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I was using Savannah Highmane and my opponent has a Sylvanas Windrunner. I attacked Sylvanas, fearing that the Deathrattle will take control of one Hyena. I feel lucky, because it did not happen.

I want to know if there are some general rules of effect precedence.

  1. Has Blizzard published something about this?
  2. Are there articles teaching about precedence?

Please note, I want guidance about effect precedence in general, not just about Deathrattle.

  • 1
    As a rule of thumb, triggered effects resolve right before the action that triggered them completes, unless that action is a minion being summoned, in which case they resolve right after said action completes. If multiple effects trigger, I believe they resolve in the order the cards entered play. Deathrattle, for instance, resolves after the damage has been dealt, but right before the card leaves the field (which never matters because we don't have access to the place where cards go when they leave the field). – scenia Apr 8 '14 at 7:55
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+50

This is one of the harder and more intricate aspects of Hearthstone to know to play around. When multiple effects would occur simultaneously, such as deathrattle, or mass effects like Vanish matter regarding something, the order the effects occur in is always the order that the cards were put onto the battlefield. For instance, if your opponent has 9 cards in hand, and 4 minions on the battlefield, and you play vanish, the first creature your opponent ever played will be returned to their hand, and the other three will die, due to the maximum hand size of 10.

Directly from the Hearthstone gamepedia here, regarding specifically deathrattle, but also concerning all simultaneous effects:

"When two minions with Deathrattle die at once, both Deathrattles will take place. According to Lead Designer Eric Dodds, events such as Deathrattles that are triggered simultaneously will occur in the order in which the related cards were played.2 For example, if a Sylvanas Windrunner attacks another Sylvanas Windrunner, destroying both minions, the Deathrattle of the Sylvanas which was summoned first will take place first, followed by the Deathrattle of the Sylvanas which was summoned second."

The linked source in the gamepedia article is unfortunately a video, but you can watch it and hear the stated information for yourself here. The article also unfortunately reads this:

"However, player experience often directly contradicts this rule, even when repeatedly tested.2[3] While some have hypothesised complex rules of minion tiers and priority to predict and explain this behaviour, many reported experiences appear to directly contradict each other in the order of events. This variation may be due simply to bugs in the current build, or may reflect more complex rules underlying the game's behaviour."

But from the looks of the linked sources, the testing isn't very well done, and it's entirely likely this was a bug that has been since corrected, given how buggy of a game Hearthstone is. Either way, from the Lead Designer's words, the order of effect should be the order of minion placement.

  • Do you mean "given how buggy of a game Hearthstone is" vs. was. – ahsteele Apr 28 '14 at 23:30
  • @Ashteele No, no, trust me, the game still has an impressive number of bugs in the game. Not as many game-breaking ones, but more UI ones. – Waterseas Apr 29 '14 at 15:04
  • Agreed UI bugs abound, but in the context of effect precedence are there still existing bugs? – ahsteele Apr 29 '14 at 16:08
  • @ahsteele It's entirely possible, but none that I can specifically think of off hand. There's actually alot of card interactions that people think are bugs, but make logical sense if you actually think about it for a bit. – Waterseas Apr 29 '14 at 16:09
  • @ahsteele For example, on this site: ihearthu.com/30-bizarre-hearthstone-rules The only ones that I believe are bugs are number 1 and number 7. Some of the others simply require close reading to understand why they happen the way they do, and others require understanding 'layering' and how effects are actually being implemented to explain why they work the way they do. – Waterseas Apr 29 '14 at 16:23

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