The Arena system in Hearthstone is where a lot of the competitive action in the game takes place for many players.  It is a quasi-draft system that requires you to change up how you play the game to be successful.  What are the changes that you need to make in your thinking and why?  Let’s find out as you learn how to win more Arena games in Hearthstone.

Choose the Right Class

Not all classes are created equally for Arena situations.  Make sure you pick the best possible class of the three you are offered.  This means picking the Paladin, Priest, Mage, or Warrior (as of January 2014) as they are the strongest classes.

Any class can win, but it can be an uphill battle.  For more details check out our guide about the Best Hearthstone Arena Classes.

You Are Allowed More Than 2 of a Card

A major rules change in the Arena system when compared to the normal Hearthstone game is that you can have more than 2 of any given card in your deck.  While unlikely, it is possible to get 3, 4, or more of a card in your draft sequence and therefore so could you opponent.  Do not take for granted that once you see 2 of a card you will not see it again in a game.  Also, if you see more than 2 copies of a great card come through your draft sequence, go ahead and take it!

Many new players don’t grab it, thinking they will not be allowed to use it since it breaks the normal rules of 2 max of a card.

Don’t Focus on Spells

While there are many spells out there that you will want to get if possible, such as Consecration, Holy Nova, or Swipe, in general spells are not hugely effective in the Arena system.  This is because they are a one use card.  Unless you can grab those spells that deal with more than one of the opponents minions or cards, then it is generally not a good idea.

This obviously means you should focus on minions, so I don’t think we need to have a specific section stating that, do you?  Grab some minons.

Don’t Skip on Low Cost Minions

Since players will have fewer choices than they normally do when building a deck, it also menas that they will not have the best possible options or the fastest options.  Therefore you should ensure that you take at least a handful of low cost minions, even if they are not the best in the game.  This allows you to get minions on the board early in the game, potentially before they do.

Try to grab at least two 1 mana cost minions and at least four 2 mana cost minions.  Past that you are pretty much free to do as you wish, but I would focus on at least two to four 3 and 4 mana cost minions as well.

Ignore Combos

While drafting your deck, you can never be sure of what cards you will end up with.  Therefore do no draft cards that require other cards to work to their utmost.  A good example of this are the minions that provide boosts when spells or secrets are cast.  In a normal deck when you can ensure you will have several spells of secrets they can be good cards, however you can’t in the Arenas. 

The one exception to this is when a card that is a great combo card appears late in the draft and you already have all the other cards you need for the combo simply because they were good cards to get.

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Trade Value is Critical

Each minion has different strengths and weaknesses.  However, in the Arenas, the most important thing is their trade value.  This trade value is how they equate to other minions of the same cost. 

A great example of this is the 4 mana cost Icewind Yeti that has 4 attack and 5 health.  Most other 4 mana cost minions max out at 4 attack and 4 health.  This means that the Yeti can attack and kill the average 4 mana cost minion and still be around to deal with another minion or require your opponent spend another card to deal with it.  This makes it an amazing card for its trade value.

For more information on some of the best cards for trade value you can check out our Best Arena Cards guide here: Top 10 Common / Rare Arena Cards.

Control the Board

The Arena game, more than the normal game, is all about board control.  Since players have a very limited choice of cards to make their decks from, no one can count on getting that perfect deck that works as a cohesive whole.  Therefore, each card and minion needs to be used individually to its utmost. 

A big part of getting the most from your minions is ensuring that you control the opponents minions by getting rid of them before they get rid of yours.  The board control allows you to deal with an opponents minion on your turn after they are summoned and before they get to attack with them.  This act first ability allows you the choice of what is killed.  It can only take place though when you have more minions and better board control than your opponent.

Get An Early Advantage

In a pre-made deck environment you may have reasons to hold out playing cards, waiting for the other cards in your deck that provide added benefit when playing the cards you have in your hand.  However in the Arena system, since you have such a low card pool, many games come down to who established the early lead by getting the board control talked about above early in the game.  Get those cards played quickly and establish control fast.

Go Have Fun

Even with a solid deck, you might get a bad draw of cards.  Your opponent may have had an even better draft.  Your opponent may get a perfect draw.  This always go right or wrong based on random chance.  Therefore, you should remember that, and ensure you are just playing for fun.  Play the game, enjoy, and learn.


Have you spent a lot of time the Hearthstone playing Arena matches?  We would love to hear from you.  Share your words of wisdom in the comment section below.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.