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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hearthstone Tips: Top Mistakes I See Made Way Too Often

Playing Hearthstone Tips Series:
Top Mistakes I See Made Way Too Often

How To Play Hearthstone Tips
Thanks John!

Preventing Mistakes Is Crucial To Winning In Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a very competitive online collectible card game.  How you understand and play the game will have a direct result on the outcomes of your matches with your Hearthstone opponents.  A simple mistake can be the difference between you earning a win or a loss, completing your daily, earning better awards in your Arena run, or being more efficient at grinding for gold in Hearthstone.  All too often I see a common set of mistakes being made way too often.  I'm not just talking about mistakes made by brand new players either.  I've been paired up against a lot of the same players over and over and I can attest that not everyone learns from experience either because I continue to see the same poor mistakes made by some of the more "experienced" players as well.

I've designed this post as the first in a series of Tips For Playing Hearthstone Properly!  These posts will be designed to Help You Learn & Think More Competitively.  Being a good Hearthstone player takes practice, as not everyone will be a 3-Star Master in Constructed or a Arena Grandmaster 9 wins player overnight.  The best way to improve your game play is to practice.  By playing more matches against real opponents, you will exposed to more play styles, strategies, and combos.  During your matches you should be focused on the match so that you can learn something, instead of being absent minded and semi-AFK multi-tasking while you play Hearthstone.  And remember what an old Magic the Gathering mentor told me, when I was constantly beating all of my hometown friends:

"You won't improve your own game, unless you are playing against players that are better than you."
So get into the Arena Mode and practice, get into Play Mode and practice, and go into Ranked Play Mode for even more practice.  If you are paying attention and focusing on the matches, you will learn. Just make sure you are present and focusing on every move in the match.  Sure, playing fun / themed decks against your friends may be a lot of fun, but you need to be playing competitive matches against competitive players in order to improve and learn more about the game and improve your Hearthstone playing skills.

Common Mistakes Made In Hearthstone:

I will go over some of the more common mistakes that I see made constantly in hopes of helping you to not only correct these mistakes, but also to help you start to think differently about how you are playing Hearthstone.  I understand that these mistakes may not be so obvious to brand new Hearthstone players, especially ones that have never previously played any other collectible card games.  Just remember that even the seasoned professionals, were all beginners at some point.  You can get there too with some of my help.  These tips for correcting your mistakes will be relevant for both Constructed Play Mode and Arena Mode Hearthstone decks.

So let's look at some of the the Top Mistakes I See Hearthstone Players Make:

  • Poor 1st Turn Play Choices
  • Not Knowing When To Coin
  • Adding Poor Card Choices To Their Deck
  • Casting Minions With Battlecry Effects & No Targets
  • Improper Use Of Weapons
  • Not Knowing When To Attack Minions Vs Opponent
  • Buffing At the End of Your Turn
  • Casting Direct Damage Spells Too Early

Let's debunk a few new player myths too, before we discuss the above mistakes:

  • You Do Not Have To Play Something Every Turn
  • You Do Not Have To Spend All Or Most Of Your Mana Crystals Every Turn
Both of these common misunderstandings lead to making poor choices or force new players to waste good cards early or play them sooner than is ideal.  If you continue to think and play as if you must spend as much mana possible every turn, you will find it hard to be a good competitive player and your win / loss ratio will reflect it.  Sometimes the best move in a turn is to simply do nothing at all or just use your Hero Power for the turn and pass.  You simply must stop thinking that you have to play a card every turn.  Right now.  STOP IT!

Ok.  Now you can progress onward to being a better Hearthstone player.

In this post, I will focus on Poor First Turn Hearthstone Play Choices and will continue covering the other common Hearthstone mistakes in later posts here at Cold's Gold Factory.  This will allow me to give more examples and better strategy discussion to help you understand how to play Hearthstone more competitvely.  So be sure to check back for more articles in this series.

Poor First Turn Choices

What you do on turn one will hardly ever win you the game, but it sure can play a strong role in you losing the game.  On turn one, I commonly see horrible card play choices that often tell me that I'm going to win this game because this player doesn't understand how to play Hearthstone.

Common Poor First Turn Plays:

  1. Cast Elven Archer / Shoot Me For 1 Damage. - No, No, No!  Just because the Elven Archer only costs 1 mana, doesn't mean you should waste it by playing it on turn 1.  You should only ever use the Archer's battlecry effect on your opponent, if you have enough damage to kill them off within a turn or two.  The 1 damage is MUCH better used to kill off an opponent's minion.  You can kill a 1 health minion or use the 1 damage as an extra point of damage to kill a minion that already took damage.  The Elven Archer can be used in combination with another creature attacking or used in tandem with a spell that needs just 1 more extra point to kill a minion.  Never waste your Elven Archer on turn one on your opponent.  I see these wasted all too often on turn 1, as I drop a 2/1 or 3/1 creature on turn 1 or 2 and proceed to hit the opponent multiple times with a minion they could have easily killed had they played smarter.  So instead of wasting it on an opponent, use that 1 point of damage to remove a threat from the board.
  2. Mage Cast Arcane Missiles (with no minions out).  I Take 3 Damage - Wasted!  Arcane Missiles is best used as a minion removal spell.  Again, removing threats from the board will save you taking damage over multiple turns and is much more beneficial than a few cheap potshots against the opponent.  Arcane Missiles can kill multiple creatures, especially if the opponent has a bunch of cheap 1 health minions out.  Too often I see Arcane Missiles wasted on turn 1, then next turn I drop a Murloc Tidehunter, which is a 2/1 Murloc that also summons a 1/1 Murloc along with it.  Shoulda saved that Arcane Missiles to kill off both Murlocs and do damage to me.  Another reason not to waste Arcane Missiles early on is because it can also be buffed by minions that add to your Spell Damage.  Each extra point of Spell Damage adds another 1 damage Arcane Missile.  Cast it too early and you get no bonus from Spell Damage.  I've even had a guy cast Arcane Missiles, then Coin, then a 2nd arcane Missiles all on Turn 1.  So you Coined to waste both Missiles on me for 6 damage and you only have 2 cards left?  Lol. Let me drop all these minions now.  This same issue can also be seen wasted with first turn cast Arcane Shot, Holy Smite, Rockbiter Weapon, Claw, and other damage spells that are better used to eliminate minions as threats instead of hitting the opponent too early in the match.
  3. Mage Cast Mirror Image - This always brings a laugh out of me.  Mirror Image is a pretty crappy spell that shouldn't even be in your deck the majority of the time.  At worst it is a stall tactic and buys you a turn or two.  At best it is used later on to protect some key minions from attacks for a turn or two, but I never see it played as minion protection.  Instead of playing a card to stall your opponent, you are better off adding a removal spell to your deck to deal with what you are having to stall against in the first place.  Playing Mirror Image on turn 1 is a complete waste.  You don't have any creatures out to protect, the Mirror Images die easy to almost all AoE spells, and me ramming them with minions to kill them is only slowly your demise, while you hide behind your shoddy Mirror Images.  The Mirror Images also give a false sense of protection because you have 2 taunters out, but they die so easily, I often destroy them both with AoE along with whatever was cast later and they don't even stop a creature at all.
  4. First Turn Coin / Use Hero Power - There is no Hero power worth wasting your Coin on.  Don't do it.  Save your coin for turns that you can get something out early that is worth getting out early.  Or save the Coin for pulling off a 2 drop combo that you were 1 Mana short of casting.  No Hero power is going to win you the game by wasting a coin just so you can Hero Power on turn 1.
  5. Cast Minion With Battlecry Effect With No Valid Targets - You just wasted your minions Battlecry effect!  You want to get the best use of minions with battlecry effects.  If it has a helpful effect, don't cast it until you can positively effect another minion of yours.  If it has a negative effect, don't cast it until you can negatively effect an enemy minion.  The battlecry effects are built into the casting costs of the minions, so casting a minion and wasting it's battlecry effect is almost always a bad play choice.  Some examples of minions that you will see wasted on turn one include:
      1. Abusive Sergeant - He's much better used giving a temporary buff to a weak minion that you can use to suicide-ram a much bigger minion.
      2. Hungry Crab - Wait at least a few turns to see if some Murlocs get played by the opponent.
      3. Bloodsail Corsair - It's ok to cast against weaponless decks, but hold it versus Class Decks that commonly use weapons.
      4. Elven Archer - This is the most common 1st turn mistake.
      5. Voodoo Doctor - This is the 2nd most common one I see cast and wasted on turn 1.

If you are making any of these mistakes, then focus on being patient and making smarter play choices so that you can improve your Hearthstone skills and your win percentage.  Make sure to check back to read more articles in this series for improving your Hearthstone play.

Happy Hearthstoning!

Great Article for New & Regular Players: How To Earn More XP Per Hearthstone Match

Recommended Guides: 
Hearthstone Secrets | Hearthstone Ownage | HS Arena Drafting


  1. Hey there, quite an interesting read, thanks! Been avoiding pretty much all of the mistakes you mentioned, but I was never really aware of it, so I guess it still helps me in avoiding other mistakes in the future... I guess ;)

    Been wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more on:

    'Improper Use Of Weapons', and
    'Not Knowing When To Attack Minions Vs Opponent',

    cause generally, I know it's a good idea to get rid of enemy minions vs just dealing a little bit of damage to the enemy hero, but especially in situations where I trade, let's say, 2 for 2 or 3 for 3 minions, I'm never all that sure if it was the right choice, or if going for the hero would've been better.

    1. Generally, trading minions is in the interests of one of the players, and to the detriment of the other. Suppose I have a 5/5 out, and you just played a 9/5 fel hound, obviously, if we trade, I will be ahead because I only wasted a 5/5 and you lost a 9/5. On the other hand, if you are at 14 life and I am at 26, I can drop you to 9 life by attacking you, and you will probably have to trade anyway on your turn, because otherwise I'll drop you to 4 life the turn after that and you'll lose to almost any charge/hero power/direct damage spell. The question you should be asking yourself is "should I be more scared of the minions he has on the board, or should he be more scared of the minions I have?". Of course, considering this you should also think about your plan for the next couple of turns (for example, if you plan on playing Rag next turn, you'll want a mostly clear board, so he won't be hitting a stupid 2/1 voodoo).

  2. Is heartstone really that good?

  3. I whole heartedly disagree with your mirror image argument about it being useless. What you are doing is assuming the fact that you are stalling when in reality you are trading 2 attacks most positively way more effective against other minions on board for 1 mana. Especially later in the game having to attack even the crappiest of taunt minions can keep alive a stronger minion who's health has been whittled down and will be a great trade off for your opponent by crashing a weak monster with my high attack yet weakened minion. There have been many instances when I have won games due to having a minion that has somewhere around 9 attack but got hit with high damage spells that will win the game but can be taken out by a minion with 2 attack. Mid to late game combined with a cult master on board provides an insane advantage as well. When you both are down to less than 2 cards in hand the ability to waste 2 attacks from opponent because late game health becomes more of a concern, and then to draw 2 cards brings your options from 1-2 cards late game typically top decking to having that many more options and also maximizing use of full 10 mana. Great late game 2 card combo. Late game is when you truly see how tactical someone is in hearthstone because instead of deciding what to play but having multiple options like beginning to mid game you must make every little card count which goes into deck building as well. It's not all about field advantage like the beginning because now if you commit too much you may over commit and end up losing your whole field to a couple card combo. I argue late game hand advantage is just as much if not more important than field presence and one must ballence between playing optimally yet not over commiting. Every card has uses its just how you decide to play it. The best players understand value in even the worst of cards.


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