Embarrassing. Originally this article stated Dual-Class cards were making a return soon. No, ARENAS with Dual Class heroes are.
Had an issue with the way our tweets were fetched for the AMA this week so context was goofed. (its been fixed) Sorry!

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

Current Development

  • Content team is working on Battlegrounds with work on cosmetics and "light progression".
  • They are in early prototype stages for different modes in Battlegrounds. Nothing concrete.
  • They would like to make in-game tournaments for Battlegrounds but in a way that would let it translate to other modes.
  • Nothing above is set in stone.
  • The team wants to exceed expectations for what expansions are instead of just meeting expectations.
  • The next medium-big thing is a work in progress. The next big-big thing is being planned.

Dual Class Arena

  • We can expect dual-class arena to return.
  • More details "soonish".

Battlegrounds Perks

  • Its possible that pre-orders for expansions might see the loss of Battlegrounds perks being included.
  • Originally, they thought that folks spending the money on the pre-orders should get significant value so putting perks in was maybe a good thing.
  • Changing pre-orders to a constructed-only product makes sense when they are doing to do Battlegrounds-specific business models.


  • There are some plans to make adjustments to quests to better align with Mercenaries.
  • Overall they are happy with the end result of progression. Tavern Pass experience was supposed to just be a small added bonus.


  • If they were to change the way leveling works for classes, Dean would want to find a way to make the progression infinite, or close enough.


  • New content releases in Hearthstone may make some team members a bit nervous, but the team has been finished with it for some time at that point which makes it more exciting.
  • "The thing you work on is finally in the wild! People are playing it! Just a great feeling"
  • The expansion team used to go out to dinner after a big release, but the pandemic hurt that. Now they'll play games and eat Pizza sometimes.
  • The whole team is so big that they can rarely do things as a group anymore. Its mostly the sub-teams finding ways to celebrate.


  • Garona, Blackhand and Ogrim Doomhammer are "too big and awesome to not use in the future".
  • There will be a Stormwind mini-set but they aren't ready to say when.
  • Recently they have been prototyping a graveyard system, but that isn't the first time they've done it.
  • To add a graveyard, they have to be very excited about a new space for cards. They haven't achieved that yet.
  • The only expansion they've talked about potentially revisiting is Naxxramas. Its old enough, and iconic, to be exciting again. It didn't happen.


"Do you every dodge good questions because they're touching a sensitive subject or scary subject?"

  • Yes and No.
  • Dean believes a trick to running a good AMA is to be open to answering anything.
  • You shouldn't avoid hot topics in the community, that's a problem.
  • Dean will sometimes avoid questions that aren't a hot topic and would require significant amounts of research to answer.
  • Dean only has an hour to do this, he wants to be efficient with his time.


  • Thinks it would be a great idea to do something with Arthas again.
  • If Dean could blink a sandbox mode into existence immediately, he would. Such a thing is a big time vs value issue.
  • Orcs in Mercenaries all the way.
  • Dean loves the look of golden cards where they have the colored class borders. (Example below).
    • "I hadn't thought of just doing it for future sets, not a bad idea I will bring it up with our art director."

This is not official. This is not planned to happen. This a fan mockup.
Screenshot is from a video uploaded to Feno's Twitter. Original source is Suwa on Reddit (thanks Jay8Kay)

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #33

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #33 5:00PM - 6:00PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/NoFgRC9zaL (Source)

@IksarHS Happy Friday! The qs I have are related to the mini set and probably won't be answered bc that would be spoilers… so I'll ask the following 1. How do you feel today? 2. How's Rowen and the fam? 3. Will we get young Prince Arthas as a Legendary Paladin minion in the future? 😂

@HolyKnight077 1. Tired Dad 2. He's great! Healthy and happy and family is a ball of love. 3. Well, we don't have one currently made but it sounds like a good idea. Arthas is such a cool character we should do more with him… (Source)

@IksarHS Watching through Shippuden for the first time (on ep. 122), and thought I would ask: Who are two characters you were disappointed with how little screen time they got? As of now, it's Shino and Might Guy for me. Never enough Guy.

@TimRizzo Itachi, Might Guy, generally just more background on the Akatsuki (Source)

@IksarHS What will the team focus on moving forward since Mercenaries are now officially out? New features/improving the player experience/new UI/collection revamp/fixing stability and performance or something else?

@imik_plays Doing some BG work now for new cosmetics and light progression. Also in early prototype stages for different modes of BG but haven't landed on anything. We'd like to make tournaments for BG in-client in a way that could translate to other modes as well. (Source)

@imik_plays All things being worked on or talked about but not set in stone. Outside of that, always looking for client improvements and to better support expansion releases. Want to find ways to exceed expectations for what expansions can be rather than just meet expectations. (Source)

@IksarHS If you had to choose from the dev team 6 people to make your Mercenaries party. 2 Fighters, 2 Casters and 2 Protectors. (One of them has to be you). Who would they be?

@machadogps @Songbird_HS and @Chakki_HS are my fighters, me and @Celestalon are casters, @LinusFlink and @jerrymascho protectors. (Source)

@IksarHS @machadogps @Songbird_HS @Chakki_HS @LinusFlink @jerrymascho Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Source)

@IksarHS @machadogps @Chakki_HS @Celestalon @LinusFlink @jerrymascho Top tier lineup. (Source)

@IksarHS Now that Mercs is released, are there any new BIG projects in the pipeline/how long until the next big thing? Or is the team taking a well earned rest from big projects?

@MagikMilk25 At least one medium big thing in progress. Beyond that, I'd say we're in planning for the next big big thing and not quite in execution for the next big big thing. (Source)

@IksarHS Does the team regularly look at what other games are doing for inspiration or even to gauge player’s interests in themes and effects?

@coolboypai All the time! We actually have a whole internal team called game and market intelligence that gives pretty robust presentations on what is going on around the industry. Beyond that, we're all gamers so we end up experiencing and sharing other game content naturally. (Source)

@IksarHS If @RegisKillbin was a hearthstone card what would his design be and why would the art be a majestic, bearded dwarf riding a noble, ultrasaur stallion?

@MagikMilk25 @RegisKillbin Mind goes to something in the space of performing for your opponent. "Do a thing, if your opponent liked it, do it again." "Do a thing, if your opponent likes that thing, get a bonus." Start there, try to define what my opponent liking my performance means. (Source)

@IksarHS any chance we get favorite card backs in random card back feature? Selecting some amount of card backs as favorites and the random card back only choses from favorite pool. if you have no favorites it choses from the entire collection.

@balanira_ I actually like this, just have to figure out the right UI flow for it. As we create more types of cosmetics (and bg skins grow in scope) having this optionality feels useful. Was already on the long list of 'decide if we want to do this when tier A tasks are done'. (Source)

@IksarHS Bloodbloom from 2 to 4 mana was pretty harsh, don’t you think? How about we settle at 3 and call it a day? 🥺👉👈

@hsWhiteDelight We don't really talk much about ways we can make bloodbloom better, sorry to say we're unlikely to do so anytime in the near future. Bloodbloom dangerous! (Source)

@IksarHS Jeez, what should I ask… My question book is now empty… What about: Would you ever consider changing the Class max level from 60 to 100 and for example for each level giving a random golden common from that class from a current standard pool?

@imik_plays If we changed class leveling system I'd want to find a way to make it infinite or close to infinite so we don't have to address and readdress the issue of some players hitting cap easily and some players never reaching it. (Source)

@IksarHS How would you feel if someone were to point out that it’s currently daylight saving time, thus you’d want to be saying PDT or alternately to avoid the issue entirely PT?

@troldann !! thank you for the knowledge I will educate myself further and try and type the correct thing next time (Source)

@IksarHS I also have another question; this idea is credited to Mark Mckz. Could a sandbox mode be added to the game which could be used to: test card interactions, set up game states and act as a debug menu where clips of bugs can be reported directly within the client?

@Kross3d_ Really just a question of time vs value. If I could blink this feature into existence I would but something like this is very complex to set up. I have a hard time believing we'd choose to do it over XYZ things we could do instead. (Source)

@IksarHS how stressful is the period immediately after a major release for the team - design or otherwise? what are some common things that the team does in the immediate time after shipping? how long does it take before iteration begins even in the planning phase?

@RidiculousHat Most of the time something gets released, the team has been finished with it for a significant amount of time. How people feel about it is pretty varied, if it's a new lead there is always some nervousness but I think over time it's just an exciting moment. (Source)

@RidiculousHat The thing you work on is finally in the wild! People are playing it! Just a great feeling. The expansion team used to go to dinner together following shipping a set, but pandemic obviously hurt that a bit. Now we play games together and have pizza sometimes. (Source)

@RidiculousHat The whole team is so big now we rarely do stuff together as a group. Mostly the sub-teams finding ways to organize together rather than 150+ people in the same place. (Source)

@IksarHS Why do prepurchase bundles come with Battlegrounds perks? Does that make sense? Is there talk in replacing it that with the battle pass? Thank you for your hard work! New game mode is fun!

@lamri247 At the time the thought was that someone spending that much money should get significant value, so throwing BG perks in so you didn't feel like you also had to buy it was maybe a good thing. (Source)

@lamri247 In the future I think it's likely we'll consider changing to constructed purchase meaning mostly constructed products. BG will have its own cosmetics based business model untied from constructed. (Source)

@IksarHS Holy or shadow mercs comp? :)

@ggahSoO orcs baybeeeeeeeeeeee (Source)

@IksarHS Do we see more orc characters in the future from warcraft 1? Such as Garona, Blackhand and maybe even Ogrim Doomhammer from warcraft 2?

@Banez_86 All those characters are too big and awesome to not use in the future :) (Source)

@IksarHS I really enjoy mercenaries, but there are no quests associated with it, meaning I can't progress the tavern pass and earn gold, so I feel stuck and unable to get more packs. Are there any plans to introduce a way to earn gold from mercs?

@MackeyD3_ Have some plans to make adjustments to quests to better align with mercs. Overall we're pretty happy with the end result so far. Free experience was meant to be fun and fulfilling while speed of collection acquisition and cosmetics locked behind business model. (Source)

@IksarHS i’m sorry to say it, but with mercenaries out of the way, mini set news when????

@coolbeansjorge we'll have a miniset, not ready to say when but it's coming (Source)

@IksarHS Where did the inspiration for mercs come from? It's got a lot of things I like about classic hs, but the progression and mechanics are super different.

@Blumpo4 Better question for the design lead for mercs, Paul. As a team, the inspiration originally came from Paul being awesome and talented. Team wanted to find a way for Paul to use his immense skillset to create something he was passionate about. (Source)

@IksarHS Is a graveyard system in the cards? (Pun very much intended)

@JockyRhonson We actually prototyped some versions of graveyards fairly recently, but it's not the first time we've done it. In order to create an entirely new space for cards we'd have to be very, very excited for the gameplay it opens up. Haven't gotten there yet. (Source)

@IksarHS Thoughts on a hypothetical ignite nerf for standard that would make it only go back into deck a capped number of times? (ex: 3) It wouldn't change the card's power much, as you almost never use it more than that. But it might make it feel not as hopeless and infinite to casuals?

@OftenJustinTime For one, I think like you mentioned the real-game impact is almost non existent. I'd also argue that a change like this would have a bigger negative impact on people who love the idea of going infinite than it would on people who dislike the infinite thing happening to them. (Source)

@OftenJustinTime For players playing ignite, the 'thing' doesn't actually have to happen for it to impact them. It makes those people excited to build the deck for the possibility of these infinite ignites going off. Then they chase that feeling in many, many games. (Source)

@OftenJustinTime For opposing players, it's really only negative when the thing actually happens to them. Very frustrating when it happens, but not all that common. (Source)

@IksarHS What is your LEAST favorite flavor of ice cream?

@WardrumHS probably vanilla (Source)

@IksarHS Any plans to revisit any of the previous expansions in a future set? Like how SoU was the next iteration of LoE. And regardless of the answer, which one would you most like to bring back in a new fashion?

@MagikMilk25 The only expansion we've discussed revisiting is Naxxramas. Didn't happen, but definitely iconic enough (and old enough) to be exciting as a place to revisit. (Source)

@IksarHS Any chance that the art for the upcoming sets could be changed to something like this? https://t.co/JANRldCgdM

@FenoHS I personally like that look much more. TBH I hadn't thought of just doing it for future sets, not a bad idea I will bring it up with our art director. (Source)

@IksarHS @FenoHS If the director doesn’t say yes, I’d recommend threatening violence at the very least

@J_Alexander_HS @FenoHS https://t.co/t7jeLSNMuZ (Source)

@IksarHS Hardest lesson learned?

@ChaosOS_59 That there are many different ways to be an effective game designer. It sounds obvious, but it's easy to define things like core values and twist that into everyone on the team should believe in the same things. (Source)

@ChaosOS_59 It's a hard lesson because I spent many years trying to turn other designers into the same designer rather than valuing everyone in a unique way. Luckily I learned this before I became a manager of people, but still years later than I should have. (Source)

@ChaosOS_59 Want to emphasize how difficult this can be in practice, though. If a team decides they value gameplay controls over narrative is anyone who voices concern for narrative over controls wrong? In every situation? Where is the line? (Source)

@ChaosOS_59 What is the difference between having people with different perspectives vs having people that are misaligned? How can you identify the difference? Hard and important work. (Source)

@IksarHS Are there any plans for dual class, or any other kind of arena event, in the near future?

@kolstIRL Dual-class coming again. More details soonish. (Source)

@IksarHS What is you new favorite cute art piece? 🥰 https://t.co/GvlarfeBdV

@ben_heathstone i liked lil bebeh king krush (Source)

@IksarHS Any chance we can have 2 mana darkglare back? If every new warlock card is going to be banned/nuked out of orbit can we at least have the most fun deck in hearthstone history restored?

@Gu1Danie1 guldaniel fights against gul'dan nerf, huh? (Source)

@IksarHS Any news about Tournament Mode, Dean? Still gonna happen? BTW, I truly love the new Mercenaries Mode. Good job! 👍

@EmilianTeodor To be totally clear it's in the 'we definitely want it, but we definitely haven't started it' category. We have some engineering and UI bandwidth on BG so I think we'll start there, but we're still in the phase of defining what a tournament should even look like or appeal to. (Source)

@IksarHS Is there any chance of making the new quest you recieve each day one of the higher xp ones (like how first reroll is one of the lower xp ones)? I often feel locked out of playing the game when I have a low xp quest since I don't want to feel like I'm wasting my daily quest.

@Beanokitten Goal with quests was to motivate you to try a new thing you might not be comfortable with and compensate you with additional reward for trying that thing. If both quests had the same value I think all players would just be incentivized to reroll for the generic thing. (Source)

@IksarHS hello again, is there any chance we can play arenas without paying and without rewards like the amateur mode of duels? Thank you so much.

@Jose_Palos Worry for this with arena is always that players will just reroll until they draft a ridiculously powerful deck. Players that don't do this end up getting crushed, so they feel like they have to do it, too. (Source)

@Jose_Palos Less of an issue in duels because you define your starter deck yourself. (Source)

@IksarHS What show are you watching now? I'm struggling to get over Odd Taxi.

@Hyyyyl @ItsMeMollyO and I never got through Cowboy Bebop so we're watching that. Got sidetracked by watching some non-anime shows, though. Squid Game, Morning Show, and Foundation. All were great. (Source)

@IksarHS Do you ever dodge good questions because they’re touching a sensitive or scary subject?

@fribzHS yes and no So, the trick to running a successful AMA is to be open to answering anything. If there is a hot topic in the community and you completely avoid it, that's a problem. The goal of an AMA is to introduce honest and open communication. (Source)

@fribzHS Avoiding questions accomplishes the opposite of that. So for the most part, I give my best shot to answering the most prominent questions because that is the spirit of what we're trying to accomplish here. (Source)

@fribzHS The questions I avoid are usually ones that aren't a hot topic and would take a significant amount of research to answer. Sometimes it's a great question but if I'm only taking an hour to do this then I try to be efficient with that time. (Source)