Hearthstone Tips and Terminology

Hearthstone Tips and Terminology by nuhertz

Finally! You have your beta key, and you’ve already leveled a bit and gotten the easy gold, now it’s time to understand a bit more about the minutia.

Hearthstone is considered a CCG (collectible card game). If you’re new to games like MTG (Magic: The Gathering), you’re a card virgin like me. Hearthstone is my first. Here are some of the terms that were unknown or unclear to me when I started.

Key Terms

  • Mana – This is the resource that allows you to play cards. You start with 1 mana on your first turn, and increase by one each round.
  • Mulligan – At the start of every game, your cards are displayed, and you can choose to keep or send any, all or none back to your deck. Each one you send back is a “mulligan”.
  • The Coin – If you go second, you will get 4 cards at the start, and “The Coin”. The coin is a 0 mana cost card that allows you to get an additional mana on the turn in which it is played.
  • Deck – The 30 cards that you have chosen to use for that game.
  • 2/3/4 Drop – Refers to the turn when you would play it or mana cost, depending on the source.
  • Mana Curve – The composition of your deck. How many cards of each mana cost do you have in your hand. Different classes do better with different mana curves, and there is no “perfect” mana curve. Having all 6 drop or more cards will generally lose you the game, but there are a lot of curves that work.
  • Pack – The 5 card pack that you can use to improve your decks, which you can purchase for 100 gold, or win after playing to 9 wins or 3 losses in arena.
  • Top-Decking – Typically means you play the card you just drew, usually only mentioned when you get good value out of it. Often used when a player is at a large disadvantage, such as having no cards on the field or in their hand, and then draws a game changing card that changes the momentum of the game, usually for a game win.
  • Board Clear – A common strategy to kill off all of your opponent’s minions on the battlefield.
  • Basic/Common/Epic/Legendary – The rarity of the card, denoted by the gem in the middle of the card. Common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange).
  • Fatigue – When you run out of cards, take 1 damage the first draw, 2 the next and so on until the match is over.
  • Constructed play – Another term for “Play mode”, i.e. not Arena. It refers to the fact that players use decks they have personally constructed.
  • Early/mid/late-game deck – This refers to when the bulk of the deck comes into play. An early-game deck is designed to burn the opponent down as fast as possible. A late-game deck has more high-cost cards that aren’t played until the later turns and has some way to keep the opponent under control in the early turns (e.g. with spells.)
  • Aggro deck – An early-game deck with lots of small minions. This kind of deck can be vulnerable to AoE spells (e.g. Consecrate, Hellfire, Lightning Storm, etc.)
  • Combo deck – A deck (usually mid to late-game) that is built around playing a specific and powerful combination of cards. If the combo is pulled off successfully, it can be devastating; however it depends on the player actually getting all of the right cards in their hand at once, which often involves waiting out turns and delaying your opponent. These kinds of decks can be fun to play, but are usually unreliable.
  • Lethal damage – If you have “lethal damage” (or simply “lethal”), it means you have the ability to finish off your opponent on that turn. For example, one might say, “I have lethal damage next turn, as long as he doesn’t kill my minion.”
  • Counterfeiting – This refers to when a card intended to go to someone’s hand is destroyed because their hand already has 10 cards. One example of this is playing Coldlight Oracle when your opponent is at 8 cards, bringing their hand to 10 cards. Then, at the start of their next turn, their card draw will be discarded (you are forced to draw at the start of your turn even if you have 10 cards.) You have just “counterfeited” their card draw.
  • Value: Your resources include mana, cards, and board control. The more you can gain for the less you can spend means better value. For example, if your opponent plays 4 cards that are all 1/1 critters and you Arcane Explosion them, that Arcane Explosion had great value.

Good to know (Here’s some random information I found out too late)

  • You can only have 7 minions on the battlefield
  • Silence is powerful. Use it.
  • Every 3 wins in Play mode earns you 10 gold (Arena counts towards daily achievements)
  • Playing versus friends or the AI does not earn gold
  • Winning 7 times in Arena will net you at least 150 gold (enough to play Arena again)
  • The coin you get for going second triggers combos and spell bonuses
  • You can only have 10 cards in your hand
  • When a card is discarded (either due to a card mechanic or counterfeiting) both players get to see what it is. This can be useful information, especially in constructed play. For example if an opponent Paladin has played a Truesilver Champion and then later you see one get discarded, you know that he has no more Truesilver Champions to play because you can only have up to 2 of one card in your deck in constructed (this doesn’t really apply to Arena.)

Key Concepts

  • There are 4 resources in the game: Health, mana, cards and board control. Appropriately managing these (and picking the right cards) wins games.

What other tips and tricks did you recently find out? What information did you wish you knew when you were just starting? Any additional terminology it took a while to figure out? I’ll compile additional info into the main post as you leave them!

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