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How To Win Hearthstone Games Using Only Basic Cards

Updated on March 6, 2014

Hearthstone, Blizzard's newest competitive card game, has been bringing in some serious players. Although the game is free to play, users have to drop some serious cash to build up a larger library of cards. Some of these cards include extremely powerful cards which many Hearthstone players find hard to play against.

Luckily, the game gives everyone the same set of basic cards for free when they start the game and they are surprisingly versatile and powerful. Although it would take far too long to give a full run down of how to build a deck using basics for each and every one of the nine classes, this guide will give you a basic understanding of how to get the most out of your Hearthstone cards without paying a dime.


Fist Things First - Playing Efficiently

Before you can begin winning with a basic Hearthstone starter deck, you have to learn to think in terms of card efficiency. If you're going to be using basic cards, you might have to do a little extra leg work to make the most of them sometimes. Although the cards are largely balanced, it can be difficult for most basic cards to compete against legendary cards like Ragnaros or Ysera.

Always try and make the most out of each minion you have on the board. Efficiently killing off the enemy while managing to keep as many of your own minions alive is more important than playing the best card you have at the moment.

For instance, it is almost better to play a Raid Leader for the +1 damage bonus that will allow an existing minion to kill a stronger enemy minion right now than playing an expensive, high stat card and hoping to make a kill next turn.

Here are a few basic cards that are extremely efficient and will allow weak creatures to trade for strong creatures or survive a confrontation with a similarly priced card.

Card name
Special Effects
Raid Leader
+1 Damage to All Friendly Minions
Shatterd Sun Cleric
+1/+1 to friendly minion
Dark Scale Hero
Heals 2 Damage to alll Frinedly Creatures
Stormpike Commando
Deal 2 damage to minion of your choice
Stormwind Champion
+1/+1 to all friendly minions while he is on the board

As you can see from the above list, most of these improve your own minions stats when they come on the board, allowing them to make kills and survive attacks they otherwise could not. Cards that can heal or do direct damage are also useful at helping you maintain card efficiency, especially ones with decent stats.

Not all of these cards are efficient on their own, however. For instance, the Raid Leader, a 2/2 minion, is relatively weak for the cost of 3 mana. If he is not going to be able to help other units do extra damage to make a kill, he is largely wasted. Be sure to think about when playing a card will have a net benefit to your chances of removing your opponents creatures. With a little planning, you'll be able to wreck those dreaded pay-to-win menaces!


Making An Effective Hearthstone Basic Card Deck

Okay, hopefully you've got a good understanding of how you can use your cards well. But what cards in the basic deck should you be drafting? Let's take a look at what cards you'll NEED no matter what class you're playing.

Early Game Minions

If you're not able to play cards in the early game, you're going to be at an extreme disadvantage. When creating a basic deck, make sure you have at least four two mana cost minions in your deck. This is in addition to any spells you might have that cost two. Four of these cards should give you a good chance of getting them in your deck at the start. Most two mana minions also trade very well, so consider them the core of your early game.

For a basic deck, there's only two options: the Acidic Swamp Ooze and the Bloodfen Raptor Both of these minions are 3/2 and the Acidic Swamp Ooze has the added bonus of destroying enemy weapons when it is brought into play.

Truth be told, the Bloodfen Raptor isn't very good for anyone but hunters who have a synergy with beast type cards. But it is important to have as many 3/2, two mana creatures as possible and these are the only options in a basic deck.

Mid-Game Cards

The mid game opens up quite a bit for basic decks in Hearthstone. There are some invaluable minions you'll probably want to grab, but this is often where your class-specific basic cards begin to shine. Mages will be using polymorphs and fireballs, paladins will be playing consecrate, and druids will be using their powerful buff spells to turn a normal mid-game minion into a powerful late game powerhouse.

Don't overlook the neutral cards however! You'll need strong taunts and decent damage to keep up the momentum you've gained from a strong early game.

Almost never fail to draft the Sen'jin Shieldmasta, a 3/5 unit with taunt that costs 4 mana. An extremely efficient card, the Shieldmasta will protect your other minions and be able to deal out decent damage to boot.

Be sure to draft a good mix of minions and spells at this point in the game. Some classes will favor one over the other (mages will naturally lean more towards spells while warriors will have more minions), but don't neglect one for the other completely.

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Late game cards

Unfortunately, this is often the part of a basic card deck that Hearthstone players have the most problem with. In general, legendary cards will eat your basic 8/9 mana minions for breakfast. However, don't give up! Stormwind Champions and Boulderfist Ogres are extremely powerful cards for their cost and can help you push through other cards through brute force.

The best strategy for the late game, however, is to keep your options open. Most classes have some type of removal spell that will instantly negate an enemy legendary card. Mages have polymorph, rogues have Assasinate, priests have mind control, druids have powerful direct damage spells like Starfire that can help you trade. Unless a situation gets desperate, try and keep one in your pocket for when the big guns come out.

Jaina is an exceptionally strong hero when using basic cards
Jaina is an exceptionally strong hero when using basic cards | Source

What class is best at playing basic cards in Hearthstone?

What class you choose makes a significant difference when planning out your card composition. When depending on basic cards, there are two real stand out choices.


Jaina's basic cards have an incredible amount of powerful removal and control options which makes her one of the most viable decks out of the gate. There's probably a reason why mage is the first class unlocked in the game.

Spells like polymorph, fireball, frostbolt, and flamestrike are all incredible at efficiently killing enemy minions before they have the chance to do any damage to you. Typical control decks depend on stronger late game minions, but if you're able to keep a good tempo, a basic mage deck can lead to a turn eight concession from your opponent.


Priest decks have some of the most powerful and versatile combos in the game. Your hero power allows you to keep your minions at high health and makes it harder for the enemy to trade with you. Spells like Inner Fire and Divine Spirit can turn basic cards like the Gurubashi Berserker into unstoppable powerhouse.

Even better, the priest has one of the most rage inducing basic cards in the game: Mind Control. One cast, you've destroyed an enemy minion and given yourself a brand new one ready to go on the next turn. A perfect counter for rare, epic, and legendary cards that gives you a taste of the power your opponent has been wielding.

Moving beyond basic

Just because you're not spending money on cards, doesn't mean you'll be stuck with the same basic deck forever! Completing quests will give you gold which can be exchanged for card packs and arena runs which will give you new cards to play with. As you accumulate new cards over time, try and integrate them into your existing decks.

As time goes on, you'll get enough Expert cards to try out specialized decks like Miracle Rogue and Control Paladin. However you want to play it though, remember the time you spent with your basic deck and never loosen up your Hearthstone fundamentals! Keep your gameplay tight and you'll be soaring in the ranks in no time.

© 2014 Len Cannon


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      3 years ago

      Nice article but I think it's a bit outdated since the expansion and nax adventure


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