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Beginners Guide to Hearthstone

How to play Hearthstone, a casual card-based strategy game based on World of Warcraft which is quite addictive.

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1,723 words, estimated reading time 8 minutes.

Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectable card video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment which takes place in the World of Warcraft universe.

What is a Card and Deck?

In Hearthstone matches, each player takes turns to play a card. Each card has a different effect on the game. Some cards cast spells, others summon minions for you to play. Spells can cause damage to your opponent's hero or minions, or they can heal your hero or minions. The end goal is to reduce the opponent's health to zero.

Players start by creating a deck of cards from their collection, only cards from the deck can be played in the match.

Hearthstone Acidic Swamp Ooze
Hearthstone Acidic Swamp Ooze

In this card we see the Acidic Swamp Ooze. The number in the top left (2) is the mana cost for the card. To play this card you must have 2 mana available. In the bottom left (3) is the hit points, or damage, that this minion deals when in combat. The number in the bottom right (2) is the minions health. When this reaches zero the minion is killed.

All cards cost a certain amount of "mana", a budget each player must abide by which increases by one each turn with a maximum of ten.

This invokes strategy as the player must plan ahead, taking into account what cards can and cannot be played. Minions and spells are unique. Minions will be placed directly onto the board on play and may carry special effects like Charge or Deathrattle, allowing the minion to attack instantly or making the minion do something special upon death, respectively. Spells have distinctive effects and affect the board in various ways. Cards can be obtained through opening card packs or by crafting them with Arcane Dust.

Some cards also have special abilities which affect how they can be used or attacked.

Hearthstone Ironfur Grizzly
Hearthstone Ironfur Grizzly

Taunt

Minions with Taunt must be attacked first. If your opponent has taunt then you cannot attack any other minon or hero until all the opponents taunts are gone. They are typically tanks with high health.


Hearthstone Crackling Shield
Hearthstone Crackling Shield

Divine Shield

Divine shield gives a minion a shield absorbing all damage from one attack. After it has been attacked the shield is lost.


Hearthstone Icehowl
Hearthstone Icehowl

Charge

Charge minions are able to attack as soon as they are played on the battlefield, unlike regular minions who must wait until the next turn.

Hearthstone Game Boards

Hearthstone features different themed game boards, called Battlefields. Battlefields are chosen at random and are independent of the heroes chosen by players or used by the Innkeeper.

Hearthstone Battlefields Explained
Hearthstone Battlefields Explained

Around the battlefield are various important UI elements, such as each player's hand, deck and Mana Crystals, as well as the two heroes themselves. Each battlefield features its own design and numerous interactive elements, but the play is in no way affected or determined by battlefield selection.

How to Play Hearthstone

Your first decision should be, do I want to be a Standard or Wild player.

Standard Mode

This is the most popular mode. Only the cards from the classic packs can be used as well as cards from the last 2 years. This means that right now if you get some cards from Un'Goro you can use them for this year (year of the mammoth) as well as next year and that they will be rotated out of standard mode in the spring of 2019 where they will only be useable in Wild Mode. Standard mode has a shifting Meta, meaning the types of classes and decks you see will be changing based on what is popular. In Un'Goro during the first week, for example, there were tons of quest rogues being played. As a result, tons of people started playing the hunter because an aggressive hunter can counter a quest rogue and win a majority of the time. Now that there are lots of hunters, something else will pop up to suppress the rise in hunter decks.

Wild Mode

This mode is less popular than standard mode because it's generally considered less balanced and it doesn't receive support from Blizzard in the form of tournaments. You can use any card ever printed forever so your cards have more value. You will still find very old decks like Secret Paladin and Freeze Mage being played in this format along with new decks as well. I play both ladders and I would say that the skill level of players in Wild tends to be lower but the deck variety is much more interesting.

What is Hearthstone Tavern Brawl?

The Tavern Brawl This game mode is available Wednesday afternoon - Sunday night if you live in the US and to participate you need to have 1 class that is level 20. Winning one game a week will award you with a classic card pack. Any additional wins will not give you an extra card pack; however, quests can still be completed in a Tavern Brawl.

How to get Gold in Hearthstone

the best way to get gold is to do the daily quests that are offered. You can get anywhere between 40 gold - 100 gold for completing a daily quest. Daily quests will not be offered until you progress far enough past the tutorials. A daily quest can be thrown back by pushing the top right corner of the quest where the small "X" is and you will get a new quest. This can only be done once a day. I recommend throwing back every quest that is a 40g quest in hopes of getting a better quest. You also get 10 gold for every 3 wins vs a player and you can get some bonus gold for unlocking some hidden achievements such as playing a game on an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, beating all the computer opponents on normal and on expert and quite a few others.

Disenchanting Cards

I would not recommend disenchanting any cards until you have been playing the game for several months and you have a better understanding of the game. You can only have 2 of each card or 1 legendary and any extra can safely be disenchanted. On the crafting menu, if you see a little magical vial floating around it means you have some extra cards that can safely be disenchanted. Because the game is always changing, some classes that I used to not like I now think are very fun. You can disenchant cards for dust and use that dust to craft specific cards. This is helpful when you decide that there is a particular style of deck you want to play and you are missing a couple of cards.

  • Common Cards (white) cost 40 dust
  • Rare cards (blue) cost 100 gold
  • Epic cards (purple) cost 400g
  • Legendary cards (orange) cost 1600 cards.
  • The golden versions of these cards cost even more.

What Classes to Play

Every class in the game has a unique hero power and plays a little differently. I would recommend a new player to start by playing the mage class up to level 20 for a few reasons.

Firstly, the mage class is a very straightforward class to play. You don't have to worry about card combos like a rogue, minion placement like a shaman, juggling your own health like a warlock or overloading mana like a shaman.

Secondly, the mage has some of the best core cards of any class. Flamestrike, Polymorph, Fireball, Frostbolt and Arcane Intellect are all excellent cards seen in many of even the strongest mage decks. Many of the spells that a mage has are flexible because they can be used to remove powerful enemy minions or they can burst down your opponent and finish him off when his health is low.

One of the best common cards in the game is available to mage players only. There is an adventure mode called One Night in Karazhan found in the solo adventures tab of the game. All the wings of this adventure can be unlocked for gold or for money. Completing the wings gives you various cards including one legendary card per wing. However, the first boss can be fought without unlocking anything or paying money. When you kill the first boss he will reward you with a spell called Firelands Portal. This card is a 7 mana card that does 5 damage and summons a random 5 cost minion. This card has incredible value and 2 copies of this card should go into your deck immediately. You will also get a druid card as well that is a good card but not as powerful as Firelands Portal.

Hearthstone Beginners Mage Deck

This deck is composed of the cards you unlock at Level 10 for Mage and does not require any gold or crafting.

The first set of cards are spells specific to the mage.

Arcane Missils x2
Arcane Missils x2

Frostbolt x2
Frostbolt x2

Arcane Intellect x2
Arcane Intellect x2

Fireball x2
Fireball x2

Polymorph x2
Polymorph x2

Water Elemental x2
Water Elemental x2

Flamestrike x2
Flamestrike x2

The next set of cards are generic minion cards available to every class.

Hearthstone Acidic Swamp Ooze
Acidic Swamp Ooze x2

Bloodfen Raptor x2
Bloodfen Raptor x2

Hearthstone Ironfur Grizzly
Ironfur Grizzly x2

Shattered Sun Cleric x2
Shattered Sun Cleric x2

Chillwind Yeti x2
Chillwind Yeti x2

Gnomish Inventor x2
Gnomish Inventor x2

Sen'jin Shieldmasta x2
Sen'jin Shieldmasta x2

Boulderfist Ogre x2
Boulderfist Ogre x2

Potential Upgrades as you Gain Cards

Here are a few simple substitutions you can make as you gain cards in your collection that will make this budget deck even stronger.

OutIn
Polymorph x2
Polymorph x2
2x Mirror Entity
2x Mirror Entity
Bloodfen Raptor x2
Bloodfen Raptor x2
2x Mana Wyrm
2x Mana Wyrm
Hearthstone Acidic Swamp Ooze
2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2x Sorcerer's Apprentice
2x Sorcerer's Apprentice
Shattered Sun Cleric x2
Shattered Sun Cleric x2
2x Flamewaker
2x Flamewaker
Gnomish Inventor x2
Gnomish Inventor x2
2x Azure Drake
2x Azure Drake
Boulderfist Ogre x2
Boulderfist Ogre x1
2x Mana Wyrm
2x Mana Wyrm

How do I beat guys with decks full of legendaries?

Don't play ladder past rank 20 each month. The ladder is where the best decks are always played. Play casual mode, which has a built-in Match Making Rating this will pair you up with players of similar skill. If you lose enough games in casual mode you will eventually drop down in MMR low enough to play against players of similar skill or players with similar decks. If you lose all day on the ladder mode, you are just wasting your time.

It's going to take a long time before you are competitive and you will never have a completely full set if you are just now starting out. Make sure you stay on top of the daily quests and I would recommend disenchanting any gold cards you get as long as you have the non-golden versions for the extra dust. Hang in there and try not to get discouraged in the first few months.

Last updated on: Sunday 15th July 2018

 

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