Playing Hearthstone daily has taught me several things that I would have liked to know at the beginning of my addiction to the game. These tips will save you gold and dust and provide you with a more rewarding experience.
This guide is all about those useful pieces of information — about earning gold wisely and spending it well, about quests, both Daily and Hidden, about getting better at the Arena, and kicking ass on the Ladder (no matter what your budget is). It’s also about crafting and then getting the most out of the Expansions.
So let’s start off with money! It’s always good to start with the money.
How to mine gold better than a dwarf
There are 4 major ways to earn gold in Hearthstone.
1 – Hidden quests will earn you a lot of free gold. Some of them aren’t mentioned in the game, so let’s list them here. The conditions and rewards are:
- Play 3 games in Play mode (100 gold)
- Unlock all characters (100 gold)
- Get all characters to level 10 (100 gold)
- Defeat all A.I. characters in Practice mode at Expert difficulty (100 gold)
- Collect every card in Classic set (100 gold)
- Win 100 games in any mode (300 gold)
- Win 1000 games in any mode (300 gold)
2 – Achieving 3 wins in Casual or Ranked mode, as well as Tavern Brawl, earns 10 gold — up to 100 gold per day.
Getting your entire daily allowance takes up a lot of time even if you happen to be impossibly skilled. With a 75% win rate you will need to play 40 matches in a day to earn that 100 gold. Even if you choose to play a very quick deck like Face Hunter or Aggro Paladin, be prepared to stare into your screen for hours. Some unscrupulous players purposefully stay at rank 20 in order to raise their win rate and spend less time farming their daily allowance. My opinion on this practice would involve the use of profanity.
3 – Daily quests are a substantially quicker way to obtain gold. Each day you receive a new quest with a reward of 40–100 gold.
The trick is to maximize the occurrence of quests that earn more than 40 gold. You can swap one of your quests each day for a new one and it’s a good idea to do this with each quest that earns 40 gold, as chances for a 60 gold quest are quite high. It may also be a good idea to stockpile quests so that you can finish more of them at the same time (if the quest conditions coincide). I log in every day to swap cheap quests and make sure that I never finish a day with 3 unfinished quests so that I don’t lose gold by having no space for the next day’s quest.
4 – The biggest potential for earning gold comes off the Arena. Finishing a run in Arena can earn substantial amounts of gold, as well as dust, not forgetting card packs and cards, including their golden versions (which is a great source of dust).
Let’s take a closer look at the Arena.
How to kick ass harder than a gladiator
Arena is an investment – it costs 150 gold to get in. Paying real money to enter is not to everyone’s liking, and it definitely isn’t to mine. Given how much gold it costs to get in, you want to get more out of the Arena than what you put in. There is a big difference in rewards based on how many wins you accumulate – you won’t get much more than a pack of cards for no wins, but 12 wins earns you over 215 gold and a mix of extra rewards.
How to do well at the Arena? Let’s have a look at some tips that will help you raise your win count.
Practice makes perfect. Or at least better. It takes a lot of practice to get good at Arena, given that some players have been playing it for 2 years. Getting lots of practice is difficult with the 150 gold entrance fee.
Luckily, there are ways to play more games for free. Playing on all three regions allows you to earn more free gold (by finishing the Hidden quests above), which can then be used for practice Arena runs, not forgetting that the first Arena run is always free. If you have the time, you can even complete your Daily quests in each region and earn more gold towards future Arena runs. If you are doing this, stockpiling Daily quests becomes more important than earning maximum amounts of gold, unless you have a lot of free time on your hands. Once you run out of regions to play on, you can start making new accounts. No one will stop you.
What you are aiming for is an unlimited number of Arena runs without the need to pay real money or waiting to have enough gold to enter. This starts happening around 6 or 7 wins. It’s not an easy feat to achieve — hence the need to practice.
Not all characters are born equal. While in constructed the strength and competitiveness of a character is determined by the class-specific cards available to that character, in the Arena other concerns rule the day. The rarity of strong cards is important (lesser rarity means the card will show up more often when you are picking cards for your deck), as well as the hero power. In general, hero powers that can affect the board are stronger than others. Paladin and Mage are currently believed to be the strongest classes.
There is a lot of valuable information on the Internet on how to get better at Arena. Two kinds of resources I recommend are spreadsheets listing the strength of individual cards, making it easier to pick good cards in the Arena, as well as streams and recorded runs of professional players. They tend to have different opinions and play styles, but through learning from them you will get access to a vast amount of accumulated Hearthstone knowledge.
An important piece of information when deciding between spending gold on Arena and buying card packs is the likelihood of getting the card packs that you need. When finishing Arena you get a Classic, Goblins vs. Gnomes or Grand Tournament card pack. Most commonly, you will receive a Grand Tournament pack. This may be undesirable for some new players who want to concentrate on climbing the Ladder.
Now that we know everything about the Arena, it’s time to move over to Ranked play and see what’s waiting for us there!
How to run faster than a race horse
I spend almost all of my Hearthstone time on the Ladder. I enjoy spending a lot of time on a single character or deck and learning how to play it well. I also like to end seasons at a relatively high rank. Starting last season, the game rewards you for climbing to high ranks with an end-of-season goodies chest. Awards are chosen according to the highest rank reached during that season.
I tend to have an easy time picking a deck for the Ladder – I have been playing long enough and often enough to own almost all of the cards. However, with 4 expansions behind us, new players will have a hard time collecting all of the cards it took me a year and half to collect, unless they pay a lot of money. Let’s have a look at some ways to get around that.
Some of the strongest, most popular decks in Ranked play are actually very cheap to make. Face Hunter, Aggro Paladin, and even Patron Warrior all consist of low-rarity cards. Consequently they cost very little dust to craft. If you want to get good at Ranked play from the get-go and climb high on the Ladder, you could do worse than to spend all of your starting funds on crafting what you lack for a cheap, aggressive deck.
Not all decks are born equal and the state of the meta determines which decks do well. Some types of decks are currently practically unplayable. Every season the game seems to speed up a little so right now a lot of the most successful decks are very fast. While not the cheapest to make, Secret Paladin is probably the most popular.
Getting to a high enough rank will earn you a few golden cards at the end of the season that you can dust to craft cards that you actually need. Gold cards can always be dusted unless you lack that card in its normal form. Some people like to collect gold cards but until you own a large enough collection to play the decks you want to play, I don’t see the point.
With Arena and Ranked play behind us, let’s have a look at crafting. Then we’ll move on to the Expansions.
How to spend smarter than a financier
Crafting is costly. It costs 4 times more to craft a card than you get from dusting it — and Legendary cards are outright extortionate. If you are in it for the long run (with Hearthstone being as addictive as it is, that’s not unlikely) and you want to collect a wide selection of cards, it’s a good idea not to craft any cards below Epic or Legendary rarity. Cards of Common and Rare rarity always show up sooner or later. If you craft them, they usually show up in the next 2 opened card packs (it seems!).
I tend to save up for Legendary cards that I know I will use. On the other hand, you may have a different priority than collecting lots of cards. You may for example want to build one of the cheap, competitive decks mentioned above and rule the Ladder. Or you may want to spend some time playing an interesting deck off the Internet, or you may want to concentrate on a single character and craft all of the strong cards for that character. Sometimes it’s hard to wait for a specific card to show up – most decks won’t work without a few specific cards.
‘To dust or not to dust’, that is the question. I heartily recommend dusting golden cards. I tend not to dust normal cards even if they are somewhat unpopular. Actually, I shy away from dusting even if the cards in question are utterly rubbish, so bad that I will probably never play them. Sometimes, admittedly very rarely, those cards end up being useful in some gimmicky deck that I want to play. Or a new card introduced into the game through an expansion suddenly makes that card desirable.
One of my Hearthstone friends often tells me how he dusted a Leeroy Jenkins, his first Legendary, thinking that it was useless. Back in those days, it was anything but. It takes a bit of time within the game to figure out which cards are valuable and which are not.
Moving on to Expansions! We already have 4 behind us – Curse of Naxxramas, Goblins vs. Gnomes, Blackrock Mountain, and The Grand Tournament.
How to expand more than gas
Blizzard releases two expansions a year: one Adventure (costing 3,500 gold in total) and one new card set (with over 100 new cards). With The Grand Tournament it took me about 100 decks to get most of the cards that I wanted (costing 10,000 gold).
The latest expansion was the first one that I started saving up for in advance. I was glad that I did. The likelihood of finding new cards decreases with each successive deck opened (as you get more and more duplicates) and dusting those duplicate cards earns very little dust. Saving gold for the next expansion can be a very cost-effective decision. Expansions are always announced in advance and come at predictable times of the year so it’s easy to plan for them. 3,500 gold shouldn’t take more than 8 weeks to accumulate.
It’s important to figure out which Expansions, Adventures, and card packs are the most valuable for you. This varies with different characters. Naxxramas offers a lot of very valuable cards for several characters (try playing Tempo Mage without a Mad Scientist), Goblins vs. Gnomes provides almost all of the Mechs, as well as several deck-defining class-specific cards. Blackrock is a lot less satisfying once you unlock the first wing. The first wing offers exceptional cards, but the rest of the wings are essential only for players wanting to play Dragon decks.
Those can be very fun though, especially since The Grand Tournament made those decks truly viable. In a lot of ways The Grand Tournament offers the least value in my eyes. It adds a little something to many old decks, and it strengthens a few decks that were just a bit too weak to play competitively, but it offers very little of its own. What it offers, it could have kept – looking at you, Secret Paladin.
How to end like a winner
We come to the end of the guide. We had a look at Hidden quests, Arena, Ranked play, and even crafting and expansions. Right now I am looking for a witty and funny way to end things and leave you, my dear reader, with a pleasant feeling — as if you’ve just finished a tasty and filling meal and are ready to have a little nap… errrrm, play Hearthstone, I mean.
Since I can’t think of a witty ending, I will simply wish you a pleasant journey through the lands of Hearthstone, hoping that this guide will make your travels at least a little bit more fun.
See you on the Ladder!