Hello, fellow traveler! I’m GreatWyrm on BattleNet (#1807), and I’ve been playing HS since season 4 (July 2014). I love this game, but it can be trying for beginners, so I’m writing this blog to answer some commonly asked questions. If you’re looking for skill-building tips, check out Hearthstone 101: How to Build and Play Your Deck. Otherwise, read on:
Is HS really Free-to-Play, or is it actually Pay-to-Win? Yes and no, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit. There are three factors to winning and losing in HS: Luck, skill, and card quality. The more factors you can influence, the more you’ll win.
So while spending money gets you better cards faster — and Blizzard is obviously hoping that you will spend money on HS — doing so won’t make or break your win rate. I myself don’t spent a dime on HS other than to buy adventures, and I win often enough to do my daily quests, win tavern brawls, buy a pack every few days, and have fun in the process. I can do this because a skilled player can win with nothing but basic cards, and an unskilled player can lose even with every card in the game.
Now if you’re the hyper-competetive sort, and you need to hit legendary rank within a month of beginning to have fun, then yeah, you’re going to have to dump money into HS. But otherwise, you can absolutely play and win without paying a dime!
Which class is best for beginners? It’s no accident that Jaina is the first tutorial hero; Fireblast is a simple and effective hero power, the basic mage cards are the best basics in the game, and these two facts make it easy to make many styles of mage decks. If you like ‘aggro’ decks, Rexxar and Gul’dan make good beginner choices, and if you like ‘control’ decks, Anduin is a reasonable choice. All classes have fun and effective cards, but sadly many of them are non-basic and thus require time and/or money to play effectively.
What’s the best way to win, or ‘grind’ for gold? Blizzard has given us many fun ways to earn gold, but before I continue let me say this: As soon as earning gold begins to feel like a grind, something’s wrong. When this happens, either change your attitude, your strategy, or take a break from HS. Games are supposed to be fun, and if you’re not having fun, something’s wrong! With that said, here are a few pointers:
- Complete all of the unique quests that you can; they’re there to give beginners a much-needed boost!
- Win a tavern brawl every week. This is the only game mode which guarantees you one (and only one) pack for winning a match! Tavern brawls begin on Wednesday, and end on the following Monday.
- Sign on to check your quests every day, even if you don’t actually play. If your quest requires winning with a hero you don’t have a good deck for, swap it out. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one that doesn’t require winning at all!
- Win 30 times every day, in casual, ranked, or brawl mode. You’ll gain 10 gold for every 3 wins, to a maximum of 100 gold.
All this said, don’t feel obligated to do every one of these. For example, I only play every three days these days, after I’ve accumulated 3 quests, and I’ve never played for those 10 gold per 3 wins. That would feel very grindy for me, so there’s no point.
Casual, ranked, or brawl? Some players prefer one over the others, but they all have their upsides and downsides. I recommend a mix of all three, depending on circumstance. As mentioned above, play at least one tavern brawl a week to earn your pack. Brawls which include pre-made decks even the playing field between you and veteran players, so they can be a great way to complete quests and to play with cards that you normally only see on the other side of the game board!
If the week’s brawl requires player-built decks, switch to casual mode during the first week of every month. Casual can be frustrating because of the way the matchmaking system works. At first you may be matched against veteran players with awesome decks; but every time you win or lose, your matchmaking rating (MMR) will increase or decrease, which will result in the system matching you against more appropriate opponents. Eventually you’ll settle at an MMR, and will be matched against players with similar MMRs.
After the first week of the month, switch to ranked mode at least long enough to climb to rank 20. You’ll mostly be matched against other beginners, so winning those first few ranked matches will be fairly easy. After hitting 20, you may or may not want to switch back to casual or brawl. Because veteran ‘gold-farmers’ like to hang out at ranks 20-21, you may run into a difficulty ‘hill,’ where you get matched against veterans with amazing decks. These players concede half of their games though, so getting over the hill is usually a temporary frustration. And after the hill, ranked play gets easier — at least until you max out at ‘your’ rank with a 1/2 win rate! Even if you decide to quit ranked after reaching 20 though, you’ll have still earned the month’s card-back!
What’s the best way to improve my skill? Check out my next blog, Hearthstone 101: Building and Playing Your Deck.
What’s the best way to spend my gold? Until you get skilled enough to consistently win 3+ matches in arena mode, buying packs is the best use of your gold. Start with the classic packs, and then switch to buying expansion packs when you start consistently pulling triplicate-classics.
What’s the best way to spend my money? Adventures. Dollars-per-card, adventures give you the best bang for your buck. Adventures provide a completely different play experience than other options; they’re great deck-making skill-builders, they provide a sense of completion lacking in other modes, and they’ll reward you with valuable legendaries. And because there are only so many adventures to buy, you won’t be tempted splurge on ‘just one more pack!’
What should I disenchant? Common gamer wisdom says “Only disenchant triplicate cards,” and this is generally sound advice. You get only a fraction of a card’s value when you disenchant it, so it’s usually not worth it. The notable exception being gold cards; if you pull a gold card that you can’t imagine yourself ever using, and you have a use for the dust you’ll get, go for it!
What should I craft? Common gamer wisdom says “Save all of your dust for neutral legendaries,” and this is good advice so long as you’re enjoying the collection you have. If you find yourself itching for a cheaper card you need for a favorite deck though — especially a ‘staple’ card of your favorite hero — don’t feel beholden to this advice. You’ll probably pull the cheaper card from a pack sooner or later, but in the meantime you ought to be having fun!
To concede or not to concede? If you’re in a state of total frustration and may do your computer violence if you see your hero reach 0 one more time, then yes, concede! But otherwise, it’s best to keep playing, for a few reasons. First, watching your opponents play builds your skill, assuming that you’re not too angry to pay attention. Second, sometimes you’ll win despite all odds. Other players will sometimes concede for various reasons, or lose their connection, sometimes luck will turn the game around, and sometimes you’ll surprise yourself by turning a bad situation into a win!
- The Blizzard forum has many beginner guides, including Trump Teachings.
- HearthPwn has a searchable card database, adventure guides, deck guides, a nifty deck-builder, a win-tracker, streamer feeds, a news feed, and lots of other fun stuff.
- The HearthStone Wiki is easy to navigate, and has a ton of info.