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.

Important: Mercenaries Datamining

If you missed our datamining today from Hearthstone Mercenaries, you're in for a treat!

Stormwind Mini-Set

  • Chakki says we're getting 3 mana 3/4.

Next Year (2022)

  • We should expect a larger than normal expansion for the last set of next year.


  • Their intention over the past few years has been to create more diverse characters.
  • You can see their efforts through gender, age, and human race diverisity.
  • Warcraft has been historically heavy on white males. This is why they've created characters like Elise, Cariel, Rokara, and Bob.


  • No plans for 2000 Wins portraits.
  • They want to do more special frames, alternate art, boards - it all just takes time.
  • Some products will be for sale, but they also want to make cosmetics to show off your achievements.
  • More of the existing Mercenaries will see new hero skins in the next expansion.
  • No updates to share yet on the "Upgrade to Golden" feature planned for collections.
  • Ashes of Outland will eventually get a cosmetic Coin.
  • Scholomance, Outland, and Darkmoon will all get Diamond cards.


  • Most card balance changes are made due to perception.
  • Cards exceeding a win rate of 54-55%, which is truly imbalanced, only happens 0-1 times per set.
  • Gadgetzan Auctioneer has dodged nerfs and rotations "so, so, so many times".
  • Chakki, Gallon, and BoarControl are the final design with Alec leaving. Dean still has oversight.


  • The team has talked about doing an update with Hearthstone streamers being added to the Battlegrounds hero pool for a limited time.
  • Kripparrian the Stormwind Guard was one example of a hero.
  • To do all this, they need to find a way to partner that benefits everyone involved.
  • Post-Mercenaries, we should expect systems like progression, more cosmetics, and potential improvements to gameplay for Battlegrounds.

Warcraft Cross-Promotions

  • Both the Hearthstone and WoW team would love to do more cross-promotions.
  • The two teams have been trying to brainstorm ways to work better together, but Dean thinks the reality is they're both too busy with their own games to make time for it.


  • Dean has thought about making content surrounding design, like articles, but he'd probably do video instead.

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #31

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #31 5:00PM - 6:30PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/a1kEGVbmlv (Source)

@IksarHS Hi iksar 🤠

@ggahSoO hi (Source)

@IksarHS What are the odds of getting design articles from you or the team? I personally love seeing the behind the scenes processes for games and they can be great resources for fans too like with the class identity article.

@coolboypai From card design? Probably low. I've thought about making content, but I'd probably make it in video form. People don't read articles anymore! (Source)

@coolboypai For written content you should be passionate about sharing info with the community and also a talented writer. A rare combo. Rosewater and Ghostcrawler are great, but they are rare gems. (Source)

@IksarHS @coolboypai Liking for you making videos. Crying about people not reading articles anymore. (Source)

@hsdecktech @coolboypai Okay in retrospect that was rude, sorry decktech we still love articles. Was mostly meant as a joke about getting older and the kids and their dang whippersnapper tiktoks (Source)

@IksarHS @coolboypai TikTok dance design articles would do really well. (Source)

@hsdecktech @IksarHS If only there was someone who is both a writer and also involved with the Hearthstone team… :p

@coolboypai @IksarHS 🤔🤔🤔 (Source)

@IksarHS Are there plans on adding 2000 win portraits/diamond borders? I have 1000 wins on 8/10 classes, but I’m not a fan of all the 1000 portraits and I think it would be cool to show off the 1000 wins using a different portrait. For example burning 500 win garrosh with a diamond border

@FroggyHSxD No plans on 2000 win specific stuff but we have tons of new cosmetics in the works. Would love to do things like more frames, alternate art, boards, etc. Just takes time to concept. We'll make some as products to sell but also want to make things to show off your achievements. (Source)

@IksarHS Mercenaries and Constructed feel to me like 2 completely separate things except for the gold that you'll need to spend for buildings and to buy packs. Is there anything that you think might help to connect the 2 games in a more cohesive game overall?

@AlonsoArrietaC1 We're okay with having different experiences across each core game mode. I'd still consider them in the same broad genre of slow strategy games but you are right in that they are mostly their own standalone experiences. (Source)

@IksarHS @Celestalon The Spanish Latam version of the game still has Ignite's card text bugged! Could you please do something about it? (spell damage is not applied to the card text)

@Rami94HS @Celestalon Fixed in upcoming patch. @Celestalon just let me know! (Source)

@Rami94HS @Celestalon Didn't make it into the mercs patch, but one shortly after. (Source)

@IksarHS As we got 4 portraits for Guff, Tamsin and Scabbs, is there any chance for 1 more portrait for previous mercs, esp Rokara? Or is this just a "from now on" kind of thing? Also, what's the best anime fight you've ever seen? In and outside of Naruto, that is. Cheers!

@kurgan_ They'll be more portraits for previous mercs in the next expansion. No comment on who just yet. Best anime fight… Naruto is hard. The original Sasuke vs Naruto at the waterfall is so iconic that it would be hard to beat. Naruto vs Pain, Sasuke vs Itachi, Madara vs everyone… (Source)

@kurgan_ Outside of Naruto…. Tanjiro and Nezuko vs Rui in Demon Slayer was probably my favorite from an art perspective. (Source)

@IksarHS Finally! I've been wanting to catch an AMA live for a long time. I have so many questions. I'll limit it to two.

@IksarHS 1. I'm curious about the philosophy behind hero emotes. For example, if I try to sincerely emote "Well Played" with Arcanist Jaina, it comes out "You are something else" (an insult) so then I switch to Lady Katrana Prestor and it becomes "You are so very clever" (another insult).

@IksarHS It feels like it makes the game culture more snarky (and feels rather off-brand), so I'm wondering what the thought is behind it.

@aqword2 Maybe a better question for a T5 writer like @themattlondon. Sounds like a good question :). (Source)

@IksarHS 2. I'm wondering about the approach to card art and inclusiveness. It seems like orcs are represented with the facial features of Black people, trolls are given Caribbean accents, but most of the "humans" are white, and mainly men.

@IksarHS What's the approach to trying to make the game more inclusive of people other than white men? Has there been any consideration of updating older cards?

@aqword2 Our intention, especially the last few years, has been to try and create a more diverse set of characters. You can see that through gender, age, and human race diversity in characters we've created over the last couple years. (Source)

@aqword2 Warcraft has been historically heavy on white-male characters and it's one of the reasons we've tried to branch out and create core characters like Elise, Cariel, Rokara and Bob that are unique to the Hearthstone universe. (Source)

@IksarHS I've actually been pleased by some of the strides I've seen there (esp Varden). But for a new user starting out with the core set (which uses mainly old art), nearly all the characters (31 of 32 at a quick count) are white. Has there been any consideration of updating old art?

@aqword2 A good question. Starting experience something we're looking at in the near future. I think it's less likely we'll update the art of a character to be a different race, but I like the idea of looking for existing cards of a more diverse group to represent the early experience. (Source)

@IksarHS Don’t ask why, but recently I did a statistical analysis on card cost by class, and all but Rogue and Druid show no statistical difference. Is this a conscious design decision, ie Druid is the expensive card class, rogue the cheap card class?

@baney64 @IksarHS I'd guess Rogue cheaper to enable Combo triggering, Druid expensive to cash on the mana ramp spells.

@oEltinho @IksarHS I guess I’m more interested in how the others are the same. It feels like, say, Hunter should have cheaper cards than warrior but they don’t. I wonder if this is a conscious choice.

@baney64 @oEltinho @IksarHS curious how you determined the statistical analysis. if hunter has only 3-cost cards and warrior has an even split of 1- and 5-cost cards, the average will be the same even though the card pool is very different.

@ASMRxism @oEltinho @IksarHS It’s basically this https://t.co/oyVIbfEa4K. See the F-test Could be wrong, was just testing, I use hearthstone json when I need a test data set. Also I realise I’m p-hacking a bit

@baney64 @ASMRxism @oEltinho To be honest I'd also have expected Hunter to have cheaper cards than Warrior on average. The other commenter was correct, though. Druid needs high cost cards to capitalize on ramp and Rogue needs lower cost stuff to capitalize on high card velocity and combo fantasy. (Source)

@IksarHS Does the Dev team prefer low power or higher power sets? I can see arguments for both, but there have been many higher power sets lately (UiS especially). Will the next standard year be more like Year of the Raven?

@Oakijak_HS Given the choice between either, probably high-power. High-power sets are pretty high on complaints and emotion but low-power sets mean players get bored and quit. Obviously we'd rather be somewhere in the middle. (Source)

@IksarHS What's your favourite deck rn? Mine is probably Garrote rogue. Btw, tried Outer Wilds DLC yet?

@Hyyyyl I basically never buy DLC. When I'm done with a game it's hard for me to go back to it. (Source)

@Hyyyyl Been playing mostly BG lately, but before that my favorite deck was Maxima Blastenh…. I mean Even Hunter. (Source)

@IksarHS How's that "upgrade to a golden card" feature doing? Btw what do you think would be the price for let's say upgrading a normal common/rare/epic/legendary to a golden version?

@imik_plays That's a good question I don't know the answer to. Will check in with our UI team. (Source)

@IksarHS About modes, cant qe just use all banned cards on Adventure Modes??? Please I want to use them on Adventure modes

@Hearthstoneisd I'll check in with team and ask about it. Reasonable request. (Source)

@IksarHS Are there plans on adding diamond cards for scholomance, Outland and darkmoon? And a coin for Outland?

@FroggyHSxD yes, all of the above (Source)

@IksarHS Hey Iksar 👋 Whenever a number of players want a card to be nerfed, do members of Team 5 ever knudge the card designer in question and give friendly jabs to them like, "hey, nice going, DEREK, you made the players mad." I like to think ya'll do.

@eminent_panda We do, I like to jokingly blame @Chakki_HS and @Songbird_HS for things. (Source)

@IksarHS @eminent_panda @Chakki_HS https://t.co/7fttRF1bMP (Source)

@Songbird_HS @eminent_panda @Chakki_HS (she loves it, really likes to be blamed for stuff) (Source)

@IksarHS Will we ever see Console releases?

@TexPine Ever is a long time, but not anywhere in the near future. (Source)

@IksarHS Do you plan to continue with this masterpiece??? (or doing something similar) https://t.co/e5P1oXZ9zQ

@Minico_20 unfortunately not, it was before its time (or after its time?) (Source)

@IksarHS I’m playing through God of War Rn and love it. Any other recs?

@BroccoliReef Ghosts of Tsushima was great. Last of Us 2 was great. Horizon Zero Dawn….. great. FTL is my favorite IPad game not named Hearthstone. (Source)

@IksarHS Do you think some Questlines should be revamped once they fully rotate to Wild?

@HolyKnight077 I suspect that quests are the topic of today and by the time they rotate to Wild players will be focused on a different topic :) (Source)

@IksarHS Your AMAs always feel very linear with just HS questions and answers. Any chance we could see something like Marvel storyline discussing or your favorite songs of the past year?

@Bored_Certified I fear that players will discover I am not that interesting of a person to ask questions unrelated to Hearthstone. (Source)

@IksarHS i've heard devs say sometimes perception of balance is more important than actual balance. have you guys made any changes to any decks or cards because of perception even if your internal stats said it wasn't an issue? ever use sites like hsreplay to see the stats players do?

@shanedestroys Most of the changes we make are due to perception. I'd only really consider something truly imbalanced if win rates are exceeding 54-55%. That usually only happens 0-1 times per set. (Source)

@IksarHS Any chance we could see more cross promotion with Hearthstone and WoW like the Sarge mount perhaps the wow tcg mounts could be added as a chance drop from Hearthstone packs?

@mancalledZ Our teams would love to do more cross-promo. I was recently on a thread where we were trying to brainstorm better ways to work together. I think the reality is that we get so busy with our own games it can be hard to make time for it, especially when we have to coordinate times. (Source)

@mancalledZ We will do more, though! (Source)

@IksarHS Over the game's life cycle, what card(s) would you say dodged the nerf bat the most relative to their time in Standard?

@DatMageDoe Gadgetzan Auctioneer dodged nerfs and rotations so, so, so many times. (Source)

@IksarHS Have the dev team ever snuck Easter eggs of themselves or their interests in HS, their trailers, or animations before? If so, what were they?

@Pokeniner2 @Songbird_HS says it was a coincidence but I DONT KNOW pupbot sure does look A LOT like her dog…. (Source)

@IksarHS @Pokeniner2 I personally don't see the similarities. https://t.co/hvBy3y8Q6G (Source)

@Pokeniner2 @IksarHS In BGs the made a card for @DreadsGaming 🥺 peggyyyy

@Slysssa @Pokeniner2 @DreadsGaming We talked awhile back about doing an update with streamers as BG heroes for a limited time. We even had some example Stormwind heroes like @Kripparrian the Stormwind Guard. (Source)

@Slysssa @Pokeniner2 @DreadsGaming @Kripparrian I'd like to do this, think BG is a place where most anything goes and celebrating community figures seems fun. Just have to find a way to partner that benefits everyone. (Source)

@IksarHS @Pokeniner2 @DreadsGaming @Kripparrian Dibs on captain Hooktusk 🥺🙂

@Slysssa @Pokeniner2 @DreadsGaming @Kripparrian No you'd just be your own hero. Cap'n Slyssa. (Source)

@IksarHS Seriously, though - is it “lie-bram” or “lee-bram”? I lean into the former because of the similarity to “library”.

@RTwoCTwo I'm pretty sure it's Lee and not Lie (Source)

@IksarHS Can you provide a humorous reason why Hearthstone will be better off with Alec leaving? We all need some copium today.

@BocLife I tried to think of something but came up empty, sorry :( (Source)

@IksarHS Alec will be leaving Hearthstone, who will be in charge of balancing from now on?

@kirayamatoXV The final design team will be @Chakki_HS, @GallonHS, and @BoarControl. I'll still have oversight as was the case with Alec but I wouldn't expect any major changes in philosophy. (Source)

@IksarHS @kirayamatoXV @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl Will any of them be in charge of giving spoilers on twitter?

@gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl Hmm, no I they will probably be pretty careful about spoilers. You are better off trying to get spoilers from me, @Celestalon, or @Songbird_HS. We're bound to let something slip. (Source)

@gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl @Celestalon @Songbird_HS If you just mean balance changes slightly ahead of the blog, it'll be more or @Chakki_HS if Keaton graces us with his twitter presence. (Source)

@IksarHS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl @Songbird_HS https://t.co/jDUug3wrjW (Source)

@Celestalon @IksarHS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl https://t.co/5iBVBjoSuI (Source)

@IksarHS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @GallonHS @BoarControl @Celestalon @Songbird_HS you think i won't spoil stuff? the miniset has a 3 mana 3/4.

@Chakki_HS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @GallonHS @BoarControl @Celestalon @Songbird_HS oh no it was 6:31 @GW_Alec is gone for literally 1 minute and he's on twitter spoiling cards (Source)

@Chakki_HS @IksarHS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @GallonHS @BoarControl @Songbird_HS That’s just a good body! (Source)

@Celestalon @Chakki_HS @IksarHS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @GallonHS @BoarControl Good stats. (Source)

@Celestalon @Chakki_HS @gtluizmoratelli @kirayamatoXV @GallonHS @BoarControl @Songbird_HS a classic meme (Source)

@IksarHS What will be the top priority for the dev team after Mercenaries is released?

@Kross3d_ Improving BG with more systems like progression, more cosmetic options, and potential gameplay system changes/improvements. A bigger than normal expansion slated for late next year. Keeping up with content for expansions, bg, mercs. Brainstorming the next big things. (Source)

@IksarHS Have you read The Expanse books, or just follow the show? How excited are you for Season 6?

@troldann No to the books, but very excited for the show. The last season was amazing! (Source)

@IksarHS Is the team concerned about the increasing fragmentation of the player base in multiple game modes?

@TexPine Not really, games are fast enough and population size is large enough that we don't have any problems supporting the various modes with enough players. (Source)

@IksarHS What are your opinions on the common community complaint of decks/classes being able to draw through their deck to quickly and being able to do that consistently?

@Gronmin It's a real concern. A set where the keyword is essentially 'draw a card' is going to be heavier on card draw than most. It's a tough balance. Card draw is fun because it leads to having options. (Source)

@Gronmin We can do it through random generation or through draw, but both have their downsides. Limited card draw leads to playing games on curve or off the top of your deck. Upsides and downsides to all. (Source)

@IksarHS You’ve pitched a few experimental ideas over the last couple months. Assuming the team decided to do one of these larger-scale ideas, how long would it realistically take to implement? (Counting getting it working in-game and then bug/balance testing)

@sporkyreeve Something like class ban would be pretty fast implementation-wise, but things still take awhile to get into the game because every team has a log of things to get through. When you add a new 'thing' it usually goes to the back of the line. That line is often times 4-6 months long (Source)

@IksarHS Do you ever feel the sentiment that the Hearthstone team is working so much on what's coming next vs. improving what's currently broken/bugged in the game?

@TimRizzo Not really, the truth is pretty simple. We're always doing both. There are people who prioritize fixing live bugs, there are people that focus on creating future content. (Source)

@IksarHS Can i ask you a question even if im 8 minutes late?

@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS Well that's a pretty lame question… (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS >:( there are no lame questions

@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS Lame question asker says what (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS https://t.co/MQKnNtnJtB

@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS https://t.co/qI56rk0ej2 (Source)