Hearthstone Beginner Guide Section 1: Getting Started and Understanding Minion Value


Feeling lost after completing the Hearthstone tutorial session? We have started a Beginner Guide Series to help you through the game without blowing a fortune opening packs.


After completing the Hearthstone tutorial session, you will probably have more than a handful of questions in mind about the game. This article should provide sufficient information to clear any doubts and questions lingering in your mind and hopefully allow you, as a new player to join in the fun that Hearthstone offers and understand the intricacy of the game in the near future.

Step 1: Make tweaks to the basic Mage deck

To unlock more basic hero cards, you will need to use a Mage deck and defeat the other 8 unlockable heroes. Before unlocking them, you will need a better deck to begin with because the default Mage deck provided is not optimised.

The best basic mage deck is as follows (according to well-known Hearthstone streamer, Trump).



There are cards in your given basic deck that do not have outstanding value and it would be good if you replaced them to match the above so that unlocking the other classes will not be as difficult as you think it is. A more detailed guide to the deck list above is done by Trump himself. You can check out his YouTube video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVNvpeQGir4.

Step 2: Defeat the Expert AI

As of now, you will probably have a feel of which is your best deck, probably based on play style, power or other preferences. The Mage basic deck together with the replacements is still the best to go through with. After defeating all the Expert AI, you will be able to receive your 100 gold reward.

Step 3: Earn Gold and Buy Classic Packs

There are a few ways you can earn gold in the game. The most common way to earn gold is to complete the Daily Quests and win games (not necessarily a streak) on Casual or Ranked Mode. Other ways include levelling up all your heroes to level 10 and getting your first 100 wins on Play Mode. After receiving all these rewards and hard earned gold, it will be worth investing them into buying Classic Packs. Do note that it is more important for you to buy Classic Packs than other packs like Whispers of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzen. If you are lucky enough, you will be able to pack some Epic and Legendary Cards which are very rare.

Step 4 (Optional): Use real money to buy expansions like One Night in Karazhan or League of Explorers

It is definitely possible to earn cards that you need through constant hard work of fishing out every gold you can from quests and wins on Play Mode. However, buying expansions (or even more card packs) can help you significantly in terms of progress and advantage but this is entirely your decision. Many players are still able to grind every gold they can get without spending a single cent on the game.

Step 5: Get a friend and learn Hearthstone together

Sometimes, you may think that the plays you make are the best but in another point of view, it may not. Therefore, it would be beneficial to have a friend to sit down and think about the plays you make. You might learn a thing or two from each other and help each other grow to be better players. Furthermore, you could also decide together on what to replace from your deck, because some players have different evaluation on a single card. You could also think about turns ahead of the current turn and many times, you might not be able to do it as a novice.

You can join Team Abyssus Discord Channel, where we discuss strategies and decklists all the time. You can certainly make new friends here!


There are 3 types of cards in Hearthstone – namely called minions, spells and weapons. Beginners usually place more emphasis on minions, which is understandable because as a beginner, you should understand the value of minions when they are on board and make minion trades to put yourself ahead. This is one of the fundamental Hearthstone rules – value trading. After becoming more familiar with value trading, then spells and weapons are able to slowly come into sight when looking for value plays or replacing minions in your decks with the spells or weapons.

Concept 1: The Vanilla Test

Vanilla minions are known as minions with no card text. Therefore, these minions’ value could only be assessed based entirely on the Attack and Hit Points that it offers as well as the corresponding mana required to play them. Do not be deceived by minions with no text because some of these minions are actually more threatening than those with texts. You will get a good grasp of this the more you play the game. To put things mathematically, the vanilla test can be used by looking at the equation where “Total Stats = 2n+ 1” where n is the mana cost of the minion. Therefore, cards like Chillwind Yeti and Boulderfist Ogre fit well in this vanilla test. Therefore, cards that satisfy this vanilla test as well as having text on it are considered above average in most cases. So cards like Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Acidic Swamp Ooze are considered really good cards.

Now you might wonder, what about Senjin Shieldmasta where it’s total stats is only 8 for 4 mana? Senjin Shiedmasta is a taunt minion, therefore the additional value that Senjin Shieldmasta has as compared to minions with completely no text is the Taunt.

Concept 2: Trade Value

Most of the time as a new player, games will be very minion based. Trading minions to put yourself ahead is of paramount importance. It does mainly 2 things – maintain pressure on board and increases minion value. To put things into perspective, if you clear 2 of your opponent’s minions while maintain your minions without dying, then you have board pressure and if 1 of your minion is able to clear 2 of your opponent’s minions and still lives, that minion’s value is definitely many folds more.

Generally, you would prefer your cheap costing minions of around 1 to 3 mana cost to trade with minions of larger mana cost. This form of trading is also understood as “Trading Up”. Because of this understanding by many, a minion with higher health is more valued than a minion with lower health of the same mana cost. Comparisons can be made between Bloodfen Raptor and River Crocolisk as well as Boulderfist Ogre and Lord of the Arena.







The 3-Health River Crocolisk is able to trade with minions of 2 Attack and therefore, being able to stay on board as compared to a Bloodfen Raptor. Likewise, the same comparisons can be made between Boulderfist Ogre and Lord of the Arena.

Concept 3: Ease of removal

Cards with significant Attack but a lousy Health total (like 1 or 2 for example) are considered awful. Therefore Magma Rager is just bad. No other words to describe it. Cards like these get removed easily without resources being used or minimal resource used. Hero Powers like Fire Blast (Mage) and Shape Shift (Druid) are powerful removals that make many of these cards obsolete. Board clears such as Consecration, Hellfire and Flamestrike also limit the playability of some cards.

Furthermore, at around 3 mana cost, better minions tend to have health total of 3 or more,  around 4 mana cost, better minions tend to have health total of 4 or more and so on. This value upholds less as the mana cost increases as the higher costing minions are usually played more of the text than the actual stats that it has.

Concept 4: Special Ability (Text) and Drawbacks

There are indeed cards with such superior stats for its given mana cost but the text it has sometimes could make playing the minion or even including it into your deck quite questionable. Cards like Doomguard, Millhouse Manastorm and Flame Imp fall into this category. By referring to the vanilla test, you can tell that these minions are just beyond the vanilla test. Therefore, to assess the value of some cards, we look at how it fairs in situations. Doomguard is a powerful play but discarding your hand could remove your crucial cards and Flame Imp definitely gives you a health disadvantage but putting a 3/2 stat on board on turn 1 is such a strong play as well.








Concept 5: Card Synergy

Some cards may not be as valuable as it seems when evaluated alone. However, the value might spike if paired with another card. Synergy cards and synergetic plays are often powerful due to the interaction of the cards when multiple of them are played on a single turn or turns when building them up. Most evidently is the Beast Synergy in Hunter. Knowing that Hunters contain mostly of Beast minions, cards like Houndmaster would be easy to pull off with the battlecry – a strong synergy in the Hunter class.

Another type of synergy may not be like those between Beasts, Dragons and Demons. Synergetic cards may also lie between neutral cards and class cards. For instance, Unleash the Hounds casted while having Knife Juggler on board is a pretty strong play that could end up having a swing turn in favour of the user.


Getting a grasp of Hearthstone is quite important early on. By doing so, you will be able to progress smoothly into more intermediate decision making when building a deck or during a game. Firstly, you will need to grind out all the gold you possibly can in order to buy more classic packs and increase your card collection. Concurrently, you should also understand the value of trading and assess them in situations as to when is it best to trade, what trade should be done and whether you should even trade minions at all. Lastly, understand the concepts of individual card value and synergetic card value to evaluate whether certain are worth having a slot in your deck. I hope that you will be able to learn a few little concepts about Hearthstone and the card pool that exist within the game. Future guides will cover gameplay basics and understanding yourself as a player and much more! Till next time…

Featured image source: Google play store