Within the Hearthstone community, you’ll find frequent discussions about the high cost of entry for the game. There’s no denying that amassing card collection capable of building even a handful of top-tier decks requires a great deal of either time or money. However, an informed approach to quest management, pack openings, and card crafting can take you far in Hearthstone without spending a cent.
Here at Hearthstone Top Decks, we wanted to find out exactly how much progress an experienced player can make on a fresh, free-to-play account. The end goal is to provide quality content, specifically tailored to the new player experience in Hearthstone.
Who am I?
None of your… Well, actually, I’m Roffle and I’m an author at Hearthstone Top Decks. From time to time, I write guides about specific decks, as well as articles on more general topics. I’ve been playing the game since closed beta and have accumulated a robust collection while spending very little real money. In past seasons, I regularly make the grind to Legend, including brief stints at Rank 1 Legend in the Wild format.
For the month of October 2017 (Season 43), however, I’ll be starting with a blank slate and recording my journey up the Standard ladder.
Each week, you can expect to see a summary of my experiences, rank progress, detailed statistics, goals for the upcoming week, and any ridiculous moment I encounter along the way. These progress reports will make it possible for readers to follow along as I (hopefully) make my way up the ladder.
New Player Guides
Starting a new account in any game can be intimidating for inexperienced Hearthstone players. Along with regular check-ins, new content will be created for Hearthstone Top Decks related to optimizing certain aspects of Hearthstone collections management, resource accumulation, and pack openings. The guides will use my experience in the F2P Challenge as the foundation for providing new and casual players alike tips for climbing ranks without breaking the bank.
My goal for the first month is to reach at least Rank 5 on the new account. In terms of end of season rewards, there is little difference (about 45 Arcane Dust) between Rank 5 and Legend. Generally, new players should focus energy on achieving this rank threshold and push for Legend ranks when they have a more replete collection (and plenty of time).
Obviously, as a veteran player, I have a massive advantage over the average new player. As such, I’m more than happy to face the ridicule if I come up short of my goal. That said, the purpose of this challenge is not to showcase my Hearthstone prowess. Rather, it’s meant to provide new players with more relatable how-to guides from an experienced player facing several of the same challenges.
Before going any further, let’s set some rules for this endeavor.
- First and foremost, no money, gift cards, or game keys can be used to purchase packs or arena runs. Cards can only be accumulated through in-game rewards.
- Only Legendary Cards on the Safe to Disenchant list can be dusted. Moreover, any card that is played in any of the Top Standard Ladder Decks cannot be disenchanted. Asking a new player to part with powerful cards that could be used in the future is unreasonable, so I’ll avoid doing so myself.
- Arena, which is typically leveraged by free-to-play accounts, is limited to the one free run granted from leveling up. As an above-average player, I could easily grind out Arena runs to earn additional packs this month. However, the learning curve for the format makes it intimidating for new players. Instead, I’ll rely solely on quest rewards to earn packs on my new account.
- Additionally, time played will be monitored to ensure that a fairly realistic game-life balance is considered. Like many, I have a life outside of Hearthstone (including a full-time job) so this won’t be terribly difficult to replicate.
Week One Game Plan
Before diving into ranked play, I’ll need to have a plan of attack for completing introductory quests and piecing together a deck.
To start things off, I’ll need to work my way through the Hearthstone tutorial and Introductory quests.
For those unfamiliar, a table containing these entry quests is provided below:
|Win 5 Practice Games||Win 5 games in Practice mode.|
|First Blood||Complete a game in Play mode.|
|The Duelist||Play 3 games in Play mode.|
|Ready to Go!||Unlock every Hero.|
|Enter the Arena||Enter Arena Mode.||1 Arena Run|
|Crafting Time||Disenchant a card.|
|Level Up||Get any class to level 10.|
|Crushed Them All!||Defeat every Expert AI Hero.|
|Got the Basics!||Collect every card in the Basic Set.|
Completing these quests will provide my new account with a bankroll of 400 gold, 95 Arcane Dust, and 3 Classic Packs to get my collection started. From there, Unlocking Tavern Brawl will be a top priority since that will give me access to another free pack each week. Shortly thereafter, I’ll turn in my arena ticket and see if I can add to some of my week one resources.
Early on, I’ll focus my crafting efforts on a single deck. As some might expect, I plan to lean on the budget-player favorite Rexxar and start assembling this Hybrid Hunter list. Coming in at a mere 2,000 Arcane Dust, this deck is a great option for a new player.
Since Adventure content is fairly expensive, however, I will have to find an early replacement for Kindly Grandmother. A combination of 1x Dire Wolf Alpha and 1x Fire Fly should fill the gap until I’m able to unlock the second wing of One Night in Karazhan. Tundra Rhino should also provide a reasonable temporary replacement for the lone Epic card in the deck, Bittertide Hydra.
In the future, if I’m able to gather enough gold for the full Karazhan Adventure content, Secret Mage would be another great choice as a budget-friendly deck. Despite the deck’s low crafting cost, Medivh's Valet is unfortunately deep in the wings and is a critical component to the archetype’s success. Unlocking this single card would give me access to a second top-tier deck.
Once I have a formidable deck assembled, I plan to jump immediately into Ranked Play. I know this isn’t typically desired for new accounts but, given my experience, I should be able to climb to Rank 15 within the first week of the new account’s lifespan. Doing so will put me in a good place to reach Rank 5 before the end of the month.
If you’re interested in tracking my progress throughout the challenge, you can follow me on Twitter to see regular updates of my challenge status. Additionally, you can catch me play some games on the new account on Twitch. My tentative schedule for this F2P challenge is Tuesdays and Thursday at 6:00 PM Pacific Time. Hope to see you there!
Better yet, if you think you’re up for the challenge you’re welcome to join me in creating a new free-to-play account. You can even race me to Rank 5! Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments section of each of the upcoming articles (whether or not you’re taking part in the challenge this month). Or, you can tweet your progress (and tag @HSTopDecks) with the #f2pbtw hashtag.