Hearthstone GvG Logo

Hearthstone: Why Random Cards Raise the Skill Cap in Goblins vs. Gnomes

Many of the cards revealed at BlizzCon for Hearthstone’s “Goblin vs. Gnomes” expansion had random effects on them, and I saw a portion of the community get bummed out and complain that random effects ruin the competitiveness of Hearthstone. That is simply not true, my friends!

I’ll admit that I thought the same thing at first, but Adam showed me a whole new way of looking at random effects on cards — a way that reveals that they’re actually increasing the skill cap in Hearthstone, not lowering it. Now I’m even more excited to play with these new expansion cards!

I invited Adam on the show this week to share his perspective on random cards with you, so you can hopefully get excited too. I hope it helps you appreciate the new cards for what they really are: awesome additions that’ll make Hearthstone more fun and more competitive.

If You Enjoy This Article, Please Consider Donating

Subscribe to The Happy Hearthstone Podcast on iTunes or via RSS!

The Links

Hearthstone Group Play Art


  • Adam is on the show this week
  • Topic: Why Random Cards Raise the skill cap, not lower it
  • Reasons to be happy this week
  • News: BlizzCon announcements: Spectator mode, World Championship, new expansion, and more!

Current Perspective on Random Cards

  • The new expansion has a lot of random effects in its cards.
  • Goblins and gnomes both have strong ties to random or unexpected effects in their engineering, so it fits the theme
  • Some forum/reddit posters have gotten very angry about how they believe the random effects reduce the competitiveness of the game. And at first, I kind of agreed.
  • Adam shared his perspective with me and explained how random effects are actually increasing the skill cap and competitiveness of Hearthstone.
  • It really got me excited about the expansion, and let me view the cards with a totally new, better perspective. I wanted him to share that with all of you as well.

Why Have Random Effects On Cards At All?

  • Diversity
  • Surprise
  • Risk
  • High-level strategy revolving around manipulating the odds in your favor

Degrees of Randomness

  • How random does the effect have to be?
  • Stampeding Kodo vs. Brawl
  • How wide of a variance is there in the outcome? Best case vs. Worst case
  • If it’s randomly deal 100 damage to your opponent or destroy all of their cards, do you really care that it’s random?

Randomness Raises the Skill Cap

  • Random effects can be controlled and manipulated.
  • Approach random cards like a con artist. How can you manipulate the context and the environment to make that random card work in your favor.
  • This is a more big-picture strategy that involves knowing all the cards in your deck, your chances of drawing each card, and controlling the board at a level beyond simply “I have more minions”.
  • Be patient with your random-effect cards to get the most value out of them.

Examples From the New Expansion Cards

See the full set here!


  • Questions from Bert and Matt
  • iTunes Reviews

Card of the Week

Hearthstone Velens Chosen


  • Follow Adamon Twitter
  • What you want to see in future episodes
  • What hosts you want to visit the show

Join The Podcast