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A target is a specific character or location that a player action is "aimed at". Targeted effects are those that require a target to play, while others are untargeted. A spell, Hero Power, Battlecry, or a location's ability may be targeted, while one character's attack on another is always targeted. Choose One and Combo effects work exactly like Battlecries for targeting purposes.

Targets are often selected by players as part of taking actions. Other times, cards choose targets randomly, or always affect a predetermined target. Players can only choose one target per action, although that may cause additional effects which apply to characters beyond the target. Those that choose randomly may also affect multiple targets. Some Triggered effects may switch an effect's target to a different character than originally chosen.

Generally, both friendly and enemy characters may be targets. Some abilities place restrictions on which targets are valid. Players cannot choose "no target" if a valid one exists, even if that means targeting a friendly minion with a harmful effect or vice versa. Sometimes this can be surprisingly beneficial, if a normally harmful effect would actually be helpful due to the specific situation or card.

One of the priorities of the Hearthstone game designers was to make the game quick and easy to interact with. For this reason, the only time targets need to be selected by players is when they initiate actions on their turn. Additionally, character-to-character targeting always indicates an attack action, although triggered effects may cause subsequent side effects from the attack.

See Random effect for more details on random target selection.

Targeting restrictions[edit | edit source]

Many player-selected and most randomly selected targets have restrictions beyond "a character", while abilities that always hit the same target of course must specify what that target is. The most common distinctions are between enemy or friendly characters, and between heroes and minions. Most hero-specific effects also specify whether it is the player's hero or the opponent's, although  Alexstrasza may target either one. If a card only specifies "enemies", it refers to the enemy hero as well. Many other restrictions are also possible, based on minion type, statistics, and text/abilities. As of Whispers of the Old Gods,  Steamwheedle Sniper is the only card that changes the targeting of another effect, specifically turning an auto-targeted ability into a player-directed one.

These targeting restrictions can sometimes make random effects not at all random due to the existence of only one valid target (or set of targets).

Elusive minions cannot being targeted by either player's spells and Hero Powers. However, they can still be hit with randomly targeted or untargeted effects, and can be selected by players making attacks or playing Battlecries. Stealth and Immune prevent all player targeting from the opponent only, although they too can be hit by random or untargeted effects. Immune, of course, has the additional benefit of preventing damage even if it is hit. This makes it especially inconvenient to employ random targeting against an opponent using an Immune character, which may absorb hits that could otherwise have damaged more vulnerable targets.

"Permanent" minions cannot be targeted, including by random target or AoE effects. Despite this, they still take up places on the battlefield, and will effectively 'soak' positional effects such as  Flametongue Totem or  Cone of Cold without effect.

Locations cannot be targeted by normal means, such as by dealing damage or restoring health. A location can only be targeted by an action if a card (e.g.  Demolition Renovator) specifically says so.[1]

Spells, Hero Powers, and weapon Battlecries[edit | edit source]

See also: Spell, Hero Power, Weapon

Targets are selected for spells, Hero Powers, and weapon Battlecries in the same way. The text below uses the collective term "action" to refer to all of those plays, and "card" to specify a spell or weapon played from the hand.

Targeting of player-chosen actions is done by selecting a playable card or Power and then selecting the target character. Actions for which there is insufficient mana are unplayable and cannot initiate this process; the same is true for Hero Powers that are exhausted for that turn. A bold red arrow leads from the action source to the intended target, moving as different selections are made. The opponent can see the targeting arrow as well during this process. The opponent's view includes the hand position of the card being played (or shows that it is the Hero Power), but the identity of the card is not revealed until the play is actually "locked in". If the target is valid, the action will complete. If the target is invalid, an error message will be presented, and if the player targets an empty area, the action is cancelled - in either of these cases no card is revealed. Players cannot take an action and choose "no target" if it normally requires one, which in some cases forces players to select non-ideal targets to gain from side effects of the play.

For automatically selected targets, whether random or predetermined, the player simply drags the card onto the board or clicks the Hero Power, and target selection is handled by the game.

When there are no valid targets at all, different consequences occur depending on the card and type of targeting. Specific notes can be found on card pages.

  • A spell or Power requiring a player-chosen target, for instance  Fireblast or  Swipe, can never be used without one.
  • When the target(s) are random characters, a spell or Hero Power can generally not be played without at least the stated number of valid random targets, for instance 1 enemy minion for  Deadly Shot or 2 for  Cleave. However, if a spell has a mix of random and untargeted effects, it may be castable even without targets - for instance  Sabotage works to destroy a weapon even with no enemy minions in play.
  • Weapons with random Battlecries can be played regardless of available targets, even if that means their Battlecries have no effect.

Minion Battlecries[edit | edit source]

See also: Summon, Battlecry, Choose One, or Combo

Most minions are played from the hand to an empty slot on the player's board with no targeting. However, those with Battlecries or related abilities may cause targeted effects. Players can never select the Battlecry card as its own target, and there are no Battlecry cards that include themselves in randomly targeted effects.

All minion plays begin the same way: first selecting a playable minion (the player must have enough mana) from the hand and then selecting the desired board position. Most minions would be put into play at this point, but an additional targeting step takes place for a minion with a player-targeted Battlecry. Similarly to spells, a bold red arrow leads from the minion being played to the intended target, moving as different selections are made. The opponent can see the targeting arrow as well during this process, except from their perspective the card will still be in the hand, since it has not actually been played at this point, making it indistinguishable from a spell. The arrow reveals the hand position of the minion being played, but its identity is not shown until a target has been finalized. If the target is valid, the minion summoning will be completed. If the target is invalid, an error message will be presented. If the player targets an empty area, the minion play is cancelled or "undone": the minion is not revealed, its selected board position is "forgotten", and it is visually returned to the hand, which it never truly left.

For automatically targeted Battlecries, whether random or predetermined, the player simply drags the minion into the desired board position as with any other, and target selection is handled by the game. If a minion has a player-targeted Battlecry but there are no valid targets, it is played as if it had no Battlecry at all - once the board position is selected, the minion is summoned and the Battlecry has no effect.

Note that if any valid target is available for a Battlecry, the minion cannot be played without selecting one. As with spells, players wishing to play minions with situationally inconvenient Battlecries may be forced to select friendly targets for detrimental effects, or enemy minions for beneficial ones, in order to get the minions onto the board. Unlike spells however, minions are never prevented from being played due to a lack of Battlecry targets.

Attacks[edit | edit source]

Main article: Attack

When attacking, the target is often called the "defender". All attacks are ordered by selecting an attack-capable character and using the targeting arrow that appears to select the desired defender. As with the other targeting actions, the arrow is visible to both players even before the attack order is completed. A player may commence the attack by selecting a valid target, will get an error message if selecting an invalid target, and can cancel the attack by selecting empty space or by right-clicking. Only enemy characters may be targeted in an attack, but certain triggered effects may change the defender to a new character, including a friendly one, before combat begins. Some effects may even cancel the attack entirely, in which case the player may initiate a new attack without being bound by previous targeting choices.

Attacking characters can generally target any enemy that is not Immune or in Stealth. However, enemy Taunt minions restrict the valid targets for an attack to only those with Taunt.

It is extremely rare for there to be no targets to attack, since either the opposing hero or a Taunt minion should be attackable nearly all the time. Thus, only an Immune opponent with no attackable minions, such as a warlock with a Stealthed  Mal'Ganis, could result in such a situation. In this case, no attacks can be targeted, so no attacks can be ordered at all.

Locations[edit | edit source]

Main article: Location

Unlike spells and battlecries, locations do not have immediate targeting effects when played. Instead, they are put on the battlefield and have an ability that can be activated at any point. In a way, targeted location abilities work similarly to hero powers in that regard.

Much like hero powers, a targeted location ability is used by holding and dragging the location to a valid target, or clicking the location and then its target.

Locations themselves cannot be targeted by normal means (see #Targeting restrictions).

Cards with targeted effects[edit | edit source]

For Wild format listings, see Target/Wild format.

Target a friendly minion

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE EX1 144.png
CORE ULD 191.png
TTN 932.png
DEEP 999t1.png
TTN 920t6.png
TTN 486.png
CORE REV 923.png
RLK 958.png
TOY 915t.png
CORE EX1 362.png
VAC 939.png
JAM 027.png
JAM 013.png
ETC 533.png
JAM 027b.png
UPCOMING 101871.png
TOY 822.png
CORE EX1 049.png
JAM 027a.png
TTN 742.png
TTN 927.png
TOY 527.png
ETC 420.png
TTN 754.png
VAC 937.png
TOY 603.png
JAM 014.png
TTN 465.png
YOG 513.png
TOY 915.png
JAM 005.png
VAC 464t20.png
YOG 509.png
VAC 923t.png

Target an enemy minion

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
YOG 516t.png
TTN 737t.png
TTN 429t2.png
VAC 959t01.png
VAC 959t01t.png
WW 393t.png
TTN 932.png
CORE CS2 108.png
TOY 375t.png
WW 001t7.png
WW 377.png
CORE EX1 581.png
WW 413.png
MIS 714.png
CORE CS2 076.png
ETC 316.png
WW 393.png
TTN 853.png
MIS 919.png
UPCOMING 101052.png
VAC 341.png
VAC 464t6.png
VAC 416.png
TOY 375.png
VAC 417.png
TTN 429.png
ETC 099.png
TTN 737.png
YOG 516.png

Target either player's minion

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE CS2 072.png
DREAM 04.png
TTN 800t2.png
DREAM 05.png
TTN 429t.png
JAM 017.png
CORE CS2 188.png
VAC 959t07.png
ETC 109.png
EX1 014t.png
ETC 201.png
ETC 201t.png
ETC 201t2.png
DEEP 011.png
JAM 022.png
ETC 424.png
TOY 881.png
WW 354.png
JAM 025.png
VAC 428.png
VAC 464t30.png
CORE CS1 130.png
CORE LOOT 051.png
CORE LOOT 051.png
TTN 920t8.png
TTN 920t9.png
TTN 920t7.png
CORE EX1 302.png
TOY 644.png
CORE REV 990.png
CORE EX1 410.png
CORE BOT 453.png
CORE EX1 391.png
WW 378.png
CORE BOT 222.png
VAC 917t.png
ETC 394.png
TOY 813t.png
WW 380.png
CORE EX1 059.png
VAC 944.png
TTN 454.png
CORE ICC 055.png
UPCOMING 98742.png
RLK 025.png
UPCOMING 98748.png
CORE BT 292.png
UPCOMING 101142.png
CORE CS2 009.png
WW 348.png
VAC 464t3.png
EX1 154b.png
VAC 464t2.png
VAC 404.png
VAC 404t1.png
VAC 404t2.png
ETC 338.png
CORE CS2 234.png
DEEP 018.png
EX1 154a.png
UPCOMING 100291.png
CORE EX1 154.png
VAC 951.png
VAC 951t.png
VAC 951t2.png
YOG 501.png
TTN 753.png
TTN 753t.png
UPCOMING 108619.png
VAC 957.png
VAC 327.png
WW 325.png
CORE BT 801.png
CORE EX1 246.png
UPCOMING 98755.png
JAM 031.png
ETC 107.png
ETC 305.png
CORE KAR 077.png
VAC 931.png
JAM 020.png
VAC 464t28.png
LOOT 043t2.png
VAC 464t19.png
WW 359t.png
CORE EX1 005.png
WW 810.png
VAC 526.png
ETC 110.png
DEEP 019.png
RLK 024.png
DEEP 009.png
VAC 952.png
UPCOMING 105511.png
CORE LOOT 043.png
VAC 324.png
ETC 108.png
TOY 895.png
CORE SW 066.png
CORE EX1 309.png
TOY 640.png
ETC 356.png
VAC 464t15.png
ETC 362.png
CORE EX1 085.png
TOY 894.png
DEEP 021.png
DEEP 025.png
TOY 813.png
CORE DRG 037.png
TTN 800.png
TOY 896.png
CORE UNG 952.png
TTN 429.png
UPCOMING 100935.png
VAC 464t7.png

Target either player's hero

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE VAN EX1 561.png

Target a friendly character

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
ETC 320.png

Target an enemy character

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE UNG 205.png
RLK 079.png
UPCOMING 99221.png
CORE CS2 012.png
CORE TOY 101.png
VAC 410.png

Target either player's character

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
TOY 382t.png
TTN 075t.png
VAC 959t07t.png
CORE DS1 185.png
WW 395t.png
BT 429p.png
BT 429p2.png
VAC 916t3.png
VAC 916t2.png
VAC 916.png
CORE CS2 189.png
CORE UNG 018.png
CORE AT 055.png
CORE EX1 238.png
CORE AT 037.png
TTN 920t10.png
TOY 341t.png
CORE SW 114.png
TOY 508.png
UPCOMING 98738.png
DEEP 003.png
UPCOMING 100102.png
CORE EX1 011.png
UPCOMING 98739.png
WW 080.png
WW 0700p1.png
CORE AT 064.png
VAC 427.png
ETC 717t.png
CORE EX1 124.png
HERO 08bp.png
HERO 08bp2.png
CORE TRL 307.png
CS3 022.png
CORE CS2 024.png
ETC 717.png
HERO 09bp2.png
UPCOMING 102054.png
HERO 09bp.png
EX1 625t.png
VAC 460.png
WW 403.png
TOY 829hp3.png
TOY 829hp.png
CORE BRM 013.png
UPCOMING 101054.png
YOG 526.png
YOG 508.png
YOG 082.png
ETC 369.png
ETC 101.png
TTN 457.png
TTN 457t.png
TTN 745.png
CORE CS2 094.png
ETC 209.png
CORE EX1 539.png
UPCOMING 100369.png
RLK 570t1t3.png
TTN 477t1.png
TTN 477.png
WW 352.png
CORE EX1 134.png
TOY 800.png
CORE CS2 029.png
TOY 377.png
DEEP 024.png
DEEP 024t.png
UPCOMING 105556.png
YOG 402.png
WW 906.png
YOG 527.png
CORE SW 442.png
TOY 341.png
DEEP 031.png
ETC 082.png
CORE CS2 042.png
TTN 075.png
VAC 915.png
WW 434.png
CORE NEW1 008.png
NEW1 008b.png
CORE KAR 076.png
TTN 090.png
ETC 210.png

Target a friendly location

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
VAC 529.png

Target an enemy location

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
CORE REV 023.png

References[edit | edit source]