May 17, 2020
Right now is the best time to start playing Hearthstone because you can get a free, tier 1 competitive deck just for signing up and completing the Apprentice League (you also get it if you have not been an active account since November 2019). They have also made significant changes to the game that make it easier to get started, such as duplicate protection (when you open a pack, you won’t get a card you already have 2 of). Personally, I started playing Hearthstone 2 weeks ago, and was able to achieve legend rank with relative ease. I decided to make this guide because I made a bunch of newbie mistakes that are easily avoidable, and there aren’t a lot of online resources for complete beginners out there.
Hearthstone has had 9 different classes (Rogue, Mage, etc.) since it was created, but in April 2020 it added a 10th class. If you don’t have a large collection, this 10th class is absolutely bonkers and destroys every other deck. That’s because while the other classes have some pretty crap basic cards, the Demon Hunter class has a fantastic starting set. We’re going to use this deck for step 2.
This is optional, but if you want access to the Arena game mode then you have to do this at some point. Personally, I think this is completely unnecessary, and so I didn’t do this until I had already completed step 2. That said, if you think you will be playing for a while then it is easiest to get this step done right now. That’s because the game is matching you up against other newbies, which will make it easier to get wins and level up your heroes.
Leveling up heroes is pretty simple: just play games against other players. Here is the EXP formula:
Keep in mind that you get bonus xp just for playing a game from levels 1-5, you need to play at least 3 turns before getting the bonus xp points, and you cannot level up more than once per game.
Since winning gives such a big xp boost, you should try to construct strong decks. If you refer to this article, you can find the decks that I used. If you do step 2 before this step, then you should consider playing “casual” since the players are generally weaker there.
Admittedly, this is a huge grind. It probably will take roughly 70-80 wins or so, and you will inevitably lose a few games here and there. That said, because you got that absolutely broken deck from step 1, it should be a cakewalk to beat most of your opponents. You can tinker with your deck to fit your play-style, but remember that Demon Hunter plays best as an aggressive deck. This is perfect, because it means you will get your wins faster! Try to save your Twin Slice to trigger Satyr Overseer’s ability to summon a token. Many of your cards have “outcast” abilities: this means they get a bonus when they are at the very left or very right position in your hand. It often makes sense to play cards from the left side of your hand so that you can play outcast cards in a later turn (drawn cards enter the right side of your hand, which can mess up this strategy if you are trying to play cards from the right side of your hand).
This is the deck I got, and I highly recommend picking it up. It is true, the mage deck has really expensive and rare cards and is overall “higher value.” But if you are playing Hearthstone on a budget, you would much rather have 1 great deck than 3 mediocre ones. The rogue deck is the strongest out of all the free decks, and with a few adjustments, it is currently the strongest deck in the game.
That said, it is also really difficult to pilot correctly. When I first started playing this deck, I was losing every game. I will go over a few tips once I get to the updated deck list.
In order to craft this card, you need 1600 dust. You get dust from disenchanting cards. If you are smart about it, this probably won’t be a huge deal since you just got a ton of cards from getting out of Apprentice League. You also should have a lot of gold. I personally recommend buying Ashes of Outland packs, since you will pull cards that you need for your rogue deck very quickly, and even have a chance to pull Shadowjeweler Hanar.
Once you buy all the packs that you can, open them. Then, disenchant all your Golden cards. We do this because disenchanting a Golden card gives you dust equal to the amount it costs to create it. Disenchanting other cards will only give you 1/4 of the dust it cost to create those cards, so this is really the best way to get dust. You can do this by going to your collection and searching “golden” in the search bar. You cannot disenchant golden cards that you got for leveling up, but you can disenchant any thing you get from a pack.
Do you have enough dust? If you don’t, you got a little bit unlucky (I personally was able to draw a Golden legendary from a pack, and disenchant it for 1600 dust. But even without this lucky pull, I got another 1400 dust from disenchanting all of my other Golden cards). You’ll need to keep grinding for packs, which means grinding for gold.
The best way to do this is to complete quests. You get a quest every day, and can have up to 3 at once. They usually give you 50 gold for completing them, and require very little effort to complete (if you don’t like it, or it doesn’t give enough gold as a reward, you can refresh the quest).
You also get 10 gold per 3 games that you win, up to 100 gold per day. This is actually a great way to make gold since your Rogue or Demon Hunter deck is good enough to take on the lower levels of ranked or casual, and you can get good practice playing these heroes.
The last way to make gold is to play in the arena. Arena is a game mode that costs 150 gold to play, and allows you to draft a deck of cards one at a time from sets of 3 randomly generated cards. You can keep playing matches until you get 3 losses, and then you get rewards based on how many wins you achieved. I personally do not recommend this mode because it takes way too much time, and I don’t think it is that fun. It also isn’t the most rewarding: if you are the average player, you’ll “break even” at 3 wins, which gives you a pack and 50 gold on average. You can be above average most of the time, and still only be doing marginally better than buying packs anyway. Also, there is the opportunity cost of playing Arena instead of playing normal games that give you 10 gold per 3 wins. That said, if you enjoy this format and have the time, I would use a tier list like this one to help you during the drafting phase.
The free deck you got is great, but it can be even better with a few adjustments.
-2 Sap, +2 Blackjack Stunner
-2 Bloodsail Flybooter, +2 Ambush
-2 SI:7 Agent, +2 Dirty Tricks
-1 Eviscerate, +1 Frozen Shadoweaver
-1 Faceless Corrupter, +1 Shadowjeweler Hanar
This is the deck I play, which got me to Legend. That said, if you have the cards, the more optimal version can be found online.
This deck is difficult to play. In the mulligan phase, you should keep Pharaoh Cat and Backstab because these cards are cheap and good during the early game. Shadowjeweler Hanar is a great card to keep, especially if you have a secret in hand, because it can be difficult to kill and generate endless card advantage. Edwin is great to keep if you are going second (and sometimes going first, if you have Shadowstep and a way to get a 1-cost minion) because it gets +2/+2 per card you play, and you can easily get an 8/8 early on. Almost no deck can deal with this, and you’ll probably win many games this way.
The early game for Galakrond Rogue is often reactive. You want to see what your opponent does and try to disrupt their plays. You also want to be invoking Galakrond whenever possible, since this will upgrade the effect of Galakrond, the Nightmare when you finally play him. You invoke Galakrond by playing cards that invoke him like Praise Galakrond! and Seal Fate. A key card to watch out for is EVIL Miscreant. This card is a +2 card advantage whenever you play him after you play another card, which is perfect if you are going second because you can use the coin to proc his ability. You can play him on turn 2, but I actually like playing a secret or using the dagger on turn 2, and then playing the coin and then Miscreant on turn 3, and then playing one of the lackeys that Miscreant adds to the hand. That’s because turn 3 is often sort of weak for this deck, especially if you don’t have a target for Seal Fate.
When your allies get damaged, you’ll want to find a way to utilize them efficiently. A good way to do this is to play Shadowstep on them, allowing you to return it to the hand and play it again for -2 cost. This is amazing on cards with Battlecry abilities. You can also use the Witchy Lackey to “upgrade” an ally into a random ally that costs 1 more.
Finally, you are going to want to finish off your opponent with Heistbaron Togwaggle or Galakrond, the Nightmare. Heistbaron Togwaggle adds a treasure to your hand if you control a Lackey, and you’ll want to pick either Wonderous Wand (draw 3 cards, they cost 0) or Zarog’s Crown (discover a legendary minion and summon 2 copies of it). Some people always pick Wonderous Wand, but honestly it can backfire easily because so many cards in your deck are low-cost. It also reduces the amount of cards in your deck, which reduces your survivability in the long-run. I personally like Wonderous Wand if a lot of high-cost cards are still in the deck, and I need to play something immediately or stretch to win the game. I often pick Zarog’s Crown if I know I only have low-cost stuff in the deck, and I want to put some beefy allies on the board right now. Galakrond, the Nightmare is the boss of the deck, and you should play him after you have fully invoked him. This will give you a 5/2 claw and draw 4 cards with cost 0. This often means setting up an insanely powerful board, and goes extremely well with cards like Edwin. Once you have Galakrond, you can play Kronx Dragonhood to set off one of 4 very strong abilities.
It was honestly not very difficult, and I seemed to have the most difficulty with Warrior decks because they would frequently play damaged allies that can’t be targeted by Backstab or Sealed Fate, and overwhelm me in the early game.
Thanks for reading this guide, and I hope you found it informative! If you want to play Hearthstone, consider using this link because you’ll get a free pack: