HearthCraft Basics: what you need to know before you craft any card

Guide

As you know, I’ve started writing a series of article about crafting Hearthstone cards. The series is called “Hearthcraft” and you can find the first episode here.

When I wrote the original article I wanted to finish the full series, presenting all the cards that I thought would be worthy of crafting. However, based on feedback I decided that I should actually start with a general guide to crafting in Hearthstone.

Dust

TL;DR

  1. Learn the Hearthstone basics
  2. Don’t rush it
  3. Do all the quests
  4. Unlock all the basic cards for all the classes
  5. Play arena as often as you can
  6. Play Brawl each week
  7. Buy about 10 packs from each expansion
  8. Buy the adventures
  9. Pick your favorite class
  10. Pick your favorite play-style
  11. Craft higher rarity cards first
  12. Prioritize crafting key cards

Learn the Hearthstone basics

You’ll find most of the information you need regarding Hearthstone basics, and more, in my comprehensive Hearthstone guide.

If you don’t have a lot of time at least go through Trump’s Hearthstone basics videos, they’re all linked in my article.

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Slow and steady wins the race

Don’t rush it

Hearthstone is a great, complex game. It’s fun even after thousands and thousands of games. However if you want to play it you need a decent collection. For that collection you’ll have to pay. Either with your cash or with your time. There’s no escaping it.

If you want a complete collection, you’re either going to play the game for hundreds of hours “grinding” gold and dust, or you’re going to pay a lot of money. At the time I’m writing this, after the release of The Grand Tournament expansion, a 100% collection could cost you $1000.

Since you’re reading this article you’re probably not interested in throwing away all your cash on Hearthstone. This means that you’re going to be playing a lot of Hearthstone. The same 100% collection could cost you 2000 hours of play time.

Don’t panic! You don’t need a complete collection to have fun. You don’t even need 10% of the cards, as many of them are “bad” anyway.

And while you’re building your collection you’ll also be learning the game and getting better. Which is also extremely important going forward.

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Quest accepted

Do all the quests

Blizzard is quite stingy with resources since each player that plays and gets gold and dust will use them instead of cash to get cards.

Still, there are plenty of ways to get these in-game currencies. I recommend reading the Hearthstone Wiki Quest page in detail.

Try to not skip quests. Even if they seem harder for classes you don’t have cards, you’ll notice that the Hearthstone match making does work, it just takes a while to adjust to your new deck. You’ll soon be facing other newbies such as yourself. Just play on and try to learn from each game.

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Unlock all the basic cards for all the classes

Ready to kill

You can’t craft cards without knowing why you’re crafting them. Sometimes you’ll craft them because you saw them in a deck on the net. However there are many, many bad decks on the Internet. So the best way to not get “scammed” is to learn to play all the classes, at least at a minimal level.

And that minimal level is level 10, when you unlock all the basic class cards.

As an exercise I’d recommend that you also venture on the ladder aka ranked mode aka “Play”.

It will be quite brutal at first but don’t be discouraged: each game is a learning opportunity.

If as a new player with mostly basic cards you go above level 20, then you have great potential :wink:

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Play arena as often as you can

Ogre time

Hearthstone has several game modes. You can practice against the Innkeeper in single player mode, play adventures, also in single player mode, or go against human players in casual mode, ranked mode, the Arena or Tavern Brawl.

The most complex game mode is probably ranked mode, but the Arena is a close second.

It is also great for learning about all the cards in the game and how to pick the best ones to make a decent deck.

If you get good at playing Arena you also get rewards, which are quite good once you reach 7+ wins. If you get 12 you’ve basically tripled your initial investment for the Arena ticket.

Of course, for this you’ll need to learn to play arena.

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Play Brawl each week

Get in there

Tavern Brawl is the other multi player game mode in Hearthstone. It’s crazier than the other two and it changes each week. It’s great because the first win rewards you with a card pack (which you’ll greatly appreciate in the start!) and also because it teaches you to think on your feet and to react in unusual game circumstances.

To be able to enter the brawl you will need to level a class to level 20 (it shouldn’t be hard to do as you keep playing).

Even if you don’t like the Brawl available this week, at least play it until you win once to get the free pack.

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Buy about 10 packs from each expansion

Where's my cut?

It’s quite hard to play when your collection has only basic cards. You can play, but many of the fun cards are not available to you.

This is why I think that you should buy (either with cash or with gold) 10 packs from each expansion. These packs will give you at least 40 common cards and 10 rare cards from each expansion, giving you a lot more flexibility when making decks.

This is especially useful when you’re off questing, since the more efficient you become when you are questing, the more gold and dust you get, which in turn will make future questing even easier and faster.

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Buy the adventures

Excuse me!

There are currently 2 Hearthstone adventures: Curse of Naxxramas and Black Rock Mountain. Both of these have cards which can be used by any class and by any deck type.

It’s quite inefficient to buy them with gold. As a result I recommend that you buy them with cash. If Blizzard sticks to this principle (and I think they will), adventures will probably be your only cash investment in Hearthstone.

This means that you’ll spend about $25 per year on Hearthstone. Quite good for a quality game!

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Pick your favorite class

The elements guide me

This is the follow up to the point about unlocking all the basic cards. Once you “get a feel” for all the classes, as most players do, you’ll start liking some more than others. In order to double check that the class or classes you selected work the way you think they do, even when you get a bigger collection, I recommend checking the streamers from my Hearthstone guide.

All of them are high legend constructed players (so top 0.01% or higher) or infinite arena players (I don’t have a percentage for this category, but it’s also very small).

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Pick your favorite play-style

Ribbit!

This one’s a bit trickier. The reason it’s trickier is because unlike the classes, some play styles are not available at the start. For example Handlock is a specific kind of control deck which requires expensive cards. Still, if you make a short list of styles and decks you like, you’ll probably find a cheaper version or a version you can change slightly until you can play the deck with the cards you already own.

At a minimum, decide on your deck archetype: control, midrange or aggro. This is a bit more flexible and you can select the actual deck a bit later.

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Craft higher rarity cards first

Bark cracking

When you open packs you get at least 4 common cards and 1 rare, in the worst case scenario. If you’re lucky you’ll get even better cards, but the chance for getting those better cards (such as epic or legendary cards) is lower.

If you want to see the exact stats, you can read about them here.

So, there’s a 20% chance that you’ll get an epic card and a 5% chance that you’re going to get a legendary card. But the trick is… you don’t know which epic or legendary you’ll get.

This means that unless you open 50-100+ packs, you can’t really guarantee that you’ll get the epic or legendary card you need.

On the other hand, you’ll get at least 4 common cards per pack, so getting the common cards is quite easy once you open a decent number of packs (the sweet spot is around 20 packs per expansion). For rare cards things are a little more tricky, but you still have a decent chance of getting the rare card you want from a pack if you open a reasonable number of packs.

What this means is that you should:

  • try to get most common and rare cards from packs
  • prioritize crafting epic and legendary cards unless you really, really need some common and rare cards for a deck you’d love to make
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Prioritize crafting key cards

Mmmmmmmm

This is even trickier. Some cards are “key” cards. They are a reason a specific deck can work, even in competitive environments. It’s quite hard to figure out what a key card is. For example Molten Giant is a key Handlock card. The deck wouldn’t work the same way without Molten Giants. As a result 2x Molten Giants is a high priority for any player that wants to play Handlock.

As a general rule, many of the key cards you will craft are rares and epics. For commons it’s generally a good idea to first buy some packs if you have spare gold, since commons are… common, so there’s a good chance that you’ll get them in a pack. Rares are… rare and epics are even rarer, so you’ll probably need to craft them once you have a specific deck in mind.

Legendaries are a special category since they are very rare and it’s very, very hard to get a specific legendary from a pack. However they are also very expensive and generally not a good return on dust, unless they are crucial. That’s why legendaries are generally crafted only in special circumstances.

As a new player it’s best to craft rares or epics since you will probably make suboptimal decisions at first and at least you won’t regret them that much :smile:

Now, for the exact list of “key cards”, that topic deserves its own article… stay tuned!

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