Everyone's favourite Hearthstone Dad, Dean "Iksar" Ayala has brought us another Q&A! As usual, here's our recap of all the important points and a full transcript of the event.

  • All previous Q&As from Dean can be found under our "Iksar's Community Q&A" topic.
  • Anything covered in the previous Q&As will not be covered in the recap but will appear in the transcript below


  • We'll see more control-oriented archetypes in the future. It was less of a focus for this particular core set.


  • They would love to offer more personalized shop offers at a faster cadence. They just haven't built the tech for it.
    • This was in response to League of Legends' "Your Shop" feature. For those not in the know:
    • Your Shop gives you unique-to-you special deals on skins and the discounts range from low to high. 
  • We're more likely to get new cosmetic card frames or ways to cosmetic-ify cards first than Diamond hero powers.
  • Dean things it could be a good idea to showcase how long you've been playing since card backs no longer do that.

Mass Nerfs

This is a response about Q&A #24. where Dean talked about potentially doing a mass card nerf at the start of a rotation.

  • They are still thinking about a Mass Nerf but it is a significant amount of work.
  • Doing a mass nerf would require rebalancing next year's first two sets and redo the entire core set for 2022.
    • All of these sets for next year are mostly complete at this point.
  • They aren't certain if they believe in the upsides yet but will be talking about it next week internally.

Set Rotation

  • Buffs and Nerfs will all be considered for reverting when the set rotation happens next year.

The Battle Pets Themed Set

  • If they did one, they'd need to find a "cool unique narrative" to do it in.
  • The set can't just be "the story of an orc named smash metchem' trying to catch em' all"
    • MyntyPhresh: "Uhhh actually his name was Smash Wreckem', smh Dean"

Rogue Wins

  • The top rogue player has 28893 wins and is on the Asia realm..
    • NA: 28844, 21143, 19669, 16278, 16223
    • EU: 20043
    • CN: 25404


  • Loves to build with Murlocs or Brann and Reno Jackson in Battlegrounds.
  • Ratchet and Clank, Deathloop, and God of War are all in Dean's backlog of games to play.
  • Dean's favourite Warcraft character is Garrosh. "I always gravitate towards villains that have redeeming qualities."
  • Thinks that Boomsday, Raskakhan's, and Gadgetzan are possibly the most forgettable sets. Relatively low power and very standalone themes unique to Hearthstone.
  • Dean is "pretty high"-ly excited for Hearthstone Mercenaries. He wasn't involved in the development and only playtested it a handful of times.
  • Sasuke vs Naruto at the waterfall OG fight is the "best anime fight sequence".

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #32

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #32 5:00PM - 6:00PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/G5JLha0Aou (Source)

@IksarHS Favorite build and hero in BG’s

@Hi3n3rgy sucker for murlocs or anything with brann and renooooooo jackson (Source)

@IksarHS i know you're on the design side but i'm really curious about the engineering group - do they ever help guide design or influence what a decision ends up being, either due to limitation or suggestion? what do engineers do that laypeople don't know what to ask about?

@RidiculousHat Influence through both limitation and suggestion. Suggestion mostly on the system end because content design can be a lot harder to suggest reasonable things without more experience/context. (Source)

@RidiculousHat But things like rank system, card acquisition, matchmaking, new game modes, influence and direction comes from all over the team. (Source)

@RidiculousHat Often times we'll state a goal of what we want to try and how we might try it, then get feedback from an engineer that we could try it in a slightly different ways that also meets the goals. Having people close to the tech with context on what we're trying to accomplish…. (Source)

@RidiculousHat Is so, so important. Otherwise you end up in situations where tech is requested and engineers cost that tech verbatim. That ends up in bloated costs most of the time because there is almost always an easier way to implement than the designer suggestion. (Source)

@RidiculousHat So we try and pin engineers closer to the goals so they can use their expertise to point designs to the right starting points. (Source)

@IksarHS Have you played the new Far Cry 6? My good friend Chorizo wants you to pet him. 😝😎 https://t.co/4erInx3oZk

@imik_plays omg he's cute no I haven't, too many game son backlog but I'll probably get to it gotta play ratchet, then deathloop, then god of war, then who knows (Source)

@IksarHS League has this thing called “your shop” where you once in a while get skins at a reduced price for champions you played a lot recently. Is this something you considered doing for hs? But with for example with legs from sets you miss them at a reduced dust cost/real money?

@FroggyHSxD Ugh I loveee your shop. @PlayVALORANT has something similar in their 'night market'. We have some limited shop personalization but the answer here is less about what we want and more what we've had the time to implement thus far. (Source)

@FroggyHSxD @PlayVALORANT We'd love to offer much more personalized shop offers at a faster cadence, just a complex tech ask that takes time to get to. (Source)

@IksarHS Which is your favorite character in Warcraft/Hearthstone and why? PD: Still waiting for an Arthas Legendary Paladin Minion for next expansions🙈 keep the great work as always Lord @IksarHS

@HolyKnight077 Garrosh! I always gravitate towards villains that have redeeming qualities. Garrosh is loyal, loves the Horde. He always had a drive to gain more power but it was never a purely selfish goal like it is for most villains who just want to rule everyone. Tragic character. (Source)

@IksarHS Watching Shippuden through for the first time. Hit Kakuzu/Hidan Team 10 fight post-Asuma death (pog). My question: Which Akatsuki member was your favorite and which left you feeling: "Dang, that's it? That was unsatisfying."

@TimRizzo Favorite Akatsuki is Itachi, who is also my favorite in the series. Deidara is also awesome… Least favorite was probably Sasori. I didn't really buy the sad story of his past and the grandma/sakura/sasori fight was super drawn out. (Source)

@IksarHS Would you ever consider making a "diamond" hero power? (For example for 2k wins per class) or if you have a diamond Benedictus?

@imik_plays Would probably investigate new frames or ways to cosmetic-ify cards before having diamond hero powers. It's a significant amount of work so generally we like to do things to surprise people rather than rehash the same concepts. At least if the time sink is similar. (Source)

@IksarHS Which expansion do you think is the most forgettable in the eye's of the player base and why?

@TimRizzo Maybe Boomsday, Raskakhan's, or Gadgetzan. They were all standalone themes that were unique to the Hearthstone version of the Warcraft universe. Harder for those themes to stick than something like 'Dinosaurs are cool' like Un'goro. Also relatively low power sets. (Source)

@IksarHS Do you feel that the idea of mass nerfing has gained, lost, or maintained the same amount of traction among the dev team since you first brought it up in a previous AMA? What are common concerns about it that the dev team has brought up?

@Raktoner Still thinking about it, it's a significant amount of work. We'd have to completely rebalance the first set and second set of next year, the first of which we're mostly complete on at this point. Also redo the entire core set for 2022, which was also mostly complete. (Source)

@Raktoner Not sure we truly believe in the upsides, yet. Right now it's in the space of 'hmm, that could be interesting and I could see these upsides and downsides'. Not exactly where it needs to be in order to take on a bunch of work that would take away from polishing 2022 expansions. (Source)

@Raktoner That said, will discuss again with @Chakki_HS and the rest of final design next week. (Source)

@IksarHS Since you guys reverting most of the nerfs for wild during standard rotation, any chance you revert buffs if it helps playability of that card? (specifically looking at wildfire and even mage synergy)

@balanira_ Yep, @Chakki_HS will check out all the nerfs and buffs we did and consider with the team on what to do with them at rotation. (Source)

@IksarHS On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being highest), how excited are you for Mercenaries?

@HolyKnight077 Not sure on score, but pretty high. To be honest, I'll be experiencing it very similarly to how you will be. I wasn't involved with the development at all and only participated in a handful of playtests. Excited to play through everything on live servers! (Source)

@IksarHS How often would you say cards are designed mechanics-first compared to flavor-first?

@DatMageDoe In the early goings of a set, it's mostly flavor/fantasy first. As we dig into where that flavor and fantasy took us, we start to realize the mechanical pieces those fantasies need in order to actually work as a deck. (Source)

@DatMageDoe So fairly close to 50/50 in the end, just skewed more towards fantasy in the beginning and more towards mechanics as the set develops. (Source)

@IksarHS What other genre would you like to see Hearthstone specific characters in? A rogue like where you can play as one of the time mercenaries from this year sounds kinda fun!

@RyanMac213 Someday I hope there is an open world Warcraft RPG and the League of Explorers have an awesome sidequest chain. (Source)

@IksarHS I've tried this one a few times, but hope springs eternal. When you made the old season cardbacks available with gold, you inadvertently made it impossible for people so signal they'd been playing for a long time. Any plans for an alternative cosmetic?

@PoemToAHawkes I don't have any direct cosmetic answer to give you, but this sounds like a good idea. We track things like account creation, spend history, etc. Tools are there and we've been exploring some expanded profile options so I'll bring it up with systems design and see what we can do. (Source)

@IksarHS how game desginer works for you? Any tips for who want become a game designer too?

@murasavictor Make games. There are so many tools available for free (Unity, Unreal, Youtube tutorials, etc) that if you are applying for a job to make games but you haven't already tried…. unlikely you'll land a job. You don't have to ship a game on steam, make a prototype! (Source)

@IksarHS Can you say something about new content for mercenaries? Will it be updates weekly, monthly or with each expansion?

@gtluizmoratelli Unfortunately I'm a pretty bad source for mercenaries updates as I didn't spend much time with it myself. I'll have more updates for mercenaries post-release when we get into live-game upkeep decisions. (Source)

@IksarHS Isn’t refusing to use words like Overkill or Inspire not so much a fault of the keyword failing or not being interesting, but rather a failure of the expansion not giving a chance to showcase it’s potential? Phase Stalker and Trampling Rhino being examples of its success.

@IksarHS Piercing Shot, Combustion, Unstable Shadow Blast, even Rolling Fireball are perfect examples of Overkill being used successfully.

@GolemYo I think having individuals designs that are good uses of a keyword is not the same thing as creating a great keyword for mass-use. In some ways, the later designs that reuse an old keyword are good because we had a chance to learn the success and fail cases from release. (Source)

@GolemYo The reason we don't reuse the words on the card years after it was released is just because we don't think it would increase the understandability of that card. Maybe it would for players that remember Overkill very well, but for lots of players they'd have no idea what it meant. (Source)

@IksarHS Hi Iksar, hope you had a good week. Excited for mercenaries, do you have a starting comp you will be playing with in mind?

@ggahSoO I'll probably try to make Diablo work because I like his character and animation so much. (Source)

@IksarHS "Upgrade card to a golden version" news that you've promised 2 weeks ago? 🤔😄

@imik_plays I looked into it and I….. don't have an answer for public info just yet. Need to work out some scope questions before we can move forward. It's not dead, just had some hiccups that need to be resolved. (Source)

@IksarHS Can you give us a really vague spoiler for the most recently finished set whatever it s?

@adam_noodelman dangerous question, I thought about what spoiler I could give for about 5 minutes but I'd probably end up giving it away and @Songbird_HS would be mad at me GOOD TRY THOUGH (Source)

@IksarHS @adam_noodelman Why would I be mad?! Who is spreading these rumors about me?!?!?!

@Songbird_HS @adam_noodelman because it is your set! (Source)

@IksarHS @adam_noodelman Ohhhhhh… Yeah no clues! They'll just have to wait patiently. (Source)

@IksarHS @adam_noodelman Besides, there's still a chance that everything gets scrapped and I get fired and we release Naxx again. (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @adam_noodelman NAXX OUT???

@coL_Fantasy @IksarHS @adam_noodelman AH SHOOT (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @adam_noodelman BUT….what if Dean and Cora not giving clues IS the clue, hmmmmm? #ConspiracyTheory #LookingTooFarIntoThis

@krosmos_5 @IksarHS @adam_noodelman Maybe there's no set and this is all an elaborate ruse?! (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @adam_noodelman I'll do the biggest of predicts. It has a cute creature in it :)

@machadogps @Songbird_HS @IksarHS @adam_noodelman She is in charge of the Battle Pets themed set.

@Lazy_Peon_hs @machadogps @IksarHS @adam_noodelman … no … (Source)

@Songbird_HS @Lazy_Peon_hs @machadogps @adam_noodelman We did float this idea… IT COULD BE COOL! @MyntyPhresh made the point we'd have to find a cool unique narrative to do it in, though. Not just the story of an orc named smash metchem' trying to catch em' all…. (Source)

@IksarHS @Songbird_HS @Lazy_Peon_hs @machadogps @adam_noodelman Uhhh actually his name was Smash Wreckem', smh Dean

@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS @Songbird_HS @Lazy_Peon_hs @machadogps @adam_noodelman That name is way better. (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @adam_noodelman No clues seems like a major clue… 🤔🤔🤔

@ThatsAdmirable @IksarHS @adam_noodelman Ugh fine. The set will most likely have a 3 mana 3/4. Are you happy now?!?! (Source)

@Songbird_HS @ThatsAdmirable @IksarHS @adam_noodelman Any chance of a 4 mana 7/7?

@coL_Fantasy @ThatsAdmirable @IksarHS @adam_noodelman TBD (Source)

@IksarHS Would you know if someone had pulled 5 Legendaries out of a pack, and if so how many times has it happened?

@MartianBuu never seen it, but theoretically possible I don't think we track that tho (Source)

@IksarHS Have you watched To Your Eternity? Highly recommend.

@100bladeegecs First 6-7 episodes but then @ItsMeMollyO and I finally started watching Cowboy Bebop so gonna finish that first. (Source)

@IksarHS How to handle the idea as a designer that people are always unhappy with the meta no matter what?

@Corpssavy66 Some people are happy, too! We always ask ourselves the things we could have done better and the things that were done well each expansion. I think there is always some recency bias that makes people think that how it is now is the best or worse it's ever been. (Source)

@Corpssavy66 I remember when we released GVG and mech mage and other mech decks were the polarizing archetype. This happens every expansion and we try and learn from the comments and gameplay just like we will next expansion and the ones after. (Source)

@IksarHS Priest was reworked to be a control class years ago. Its built in win conditions (divine spirit and mind blast) were taken away in favor of attrition. However, in the current meta, attrition is not a viable strategy. Are you planning on reintroducing win conditions to priest?

@Nohandsgamer We reworked some of the base set early on to represent more control archetypes but then reworked again after the expressed desire to have a more shadow-feeling deck. Priest will have control archetypes in the future, but that was less of the focus this particular set. (Source)

@IksarHS How many people have more rogue wins than me on America servers?

@J_Alexander_HS The top rogue player has 28,844 wins. Is it you?! (Also it took a long time and important people to find this info so if the next feature gets delayed I blame you) (Source)

@J_Alexander_HS And while I'm here and the DB was searched…. Top Rogue Wins KR: 28893 CN: 25404 EU: 20043 NA: 28844 (Source)

@J_Alexander_HS NA Only: 28844 21143 19669 16278 16223 (Source)

@J_Alexander_HS And FWIW this wasn't really a QA'd DB lookup so I take no responsibility for incorrect data. It *should* be correct, though. (Source)

@IksarHS Can you speak to the decision to ban seed in wild? Many didn’t believe this would happen to new marquee content. What was was the internal thought process for this decision?

@baney64 there wasn't a clear design or balance change that we would have been happy with for both modes liked the idea of banning more than two different designs/balance per mode tbh the latter wasn't really an option because it would require some new tech and its own client patch (Source)

@IksarHS Best anime fight sequence and why?

@imabeebop Sasuke vs Naruto at the waterfall OG fight. Not for the animation, but really just for its influence on the rest of the series was a turning point for sure. (Source)