Hearthstone may be considered casual and free to play, but if you have stuck around for any length of time you know what kind of shark tank the game can be for new players. Hearing laments about opponents with decks full of legendaries is common, and with good reason. When you’re new to the game, the bright shiny Blingtron that gives your opponent Gorehowl for extra BM lethal is enough to make your head spin.
But there is hope for new players. With a bit of card knowledge, some practice, and a lot of patience, there are many places for new players to improve their collection and their game. Getting all of the basic cards is just the first step. This guide is for players who are wondering what to do next with their gold, their dust, and possibly their bank account.
Preliminary Thoughts — Steps All New Players Should Take
- Level all heroes to 10 to get the basic cards and gold reward.
- Do daily quests, try and reroll anything that is 40 gold.
- Stay patient. You will lose games. Everyone loses games. Learn from losses and try again.
- Don’t rage. Hearthstone is a card game with a number of random elements. It is RNG packed in more RNG (an RNG terducken if you will). Everyone has war stories of getting screwed.
- Try each class to find what you like, then stick with it.
- Use the spectate mode to try and learn from other players on your friends list. Hearthstone is better with friends.
Card Acquisition in Hearthstone
Getting cards in Hearthstone, especially if you are not planning on spending real money, takes time. Longer than some other F2P games, not as long as others. So when you’re starting out, you need to be efficient. There are three primary sources of cards in Hearthstone:
- Card Packs — available in bundles of some shapes and sizes, Classic & GvG
- Arena — if you can average 3.5 wins, it’s not a net loss (except you don’t get your 10 gold for 3 wins). Awards a GvG pack.
- Adventure Mode — clear single player content to unlock cards.
For gold use, buy Arena if you want GvG (and average 3.5 wins per run) and buy individual packs if you want Classic.
If you are willing to spend real money, the best bang for buck is to unlock Adventure mode with said money. 700 gold to unlock every individual wing for two sets of adventures is very steep in terms of time investment for the amount of cards you get. And it is unlikely that Blizzard changes the gold price anytime soon. Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain both have very good, important cards, so they are both worth picking up (plus they are, generally, a fun change of pace).
Here is my opinion on the most important wings for new players to purchase.
Naxx: Construct Quarter – This one has a lot of goodies. Death’s Bite is vital for Warrior, Dark Cultist is an amazing 3 drop for priest. Plus Zombie Chow and Mad Scientist are two of the most powerful cards in the game.
BRM: Blackrock Depths – Emperor is a great legendary for beginning players and fits into many decks. Quick shot and Grim Patron are also excellent pickups for dust efficient competitive decks.
Naxx: Plague Quarter – Loatheb and Sludge Beltcher are top tier cards. Webspinner and unstable ghoul are also valuable pickups.
Naxx: Arachnid Quarter – Mainly because Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper are important cards in many dust efficient competitive decks.
BRM: Blackwing Lair – Chrommagus, Flamewalker, Firegaurd Destroey, and Hungry Dragon are the stand outs here and can fit into many low cost decks.
Lower Priority Wings
Naxx: Frostwyrm Lair – Kel’Thuzad is a great card to seal wins but difficult to set up, and Shade is valuable if you’re playing Druid but maybe not as much as it used to be. Not top tier.
BRM: Molten Core – if you are planning on playing Warlock, you want imp gang boss. The rest of the cards here are much lower priority.
BRM: Blackrock Spire – Dragon Consort is very good if you are playing Dragon Paladin. But the best dragons cost a good chunk of dust and gold, so unless you paid real money for BRM you better be ready to wait.
Naxx: Military Quarter (except Voidcaller and MAYBE Baron for a new player)
BRM: Hidden Labratory – By the time you unlock this you’ll have a number of dragons to make a dragon deck. But you’ll need other cards too. Don’t gun for this one unless you think your pally deck really needs Solemn Vigil (which is a good card, but not vital starting out).
Completely non-professional suggestion for purchasing individual wings Get Blackrock Depths First, or buy Naxx all the way through Plague Quarter (sadly, you must buy the wings in order). Afterwards, go straight for Construct Quarter. There is too much value there. The rest depends on if you want to go dragons and specific BRM class cards or if you would rather have Kel’Thuzad & Shade.
Beyond Basic Deck Building: What Do I Do With All of These Cards?
If you happen to open a good Legendary in one of your early packs, congratulations, you can let that guide you. But if you’re like me and your first two legendaries are Millhouse Manastorm, then you’re going to have some dust to throw around to craft different cards. In fact, some people will say to pick a class or two whose deck you want to build and dust the rest to speed up having one or two good decks. Others will say to hold onto all of your cards. The choice is up to you.
What this section is about is what I think you should do with that dust from your newly incinerated Hemet Nessingwary. Some would say save up for a legendary and see what commons and rares you get from packs. That’s not a bad strategy, but I would argue that there are some rares and commons cards that are so good that crafting them should be a priority over saving up for X legendary. Unless you plan on playing Druid or Rogue or a very dust expensive netdeck (what are you doing here again?), I would hold off on crafting epics.
Here are my crafting recommendations:
Neutral Rares (prioritize these over class rares):
Azure Drake: Fits in many decks, has card draw, spell power, and good body packed in for 5 cost.
Knife Juggler: Low cost minion with a dangerous and easily activated damage proc.
Defender of Argus: great in decks with lots of minions for taunt and +1/+1 buff.
Kezan Mystic: I’m not high on crafting tech cards starting out but secrets are popular enough that it’s worth having one hanging around to swing games in your favor.
Neutral Commons (in order of importance)
Pilote Shredder, Harvest Golem, Leper Gnome, Stranglethorn Tiger (I’m surprised more people don’t run this card), Antique Healbot,
Class Specific Rares (Note, not all of these are Class Cards):
Druid: Keeper of the Grove x2,
Hunter: Eaglehorn Bow x2, Savannah Highmane x2, Arcane Golem x2
Mage: Unstable Portal x2, Goblin Blast Mage x2, Counterspell x1
Priest: Aucheni Soulpriest x2, Shadow Madness x2, Injured Blademaster x2, Light of the Naaru x2, Holy Fire x2
Paladin: Muster for Battle x2, Aldor Peacekeeper x2, Equality x1
Rogue: SI:7 Agent x2, Blade Flurry x2, Violet Teacher x2,
Shaman: Feral Spirit x2, Lightning Storm x2, Mana Tide Totem x1 or x2
Warlock: Implosion x2, Doomguard x2, Sunfury Protector x2, Siphon Soul x1, Shadowflame x1 or x2, Void Terror x1 or x2
Warrior: Frothing Berzerker x2, Amorsmith x2
Class Specific Epics: These are the ones that are worth crafting early
Druid: Ancient of Lore x2 and at least 1 Force of Nature. But you better be sure you want to play druid. That 1200 dust. These cards are just super powerful and very important to Druid as we know it today in BRM.
Rogue: If you insist on playing anything that isn’t a backspace/agro style rogue, you will want 2 Preparations.
Class Specific Commons Going through all of these are going to make the post take too long, so just look through some common decks online or pay attention to what your opponents play. You’ll find that each class has at least a few commons that shine, and that makes some classes significantly cheaper in dust to play.
So About Those Decks
I am not going to go over the nuances of mirange decks vs agro and control and what it all means. We’re here to play a numbers game, and those numbers involve what can you play without having to drop a ton of dust and not consistently lose. Don’t forget, you will lose. Even when your hidden MMR puts you against players of similar skill, know that you will still lose. But the best decks are ones that are able to withstand the storm of variance and work over the long term.
And believe it or not, some of the decks can be built without legendaries or epics. Some don’t even need a huge investment in adventure mode cards. You might not be running a top shelf version of the deck, but it can work out. Here are some example decks:
Hunter: Midrange Sludge Bletcher for Boom
Mage: Mech Put in Stormwind Champion or a big threat for Archmage Antonidas.
Rogue: Agro, sub Kobold Geomancer for Thalanos and 2nd Oil for Van Cleef
Warlock: Zoo, replace Sea Giants with Piloted Shredders, Ooze with Second Owl
Warrior: Patron, probably sub 2nd Armorsmith in for Commanding Shout
Hopefully this post has been helpful or provided some guidance. I am always open to amendments or suggestions for more things to add, include, or move around. If I forgot cards, tell me. If you have other budget deck suggestions, by all means post them.