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

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.

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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:

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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!

Go top ↑

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).

Go top ↑

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.

Go top ↑

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
Go top ↑

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!

Go top ↑

... Read more

Welcome to Hearthstone, a comprehensive Hearthstone guide

Hearthstone Logo

This article is a guide to Hearthstone for newer players. It’s actually a bit more than that, it is a curated collection of guides and useful links. These guides cover all major aspects of Hearthstone and they will definitely help you become a better player.

If you have suggestion for improvements use the comment section below or just contact me (contact details on the about page).

Required reading

Before we start talking about Hearthstone there are some articles I consider interesting and which I think you should read before going further, the main reason is that this way we’ll make sure that we are on the same page and talking about the same things.

Timmy, Johnny and Spike

Hearthstone has been inspired by a card game called Magic the Gathering (MTG for short). The creators of MTG, Wizards of the Coast, regularly publish articles about the design of MTG. “Timmy, Johnny and Spike” is one of the most important articles they’ve published, where they describe a very important design principle for MTG: player profiles they’ve created and which they use when designing new cards.

TL;DR:

  • Timmy: big creatures good!
  • Johnny: my 20-card combo did a million damage!
  • Spike: Winning is everything! Style is for losers!
  • A player is a mix of Timmy-Johnny-Spike, and usually 1 side dominates (Timmy 60% + Spike 40%, 20% Timmy + 80% Johnny, etc.).

For you as a player it’s important to figure out what your main focus will be because depending on it you will have to make various decisions as how to invest your time and money (Hearthstone can be a really expensive hobby if you’re not careful).

Go top ↑

Playing to win

“Playing to win” is a really old article by Sirlin which applies to basically any competitive multiplayer game. His examples come from fighting games such as Street Fighter but the ideas are valid in any game where people compete.

TL;DR:

  • Figure out if you’re playing for fun or to win.
  • If you’re playing for fun don’t feel bad if you lose.
  • If you feel really bad when you lose then you’re really playing to win, so you should just accept it.
  • When you decide that you play to win, use the best tactic allowed by the rules of the game.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get blocked by fake “moral” arguments while playing to win.
  • Also when you play to win, always look for reasons why you lost within your own actions, not outside.

To which I’d add:

  • Don’t burn out. Unless you’re a paid professional, take a break from the grind from time to time.
Go top ↑

Who’s the beatdown

“Who’s the beatdown” is another article about MTG which is also very relevant to Hearthstone.

TL;DR:

  • You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your deck.
  • Back on these strengths and weaknesses you need to continually assess your role during the game.
  • There are 2 main roles: beatdown (aggressor = aggro) and control (defender).
  • These roles vary from game to game and even from turn to turn.
  • Never go in a game thinking that you will only have 1 role all game long.
Go top ↑

Hearthstone Wiki

Ok, this a bit of a stretch since it’s not exactly “required reading”, it’s more like an encyclopedia. And you should use it as an encyclopedia: as a reference. The place you go when you don’t know something. Such as details about a class or a card or an expansion or many other Hearthstone details I couldn’t possibly fit into a single article.

Without further ado: Hearthstone Wiki.

Go top ↑

Basics of Hearthstone

I could talk about the basics of Hearthstone but someone better than me has already done this: Trump.

Trump is one of the best known professional Hearthstone players, also one of the most popular Hearthstone streamers. He has published a series of videos where he teaches the basics of Hearthstone: “Trump Teachings”. Highly recommended as a newbie to Hearthstone and minion-based card games in general.

You can find the playlist here: Trump Teachings.

I’ll also link the individual videos in case you want to see just some of them (but I still recommend that you see all of them):

Go top ↑

Game modes

Basically everything we’ve discussed so far applies to all game modes in Hearthstone. So now it’s time to discuss about game modes and see what’s different in each one.

Solo adventures aka “Single player”

While fun, this is probably the least interesting aspect of Hearthstone. It contains:

  • a practice mode for absolute beginners
  • a slightly more advanced practice mode for intermediate players (Blizzard lovingly calling this one “expert mode”)
  • and adventures, which are slightly tougher single player battles which give you rewards

Adventures are not free, they cost either a lot of Hearthstone gold or quite a bit of real money. Just remember that you actually have to beat the computer opponents in order to get the rewards, you don’t instantly get the rewards when you pay for the adventures :wink:

Also, because Hearthstone always logs you in to the Blizzard servers, “single player” mode doesn’t work when you have no Internet connection. So no Hearthstone practice for you while you’re offline!

Play aka “Constructed”

Probably the biggest game mode of them all. This is the place where you can make your own decks. And the rest of this guide will be about the “constructed” game mode, except for the 2 sections below.

Probably the most complicated and competitive game mode.

It is separated into:

  • “Casual”, which has a hidden match making ranking system
  • “Play” (also called “Ladder” or “Ranked”), which has a “visible” ranking (ranked or position on the legend ladder for legend players)

Keep in mind that the match making system is far from perfect and in “Casual” you will probably face players with a lot more cards and experience than you. Just relax and try to make the most of it!

In “Ranked” you will start at rank 25 and progress until rank 20. Each win will give you 1 star and once you get a certain number of stars you will advance a rank. Starting at rank 19 each loss will erase one of your stars.

Until rank 5 if you win multiple consecutive games you will get extra stars. As a result it will be easier to advance up to rank 5. At rank 5 opponents start becoming a lot more efficient plus each loss cannot be compensated by win streaks, therefore the competition becomes fierce.

Arena

Arena is the place where you make your deck from random cards. For each deck slot you’re offered 3 cards and you have to pick one. Card rarity matters, so common cards are… common, rare cards are… rare (only several per deck), epic cards are… almost as rare (also several per deck) and legendary cards are super rare (you might make several decks without getting 1).

The best place to look for arena advice is HearthArena. Create an account, use it, and you will definitely get better at arena faster than you’d do it on your own.

Which is important since arena entries are not free, and if you manage to get 7+ wins constantly arena pays for itself.

Tavern Brawl aka “Brawl”

Tavern Brawl is the most casual game mode of Hearthstone. Each week a new game mode appears here with rules and decks made by Blizzard. Since everything is mostly random there’s not much to say about it.

Just select the game mode, read the rules and see what happens.

This mode is also great for beginners, in general, since many brawls offer you predefined decks so you are on equal footing with your opponents regarding the deck.

Go top ↑

The game and the meta-game

When discussing or reading about Hearthstone you’ll often hear about something called “the metagame”. Basically Hearthstone is a game of cards, as we know. Each time you click “Play” and you’re looking for an opponent you’re going to play the actual game, the one where you draw minions and spells, play them and try to kill the enemy hero before he kills you.

But as you get to know more and more about Hearthstone you’ll notice that there is a sort of game outside of the actual game, the so-called “metagame” (“game about the game”). Players are competing to not only out-play each other during the actual games, but even before the game starts.

How do you outplay an opponent you haven’t even met before Blizzard’s match making system pairs you up with him? By selecting the best deck to fight whatever is thrown against you.

There are 4 major parts to the metagame:

  • deck archetypes

  • deck creation

  • deck selection

  • deck tweaking

Deck archetypes and styles of play

Hearthstone has millions and millions of possible decks and probably tens of viable decks. However different and varied they might be, they fall into 3 major deck categories or deck archetypes:

  • Hyper aggressive decks (aggro)
  • Midrange decks (midrange or tempo)
  • Late game decks (control)

You will have to decide which archetype you like most and then create or select a deck of this type.

Aggro

Hunters

This decks archetype wants to finish the game quickly: ideally the opponent is dead before turn 8. Games are fast (~5 minutes) and you’re all in. You either kill your opponent quickly or he comes back and you run out of steam. Good aggro decks have a mechanism to continue even when they run out of steam but this usually only work when the opponent is still struggling to stay alive even in later turns. If the opponent gains some board presence or heals a lot before your “kill point” the game is usually over even if your “steroid” mechanic activates.

Against all other non-aggro decks aggro deck are the “beatdown”. Against other aggro decks they can become a sort of strange “control deck” unless they decide to race each other for face damage, trying to kill the opponent 1 turn before the opponent kills them.

Aggro usually relies on:

  • low cost (80% 1-2-3 mana; 20% 4+ mana) minions and spells, forming a low “mana curve”
  • mass playing (spamming) these low cost minions
  • using minions with charge for instant damage
  • efficiently costed spells for face damage (or minion removal in dire cases)
  • little to no AOE, especially if the AOE does not hit the enemy face as well
  • little to no card draw
  • no taunts or heals

Midrange / tempo

Shaman/Rogue

This deck archetype is in between aggro and control. With a good card draw it can end a game as quickly as aggro decks but if it don’t it still has the potential to handle the late game. Unlike pure aggro decks or pure control decks these decks fill a continuum where they can be almost like aggro or almost like control, depending on how they’re tweaking by their creator.

Midrange / tempo decks are very fluid in switching between the “beatdown” and “control” roles. They are generally “controlly” against aggro and “beatdowny” against control.

Midrange usually relies on:

  • a mix of efficient low cost and average cost minions and spells (80% 2-3-4-5-6 mana, 20% 6+ mana)
  • playing the best minion for the context, balancing trading with face damage
  • few or no charge minions
  • versatile spells used for minion removal (or face damage if close to killing the opponent, also known as “lethal”)
  • some AOE spells, amount and type varies wildly depending on the deck
  • good to great card draw
  • some taunts or heals, amount and type varies wildly depending on the deck

Control

Warrior/Priest

This deck archetype is the most defensive one: in the vast majority of games their opponent will be killed after turn 8. Games are long (can go up to 15-20-40 minutes) and unless forced by the opponent no single turn is “all in”. Control players like to hedge their bets :smile:

Against most other decks control decks plays the “control” role (no surprise here). Against some specific control decks even control decks become weird “beatdown” decks, much as aggro versus aggro produces weird results :smile:.

Control relies on:

  • high cost minions or spells (50% 5+ mana, 20% 7+ mana)
  • playing the best minion for the context, focusing on board control until very, very late (usually later than turn 10)
  • few or no charge minions
  • strong spells used for minion removal
  • very strong AOE spells
  • average card draw
  • many taunts or heals

Extra

Besides these major archetypes you will hear about various other deck types. These actually fit into the categories above, but they have their own twists:

  • Combo: rely on a very strong combo to kill their opponent; they’re either midrange or control based on their mana curve
  • Mill/Grinder/Fatigue: rely on either destroying key enemy cards (“milling) or prolonging the game so much that their opponent is killed either by a lack of responses for their actions or by fatigue damage

Deck creation

I’m going to start with this one, even though it is by far the hardest part of Hearthstone. You’ve opened Hearthstone, clicked “My Collection” → “New Deck” and now are looking at a blank list which you will need to fill with 30 cards. You’re like a writer looking at a blank page.

Depending on your personality, this case be either a scary moment or a fun one.

If this is a scary moment, I recommend that you skip to the deck selection part.

If on the other hand this is a fun moment, go ahead! Start adding cards and play. Just remember that the initial plan you had for the deck might not work out so don’t feel bad if you lose to people playing decks which have been combat-tested across thousands of games. All that matters is that you have fun. Either by winning a lot of games, or some games in a spectacular fashion or by tweaking your deck until it often does what you want it to do.

One thing to always keep in mind: creating entirely new decks is hard. Hearthstone has millions and millions of players all trying to outsmart each other constantly and some of them have created highly efficient, ruthless, hero-killing machine-type decks. You will meet all of them as you play more and more games.

This article has some good advice about making a deck.

Go top ↑

Deck selection and netdecking

Ok, the next best option to creating your own deck is using a pre-existing deck (this is called “netdecking”). The disadvantage is that you’ll be playing a deck that other players are also playing and as a result your opponents will have probably faced this deck at least once. In case of really popular decks, they’ve probably seen it many times (Hi there, “Face Hunter”!).

There are sites where you can find decks other people are playing. The best sites are ones where decks are tagged by costs (gold and dust) and rated so that you can figure out quickly if many other players consider the deck any good.

At the moment, the top sites for netdecking are:

hearthpwn.com

icy-veins.com

Besides actually selecting a good deck for your favorite class, it is generally a good idea to also see if the deck you selected is actually good against the current metagame. This is quite hard to do and it usually involves a mix of playing games and doing some research online. One of the most helpful sites for this is Tempo Storm’s site (Tempo Storm is a pro Hearthstone team). They publish a weekly review of popular and powerful decks, called the Meta Snapshot.

Go top ↑

Deck tweaking, core cards, tech cards and stats tracking

Whether you’ve created a deck or “just” netdecked one, you will still need to perfect the deck, especially since the game evolves as players gain a better and better understanding of their decks.

In order to perfect your deck you will need to understand it so first of all you should play it as is. This is called “piloting the deck” in Hearthstone slang.

The first important step is to figure out which are the core cards and the “tech” cards of the deck.

Core cards

The core cards are the cards without the deck simply does not function as designed. If you remove them it does not mean that the deck is necessarily “broken”, instead it might just mean that you turned your deck into another deck.

Examples of core cards:

Core Cards

  • Molten Giants for Handlock
  • Grim Patrons for Patron Warrior
  • Tirion Fordring for Midrange Paladin

Tech cards

“Tech” cards are cards used as a counter to something, they’re the “technology” you use against a specific threat. Unlike core cards they can be swapped in and out of a deck depending on the type of opponent you’re facing most.

Examples of tech cards:

Tech Cards

  • Black Knight against decks with lots of taunts
  • Ironbeak Owl against enemy minions with taunt, strong deathrattles or against buffs
  • Harrison Jones against decks with powerful weapons

Be careful while changing tech cards in a netdeck as a good netdeck has been most likely been tweaked through tech cards to cover the deck’s weakness. Try to ask a more experienced player or the deck creator before changing tech cards.

Go top ↑

Stats tracking

So now you know what kind of deck archetype you want to play, what exact deck and what core cards and tech cards you want. At least you think you do :)

In order to make sure that your decisions are correct you should track your stats. Hearthstone is a casual-friendly game and as a result it does not offer stats tracking in order to not frighten newcomers such as yourself :)

But if you’re not scared of practicing in order to improve your game, there are third-party stats trackers. Unfortunately the mobile versions of Hearthstone do not have stats tracking, so if you want to track your stats on mobile you will have to do it the old fashioned way with pen & paper or Excel spreadsheets.

If you play the desktop version, especially on Windows, then you’re in luck.

The Hearthstone Deck Tracker is the most common tracker in use right now. Once you’ve installed it and configured it (which can be tricky), it will automatically track your results with various decks. It offers a lot of powerful features such as:

  • in-game card tracking for yourself and your opponent (it shows % chances for you or your opponent to draw a specific card)
  • game history separated per deck
  • and a ton of other features

Really useful and powerful, definitely recommended if you’re the competitive, Spike, type.

Go top ↑

Basic decks

Courtesy of Sheng from hearthstonecoaching.gom, a set of good basic decks.

These deck won’t take you to legend (unless you’re super smart or super lucky or both :smile:), but they are a good place to start. Each deck comes with an explanation of why a specific card was selected over another one and the reasoning is solid.

Especially at the beginning I recommend that you play a bit with these decks while you level up your classes and try to get a feel for each class until at some point you will probably arrive at a play style you like or a class you like. Or both.

I also recommend that you do not make any serious investment decisions regarding Hearthstone before you play a bit with all these decks. Otherwise you might regret your initial decision terribly later on :smile:

Go top ↑

Budget decks

Now we’re getting to the more volatile sections. These decks were after the release of the Grand Tournament (TGT for short) expansion.

It is very important to note that unlike the basic decks, which are completely free, these require more resources. And this is where “budget” becomes very important.

Hearthstone has been designed to be “free to play” (F2P). This means that it can be played for free. But actually making such a complex game and hosting it for millions of players for many years is not cheap. As a result not everything in Hearthstone is available immediately. The major thing players care about are cards. Out of the total number of cards, hundreds and hundreds, only a small number are available for free.

The rest have to be paid, with either your cash or your time. In Hearthstone time = gold.

Based on the amount of cash and time you have you could either spend hundreds of dollars on the game to get a full collection ($1000 should do the trick) or spend hundreds and hundreds of hours (it could be even thousands of hours).

Of course, you don’t need a full collection to play, but to really enjoy the experience you will probably need at least 1-2 somewhat competitive decks per class.

And if you are here, then you probably want to improve, so you are competitive, you are “Spike”.

Again, courtesy of Sheng, a set of good budget decks.

Go top ↑

Budget management

You might be wondering: “What budget management are you talking about?”. Well, your wallet.

Hearthstone is a free game. Actually it is a “free to play” game (or F2P). When you start playing it is free and if you’re only playing it rarely it remains free.

However, as you keep playing more and more you notice that the odds are stacked heavily against you, especially if you play the constructed game mode. And Blizzard has made sure that you can’t advance without a huge time or cash investment. When I say huge, I mean hundreds and hundreds of hours of grinding and hundreds and hundreds of dollars invested, if you’re not careful.

This section deserves its own article, but here are some basic rules regarding budget management:

Quests

Try to do all your daily quests. Use the tiny “x” in the corner to dismiss quests you know you cannot do or it takes you a very long time to do (for example quests with a class you barely have cards for). Also dismiss quests worth 40 gold if you are feeling confident that you could do a 50-60-100 gold quest with another class.

The gold really adds up after several weeks or month. Don’t miss out on it.

A great resource for figuring out how to get gold/dust in Hearthstone is the wiki page. I’d recommend not spending your initial gold/dust until after you’ve read this page. I know I wasted quite a bit of resources before I read it :disappointed:

Aventures

Adventures are better bought with real cash, if the cards in them are considered good by the community. Buying them with gold is very inefficient, by design. It is a good idea to determine how many pieces of these adventures you actually want to buy (pieces = adventure “wings”).

Card packs

Card packs are not a really good investment except for the initial phase where you want to kickstart your collection. Ideally you only want to buy packs, preferably with gold, when an expansion is out.

Arena

Getting a decent set of arena skills, allowing you to get at least 4-5 wins per run, is a very good idea. Arena rewards you with a random pack from the Classic, Goblin versus Gnomes or The Grand Tournament sets. It is the best way to fill your collection on a budget, together with quests.

Golden cards

Short version: don’t. They’re very expensive to create. If you have extra golden cards, always disenchant them and get useful cards you’re lacking. Don’t disenchant golden epic or legendary cards if you don’t have them already, because you will lose dust in the conversion process if you’re ever forced to re-craft them.

Disenchanting

Always disenchant the extra copies. That means anything more than 2x for common/rare/epic and anything more than 1x for legendaries. The extra copies don’t help with anything. Except for bragging that you have 5 Malornes.

Also, don’t disenchant “bad” cards in the beginning. You have way too little experience to decide correctly what a bad card is. Plus many “bad” cards suddenly become useful when a strong deck is created which has them.

As I said, this section deserves its own (probably huge, article).

Go top ↑

How to progres

Practice, practice, practice

Kind of obvious: as you play more you become better and better at Hearthstone.

However, something many people miss is that past a certain point you need to practice in a systematic manner. For this you will need a big, overarching goal and a set of steps to achieve it.

For example:

  • Goal: achieve legend.
  • Steps:
      1. craft a Tempo Mage deck
      1. learn to play it by playing some casual games
      1. start playing on the ranked ladder, tracking your stats
      1. based on your stats tweak your deck if your win rate over a larger number of games is low (50% or less)
      1. if after tweaking your win rate still stays low, change decks
Go top ↑

Watch streams or videos

Another way to become better is to watch better players. Watch their games and ask yourself after each play:

What would I have done differently? Why did he play the turn this way? What would have happened 1-2-3 turns from now with my play and with his play?

StrifeCro

  • Deck preference: control & combo.
  • Presentation & playstyle: relaxed & slow.
  • Game modes: constructed.
  • Favorite classes: Mage, Warlock, Paladin.

StrifeCro Youtube StrifeCro Twitch

Trump

  • Deck preference: control.
  • Presentation & playstyle: relaxed & slow.
  • Game modes: constructed, arena, brawl.
  • Favorite classes: Paladin, Warlock.

I’d recommend also watching his teaching for Hearthstone decks. Even though some of them might be out of data as expansions appear they still cover a wide variety of playstyles.

Trump Youtube Trump Twitch

Kripparian

  • Deck preference: N/A.
  • Presentation & playstyle: serious & slow.
  • Game modes: arena.
  • Favorite classes: Mage.

Kripparian Youtube Kripparian Twitch

Kolento

  • Deck preference: control.
  • Presentation & playstyle: serious & slow.
  • Game modes: constructed.
  • Favorite classes: Priest.

Kolento Youtube Kolento Twitch

Go top ↑

And for the daring souls that got this far…

And I’d like to thank everyone who had the patience to read this far! You rock!


... Read more

History Gems: The Great War

Hello there!

My name is oblio and I’ll be your host throughout this series of article about “History Gems”: quality articles, books, videos and all sorts of interesting things about history that you might have missed.

Each article will focus on one specific “gem” I have found and that I consider especially interesting or entertaining. I want to emphasize that I am in now way affiliated with the things I will present. If I will have any connection to them (other than enjoying them), I will mention it explicitly.

The Great War

The star of the first episode is “The Great War”: a Youtube channel dedicated to making short weekly videos (5-10 minutes) about the evolution of the first World War. In case you’re wondering what’s so special about that, this is what’s special: “The Great War” tracks the evolution of the war, week by week, exactly as it happened 100 years ago.

As you guessed by now, the series started in 2014 and will probably end in 2018 (or 2019 if they want to cover the peace treaties as well).

The host of the war is Indy Neidell, an actor who is very passionate about history and especially about the First World War. Together with his merry team from Berlin, Germany, they research and produce each episode at a level of quality you wouldn’t expect from a small, independent team.

Each episode covers the actions that happened 100 years ago, on all the fronts in WW1. Besides the actual action The Great War has special episodes about important events, important personalities or the war or even Q & A sections (called “Out of the Trenches”).

I’d say that the show is a must-see for a history buff, especially if that history buff is interested in World War 1.

So, if you want to get started quickly: The Great War 101:

Highlights from the show, in case you don’t have time to go through the entire collection:

Of course, if you have the time, see all the episodes (it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours).

The full playlist is here.

Ah, I almost forgot. The project is crowd-funded. If you want to contribute you can find them on Patreon: The Great War.


... Read more

HearthCraft Episode 1: Classic set - neutral legendaries

Hello, I’m oblio and I’ll be your host for a new series called “Which cards should I craft first as a new Hearthstone player?”. That’s a mouth-full, so I’ll just call it “HearthCraft” from now on :smile:

One of the most important things you have to decide as a new player is: which cards you’re going to craft with your spare dust. Unless your name is Donald Trump, you probably don’t want to throw a lot of :heavy_dollar_sign::heavy_dollar_sign::heavy_dollar_sign: on cards you will not use.

This guide is meant for players who want a collection that allows them to play the highest variety of competitive decks. If you love to play the same class or archetype over and over and over again, your crafting priority will be different.
This guide is also meant as a long term guide. This means that some cards have been selected because they are close to being viable now and it's not hard to predict that they will become usable once Hearthstone's card pool becomes bigger.

Hearthstone has a lot of cards so I’ve decided to make several articles about this topic, each one of them covering a different part of the ever-growing Hearthstone collection. As new expansions appear I will publish new articles and I will link them here, so stay tuned!

  • HearthCraft Episode 1: Classic set - neutral legendaries (you are here)
  • HearthCraft Episode 2: Classic set - neutral epics
  • HearthCraft Episode 3: Classic set - neutral rares (part 1)
  • HearthCraft Episode 4: Classic set - neutral rares (part 2)
  • HearthCraft Episode 5: Classic set - neutral commons (part 1)
  • HearthCraft Episode 6: Classic neutral commons (part 2)

Let’s get started. I’ll list the cards according to their crafting priority.

Must have

These are the cards that are most likely to be used in decks you create or you find on the internet. They are so powerful or versatile that most players would consider them better than the alternatives.

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas is a staple of many control and midrange decks. Besides the solid 5/5 body she comes with a game-swinging deathrattle: she steals an enemy minion. As a 5/5 she can deal with most aggro deck minions (which are usually high attack - low HP minions) or she can suicide into the control deck’s “bomb” and steal the damage unit after she dies. Either way, decent against aggro and a huge swing against midrange and control decks. She tends to provoke awkward trades or overextension by board flooding (thus playing directly into AOE).

Sylvanas can be seen in a large number of decks and she has “survived” 2 expansions and 2 adventures already. Unless major power creep occurs, she will still be seen in many decks in the future.


Ysera

Ysera

Ysera is the veteran “control dragon”. She has a solid 4/12 body which is quite hard to kill unless you have direct removal when she is played. If not answered she starts creating special cards called “Dream Cards”. These cards range from decent (3 mana untargetable 3/5, 4 mana dragon 7/6) to strong (0 mana return minion to owner’s hand, 0 mana give minion 5/5 then destroy it next turn) to almost overpowered (2 mana deal 5 damage to all characters except Ysera).

Against aggro decks and midrange decks the body can trade at least 2-to-1, while the dream cards can at minimum provide additional bodies to throw on the table and at best can provide additional reach for a surprise lethal while racing. Aggro decks are less affected by Ysera as by turn 9, when she is usually played, they are close to killing the enemy and Ysera doesn’t have an immediate effect on the board or on either player’s HP.

Besides the advantages mentioned against aggro and midrange decks, against control decks the body usually trades at least 1-to-1 while the dream cards provide another stream of cards allowing the Ysera player to avoid drawing and going into fatigue first.

Overall, a very solid card in slower metas and a staple of the dragon “tribe”.


Alexstrasza

Alexstrasza

Alexstrasza is another veteran from the dragon “tribe”. She can be seen in control and combo decks. Depending on the situation Alexstrasza is either used to do up to 15 damage to the enemy’s face (maybe allowing lethal next turn) or to heal for up to 15 damage. On top of the instant effect she brings a 8/8 body which trades well with most enemy minions or forces the usage of direct removal. Even if the enemy uses removal on the body, the effect has already taken place, and it is a very powerful effect in many circumstances.

Especially for new players Alexstrasza provides one of the best examples of “good card”: instant, powerful effect on the game.


Ragnaros the Firelord

Ragnaros the Firelord

Ragnaros is staple of midrange or control decks. He is a weird minion, more like a turret than an actual minion, since he cannot attack directly. Instead, at the end of the round he does 8 damage to a random enemy target. You can think of him as a Demolisher on steroids.

Ragnaros is the epitome of big threat: 8 mana for 8/8 stats, does 8 damage to a random enemy. In most situations he cannot be ignored so he is used as a sort of “timer”.

Against aggro decks he is only used to race while against midrange and control decks he is usually used for a 50-50 chance of destroying a huge enemy threat or to bring the enemy into lethal range.


Harrison Jones

Harrison Jones

Harrison Jones is a bit of an odd-ball on the “must have” list. He’s not the staple of any deck. With his 5/4 stats and his quirky battlecry, he can’t really be. He is however one of the most common “tech cards”. Any time classes with weapons flood the metagame, Harrison is bound to show up. Together with his smaller brother, Acidic Swamp Ooze. Or, for the more desperate amongst us, Bloodsail Corsair.

There are 5 classes which can have weapons:

  • Rogue
  • Warrior
  • Hunter
  • Paladin
  • Shaman

It’s a good bet that any time in Hearthstone’s history at least one of those classes was popular of very popular. As a result, Harrison is a common sight in decks. Even if he’s not “must have” in the sense that you can’t build your deck without him, you will want to have him in those moments of need.

Against aggro and midrange decks Harrison is used either as a vanilla 5 mana 5/4 (quite underwhelming) or as a weapon removal in a crucial moment in the game (for example against a Hunter with a Eaglehorn Bow and a trap in play). If the midrange deck is slower he might even be used for the second part of his battlecry, card drawing.

Against control Harrison is used in the same way, but with less emphasis on playing him without benefiting from his battlecry, and a lot more emphasis on drawing several cards when possible.


Nice to have

These are cards which are not seen as often in powerful decks as the “must haves”. Nonetheless, they are decent cards and if you have all the “must haves” and want to craft another card, these are some of the next best cards.

Bloodmage Thalnos

Bloodmage Thalnos

Bloodmage Thalnos is a pint sized legendary. A minuscule body with 2 strong effects attached: draw a card and spell damage +1.

From the beginning of Hearthstone Thalnos has been a friend of Rogues, Shamans and Mages, helping them with their card draw problems and with removal.

Unlike most of the cards on these lists, Thalnos is not flashy. The minuscule skeleton come on the board when it’s time to kill the enemy, destroy a minion or there’s a dire need for another card.

One could say that he’s the redshirt of Hearthstone.


Malygos

Malygos

Also known as “the creator of many OTK videos”. Malygos packs a powerful body, the same as Ysera’s (4/12) but with a different kind of effect. Malygos’ effect is instant and is very strong (+5 spell damage) but in many situations cannot be used because Malygos himself costs 9 mana. And once Malygos is on the board the enemy will do whatever it takes to kill him.

As a result Malygos is a bit less consistent than Ysera. Still, players have found ways to include him in top-tier decks and even if you’re not that competitive, he’s the kind of minion that can really make for interesting videos.



Leeroy Jenkins

Leeroy Jenkins

“Leeeeeeeroy Jenkins” is the sound many Hearthstone players have heard just before they lost the game. Leeroy is a 5 mana 6 damage charger many decks have used in the past as a finisher. Combo Warlock, Face Hunter and especially Miracle Rogue have used him successfully. And every time there’s a new aggro deck that needs a way to push for a bit more damage, Leeroy pops up from time to time. Leeroy is not in the “must have” list since he has been nerfed from 4 mana to 5 mana.

He is still a solid card if you’re more into aggro/face decks.



The Black Knight

The Black Knight

From the Harrison Jones of tech cards comes The Black Knight (also known as TBK). TBK has a very specific niche and he’s very good at it: destroying taunts. For 6 mana he comes with a modest 4/5 body and a powerful effect in the right conditions: destroy an enemy with taunt.

His effect is strong but he is a lot more situational than Harrison (and also 1 mana more expensive, another important factor) and as a result he is not in the list of “must haves”. However, when Ramp Druids, Handlocks or other classes with an emphasis on taunts pop up en-masse, TBK is the go-to-minion (together with his little brother, Ironbeak Owl.


Baron Geddon

Baron Geddon

Baron Geddon is seen most often in control Warrior decks. Sometimes he even shows up in other grindy control decks, such as Control Mage.

He brings a decent 7/5 body and a very powerful effect that can backfire: 2 damage done to every character, at the end of every round. His effect is great against board blooding. If he is not killed he almost guarantees a clear board every time.

Unfortunately for him, there aren’t many classes in Hearthstone that can take the self-punishment of 2 damage to every friendly minion plus 2 damage to your own hero, on top of that.


Captain Greenskin

Captain Greenskin

The last neutral legendary in the Classic set to make the cut for the list is Captain Greenskin. As a 5/5 body for 5 mana, he is underwhelming, but he comes with a decent battlecry and is part of the “pirate” tribe.

If there’s ever a chance for the pirates to become popular, you can bet that Captain Greenskin will be part of them. Every now and then a Pirate deck appears, usually Pirate Rogue, and every time Captain Greenskin is the leader of the expedition.




Cairne Bloodhoof

Cairne Bloodhoof

Cairne is the epitome of value. For 6 mana you’re getting 8/10 worth of stats distributed in 2 rather solid bodies. He was once a staple of control decks.

Unfortunately, right now a 4-attack value isn’t strong enough since it doesn’t trade well into the usual 5/5s played on turn 5 or 6. And it also can’t one-shot the first half of Sludge Belcher.

However, Cairne still packs a lot of stats together with a useful and consistent deathrattle. It’s hard to discount the old Tauren forever.



Onyxia

Onyxia

The daughter of Deathwing (we’ll meet him a little bit later). For 9 mana you get a solid 8/8 body and as many 1/1 whelps as you can fit on your side of the board.

Like many other legendaries, she fails the Big Game Hunter (BGH) test. Her main body has over 7 damage so it can be taken out by the annoying, yet powerful dwarf. Still, unlike many other legendaries in our next section, she still leaves behind the pack of whelps she summons.

Onyxia is a bit slow but with the right setup it’s not hard to think that she might become useful in future competitive decks.


Hogger

Hogger

Hogger is another odd-ball. He costs 6 mana and has a very small body for that price (4/4 instead of the 6/7 expected for this cost). To make up for it, at the end of his turn he summons a 2/2 taunt.

This summoning ability can’t really make up for the fact that his main body is killed quite easily, therefore Hogger is not seen very often in decks. He does pop up from time to time, and with a bit of setup he can be useful in token decks (decks which rely on a large number of small minions).



King Mukla

King Mukla

An unlikely contender for the list, I admit, Mukla can fit some very interesting niches. He’s been used successfully as part of Face Hunter decks (Mukla is a beast, literally) and Aggro Paladin (Divine Favor can draw more cards of off the bananas you give your opponent).

Mukla is the epitome of tempo: you get a 5/5 beast on round 3. He can trade at least 2-to-1 or can usually get in at least 5 face damage. The bananas he gives your opponent can backfire and that’s why he’s not higher on the list. But in the right deck your enemies won’t have a lot of time to digest their bananas…



Deathwing

Deathwing

Probably the most controversial pick. However, I doubt that anyone can argue with my next statement…

Deathwing is the biggest, baddest dragon of them all. 10 mana for a 12/12 that also clears the board, entirely. Deathwing is the epitome of face smashing.

But he also discards your whole hand.

You will see him in strange aggro decks that want a flashy finisher or in control decks built around dragons.

He is also extremely, extremely slow against aggro decks, since you can usually only play him on turn 10 (you might already be dead by turn 7…).

A wonderfully designed card. It’s a pity that he lives in a world with BGHs, Annoy-o-trons and Sludge Belchers.


Forgotten & crazy legendaries

Besides the legendaries we’ve already reviewed, some legendaries have either faded into the past or only wacky decks play them. Here they are:

Legendary name Why is is not played?
Nozdormu Too slow, dies to BGH, too freaky.
Gruul Too slow, dies to BGH.
Illidan Stormrage Dies to BGH, it’s hard to trigger him many times.
The Beast Dies to BGH and then helps your opponent.
Tinkmaster Overspark Too risky. It’s too easy to give your opponent a 5/5 or turn your own big minion into a 1/1.
Lorewalker Cho No deck can afford to play 0 spells.
Millhouse Manastorm No deck can afford to let the opponent play all his spells in 1 turn, for free.
Nat Pagle Too slow, too risky, doesn’t trade at all.

And here we have it, folks. Stay tuned for the next episodes!


... Read more

On guns and gun control

This post will seem a bit out of place on this blog. It’s more of a philosophical discussion than anything related to things I’d say I’m actually interested in.

The reason I post this is because one of the things I’m interested in is history. And everyone who has ever studied history has noticed that some of the most remarkable moments in history, for better or for worse, have been wars.

Sure, many major human developments have come out of long, slow processes, where major groups of people around the world have collaborated to bring us where we are today. But in many situations sudden, abrupt change was caused by wars.

Wars have shaped history. Few people can deny that wars are bad: people die (a lot of people die). But sometimes in the aftermath of these wars positive changes happen: people realize that the original reason for the war was definitely not worth killing other people for, and humanity evolves (or so we hope).

Anyway, since one of the things I’m interested in is history, and therefore wars, I will publish articles related to history, wars, and even weapons used during these wars. Including guns.

So before everyone thinks of me as a “gun enthusiast”, I’ll try to clarify my position regarding weapons in general and guns in particular.

TL;DR:

I think that violence is morally wrong. In the interaction between two people, if you have to use violence, you’ve already lost the dispute. Killing people, as the worst form of violence, is obviously wrong.

As a result of this philosophy I think that weapons are awful devices and every time you think about any “wonderful” weapon you also think about the horrendous results of using this “wonderful” weapon against real people and the awful destruction and suffering this weapon has done.

The only two scenarios where I think using violence is allowed:

  • self-defense
  • preemptive violence against a party with a known history of violence in similar situations (and when I say known, I mean “convicted” or at least “widely known in the community for violence”)

Also, facilitating violence is also morally wrong. Violence is an innate human trait but its impact can be minimized. One of the best ways to minimize it is to restrict access to advanced weapons.

Anyway, getting back on track.

Despite the horrible use of weapons, the little boy inside me can’t avoid admiring the sophistication of weapons. It’s incredible what levels humankind has achieved in developing better and better tools to kill other humans. Just stop and think for a second. One of the most famous projects in human history, chock-full of Nobel winning physicians and chemists and scientists in general, the Manhattan Project, had as its goal the development of the “weapon to end all wars”. The highest known concentration of IQs in history in the middle of a desert, working around the clock to develop the greatest weapon of them all.

That’s why I’ll post quite a bit of articles about interesting weapons, especially ones used in the past.

If all you wanted to know was: “why is this guy publishing so many articles about weapons and guns?”, then that’s it. The rest is just a rant about things I’ve read, seen and listened to regarding gun control in the US. You can safely ignore the rest of the article :smile:

However, despite my admiration for weapons (and guns), I can’t really approve with some policies in some countries that allow the population at large access to weapons. The elephant in the room is obviously the United States.

The United States constitution has an amendment, the Second Amendment, regarding the right of individuals to have guns. As far as I understand, this amendment was meant to provide a method for ordinary citizens to organize themselves in militias and fight the government if it ever became tyrannical. Sort of like the American Revolution.

So that was the start. The current is situation is this: 112 weapons per 100 US citizens in 2014. I come from a country with quite strong gun control laws, according to the same source we had 0.7 weapons per 100 Romanian citizens in 2014.

What follows is obviously my opinion, but I personally think that the Second Amendment is obsolete. The reason the amendment was created no longer exists. The historical basis for it being created was the American Revolution, which was a guerrilla war waged by armed militias very familiar with their own land against the government of a colonial empire thousands of kilometers away, during a period when communication because this colony and the homeland took months.

The revolution also succeeded in good part because of foreign support (French one comes to mind especially, see Lafayette).

Today, against a resolute tyrannical government, armed with good knowledge of the territory, modern lines of communications, a well equipped army and without external support, I think that it’s impossible for any militia to win a war. If someone could provide an example of an internal uprising which toppled a powerful government with 0 external support, please point it to me, I’m always interested in learning more :smile:

Guns are no longer enough in the modern day. And starting a cottage military industry comparable with the state controlled ones is almost impossible.

As a result, the original reasoning for ordinary citizens having guns is basically gone.

There are three other valid reasons pro-gun people mention:

Preexisting rights

This is a right that has been granted by the US Constitution and people have been enjoying it for as long as the US has been around. I find this reasoning invalid. Rights can be withdrawn when people decide that there are more drawbacks than advantages to having them. Take smoking. Completely unrestricted a hundred years ago, not so today.

Sports and fun

This is actually the most valid reason I encountered. However, you can also have fun with BB guns and other less lethal shooting devices. Also “fun” as a factor does not seem to be a valid reason to own a killing machine such as a semi-automatic machine gun. Especially when that gun can do a lot of damage in the wrong hands. If you want “fun”, just find something like football, basketball, extreme sports or whatever everyone else does without greatly endangering the communities we are part of.

Plus, gun control does not mean “gun ban”. It means:

  • extensive background checks when giving a gun permit
  • extensive psych evaluations when getting the gun and every 5-10 years afterwards
  • mandatory training at least as long as driving school about gun safety and psychological factors involving guns

Protection

This is the most insidious argument. “The US is a dangerous place”. Well, I’d apply the “5 whys” or “Toyota method”.

  • “The US is a dangerous place”.
  • “Why?
  • “Because there are a lot of violent individuals.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because…”

The point is to get to the root cause and tackle that directly.

Some examples of some possible lines of questions/answers:

  • “Because of drug trafficking.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because a lot of people are making a lot of money from drugs.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because some communities have no sources of income.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because of still existing segregation and racism.”

Then tackle that. Out of the developed countries the US has one of the highest inequality levels. Gini Index Map ^(When you’re on par with Russia, China and Madagascar and below Afghanistan, something is wrong.)

Or:

  • “Because of drug trafficking.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because a lot of people are making a lot of money from drugs.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because the police is inefficient at catching them.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Because the police is understaffed and jails are full.”

Then, again, tackle that. Increase the budget for the police, legalize lighter drugs, change the drug policy from criminal action against users to helping them as you would help anyone with psychological issues.

Anyway, enough with all the serious comments, here’s something a bit funnier about the topic:


... Read more

Personal opinions about history, news, computers and programming.