HOOT HOOT – Everything You Need To Know About Silence
Hi! I’m Asmodeus, Hearthstone coach and author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Today we’re going to take a close look at Silence mechanic and everything you need to know about it. First we’ll examine the mechanic itself. There are a lot of details and rules that might be confusing to newer players and it’s good to just clarify how everything works.
Then we’ll compare different cards with the Silence mechanic, so that we can approximate the real value of Silence which will help with your decision making during building decks as well as playing them. I will show you the best and worst ways to utilize silence, including the most common mistakes made by players.
In the end we’ll also take a look at some interesting ways to incorporate Silence into your deck to take advantage of cards which would be otherwise bad.
Silence is one of the most basic mechanics in the game, despite that many new players still get confused and might not be sure what it really affects.
Take a look at this chicken on steroids to the right. In order to quickly see what will happen when you silence a minion you can hover over it on the board to display the card with a list of effects. There are few key areas that you need to pay attention to.
First we have the name of the card, it’s rarity and the graphics representing it. This is all irrelevant to the game and will obviously not be affected by anything you do to the minion.
Secondly we have the natural values assigned to the basic characteristics which every minion will have. It’s the mana cost, attack value, health and race. If the minion doesn’t belong to any race (such as Beast, Mech etc.) then it’s categorized as a general type minion but it’s simply not displayed. These values are the basics statistics of the card and a silenced minion will keep them.
Third area displayed when we hover over the card is the card text (where you can see: Enrage: +5 Attack.) and the list of all effects currently affecting the card, which is essentially just an extension of the area above. All of those effects, excluding auras (such as the aura buff from Stormwind Champion, will be permanently removed when you silence that minion. In order to remove an aura you have to silence the source of that effect.
This also answers the question about silencing things like Sheep or Frog from Polymorph and Hex. You simply hover over those minions and see that the only thing you can accomplish is removing the Taunt effect from Frog
There is also no way to “unsilence” a minion or somehow reverse it’s effect. It’s a one time – one way deal. The only thing you can do is to return the minion to your hand, using something like Time Rewinder and play it again just like it was a new minion.
Silence and health
The interactions between Silence and health value of minions can be sometimes more complicated. First thing you need to understand is that minions will have an injured or damaged status when their current health value is lower than their current max health value. This is shown in the game by displaying the health value in red color.
A minion with undamaged status will have it’s health displayed in white. It happens when the current health value is equal to current maximum health but does not exceed the natural value. The health will be green when both health values are equal but this time they exceed the natural value due to a buff.
With this in mind, if you silence a minion with more current health than it’s base value, it will become an undamaged minion with max health, regardless of it’s previous status. If you silence a damaged minion with less health than it’s base value it will stay at that health and it will stay damaged/injured.
The interesting thing happens when you silence a minion affected by Hunter's Mark or Equality. Since a 1 health minion can’t have a damaged status it will go back to it’s max health value after silencing it and removing the Hunter's Mark or Equality effect. You can use this to your advantage and heal the minion back to full hp by silencing it if it’s undamaged.
There are currently 8 cards with silence mechanic. Let’s first take a look at the generic “Silence a minion” cards.
With these cards, you simply play them and point at a minion you want to silence. Priest has the best option in terms of tempo because Silence doesn’t cost you any mana and it has great synergy with Wild Pyromancer. Druid has the most versatile option. Keeper of the Grove has a very good stat distribution and flexible ability that let’s you choose between dealing damage or silencing a minion. The neutral cards with silence are very straightforward. If you only care about the silence, you simply pick the Ironbeak Owl because lower mana cost will make it easier to fit within your turns. Spellbreaker is a decent option if you need second silence in a Reno Jackson deck or want more presence on the board together with your silence.
Next, we have cards with combined effects:
Earth Shock is affected by Spell Damage and will always silence the minion before dealing damage to it. This means that you can instantly kill Twilight Drake or Scarlet Crusader and with +1 spell damage it will deal with Shade of Naxxramas or Edwin VanCleef.
Mass Dispel is overpriced even if you manage to silence two minions with it. This makes it a very situational spell and unless you want to specifically target something like a Deathrattle focused deck it will be too slow in terms of mana cost.
Wailing Soul is a very different type of card with Silence mechanic. In most decks the effect will be detrimental to the player using it but there are ways to build your deck around this card and turn it into potentially incredible tempo play. The body of this minion has a good distribution of stats for how strong the effect can be. In the last chapter of this article I’ll cover cards that synergize with Wailing Soul and how you can incorporate it in your deck.
Lastly we have the:
The only good thing about this card is the voice acting. “Depart foul creature!” has to be one of my favorite entry soundbites. This card was made by Blizzard as an insurance in case players found a way to create a broken Dreadsteed deck, since both of these cards came with The Grand Tournament expansion. Fortunately the Dreadsteed population is under control and this card is only going to collect electronic dust in your collection for now.
How to use silence
Whenever you’re playing a deck that uses silence you should know the best targets for it in every deck you face on ladder. Learn the most popular decklists and think beforehand what do you want to silence in each of them. It will not happen in every game but you need to know that if you want to use your silence well and not waste it on something insignificant. Many times you will have a choice to Silence something or deal with it through other means. Knowing your intended silence targets is the only way to actually evaluate your play and correctly decide what’s better for you.
For example, playing against a Freeze Mage you will likely want to target Doomsayer and Archmage Antonidas. You determine that before you use any of your silences and when a situation arises that you can use silence on something else (maybe silencing Freeze effect from one of your minions) you simply compare both uses and see which one is going to have bigger impact on the game. When coaching my students I noticed that almost noone has these types of things figured out in advance and they just “wing it” as they go, which leads to a lot of misplays and can be easily fixed. As you meet new decks on the ladder you should pay attention to the best targets in their deck for your Silence to make sure you’re using it correctly. This is a part of learning your matchups.
When people learn to play Hearthstone they will usually find a certain use for their cards and then stick to it forever. In the case of Silence, when people learn in the tutorial that you can Silence a Taunt they now think that it’s a good idea to do so. In reality Silencing a Taunt is seldom worth it.
There are situations when it’s a good play and those include:
- Silencing Taunt to specifically set up or deal lethal damage
- Silencing Taunt to enable killing a priority target which would otherwise survive (such as Flamewaker)
And that’s about it! Unless you’re playing a deck like Face Hunter and you’ll never deal with the board, you will have to kill that minion anyway. So before you silence Sludge Belcher just to essentially deal 2 damage to the harmless 1/2 Slime, next time ask yourself, wouldn’t it be better to keep that silence for Tirion Fordring in order to remove Divine shield, Taunt and Ashbringer?
Decks relying on silence
Since Naxxramas people have been building various decks relying on cards with negative effects and combining them with Wailing Soul to remove the drawbacks. There are three classes which can be particularly good at it.
Druid – since this type of deck is based around tempo and druid has a lot of tempo tools such as Innervate, this is naturally (no pun intended) the go-to class. You have additional Silence from Keeper of the Grove and Darnassus Aspirant which can benefit greatly from silencing it.
Rogue – can utilize cards like Shadowstep to use his Silence tools more than once and is generally considered to be one of the best classes in terms of early game tempo due to many cheap spells and efficient combo cards. You also gain access to the class card – Anub'ar Ambusher.
Added benefit of playing a deck with many Silence cards is the fact that at any point you can simply use them against your enemy. You’re virtually immune to any kind of snowball effects like the Violet Teacher or Questing Adventurer. And you can have Silence for priority targets on demand.
Here is a list of cards which you can potentially include in a Wailing Soul deck. Normally they tend to be a poor choice but if you remove the card text they turn into giant piles of stats for a very cheap mana cost.
Druid: Darnassus Aspirant
Hopefully now you can consider yourself an expert on Silence. You know how to use it, how to avoid mistakes and what exactly happens when you do use Silence.
Let me know what you think. Share your opinions and post your questions in the comments, I’m always happy to answer them.
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I’m available for Hearthstone coaching – you’ll find all the info you need here: Coaching with Asmodeus