When the Throne of the Tides Mini-Set became announced just a few days ago, not every person in the community reacted with clear excitement and anticipation. In fact, many fans of the Hearthstone Mercenaries mode found the lack of a dedicated blog post or any further news very disappointing, and being told to wait for the patch notes to release on May 31 did little to improve the general atmosphere. 

As you might recall from the previous announcements for the Year of the Hydra, the upcoming Patch 23.4 was always meant to be a big deal for Mercenaries: what with it being heralded as the largest content injection during Voyage to the Sunken City expansion's lifespan. 

After all, this was the hopeful message received alongside the latest set of updates and the major task rework at the start of April: 

Quote From Blizzard

The Future of Hearthstone Mercenaries

You may have noticed that the Mercenaries game mode added only one new Mercenary in Patch 23.0: the slippery murloc, Murky—available for free on the Rewards Track. That’s because Mercenaries will be shifting its release cadence in the Year of the Hydra.

Mercenaries will continue to have updates like events, balance changes, bug fixes, and general improvements in every patch, but the team will be shifting its major content beats to the X.4 patches. That means that the next bunch (and we do mean bunch) of new Mercenaries, Bounties, and Tasks will come in a few months. This shift will allow Mercenaries to have its own big moment like the other major modes do, and will allow the team to focus more efforts on the types of improvements that the community has been asking for.

Throughout this year, the team has plans for a way to spend excess coins, an expansive new end-game system to challenge your whole collection, and a series of improvements to the Task system, as well as more events and the continuation of regular updates to Bounties, Zones, Mercenaries. The first of those Task system updates, and a slew of Mercenary balance changes, are going live right away with Patch 23.0, and that’s just the beginning!

To see nothing else ahead of time and to have the entire "big Hearthstone Mercenaries moment" relegated to the patch notes section must've been an understandably bitter experience for anyone readily looking forward to learn more. And so after some back and forth, Hearthstone Community Manager Alkali Layke took it upon herself to start sharing small GIF teases of the upcoming Mercenaries via the unofficial (subreddit) Discord server dedicated to the game mode. We've also mentioned its address quite a few times in the past during our coverage; chances are you already know the destination.

The Upcoming Patch Is Still Mercenaries-Centric

The surprisingly swift Mini-Set release aside, the Hearthstone team was quick to assure concerned players that the Mercenaries mode would still be the prime focus of what is to come. Even if there is no denying Throne of the Tides is bound to steal at least some of that thunder (or pretty much has already, with so many dedicated reveals). The bane of releasing all content together across one big patch, with various game modes vying for their deserved spotlight. 

Here are some snippets of the communication as it unfolded, to give you a better idea where things stand and what prompted this extra bit of attention:

Quote From DeckTech
And yes, in addition to the mini-set for constructed, this is the big mercs patch, as well as some updates for some of the other modes. 

I don't really understand why this couldn't have been mentioned in the announcement post, it feels like mercs is being swept under the rug as usual and if we are always getting the big updates with the mini set it will always be in the shadow of the bigger announcement.

I mean, we already told people the big mercs update was coming in the .4s, so there wouldn’t have been anything to add because the plan hasn’t changed.

Mercs is getting way more than one sentence in the patch notes. Most of the patch notes are about mercs.

Quote From Alkali
Could you treat it like a big patch for mercs? Because no one sees it. Its just going to be a section of the patch notes tacked on to the mini set.

Well, I can say that I've read the patch notes and it doesn't look like that :) Mercs has the largest section…by far.


Of course, this wasn't nearly enough to placate everyone, and the Mercenaries community proved to be rather vocal about this sort of poor handling and perceived overall neglect. We've also learned a little more about what's been going on behind the scenes: 

Quote From Alkali
That is good to hear, always excited for new content but reveals are part of the fun and patch notes alone don't capture the imagination, even just blogs or tweets would be a huge improvement

I agree! Reveals are definitely part of the fun. The team worked hard to move up the timing for the "dot4" patch. And now that our cycle has moved we'll have the full time to dedicate to the cycles and prepare. I'm also excited to showcase our Mercs creators. We will get there!

[…] Moving up the Mercs time frame made things pretty tight this time. We will have more time to prepare for a another moment and give content creators the visibility they deserve.

All this content is definitely coming sooner than expected, as 'normally' we would have an extra week or two to spare. No other Mini-Set or .4 patch in recent memory happened to be released considerably less than 2 months into its respective expansion. 

Quote From Alkali
Hey Mercs players. We see you too! This patch is a big patch for Mercs with tons of new Mercs and Bounties, but it's not our biggest moment for Mercenaries… that's coming! And we definitely have something planned for when that comes.

This probably shouldn't be too surprising, as we are still expecting the solution to excess coins, another task rework, or an even more challenging 'mythic' difficulty to arrive later in the year, as per the previous announcement. 

Eventually, things have led to a somewhat unexpected - yet positive - outcome: 

Quote From Alkali
Okay Mercs friends…posting "teasers" in the Mercs discord all weekend. Just teasers though! Will be fun to see you guess Fighter/Caster/Protector and spark some interesting conversation. You up for it?

This made a number of people very happy (especially considering how it's been a long weekend over there, given Memorial Day, with Blizzard's offices being largely empty), even though Alkali Layke was reluctant to acknowledge any praise:  

Quote From Alkali
Nah, don't celebrate me on this. It's clear we didn't deliver in a way the Mercs community wanted to see content. That's on us. So if it's means giving a little bit of my weekend to help out…I'm okay with that. It's the least I can do.

It turns out we can expect a lot of new Mercenaries to arrive, some of which would've been very difficult to predict:

Various Mercenaries on the Horizon

If you are a diligent forum or Discord dweller here on Out of Cards, you might've already seen or even participated in the discussions as the small reveals have been taking place over the weekend. It is just simple GIFs for a number of playable Mercenaries, same as we can usually find within the patch notes (don't expect the greatest graphic quality). Their role and (maxed) stats are clearly visible, along with potential skin options, but no mentions of their actual names, any tribal tags, or the most crucial - abilities & equipment. Still, players have had their fun speculating! 

There is at least one surprise (?) character in store, so why not start with what's undoubtedly standing out:


If you've ever played a certain (in-)famous game series from Blizzard, this image of one former Archangel should be instantly recognizable. Yes, this marks our second notable instance of such blatant cross-promotion across different game universes from the company, with Diablo already paving the way a good while back. Hearthstone/Warcraft lore purists, beware. 

Notice the Diamond portrait, indicating a Legendary rarity. That would be in line with how Diablo was introduced to us. 

The timing isn't of great coincidence either, and we didn't actually need any leaks to know that. The long-awaited mobile (then later expanded to also be available on PC) Diablo Immortal is set to premiere in most places by June 2.

Baine Bloodhoof 

Not prominently featured within Hearthstone before, the son of one Cairne Bloodhoof. Inheriting the role of High Chieftain of the Tauren, that's as clear cut as it gets. Let's just hope he is not going to be as incredibly powerful as his father was for months upon the launch of the Mercenaries. 

Fun fact: we've actually had Baine in our card database for a long time, dating back to the original datamining for the game mode. You can see these skins have been waiting for their rightful time: 

Baine Bloodhoof Card Image Baine Bloodhoof Card Image Baine Bloodhoof Card Image

Don't take it as a confirmation of this Merc's rarity, however. There is no Diamond portrait presented in the GIF above, and things might've changed a lot since the initial development.


Had a brief moment of fame within the tavern as High Exarch Yrel, although there is a much larger Warcraft background to respect there. A paladin and a Draenei (that is Alliance for those of you permanently confused by the 'hidden' Mercenaries factions). 

Holy abilities might be expected, although curiously not a Caster like Uther.


Another familiar face, be it from the current Standard meta or the Battlegrounds. Has always been portrayed as a Pirate and a Troll (Horde faction), so we would be very surprised to see anything else. Perhaps Eudora gets another friend with a thing for cannons.


Patches the Pirate was once upon a time a dreaded terror of the tavern. Until eventually sustaining a grave head injury and forgetting how to Charge. No need to be guessing the tribal tag here. Patches has also always had a fondness for being shot from cannons.


Another Old God on the horizon, we can see a theme forming here. If the rumors are to be believed (which we are almost 100% certain of), then this should just follow the same route as N'Zoth. Free as long as you complete enough special Tasks, also with its own time-limited event to begin later in the month.

Lorewalker Cho

Apparently there always has to be a tease of Pandaria sneaking in. You know and perhaps love him as the most underappreciated Legendary card ever - Lorewalker Cho

Curiously, similarly to Baine, we've had Cho's skins in the database for a longer while. Don't take these as the confirmation of this Merc's rarity: 

Lorewalker Cho Card Image Lorewalker Cho Card Image Lorewalker Cho Card Image


A masquerading Orc (safe Horde bets?), these skins seem to announce grim business. That's rather unusual for Hearthstone. Also a Caster, not a Fighter as could be expected of one with Rogue-ish affiliation. 


It was probably just a matter of time before The League of Explorers have found their way into Hearthstone Mercenaries. Since, you know, they are pretty much everywhere by now. With more variations than it's becoming possible to keep track of. 

Sturdy Brann being a Protector and a Dwarf (Alliance), no surprises here.


Our wise Night Elf Druid (that would be Alliance faction again) and a scholar, another member of The League. More of a Fighter than a Caster, apparently.

Reno Jackson

The most infamous of them all, the Legendary (Diamond portrait) rarity should be more than fitting for his ego. Third member of The League of Explorers, whether a Human or a Dragon is up for debate. A Caster, since Reno is known for his affinity towards random spells.

Maiev Shadowsong

And finally, Sir Finley! Wait, what? Something isn't quite right here, we've got an esteemed Murloc and the final member of The League apparently missing. Perhaps that's being left for the patch notes to uncover? Or something else down the line... 

In any case, enter Maiev, a Night Elf (yep, Alliance) Warden most well known for chasing after Illidan Stormrage everywhere. A Protector role is more unexpected than, say, a Fighter. And yes - you might've guessed it by now - Maiev also belongs to that early datamined content package:

Maiev Shadowsong Card Image Maiev Shadowsong Card Image Maiev Shadowsong Card Image

Once again, rarity not confirmed through these - although the GIF does include a Diamond portrait.

Whew, that is a lot - which is to say, 12 unique characters as identified above. And we have it on good authority it's not even all of the expected Mercenaries just yet. Hope you've got tons of packs stashed away, since collecting all of them might take a little while. Not to mention gathering all these coins for ability and equipment upgrades. 

Remember, we're going to learn even more about every single one of them (plus whatever else Patch 23.4 might have in store for the game mode) as soon as the Blizzard blog goes live on May 31! And we'll be here to keep you posted. 

Have any more insights of your own to add? We'd be happy to hear all of them, even if you've already posted elsewhere! This is going to be a huge content update to take in. They really might start running out of known faces to include at this rate.