Here's how to get started with our Hearthstone tips and tricks
For a game that started out as a side project at a development studio, Hearthstone has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. Blizzard’s card battling game now boasts over 30 million players worldwide and also sits at the heart of a highly competitive and – if you’re one of its elite players, highly lucrative – eSports leagues.
Of course, because of the size of the player base and the fact that in the past year Blizzard has introduced a plethora of new cards into the mix, Hearthstone can be an intimidating prospect for any player wishing to get started. With that in mind, here’s a quick primer to put you on course to climbing the player ladders.
1. Hold off on spending money
Hearthstone has a pretty detailed but also rather enjoyable tutorial. Once players have battled through it, they’ll have unlocked the Mage Hero, Jana, and quite a few of her core cards. They’ll also have earned a decent amount of in-game gold that they may be tempted to spend on buying new cards. Our advice here would be to hang onto that gold and play with the other Heroes first, unlocking a stack of their core cards.
The reason for this is that playing with the other Heroes acts as a pretty good primer for each class and first-time players may find that they’ll take to another class – say Warlock or Warrior – more than they do to the Mage. In this case they may want to spend their gold on cards that boost the effectiveness of those classes. This, incidentally is before they get into the nuts and bolts of deck building.
2. Get to know the Heroes and their Core Cards
Right, so this may seem really obvious, but a lot of new players can fall into the trap of selecting one or two Heroes and ignoring the other classes simply because they feel they don’t gel with them. Players who do this face a more arduous progression up the player ladders because, at least initially, they won’t know what they’re going up against. In the early stages of Hearthstone, there are few things more frustrating than watching a beefy minion destroyed or a powerful spell countered by a low cost card flung out by an opponent.
Knowing the core cards of each Hero helps players immensely. Do you risk playing a 5-attack minion against a Priest when you’ve only seen them play one Shadow Word: Death card? Is it worth knocking a Warlock’s Void Caller off the board as its Deathrattle could summon a bigger, nastier, more powerful demon in their hand? Is it worth vying for board control with a Murloc deck against a Mage when they may have Flamestrike Until you’ve played with these Heroes, you won’t really have an insight into the damage they can do with only one card, so it’s worth trying them out.
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3. Learn from every defeat
No-one likes losing, especially in a card game where luck happens to play a reasonably large part. However, as hard as getting hammered is to take – and it is – it’s worth taking not of the tactics and cards players use to wipe you off the board.
Not only does defeat reveal the strengths of different classes and decks, it plugs players into the meta-game; players will start seeing patterns and combinations emerging as different decks become more prominent in the ladder matches. Who knows, they may even come to fear that certain cards get nerfed by the developers.
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4. Complete your dailies
You’re going to have to buy cards. It’s that simple. The Core Cards will take you so far and then no further and since a boatload of cards have been released over the last year and a half, eventually you’ll have to open your wallet.
The good news is you don’t have to spend any real-world money, if you don’t want to. Hearthstone kicks out at least one new quest per day and some of them can net players between 40 and 100 gold pieces. In some instances they’ll require players to play with Heroes they don’t usually use, and this is good since it forces players out of their comfort zones and they’ll learn about the different advantages and Core Cards of each class.
We also suggest having a think about whether or not you really need any of the Gold cards if you already have them in normal format. A lot of them can be disenchanted for a decent amount of Arcane Dust, which you can then use to craft the cards you want.
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5. When it comes to deck-building the Internet is your friend
If you find yourself stuck on how to advance up the ladder, bear in mind that Hearthstone has one of the biggest and most active communities in gaming. This means that there is a wealth of information out there on the web about the best deck-builds. If you don’t know your Face Hunter from your Handlock, the Hearthstone community has compiled huge lists to help you out. Most recently, they started compiling combination lists and tweaks to decks that include cards from the latest (and utterly bonkers) addition to Hearthstone, The League of Explorers.
Assembling the right, deck, though, isn’t enough to guarantee success. You’ll have to learn how to pilot it properly to get the best use of it. To that end, YouTube is pretty much awash with videos filled with tips and tactics. Luck, once again, is something you’ll have to plan for, but constructing your deck carefully can tip the odds heavily in your favour.
6. Learn to count
Every card has a cost. Every spell has a cost-damage. Every minion has a cost-damage and health. Now factor in the costs of Battlecries, Deathrattles, and other spell and minion powers and you have a ton of sums to do in your head before you play your next card.
Hearthstone has a lot to do with chance and leveraging your deck against Lady Luck to give you an edge. But it also has a lot to do with addition. If you are a player who can learn to gaze into their hand and sum up how much damage you can pour into an opponent based on the numerical values of your cards, you’re one step ahead of the game.
7. Play the hand you’ve been dealt
You may have a series of lethal cards in your deck. Good for you. Since Hearthstone is a card game – and RNG is a factor here – they may not flop the way you intended. Bearing that in mind, you should play the hand you’re dealt; that is, play expecting the worst – expecting that the two or three cards you stacked in your deck that’ll turn your hand into a world of hurt may not turn up.
You win a match in Hearthstone by knocking your opponent’s health down to zero. Unless you’re a pro – which means chances are, you’re not even reading this guide – your first and foremost concern is to dish out as much damage as you can to the face of your opponent. In your earliest games it’s best not to rely on chance to deliver the cards you think are coming. Go for the throat. Even if you lose, you’ll learn something.