Beginner and Intermediate Tips


This is a guide about Hearthstone for new and intermediate players.

Two things straight off the bat,

1. Hearthstone is free to play.  (This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend money on it, just that you are not required to do so to enjoy the game, because buying a pack or two or opening one wing of a Dungeon with money instead of gold is a nice way to say thank you to all the hard working people making this game.)  **Only spend money if you would normally spend it for entertainment or something similar.

2. Getting better at Hearthstone is more about thinking, reading and the “metagame” than simply collecting all the virtual cards possible.

Virtual commodity

When you invest time, money or both into Hearthstone you are not getting real world property, the cards are virtual. What you do get is an investment in an interactive experience and entrance to a community of about 40 million players.  Hearthstone cards are virtual but the competition, strategy and entertainment is real.

How do I as a new player get started in Hearthstone and collect cards?  

My first suggestion is buy cards with gold, don’t play Arena right away.  Cards cost 100 gold.  Arena cost 150 gold.  If you wait and do daily quests for a little while and buy with gold about eight to ten packs you will have collected enough cards to start building more interesting decks.  Second: Investment in the Dungeon Adventures such as Curse of Naxxramas is recommended.  It is Hearthstone’s first adventure and has some really great cards.  If you don’t have money to open the wings then save up gold for Naxxramas.

RNG and playing beyond thirty cards:

RNG *Random Number Generator.  Cards like Piloted Shredder, The Shaman Hero power and Unstable Portal all have uncontrollable random effects.  Shredder summons a random two cost minion after if dies.  Shaman power summons a random totem and Unstable Portal puts a random minion into your hand with a reduced cost.

Everyone gets 30 cards to play.  However a simple but staggeringly game expanding mechanic that is likely to continue to shift the metagame and add new tactics and strategy to an already great game is discover.


A Mechanic built into some cards in the Explorer Adventure currently underway allows a person to play more than 30 cards, technically.  But what it does immediately is put a resource in your hand from outside the choices you have already made for your deck of thirty (30) cards.  

Jeweled Scarab has: Discover a (3) Cost card.  The little minion gives you access to three choices and you pick one and put it in your hand.  Novice Engineer cost 2 is a 1/2 minion and draws a card from the top of your deck when you play it.  Jeweled Scarab cost 2 is a 1/1 and gives you a choice between three cards that cost (3) that come from outside your deck.  

With Jeweled Scarab, even though RNG, allows for a resource from outside your deck to come into the game.  Some consider it a shot in the dark but I don’t consider the randomness of a three cost card choice to be as wildly RNG as one might think.  First you get to choose from three different cards that all cost three in the case of Jeweled Scarab.  Second the escalation of usefulness of card costing three see an upswing across the board in neutral and especially class cards.  

The Discover mechanic adds additional mystery and danger for an opponent to consider.  In game play the metagame can become fairly stable until new cards are introduced.  What Discover may well do is introduce the unknown into a deck the opponent thinks they are playing against.  

Some people mulligan differently based on the enemy hero or start playing a certain way when they see the first few cards…thinking they know the deck’s build: Aggro, Midrange, Tempo or Control Midrange.  But suddenly with Jeweled Scarab and cards like it…the meta can shift a little and a few unexpected cards in an already well thought out deck can win the day when you play against type or even to use the Discover mechanic to reinforce your current strategy.

Here is a deck using Jeweled Scarab and Tunnel Trogg with board clearing effects and direct damage.  Feel free to build and change the deck to your own play style. This deck uses the Shaman Hero.

Esports Growth

eSports are a big deal and getting even bigger.  Competitive play in video games is surging.  Activision Blizzard has a new eSport division and over the next few years will bring the idea of eSports more to the mainstream.   With Hearthstone gaining more and more players every week and the current eSports explosion it all means strategy, metagame and card selection will matter more than ever.

Shaman cards with Overload:

The real power Shaman cards are the two for one or more with Lightning storm, Elemental Destruction, Feral Spirit and Forked Lightning.  However don’t overlook Lightning Bolt because it kills in one hit Northshire Cleric and other 3 health Minions that you may need to kill turn one.  

Also Lightning Bolt has some utility even late game, especially in the above deck. This deck can hold the Mana Coin till turn 3 or 4 in order to put something out a turn earlier than normal.  Piloted Shredderm, like Nerubian Egg is a very good card since it gives you something on the board after Elemental Destruction.

Doomhammer can be used with Rockbiter Weapon to finish off the opponent or to hammer through Minions and save your own Minions so you can create board advantage and hopefully board control.  Like any Hearthstone deck play style, the Hero you face and the current Metagame might dictate you play a few different cards or adjust how or if you mulligan.

All of this takes practice, so start playing Hearthstone today—build some decks and play against your friends or a stranger.

Written by Matthew Hallman exclusively for