So learn how to use C’thun. It’s a giant card, doing a ton of damage to your enemy’s minions and their hero. It costs 10 mana, so it won’t hit the board until late in the game, but it can make or break your wins. It does all of his attack power in damage to random enemies on the board — including your opponent’s hero — when you play it.

Most of the little minions from the new expansion make it stronger, either by directly adding to its damage and health, or by giving it characteristics like Taunt.


Above: You can craft cards you’re missing from dust made by destroying other cards, but you should probably avoid it as a beginner.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Get rid of the extras

You can only have two of any one card in a deck, or one of any Legendary. Extra cards you get from packs can be automatically disenchanted into “dust,” and this how you craft cards you don’t own. As a new player, go ahead and auto-disenchant all your duplicates. (Find that under My Collection, Crafting.)

But don’t bother making new cards until you get better. Dust comes very, very slowly as a freebie player. Don’t waste it. And if you craft things now, you will be wasting it.


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Along the way, you may get “golden” cards. These are animated, look cool, and have exactly the same properties as regular cards. If you choose to disenchant them, they make more dust. They are not disenchanted with the auto-disenchant, and I wouldn’t advise turning them into dust until you have a chance to consider it after you’re more of an expert.


Above: You have nine choices for heroes, as you can see in this selection screen for this week’s Tavern Brawl.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Pick an easier class to start

All heroes are capable of succeeding in basic ranked play. But not all are easy for beginners to win with. Some rely on intricate combinations of cards to win. Some require particular playstyles to be successful.

Others have mechanics than can trip up beginners. The Shaman, for example, uses a concept called “Overload,” where you can essentially “borrow” mana from the next turn to use in this one. You have to pay that mana back in the next turn, by having those crystals locked — or not, if you have specific other cards. You can see how that could get complicated in a hurry.

Mage and Paladin are probably the easiest classes for beginners to get used to; at least, they were for me.

Bonus, if you’re a World of Warcraft player: Level a character from 19 to 20 and you’ll get a pretty golden version of a Hearthstone Paladin hero named Liadrin. She has some of the best emotes in the game, and having an animated hero as a newbie is pretty terrific. (It normally costs $10 to buy one, or 500 wins to earn one.)


Above: I’m playing a Mana Wyrm here, which gains attack power whenever I cast spells. I’ll play the Arcane Missiles in my hand below during the next round — but only if my opponent has minions on the board, not just to attack the hero.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

A few basic tips

These rules of thumb definitely do not always hold true. But for beginners, they are a good place to start, as I learned through painful experience.

Attack minions first, heroes second. Every turn an enemy minion is on the board, it can attack you. That makes it much more dangerous the longer you leave it out there. Deal with those minions first, preferably killing as few of your own as possible in the process.

Don’t attack a more-powerful minion with your less-powerful allies unless you can kill it. If you can use them to attack the enemy hero, go ahead. Otherwise, it may be worth it to not attack with them at all.

You don’t want to end up in a situation where the enemy is the only one with minions on the board, especially powerful ones. Even wimpy minions might be buffed by your next card into something that could kill that juggernaut.

Don’t use spells on the other hero. It’s tempting; you have that nice Fireball, why shouldn’t you throw it in the other guy’s teeth for 6 damage? But spells are the only way to kill enemy minions that doesn’t do damage to either your own minions or your hero. Save them, unless you can actually kill the other guy’s hero with one (or more on the same turn).

It’s better to slightly overkill a minion with a more powerful one that you have on the board, rather than eliminate your own smaller minion killing it. The goal of killing enemy minions with your own is to make good trades. If you have a low-health, low-cost minion than can kill a high-cost minion, go for it.

But if you have a lower-cost and a higher-cost minion on the board and you’re contemplating which one to use to kill the enemy’s guy, consider using the higher-cost card. Both of your minions will live to fight another day, and that adds up to way more damage over the long term.

When deciding which card to play, always default to the highest-value card you can play that turn. It won’t always be the right choice — especially if you need to neutralize a deadly enemy minion with a low-cost spell, for example — but it’s a great place to start when you’re a beginner.

If you’re playing second, don’t use the coin on a spell or your hero power. Save it to get a more-powerful minion on the board early in the game, even if you can’t use it right away.

Getting minions on the board early and killing your opponent’s minions (called “board control” among people who know what they’re doing) is the key to winning in many matches.

In that vein, if you have the choice between using your hero power or playing a minion, you should almost always play the minion. If your hero power would greatly improve the game — maybe you could kill a powerful minion that only has 1 health left with your small Fireball, for example, or heal a minion with your Priest that would be killed otherwise in the next turn — then go ahead.

But in general, hero abilities are underpowered for the 2 mana they cost, compared to the minions you could get for that amount.


Above: Solo adventures offer some great cards and fun variations on normal play.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Breaking out the cold hard cash

If you want to spend actual money, start by buying “adventures,” not card packs. These are cheap: Typically an adventure will have four wings costing $2.50 a wing, for a total of $10.

Adventures offer solo trials against A.I. boss heroes with funny abilities. They’re often quite entertaining, and they typically add powerful cards to your collection, including Legendary minions. Only cards from the last two adventures can be used in Standard Mode, which is opening the game up for some new combinations.

“This is a great time to go back and look through Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament and League of Explorers for cards you wanted to be awesome but couldn’t get to work previously,” Donais said.

“Mark of Y’Shaarj is a new card for beast druid, so maybe you want to go back and look at cards for that deck. Museum Curator is great with N’Zoth [a new Whispers of the Old Gods card], along with all the old Deathrattle minions you own.”

Some popular, powerful cards now aren’t eligible for Standard, he said, making a broader selection of cards more attractive.

“With Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcher, and Healbot moving to Wild [mode,] there is room for other 4- and 5-mana minions,” he said. “You could try experimenting with [Nexus Champion] Saraad, Rumbling Elemental, and Savage Combatant.”

Kibler agreed – that’s part of what makes this a fun time to be a beginner, he said.

“The biggest impact of the move to Standard is that decks in general will get less powerful, since there are fewer cards available and many of the strongest cards from the sets remaining have been nerfed,” he said. He said that games are likely to last longer, making powerful big-cost minions more powerful.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, or go back to try old deck ideas that may not have been quite good enough before. It’s a whole new world — that’s the fun of it!”

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