My 5 Tips for Hearthstone

A few days ago, J3w3l of Healing the Masses wrote a piece on Hearthstone, which you can view here. This was obviously a satirical piece, so the tips therein aren’t exactly tips rather than her observations about the depths of multiplayer depravity. Or something to that effect; you can read her post for the lulz. I am taking some inspiration from it though, and writing this post giving you my 5 cents as it were. So here are my top 5 tips for those interested in jumping into Hearthstone:

Card Advantage is Key

Initially while building my decks, I was focusing on packing in the best cards, but not really paying attention to much else. Sometimes that meant passing over cards that didn’t seem very powerful because all they were was a weak creature or damage spell that allowed you to draw a card. I suppose part of the problem was that I started playing the Warlock and so I always had the ability to draw more cards. I underestimated the power of these kinds of cards though, because despite only being a 1/1 creature who’s battlecry is “draw a card,” this not only gives you a minion or spell advantage, but also extra cards in your hand. I started having bad luck with the Warlock because many of his cards required you to discard. Soon, you have no cards in your hand, and you can’t counter with spells or put minions out if you don’t have the cards. When I retooled some of my decks keeping all of the cards that allowed for the drawing of more, my win percentage increased dramatically. I’m sure there’s other viable ways of building decks, but as a new player, this is a huge benefit. Card advantage is when you have more cards than your opponent. This is maintained by drawing more cards, and managing your hand, which leads me to my next tip:

Be Patient

Having a card advantage is good for when your opponent tries to snowball and plays a large combo leaving them with fewer cards in their hand, allowing you to control the tides of battle. This will be further skewed when you are continuously drawing more cards than them, and maintaining table control. This is when most people will concede, or the game will play out in your victory. But, before getting to that point when the tides will be swayed in one direction or the other, you have to be patient. Throwing everything you have out there too soon can leave your opponent with the card advantage, and can leave you with little option for countering or combo-ing. Prioritize damaging your enemy early on with hero powers and cost effective spells/creatures, save the good stuff for later.

Balance Your Deck

To prioritize early damage to your opponent, you will need a balance in your deck, but also a balance in your initial hand. If you initially draw a hand full of cards that require 4+ mana to cast, you won’t be able to use them for a while, so it’s best to put those cards back and draw new ones. You only get one mulligan, so choose wisely. A good way to ensure that you will get some low cost cards in your starting hand is to make sure that you have several cards that are low cost, from 4 mana down. About half of the 30 cards in your deck are going to be class specific, and the other half +- are neutral cards. Most classes have cards that are low cost, and high utility, so these will help, but often times they are only spells and not creatures, so you will need to balance those out as well with neutral cards. Most of my decks have a theme (hunter has mostly beast creatures, cleric/druid have creatures with heal or procs from heals, etc) but I won’t hesitate to add something to the deck that doesn’t go with the theme for the sake of filling a need. I’m sure further iterations of the game will add in more cards so that you can keep strictly to a theme, but for now this is what we have. Basically, you don’t want to front load your deck with too many low cost cards because towards the end game you won’t have the big minions/spells to finish off your opponent (or their big ass minions). You also don’t want to have too many of the high cost cards because then you’ll never have the mana to cast them, because you’ll already be dead ten turns in.

Know When to Concede

After following the above tips, you should be able to win more games. However, you will still face adversity, and many games you will seemingly know that you are doomed to fail. Let me give you an example: You are playing as a Paladin against a Hunter. You have two cards in your hand, a 1/1 creature that with charge, and a spell that does 2 damage to a target. You have one creature on the table, a 5/6 with taunt. You have 7 health remaining, your opponent is sitting at 15, with three creatures who’s attack total more than 13. You can’t prevent death in this scenario, so you can concede, or let your opponent kill you anyway. This is an acceptable time to concede, and I would encourage you to do so. Some games are over before they start, and most of the time it’s due to your starting hand. There are going to be times where it is impossible to know whether or not you will win, but the above “obvious death” scenario isn’t staring you in the face, and yet you feel like you are on the losing track. Some people have decks that speedily whittle down your health, and it seems like they will continue, but other factors will come in to play, and sometimes dumb luck will hand you victory at the last second! So remember, unless the obvious death scenario is in front of you, don’t concede, your luck might improve before the game is over! This doesn’t always work though, and here’s a shot from a game where I was over ten health points ahead with a minion advantage and luck was on my opponent’s side:

The closest game I’ve participated in

Level all decks to 10 ASAP

The only way to earn all the basic class-specific cards (those not found in expert decks) is to level each deck to 10. After that, it seems that you only earn golden versions of cards. You also earn a free expert deck (100 gold) by getting each to 10. This is easily done through practice mode, or you can test the waters of PvP, but it needs to be done to open up the possibilities for deck building, but to also learn the strengths and weaknesses of each class.

So there you have it, my 5 cents.