Hearthstone Beginners Guide (Year of the Dragon)
If this is a bit overwhelming, or you just want a general direction, you want to beat all the AI on each difficulty, get all classes to Level 10, one class to Level 20, and complete your daily quests and weekly Tavern Brawls.
- Tutorial and First Quests
- Starter Decks
- What Packs to Buy First?
- The Arena
- Tips and Advice
- Miscellaneous (Quests, General/Arena Resources)
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".
Standard: Best for new players and focus of this guide. Includes cards from the "Basic/Classic" collection and the the last year of play. (All current Standard sets)
Wild: (Own 1 Wild card to Unlock) This includes every card in the game ever created. You get the same rewards as Standard but you can only purchase Wild content on the
official Blizzard store, not the game client.
Note: Can be used to unlock certain Wild PvE Content like Knights of the Frozen Throne (KFT) and Kobolds Dungeon Run for free*. KFT's Prologue will give you a free Wild Legendary, a Death Knight, for free.
2. Tutorial and First Quests (Rewards: 500 gold, 18 Card Packs, & Tavern Brawl Access)
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 100 gold. 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. (Reward: "Crushed them All!" -100 gold)
Climb Rank 50-25: 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 do the one time climb to Rank 25. You can't lose ranks, they are all new accounts like yours, and you get more packs as you climb. At Rank 25, you unlock "Casual" mode. Keep playing the Ladder or Casual until all classes are level 10 (Rewards: "First Blood" – 1 Card Pack, "The Duelist" – 100g, "Got the Basics!" – 100g, "Climb 50 to 25 – 14 Classic and 2 of Recent Set Packs, Unlock Casual Mode)
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 pack (usually Classic) 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 Zalae,
Trump. Personally, I think Zalae and Trump 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.
3. Starter Decks (Need a week or two for Rise of Shadows)
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 about 800-1600 dust to craft certain cards. (full thread on Budget Decks) For the strongest ladder decks, visit Vicious Syndicate's "Meta Report each week.
4. What Packs to Buy First?
- If you want to spend money, get the "Welcome Bundle" for 10 Classic packs and a free Classic Dragon Legendary.
- Buy up to 10 packs of each Standard set, one at a time, until you unlock your first Legendary. You are guaranteed a Legendary within the first 10 packs of a set.
- Buying in bulk is usually best and the pre-orders are typically the best deal. If in doubt, focus on Classic (will always be good in Standard) and sets released in the current year. For 2019, that is Rise of Shadows and the sets released in August and December later that year.
If you are still looking for further purchasing advice:
- Normally you average a Legendary every 1/20 packs and guaranteed at 40 packs if you don't open one. Epics you average every 1/5 packs and are guaranteed one in 10 packs if you don't open them. These are called "Pity Timers." You typically want to stop buying from a set after you unpack a legendary and "reset" this timer.
- You can even keep your eye out for Amazon Coin promotions where you can get 30% or more discounted by buying through their App. Remember that while you get 30% off, you have to spend all that money and "leftover" coins that can't be spent are "lost" until you can spend them. Therefore, it isn't truly 30% (or whatever %) unless you can use them all. Still a good deal.
- I also run a spreadsheet that will tell you the best pack to buy based on your collection. It also will list your Missing Cards by how strong they are in the Constructed meta. You will need Hearthpwn or HSReplay to sync your collection with. (or manual entry)
- You can get a free Wild Legendary by completing the Knights of the Frozen Throne Prologue. To unlock, go to the
Blizzard online store and purchase for free.
5. The Arena (Reward: 1 Free Arena Ticket)
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
as seen in the rewards table.
Use a drafting guide (like
Kripp. ) (Rewards: Enter the Arena – 1 Free Arena Credit)
6. Ranked Rewards: (Monthly Cardback and Rewards)
The Ranked ladder is pretty straightforward. You want to finish at least Rank 20 each month so you get a bit of dust and the monthly card back. And seeing how you can't lose ranks above Rank 20 it is manageable to do with a Basic deck.
The biggest rewards come at the ranked ceilings of 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend. You also cannot fall below these ranks once you reach them and there is a special, one time, card back for hitting Legend. Your highest Standard or Wild finish will be used and
|Rank||Value (Dust)||Actual Rewards|
|20||55||1 golden common, 5 dust, card back|
|15||155||1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 5 dust, card back|
|10||205||2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 5 dust, card back|
|5||505||2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 5 dust, card back|
|Legend||550||3 golden commons, 1 golden epic, card back|
7. Crafting (Reward: 95 Dust)
This is a big issue for some people so I advise you not to craft or disenchant or craft anything right away. Dusting and crafting cards is very inefficient. 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 max playable copies of a card.
The max playable copies for Common, Rare and Epic are 2 cards. Legendary is 1. Anything over that can be dusted though some players hold extra copies for reason #3 below and hope a card is changed. As a new player, this might bee too much to do. 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.
Rarity 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
I personally suggest primarily crafting Legendary cards and building around the cards you open. However, some people just want their cards right away so it is really up to you.
8. General Tips & Advice
Do not feel pressured to play Arena right away
Arena is a fun mode, the best way to earn cards, and the fastest way to lose gold. The best way to get good at Arena is game knowledge and anticipation. Draft picks help but you have to know when to play for tempo (put as many stats on the board as quickly as possible) or value (make the enemy spend multiple resources to remove a single card)
Hit Points are only a resource
The only time you lose is when your HP hits 0. Until that time, the game is usually won through board control and card advantage. Many times players/decks will trade their life total for more cards in their hand or on the board.
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 an "aggressive" deck and are trying to win very early (by turns 6-8). Otherwise you lose your cards and have very few options mid-late game. As stated before, "HP is a resource." Board control, tempo, 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.
"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.
9. Miscellaneous (Quests, Resources, Arena, & 3rd Party Tools)
Daily quests will be your consistent gold income. They reset around 3:00 AM EST and can be for 50, 60, 80, or 100 gold. You can stack up to 3 uncompleted quests and re-roll once daily for another. (Click the "re-roll" icon, a red "x", in the top right corner of the quest box.) It is worth noting that you also get 10 gold every 3 wins in Casual or Ranked. This is capped at 100g or 30 wins.
Tip 1: Always re-roll 50g Quests
Tip 2: Your friends can also help you complete Quests and if you get the 80g "Play-a-Friend" questthere are discussion boards where you can trade with someone else who has it and you both get 160g (2x 80g quests).
Unique Quests: These can only be completed once. The guide has covered all of them but here is a comprehensive list.
Promotional Quests are temporary quests added to celebrate the release of new content, special events, or specific tasks. For instance, you get a free card back and card pack for logging in on Android or iOS. Click the link to see all active promotional quests.
General 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.
- Competitive Guide for Casuals – Outlines basic deck archteypes and how to build a deck for competitive play. Created by 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, and most are learned by playing the game, but this is as close as we have. The "Boomsday Puzzle Project" is another way to learn game mechanics as beating it will show you most of the interactions in the game.
- Hearthstone Client Search Terms – Here are helpful search terms to use in the client. Like seeing missing cards, cards with certain health/attack, golden cards, etc.
- Vicious Syndicate (VS) Meta Report – While it will be some time before you can make a "Tier 1" deck, if you are interested in the best decks on the ladder, these are weekly reports that state just that. While some people like the "best" decks others like complex combos that, while inconsistent, feel amazing when you pull it off. There is no "right" way to play. Have fun your way.
- Meta Legend Game Replays – A cool site that lets you search HSReplay Legend games. This means you can find your favorite deck and see top Legend players using it. Good way to learn mulligans or see how better players navigate matchups differently.
- 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.
Arena Resources to Help You Improve
Beginners Guide to Arena – a good article to get you going on how Arena works and basic strategy.
Lightforge Tier List – ADWCTA and Merps are consistently some of the best Arena players. Two other services pull their list for an overlay and you can use them to draft. You can use the site Arena Drafts or the Hearthstone Deck Tracker add-on Arena Helper.
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.
Note: If there are any links that need updating, or better ones you can think of, let me know. Some of the resources on the bottom are getting dated.
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