The following is a guide for new players, and a very basic perspective on how to value cards in hearthstone. Its one thing to tell you what the good cards are now but it will do you far more good to understand what makes a card good and why. Now let me remind you this is a beginners guide to rating cards. As your understanding of the game and deck building expands your criteria and ratings will vary, as well as it should!
For example if your playing a mage deck, well +spell damage is probably going to be rated higher then what I propose here. Those are more intermediate/advanced deck building concepts. So we are sticking to the very basics in this guide. Before reading this guide, this assumes you have completed the basic tutorial and know what most of the keywords are and do. Fear not if you don’t just go to your collection and right click the card it will tell you everything you need to know!
Forewarning, I don’t do TLDRs. This is a wordy guide because it matters. It may take a few minutes to read it, but if your new to card games you’ll come out a better player armed with more knowledge then you did before.
In this guide we are going to focus on the core of the game play, creatures. Then we will discuss some basic topics that are important to understand in the world of hearthstone.
Spells and weapon cards however are more situational cards that require synergy (how well they play with other cards in your deck)… so those requires critical thinking skills that you will obtain over time and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Very few people start out in a card game as pros, they have a learning process, don’t be ashamed of being a “noob” you can grow from there! Not all spells work in all decks, they are the polish in your decks and differ from class to class. (Spells are considered non creature/non weapon cards).
So in order to value each individual card , we are going to make a set of point scale or formula for creatures.
This is a Criteria for creatures. Spells and weapons have their own value and this formula will not give you an accurate value for spell cards!
How to value a creature, the breakdown:
For every 1 health or attack the card gets one point.
Taunt is worth 1 point
Charge is worth 1 point and is generally valued more in aggro decks.
Divine Shield is worth 1 point.
Stealth is worth 1 point.
Spell damage is worth 1 point but only has value in a deck that uses a decent amount of spells that deal damage.
Battlecry/Deathrattle effects vary
Battlecry effects that summon a creature, add the creatures power and toughness to the value of the card as above.
Damage and life gain, for every 2 points of damage or life gain 1 point.
Silence is worth 2 points.
Why is silence worth 2 points and most everything else is worth 1?
Well silence lets you negate the bonus effects of many other creatures and some spells. Creatures with deathrattle effects for example will no longer see the benefits on death. Creatures that are buffed by spells or abilities are turned to their base former self. You can even use silence to remove spell effects like sheep, hex, and frozen from your own creatures! Silence is especially useful against things like taunt and persistent active effects that are dangerous to you. In short silence is incredibly versatile.
Draw a card, 2 points for each card drawn. If a creature draws a card on either summon or death.. it replaces its self. That is why its worth more. Card advantage.. a topic that will be discussed in depth in the key terms part of the guide.
Okay now that is out of the way, take the creatures mana cost, and double it. If the creature has more points or at the very least equal to the doubled mana cost then chances are its a decent/good card. If it is lower, the card is probably situational or considered “bad”.
A simple theory would be to consider the following, If I play this creature, what is the absolute minimum this creature will likely do if it is killed next turn?
Lets use a couple non situational examples of good valuable cards.
Harvest golem (3) : 2/3 Deathrattle summon a 2/1
So using the above, his effective cost rating is 6, (double his mana cost). So what does he do. Well he gives you a total of 4 power and 5 toughness after deathrattle, so a 9… 3 points above his 6.. Good card. Thats the simple understanding, the best part about this creature is that he replaces him self after death. He’s a 2 for 1.
Gnomish inventor (4) 2/4, Battlecry: draw a card..
Effective cost 8 (4×2), Power and toughness= 6, draw a card +2. 8 for 8.. not bad it replaces its self but overall its just a card that replaces its self on a 2/4 body. Not bad, but not great. A 2/4 for 4 isn’t that great but the fact it replaces its self on play makes it a worthy card in many decks and a lot more valuable in general.
Most cards however aren’t truly “bad” they are just a niche or built for a particular deck they could be good in. Luckily blizzard has made very few just straight up bad cards. Cards only become bad until you obtain or discover other cards that you can compare them to.
For example: Unless your running a murloc deck, there is no reason to run a
Murloc raider (1) 2/1 over a
Leper Gnome (1) 2/1 Deathrattle: deal 2 damage to the opponent.
(or a variety of creatures that have other effects at 1 mana cost with similar health/attack)
So what are some examples of situationally good/awesome cards?
Well, lets look at Frostwolf warlord:
(5) 4/4 Battlecry: This creatures gain +1/+1 for each other friendly minion on the field.
Without any friendly minions on the field, when you play him hes essentially 10 effective cost for 8… Meh! However for each other creature on the field he gets +2 more effective points. +1/+1
1 other creature on the field, 10 for 10, 2 other creatures 10 for 12, and so on and so on. That doesn’t mean he isn’t subject to certain types of removal but the value for what you paid for is there.
Lets try a more advanced example shall we?
Cult master (4) 4/2 Whenever another friendly minion dies, draw a card.
Once again on its face doesn’t seem that great when you just consider the stats. 8 for 6. However each time you proc his ability your getting +2 effective cost. So, playing him immediately without any creatures to trade (Killing an opponents creature with your creature that also dies) with your opponent is probably a bad idea.
Unless you want to force your opponent to use removal or use a creature on him. However if you have a few lowbie creatures your willing to trade up on a bigger creature or other creatures on your opponents side of the field, why not draw a few cards and replace them while doing so? You proc his ability 2 times?
hes 8 for 10, 3 times, 8 for 12.. etc etc. Situationally very good, however if you just play him and he is killed next turn… not very good, chances are they used a creature of lesser value to do it too, due to his low health. Sad pandas.
However, now that you have all that down, this formula is not without some exceptions.
Some of the following low power/high defense creatures are considered bad by many players (Currently things can change these values in the future)
Shieldbearer, Silverback patriarch, Fen creeper, and Mogu’shan Warden. Mostly because their power versus actual cost is fairly low. A 1 mana 0/4 taunt isn’t going to help you control the board, at best its a road block (no power to deal damage to the attacking creatures) same thing with a 1/4 taunt and or a 1/7 taunt etc with higher costs…
Now here are some common important terms in Hearthstone.
Card advantage Card advantage means that your getting ahead of your opponent in cards spent or the mana you spent on a card is providing a positive return.
Say your opponent has 3 creature cards he cast on the field, and you destroy them all with 1 card, say flamestrike, or hellfire etc. Well you just got 3 to 1 card advantage. For his 3 cards you killed them all using 1! That is good card advantage. Card advantage can help you win games, if your opponent uses up his hand and you gain control of the flow of the game… well your likely to win it.
Arcane intellect for example has card advantage of 2 for 1. You spend 3 mana and one card… to draw 2 cards, replacing its self (not literally just with another card unless you’ve draw your second one…) and another card on top of it.
It can also work against you, for example your opponent plays Senjin Shield master a 3/5 taunt… and you use 3 minions to kill him… well 3 for 1 in his favor. However don’t be fooled just because your opponent gets some card advantage over you or you over him doesn’t mean you can’t or will win it just tilts the odds. Remember card games are heavily invested in the concept of Randomness or as some would call it RNG (Random number generator).
Removal/Answer: A card that destroys or negates a threat. Assasinate for example is a removal card. Fireball can be considered a removal card. Obviously some removal cards work better then others…
Aggro/Rush decks: A deck that focuses on beating you down very early with cheap and fast creatures. Generally starts to lose its strength later in the game as massing up cheap cost effective creatures becomes less effective.
Control Deck: generally speaking this decks are slow paced decks that are the exact opposite of aggro decks. They use spells and creatures to control and clear the board so they can beat you down with a combo of cards or just late game creatures/spells in general. Many mage decks for example are often control decks.
Tempo: The speed of the deck, and how quickly it reaches its goals.
“X drops” Means a card of a certain value, a 1 drop, means a 1 mana card, 2 drop… 2 mana card.. see the pattern?
Trading: Trading means the exchange of minions and/or spells. For example, if I kill your 2 drop with my one drop.. then I am trading up.. and that is generally a good thing. I am investing my cheaper card to kill your more expensive card. Yay me! If you kill my 3 drop with your one drop.. then I am trading down.. sad pandas.
Over extending: This is the idea that you are playing too fast and putting too many creatures or playing spells at inappropriate times when it could or should be saved for later use..
A good example would be your opponent is a mage, at 20 life and has 4 cards in hand on your turn 6, his next turn will be turn 7. He has no creatures on the board as you traded two of your creatures to kill his taunt creature. You have 3 remaining creatures with a total of 8 damage (2/3, 3/2, and a 3/3). You have two or three creatures in your hand, playing more creatures in this scenario could put you in danger of over extending.
Why, because what happens if he plays flame strike next turn (4 damage to all creatures for 7 mana)? Would the additional creatures you played survive, if not wouldn’t they just be wiped out. If you don’t play anything and he does play that spell well he will still get card advantage 3 to 1… but at least it wont be 5 to 1.. and l will have creatures to replace the ones he killed (by keeping some in reserve in my hand). If he doesn’t play it… how much faster can I kill him? Is it worth risking?
These are the questions you have to ask your self to see if your over extending. What are the risks versus the rewards.
Basic game play is understanding how you’ll play your deck, advanced game play is understanding how your opponent will play his….
Mana curve: The mana curve is the idea of how many spells you have and what mana costs and how it averages out.. For example, if you have a deck consisting of the following:
1 mana cards: 4
2 mana cards: 5
3 mana cards: 7
4 mana cards: 6
5 mana cards: 6
6 mana cards: 4
7 mana cards: 4
Then your deck would be considering having a cheap or inexpensive mana curve.
Think of it this way, every turn you get 1 additional mana to play with… your deck wants to statisically have a good chance at playing card(s) that are valuable for that turn’s mana and to your decks purpose. If your playing a deck and you consistently keep having lots of spare mana at the end of turn and you find your self losing a lot then perhaps you should consider putting a few more expensive cards that fit your deck and taking out a few cheaper ones that aren’t preforming so well….
Ideally speaking every turn you will have just the right amount of mana to spend, turn 2 if you have a “2 drop” turn 3 a “3 drop” etc etc. Don’t forget your hero power is there to fill in for the times where you fail to meet that expectation.
Experimenting with different cards and how they work in your deck will inevitably allow you to preform better… sometimes we have silly ideas that seemed good in theory… no biggie just change the deck next game! Sometimes we find awesomeness. Life in a nutshell. If you lose one or two games don’t stress out, wait to play a number of games until you can see what cards preform and which do not and why. Perhaps then you can find the deck’s weaknesses and make changes to make up for it or exchange those cards for cards that are more consistent.
Your not going to win every game, but every time you change your deck your looking for your deck to preform more consistently. You can have a deck that does awesome epic combos but if it only preforms how you want it to once out of every 4 or 5 games.. is that enough for you?
Well hope you learned something, hopefully a lot.