Hearthstone Beginner’s Guide

HearthStone_logo

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Blizzard Entertainments digital based card game that can be played on a home computer or mobile device. It is based on similar rules to the physical World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and is the leader when it comes to this type of genre at the moment.

The game continues to evolve as new expansions are added, that will provide brand new cards, adventures, and all-new ways to play. When new decks come out, old decks and cards may be removed or altered to make room for the new playstyle.

Each month will start a new season and players will lose rank from where they were at. The higher their rank was, the less they will have to reclimb up the ladder. At the end of each season, players will receive a rewards chest based on their rank that contains gold, materials, cards, and card packs.

Gameplay

Each player will choose a hero and build a deck of roughly 30 cards, containing minions, spells, and a variety of other special goodies. Each player will begin with 30 life points, and the goal of the game is to reduce the other player’s health points to 0.

Players will take turns playing cards from their hands against an opponent, whether it be another person or an AI-controlled player. Each player will start off the game receiving 4 cards, but the second player will receive an additional “token” card to give them 1 mana crystal during a turn.

Each turn a player has a mana crystal and can play a card that correlates with that cost. So, if a player has 1 mana crystal, they may play a card that costs 1. If the card costs 0, they may play that card without using a mana crystal.

Hero Selection

Hero Choices:

There are nine different hero class choices in Hearthstone. Each one of the hero classes is represented by a character from the Warcraft universe and players can purchase additional hero portraits in game. The “special” portraits do not do anything except give a cosmetic look, and the hero power is the same.

Deciding on a hero is not just simply deciding which hero power you prefer, but rather what the hero can offer in terms of their class’ cards. Only through trial and error will one be able to determine which hero they are best with.

Mage

Mages mostly have different spell related abilities and what they lack in minion power and buffs, they make up for with rather versatile skills. Mage characters can either use their spells to completely control the board with Area of Effect abilities or heavy direct damage spells.

Standard Hero Portrait: Jaina Proudmoore

Costs 2 Mana Crystals -Shoots a 1 damage fireball at the target minion, hero, or yourself.

Paladin

Paladins have cards that are especially useful for buffing their minions to do great damage against their opponents. They can provide great defensive abilities to their minions as well in the form of divine shield. Paladin cards typically will increase the attack power of minions dramatically.

Standard Hero Portrait: Uther Lightbringer

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Can summon a 1 damage 1 health Silverhand Footman.

Priest

Priests have cards that are primarily based around healing and buffing the HP of their minions.

Standard Hero Portrait: Anduin Wrynn

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Can heal for 2 points of health. Can target minions, yourself, or other hero.

Rogue

Rogues have multiple abilities that call back their minions, receiving additional battle cries and can clear the entire board with abilities like vanish. Rogues can choose to play defensively by removing the opponent from battle or they can be offensive with weapons.

Standard Hero Portrait: Valeera Sanguinar

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Summon a dagger with 1 damage and 2 durability, allowing the player to attack twice or until the weapon is destroyed.

Hunter

Hunters have cards that are great to quickly set up an offensive game and take down an opponent as quickly as possible. They have cards that will primarily effect beasts and enhance their damage while also increasing other ability cards of the hunter. They also have an array of damaging attack abilities.

Standard Hero Portrait: Rexxar

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Shoots an arrow at the other hero for 2 points of damage.

Shaman

Shamans utilize cards that can either evolve their own forces or make their opponent’s forces weaker. Shamans have many powerful cards early on with an “Overload” effect which means they will sacrifice a portion of their next turns mana crystals to play the overload card that round.

Standard Hero Portrait: Thrall

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Can summon one of four basic totems at random.

  1. A 0/2 healing totem that restores health to all your minions at the end of each turn.
  2. A 0/1 spell damage totem that gives you +1 spell-damage while it is active.
  3. A 0/2 Taunt totem that forces the enemy player to attack it first.
  4. As well as a 1/1 damage totem.

Warlock

Warlocks abilities have a penalty attached to them, meaning taking damage to draw a card or discarding cards to summon a powerful demon or use a powerful ability that has a low cost. Warlocks utilize their abilities to sacrifice their own minions for HP while also taking life from their opponents to stay alive.

Standard Hero Portrait: Gul’dan

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Causes 2 damage to the Warlock hero but draws a card from their deck.

Warrior

Warriors can go down different paths with their play. They can either utilize a defensive strategy with a myriad of taunt minions or an offensive type strike with weapons and charge minions. Warrior minions will typically benefit from having taken damage to increase their overall attack.

Standard Hero Portrait: Garrosh Hellscream

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Adds 2 armor to the hero.

Druid

Druids have cards that are based around nature and animals, with powerful cards that can heal or destroy an opponent’s minions but grant them to draw cards in return. Their buffs work better on beast type minions and a druid will usually receive a beneficial effect from buffing those minions.

Standard Hero Portrait: Malfurion Stormrage

Costs 2 Mana Crystals – Gain 1 armor and 1 attack this round. Can attack minions or hero with physical damage. If player does not attack during that round, they lose the 1 attack but retain the 1 armor.

Alternate Hero Choices (Aka “Secret Ones”)

Hunter

Alleria Windrunner

How to Obtain: $9.99 purchase through the Battle.net shop or the in-game shop.

Mage

Khadgar

How to Obtain: No Longer Obtainable – Was a purchase through the Battle.net shop or in-game shop.

Medivh

How to Obtain: $9.99 purchase through the Battle.net shop or the in-game shop.

Paladin

Lady Liadrin

How to Obtain: World of Warcraft Achievement – Obtained by reaching level 20 on a new character in World of Warcraft.

Prince Arthas

How to Obtain: Defeat the Lich King in Adventure Mode of Icecrown Citadel with all nine classes.

Priest

Tyrande Whisperwind

How to Obtain: Twitch Prime promotion.

Rogue

Maiev Shadowsong

How to Obtain: In-game Promotion.

Shaman

Morgl the Oracle

How to Obtain: Recruit a Friend.

Warlock

Nemsy Necrofizzle

How to Obtain: Participate in a Fireside Gathering during Hallow’s End event which is around Halloween.

Warrior

Magni Bronzebeard

How to Obtain: $9.99 purchase through the Battle.net shop or the in-game shop.

Game Modes

Hearthstone has five primary game modes for players to engage in. These modes are meant to not only train a player on how the game works but also can provide them with ranked play to guide them to fame. Whether it be ranked mode, practice or nonsense, there are plenty of options for all tastes.

Below is a list of the game modes that are available within Hearthstone:

Play Mode

Play Mode is your standard game mode that will match human opponents with others of a similar skill in random matches. They can play in either friendly games or ranked games. Friendly games have no rating and ranked games let players move up the ladder to earn special rewards in-game.

Arena

Arena mode allows players to select a hero out of 3 random choices and then are given sets of 3 cards to choose from at random. They will select 1 out of 3 cards 30 times until their deck is completed. When they have a completed their deck, they play as normal, but after 3 losses they’re out.

The more wins a player gets, the better their reward will be. Rewards include such things as packs of cards, gold, and enchanting dust. Each time a player wants to make an arena run it will cost them $1.99 or 150 gold. It is a great way to get cards and build up enchanting dust.

Adventure Mode

Adventure Mode is the single-player experience that players can delve into that involves practice games against the AI and missions for players to undertake. They can play against the AI in normal traditional games, or they can go an adventure to take on boss battles to earn exclusive cards.

Tavern Brawl

Tavern Brawl is a weekly challenge where players can compete in wacky matches that will have unique rules associated with them. Some Tavern Brawls are straight-forward while others are ridiculous. Sometimes you will make a deck for a Tavern Brawl and other times the deck will be provided. It’s a surprise!

Friendly Challenge

Friendly Challenge allows you to play against people on your friends list without an actual rating increase. It’s more of a practice and fun game mode rather than one that people can use to push their rating up.

Building Your Deck

After the Hero selection process is concluded comes the fun part, building the deck. Players may choose 30 different cards to make their deck. Typically, there is a maximum number of cards that you can pick of one type. However, you can get additional cards added during the game via specific cards you pick.

You can hold a maximum of 10 cards in your hand, and any cards drawn after 10 will be destroyed. Keeping track of your cards and draws is imperative so that you don’t accidentally destroy cards in your deck.

Acquiring Cards

Cards come from multiple different places such as freely awarded when new expansions come out, obtaining them through solo adventures, or as always, from opening card packs. Each card pack contains 5 different cards, and just like traditional card games, you never know what you will get.

Acquiring Gold

Gold is the in-game currency that is utilized instead of real money and can be earned in the game by completing quests, winning games, end of season reward chests, and competing in the arena. Pretty much, as long as you play the game, you’ll keep getting gold.

Acquiring Materials

If you aren’t lucky enough to get that amazing card you were hoping to find out of one of the card packs, there is the option to craft it on your own. You can disenchant cards that you don’t want and create dust out of them. With this dust, you can then craft the cards you want for your deck.

Card Types

Class Cards – These are cards that are only available to a specific hero type which makes them unique. They can either be spell cards or minions. Some Heroes specialize in taking class cards from others, and the more powerful the cards one person has, the better it is for the other stealing.

Neutral Cards – Neutral cards are minion type cards that are available to every hero. These type of cards are utilized to help put the finishing touches on decks and can contain some very powerful cards. These cards, like class ones, can be found in packs or crafted.

Card Categories

Free

Free cards are the ones automatically provided by the game to both neutral and class cards. These cards cannot be disenchanted into dust. Some free cards are staples, all cards afterward have different values, but the primary purpose is to determine how much they cost to craft or what you get.

Common

Crafting cost for “Normal” Common – 40 Dust

“Normal” Common Disenchants – 5 Dust

Crafting cost for “Golden” Common – 400 Dust

“Golden” Common Disenchants – 50 Dust

Rare

Crafting cost for “Normal” Rare – 100 Dust

“Normal” Rare Disenchants – 20 Dust

Crafting cost for “Golden” Rare – 800 Dust

“Golden” Rare Disenchants – 100 Dust

Epic

Crafting cost for “Normal” Epic – 400 Dust

“Normal” Epic Disenchants – 100 Dust

Crafting cost for “Golden” Epic – 1600 Dust

“Golden” Epic Disenchants – 400 Dust

Legendary

Crafting cost for “Normal” Legendary – 1600 Dust

“Normal” Legendary Disenchants – 400 Dust

Crafting cost for “Golden” Legendary – 3200 Dust

“Golden” Legendary Disenchants – 1600 Dust

Refining Your Deck

This is the fun part now for some people while the absolute bane to others. Refining your deck now requires you to make those fine tune adjustments so that you as a player can find the most success. Specific deck combinations will be more suited to beat others and therefore, you must refine.

Typically, one of the best ways to refine your deck is through trial and error. You see what cards work well for you, keep those, get rid of those that don’t. However, sometimes people don’t have the time for that, and so people will copy the decks recommended by the pros.

These decks are called net decks or meta decks and are basically the “ideal” cards to form a competitive deck to help go through the ranks. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee success though since people develop counter decks to the net decks.

Ranks

After a deck has been established, players will now have the ability to push themselves up the rankings. The concept is simple, win games, go up in ranking. Each rank needs stars to level up and winning consecutive games will award more stars. As you rank up, your opponents will only become harder.

At the end of each season the ranks reset. For example, if a person was rank 1 at the end of a season, they would start the next at rank 5. This ensures that players need to continue to play each season if they intend to keep their rankings at the top level.

There are 25 rankings in total:

  • Rank 25: Angry Chicken
  • Rank 24: Leper Gnome
  • Rank 23: Argent Squire
  • Rank 22: Murloc Raider
  • Rank 21: Southsea Deckhand
  • Rank 20: Shieldbearer
  • Rank 19: Novice Engineer
  • Rank 18: Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Rank 17: Tauren Warrior
  • Rank 16: Questing Adventurer
  • Rank 15: Silvermoon Guardian
  • Rank 14: Raid Leader
  • Rank 13: Dread Corsair
  • Rank 12: Warsong Commander
  • Rank 11: Big Game Hunter
  • Rank 10: Ogre Magi
  • Rank 9: Silver Hand Knight
  • Rank 8: Frostwolf Warlord
  • Rank 7: Sunwalker
  • Rank 6: Ancient of War
  • Rank 5: Sea Giant
  • Rank 4: Mountain Giant
  • Rank 3: Molten Giant
  • Rank 2: The Black Knight
  • Rank 1: Innkeeper
  • Rank 0: Legend

Common Hearthstone Terms

Nerf – Nerfing is a term used to describe when something is weakened without giving it any additional benefits. Nerfing is usually done with cards that are deemed, broken, or too powerful during a season and therefore are tweaked or removed for updates of the game.

Wild – Wild means that all cards can be played regardless of the season and deck limitations. The idea behind wild mode is well…to make the game wild. More cards definitely add to the challenge aspect of countering your opponent.

Mirror Match – Going against the same hero/deck as yourself. This can be beneficial or negative depending on your skill and mostly, luck. Based on the cards that you end up with, you may be at an advantage or disadvantage against the opponent who has the same cards as you.

Meta – Meta is a term that refers to the “optimal” set of cards to make a specific kind of deck that is regarded highly at the top tiers. Each time an expansion is released, new cards are added while old ones are removed. Players then create “super decks” around specific cards referred to as “metas.”

Dust – Dusting is a term that refers to disenchanting a card so that you can get enchanting dust, which is the material necessary to create cards. The amount of dust a player gets from disenchanting depends on the rarity of the card. The cost to craft a card depends on the rarity as well.

Trade – Trading in Hearthstone often refers to using one of your minions to take out an opponent’s minion so that you could remove that threat. Part of winning the game is determining when it is a wise time to trade minions or to attack the opposing hero.

Buff – To increase the stats on a minion or hero, either temporarily or permanently. Some buffs will be single-target while others can impact all minions. Determining when to use appropriate buffs can mean ending the game rather unexpectedly.

Face Damage – Going Face or Face Damage is referred to as a deck that focuses primarily on dealing damage to the opposing hero. These types of decks are designed to end the game as quickly as possible, utilizing weak but strong minions and spell abilities.

Aggro Deck – Aggressive Deck or Rush Deck – This is a card deck that utilizes an aggressive approach in the game to overwhelm an opponent with pure damage. Typically, the cards will be designed to perform face damage as quickly as they could. The downside is that the minions are often weak, and board clears with an emphasis on control can be a problem for this style of deck. Aggro deck players must choose when to properly go for the hero and when to trade with their opponent.

Control Deck – Control Decks are those that seek to neutralize opponents during the early game so that they can survive until the late game to achieve victory. It is used to counter early-game offensive aggro decks by neutralizing or clearing the board.

Mid-Range Deck – Mid-range decks are considered the middle ground between aggro and control decks with the goal to keep the early game controlled and decimate the opponent during mid-game. This deck slowly gets more aggressive as time goes on but isn’t ideal for the later portion of a match.

Tempo Deck – The term tempo deck refers to cards that can dictate the momentum of a match, playing to the favor of the player with the tempo deck. The idea is to stay one step ahead of your opponent so that you can control the pace of the match.

Milling Cards – Milling cards is the act of forcing your opponent to draw cards with the ultimate goal of hopefully making them draw cards past the 10-mark to start destroying them. Milling needs to be done strategically so that you can cause the most annoyance to your opponent.