Hearthstone Beginner Guide Section 3: Deck Construction and Crafting/Disenchanting

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If you have missed out on the previous guide, you can look it up here Hearthstone Beginner Guide: Section 2.

DECK CONSTRUCTION

After you have uncovered what type of a player you are, whether you prefer aggro, control midrange or combo, or even still, have not come to a conclusion, this guide will strengthen the general idea of each archetype and how they are generally built. By the end of this guide, you should have a rough idea of what appeals to you and you can experiment with the archetypes further. There are plenty of ways that decks can be built in Hearthstone, however one should bear in mind that most innovate/creative/for fun decks are generally quite bad to use if you want to rise the ranks in Ranked Mode due to the prominent net decks (decks that are taken from online, usually made by famous players) that are well refined to have consistent positive win rates.

Concept 1: Mana Curve

As beginners, given the limited card pool, all your pre-constructed decks should look somewhat similar if you have followed previous guides. You critique on cards, evaluate them and conclude whether it is good or not. You critique them based on the Vanilla test and card synergies. After evaluating cads individually, you should then evaluate your deck as a whole. You must look out for win conditions, comeback mechanics and even combos. Hearthstone is one of the few card games that have a really low maximum card count allowed in a single deck. Therefore, having only given 30 slots in a deck, decks in the game must synergise well to avoid redundant cards from being drawn (otherwise termed as dead cards).

When constructing decks in general, you want some early game cards, that is from 0 to 3 costing cards, majority of it around the 4 to 5 costing range and lesser on the 6 and beyond costing cards. To put things visually, beginner curves tend to look like this, but do take note it may not look entirely or very close to this, just a trend.

Hearthstone Beginner Guide

Explanation as to why this theoretical mana curve is some of the best in Hearthstone is here. Firstly, you want some early game cards to ensure that your opponent does not rush you down. You will have answers and minions to play in the early game to avoid aggression. Low costing cards is also good for yourself to exert some aggression to your opponent. Doing so can put you in an easier spot in the mid game where your mana curve starts to peak. Avoid having too many low costing cards (except for Aggressive decks) because by the late game, your hand might be completely empty due to playing the low costing cards in the early to mid stages.

You would then prefer to peak at the mid game like from 4 to 5 cost cards to establish decent control towards the late game. Also in the mid stages, attrition starts to appear in these turns as players have already dish out their early aggression and at this point, some players will defend or go for the attack depending on their situation.

Right after, there is the high costing cards from 6 and beyond. These cards tend to be the least placed in many decks. This is because having more high costing cards may unluckily give you higher chances in drawing them or having them in the early game which is what you definitely do not want since it will be unplayable for many turns.

This curve tends to resemble that of midrange decks but it is not only restricted to midrange decks. The ‘Mountain Shaped’ curve can appear in aggro decks where the peak is at around the 2 to 3 costing cards.

Combo and control decks’ mana curve is really determined by the cost of control cards that is playable for them. But if you choose to build control or combo decks, keep in mind that you would want lower costing cards to negate aggression, mid game cards to extend to the long game and late game cards to either finish off your opponent or continue controlling bigger threats that your opponent might put to play. Also, control and combo decks tend to focus on what their spells can do (but does not exactly mean that they have more spells than minion), as for midrange to aggro they would focus on what minions to be placed in the deck.

More explanation on control and combo decks will be given in later guides (intermediate) as they have a completely different play style as compared to aggro and midrange decks.

 

Concept 2: Minions to Effect Ratio

When building a deck, you must have a healthy ratio of minions versus effect (spells/weapons) cards. For beginners, this rule must be religiously followed. It is quite easy for many novices to understand that minions are generally better than effect cards as they understand that effect cards have a 1-time effect while minions are everlasting until it is cleared. With that in mind, a good number of minions to have is 20, while effect cards should be 10. You still can have a difference of around 1 or 2 and sometimes 3 but try your best to not push beyond that.

Your win conditions are usually based on the board presence that you establish. Therefore you should avoid trying to build a deck where the effect cards are what you want to use for win conditions. This is why the ratio should be at around 2:1. The minions are the core of the deck while the effect cards are the support for the minions.

It is also important to know that some minions have below average stat line but with decent effects. These minions should be classified under effect cards since they do not exactly create board presence for you. Such minions include Doomsayer, Kabal Courier and Novice Engineer. These cards are definitely playable, but as new players, they are not as significant yet.

In addition, some spells do summon minions, therefore should be classified under minions. For instance, Feral Spirits and Animal Companion.

Concept 3: Trial and Errors

Say you have already built a deck. You tested it out, you did well with it but you somehow noticed that you are not doing well when against certain classes or certain cards that you see often. This is when changes need to be made to fit the general opponents that you are going to face. In some instances you might be able to detect patterns or trends that happen for a while. I will explain some examples.

You start seeing more opponents playing weapons and you tend to lose control in these games because your opponent is able to use his weapons rather than trading his minions to maintain board pressure. What do you do at this point? For one, you can play more weapons as well but assuming you are a Mage, a Druid or a Warlock, one tip is to add in an Acidic Swamp Ooze to contain these situations.

You happen to notice a lot of aggressive decks putting your health total at dangerously low points by the mid stages of the game. You either do any of the two or both – to add more taunts and/or add heal or armour effects. It really depends on the class. Usually for Warriors, they would include Shield Block and for Druids, they would include taunts such as Ancient of War and Druid of the Claw.

When making trial and errors, do take note that core cards that define the deck are not advisable to be replaced. You should make limited replacements whereby most of the time you include a 1-of in the deck instead of duplicates since you are targeting a specific situations rather than all decks.

 

Concept 4: Build with what you have > Build what you want

This is where players who choose to spend on the game and those who don’t will feel the difference. For players who choose to spend on Hearthstone, they are most likely able to build what they want. As for newer players, you most likely have a decent but not a big card pool yet. Therefore, it is important that you try your best to maximise the resource that you have instead of trying your best to copy a deck from the net. If you are missing certain cards from a powerful deck that you have found online, then replacing those cards with other sub-optimal cards will make the deck weak at times. So just try your best and play the game slowly. Even with the lack of cards, you are not at a loss of knowledge.

You will eventually reach a point where you match the card pool of a long time player or a player who spends on the game. So just be patient and have fun. Do not force yourself into getting more cards. Given the cards that you have, you will still apply basic knowledge and theory so do not build what you want and just focus on what you have.

 

CRAFTING AND DISENCHANTING

To ensure that this guide will not leave anyone out, explanations about crafting and disenchanting will include players who prefer to take it slow and not spend a cent on the game as well as those who decide to pump cash into it. Some pointers you should take note are listed below.

  • You can only disenchant and craft cards which you get from packs and adventures. Basic cards that were provided through hidden quest completion (e.g. getting classes to level 10) do not enjoy the same benefits.
  • The coloured gems you see at the dead centre of the card, namely White, Blue, Purple and Orange indicate their rarity with White being in the most common in that order.
  • Only one opportunity is given to you to undo your disenchanting. The moment you leave the craft/disenchant pop up, the dust required to craft them again reverts back to the original cost.
  • 95 dust will be awarded for disenchanting a card for the first time
  • In crafting mode, cards that you do not have but have enough dust for it will appear as light blue to white. Cards that you do not have and do not have enough dust for it will remain grey.
  • If you have more than 2 copies of 1 or more different cards, the ‘Disenchant extra cards’ button will appear on the bottom right of the screen in ‘Crafting mode’ menu.
  • If a card has been changed (to buff/nerf) then you will get a full dust refund on it if you disenchant them. Players are usually given 2 weeks to do so.
Rarity Crafting Cost Disenchant Dust Received
Common 40 5
Rare 100 20
Epic 400 100
Legendary 1600 400
Golden Common 400 50
Golden Rare 800 100
Golden Epic 1600 400
Golden Legendary 3200 1600

 

For players who choose to get up fast

It is advisable that you strive towards getting a competitive ladder deck as soon as possible. With that said, you should disenchant extra cards and cards that do not have any value or cards that you see impossible having any play (at your own risk). You should also be economical here. What I mean by this is that disenchanting something of a lot of dust but is of no value is recommended. For example, disenchanting a worthless golden epic/legendary card is often the correct thing to do. In many cases, disenchanting golden cards is fine. Players who admire the golden card art may be reluctant to do so and that is fine as well, but it will impede your progress to crafting cards that you eagerly want.

It is easier to disenchant cards than to craft them because it is easy to sieve out unplayable cards but it isn’t easy sieve out those that see potential play or you simply see them a lot but have doubts about the specific card yourself.

One easy way to determine if you should craft a card is to check around the web on the current decks used. If you noticed a certain card appearing in different type of decks, then it is most likely advisable to craft it. Examples include Azure Drake and Sylvanas Windrunner. Also following this way, crafting neutral cards takes precedence most of the time. This is because you want to expand your options when building decks rather than being forced to use a certain class just because you crafted a few cards in that class.

When trying to craft a full deck, prioritise the commons and rares first. This is because you can create more commons and rares as compared to 1 or 2 legendaries only. Therefore, when copying a deck, make sure that you craft cards to match the deck as much as possible rather than be lured by the beauty of owning a powerful legendary.

 

For players who choose to take it slow

These players should try their best not to disenchant any cards. It is good to be wise when choosing what to disenchant or craft, after all you chose to take it slow, so do not rush into getting powerful cards just because you need them badly. However, if you want to take it slow but still try your best to be relevant in the game then I would suggest disenchanting golden cards if you already have non-golden copies of them. Let’s be honest here, golden cards do not make your deck stronger or make you a better player, it only improves the aesthetics and give you visual pleasure.

Likewise with the faster players, it is always recommended to craft neutral cards. To be even more specific, you should craft neutral classic cards. These cards will not get rotated out of the standard format (if you choose to the Standard path) unless they are unluckily somehow announced by Blizzard that they decide to rotate it out.

Dusts should be prioritised on crafting legendaries and less on the commons, rares and epics. Since you are taking it slow, it also means that you opt for your packs to get you the commons, rares and epics and not trust it in getting legendaries. Thus, save up your dusts for the neutral classic legendaries and pray that your packs come out lucky!

So this concludes the guide on crafting and disenchanting. I do hope that you make the right choices and not lose out too much if you made wrong ones. Many players including myself are very greedy in getting cards that are relevant to the current meta but regret the decision to craft or disenchant them later on. The guide ends here and until the next time…

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Laurence, or otherwise known as 'Mechanics' by some of his in-game peers is currently a student in NUS. He loves playing Hearthstone during his free time and believes that while studying hard, playing hard is important as well.

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