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Hearthstone Beginner’s Guide


Hearthstone Beginner?s Guide?by Khalanil

This guide is for players new to Hearthstone and looking for some tips in getting started. It assumes that you?ve finished the initial in-game tutorial and have a handle on the absolute basics of gameplay. This guide will be updated over the next few days, as well as over the course of the beta as cards change and strategies evolve.

Choosing Your Hero

Each Hero has his or her own individual playstyle and focus on specific techniques. Some heroes even have gameplay mechanics specific to their personal cards (e.g. Thrall and Overload). Play around with each of the Heroes and see which one appeals most to you. Some information about each Hero:

Malfurion Stormrage (druid)
Malfurion embodies flexibility, shifting between forms to bring the pain to his enemies.
Hero Power
? Shapeshift: +1 Attack this turn. +1 Armor.
Special techniques
? Choose One: Select between one of two options when playing certain cards.

Rexxar (hunter)
Rexxar demonstrates a natural affinity for beasts, with many of his cards focusing their effects on beast minions.
Hero Power
? Steady Shot: Deal 2 damage to the enemy hero.
Special techniques
? Charge: Can attack immediately.

Jaina Proudmoore (mage)
Jaina possesses powerful magical abilities, that allow her to dish out damage in a myriad of ways, while holding the enemy at bay.
Hero Power
? Fireblast: Deal 1 damage.
Special techniques
? Freeze: Frozen characters lose their next attack.

Uther Lightbringer (paladin)
Uther calls upon the power of the Light to empower his allies and subdue his enemies.
Hero Power
? Reinforce: Summon a 1/1 Silver Hand Recruit.
Special techniques
? Divine Shield: The first time a Shielded minion takes damage, ignore it.

Anduin Wrynn (priest)
Anduin may excel at healing and empowering his allies through the Light, but don?t underestimate his ability to extinguish his enemies with shadow magic.
Hero Power
? Lesser Heal: Restore 2 Health.

Valeera Sanguinar (rogue)
Valeera relies on trickery, deceit, and precision strikes to bring down her enemies.
Hero Power
? Dagger Mastery: Equip a 1/2 Dagger; or Give your weapon +1 Attack this turn.
Special techniques
? Combo: A bonus if you already played a card this turn.
? Stealth: Can?t be attacked or targeted until it deals damage.

Thrall (shaman)
Thrall calls upon the elements to strengthen his allies and subdue his foes.
Hero Power
? Totemic Call: Summon a random Totem.
Special techniques
? Freeze: Frozen characters lose their next attack.
? Overload (X): You have X less mana next turn.

Gul?dan (warlock)
Gul?dan stops at nothing to defeat his enemies, even trading his own soul in exchange for command over powerful demonic minions and magicks.
Hero Power
? Life Tap: Draw a card and take 2 damage.

Garrosh Hellscream (warrior)
Garrosh fears nothing as he leads his minions on the battlefield, relying on strength of arms to defeat his foes.
Hero Power
? Armor Up!: Gain 2 Armor.
Special techniques
? Charge: Can attack immediately.

Special Abilities

Minions can possess these special abilities that provide additional power in dishing out damage to the enemy:

Does something when you play it from your hand.
? Allows a minion to provide some utility even if it is immediately destroyed by the enemy.
? Examples: Elven Archer, Frost Elemental

? Charge minions are able to immediately attack once they enter play.
? Frequently useful for tactical suicide attacks on enemy minions (i.e. ?trading?).
? Hunters can grant any beast the Charge ability using Unleash the Hounds or Tundra Rhino.
? Warriors can grant any minion the Charge ability using Charge or Warsong Commander.
? Examples: Stonetusk Boar, Reckless Rocketeer

Does something when it dies.
? Enemy can use a Transform or Silence spell to negate Deathrattle.
? Druids can grant any minion a Deathrattle ability using Soul of the Forest.
? Examples: Leper Gnome, Abomination

Divine Shield
The first time this minion takes damage, ignore it.
? Useful for destroying enemy minions with high damage and low health.
? Enemy will attempt to transform the minion or destroy the shield using a low-damage spell or minion.
? Paladins can grant any minion the Divine Shield ability using Hand of Protection or Argent Protector.
? Examples: Argent Squire, Argent Commander

While damaged, this minion has a new power.
? Enemy will avoid attacking unless able to destroy the minion in a single turn.
? Examples: Amani Berserker, Tauren Warrior

Immune characters can?t be damaged.
? Prevents damage from spells, attacks, and other effects.
? Will not prevent other special effects, including those that destroy a minion, from affecting the character (e.g. Vaporize).
? Examples: Ice Block, Bestial Wrath

Spell Damage +X
Your spell cards deal X extra damage.
? Does not affect healing or non-spell damage (e.g. Battlecry effects).
? Will be singled out for destruction by enemy player.
? Examples: Kobold Geomancer, Archmage

Can?t be attacked or targeted until it deals damage.
? After entering play, Stealth minions are less likely to be destroyed before your next turn.
? Rogues can temporarily grant minions the Stealth ability using Conceal.
? Does not prevent damage from random target or AOE effects (see Glossary of Terms).
? Stealth is removed from a minion, when it causes damage by an effect (e.g. Demolisher).
? Examples: Worgen Infiltrator, Jungle Panther

Enemies must attack this minion.
? Shaman can grant any minion the Taunt ability using Ancestral Healing.
? Does not affect spells or other damage effects.
? Example: Goldshire Footman, Lord of the Arena

Can attack twice each turn.
? Most useful for repeated attacks against the enemy hero.
? Sometimes allow you to trade two enemy minions for one of yours.
? Will be singled out for destruction by enemy player.
? Shaman can grant any minion the Windfury ability using Windfury or Windspeaker.
? Examples: Young Dragonhawk, Windfury Harpy

Spell Classes

Choose One
Choose between two actions when playing this card
? Only used by certain Druid cards.
? Provides flexibility in responding to different situations.
? Examples: Wrath, Ancient of War

A bonus if you already played a card this turn
? Only used by certain Rogue cards.
? Provides more power when played after one or more cards.
? Examples: Cold Blood, Kidnapper

Frozen characters lose their next attack
? Useful for neutralizing a high-damage enemy for a single turn.
? Examples: Frost Shock, Frost Elemental

You have X less mana next turn.
? Provides a spell at a lower-than-usual cost, delaying part of the card?s cost until your next turn.
? Several (nine) Shaman cards have Overload.
? Examples: Forked Lightning, Earth Elemental

Hidden until a specific action occurs.
? Available to hunter, mage, and paladin classes.
? Impels enemy to take care not to suffer greatly when the secret is triggered.
? Examples: Explosive Trap, Counterspell, Eye for an Eye

Removes all card text and enchantments.
? Counters Taunt, Windfury, etc.
? Neutralizes enemy minions with powerful abilities.
? Examples: Earth Shock, Ironbeak Owl

? Turns a minion into a completely different minion.
? Useful for neutralizing powerful enemy minions.
? Examples: Hex, Tinkmaster Overspark

Gameplay Strategies

Picking Your Targets
Much of the strategy in Hearthstone comes with knowing which enemy character to attack, even if it entails sacrificing your own minions. Many times, it?s smartest to trade minions with your enemy (smash one of your minions into one of his, killing both), even if you have a clear shot at the enemy hero. You never know when your enemy may pull out some cards that greatly strengthen his ready minions, granting him or her control of the board.

Likewise, don?t be afraid to finish off enemy minions with your own hero?s attack (provided you can). Taking a few points of damage is worth the sacrifice if that means your enemy has one fewer minion on the board. After all, if that minion survives until the next turn, you?ll probably be taking that damage anyway.

Finally, while it?s usually a good idea to attack, sometimes it?s best to simply bide your time. If your opponent has a beefy Taunt minion on the board, and your only attack option is to sacrifice minions to whittle away at its health, consider forgoing this turn?s attacks. If you wouldn?t be able to destroy the enemy minion anyway, you may be best served by maintaining board presence and hoping for a timely removal card.

Deck-Building Strategies

Mana Cost
An important part of building a custom deck is paying attention to the deck?s Mana Cost distribution. While editing a custom deck, you can view the deck?s Mana Cost distribution by placing your mouse over the deck name.

It?s important that you have enough low Mana Cost cards (0-4 Mana), so you are less likely to find yourself with a full hand of cards that you?re unable to play. On the other hand, make sure that you also have some higher Mana Cost cards (5+ Mana) so that you aren?t ending every turn with a lot of extra Mana toward the end of the match. Try starting out with an average of 4-5 low-cost cards (20-25 total), with the rest being high-cost cards (5-10).

Minions vs. Spells
When building your deck, make sure that you have enough minions. While spell cards can be quite flashy and powerful, minions can provide more utility in the long run. If you?re looking for some more minions to round out your deck, try adding a couple of ?draw? minions to provide you with more cards (e.g. Novice Engineer) or a couple of ?summon? minions to fill out your side of the battlefield (e.g. Murloc Tidehunter).

Vital Elements
When you start building custom decks, there are a few cards that you need to include:

Taunt minions (see Special Abilities)
? Vital to preventing your opponent from damaging your hero or destroying your more fragile minions.
? An effective deck will usually have several (but not too many) Taunt minions.
? Shaman can also use Ancestral Healing to grant any minion the Taunt ability.
? Example: Goldshire Footman

Transform/Silence (see Spell Classes)
? Incapacitates an enemy minion.
? When your opponent plays a super powerful legendary (e.g. Gruul), you?ll definitely want to have a neutralization spell in your hand.
? Allow you to bypass an enemy Taunt minion and greatly reduce an enemy minion?s effectiveness.
? Examples: Polymorph, Ironbeak Owl

Useful Elements
These cards are less vital, but very useful:

Draw power
? Gives you one or more cards from your deck.
? Helps provide more card options for you to choose.
? Examples: Novice Engineer, Arcane Intellect

Area of Effect (AoE) damage
? Damage multiple enemy characters.
? Helpful for wiping out larger groups of enemy minions.
? Examples: Arcane Explosion, Flamestrike

Direct damage
? Damage or destroy any enemy character, regardless of enemy Taunt minions.
? Handy for destroying protected enemy minions that grow in strength over time (e.g. Questing Adventurer) or greatly benefit your enemy (e.g. Raid Leader).
? Examples: Fireball, Elven Archer, Big Game Hunter

Starter Decks

These decks consist solely of basic cards and can be built by any player who has reached level 10 with the appropriate Hero. They should provide you with slightly more power than the pre-built basic decks.


Moonfire (2)
Claw (2)
Mark of the Wild (2)
Acidic Swamp Ooze (2)
Healing Touch (2)
Dalaran Mage (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Swipe (2)
Dragonling Mechanic (2)
Gnomish Inventor (2)
Ogre Magi (2)
Stormpike Commando (2)
Starfire (2)
Lord of the Arena (2)
Ironbark Protector (2)

? Dalaran Mage and Ogre Magi provide Spell Power
? Mark of the Wild, Ironfur Grizzly, Lord of the Arena, and Ironbark Protector provide Taunt.


Arcane Missiles (2)
Mirror Image (2)
Arcane Explosion (2)
Acidic Swamp Ooze (2)
Arcane Intellect (2)
Dalaran Mage (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Fireball (2)
Polymorph (2)
Ogre Magi (2)
Water Elemental (2)
Booty Bay Bodyguard (2)
Gurubashi Berserker (2)
Lord of the Arena (2)
Flamestrike (2)


Arcane Shot (2)
Stonetusk Boar (2)
Timber Wolf (2)
Bloodfen Raptor (2)
River Crocolisk (2)
Starving Buzzard (2)
Animal Companion (2)
Kill Command (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Silverback Patriarch (2)
Multi-Shot (2)
Houndmaster (2)
Oasis Snapjaw (2)
Tundra Rhino (2)
Core Hound (2)


Blessing of Might (2)
Hand of Protection (2)
Goldshier Footman (2)
Holy Light (2)
Frostwolf Grunt (2)
Novice Engineer (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Shattered Sun Cleric (2)
Truesilver Champion (2)
Blessing of Kings (2)
Consecration (2)
Hammer of Wrath (2)
Darkscale Healer (2)
Guardian of Kings (2)
Stormwind Champion (2)


Holy Smite (2)
Mind Vision (2)
Power Word: Shield (2)
Goldshire Footman (2)
Divine Spirit (2)
Shadow Word: Pain (2)
Acidic Swamp Ooze (2)
Northshire Cleric (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Gnomish Inventor (2)
Sen?jin Shieldmasta (2)
Holy Nova (2)
Gurubashi Berserker (2)
War Golem (2)
Mind Control (2)



This deck focuses on supporting large groups of minions.
Bloodlust, Flametongue Totem, Raid Leader, and Stormwind Champion provide attack and health boosts to all minions.
Novice Engineer and Gnomish Inventor provide draw power.
Ancestral Healing allows minions to be granted Taunt and synergizes well with Frostwolf Warlord.
Frost Shock and Hex provide on-demand suppression of enemy minions.


Corruption (2)
Mortal Coil (2)
Voidwalker (2)
Voodoo Doctor (2)
Acidic Swamp Ooze (2)
Kobold Geomancer (2)
Drain Life (2)
Shadow Bolt (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Hellfire (2)
Gnomish Inventor (2)
Ogre Magi (2)
Booty Bay Bodyguard (2)
Dread Infernal (2)
Lord of the Arena (2)


Charge (2)
Execute (2)
Voodoo Doctor (2)
Whirlwind (2)
Cleave (2)
Fiery War Axe (2)
Heroic Strike (2)
Novice Engineer (2)
Ironfur Grizzly (2)
Shield Block (2)
Warsong Commander (2)
Kor?kron Elite (2)
Arcanite Reaper (2)
Gurubashi Berserker (2)
Core Hound (2)

? Four weapon cards provide minion removal without sacrificing board control.
? Whirlwind synergizes well with Execute and Gurubashi Berserker
? Charge/Warsong Commander guarantees at least one 9-damage attack per Core Hound.
? Main drawback I?ve found is a possible weakness in draw power.

Glossary of Terms
These terms are used in card descriptions.

Attack ? When a hero or minion directly damages another hero or minion. This does not include hero powers (e.g. Steady Shot), spells (e.g. Fireball), or other damage effects (e.g. Elven Archer?s Battlecry).
Explosive Trap
When your hero is attacked, deal 2 damage to all enemies.

Character ? Any hero or minion currently in play.
Rockbiter Weapon
Give a friendly character +3 Attack this turn.

Damage ? Whenever a hero or minion?s health is decreased, whether as the result of an attack (targeted or received), hero power, or other effect.
Gurubashi Berserker
Whenever this minion takes damage, gain +3 Attack.

Hero ? The main character for each player (e.g. Jaina). A player will lose when his or her hero?s health drops below 1.
Sinister Strike
Deal 3 damage to the enemy hero.

Hero Power ? A special ability available to every hero (e.g. Fireblast). This ability does not count as a spell.
Your Hero Power becomes ?Deal 2 damage?. If already in Shadowform: 3 damage.

Minion ? Any non-hero character with attack and health values (e.g. Goldshire Footman). When played, minions will remain on the board until destroyed.
Arcane Explosion
Deal 1 damage to all enemy minions.

Owner ? The player for whom a minion is fighting. Minion ownership can be changed by certain spell cards (e.g. Mind Control).
Return an enemy minion to its owner?s hand.

Play ? When a card is placed from a player?s hand onto the board. This does not include hero powers (e.g. Totemic Call) or summoned minions (e.g. Mirror Entity).
When your opponent plays a minion, reduce its Health to 1.

Spell ? A card that results in an effect. This includes secrets (e.g. Mirror Entity) and cards that summon minions (e.g. Mirror Image). This does not include hero powers (e.g. Fireblast).
Mana Wyrm
Whenever you cast a Spell, gain +1 Attack.

Summon ? Create a minion by playing a minion card, using certain Hero Powers (e.g. Reinforce), or through a summoning effect (e.g. Feral Spirit). This includes minions that are played as cards.
Knife Juggler
After you summon a minion, deal 1 damage to a random enemy.

Target ? When a character is specifically chosen to be the recipient of an attack, spell, hero power, or effect. This does not include randomly-targeted spells (e.g. Arcane Missiles) or area of effect spells (e.g. Arcane Explosion).
Faerie Dragon
Can?t be targeted by Spells or Hero Powers.


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