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Beginner Guide

Last updated on Jul 30, 2014 at 18:31 by Vlad 17 comments

Table of Contents

In this guide, we will walk you through the first stages of building your Hearthstone account. Unlike most other games, Hearthstone does not allow you to reset your account, meaning that you could potentially make mistakes that will set you back considerably. This guide applies mainly to those players who do not wish to (at least initially) invest a lot of real money into Hearthstone, since it focuses on maximising the benefit of the resources you gain from playing the game. If you plan on spending money to buy many packs of cards, then the advice we give here is mostly irrelevant to your situation.

If you have not yet played Hearthstone, or if you are simply interested in very general information about the game, we advise you to read our introduction to Hearthstone. If you are looking to get a better understanding of the gameplay mechanics, we advise you to read our Hearthstone mechanics guide.

1. Tutorial

This article is not a gameplay guide, and it assumes that you have completed the tutorial, which means that you should be familiar, at least on a very basic level, with how the game functions (for example, how to play a card from your hand, how Mana Crystals work, and so on).

After completing the tutorial, you will finally have access to the game's main menu, depicted below.

As you can see, there are a number of buttons available for you to click. We will briefly explain what each one does.

  • Store allows you to purchase packs of cards (that go to your card collection) using in-game gold or real money.
  • Quest Log allows you to see your quest progress, the levels of all your classes, as well as statistics showing how many games you have won, and what your best Arena performance has been.
  • My Collection allows you to check your card collection, build new decks, and to disenchant and craft cards.
  • Play allows you to engage in (ranked or unranked) games against human opponents.
  • Solo Adventures allows you to engage in games against the AI, either to practice your decks, or to complete adventures (essentially, a sort of single-player campaign). This is also where you will be playing at first in order to unlock all 9 classes.
  • Arena allows you to play using a deck made up of random cards, which do not take your card collection into account.
  • Chat allows you to monitor the status of your Battle.net friends, as well as to challenge friends to duel in Hearthstone.
  • Options allows you to change a few graphics and sound settings, as well as to view the game cinematic and credits.

2. First Steps

Before we go into any details, we would like to offer you some advice for maximising the potential of your account. We place this here, at the start, so that it may stand out, and hopefully prevent you from wasting your resources.

2.1. What to Do

Completing the tutorial will unlock the Mage class, but you will still have to unlock all remaining 8 classes. To do that, you need to simply challenge and defeat them in Practice mode. You can choose to unlock any class you like (as in, there is no specific order in which you should do this). Whenever you defeat a class, they will be unlocked and available for you to use.

The next step should be to bring your classes up in level, since up to level 10, each class receives free (and very useful) cards. You can also complete some of the quests that will be given to you, such as The Duelist.

After becoming more familiar with the game and the different classes, you can start crafting cards and spending gold.

2.2. What not to Do

  • Do not spend any gold. You will receive a moderate amount of gold as a reward for completing several unique (non-repeatable) quests (see below), but we strongly advise you to hold on to this gold until you have finished reading this guide, and until you have a better understanding of the game.
  • Do not disenchant or craft any cards. As part of the aforementioned unique quest rewards, you will receive a card pack, and in the My Collection tab, you will then see that you can disenchant cards. The first time you disenchant a card, you will receive 95 Arcane Dust, which you can then use to craft new cards. Do not do any of this. Do not disenchant your cards, and do not craft cards at this stage.
  • Do not head into the Arena. As soon as you unlock all 9 classes, you will be able to enter the Arena. The first time you enter, it is free, and subsequent participations each cost 150 gold (or a bit of real money). Do not accept the free invitation, and do not spend any gold on Arena either, at this time.

The reason why we recommend all of the above is that we feel spending gold on Arena entries is by far the most profitable course of action. That said, this is only the case when you have a reasonably solid understanding of the game. We cover all of this in the later parts of this guide.

3. Quests and Achievements

After you complete the tutorial, you will be able to complete a number of unique (non-repeatable) quests and achievements, which reward you with gold, Arcane Dust, and packs of cards. The quests are given to you at various times (and you can see them in your quest log), while the achievements are "hidden" until you complete them.

Every day, you will also receive a daily quest that will reward you with between 40 and 100 gold.

You can find a complete list of daily quests, unique quests, and achievements on Hearthpwn.

3.1. Relevant Quests and Achievements

At the beginning of your Hearthstone experience, there are a few relevant unique quests and achievements that you should try to complete, because they enable you to easily gain cards and gold.

  • Level Up rewards you with a pack of cards for bringing a class to level 10.
  • First Blood rewards you with a pack of cards for winning a game against a human opponent (in Play mode).
  • The Duelist rewards you with 100 gold for defeating 3 human opponents. This quest is given to you only after you complete the First Blood achievement.
  • Crushed Them All rewards you with 100 gold for defeating all the AI heroes on Expert Difficulty.
  • Ready to Go! rewards you with 100 gold for unlocking every class.
  • Crafting Time rewards you with 95 Arcane Dust for disenchanting a card.

As you can see, you can gather quite a bit of gold, as well as some cards by simply playing against the AI, unlocking and leveling up classes, and playing a few games in Play mode.

3.2. How to Proceed?

We encourage you to head into the "My Collection" tab, and build a deck for each class that you are going to level up to level 10. This is because almost any sensible deck you build will surely be better than the starter decks the game provides you with. Make sure to include many low-cost minions, as well as most of the class' class-specific cards, and you should be well on your way.

For decks consisting of only basic cards, we advise you to read our class-specific basic deck articles: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.

We advise you to complete Level Up, First Blood, The Duelist, and even Ready to Go! before spending any gold. This will net you two free packs of cards, as well as 200 gold. You should open the packs of cards as soon as you get them, and modify your decks to include any relevant cards you may have received. As we said before, however, do not spend your gold on anything for now, and simply hold on to it.

Completing these quests does not require you to have a deep understanding of the game, and playing long enough to complete them will actually enhance your understanding.

4. Further Steps (Spending Resources)

If you have followed this guide up to now, you should be sitting on a few hundred gold (possibly more, since you may have completed one or more daily quests by this time), as well as on several packs' worth of new cards. You should also, by now, be quite familiar with all or most of the classes in the game.

At this point, you will have to decide on a class that you wish to begin playing more seriously. Doing so will allow you to focus all your efforts on building a strong deck for that class, a deck that has good synergy and which can stand its ground at high levels of play.

All classes are quite well-balanced, meaning that you should not feel forced to play a class because they appear to you to be stronger than others. We assure you that any class can do exceedingly well in the hands of a competent player, so choose based on your preference!

Once you have chosen a class, you should look into the best decks for it. Feel free to browse our Hearthstone menu for suggestions of viable and strong decks for each class.

If you have selected a class, and a deck you would like to build, you can now begin working towards it.

We believe that you are better off not crafting any cards at all until you have obtained as many cards as possible through your gold, since you may craft a card that you will then obtain from a pack a short while later, meaning that you would have wasted a large amount of Arcane Dust.

As such, we will first explain to you the ways in which you can use your gold, before discussing crafting and disenchanting.

4.1. Spending Gold

There are two ways in which you can spend your gold in Hearthstone: buying packs of cards, or buying entry into the Arena.

4.1.1. Card Packs

Each pack costs 100 gold, and it contains 5 cards, one of which is guaranteed to be of Rare quality or better. There are really no limitations as to what can be in a pack aside from this guarantee. You could receive two of the same card, or several legendary cards, or several cards belonging to the same class, or any other combination.

With the amount of gold that you have attained up to this point of the guide, you could probably afford to buy 4 or 5 packs of cards. While this is definitely the quickest way to obtain some cards, we do not believe that it is the best way. Therefore, we advise you to not buy any packs of cards with your gold, unless you are decidedly not interested in participating in the Arena whatsoever. In any case, you should read the Arena section before making your decision.

4.2. Arena

Once you unlock all 9 classes, you can enter the Arena. The first time is free, and subsequent entries cost 150 gold each (or a bit of real money).

When you enter the Arena, you will have to choose one of 3 random classes, and then you will have to build a 30-card deck from scratch, from a pool of 90 cards. These cards are more or less random, and they do not take your own card collection into account - for all intents and purposes, participants in the Arena are all on a level playing field, no matter what cards they may possess outside of it.

Once you have completed your deck, you can play games. You will be able to keep playing games with your deck until you are defeated 3 times. At the end of your Arena run, you will be rewarded, depending on how many wins you obtained before losing 3 games. The maximum of amount of wins (which also theoretically ensures the greatest rewards) is 12.

At the end of each Arena run, you will receive between 2 and 5 rewards. One of them is always guaranteed to be a pack of cards, while the others are some combination of the following:

  • gold;
  • Arcane Dust;
  • cards (either plain or golden);
  • packs of cards;

By far the most common rewards are gold and Arcane Dust, the amounts of which vary based on how many wins you had. For example, for 0 wins, you can expect to receive around 20-25 combined gold and dust, while for 4 wins, you can expect to receive around 80 combined gold and dust (the actual ratio is more or less random). At 12 wins, you can expect to receive between 300 and 500 combined gold and dust (at this amount of wins, you will often receive several rewards in addition to the gold and dust). The golden cards you can receive as rewards are identical to their non-golden counterparts as far as gameplay goes, and the only differences are cosmetic.

As you can see, participating in the Arena has great potential rewards, and even if you do as poorly as possible (0 wins), you will still receive quite a lot. If we consider that the guaranteed pack is worth 100 gold, that means that you receive around 20-25 gold and dust for the 50 gold you pay, but this is not all. You also gain the enjoyment of the Arena games you play, as well as more experience with the game (and especially in Arena, which means your future runs could be better).

In our opinion, the most efficient use of your gold is to spend all of it on Arena runs. In the long run, you will receive at minimum comparable amounts of cards as if you were simply buying card packs, but you will also have the potential to receive much greater rewards.

Before you head into the Arena, we advise you to read our introduction to the Arena.

4.3. Crafting and Disenchanting

So, you have now acquired a considerable number of additional cards, either through Arena rewards, or through buying packs. It is time to finally work on improving your main deck.

The first thing you should do is complete the Crafting Time achievement. You should go through your card collection, and you should disenchant a card that you have no use for. This can be a card of which you have 3 copies or a common class-specific card belonging to a class that you do not plan on playing any time soon. You should have several options to choose from, but in the event that you do not have any such card, you should then disenchant either a neutral common card, or a class-specific Rare card that belongs to an undesirable class.

This will reward you with 95 Arcane Dust, so you will have at least 100 Arcane Dust (since disenchanting a common card gives you 5 dust), but possibly quite a lot more if you have done a few Arena runs.

The first cards you should craft depend on the class you are most interested in playing, and we advise you to check our deck suggestions for that class to get a better idea. Ideally, you should focus on crafting Common cards at first, since these are much cheaper than Rare cards, and having more of them will probably be more beneficial to you than crafting a single Rare card.

5. Becoming a Better Player

While this section is not strictly related to the rest of the guide, we feel it is important for any new players to read it.

In order to improve as a Hearthstone player, you will have to familiarise yourself deeply with the game. It is not sufficient to you know your main class very well; indeed, you will have to know every class in the game very well.

There are currently 381 cards in Hearthstone, and until you get to know what each of these cards does, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how to best counter it, you cannot achieve your full potential. If you are ever in a situation where an opponent plays a card against you and it is the first time you see that card, it means that you could have been better prepared for the game. To help you learn the cards, you can practice your knowledge by repeatedly taking our card quiz.

Likewise, in addition to knowing all the cards in the game, you will have to know the mechanics of each class. Since you cannot know in advance what class you will face, you must always be prepared to face any class, and you have to understand quite intimately how their deck works. This is important because it allows you to neutralise their strengths. For example, if you are playing against a Hunter or a Priest, you should know immediately that killing their drawing sources (Starving Buzzards and Northshire Clerics, respectively) is a top priority. If you were to look at these cards in an isolated way, you may think that they are decent, but not too important, when in reality they are almost always pivotal to the Hunter or Priest strategy.

Finally, you will need to be familiar with the meta-game (that is to say, you will need to know which classes/deck combinations are currently popular or strong). This will allow you to know immediately what you are most likely to meet, and react accordingly. For example, if you come up against a Rogue who is going second, you should mulligan (replace) as many cards from your hand as needed to be able to deal with their most likely opening combination: The Coin and Defias Ringleader (this means you should have a direct damage spell, or a minion with charge, or an expendable minion to place on the board on the first turn.

6. Conclusion

We hope that this quick guide was able to set you on the right path to having fun in Hearthstone. In case you read this guide too late to follow most of the information contained within (which is perfectly understandable), do not despair! Any setback you will have suffered is minor in the grand scale of things, and it is nothing that a week or so of daily quests will not fix.

Make sure to check our advanced Hearthstone guides for when you decide to take a more serious approach to the game.

7. ChangeLog

  • 30 Jul. 2014: Updated the guide to reflect the renaming of Practice to Solo Adventures, and also fixed an issue that incorrectly listed the objective of the Ready to Go! achievement.
  • 28 Apr. 2014: Updated the section detailing crafting suggestions.
  • 18 Dec. 2013: Further updated Arena reward mentions (specifically that you can get anywhere between 3 and 5 rewards each time).
  • 11 Dec. 2013: Updated some Arena references since the Arena rewards were changed in the latest patch.
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