Dean Ayala



Dean Ayala

As a game designer on Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone team, Dean Ayala is primarily focused on testing and balancing new cards in development. He also contributes to Adventure design, matchmaking, and bug fixing.

Ayala joined Blizzard Entertainment in 2011 as part of the quality assurance team where he supported the development of World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Hearthstone before making the transition to game design. Dean is passionate about all of Blizzard’s game franchises and has welcomed the opportunity to work on several titles since he joined the company.

Dean is an avid gamer who enjoys playing all types of games, from collectible card games and team brawlers to first-person shooters and MMOs. As a former restaurant consultant, Dean enjoys eating good food and will travel anywhere to find it—especially if it’s good pizza.



Prior to Hearthstone, Ayala had worked as Quality Assurance on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and on Diablo III. When Ayala first heard what type of game Hearthstone (then code-named Pegasus) was, he was "actually a little bit disappointed", thinking "I don`t really play card games." Be that as it may, after taking the game home, Ayala soon began playing it for several hours each night. With no substantial experience with similar games, Ayala describes Hearthstone as "the first collectible card game I`d ever put a lot of time into."

With the first Ranked Season in Dec. 2013, Ayala was surprised to discover he had achieved rank 1 legend, ranking as the top player in the Americas region at that time. After sharing decklists for his current decks on an internal mailing list for Hearthstone players at Blizzard, Ayala was contacted by Mike Donais Mike Donais Set: CREDITS Type: Minion Rarity: Legendary Cost: 6 Attack: 4 Health: 8 Battlecry: Replace all minions in the battlefield, in both hands, and in both decks with random minions.See this card on Hearthpwn hearthstone , at that time the sole member of the final design team, focusing on card balance. Ayala began to help Donais with playtesting, and a few months later on 16th Jun. 2014 officially joined the team.


  • On Nov. 29, 2016, Ayala reached 8,000 Play mode wins and 2,000 Arena wins on his main account. Be that as it may, Ayala has stated that he uses several different accounts, which he frequently uses to play multiple games at once, meaning that his total number of wins is likely exponentially higher.
  • Ayala describes his average work day as "lots of playtesting, lots of coordinating with teams like engineering and art, and people working on the set that`s coming next, and the people working on the set that`s coming after that, and making sure that we`re all sort of on the same page". Ayala works "mostly on cards ... making sure the card designs are fun, and finding what decks they go in", as well as predicting the coming meta, and of course "lots of playing Hearthstone".


Card art

The art for Ayala`s credits card Credits cards are non-playable cards that depict prominent members of the Hearthstone development team. These cards are not found in play, but are displayed in random order during the game s credits, accessed through the Options hearthstone was created by James Ryman James Ryman is the artist for the cards shown here. Contents 1 Cards 2 Uncollectible cards 3 Heroes 4 Boss 4.1 Heroes 4.2 Cards 5 Tavern Brawls 5.1 Cards 6 Credits and debug cards 7 hearthstone .


Ayala in 2014
Credits card artwork