Blizzard's Original Ideas for Hearthstone's Death Knights with Mike Donais & Dean Ayala

Blizzard's Original Ideas for Hearthstone's Death Knights with Mike Donais & Dean Ayala

IGN's Cam Shea had a chance to talk with Mike Donais and Dean Ayala about Hearthstone's Death Knights. They brought along several early concepts of what Death Knight cards could have been and some in-dev artwork. See our recap of the interview below, along with plenty of awesome concepts.

The only Death Knight info in the following section is information not present on the cards towards the end of this post.

  • Lord Jaraxxus is one of their favourite cards. For a long time they wanted to make more cards like him.
  • They didn't like the weird interactions with Lord Jaraxxus, so they needed to design a new card type to keep it a clean experience.
  • Early on they decided to not change your health total and to give you armor to help make them more playable.
  • Sometimes cards don't change much from their early design other than numbers. This was not the case with Death Knights - they all changed.
  • An early Valeera the Hollow hero power "Discovered a secret from any class".
  • An early Deathstalker Rexxar hero power was "Deal 2 damage to all enemies".
  • Zombeasts originally were able to get minions from any class. "Getting some of the warrior taunts was just a bit too weird".
  • Deathstalker Rexxar had a Battlecry that was to craft and summon a Zombeast.
  • They like how Bloodreaver Gul'dan will grow in strength over time as more Demons are added to the game.
  • An early hero power from Shadowreaper Anduin saw him resurrect a random friendly minion that died during the game.
  • Shadowform working with Shadowreaper Anduin was a consideration.
  • Originally, Frost Lich Jaina gave your Elementals in-deck, on the field, and in your hand +2/+2.
    • "It was a bit weird, because sometimes you would summon elementals later and they wouldn't get the +2/+2"
  • Another version of Frost Lich Jaina saw her summoning 2 Water Elemental.
  • An early hero power from Frost Lich Jaina saw scaling based on killing minions. Each time it killed a minion, it would gain an extra damage. It did not summon the Water Elemental.

Hero Concept Artwork

A few pieces of concept artwork were provided for Death Knights.


Death Knight Card Design Concepts

Sixteen early concepts of Hearthstone's Death Knights can be found below. This was before they had their special hero card backgrounds.






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