Hearthstone is a collectible card game (CCG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment, and set in the Warcraft universe. The game was released in March 2014.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play (f2p btw) game, meaning you can download (available on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android< devices), install and play the game absolutely free.
In fact, every single card in the game can be acquired entirely free, but the caveat in doing so is that it will require significant investment of your time.
Players may choose to spend real money to buy card packs (USD 2.99 for 2 packs), allowing them to complete their card collection faster or hero potraits, which are purely cosmetic and does not have any impact on gameplay whatsoever.
You select an existing or build a new deck containing of 30 cards and through the game’s matchmaking algorithm, you will be matched with another player of similar skill level.
At the beginning of the game, your hero (your character’s avatar) starts with 30 health and on a turn-by-turn basis, your goal is to reduce the opponent’s health to 0 before he does.
Each card has a mana cost which is indicated on the top left corner of the card. Mana is a resource that you will slowly gain as the game progresses (+1 mana per turn, up till the maximum of 10). Generally, the higher the mana cost of a card, the more powerful its effect is.
There are 3 main types of cards in Hearthstone; Minions, Spells and Weapons.
Each minion card has an attack value and a health value. You can use the minion to attack the opposing hero or other minions. The minion cannot attack the turn it is played (unless it has the Charge ability) and can only attack once per turn.
Spell cards can be used to cause a certain effect on heroes or minions and do not remain on the board after being used.
Weapon cards can be equipped by your hero and subsequently used to attack the opposing hero or minions. Likewise, each weapon card has an attack value and a durability value. If the durability reaches 0, the weapon is destroyed. Currently, weapon cards are only available to the following classes: Warrior, Hunter, Rogue and Paladin.
Heroes and Classes
There are 9 different classes, and each one of them is represented by a hero from the Warcraft Universe. Each class gives you access to class-specific cards and a specific Hero Power, which is an ability you are free to use once every turn.
The default hero for Warrior is Garrosh Hellscream. The alternative hero portrait is Magni Bronzebeard. The hero power is Armor Up!
The default hero for Shaman is Thrall. The alternative hero portrait is Morgl the Oracle. The hero power is Totemic Call.
The default hero for Rogue is Valeera Sanguinar. The alternative hero portrait is Maiev Shadowsong. The hero power is Dagger Mastery.
The default hero for Paladin is Uther Lightbringer. The alternative hero portrait is Lady Liadrin. The hero power is Reinforce.
The default hero for Hunter is Rexxar. The alternative hero portrait is Alleria Windrunner. The hero power is Steady Shot.
The default hero for Druid is Malfurion Stormrage. The hero power is Shapeshift.
The default hero for Warlock is Gul’dan. The hero power is Life Tap.
The default hero for Mage is Jaina Proudmoore. The alternative hero portraits are Medivh and Khadgar. The hero power is Fireblast.
The default hero for Priest is Anduin Wrynn. The alternative hero portrait is Tyrande Whisperwind. The hero power is Lesser Heal.
Gold can be used to purchase card packs (100 gold for 1 pack) or for paying the Arena entry fee (150 gold).
Gold can be earned by winning games in Play mode or through the daily quest.
As the cards which you open from a pack are random, you might be getting multiple copies of certain cards in your collection. Since you can only have a maximum of 2 copies of any one card (1 copy for Legendaries), you have the option to disenchant the extras for Arcane Dust.
Arcane Dust can be used to craft and obtain specific cards that you are missing from your collection.
Complete the Tutorial
Beat the tutorial with “Jaina Proudmore”.
Reward: 1 Card Pack
Unlock all Heroes
Beat each of the 8 AI heroes to unlock them for Play Mode.
Reward: “Level Up” – 100 gold & “Ready to Go” – 100 gold
Beat the Expert AI
After beating every normal AI hero, Expert AI will become unlocked. Beat each of the 9 Expert AI heroes once.
Reward: “Crushed them All!” – 100 gold
Once you have completed the above quests, do not waste time playing against Expert AI over and over again. Go straight to Play Mode and start challenging real players. Keep playing until all classes are Level 10.
Reward: “First Blood” – 1 Card Pack, “The Duelist” – 100 gold & “Got the Basics!” – 100 gold
Get one of the classes to be at least Level 20 to unlock this special mode which runs from Wednesday till the following Monday. It has its own special set of rules and winning once in this mode will net you a free Classic card pack.
Reward: 1 Classic Card Pack / week
Even though your first Arena run is free, do not feel compelled to attempt the run right away. Gain some experience and basic understanding of the game first.
If you really enjoy the game and would like to spend a little to enhance your gaming experience, I strongly recommend the USD 4.99 Welcome Bundle, which consists of 10 Classic card packs and 1 random Classic Legendary.
Monthly Ranked Rewards
Try to reach Rank 20 before end of each month to qualify for the season rewards. While Ranked might seem more intimidating than Casual, it is often more rewarding and gives you the opportunity to play against other players of equal skill.
Which packs to buy?
As a new player, you should focus on spending your gold on Classic packs. Do buy 1 Whispers of the Old Gods to get a free Legendary.