Dean “Iksar” Ayala’s Twitter Q&A – March 3, 2021 – Roundup of All Answers – Guilds/Clans, Pre-Release Events, High Legend Rewards, Charge, Official Deck Tracker, Hearthstone VR

And so, weekly Dean “Iksar” Ayala’s Q&A session on Twitter became a thing. He started them on January 13 and promised to do them every Wednesday (afternoon pacific time). People have been asking lots of questions about the game’s balance, design, specific cards, mechanics and so on. Sadly, Twitter is kind of a mess when it comes to such things. Messages are short, you have to create long threads if you want to talk about something in detail, lots of comments get hidden, and it just doesn’t flow right. To make it a bit easier for all of you, just like during the previous weeks, I went through all of his replies and decided to make a quick summary of the most important talking points.

Check out his last Q&A from February 24 here.

That said, if you want to read the full Q&A – all the questions and answers – here’s the Tweet you should go to:

Just like always, my summary is pretty long for a “summary”, but Dean always answers a lot of questions in details. I try to ignore “fluff” answers and not repeat points that have been already discussed in his recent Q&A’s, so if you want to learn more, go back to them. And if you want to read his full replies on all topics, check out the Tweet above. Stuff in parentheses are my own notes/comments and not Dean’s words. Let’s start:

  • Balance patch before the next expansion is “unlikely” (Alec Dawson already talked about it here)
  • The biggest focus recently was on the progression system and new game modes, but Iksar would like to work on some social aspects of the game. He would love to work on guilds/clans that connect people and then some group activities (like “raids” or “4v4”).
  • Despite a lot of online voices hating the pre-release events where pro players can play with the set ahead of time, Iksar doesn’t think that they’re truly that hated by the majority of players. Many people like to have some sort of direction on Day 1. He also doesn’t think that those events “solve” the meta in any way, as most of the players participating are trying to have fun and not tryhard to build the best meta deck.
  • The reason why Wrath of Air (Spell Damage) Totem got removed is that it was the best totem in some decks and useless in other decks. They also want Spell Damage to be built into cards so Shaman players can time it instead of relying on RNG to hit the right Totem.
  • Iksar doesn’t think that HS will ever have its official deck tracker, because it would just cause “information overload” for some people and those who are into that can just download the add-on.
  • They’d like to add some “special reward” (most likely cosmetic) for people who hit high Legend, but they aren’t sure about the cut-off yet – whether to make it something really special like top 10 or  top 1 or something a bit more common such as top 100 or top 500. Maybe even both!
  • Wolfrider and Kor'kron Elite still have charge even though Stonetusk Boar and Bluegill Warrior got changed because the latter two limit design space more. Cheap charge is hard to design around. However, after some feedback, they might re-consider it and add them back to Wild, since some players enjoyed those cards in that format. Core Set in general is “brand new thing” and it will definitely get some changes over time.
  • On Risky Skipper – they would normally be unhappy by a card seeing so much play, but Skipper is a bit different, because it was played in a variety of different builds and it played a different role in them. It also became an enabler for a lot of cool cards that wouldn’t see play otherwise (e.g. in Enrage Warrior).
  • The topic of doing cross-overs with other IPs has very different opinions. It might become a thing, but mostly when they make sense thematically. E.g. they might do it with Diablo, because Demons already exist in HS and fit this world too, but doing something like “John Wick cross-over” wouldn’t make sense. (I mean… now I kind of want it)
  • Book of Heroes will be expanded beyond the 10 basic Heroes – they want to tell more stories.
  • Shaman will have spell school buildarounds, with Fire, Frost and Nature all being in the class’ kit.
  • Hunter is the most difficult class to go out of the box with because it has a very clear identity and it’s hard to add unusual strategies without things like healing or board clears. Druid is hardest to balance – because of the ramp, big stuff can come out earlier than it should for other classes. Dean loves designing Warlock cards, but the class is kind of restricting “design space” because of its Hero Power (they can’t print too powerful, low cost cards because of it).
  • Paladin’s original set was pretty weak, but very thematic – that’s why they’ve decided to take most of the Core cards for that class from Basic/Classic.
  • Classes that were draw restricted before will get some more card draw, but won’t excel at it.
  • The general balance / design idea is that decks should FEEL powerful when pulling their game plan without their win rate being too high. Players also should have access to multiple fun options that are close in power level – not everything has to have exactly 50% win rate.
  • Sometimes Legendaries are shipped weaker on purpose because either they will get more support later or some players would find their design frustrating and the team doesn’t want them to become too popular. But designers don’t have infinite development time to tune each card perfectly, so sometimes they just miss the mark and Legendaries end up not seeing play at all.
  • They once had a card that you can put as many copies as you want into your deck, such as Relentless Rats from MTG, but they ran into some problems with HS rules. Pogo-Hopper was meant to be a similar design, but instead of infinite copies, they’ve a added multiple ways to bounce it back to hand or add extra copies to the deck. But maybe one day they’ll do an actual “any number of copies” card.
  • One person on the team once built a very basic VR version of Hearthstone in his free time, which “was creepy”. There are no official plans to bring HS to VR, though. (We actually covered a similar story from Dave Kosak over a year ago!)
  • The team tried to add a ranked arena or restructure how the format works in general, but they always ran into some problems.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Nerose
    March 4, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    It would be cool to see 1-mana priest secrets.

    • H0lysatan
      March 5, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      It won’t happen as dev clearly suggest that there’s a limit with classes identity.

      Beside if anything happen, I still think Priest secrets will have 3 mana cost. Explanation a bit too long, and kinda contradictive seeing how it won’t happen. But to cut it short, Priest class used to be disruptive and controlling, hence the secret that disrupt board tends to be more costly. Such as Spellbender, Potion of Polymorph, or Explosive Runes.

  2. UltraJeeves
    March 4, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for another summary! 🙂

    And to Dean for the Q&A.

  3. H0lysatan
    March 4, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Woah, John Wick crossover?
    Could be a hero card with battlecry, summons 3 pencils to destroy 3 random enemy minions.
    Hero power. Immune until next turn.

    • H0lysatan
      March 4, 2021 at 10:52 am

      And btw, they mentioned something about some nerfs being reverted soon.
      (Or is it?)

      Weird that I can’t do smiley emojis. Oh well. ¯\_( ツ)_/¯.

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        March 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

        Yes, a lot of the cards that rotate out will have their nerfs reverted. It will all most likely happen with the expansion patch (20.0) which should be out a few days before Forged in the Barrens. The only problem is that we still aren’t 100% sure when Forged in the Barrens comes out.

        I think that only the basic smilies (like 🙂 or 🙁 for example) are recognized by WordPress, and you have to write them like : ) (just without space in between), so you can’t do anything more complex.

  4. Reeveff7
    March 4, 2021 at 9:04 am

    No official deck tracker because it is “too much” for some players? Wtf man, I think you just a bunch of lazy a** devs. If you are that thoughtful for the players, make the tracker and add an on/off options for the one dont want to use it, with I really doubt there are any lolz

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      March 4, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Honestly, I have to disagree with you. Deck tracker is not just a function they can add and forget about it. If it’s official, they would need to support it on all systems – PC, MacOS, Android, iOS. They would also have to constantly keep it up to date on all four, work on any bugs that come with new releases, keep adding new features (because if they make it really basic, then why use it over the unofficial one?) Long story short, it’s thousands of hours of development time that could be spent elsewhere.

      We don’t live in the world where additional functions are in the vacuum and devs have unlimited resources – spending so much time on this would mean less time for new game modes, less time for fixing other bugs, less time for other UI changes and so on. And I feel like those are simply more important.

      Casual players don’t care about it anyway (the majority of playerbase doesn’t use it – HS deck tracker has “only” ~450k users out of 20mil+ players) and people who do can just download it like they do right now. Developing an official deck tracker would be a very expensive solution to a problem that isn’t there.

      • MJT3ll3r
        March 4, 2021 at 11:35 am

        I agree. Deck trackers are not the business of the game devs. If people want to build them and use them, their choice, but they are an accepted form of cheating. I play mobile, so i am always on the backfoot, not only because pc players have better performing machines allowing for 10x more apm, but also because I actually have to spend turn time thinking of the cards played, secrets to play around, counting lethal,… instead of just checking a list or a counter on the screen…
        I am not totally against them. They are really good for streamers, cuz they have a chat and other data to check while playing.
        And they help to lower the skill cap of difficult decks, giving them more time to shine and make them more accessible to players who might otherwise not play them.

      • UltraJeeves
        March 4, 2021 at 11:43 am

        “…just download the add-on.”

        Mmm, what about all the devices running Android or iOS? Must be a big group of players with no access to one.

        • Stonekeep - Site Admin
          March 4, 2021 at 6:35 pm

          I don’t know about iOS, but Arcane Tracker was a thing on Android, right? I never used tracker when playing on mobile, so I’m not up to date on that.

          And to clarify – I never said that official deck tracker should not be developed. I’m just saying that it’s a huge undertaking that will require a lot of dev time to create and even more to keep it working across all platforms and saying it’s not a thing because “devs are lazy” is disingenuous to put it lightly. Game dev is way more complicated than “oh, this thing would be nice to add to our game and some players would like it, so let’s do it!”

          • DRBoomsScheme
            March 5, 2021 at 7:34 am

            As far as I know, Arcane Tracker has been discontinued.

            Android 11 doesn’t allow apps to access files created by other apps unless specifically created in a public directory. Deck trackers work by reading Hearthsone logs and that’s not possible after android 11.
            You can read more about it here:

            There is still the possibility that Blizzard decides to create log files in a public directory to allow deck trackers in Android, but I highly doubt they will bother.

      • Cilan
        March 4, 2021 at 5:30 pm

        Yeah I agreeI agree that the decktrackerI agree that deck tracker clutters the screen too much. It would make the hstone interface way too messy. I actually hope they don’t make this. Also the arguement about a lot of hours put into this does not sound like it is worth it at all.