneaking in extra attacks on your hero and forcing them to focus on your designated champion.

The best Taunt minions generally have a high Health value, allowing them to engage in combat with several enemies before they are destroyed. Health-increasing and healing effects such as the priest hero power can be very useful for topping-up Taunts.

Like all abilities, Taunt represents a points trade-off with other possible qualities. Building the right proportion of Taunt minions into a deck is therefore a key strategic decision. Too many taunts can leave you short on other abilities, or routinely playing minions with lower stats than necessary. Too few taunts can leave your special minions vulnerable, your hero open to attack, and prevent you from capitalizing on their powers. Different classes, strategies and players have different synergies and attitudes to the use of Taunts, with some decks relying on numerous Taunts as a core element of their strategy, and others eschewing them entirely.

Since they only affect melee combat, Taunts are generally most effective against decks which rely on minion attacks to defeat the opponent. Decks which focus on spells or Hero Powers to deal lethal damage will be minimally affected by Taunts.

Taunts generally represent a slowing down of the game, with the Taunt ability usually present on a card in place of additional stats or other useful effects. This makes Taunts effective in control decks which seek to delay the game until they can afford to play their expensive cards or powerful combos. In contrast, Taunts are far less valuable in aggro decks, which seek to defeat the opponent in the first few rounds, since these decks are less concerned about incoming damage, preferring to focus on dealing damage as quickly as possible although cards such as  Voidwalker,  Tar Creeper, and  Stonehill Defender are still widely used in aggro decks to protect more valueable minions with higher value, such as  Raid Leader or  Lightwarden.

One key thing to remember in the use of Taunts is that they are always vulnerable to Silences and destroy effects. An indomitable Taunt can be neutralised with a single  Ironbeak Owl or  Assassinate, wrecking plans to defend minions or the hero itself,  Shieldbreaker's only purpose is to remove Taunt considering how widely used this effect is. Taunts can also be specifically removed by  The Black Knight, or may be purposefully countered with direct damage spells or Charge minions in order to clear the way for attacks. Transformations can also remove the Taunt ability, although  Hex will not, since the resulting  Frog itself has Taunt. Taunts can be a target of Mind control effects, leaving their previous owner vulnerable. Players may also use return effects such as  Sap or  Freezing Trap to cunningly remove Taunts for a turn or two.

Decks seeking to burst the player down will often use cheap forms of removal such as these before using plays such as  Unleash the Hounds to finish the opponent off. Using multiple Taunts can strongly reduce the likelihood of this happening, but cannot prevent it entirely.

Granting Taunt[edit | edit source]

While the Taunt ability is usually granted by the minion's card text, it can also be gained from various enchantments and spells. See the table below for a full list. Granting Taunt to a minion is a highly strategic decision, with consequences which can be hard to predict. It may force the opponent to attack the target first, prompt them to use removal upon the target, or serve to give them a larger selection of targets to attack.

Players often choose to grant Taunt to a powerful minion which can withstand several attacks, or is capable of destroying any minion which attacks it. Giving Taunt to a high-Attack minion may force the opponent to sacrifice a tough minion or suffer substantial damage themselves using a weapon. However, high-Health Taunts are generally considered preferable, due to their increased longevity in the line of fire.

In some particular circumstances, granting Taunt to a valuable enemy minions with cards such as  Ancestral Healing and  Mark of the Wild can be efficient too, not only does this cause the minion to be unprotected by other Taunts, making it vulnerable to minions such as  Stoneskin Basilisk and  Stubborn Gastropod, it can also be conveniently destroyed by  The Black Knight.

Taunt can be used to force an opponent to trigger the minion's Deathrattle, such as with  Abomination and  Tirion Fordring. Players can grant Taunt for a similar purpose, choosing targets such as  Savannah Highmane and  Cairne Bloodhoof to manipulate the opponent's actions and trigger useful synergies. However, Deathrattle Taunts are easily countered with effects such as silences.

It is almost always preferable to keep valuable targets protected by at least one Taunt, which is arguably the key purpose of Taunts. For this reason, it is generally a bad idea to grant vulnerable targets Taunt, since this strongly enables and encourages the enemy to attack that minion. In the case of Taunt-granting positional effects such as  Defender of Argus this can mean sacrificing a value buff, but may still be the better choice. In some cases positional effects can make it impossible to avoid granting Taunt to a minion, making the playing of that card problematic.

Soft taunt[edit | edit source]

Minions described as 'soft taunts', although lacking the Taunt ability, have the potential to give the controlling player such a benefit that its removal or silencing quickly becomes a priority for their opponent. Such minions may have the ability to gain the stats rapidly ( Lightwarden,  Secretkeeper), to clear the board ( Doomsayer), to buff other minions ( Murloc Warleader,  Tundra Rhino), to summon them ( Hogger,  Xavius) or to benefit from summoning them ( Knife Juggler), to provide card draw ( Northshire Cleric,  Cult Master), mana discount ( Sorcerer's Apprentice), Spell Damage ( Malygos) or armor ( Armorsmith) etc. Minions may also become soft taunts in certain decks, such as  Injured Blademaster in Combo Priest, which can be expected to be targeted with  Divine Spirit and  Inner Fire. Minions with high Attack but low Health such as  Magma Rager may also act as soft taunts if the player wishes to avoid suffering their attack.

Essentially, any minion which is a priority to remove can be considered a 'soft taunt'. The term is not fixed but is granted subjectively according to a player's sense of priorities.

Because soft taunts generally represent a minion of special value, it is usually to the advantage of the controlling player to do their best to protect these targets. This can help keep the minion alive a little longer, and also force their opponent's hand by requiring them to go to costly lengths in order to remove the minion, before its effects turn the tide of the game against them. However, these strategic decisions hinge upon the perceived value of the minion. Players can use this to lead their opponent to attack apparently valuable minions which are in fact not critical to their strategy. For example, a mage playing a Spell Damage minion can expect their opponent to quickly remove the minion if possible, due to its potential to increase the mage's damage output. However, a mage without any spells in their hand may choose to play a Spell Damage minion simply in order to distract their opponent from another target of greater value. This can cause the opponent to sacrifice a minion or waste a valuable removal spell of their own in order to destroy this apparently important minion, inadvertently clearing the way for the mage to play a different strategy the next round. This can also be used much like a literal taunt minion to buy the mage time or to dictate which of the possible minions the opponent must attack.

Players need to be aware of the attractiveness or 'soft taunt' status of their minions; for example, minions with Spell Damage are often best played in the same round as a damaging spell, ensuring that the minion is not destroyed before the player can get at least some use from its effect.

Cards with Taunt[edit | edit source]

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format.

This section lists Taunt minions.


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE ICC 038.png
TOY 000.png
CORE CS2 065.png
CORE GVG 085.png
CORE CFM 790.png
CORE ULD 195.png
CORE ULD 271.png
TOY 827.png
UPCOMING 101264.png
CORE BOT 021.png
VAC 521.png
ETC 523.png
ETC 542.png
VAC 337.png
VAC 328.png
TOY 646.png
MIS 300.png
Core UNG 072.png
CORE UNG 928.png
VAC 518.png
WW 360.png
JAM 014.png
ETC 357.png
WW 397.png
WW 826.png
WW 329.png
CORE NEW1 022.png
CORE TOY 102.png
DEEP 027.png
TTN 931.png
MIS 703.png
YOG 523.png
VAC 919.png
WW 442.png
CORE RLK 062.png
TOY 895.png
TTN 711.png
CORE CS2 179.png
WW 375.png
VAC 406.png
CORE BAR 535.png
TTN 715.png
TOY 828.png
RLK 082.png
ETC 035.png
CORE DMF 734.png
ETC 071.png
VAC 418.png
CS3 024.png
TOY 813.png
WW 346.png
YOG 530.png
TOY 380.png
RLK 720.png
VAC 340.png
DEEP 005.png
TTN 481.png
DEEP 006.png
TOY 606.png
CORE OG 028.png
MIS 712.png
VAC 423.png
JAM 016.png
TTN 858.png
CORE DAL 422.png
VAC 934.png
VAC 950.png
UPCOMING 101053.png
UPCOMING 100616.png
TOY 503.png
DEEP 036.png
WW 387.png
CORE NEW1 010.png
CORE BT 304.png
CORE UNG 848.png
TTN 724.png
WW 440.png
CORE EX1 383.png
TOY 914.png
ETC 321.png
TOY 906.png
WW 825.png
VAC 339.png
CORE LOOT 137.png
ETC 086.png
UPCOMING 101162.png
JAM 030.png


Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TOY 828t.png
TOY 380t.png
TTN 487t.png
SW 085t.png
ETC 386t.png
WW 010hexfrog.png
WW 816t.png
RLK 061t.png
TTN 719t1.png
CS2 051.png
AT 132 SHAMANc.png
TOY 813t.png
TOY 814t2.png
BOT 270t.png
TTN 862t4.png
TOY 804t.png
UPCOMING 98744.png
RLK 118t3.png
WW 345t2.png
EX1 tk11.png
WW 810t2.png
ETC 369t.png
VAC 702t4.png
REV 353t3.png
VAC 305t.png
NEW1 032.png
TTN 737t2.png
WW 001t13.png
ETC 365t.png
TTN 092e2t.png
DEEP 027t.png
TTN 480t1.png
VAC 511t.png
DEEP 028t.png
TOY 914t.png
TTN 903t4.png
ETC t8t.png
OG 044a.png
EX1 165t2.png
VAC 943t.png
TSC 650t.png
TTN 724t.png
NX2 034t2.png
VAC 945t.png
MIS 300t.png
ETC 526t.png

Sources of Taunt

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format.

Taunt-generating cards

This section lists cards which generate Taunt minions.

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TTN 862t3.png
TTN 092t2.png
TTN 737t1.png
TTN 860.png
TOY 508.png
MIS 705.png
JAM 015t4.png
ETC 207t2.png
ETC 207t.png
ETC 207.png
RLK 061.png
CORE ULD 195.png
TTN 719.png
TOY 353.png
TOY 827.png
HERO 02bp.png
HERO 02bp2.png
WW 827.png
CORE NEW1 031.png
TOY 814.png
VAC 521.png
ETC 369.png
TTN 927.png
TTN 861.png
CORE EX1 248.png
CORE EX1 246.png
VAC 517.png
VAC 337.png
ETC 085t8.png
VAC 943.png
MIS 300.png
Core UNG 072.png
WW 360.png
JAM 014.png
WW 810.png
CORE SW 085.png
TOY 716.png
TOY 670.png
DEEP 027.png
TOY 828.png
ETC 365.png
VAC 511.png
VAC 305.png
CORE DMF 734.png
WW 010t.png
TOY 813.png
TOY 804.png
TTN 092.png
TOY 380.png
DEEP 028.png
CORE EX1 165.png
CORE DMF 238.png
TTN 487.png
VAC 945.png
CORE UNG 952.png
UPCOMING 100285.png
ETC 386.png
TTN 926b.png
TTN 926.png
TTN 862.png
UPCOMING 101053.png
TTN 480.png
REV 353t2.png
VAC 702.png
TOY 503.png
VAC 464t25.png
ETC 526.png
CORE EX1 573.png
VAC 948.png
VAC 945t.png
EX1 573b.png
TTN 724.png
TTN 737.png
TOY 914.png
ETC 321.png
TTN 903.png

Taunt-granting cards

This section lists cards which grant Taunt to other minions or to itself.

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TTN 960t4.png
TTN 429t3.png
VAC 959t06.png
VAC 959t06t.png
TTN 920t8.png
TTN 719t1.png
WW 327.png
CORE CS2 009.png
VAC 464t3.png
TOY 350.png
CORE BOT 021.png
DEEP 035.png
CORE AT 075.png
WW 810.png
CORE EX1 093.png
TTN 490t.png
DEEP 033.png
VAC 449t16.png
VAC 449t15.png
VAC 449t2.png
VAC 449t7.png
VAC 449t17.png
VAC 449t11.png
VAC 464t15.png
CORE UNG 952.png
TTN 429.png
ETC 373.png
ETC 373b.png
CORE ULD 178.png
ETC 409.png
TTN 960.png

Related cards

For Wild format listings, see Taunt/Wild format.

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TOY 605.png
UPCOMING 101264.png
WW 347.png
VAC 518.png
WW 329.png
CORE BT 187.png
TOY 812.png

Achievements[edit | edit source]

AchievementPin Gameplay.pngClassic - SVG logo.svgGameplay - General - Neutral KeywordsTanks! You're welcome.Play 100 minions with Taunt.10 Achievement Point.png
AchievementPin Gameplay.pngClassic - SVG logo.svgGameplay - General - Neutral KeywordsTanks! You're welcome.Play 300 minions with Taunt.10 Achievement Point.png
AchievementPin Gameplay.pngClassic - SVG logo.svgGameplay - General - Neutral KeywordsTanks! You're welcome.Play 1000 minions with Taunt.10 Achievement Point.png
AchievementPin Gameplay.pngClassic - SVG logo.svgGameplay - General - Neutral KeywordsTanks! You're welcome.Play 3000 minions with Taunt.10 Achievement Point.png
AchievementPin Gameplay.pngClassic - SVG logo.svgGameplay - General - Neutral KeywordsTanks! You're welcome.Play 10000 minions with Taunt.20 Achievement Point.png
AchievementPin Gameplay.pngUnited in Stormwind - SVG logo.svgGameplay - Stormwind - NeutralReturn of the KingSummon Varian, King of Stormwind with Taunt, Rush, and Divine Shield.20 Achievement Point.png

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Cited in 2015 as one of the most common reasons new players left the game, according to Ben Brode a "shocking percentage of players" used to finish the tutorial without understanding Taunt, or even "get stuck" in the King Mukla encounter due to the mechanic.[1] Ambiguous emotes - "I must attack that minion with Taunt" - are cited as the main issue, and have since seen updates.[1]
  • Early in development, attacking a Taunt minion would cause it to lose Taunt. However, when a bug cropped up that caused minions not to lose Taunt when attacked, the developers realised that it was much simpler and more fun for Taunts to retain the ability, and the behaviour was kept.[2]

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • Hearthstone logo.png Patch (Open beta, 2014-03-11): Minions who have Taunt and Stealth now have an effect that more clearly indicates that Taunt is temporarily disabled during Stealth.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ben Brode on Twitter (X). (2015-03-06). 
  2. Ben Brode quoted on reddit. (2016-10-03).