Updated Fri, Sep 06, 2013 by Mem
With the Hearthstone beta out for a few weeks now, it has become pretty clear that building a deck in this game is essential. Sure you can roll for a little while with a standard deck put into place by the game for you, but only for the tutorial and the easy version of the AI opponents. If you decide to face off against the harder version of the AI or real players, you will find yourself sorely pressed to achieve a victory without getting your hands dirty and creating your own deck.
Building your deck in Hearthstone is, thankfully, fairly simple. You bring up the game, hit the “My Collection” button and then select “New Deck” on the right side of the screen. From here you select the hero you wish to work with which restricts you to using only cards that belong to that class, as well as neutral cards useable by all classes. While it may be tempting you can't just walk in at this point and throw a slew of cards together and expect to win matches, it simply doesn't work like that.
Creating a deck should happen with knowledgeable and solid choices based on your play style and with the following information in mind: almost every card in Hearthstone can be divided into one of three categories. These categories are minion, utility, and clearing. Almost every well rounded deck in the game will be comprised of a good combination of all three types of these cards.
Minion cards are without a doubt essential to every single deck you create. A deck without minions is almost like a gun with any ammunition. You will find that you have access to a variety of minions, including ones themed specifically for your class, like the Warlock's Voidwalker, and others that are neutral and available to all classes.
Minions are important to your deck not only because they do damage to your opponent and his or her minions, but they also typically give you access to various other useful abilities. Check out some of the more common ones below:
Some minion classes also can play off of each other. One of the most notable examples comes in the form of Murloc minions. Certain Murlocs have passive abilities that can buff other Murlocs when they are played together, making it very beneficial to have more than one. This of course is just but a small sampling of the abilities and benefits that minions can bring to the table. However, it should be pretty clear that minions are useful to have and these cards will typically take up the most slots in your deck.
While minions can certainly take care of other minions, you will often times find yourself a bit overwhelmed by them and that is where this category of cards come in. Clearing cards do exactly what the name implies; helps to clear any and all threats on the board. Basically these cards do damage when played, without the use of a minion or your hero.
Just about every class in Hearthstone comes equipped with its own personal clearing cards. Hunters can use the potent Kill Command, which deals 3 damage (or 5 if you have a Beast minion played) to a single target, while Mages use Vaporize which only activates when a minion attacks your hero. Once the minion has attacked, the minion in question is utterly destroyed.
There are also clearing cards out there that will target more than just a single minion. Cards like the Paladin's Consecration, which deals 2 damage to all enemies, will put a hurting on any and all minions In addition to these, there are also cards out there that won't kill enemies, but will incapacitate them instead. An example of this type of card can be seen in the Priest's Mind Control, which allows you to take total control of an enemy minion. Certain clearing cards can even damage enemy heroes as well as enemy minions.
Clearing cards should take up a much smaller portion of your deck than minion cards. The standard tends to be somewhere between 4-8. Remember, having a nice balance of clearing cards that do single damage, incapacitate, and do mass damage is a good plan to achieve a well balanced deck.
While utility based cards aren't usually as exciting as the other two types of cards in the game, they are just as essential. These cards provide you with useful advantages that you can use over the course of a match. Typically these cards either help to pump up your deck or are used to give your enemy a headache.
A great example of these types of cards are secret cards. Secrets are cards that will only activate when a certain condition is met and your opponent will have no idea what the condition (or the consequence) will be until they fulfill it. A Paladin can, for example, use Redemption which will return a minion to life with one life after it has been killed. A rather annoying surprise for your enemy.
Other examples of utility based spells
include the Mage's Arcane Intellect, which allows the player to draw
two cards. As well as and the Druid's Wild Growth, which gains the
player an empty Mana Crystal and allows you to play stronger cards
sooner. The average amount of utility cards found in any deck is
around 2-8 depending on your personal play style. Pick cards here
that play to your strengths and compliment the minion and clearing
cards you have chosen.
As you go about creating your deck it is essential that you find a good balance of the three types of cards mentioned above. You must also find a happy balance of cheap and expensive cards in your deck. Also be sure to pick cards that seem fit your personal play style and abilities. Your very first deck may not be successful, mine wasn't. Don't get discouraged. Jump back in there and try new cards until you find a selection that works for you. Eventually things will click and you will become an unstoppable card playing force.
Do you have any tips or tricks to creating a deck in Hearthstone? Share them with us in the comment section below!