Itching to pick up a deck and start playing? There’s no better way to learn than to simply download Hearthstone now and get started! And if you still have unanswered questions after the in-game tutorial, the pages in this section will help you catch up on anything you’ve missed.
Everything you need to know about Hearthstone’s game interface can be shown in one screen. Don’t believe us? Check it out:
Pull up a chair and let's chat about some of the basic (and not-so-basic) thing you may need to know on your journey to becoming a Hearthstone master.
By now, you know that cards in Hearthstone can loosely be broken down into minions, spells, and weapons. You also know that some cards are straightforward (“Deal 6 damage.”) and that others have specific effects and conditions. Let’s look at some of these card effects and how they can be combined to put an elegant beatdown on your opponent’s board.
Some minions have abilities that persist for as long as the minion is in play. For example, [[Raid Leader]] has an ability that grants all your other minions +1 attack, while [[Young Dragonhawk]] has the Windfury keyword, which enables them to attack twice each turn.
These require a specific set of circumstances to come into effect. Some examples of activated effects are:
Some card effects can be combined for devastating effect. For example:
Between the mage who wasted her last nuke to take out a taunt minion instead of finishing off the opponent or the warrior who got himself killed by swinging his axe at a minion that was maaaaaybe a little too big for him, I’ve seen it all. So, I’ve compiled a few basic tips to help you bring your game to the next level.
Buff cards can be powerful, but if you have a ton of buffs in your deck and only a few minions to play them on you’ll be a sitting duck. Likewise, if you keep buffing the same minion over and over, you risk turning it into a high-value target for spells that remove a minion from the board.
Casting [[Arcane Missiles]] on the first turn to deal 3 damage to your opponent is, in most cases, a waste of a great card. Wait until you have an opportunity to make a good trade for maximum value.
If you build your deck with various unique combinations, you’re much more likely to run into problems if you don’t draw the right cards in the right order. Focus on a few strong synergies and a solid overall strategy instead. We'll go more into what makes a good deck in the "Building Your First Deck" section.
You’ve got a whole 90 seconds before the rope eventually burns down and you pass your turn. Take some time to think through your available options before playing your cards. You may discover an awesome play you almost overlooked!
Now that I’ve told you not to overplay your buffs and not to waste your spells, I’m going to tell you to also not sit on your cards for too long. If you have a spell or a minion that can get you the advantage now, use it!
So, you’ve spent your turn figuring out perfect sequence of attacks and spells to clear your opponent’s minions and put yourself in a great position to start dominating the match. You press end turn and that’s when you realize: your opponent had 12 health, and you had 13 damage worth of spells in your hand. Always keep an eye out for potential lethal damage to save yourself the heartbreak of losing a sure victory.
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a position where you can easily play your whole hand while your opponent is still holding on to close to the maximum of 10 cards. Unless you can win the game this turn, my advice would be: Don’t. Why? Card advantage.
Simply put, card advantage is your ability to play your cards. The more cards you hold in your hand, the more likely you are to be able to play a card that’s suitable for the current situation, so if you are holding more cards then you have card advantage. Likewise, having more minions on the board is also considered a form of card advantage. If you outnumber your opponent, you are better able to maneuver and play your cards for maximum effect.
The main way to establish card advantage in Hearthstone is via draw effects from cards such as [[Arcane Intellect]] or from minions like the [[Gadgetzan Auctioneer]]. To keep card advantage,
Try to play only as many cards as you need in order to stay ahead. Avoid a situation where you completely exhaust your hand unless you are absolutely sure you can claim victory.
Think about using your spells and minions as trading pieces on a chess board. If you sacrifice three of your pieces to get rid of one of your opponent’s, that’s not a good trade. Likewise, if you can take out three of his minions with one of your cards, that’s a good trade.
Consider adding some draw effect cards to your deck so you can maintain a good pace of playing and drawing cards.
So, you’ve mastered the basic decks, come up with a few interesting ideas, and you’re ready to dig into your collection and make a deck of your very own. Creating your own Hearthstone deck is a fun and rewarding experience but if you’re not familiar with what goes into making a good deck, it could lead to some frustration when you take it into the tavern. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
What do you find interesting, and what do you want the deck to do? Maybe it’s a Hunter deck that builds up a buffed board of brutal beasts, or a Mage deck that sneaks in some sly secrets, either way; it’s good to have a goal in mind when you start building.
Once you have a theme, consider your game plan. Do you want to empty your hand of minions in the first few turns and pray that they stay on the board? Or are you looking to control the game until you pull out a crazy finisher combo?
Once you’ve established a theme and a plan for winning the match (also known as a win condition) you can structure your deck to fit by:
Next, just start adding cards. With your win condition in mind, start with class spells and minions that closely fit your theme then expand into neutral minions. Let’s use our earlier example of a beast-focused Hunter and think about what cards would fit best in a game where we want to fill the board with low-costs beasts that overwhelm the opponent. Some obvious choices might be [[Unleash the Hounds]], [[Animal Companion]], and [[Timber Wolf]], but also consider adding spells or weapons that keep you in the game long enough to see your plan come to fruition.
Now that you’ve filled your deck with everything you think you’ll need to achieve your theme and win condition, it’s time to bolster that with some support cards. These are additional cards and spells that aren’t central to your theme, but help you draw your big finisher, keep you alive, counter popular decks on the ladder, or add in a secondary win condition. Some examples might be adding [[Acidic Swamp Ooze]] to counter weapon-heavy decks, [[Gnomish Inventor]] to help you draw the perfect card, or [[Deathwing]] for those desperate situations.
At this point, you’ve probably run out of space in your deck, and that’s ok! Now’s when we need to start making edits, and one of the best ways to do that is by considering your deck’s “mana curve.” A mana curve is the shape your deck would take, typically a bell curve, if you grouped your cards in order of cost. Aggressive decks typically have lots of low-cost cards, so their mana curve would be higher in the front. Decks looking to play the long game would have a more gradual curve with a handful of low-cost cards, more average-cost cards, and a few expensive cards to finish out the game. Consider your win condition and edit cards from your deck until you have a mana curve that you think is appropriate.
Now’s the fun part. Play your deck! As you play, you’ll find that you may have too many of some cards, and not enough of others. Or, you’ll find that you keep running into the same deck types and you need to make some adjustments to counter their plans. After a few rounds of playing and editing, you should have a solid deck that you can proudly call your own.
Good luck. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
While creating a deck is a tremendously fun and rewarding experience, it can also be kind of overwhelming. If you want to relax and leave it up to us, Hearthstone has a built-in feature that will create the best deck possible based on current trends and what’s available in your collection.
To use the smart deck builder, start by creating a deck with any class, using any number of cards. After clicking “Complete My Deck” or “Done”, the feature will intelligently fill out the rest of the deck for you based on what cards you’ve already chosen, using only cards from your existing collection. To give an example of how we might complete a deck, if you choose a Hunter deck and include [[Savannah Highmane]] and [[Play Dead]], the smart deck builder might create a Deathrattle themed deck. For more information on how the smart deck builder works, check out our blog.