In the first part of our series of Hearthstone [Free (HD)] I covered some high-level basic tips and strategies that are useful for players new to collectible card games, then moved on to discussing how getting cards works in part two, along with analyzing some of the better neutral rares to get first. Today, we're going to look at decks for each of the classes. These decks are totally free to play, and you'll have all the cards needed to play them by the time you hit level 10 in a particular class, which is just a matter of grinding away against the AI for an hour or two using the basic decks included in the game at level 1.

Additionally, it's worth mentioning that you really should play each class to level 10 and put these decks together even if you're not that interested in other classes outside of whatever you're playing as your "main" class. Daily quests are too good of a gold source to pass up, and you'll be in for a world of pain if you've been leveling up your rogue to 20 and have backed up daily quests using a Druid or Warrior that you haven't touched and are both level 1.

Anyway, these decks come courtesy of a Hearthstone wizard by the name of Trump. He streams Hearthstone daily on Twitch from 11 AM to 6 PM Pacific, and he's got a great YouTube channel filled with Hearthstone videos. Like most card games, the best decks get posted by these top players, so there's not much sense in reinventing the wheel with these basic decks when I doubt I could come up with something better than Trump already has.

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The above decks all share a lot of the same neutral minions, both because when you're building a totally free to play basic deck the card pool is sort of limited and because they're pretty good cards that you'd run anyway. Acidic Swamp Ooze is played in top-tier competitive decks as it's the best way to get rid of weapons, Chillwind Yeti is among the best cards you can play on turn four, Sen'jin Shieldmasta is a strong basic taunt card, etc.

The main idea behind building these decks is to get experience playing every class, as these core minions are all supplemented by the basic class-specific cards that combined with each class's hero power will give you a good idea of both what you like to play the most as well as what to look out for when playing other classes. You're not going to win every game, but the important part is to analyze what you could have done differently or what cards you could have played in order to have an answer to whatever caused you to lose.

As you play more, you'll inevitably unlock more packs, get stronger cards, and can then use these decks as a foundation for things to swap in. Building and customizing decks is an evolving process, and there's really no right way to do it beyond playing lots of games, and trying to be very analytical about cards that are under-performing and switching them out for cards you've got that might perform better.

395A strong example that works with nearly every one of these decks is substituting Novice Engineer for Loot Hoarder, a common two-mana card that largely serves the same purpose of Novice Engineer in that it's a minion on the board for two mana that also provides card draw. Loot Hoarder is basically better than Novice Engineer in every way, as in the early game you really don't need card draw immediately as you likely kept a hand with the idea that you'll have something to play on turn three. Best case scenario, you get Loot Hoarder out and are able to hit your opponent for two a couple times, worst case scenario he dies right away and you get the card you would've got with Novice Engineer anyway. His two attack means he might have traded deaths with an enemy minion, where Loot Hoarder could've left something like Acidic Swamp Ooze still sitting there with one life left, ready to attack you for three next turn.

The Mana Curve

One thing to be mindful of when swapping cards in decks is you really don't want to fiddle with your mana curve too much. If you're new to card games, this might be the first time you've heard the phrase "mana curve", so here's the deal- When you're looking at the little chart that sums up the casting cost of all of the cards in your deck, you typically want it to look like a parabola where the majority of your cards fall inside of the 3-5 mana range. (Also, I say "typically" because like all things to do with card games, a large part of the advanced side of the game is breaking or working around these rules.)

The idea behind this is to increase the likelihood that you can use all of your mana to its greatest effectiveness every turn with a card that costs 1 mana on turn 1, maybe use your hero power or drop a 2 mana minion on turn 2, play a 3 cost (or a 2 cost and a 1 cost minion) on turn 3, etc. There's a lot of crazy math and probability that you can get in to in order to really examine the randomness of draws, the 30 cards in your deck, and all that, but the important part is you never want a deck that's full of high-cost cards as you're going to be sitting on your hands the first 2/3 of the game. Similarly, you don't (again, typically) want a ton of low cost cards as you'll be left with nothing to do at the end of the game.

So, it's something to be mindful of as you start opening cards and swapping stuff in to your deck. Just throwing every huge powerful card in to a deck doesn't really work, even though the idea of a deck filled with fatties like Deathwing, Gruul, and all the other big minions you might've been lucky enough to open seems like they'd totally win you the game, you'd likely be dead by then if you can't draw in to cards you can actually play.

I've mentioned it before in other guides, but the key to games like Hearthstone is to just not get discouraged by losing. You'll often be matched up with players who are either straight up more experienced and play better, or have better cards. It's an evolving process though, as it doesn't take long for you to become that better player and be wrecking people below you in Hearthstone skill and card progression. Of course, the nature of the beast in CCG's is that there's always going to be opponents better than you, so it's a never-ending cycle. The important thing is to just have fun with it.

  • CkX82

    For some reason when i search the app store from my iphone i cant find this game , any help ?

    • kingmike

      Not on iphone yet sadly

    • kjax

      iPad only for now. They are working on the iPhone version.

      • ttocs

        I didn't realize they were. That's awesome. I would definitely play it more on my phone.

  • kjax

    Really like reading all the Hearthstone articles. Seems like you must really be enjoying the game Eli.

  • shadowkhai

    When it comes to leveling each hero to 10 to unlock all the basic cards I'd suggest doing it in casual play instead of vs AI. Simply put getting wins here can result in earning gold and even count towards quests if it lines up right. You're going to be grinding these anyway so why not get some experience versus real players.

    Or if you haven't gotten your rank up to 20 to earn the card back, grind away there. Losses don't affect your rank at this level and wins get you closer to the reward.

    I find playing versus stronger decks or players makes you play smarter anyways. Just a thought.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Yeah, I'm with you there. It depends how frustrating losing is to you, as it's pretty easy to at least see how the decks work on a basic level and play against an opponent who isn't going to totally smoke you out pre-level 10 with cards you don't have answers for yet. I just played ranked to level up, but I'm a glutton for punishment.

  • ColdLucid

    Can we get a post or article regarding minion/spell ratios? I really like your articles btw, keep it up. Thanks.

  • sakara214ever

    Agree. You must not be discouraged when losing. You must keep on trying. It is sure you will get better. When i first started playing i had like 20 matches without a win.

  • Onikage725

    Thanks for the guides, Eli. I'm going to start the game today :)

  • mjgarwood

    Eli - check that paragraph about loot hoarder right before 'mana curve' - I think you may have mixed up loot hoarder and novice engineer there at the end? Confusing

  • staraffinity

    ”His two attack means he might have traded deaths with an enemy minion, where Loot Hoarder could've left something like Acidic Swamp Ooze still sitting there with one life left, ready to attack you for three next turn.”

    I guess you mean *Novice Engineer* would have left Acidic Swamp Ooze still sitting there with one life left, ready to attack you for *the* next turn.

  • RunningWild

    As someone new to deck cars games, I am really getting a lot out of your guides. Really helpful and very well written. Thanks Eli!