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How to Play Hearthstone – Beginner’s Guide & Tips

Hearthstone is an online collectible card game (OCG) that has taken the online gaming world by storm as the definitive OCG. If you’re looking to get into the game now, the good news is that it’s free to play and has an excellent tutorial that teaches you the basics of how to play Hearthstone.

However, the tutorial only covers the fundamentals of playing a card, attacking or targeting, etc. This Hearthstone guide will provide you with the other essential basics that are not included in the tutorial. So, let’s get you some Hearthstone tips, shall we?

15 Tips for Playing Hearthstone

We’ll be going over 15 tips for Hearthstone that aren’t directly covered by the tutorial. Some may feel rather obvious, while others sit in the realm of theory-crafting. Either way, these tips will all help you learn how to play Hearthstone better than ever before.

1. Pick a Starting Deck to Build

Pick a deck you want to build and focus on it - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

As a general rule, these tips on how to play Hearthstone assume that you are a free-to-play player. If you are a free-to-play player, you need to think carefully about the first deck you want to build.

Let’s face it, Hearthstone is a resource-intensive game, and building a deck is not easy. Therefore, when you are starting out, you should pick one deck and focus all your resources on making it the best it can be. With a good starting deck, you can play games, complete quests, and build up your collection, making it much easier to build other decks in the future.

But how do you build that first deck? The most reliable answer when starting out is to find a popular meta deck (ideally with cheap-to-craft cards) and focus your resources on building a version of it.

2. How to Use Deck Codes

Use decks codes to quickly import decks - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

An easy way to get a top-tier deck is to use deck codes. On most Hearthstone-related websites, you can either copy a code for a deck directly or click on some variation of a “copy deck” button to do it for you.

Once you have done that, log into Hearthstone and go to the “My Collection” tab. From there, you can simply use the paste command or click the “Create New Deck” icon, and an option to use the deck code will pop up.

After that, the deck you copied will be auto-filled in, showing you which cards you still need to complete the deck. Then it’s just a matter of acquiring the remaining cards you need, and you can start playing with said deck.

3. Best Way to Get New Cards

Spend gold to get more packs of cards  - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

Our next Hearthstone tip is about how to acquire cards most efficiently. Now that you know which cards you want for your first deck, you need to actually obtain them.

The basic way to acquire cards is by getting packs. Each pack you purchase from the store will cost you 100 gold and comes with five cards, at least one of which is guaranteed to be rare or better. You should find out which set the cards you need are from and then buy as many packs from that set as you can. This is the most straightforward and efficient way to try to get the cards you want.

Aside from simply buying packs, keep an eye out for special events as they often offer great rewards. And remember that every Wednesday, there is a new weekly tavern brawl. Each time you win your first tavern brawl of the week, you receive a free standard pack, so make sure to participate in those.

You can also acquire packs and cards from the Arena and Duels game modes, as well as end-of-month rewards based on your ladder rank.

4. Disenchant & Craft Cards

Use dust to craft the cards you're missing - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

In addition to buying card packs, you can craft individual cards using dust. You acquire dust whenever you get a third copy (or more) of a card you already own. Since you can only ever have two copies of a non-legendary card and one copy of a legendary in your deck, the extras are automatically dusted for you. Golden cards and regular cards are treated as separate for this rule.

You can also get dust by disenchanting your cards. This destroys your copy of the card and gives you its dust value. Unsurprisingly, golden cards give you more dust and require more to craft. But given that their effect is purely cosmetic, many players just view them as sources of dust.

Card RarityDisenchantingCrafting Cost
Common5 dust40 dust
Rare20 dust100 dust
Epic100 dust400 dust
Legendary400 dust1600 dust
Golden Common50 dust160 dust
Golden Rare100 dust400 dust
Golden Epic400 dust1600 dust
Golden Legendary1600 dust6400 dust

Generally speaking, it is not worth it to dust non-golden versions of cards because the returns are so low, but if you really need that last legendary to finish your deck, you might have to.

5. Complete Your Daily & Weekly Quests

Complete your quests regularly - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

We’ve gone over how to get dust, but how can you get gold? Well, gold can be obtained through the reward track.

Every day, you receive a new daily quest that occupies one of the three available daily slots. If all three slots are occupied, you lose a quest. To avoid missing out on quests, you should keep up with them. You also receive one free daily quest reroll each day.

On Mondays, you receive a new set of three weekly quests, which are more difficult or time-consuming but are worth more points on the reward track. When you level up on the reward track, you earn a reward, such as gold, cards, packs, or other extras.

The key to managing your quests is to determine which ones are easy or enjoyable for you to complete. For instance, if your main deck does not include any battlecry minions, you should reroll a quest that requires you to trigger battlecry 50 times. Alternatively, you can build a deck specifically for a quest, such as a deck with thirty battlecry minions, and play it in unranked mode until you complete the quest.

Regarding the weekly quests, you will always receive a specific fourth quest, which is to win five games in one of ranked modes of Hearthstone (Standard, Wild, or Classic). This one cannot be re-rolled. Your other three quests will vary randomly and can be re-rolled.

You’ll also often receive a weekly quest to win five games in any combination of Battlegrounds, Arena, Duels, and Mercenaries. This is where our next tip comes in.

6. Try Alternative Game Modes

Try alternate game modes for rewards - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

The alternative game modes (mentioned above) are exactly what they sound like: variations on Hearthstone with different rules than the normal card game. As for which ones you should play, the short answer is whichever ones you find the most fun. Frankly, you should try all of them at least once. However, for our purposes, this question is a bit more complicated.

Both Battlegrounds and Mercenaries are free to play, whereas Arena and Duels require a 150 gold entry fee (or you can buy an entry with real money via runes). For starters, you should probably avoid Arena and Duels.

Although they have high reward ceilings, they require a lot of skill (and, in Duels’ case, more luck honestly), so you’re not likely to make your investment back. However, there are two caveats to this. The first is that you will acquire free entry tickets for either Arena or Duels on your rewards track, and the second is that Duels has a casual mode with no entry fee and no rewards.

7. Spend Your Gold Wisely

When starting out, you really want to save your gold for buying packs to complete your deck and nothing else. This is by far the best return on your investment.

Once you have a fully built deck and more experience under your belt, then you should start looking at modes that require paying a gold entry fee. It’s a fairly simple rule, but we’ve seen too many players fall for the trap of throwing away their gold on Arena and Duel matches.

8. Learn How to Evaluate Cards

Learn to recognize which cards provide value - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

You have a deck and you’re playing some games while managing your gold/quests, but at some point, you’ll probably want to design a deck of your own. The first step to doing that is learning how to evaluate cards.

The primary way to evaluate cards in Hearthstone is to look at their mana cost and see what they give you in return. For minion cards, generally speaking, you want minions that have a combined stat total of at least one or two higher than their cost. For example, a 2/4 for four mana. However, if they have a really good ability, their stats will usually be lower, and that’s fine. Most minions with no abilities are not worth running.

You should also take your class into account. Perhaps that over-costed minion with a healing battlecry is not suitable for your deck because your class has better healing options, but it may be suitable for another deck that doesn’t have those options. As a basic rule of thumb, look for cards that give you value (i.e. draw or generate cards/tokens) or have a significant impact on the board.

9. How to Build Your Own Deck

Choose a class and build a deck that fits it - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

At some point, it’s probably a good idea to take a shot at making your deck without copying a list. As you improve at evaluating cards, this task will become less daunting. The first step is picking your hero from the eleven heroes in the game and understanding what play styles suit them.

Related to choosing your class is figuring out the type of deck you want to play. Do you want a fast aggro deck? A slower control deck? Something in between? Maybe you want to build around a specific card or tribe. If tribe is your answer, figure out what that tribe is good at and build that kind of deck. For example, Murlocs should be built as an aggro deck.

Depending on the format and current meta, certain classes will have favored deck types. Right now, in Standard, for instance, you probably won’t be able to build a good aggro Druid deck, but a more control or mid-range style deck would work.

Once you’ve figured out a deck, build it. Then play and tweak it. The more you play, the more you’ll realize what works and what doesn’t. Your first draft of the deck will not be your final draft, and that’s perfectly okay.

10. Know Your Deck Archetype

Know what type of deck you're running - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

It is not enough to build a deck. You need to understand how the deck plays and whether it is suitable for you.

Let’s use control decks as an example. A control deck is a much slower deck that aims to out-value your opponent so you can beat them with big end-game plays or slowly drain them over time. You need to be patient and keep your opponent at bay while you set up your win.

However, many people do not enjoy playing a slow, patient, grindy game. Those people should not build a control deck in the first place because it’s not suitable for them. So even if you have a top-tier deck, if it is not suited to your playstyle, you probably won’t perform well with it.

11. Get Proper Practice with a Deck

Practice against proper decks in ranked. - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

This might seem counterintuitive, but do not practice your deck in unranked mode. Practice by playing in ranked mode.

The reason to do this is that in unranked, you will find many weird and silly decks that do not make for good practice. The higher you rank, the fewer deck variations you will find. The best decks will rise to the top, and you will have to learn how to fight them eventually.

It won’t do you much good to practice your aggro deck against some random Mage trying to play all the spell damage minions they can and then two-shot you with fireballs. At best, you’re not learning anything, and at worst, you’re picking up bad habits.

12. How to Mulligan Effectively

The Mulligan - choosing which cards to return to your deck and redraw.
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

Mulliganing in Hearthstone is when, at the start of the game, you choose a number of cards from your hand to return to your deck and then redraw that number. When it comes to the mulligan, the general rule is that you want to return cards with a high mana cost to your deck while keeping cards with a low mana cost. You won’t be able to play higher-cost cards right away, so they will just clog up your hand and limit your options.

You also need to take into consideration who you are facing. If your opponent is a Druid (to use our earlier example) and you know Druid does not have good aggro options in Standard right now, you can afford to keep a slightly slower hand. This is opposed to, say, if you are fighting a Warrior or Rogue, who are more likely to be aggressive early on.

13. How to Get Better at Hearthstone

Get better by constantly playing. - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

Just play more games. However, this only works if you learn as you play. If you keep losing to the same decks, figure out why that is and what you might be doing wrong. Learn to spot when you make misplays, such as inefficiently using your mana or playing cards in the wrong order. Learn your matchups as well. Figure out which decks you are strong against, which ones you are weak against, and why.

You do not have to do all of this alone, of course. Look for guides like this one online, find streamers you can watch and try to emulate. If you have friends who are good at the game, ask them for advice. But ultimately, it comes back to simply playing a lot of games and looking at your games with a critical eye. Have patience and perseverance, and you will improve.

14. How to Climb the Ranked Ladder

Climb the ranked ladder - How to Play Hearthstone Tips
Image: Blizzard Entertainment via HGG / Joel Stadler

If you aim to reach the top, be aware that it will take a long time, even for the strongest decks. The main thing is to stick with it and do proper research.

First, find the deck with which you will climb the ladder. Find a deck that is actually good in the meta (at the very least, one that has a win rate greater than 50%). Then, play games with that deck, learning as you go, as well as learning the matchups of the other decks you are likely to face on the ladder.

Finally, learn when to give up. It sounds weird, but hear me out. Some games are over long before the final point of health is lost. Learn when you have lost a game and concede so you can move on to the next one. This will get you up the ladder more quickly.

This skill is especially useful for aggro players because if your game drags on for another seven or eight turns, you could have conceded and won a new game in that amount of time.

15. Helpful Tools & Resources

Our final tip on how to play Hearthstone is about what tools and resources are available. Of course, guides such as this one are good, as they can give you lots of advice on how to play. It is also good to look at websites that provide top-tier deck lists.

For in-game help, Hearthstone Deck Tracker is a great tool you can use. It is a downloadable overlay for the game that keeps track of things like what has died, how many copies of each card are left in your deck, etc. All things you should theoretically know but are a pain to keep track of. This can drastically help you optimize your plays by easily providing you all the information you need.

Join the High Ground!

And that covers our tips on how to play Hearthstone for beginners! Future guides will go over specific decks as well as potentially some broader deck-building tips. Make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay tuned!

We hope you enjoy playing Hearthstone. If you have any more questions, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you! Maybe I’ll even get to fight you on the ladder at some point!

Happy gaming!


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