Hearthstone Arena Guide – How To Win

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” – Vince Lombardi

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Winning really is the only thing

 

There are many Hearthstone Arena Guides on how to win.  The difference between those and this one is that this one will get you results.  When it comes to online gaming winning really is the only thing, even in a casual game like Hearthstone.  Nobody likes to lose, especially when it costs you game currency to play the best mode available for the game (Arena).

I have played this game since early beta and have reached the pinnacle of Arena many times.  It is a little tougher to get the maximum number of wins now (12) than it was before (9), but the method to get there remains the same.  Enough of that though, let’s talk about how to win.

 

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Choose wisely

 

Choosing a Class

This is one of the most important steps to becoming a pro at Arena.  Know the meta, flavor of the month, whatever you want to call it, and choose accordingly.  Currently, the top tier classes are Paladin, Mage, Priest, and Warrior (in that order).  You can see a full Hearthstone Arena Best Class By Tier on the post I did here.  As you play Arena you will see the top tier classes over and over.  There is a reason for that.  They are the most powerful and win the most often.

Your Playstyle

Whenever possible you should be picking the highest ranking tier class that best fits the way you like to play the game.  Are you a more aggressive player?  Choose a Warrior or Warlock.  Do you like mid game?  Go with a Shaman or Druid.  Is late game board control more your style?  Mage and Priest are what you want.

 

Drafting Tips

Here are some quick tips that will improve your Arena play.  I will elaborate on them further later on.

  • Read up on the rankings for each Class and refer to it as you draft.  You can find a full list on the Hearthstone Tips page.
  • Record your draft and Arena gameplay.  Go back and watch it, find your mistakes and decide to never make those mistakes again.
  • If you begin noticing a large number of low cost cards as you draft then build for an aggro deck.
  • Is the draft offering you many high cost cards?  Build for a control deck and get big sweepers and stall cards.
  • Do not get too many 5/6/7+ mana cost drops.  Try to keep it under 1/4 of your deck or you will find yourself behind in the early game.
  • Make sure you get at least four 2 drop minions (see above).
  • Always draft at least 2/3 of your deck as minions.  If you draft too many spells you will never be able to grab board control.
  • Gaining early board control/tempo will win you most games in Arena.
  • Never try to build a “theme/synergy” deck in Arena unless you like losing (see Murloc deck).
  • Draft cards that will give your opponent the most trouble based on mana cost.  Get good at comparing your draft choice against every other card in its cost range.
  • Take your time while drafting and consider which card of the 3 has the best 2-for-1 trade value.
  • Understand that Arena is 75% luck and don’t take losses too seriously.

 

Summary

I will finish this up by elaborating on the tips above and explaining how I draft my Arena deck.

First off, don’t get upset about losing.  Like any competitive game, everyone struggles when they first begin.  Hearthstone Arena and No Limit Hold ‘Em Poker share a lot of similarities.  There is a great deal of luck involved and the only way to become a pro is to play a lot of games while analyzing your play and fixing your mistakes.

Choosing an Arena deck is actually an easy thing to do once you get the hang of it.  That’s why you see streamers like Trump and Krip flying through their drafts.  It almost becomes second nature due to all of the games they have played.  The most important thing you can do while drafting is to analytically consider each of the 3 cards and decide which one best suits your Class and playstyle along with the difficulty your opponent will have in dealing with the card.  Good players do this more quickly because of all of their game experience.  Pay your dues and you will get better at it.

 

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Mana Curve is Overrated

 

Mana Curve

I wanted to make a special note of this since some people think it is an important part of the game.  The truth is that it isn’t important at all.  The only time I look at it when drafting is to see if I am missing any specific mana costs.  For example, if it’s late in the draft and I have no 6 cost minions then I will look to get one.

Also, as I said in the tips above, you never want to draft too many high cost minions (5+ mana cost).  The reason for this is that your early game will suffer greatly and you will likely be so far behind by the time you are able to play your high cost minions that you will lose by turn 7.

Tempo and Board Control

This is one of the most important aspects of the game in all play modes.  Gaining early advantage against your opponent alone will usually win you the game.  It will force them to do things they would not usually do (e.g. trade 2 of their cards for your 1 card).  Cheap board clears like Swipe and Flamestrike are great to have, but make sure you don’t get too far behind before you are able to use them.  This is why I recommend getting at least four 2-cost mana minions.  Early board control is more important than mid or late.

The player that causes their opponent to make a bad play has gained an advantage and has a much greater chance at winning.  It is just as true in Hearthstone as it is in Poker.

With that, I leave you with this quote from a Poker player….”Many bad players do not improve because they cannot bear self-knowledge.”

For those that don’t understand the quote, it means this:  Find your mistakes after each game and fix them.  If you are dedicated then you will become very good at this game.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this Hearthstone Arena Guide on How to Win.  If you have any comments or questions post them below.

 


16 Comments

  1. ElChacal February 26, 2014 8:06 am  Reply

    Great job, pal ! Thanks a lot for all the work you put in. So helpful for beginners like me !

    • freethnkr February 26, 2014 12:16 pm  Reply

      You’re welcome.

  2. Tom January 5, 2014 6:46 am  Reply

    Thank you Freethnkr !
    Every time before i play the Arena, your site is a must stop. Great work man! Keep it up ;-)

    • freethnkr January 5, 2014 9:29 am  Reply

      That means a lot Tom. Thank you.

      I’m working on upgrading all of the rankings pages with images of each card on mouseover of text, so keep an eye out for that.

      • Tom January 6, 2014 8:06 am  Reply

        AMAZING ! With the value of info here and the extra ease of use from mouseovers… wow!
        Can I also suggest (sorry since I don’t know your plans, I might be needlessly saying what you’ve thought already) that you add an extra arena section with best vids/streams on the subject, as I’m sure you know of plenty great ones by now ?
        Again, Kudos and Thanks.

        • freethnkr January 6, 2014 7:29 pm  Reply

          I’m glad to hear you like the update. As far as good streamers, just about everyone watches Trump and Kripp. The only thing I don’t like about them is that they don’t explain their moves much anymore so it isn’t as helpful for all of the new players.

          Other than them, I like to watch Ellohime because he still explains most of his moves and he makes interesting plays that you wouldn’t normally see. Reynad27 is an interesting streamer to watch as well.

          Here are the links to their Twitch:

          http://www.twitch.tv/reynad27
          http://www.twitch.tv/ellohime

          • freethnkr January 29, 2014 10:20 pm 

            Another good streamer I came across recently is Veev.

            Check him out here:

            http://www.twitch.tv/veev

  3. Dott December 27, 2013 12:25 pm  Reply

    “Understand that Arena is 75% luck and don’t take losses too seriously”

    Despite what you say, I’ve seen people who almost always get at least 7 wins in Arena, hence, not losing gold. This is no fun man…

    Even without important cards, these players can still play well. It seems to me that they actually anticipate bad situation and cover for it in the draft.

    freethnkr , do you almost always get at least 7 wins?

    • freethnkr December 27, 2013 2:07 pm  Reply

      No, I don’t almost always get 7 wins. Before this patch I did though. I would average somewhere around 6 to 7 when the max wins you could get was 9. I haven’t played as much lately due to work, and I have been in a slump on my arena drafts. Everyone goes through a string of bad luck when it comes to drafting. That’s what that quote about the 75% luck was getting at. You will either get lucky and get the kind of draft you want or you will get one that takes a great deal of skill to get even average results from.

      Don’t let these streamers who claim 80% win rate fool you. I’ve seen every one of them get a 1-3 result from time to time. It happens to everyone. The more knowledgeable players will be able to do more with bad cards than an average player will, but that doesn’t mean that the average player will always be average. All it takes is more time invested to learn more about situational play. Watch the best streamers, read guides, etc. The players willing to put forth more effort will get more reward in the end.

      You are right about those good players anticipating bad situations. They know every class card by heart and on what turn to expect big board clears like Blizzard or Swipe. It allows them to play around those spells and make sure that the opposing player gets as bad a trade as possible out of it. It just takes practice. Don’t let it get you down. You will get better if you work at it.

      I will try to put together a more in-depth guide soon that covers some of that.

  4. JJC1213 December 23, 2013 10:11 pm  Reply

    I’ve read just about every guide you have out there. I agree with your poker analogy. I am trying to soak up as much information as I can BEFORE (in particular) during and after arena games.

  5. SimplyUnlucky December 22, 2013 5:39 pm  Reply

    Wow! You’re Awesome bro, thank you so much for all the work you put into helping other players out. Amazing guides and I love the references to poker.

    • freethnkr December 22, 2013 7:01 pm  Reply

      It’s always good to hear that the guides are helping people. Thanks!

  6. Chiara December 13, 2013 7:26 pm  Reply

    Thank you so much! Your guides are awesome and actually helpful. These are by far the best tips I found for Hearthstone arena.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • freethnkr December 13, 2013 7:39 pm  Reply

      Thank you for the kind words. I am glad they are helpful to you.

  7. Tadios November 22, 2013 6:13 pm  Reply

    Very useful tips! Thanks! :D

    • freethnkr November 23, 2013 1:37 am  Reply

      You’re welcome

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