Journey to Un’Goro: Adapt mechanic review

Hearthstone’s Journey to Un’Goro expansion card reveal season is underway, and a couple of cards featuring the new mechanic, Adapt, have already been revealed. What is Adapt all about and is it any good?

Let’s take a closer look!

The Adapt mechanic

The Adapt mechanic applies an enhancement to one or more of your minions. It works in a similar way to Discover: you are presented with three options to choose from. In case of Adapt, there are a total of 10 enhancements to choose from, and each adaptation is independent from any previous ones, so if you can somehow adapt a single minion multiple times, you may be presented with the same options.

The 10 possible adaptations are:

  • Divine Shield
  • +3 Attack
  • Deathrattle: Summon two 1/1 Plants
  • Windfury
  • Can’t be targeted by spells or Hero Powers
  • Taunt
  • +1/+1
  • +3 Health
  • Stealth until your next turn
  • Poisonous

Adapt does not support one-turn-kill (OTK) combos very well, as Charge is not offered. However, if you are able to combine multiple adaptations, you may be able to combine Stealth and Windfury for some interesting damage potential, or if you have existing minions on the board that you buff up with adapt that can also work.

So, Adapt gives you a lot of flexibility, but how often do you find exactly what you need?

The probability to find a specific adaptation:

  • One attempt: 30%
  • Two attempts: 51%
  • Three attempts: 66%
  • Four attempts: 76%
  • Five attempts: 83%
  • Six attempts: 88%

Thus, if you have a simple Adapt minion in hand, it does not become a Taunt minion more than 30% of the time, but if you are able to adapt multiple minions or multiple times, your odds of finding the right adaptation increase quite nicely.

Volcanosaur and Ravenous Pterrordax

One of the revealed Adapt minions is Volcanosaur. The Volcanosaur is a 7-mana 5/6 minion with a Battlecry to Adapt itself twice. It has also been revealed that players will receive a golden copy of it as a login bonus sometime near the expansion launch, so make sure you won’t miss those daily login bonuses when they arrive.

Volcanosaur is an interesting minion, as it can Adapt twice. (Edit: As can the newly revealed Ravenous Pterrordax)

So, you put the Volcanosaur in a Paladin deck with Dinosize, play it on 7, choose Stealth and Windfury, and Dinosize it on 8 for 20 damage to face, right? Probably not, as the odds to find two specific adaptations in two attempts is only 16%.

Even though the damage combo might not be that common, there are lots of attractive combinations available for the Volcanosaur. How does a 5/9 minion that cannot be targeted by spells sound like? Or a 5/6 Taunt minion with Divine Shield?

That said, the Volcanosaur might end up being too average for its mana cost, as that 7 mana investment is a lot and you generally want it to have an immediate effect. It also gets the adaptation you want the most only 51% of the time.

Crackling Razormaw

Another revealed Adapt minion is Crackling Razormaw. It is a Hunter minion, a 2-mana 3/2 that Adapts a friendly Beast as a Battlecry. It is actually a fairly powerful card for its mana cost, even though Hunter currently has some trouble staying on the board long enough to use it.

In the early game, if you manage to get a 1-drop to stick, you can give it a considerable buff, such as +3 Health to make it survive some early trades. In the late game, Windfury or Divine Shield on a more powerful minion can make a world of difference.

Crackling Razormaw is a nice card for Hunter, because it can be useful at any stage of the game. With the poor card draw capabilities of Hunter, having your early-game cards also contribute in the later stages is a huge asset.

Now, if only Hunter could find a way to build a board that stays alive to actually use the card.


The ultimate adapter is the Paladin Legendary quest reward, Galvadon.

This minion can adapt a whopping 5 times! This means you have an 83% chance to find your favorite adaptation, and a 64.44% chance to find a combination of two specific adaptations.

Adapting multiple minions

There are also a number of cards that allow you to adapt multiple minions, such as the Gentle Megasaur. The way they work is that you pick one adaptation, and it is then applied to all the eligible targets.


Adapt increases flexibility, but on the other hand it also increases the coin flip nature of Hearthstone: as you can only find the thing you want the most 30% of the time from a single adapt, you will often need to compromise. In a way that can also promote skillful playing, as making the best compromises leads to an overall higher win rate, but being on the losing side of those coin flips feels bad. We’ll have to wait and see what other Adapt cards are coming before the overall strength of those cards can be determined.

11 thoughts on “Journey to Un’Goro: Adapt mechanic review”

  1. This new mechanic is probably adding coin flips, but also makes the game dynamic.
    ~50% to find the adaptation you need is not great, but there are several combinations that go well together. With enough “adapts” in your deck, you could piece together your own mini-Al’Akirs or mini-Soggoths, and that’s quite exciting.
    Volcanosaur doesn’t seem very especial, but it looks like a balanced card overall, and a minion like Crackling Razormaw was probably expected, especially for Hunter as King’s Elekk is rotating out of standard, leaving a hole in the 2-cost 3/2 Beast minion.

    1. Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Adapt works out. Especially now with some cards coming out that Adapt your other minions (still unknown whether they do it individually all whether all eligible targets receive the same adaptation).

      Crackling Razormaw is quite different from King’s Elekk though, as it requires you to have a board. Therefore, it becomes even more important for the Hunter to play a 1-drop that sticks. Both Elekk and Razormaw have their uses in the end game, so no real difference there.

    1. I like Adapt twice! But yeah, for some reason Team 5 has always lacked a basic understanding of technical writing.

  2. Care to explain more in depth how you reached the 65% figure on creating a Galvadon that has both Windfury and Stealth? Did you use combinatorics or use a simulation (because I am struggling here on what seems to be a rather easy calculation).
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. The probability to be offered any single specific adaptation in one try is 1-(not offered)=1-(9/10*8/9*7/8)=1-0.7=0.3=30%

      The probability to be offered any single specific adaptation in multiple tries is 1-(not offered)=1-(0.7 to the power of n, where n is the number of tries). For 5 tries, this is 1-0.16807=0.83193=83%

      In order to find two specific adaptations, we need the probability that both of them are offered, and subtract those cases where both of them are offered only once and at the same time.

      Two specific options are offered with a probability of 0.83193 to the power of two (sorry I don’t know how to represent powers in comments) = 0.6921075249 = 69%

      However, at this point it is still possible that both of them are offered only once and at the same time so you cannot pick both!

      The probability that a specific adaptation is offered exactly once is 5*(0.3*0.7*0.7*0.7*0.7) = 0.36015 = 36% (Because it can be offered as the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth option). Thus, the probability that both options are offered exactly once is 0.36015 to the power of two = 0.1297080225 = 13%.

      From this set we need to know how many times both adaptations are offered at the same time, so how many combinations of cases there are when they are offered at the same time.

      Darn. I have actually made a mistake calculating this, because I’ve used 15 combinations, but there should be 25, of which 5 are at the same time. So, the real figure is in fact 0.0259 = 3% of the time both are offered only at the same time.

      Subtract this from the chance that both are offered, 69.2%-2.6% = 66.6%.

      Oh well, math is hard. Furthermore, of course, there is the factor that sometimes you’re offered one of the two twice or more and the other one only once, and if you’re offered the double choice first, you may pick the wrong one there and end up not getting both even though both are offered.

      That’s how I came up with the figure, anyway.

      1. Thanks a lot for explaining. I think I can follow your logic even though I came at the problem from another angle. I am however writing a small script now to test this brute force in a simulation. I’ll let you now if the percentage acquired from that aligns with the 66.6%.

      2. I have now run my little simulation 20 times @ 1.000.000 tries and the result comes out to be 64.44 %.

        I am as confident as humanly possible that I wrote the script correctly, it is really not that hard and manually checked the outcomes for all possibilities.

        I think it is up to the possibilities that you mention. But you are actually incorrect in your assumption that both have to be offered only once. One can be offered only once, while the second be offered all 5 tries for instance. If you pick the second one in the first try (you have no way of knowing which to pick), it will never show up again and you will not end up with both.
        So you basically have to calculate showing up once:once, once:twice, once:three times… etc. And then figure out the combinations of them appearing in the same choice first and you choosing incorrectly, and it kinda spirals out of control at that point…
        We got close, but the simulation gets closer.
        64.44% is the number. For the curious.

  3. Opps, sorry. Missed that you had already very correctly addressed the problem of picking the wrong one. Sorry about that, you made no wrong assumptions at all 🙂 .

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