Mike Donais Part 2: More Reno Cards Unlikely in Near Future, Gadgetzan Themes, In-Dev Legendaries

Mike Donais Part 2: More Reno Cards Unlikely in Near Future, Gadgetzan Themes, In-Dev Legendaries

IGN's interview with Mike Donais continues! Our recap can be found below.

Quote from Mike Donais

Reno /  Highlander

  • No plans right now to make more cards.
  • When more time has passed, it's an open ended question.
  • They'd like decks to leave Standard and to maybe reappear later on.

Jade Lotus

  • The Jade Lotus' mechanic, Jade Golem, was set in stone early on. Dev time was spent on how it would appear to players.
  • Jade Idol has so far played out exactly as they expected and Mike expects it will change Control for the next couple of years.
  • We shouldn't expect more Jade Golem cards in future sets, though cards could be created in the future that improve them (like Brann Bronzebeard & Jade Claws).

Grimy Goons

  • The mechanic came about from the design of The Mistcaller and wanting to play into a Weapon Smuggling theme.
  • Each class needed to be different even though they use a similar mechanic. Paladins their hand, Warriors taunt minions, Hunters beasts.
  • They wanted to make sure there was an obvious combo with hand-buffing, to illustrate the mechanic, so each class got one of those as well.
  • Grimy Goons Paladin and Hunter aren't very popular now, but it's possible future sets could make the mechanic better.
  • By the end of testing, they felt Paladin was the most interesting to play with since it had reliability and potential.


"They've got a big bathtub full of liquids. They're drinking from it. They're doing weird stuff with it. They're selling it." - Mike Donais, 2017

  • Originally, the Kabal was all about spending all your mana in a turn and gaining a bonus for doing so.
    • It didn't work out because you should already be spending all your mana - you're doing well.
  • Later the mechanic was changed to the opposite, you get bonuses for not spending mana. It wasn't intuitive and didn't feel good.
  • They tried to do something which changed your mana crystals into red mana crystals, but they didn't like it.
    • Some cards in the set would change your blue mana into red mana.
    • Cards could interact by gaining power based on the number of red mana crystals available, or straight up spending a static amount of red mana.
    • One issue of red mana was that it didn't work well on mobile.
    • They didn't feel like minions which transformed your mana crystals were cool enough.
    • There may be space for a mechanic like this in the future. They'll experiment with it.
  • Since Reno Jackson was a fan favourite, and it wasn't tier one, they decided to boost Reno up for the four Kabal legendaries.
  • Originally Potions weren't a thing in the Kabal. They grew from the team wanting to do more than just Reno-effect Legendaries for Kabal classes.
    • There was already some potion flavour in the set, so they renamed the spells, except one, to Potions and made it a thing.
  • Inkmaster Solia originally had the Kazakus effect. It moved over to the leader of the theme since they loved it so much.


  • His potions didn't change much from early on. Only two effects that were play-tested didn't make it in.
    • There was a Thoughtsteal type effect.
    • Mike couldn't recall what the other effect that didn't make it in was.
  • They wanted to capture different themes from each of the Kabal classes in the potion creation. The exception is the Armor potion, but it was good for those playing Kazakus out of desperation.
  • The Sheep effect was originally 1-mana: sheep a minion, 5-mana: sheep 2 minions, 10-mana: sheep all minions.
    • It then evolved into what it is today, but there was a 1-mana sheep effect: Randomly sheep a minion on the battlefield. It didn't feel good when it backfired.

Raza the Chained

  • The card is a good example of how a new card can improve old ones such as some of the Inspire minions and Shadowform.
  • Raza was a freshly designed card and not an idea they were sitting on. It became a thing when they realized the card would have the Reno-restriction on it so it could be very powerful.
  • Priest needed help, so they made Raza the strongest of the Reno cards.

Inkmaster Solia

  • The design came out of Mages having large spells, Kazakus potentially giving you a large spell, and needing a card design.
  • She was a 5-mana 5/5 early on, but it was too good.

Krul the Unshackled

  • They didn't want to simply make Renolock better, they wanted it to go in a different direction if you wanted to play Krul.


  • Mike thinks the class just needs more cool themes in order to succeed. They are normally good in aggro meta, but they're slower than Pirates [which hurts].


  • Dragon Priest was made strong so that they could deliver on the fantasy before half the cards rotated out of Standard.
  • More "tricky" cards will be seen going forward. Consider cards like Pint-Size Potion and Potion of Madness.
  • Mike thinks Priest may have the best shot at Reno decks in Standard once Reno himself rotates out thanks to Kazakus and Raza. Those two are very strong, Priests already have a lot of healing ability, and Priest has good single-include cards.


  • Cards which make the game swing back and forth, such as board clears, large taunts, and large heals, can be really fun. There may be room for more of it but they don't want to overdo it.
  • Drakonid Operative was originally known as Investigator. There was not Dragon requirement on the Battlecry.
  • Cabal Leader was a 6-mana 4/8 Legendary.
    • At the end of your turn, if you have unspent mana fire an arcane missile for each unspent mana.
  • Dios was a 9-mana 12/12 Legendary Warlock minion
    • Battlecry: If you have no remaining mana, shuffle two copies of this card into your deck.
  • End Bringer was an 8-mana 9/9 Legendary Warlock minion. It later morphed into what we now know as Krul.
    • Battlecry: Discard your hand. Summon any demons you discarded.
  • Khajakus the Banished was a 7-mana 7/7 Legendary Kabal minion. 
    • Battlecry: If you have cast 10 unique spells this game, become Khajakus, Dragon Form.
    • Mike: "I don't remember his dragon form off the top of my head, probably something really cool, though, like Ragnaros or something."
  • Sin-Sor was a 7-mana 4/4 Legendary Priest minion.
    • Battlecry: Swap a random enemy minion with a friendly one.
  • Pang, The Unthinkable was an 8-mana 4/8 Legendary Mage minion.
    • When your spells deal damage to enemy minions, this minion deals that much to the enemy hero.


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