I recently read an article at a website called, “How to Play Hearthstone Without Spending a Dollar.” It was the worst piece of garbage I ever read, encouraging people to grind unnecessarily and waste all their money. If people followed that guide, they would actually end up wasting their gold. So I wrote this in response. Thanks.
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Many people think free to play games are all crippled in some way until you unlock the rest of their features with money. Sometimes you have to grind unnecessarily if you don’t have some kind of subscriber xp bonus. I am writing this to tell you that hearthstone isn’t that way. I’m sure you know you can have your small selection of cards, buying another pack every few days with your 40 gold per day plus 10 gold every 3 wins, but I’m here to tell you that you can do better, and this is how.

This guide assumes you’ve never played hearthstone and are just loading it up for the first time.

First, unlock every hero for 100 gold. You are new to this game, so try them all out. Do this by beating all of the AIs on basic mode. If you find a hero you like, you can stick with them, but you need to switch heroes when you hit level 10, because of an upcoming quest. Don’t spend any gold yet, and don’t enter the arena.

Second, defeat all the Ais again, on expert mode. This will get you another 100 gold. Remember to switch heroes if you hit level 10.

When you enter play mode, and when you get your first class to level 10, you get packs. Feel free to open the packs you get for free, but remember not to spend any gold and don’t enter the arena yet. Play mode is unranked by default, so feel free to pick any deck, even a pre-built one, and just hit play.

Next, get all your heroes to level 10. You can do all this playing with the pre-built decks, but as you unlock basic cards, you may want to build decks that take advantage of them. Remember you get extra xp if you play against human opponents via the play button, but don’t feel pressured to play a lot against human opponents if you’re not comfortable with it yet. You play unranked by default.

You may consider getting all these heroes to level 10 grinding, but I don’t think of it that way. In order to succeed at hearthstone, you have to play all the heroes a little bit to understand what they’re capable of. This is an exploration. If you’re not having fun, switch heroes and come back later.

Now, the most important thing I will tell you, if you take only one thing away, take this: NEVER buy any packs! Why? Because you can get much greater value for your gold in the arena. Since you are presumably new to this game, I will explain what the arena is.

The arena is similar to a “sealed booster draft” in other card games. You will be given temporary cards that are the only cards you can build your arena deck with. When your arena run is finished, those cards go away, and the more wins you get, the better your rewards at the end. Your run ends when you lose 3 times or win 9 times total, whichever happens first.

At the beginning, you are given a choice between 3 random heroes. Pick one, and then you will be given a chance to draft a deck. 3 cards are displayed of the same rarity. Pick one of them to go into your deck, then you’re shown 3 more cards to pick from, and so on until you build a 30 card deck. The advantage here is that you can play with powerful cards even if you don’t own them, you just have to know which cards are good so you can put those in your deck.

I know, the arena is scary. If you go 0-3 you can actually end up losing money, so it’s a gamble, right? Not as much as you think. If you spend 150 coins on an arena (which always gives you a pack at the end) instead of 100 coins on a pack, to break even you only need to earn 50 coins, not the 150 you put in. Prepare a little bit and you will easily get the 2-3 wins you need to break even. Learn about the only 2 important things in the game, card advantage and momentum. Learn what cards are a good value when you draft them. Read Trump’s ranked list of arena cards at http://ihearthu.com/trumps-arena-card-rankings/. Play a lot of “free” games via the play mode until you feel ready. If you’ve followed this guide you should have enough gold for about 5 arena entries banked up. Even if you lose 0-3 every single time over the course of a few days, your 40 gold per day quests will give you enough for at least a 6th.

if you are a casual player who plays less than around 5 games a day, you will easily break even as long as you win 1 or 2 games, because of the 40 gold you’ll also get from daily quests. If you play more often, than it’s even more worth it to you to spend more time studying up. Watch Trump, Ek0p, Kripparian, or Hafu on http://twitch.tv.

And there you are, play and have fun for free. It’s all about gold management. If you run out of gold, save up that 150 gold for an exciting (stressful?) make it or break it arena run. Take heart in the fact that there are a LOT of awful players in the arena. But even with all this, it’s possible to run out of money, and I’m sure some people following this process will. To that, all I can say is: Nothing in life is worth doing if it didn’t carry at least a little bit of risk, right? 🙂

Good luck and have fun!



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