The Enrage Keyword is Being Removed From Hearthstone!

Interesting change being made soon. The Enrage keyword is being removed and the effect is being spelled out instead.

Peter Whalen also left a comment on Reddit:

“Just to clarify – we’re not getting rid of the Enrage mechanic, we’re getting rid of the Enrage keyword. We’ll still make cards that say “while damaged, do something cool”; they just won’t say Enrage. I like the “while damaged” mechanic, so we’ll continue to use it when there are cards we’re excited about that can take advantage of it. This is more about cleaning up card text a bit and getting rid of one of the mouseover boxes so the game looks a little better.” – Source

Original Post

First things first: we’re removing the Enrage keyword from Hearthstone.  All the Enrage cards will keep their effects; we’re just rewording them without the keyword.  For example, Angry Chicken will read “Has +5 Attack while damaged.”

Our goal with this change is to clean up the game a little by removing a keyword we weren’t using much, but we also wanted to take the opportunity to share some of our general philosophy on keywords.


Keywords in Hearthstone are the bolded words in the card text – they’re words that have a special meaning in the context of the game.  We use them a lot; most of our sets have introduced at least one keyword and the Basic and Classic sets have a bunch.  Why are keywords helpful?

  1. Keywords can make learning cards easier.  Once you know a keyword, it can boil down a complex idea and help you understand a new card more quickly.
  2. Keywords are flavorful.  They tell a story – DiscoverRecruitTaunt; these all help the game come alive.
  3. Keywords condense card text. This leads to more readable cards that fit better in the frame.
  4. Keywords give us mechanical hooks.  So we can make cards like “Give your Taunt minions +2/+2.”

So why not make lots and lots of keywords?  In the extreme, we could keyword everything – the “Kel’Thuzading” keyword would mean “At the end of each turn, summon all friendly minions that died this turn” and the Doomsaying keyword would mean “At the start of your turn, destroy ALL minions.” That feels a bit silly – because it is!  Keywords aren’t all upside, so it’s worth taking a look at which keywords are worth keeping.

Ultimately, we have keywords to make cards easier to understand.  The best keywords appear a lot, are flavorful, and give us useful mechanical hooks.   In the last year, we added two examples that we expect to be permanent: Poisonous and Lifesteal.  These are great abilities that make minions a bit more interesting – they alter combat math, change which minions you prioritize, and spice up gameplay.  The full text for both of these abilities is also fairly long – without a keyword, it’d be hard to pair them with much else.


So let’s take a look at Enrage.   Enrage means “While damaged, this minion has a new power.”  It’s on nine cards: six from the Basic and Classic sets, two from Whispers of the Old Gods, and one from Goblins vs. Gnomes.  Part of the reason we haven’t used it much is that it’s a difficult keyword to design for: minions in Hearthstone don’t survive very long, especially once they’ve been damaged.  Instead, we’ve favored cards with triggered abilities that encourage you to damage them multiple times, like Acolyte of Pain and Rotface.  These lead to more interesting gameplay as you try to maximize the number of times they get damaged.

How well, then, is Enrage serving us as a keyword?  First, it’s not clear that Enrage is actually any easier to understand than “while damaged”.  It is certainly flavorful though, and does shrink the card text a little.  On the other hand, we haven’t made any cards that key off of Enrage minions and aren’t likely to in the future.  Overall, Enrage isn’t doing very much work for us, we haven’t used it in a while, and it isn’t on very many cards, so we’re cleaning up the game a little bit and removing it.


Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in the Tavern!


Leave a Reply


  1. Fabuloso
    March 21, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Sorry, I may be missing something, but does this mean that if you heal a “while damaged” minion that has that additional stat to full health, that additional stat will be removed? This basically changes the enrage mechanic as previously a minion stayed enraged even after being healed, no?

    • Random Dude
      March 21, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Nope, healing that minion removes the Enraged status (also referred to as “calm your ass down, minion” mechanic (except it isn’t ;)).

      They’re apparently not touching the functiinality, and I actually agree, it makes it clearer. Damaged – effect on. Undamaged – effect off.

  2. Heinkel
    March 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Probably they will make a warrior legendary with some cool mechanics and need to clear the enrage one to make the side explaination shorter.

  3. Killer Lord
    March 20, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    So no more angry chicken as second pick in crafting a zombeast i guess

    • Spyder9899
      March 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

      I dont think thats the case. There are other beasts that have special effects without a keyword. I don’t see why they can’t do the same with angry chicken.

      • Yggdreigon
        March 24, 2018 at 11:15 am

        i think with this change angry chicken will be on the first pick and not on the second, which can lead to interesting scenarios given the second picks are often the one with the beefier stats bar bittertide hydra

  4. Cruxkid
    March 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    An absolutely unnecessary change imo

  5. LazyTitanftMadB
    March 20, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Does this mean the quest (play 10 enrage minions) will also be removed?

    • SiLenCe.r
      March 20, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      yes it is ??

    • Moltar
      March 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      It was called “Rampage”, and i’m interested in how will they handle this case too.

    • competent individual
      March 20, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      your a dumbass that’s not even close to a thing in this game