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Heroes of Hearthstone: How to play Hearthstone

Ah, yes the article which maybe I should have started with all of those weeks ago. The column in which I discuss what exactly Hearthstone is and how you play the darned thing. You might be thinking, “Gosh, you’re a few articles in and you’re only just starting to write about how to play the game”, to which my response would be…yes. You are completely right. So whatever, screw it. So for all the Heroes of Hearthstone, here’s a guide on how to play Hearthstone! Onwards and upwards!

The Basics

Hearthstone is an online collectable trading card game in which the player has access to nine classes, all of which have access to a unique hero ability and a variety of cards unique to them. The player has access to all of the classes at the start of the game, and leveling up the classes will give access to more cards that can be used by that class.

There are also basic cards, which can be used by any class and are normally used to fill up your deck. Basic cards are cards which every player will have access to and consist of a variety of minions.

The player can get more cards by earning gold, which they get from playing matches against other players, and participating in the Arena (more on that later). Gold can then be used to buy expert packs. Expert packs are packs of five random card, one of which promises to be rare or higher, which the player can then buy for 100 gold. The cards you earn from these decks are known as expert cards.

Hearthstone

The player can also craft cards using dust. Dust can earned either through the Arena or by, more commonly, turning basic and expert cards you already own into dust. You can then use that dust to craft any card you want. Sounds simple right? Well, each card requires a certain amount of dust in order to be crafted with the more rarer (and better) cards requiring a lot of dust. There is no plan to add card trading in the future, which seems a bit odd considering it is a collectable card game, however whether or not that may change in the future has yet to be seen.

From the very start of the game the player can construct decks with there being enough cards to make something mildly manageable; however the player will quickly find that more and more cards are needed to compete

This is where the Arena comes into play. The Arena requires a fee of 150 gold to enter. Once the player has paid the fee then they will be required to choose a class from a choice of three. After selecting your class you will then go about building your deck, choosing from one of three offered random cards at a time. Unlike normal mode, where you can only have two cards of the same type, there are no limits to the amount of cards you can have meaning you can create some seriously crazy decks.

Unfortunately once you lose three times then that’ll you’ll be kicked out of the Arena and given a reward which will change depending on how many wins you achieved, with seven wins giving you 150 gold as well as a rare card and an expert deck and maybe some dust if you’re lucky.

Indeed if you want to get access to a huge amount of cards then you’re better off testing your luck on Arena mode as that’s the quickest way to get a lot of cards. Of course, that’s only if you’re good at the game.

There is also a ranked mode in normal mode in which players can compete with winning each match earning them a higher ranking. You know, because gamers love that kind of stuff.

If you’d like to read more about mastering the Arena, click on this and head on over to my other article!

Types of cards

In Hearthstone each card has a mana cost. The maximum price you’ll ever pay for a card is 10 mana. You start each match off with only one mana however each turn you gain one additional mana. Whenever you use a card you’ll lose mana depending on how much the card cost. You’ll gain full mana at the start of your turn.

There are four types of cards, minions, spells, secrets and weapons.

Minions

Minions are the bread and butter of every deck, they can be used to attack the enemy hero as well as attack the enemy’s minions as well. In order for your deck to succeed, you’ll need an awful lot of these guys. Many minions possess some sort of ability which can occur when the card is summoned or even when the card is dead.  There are perhaps too many abilities to mention here, however I’ll talk about the most important ones.

A minion with the ability taunt means that all enemy minions or hero attacks must be focused on that minion.  This means that if you have a field of minions then the enemy is going to have to destroy your minion with taunt first. The taunt ability can be great for priests as it means they can keep their other minions safe, and they can heal the minion with taunt should it get attacked.

Hearthstone

Another common ability is charge. When a minion is placed onto the battlefield it is in a state of exhaustion, meaning that it cannot attack the enemy. Minions with the charge ability however can immediately attack the enemy. Charge is great if you want to beat down the enemy quickly and efficiently.

One last common ability is battlecry. When you summon a minion with battlecry then they’ll immediately do their action. For example, if I summon a minion with the ability: Battlecry: Heal an ally minion for 3 heath, then that minion will immediately heal an ally minion when it is spawned.

There are an awful lot of different types of minions, all with special abilities; however these are the most popular.

Using your minions and their abilities successfully is paramount to your success.

Spells

Hearthstone

Spells are relatively self explanatory; they are cards which will do the action it says on the card. Spells can range from doing damage, to healing to even summoning more minions. Some classes such as the Mage and the Priest are reliant on spells and they make up a large portion of their decks.

Secrets

Secrets are easily the most annoying type of card in existence. Think of a secret as a spell however the enemy cannot see what it is and it will only be trigged when a certain event happens. For example, I can have a secret which will only trigger when the enemy attacks me. Some minions, or weapons, can increase with damage depending on how many secrets the enemy will have but apart from that there isn’t a very easy way to counter them.

Weapons

The fourth and final is weapons. Weapons can be equipped to your hero allowing your hero to attack a minion or even an enemy hero. Some classes, such as Rogue and Warrior, are fairly reliant on weapons. Rogue can buff their weapon, and even destroy it, dealing the damage of the weapon all enemy minions. Weapons have both an attack stat and a durability stack. Whenever the weapon is used the durability decreases.  When the weapon’s durability gets to zero then the weapon is destroyed.

How to play the game

A match typically starts with the player whose turn is first being given three cards. The player whose turn is second is given four cards, plus a fifth card which gives them one extra mana. The players can choose to reshuffle some or all the cards and pick some new cards; however they can only do this once.

The match will typically go ahead with each player playing cards each turn, with them drawing one card at the beginning of their turn. At the beginning of the game there will be few minions on the board and few cards played due to the lack of mana. Around the fourth or fifteen turn, when players have access to more mana, more and more powerful cards will be played. The key thing is to having a deck which can help you both in the early game, as well as in the mid game and late game.

Hearthstone

That’s pretty much all there is to it whilst there are a variety of different strategies and combos which can be played, at the end of the day it all comes down to luck and whether or not you’ve built enough synergies into your deck so that minions and spells can react and play off one another.

One last thing to add is that every day you’ll get a daily quest, which upon completion will give you some gold. Completing these quests every day is paramount to getting enough gold so you can enter the Arena or buy expert card packs. If you would like to know my thoughts on Hearthstone being pay to win, click here to find out!

That’s all there is to it. Next week we’ll finally have a look at some cheap and easy combinations of cards that new players can pull off. Until then, best of luck in Hearthstone!

Oh and click here to read some of my first thoughts on how to make Hearthstone better.

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