Hearthstone Standard Guide for Beginner’s
If you’ve ever been interested in playing Blizzard Entertainment’s collectible card juggernaut Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft but never jumped in, now is a great time to give it a try.
This week, new players have a bit easier time getting started. Several decks poofed from that mode, meaning that you’re not as far behind veteran players than you think you are. The new mode limits players to cards released in the past two years, and to classic cards from the very start of the game. It’s how Blizzard is attempting to keep Hearthstone fresh and engaging for veterans while still making it less intimidating for new players — a key strategy in the new $1.2 billion card game market. Hearthstone’s the leader here, making $20 million a month, according to SuperData.
You can also pick up 13 free card packs just for trying the game this week, thanks to the launch of the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion.
“For beginners it won’t be a big change,” said Hearthstone senior designer Mike Donais. “All of their Basic and Classic cards are still fully playable in Standard. Standard is a great format for them because they don’t need to worry about buying or learning about [Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion] and Naxxramas [adventure] cards.
“Everyone will be experimenting with new deck ideas in Standard, which is a great time to be a new player.”
But you’ve never played a collectible card game, let alone Hearthstone, you say. No problem! Just four short months ago, I was there with you: I had played three games to get the shiny horse in World of Warcraft (don’t judge), but I then dropped it again immediately. I’d never played a CCG before, ever.
So when I started again in December, I was still well and truly noob. I made a ton of mistakes, and met a bunch of far more experienced players who helped me to figure the game out. Hearthstone has ranks from 25 (worst) to 1 (best), and above that, Legend ranks count upward for competitive tournament players.
In about two months, I made rank 13 (roughly the top 25 percent of Hearthstone players,) and I’ve hit that level fairly consistently in the past few seasons. So can you. Here’s how.
OK, so how does this thing work?
Each player in Hearthstone has a hero. Get your opponent’s hero from 30 health at the start to zero health and you win. Let your own hero get to 0 and you lose.
Before you play, you’ll select a deck of 30 cards. You can choose what type of hero you want to play – Mage, Shaman, Paladin, Priest, Hunter, Warrior, Warlock, or Druid. You start with premade decks, and this is a blessing. Stick with that until you get better.
You can play against the computer A.I. or against human beings. Hearthstone is family-friendly; you can’t actually chat with other players (unless you request to be friends with them or vice versa.) Instead, you can use “emotes” – limited phrases, like “Wow!” or “Oops” or “Hello.”
Your deck will have minions, which become little creatures on the playing board, and spells, which you can use to make your own minions stronger, other minions weaker, do damage, heal things, and a variety of other effects. You will take turns with your opponent, playing cards.
Each class has a particular “hero power” – a basic ability that you don’t have to get a card to use. Paladins can summon little guards with 1 attack and 1 health, for example. Priests can heal two points of health. Warlocks can draw an extra card, sacrificing 2 points of health to get more resources. And so on.
At the start, you will have three or four cards for your hand. You can choose to reject some or all of them, and other cards from your deck will replace them.
In general, look for low-cost minions to start the match. If you don’t have any, click on the highest-cost cards you’ve been dealt to get rid of them and try for a lower card.
You will either receive three cards, in which case you go first, or four cards, in which case you’ll receive “The Coin” – a 0-mana card that gives you an extra point of mana. Mana is what limits how many cards you can play each round. Each player starts with 1 mana, and the amount increases each round of play until both are capped at 10.
Each round, Hearthstone will deal another card for your hand, and you can choose to play whatever cards you have the mana for. Feel free to check our professional arena guide.
More about minions
Minions can’t attack in the turn you play them, unless they have “Charge” as an ability (which enables them to go on the offensive when they hit the board). Most will sleep until the next round, when you can use them to do damage against other minions or the enemy hero.
Minions can have all kinds of effects; it’s worth scrolling through the lists of cards available online to browse and see them all. Many are “Battlecry” cards, which trigger a particular effect when you play them. Others are “Deathrattle” cards, that do something nifty when they die, like summon a weaker minion or dealing out damage.
Some minions have “Taunt,” which is kind of like a shield or a wall. You must destroy it before your minions or weapon can attack your opponent’s other cards or hero (Taunt doesn’t stop spells, though).
Some minions and spells can “Silence” on other minions, removing buffs they’ve received and taking away their ability to cast Deathrattle effects or to affect other cards.
A minion who is attacked does its damage to whatever is attacking it, as well as whatever you make it attack. So be careful that you don’t batter your little minions to death against stronger minions that your opponent may play.
Minions and spells are ranked by how rare they are. White is common; blue, rare; purple, epic; and orange, Legendary. You can tell the rarity of a card by the color of the gem in its center. Legendary cards also have dragon portraits around them; they’re hard to miss.
OK, so that doesn’t seem too hard. So how do you get started?