It’s Still Growing!
Wow, even after so many years of release, Hearthstone is still drawing new players like moths to a flame! Err… That’s supposed to be a good reference, we swear!
Hearthstone’s first 2020 expansion, Ashes of Outland, has been out in the wild for over a month now and the meta is still changing and evolving! With new mechanics, a brand-spankin’ new class and a whole host of new cards, there isn’t ever a better time to get into deck building than the start of a new expansion!
“But where do I start?”, you ask in despair, as last year’s meta still rages on and making up new strategies feels counter-intuitive. Well, pull up a chair, because, in this Hearthstone guide to deck building, we’ll give you some pro tips to get started with putting together your own deck ideas!
Those 3 Statistics are Crucial!
Always evaluate your cards by more than just its beautiful artwork! By looking at the Mana cost of a card and comparing it to the raw stats it provides, you can tell if a card will give you enough value once it hits the board. This is called the vanilla test.
Let’s say for instance you’re looking at a 1-cost card with 1/1 stats. This is fairly standard for a cheap minion. Were we to make it a 2/1 or 1/2 for the same cost, this would make it a more valuable minion. Add a powerful effect on top of that and the card becomes one to pay attention to!
That isn’t to say that cards with lower stats compared to their cost aren’t valuable, as effects can sometimes more than make up for a high mana cost. Take Ironbeak Owl as an example. It’s a 2-cost card with 2/1 stats, its health is one point lower than what would allow it to pass the Vanilla Test. Its effect, however, silences a minion, which can make it very critical in a late-game situation!
When building a deck, you have to examine what your central strategy is. Are you going for face or controlling the board? For the former, a 2/1 for 1 mana is a better choice whereas a 1/2 would favor a more control-oriented deck. Effects must also drive and enable that central strategy and should be evaluated alongside the vanilla test.
There’s Never Only One Way
Hmm… We feel like we’ve used that headline before. But, nevermind! As we’ve mentioned before in this Hearthstone guide to deck building, the game has been out for a while. As such, there are decks in the meta that never actually left it because they encompass what Hearthstone is all about. That doesn’t mean, however, that existing decks can’t be adapted to a new meta or evolve into something completely different.
A big example of this is the legendary deck of yore called “Handlock”. This deck was intense and a lot of fun because it took advantage of Warlock’s self-inflicting harm ability to throw down Giant cards as early as possible. The deck died when Blizzard patched and nerfed some of its core cards, but that doesn’t mean that the Giant’s concept was abandoned.
The Mage class made use of a variety of spells and effects to make multiple Giants swarm the board in later expansions. Warlocks themselves were given new ways to control the board before bigger minions could be brought in. Even some Rogue deck builders tried their hand at some Giant variations of their own.
When new expansions come out, it’s an opportunity to try out new mechanics and see how they enhance or change existing ideas. If you’re struggling to start from scratch, take an old tried-and-true deck and see how you can replicate or adapt it with newer cards. Use the vanilla test to pick out the best valued minions and select the right effects that may fit into its core strategy. This will give you the general idea behind how to create the best and most suitable strategy for yourself.
Of course, you can also always refer to existing decks and then adjusting them, such as our Lich King Deck guide.
It’s Simply Synergy!
One of the most fun time in Hearthstone history was when the Patron Warrior was the most dominant deck in the meta. This combo deck came out of nowhere when a few cards were introduced that synergized exceedingly well with some of the Warrior class’s most under-utilized Basic and Classic cards.
Aside from causing frustrations for people having to fight endless waves of Patron Warriors, this deck explicitly captured the essence of landing combos of cards that work well together. Beyond that, it demonstrated how stretching that idea could make for some added versatility.
As you evaluate cards, consider some obvious synergies, either with existing or new or even future cards. More often than not, these synergies can make for some fun and powerful strategies. Even when they don’t fully work out or aren’t particularly strong, you start to get a flair for which cards work well together.
Another place to practice this is Arena, where looking for synergies can mean the difference between a 12-win deck and a deck that goes 0-3.
Try, Try, and Try Again
Deckbuilding is one of the most fun ways to experience card games. The key is to experiment a lot, as well as refine the ideas you’ve come up with. But also remember to get your basics right. Do check the 2020 Guide to Hearthstone in case you missed out something!
Ranking up is fun but when you start putting more heart into formulating your own deck strategies and getting down into the nitty-gritty of what makes each card in a new set exhilarating, you discover a whole new dimension to Hearthstone!
And after you feel you’ve mastered this game (or at least as best as you can), why not try another similar game? Legends of Runeterra is the same, but different! Find out the differences between Hearthstone and Runeterra!
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