Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hearthstone Beginners Guide - Year of the Kraken by cgmcnama

The guide needed to be updated and users had to PM me for advice instead of commenting because the thread was too old. I just decided to do an update and create a new post altogether.

Reddit "Starters Guide" To Hearthstone

    This guide is aimed at new players to the game and will focus on the limited card set "Standard" instead of all the cards in the game, "Wild". This won't affect you very much but going forward there are two ways to play the game:
  • Standard: Best for new players. Includes cards from the "Classic" collection and the the last year of play. Right now that means Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, League of Explorers, and Whispers of the Old Gods are all allowed in Standard.
  • Wild: This includes every card in the game. It includes all of Standard plus Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes. There are no additional rewards for playing Wild over Standard, it is slightly more expensive to get into, and all official Blizzard events in 2016 will be in Standard. So there is no rush to venture here until you are ready or interested.

Tutorial and First Quests

    Here are some basic steps you should complete (in order) when starting the game.
  • Complete the Tutorial: First you need to beat the Tutorial with "Jaina Proudmore" which is rather straightforward. (Rewards: 1 Card Pack)
  • Unlock All Heroes: Beat each of the 8 AI heros to unlock them for play. I took "Mage" on a straight run though all of them "with this Level-0 deck". Once you hit Level 10 you should "swap in these cards". (Rewards: "Level Up" - 100g and "Ready to Go" - 100g)
  • Beat the Expert AI: After beating every normal AI Hero (including Mage), Expert AI will become unlocked. They have better cards but you want to beat them at least once for the achievement. Keep grinding though them until you beat them all or hit Level 10. If you hit Level 10, switch heroes and start leveling another class. Here are Lvl 10 decks for all classes selected by Reddit User Shengster. (Reward: "Crushed them All!" -100 gold)
  • Leveling Up: At this point you have beaten all Expert AI and might have 1 or 2 classes at Lvl 10. Once you have done this do not waste time re-beating the AI. Go straight to "Play Mode" and start trying to beat real players. You get more experience for playing people and 10 gold every 3 wins. Keep playing until all classes are level 10 (Rewards: "First Blood" - 1 Card Pack, "The Duelist" - 100g, "Got the Basics!" - 100g)
  • Tavern Brawl: (Requires one hero to be at least Level 20) A weekly event that begins each Wednesday (Thursday in Asian regions), ending the following Monday. It has a special set of unique rules that changes each week and winning once in this mode will give you a free Classic pack each week you try. These really add up and are important to complete. If you are struggling on the deck building ones try using Hearthpwn's advanced search options to see Tavern Brawl decks for that week.(Rewards: 1 Classic Pack per week)
    For more comprehensive strategy to the game or Arena try watching streamers like StrifeCro, Kripparian, or Kolento. Personally, I think StrifeCro and Kolento are the most informative in Constructed and Kripparian is an excellent Arena player. These are just my preferences but there are lots of streamers out there to watch and learn from.

Decks to get you Started

    Here are some basic decks you can start out with. The free decks only require you to level the hero to Level 10 and the Budget decks require 880-1600 dust to craft certain cards. For the strongest ladder decks, visit Tempostorm.com's "Meta Report" each week.
Druid Hunter Mage Paladin Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
Budget Budget Budget Budget Budget Budget Budget Budget Budget
Decks are courtesy of /u/ShengWangHS

The Arena

    You played normal games because Arena tests game knowledge and a bit of luck. At this point you have leveled every class to 10, should be semi-familiar with the game, and sitting at 500 gold. The Arena will make or break your gold balance as you are guaranteed a card pack (which costs 100 gold normally) but you are paying an extra 50 gold to gamble for higher rewards. (an Arena ticket is 150g). You need 3 wins to "break even" versus buying a card pack or 7 wins to get reimbursed your whole Arena ticket. At 7 you can infinitely play Arena. You also can get crafting dust and individual cards.
    Review a drafting guide or arena streamers to boost your win rate (like ADWCTA or Kripp. ) (Rewards: Enter the Arena - 1 Free Arena Credit) [See "Miscellaneous Links" below for some Arena guides]
Wins Gold Dust Packs Gold Cards Regular Cards
0 14 11 1 0.0 0.1
1 17 13 1 0.0 0.1
2 23 15 1 0.0 0.1
3 41 6 1 0.0 0.2
4 66 6 1 0.0 0.2
5 81 16 1 0.0 0.2
6 106 16 1 0.0 0.2
7 166 6 1 0.0 0.2
8 184 6 1 0.5 0.3
9 209 6 1 0.5 0.3
10 261 31 1 0.5 0.1
11 304 30 1 0.5 0.2
12 339 0 1.3 0.8 0.1
Average payouts from ArenaMastery.com. Updated 19 MAY 16.
Not represented, but now there is a greater chance of receiving a 2nd pack after2 wins.


     This is a big issue for some people so I advise you not to craft or disenchant or craft anything right away. Dust is hard to get and you don't want to craft something that you get in a random card pack later. There are three exceptions:
  • You have a Golden Legendary and don't care about having "Golden" cards. At that point you can effectively "trade" your Golden Legendary for a normal Legendary of your choice.
  • You have more then 2 copies of a card. Disenchanting your first card also gives you a bonus 95 Arcane Dust. (Rewards: "Crafting Time - 95 dust")
  • The card was recently changed - Blizzard has been very generous with this policy. If they change a card you can disenchant it for its "full" crafting value for up to two weeks after the change. If the card isn't in your main card rotation I advise dumping it for the full dust price especially if it is a common or rare.
Card Class Disenchant Profit Crafting Cost
Common +5 -40
Rare +20 -100
Epic +100 -400
Legendary +400 -1600
Common (Golden) +50 -400
Rare (Golden) +100 -800
Epic (Golden) +400 -1600
Legendary (Golden) +1600 -3200
    Here are some high value neutral cards that you might want to craft but I personally suggest only crafting Legendary cards and buidling around the cards you open. However, some people just want their cards right away so I listed the most used at each rarity. At least try and open ~10-20 packs or so first before crafting anything.
  • Common: Flame Juggler, Acolyte of Pain, Argent Squire, Earthen Ring Farseer
  • Rare: Azure Drake, Wild Pyromancer, Stampeding Kodo, Defender of Argus
  • Epic: Faceless Manipulator, Doomsayer
  • Legendary: Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros, Leeroy Jenkins, Harrison Jones
    For an expanded list, here are cards weighted off the most competitive decks. Just because they are weighted highly doesn't mean they are good for you and sometimes one class (like Rogue) is over represented when they are exceedingly strong in the meta.

Expansions vs Adventures

Expansions are the major additions to Hearthstone and will occur twice a year from this point on. They usually feature about 140 cards that can be opened through card packs. Adventures are specialized releases that usually have about 30 cards and special bosses to beat. While there are fewer cards then an Expansion, they are usually pretty impactful and the best value if spending real money. They will occur once a year from this point on.
Release Type Status Overview
Classic (Classic) Expansion Standard The first and largest Expansion. It will always be in Standard so it is the safest buy for new players.
Naxxramas (Naxx) Adventure Wild A Deathrattle themed Adventure.
Goblins vs Gnomes (GvG) Expansion Wild An Expansion based around Mechs and random card effects.
Blackrock Mountain (BRM) Adventure Standard An Adventure based around dragons and dragon synergy.
The Grand Tournament (TGT) Expansion Standard An Expansion based around the Joust and Inspire Mechanic. Outside of a few cards, the Expansion was one of the weaker releases.
League of Explorers (LoE) Adventure Standard An Adventure with the "Discover" mechanic. Lots of individually strong cards in this Adventure make this the best Adventure for Standard right now.
Whispers of the Old Gods (TOG) Expansion Standard An Expansion that focuses on the 4 Old Gods and them "corrupting" a few existing cards to be bigger and slightly different.

Tips and Advice

DO NOT FEEL PRESSURED TO PLAY ARENA RIGHT AWAY. Arena is by far my favorite mode, the best way to earn cards, and the fastest way to lose saved gold. The best way to get good at Arena is game knowledge and anticipation. Picks help but I believe doing the little things right is more important in winning. (I.E. Its turn 6 and you have the opportunity to flood the board against a Mage. You shouldn't do so with minions 4 health or below because it is very possible a flame strike is incoming. Or little cues like a Mage pinging a 5 health minion to 4 on Turn 6. Again, could be prepping for a Flamestrike on Turn 7. Knowing these small things make or break arena runs.

Hit Points are only a resource - The only time you lose is when your HP hits 0. Until that time, the game is won through board control and card advantage. If you are a Druid, don't play your 2 mana spell "Wrath" when you can use your hero ability for the same effect and take -1 health. Even if you draw a card off of it (by doing 1 damage) its still a 3 damage option that no longer exists in the future. Late game you can cast it and cycle for a card if you need it.

Don't use spells just to damage enemy HP People waste spells all the time to do damage to the enemy HP and this is usually a bad play. The only exception is if you are playing a "Rush" deck and are trying to win very early (by turns 6-8). Otherwise you burn out your cards and have very few options mid-late game. As stated before, "HP is a resource." Board control and card advantage win games.

Always try and count the maximum damage you can do on a turn when you opponent is getting low. Ask yourself, "Can I win this turn?" There are many games when opponents miss "lethal," or the
ability to end the game immediately. This sometimes leads to needless losses.

Play the game before watching streams. I think it was TrumpSC who said this but it is better for you to play a lot of games, "hit a wall," and then watch streamers. It will be easier for you to follow what is going on and easier to spot your mistakes.

"Actively" watch streams. When you are ready to watch streams, decide what you would do, or say it aloud, before the streamer does. If your watching a replay you can pause if they go faster then you. If they do something different, ask why. Merely watching will not necessarily make you better. Actively watching and learning will.

Find little known streamers to ask questions. There are lots of streamers who are Legend and never hit the front page on Twitch.tv. Scroll down and find high ranked players with few viewers. (Look for Orange Diamond signifying Legend rank) They are a lot more interactive then the "top streams" where you have to make a donation to get seen and are probably playing purely competitive decks. (Instead of "fun" decks).

Miscellaneous Links:


Daily Quests After the one time quests, "Daily quests" will be your consistent gold income. They reset around 3:00 AM EST and can be for 40, 60, or 100 gold. You can stack up to 3 uncompleted quests and re-roll once daily for another. (Click the red "x" in the top right corner of the box.) Personally, I always re-roll a 40 because it could not be worse. 50g and 60g quests are not worth re-rolling. It is worth noting that you also get 10 gold every 3 wins in Casual or Ranked. This is capped at 30 wins daily though. (100 gold).

Unique Quests: These can only be completed once. The guide has covered all of them but here is a comprehensive list.

Hidden Quest Buffer - This is a known bug that has not been patched for some time. You have 3 extra hidden quest slots that store excess quests if you fail to complete them everyday meaning you can store up to 6 quests instead of the visible 3. However, if at any time you have "hidden" quests, and you reroll any of of your available quests, it will reset and delete all of your hidden quests.

Resources to Help You Improve

Trump Teachings - Good video guide for newer players to learn trading card game concepts and terms. Each video covers a deck and aspect of the game such as Board Control, Mana Efficiency and Card Advantage.
Interaction of Tempo, Life, & Card Advantage - Three part Hearthpwn article by Sar explaining interaction of Tempo, Life, and Card Advantage.
Competitive Guide for Casuals - Outlines basic deck archteypes and how to build a deck for competitive play. Created by /u/Aidin_HS.

Hearthstone Glossary - Good overview for Hearthstone terms. Starting out I had to Google terms like "Ramp" decks or "Tempo." They did a pretty good job listing terms here though so save yourself the trouble.

Hearthstone "Rulebook" - not everything in Hearthstone is intuitive and a lot is learned by experience. Learning the order in which card effects resolve is crucial at higher levels of play. There isn't an official rule book to Hearthstone but this is as close as we have.

Deck Archtypes - Deck types by /u/Burning_Titan. Pretty old comment so if anyone has a better updated source I can replace it.

Secret Reference - Good players anticipate and "test" to find out what a trap is. Knowing all the possibilities makes this easier. Why let a Mage copy your legendary minion when you could have played a 2-drop first?

Tips to building a Collection - A lot of the principles were covered in this guide but building a good collection takes time. This further breaks down tips and the general long term philosophy of building your collection. Created by /u/surprise_sledgehamme.


Beginners Guide to Consistency and Success in Arena - a good article to get you going on how Arena works and basic strategy.

Best Arena Streamers - This is a piece regularly done by /u/sexting_shakespeare and changes every week. If you are looking to learn from the best streamers this would be the list to consult. While I won't update every week accordingly I linked the submitters profile so you can find the most recent one. Here is a sample copy from 22 MAY 2016.

Arena Tier List - ADWCTA and Merps are consistently some of the best Arena players. The list isn't dynamic like HearthArena yet but it is regularly updated and well done.

HearthArena - If you are looking for an Arena tool this is pretty much the only option on the market. Just blew out the competition when it came out and nothing has come close. Dynamic drafting and looking for synergies in an Arena deck put it far above any tier list. And it does the job tracking arena runs as well as any other site.

3rd Party Tools

(click here for a more comprehensive list)

Hearthstone Deck Tracker (HDT) - This is probably the most popular tool. It tracks your deck, your opponent's decks, the odds of pulling a card, can save unlimited decks, auto import/export decks from the internet to the client, track your Arena results, and more. The interface takes a while to get used to but there is extensive customization once you dig into the options. And it allows you to track and tag your decks so I can even tag them by season and filter out the competitive decks I'm using. Finally, it is customizable as users can create their own plugins.

Hearthpwn Innkeeper - I recomend this for new players because it is easy, fast, and helps you find decks that work within your collection early on. It also works really well if you are searching for decks within a certain deck cost and it will display how much a deck costs or what you are missing when using their site. New features allow you to export your decks directly from the client to Hearthpwn (which is a big deal because it was pretty tedious before). And while their display method of your collection could use some work they are getting better.

Arena Tracker - This is another deck tracking program that also works with HearthArena. While I haven't tested it extensively, the upside is that it works on Mac and Linux which many of these programs do not.


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