The Arena is a game mode Hearthstone provides five primary game modes in which to do battle: Play mode Adventure mode Arena Friendly Challenge Tavern Brawl Game mode affects several secondary play factors, including matchmaking, rewards, and deck selection. Be that as it may, the where players compete against each other using specially constructed decks to earn substantial rewards. It featuresSpecial attraction strong elements of luck and chance, with players essentially gambling upon their own success to try to earn rewards by winning as many games as possible before their deck is knocked out. Each admission to the Arena costs either 150 in-game gold The gold counter, found in the bottom right corner of most menu screens Gold is a type of in-game currency that can be exchanged for card packs, or entry into either Arena or Heroic Tavern or real money equivalent to $1.99 USD, ⃢₂ⅹ1.99 EUR, ⅁1.99 GBP or R$4.50 BRL.
Upon entering the Arena, the player will be allowed to select one of three randomly selected classes. They can then choose from a series of randomly selected cards to build a new, unique deck. Unlike other play modes these cards are not limited by the player`s current collection, and there is no limit on the number of each card that can be included in a deck (including legendaries Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There ). Players then use their decks to do battle until they have suffered 3 losses, or claimed 12 victories, at which point they will be granted a number of rewards depending on their success. Winning at least seven games before being eliminated guarantees that the player will earn their entry fee back in gold. Players do not have to play all of their Arena games in one go, and can return to continue their run whenever they wish.
With its random selection of heroes, the Arena is locked for players until they have unlocked every class.
The strategy in Arena is considerably different to constructed play. The emphasis in "draft" mode is on knowing the powerful basic cards and which classes have the best class-specific cards. Constructed, on the other hand, is much more reliant on the player`s card pool and synergies between the cards they choose to play. Players may wish to make sure they have a good grounding in the game and the capabilities of each class before entering the Arena, as the admission charge can make Arena play costly for unsuccessful players.
There are two key differences between Arena and constructed play. Firstly, the deck is not limited to 2 of each card. This can allow players to build outlandish and otherwise impossible decks, such as a mage with 7 x Frost Nova, a priest with 5 x Northshire Cleric, or a warlock with 2 x Malygos. In regular play players can use this limit to anticipate their opponent`s possible cards; for instance, it can generally be trusted in regular play that a priest who has already played 2 x Mind Control has no more Mind Control cards in their deck. Arena offers no such certainty; a player may lack many key basic cards, or may feature several of the same card. This affects Arena play because players are far less able to anticipate the deck construction and play of their opponent.
Secondly, players must select their cards in a fairly random process. This typically results in relatively random and unpredictable decks, and has two consequences: firstly, players cannot necessarily use their opponent`s known cards to deduce the style of the rest of their deck, as is possible in constructed play; and secondly, there is a strong advantage when constructing a deck to attempt to build a strategy that is versatile, easily formed from multiple possible cards, and can function well in spite of key cards being missing from the deck. Class-specific cards are also generally selected less commonly in Arena card sets than in constructed play, making strong synergy decks less likely to find success in Arena.
After selecting a payment method (150 in-game gold The gold counter, found in the bottom right corner of most menu screens Gold is a type of in-game currency that can be exchanged for card packs, or entry into either Arena or Heroic Tavern or real life currency equivalent to $1.99 USD, ⃢₂ⅹ1.79 EUR, ⅁1.49 GBP, R$4.50 BRL, 99 RUB), the player will be presented with three random hero classes to choose from. Once a hero has been selected, they will then be shown thirty different sets of cards, each set featuring three different cards. The player must select one card from each set to be included in their new Arena deck; the two cards not chosen from a set are effectively discarded. Once a card has been chosen, the player cannot undo their selection.
Unlike in constructed Constructed is a term used to refer to decks which have been created using cards from the player s collection. Constructed play is play in either Play mode, Practice mode or Friendly Challenge. Some Tavern Brawls play, where each deck can featureSpecial attraction a maximum of 2 of each card (and 1 of each legendary Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There ), there is no limit in Arena decks to the number of each card that may be featured. Some cards, especially those of lower rarity Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There , may appear several times in different selection sets. All cards featured in a selection set will be of the same rarity. For instance, sets may offer three common Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There cards, or three legendary cards. It should also be noted that only neutral cards and cards for the selected class will be offered. As the player picks cards, the current decklist is shown on the right of the screen, and the deck`s mana curve Example of a deck s mana curve display from the Arena screen The term mana curve refers to two related concepts: The amount of mana available to players over the course of a game, starting at is displayed at the bottom of the screen, serving to give a quick indication of how the deck is balanced. Once the deck is complete, clicking the "Play" button will queue the player up for a battle From the cut and thrust of glorious battle to the cunning construction of an indomitable deck, this page offers a rough guide to Hearthstone s gameplay. Use this as a helpful guide to getting started in against another Arena player.
Deck construction in Arena differs from that in other types of play; while the player is still able to construct a deck before doing battle, in Arena the final deck is as much the result of luck as it is careful strategy. Players have no way of knowing which cards will be offered next, making each choice difficult to make. Additionally, the fact that each card may appear several times through the selection process alters the normal rules of the game and makes weighing each card`s value against that of another a slightly different process. Players with a specific strategy in mind can only hope that cards fitting to that strategy will be selected for them; or else must bend their strategy to fit the cards on offer. Because they feature randomly selected cards, Arena decks also largely transcend any involvement of real money expenditure in their construction, placing players on a relatively even playing field.
NB: Following Patch 188.8.131.5220 on Feb. 28, the rules for Arena card drafting have changed substantially. The below section outlines the new rules.
The drafting process consists of thirty `picks`, where the player is presented with three possible cards to choose from. All cards in a given pick will be of the same rarity, but may be class cards or neutral, and of any card type. Multi-class cards may be included if they match the player`s class.
Arena uses Standard format Standard format, or Standard, is one of Hearthstone s two game formats, the other being Wild format. Standard format is intended to feature a fresher and more focused Hearthstone experience, with a limited pool of cards , including only cards from expansions Expansions are major card set additions to the game of Hearthstone. Expansions introduce large amounts of cards into the game, in contrast to adventures, 1] with expansions featuring around 130-145 new cards and adventures only and adventures Choosing an adventure Game formats Each Standard year, any adventures released prior to the previous calendar year are marked as Wild format. The adventures are removed from the Shop, and players will be unable to currently included in the format; for a list, see Standard format#Standard card sets.
A number of factors affect the likelihood of a given card being presented for selection:
- Only cards from Standard format Standard format, or Standard, is one of Hearthstone s two game formats, the other being Wild format. Standard format is intended to feature a fresher and more focused Hearthstone experience, with a limited pool of cards will be included in picks.
- 26 of the 30 picks choose a rarity according to the follow odds: 68% Common, 20% Rare, 9% Epic, 3% Legendary.
- The remaining 4 picks are `Rare` picks that have a chance to be upgraded to Epic or Legendary at a slightly higher rate.
- Any individual common card should show up about as often as any individual rare card.
- Spells have an increased chance to appear.
- Neutral Neutral is the term used to describe cards which are not limited to a specific class. Neutral collectible cards can be included in any deck, regardless of hero. Neutral cards use a plain, grey card cards from the Classic The card set interface Card sets are categories into which collectible cards are divided, reflecting how they can be obtained, and determining whether they are eligible for use in Standard format. Card set does not set have a reduced chance to appear.
- Class Class is the primary determinant of a hero s powers and abilities, and the strongest factor in deck selection. While each hero represents a unique character with their own personality, portrait and sounds, their class determines -specific cards are given "a huge boost" in likelihood of appearing, in order to balance the far larger number of neutral cards.
- Cards from the latest expansion or adventure are more likely to appear, at least for a while after the releaseAnnounce of the related content. For instance, during Jan. 2016 cards from The League of Explorers "We ve traversed the tombs of Naxxramas; we ve climbed every cliff on Blackrock. Now, the world cries out for heroes, as a new evil rises. There will be danger! There will be doom! There will be were given an additional 50% likelihood of appearing. The duration of this boost appears to end prior to the next content release, with One Night in Karazhan "Your host, the great magus Medivh, invites you back to party down - with me!" "Come inside... Meet your friends at the door. We ve got a feast like you ve never seen before. Shake your stuff seeing an increase from Aug. 11 to Oct. 20.
- Certain specific cards (see below) are also excluded or have reduced chances of appearing.
These factors aside, card selection is otherwise random Yogg-Saron, arguably the most random card ever released Random effects are effects which include some degree of randomness or RNG (random number generation). Random effects introduce an element of chance into Hearthstone. They can be , and is not affected by previous card selections, runs or synergies.
- Reduced chance
The following cards have a reduced likelihood of appearing in draft picks, on top of the other factors listed above.
The following cards are excluded from the Arena selection process and will not be offered as draft picks. Be that as it may, random effects are not affected by exclusions and can still give these minions.
Cards presented for selection may be golden or regular depending on the player`s collection:
- If the player owns the maximum usable number of golden copies of a card (1 for legendaries, 2 for all other rarities), all copies of that card appearing in drafts will be golden.
- If the player owns 1 copy of a non-legendary card, the first copy of that card appearing in drafts will be golden; the others will be regular.
- If the player owns no golden copies of a card, all copies of that card appearing in drafts will be regular.
Play in Arena consists of a series of matches between Arena players, with each player using their specially constructed deck.
During each Arena run the player can suffer up to three losses, with the number of losses so far displayed on the Arena screen. Once a player has lost 3 times, or won 12 times, their run will end, and rewards befitting their success (or lack thereof) will be offered. Once the run has ended, the player`s deck will be destroyed, and cannot be viewed or played with again.
Players can also choose to retire their deck at any time and claim their reward. Be that as it may, it should be noted that completing all of a deck`s Arena matches cannot reduce the reward on offer, only improve it. Retiring a deck should therefore be a last resort used only when unwilling to play with the deck any longer.
It should also be noted that if either player is disconnected from the server during a match and fails to return through the reconnection feature, that match is counted as a loss for the disconnector.
Matchmaking for each pairing is determined by the player`s win/loss record for the current run, attempting to find a player with as similar a record as possible. Other factors such as class, deck and past Arena performance do not affect matchmaking.
For players on their first few Arena runs, matchmaking is intentionally altered to provide an easier transition into the game mode. For matchmaking purposes, the player`s win/loss ratio is considered to have one more loss than it actually does, thus matching them against what should on average be easier opponents. The system will also prefer to match such players against each other.
The exact number of games required to be eligible for this adjustment is something that the developers are "still tweaking a little", but as of Apr. 2016 is "in the realm of 2 or 3 runs." Once the player has exceeded this number of runs, they are matched purely on their win/loss ratio, with their number of previous runs no longer affecting their matchmaking.
Once the player has won 12 games in total, lost 3 games, or retired their deck, they will be given a Key to open up the chest for their reward. Much like when opening a card pack, the player will be presented with a number of individual rewards, and must click on each in turn to discover their contents.
A range of rewards are possible, with both the number of individual rewards granted and their possible contents determined by the number of games the player has won. Rewards may consist of card packs, gold The gold counter, found in the bottom right corner of most menu screens Gold is a type of in-game currency that can be exchanged for card packs, or entry into either Arena or Heroic Tavern , Arcane Dust (used for crafting) and individual cards, including golden cards.
Each Key will grant the player a number of rewards, but the contents of each reward is determined randomly according to a range of possible values for that Key. Higher-level Keys grant a larger number of rewards, with more valuable contents. Higher-level Keys also have a range of possible values for the total number of rewards granted. The 12-win Key does not reward dust as a prize, instead providing other rewards.
Certain rewards are guaranteed for each Key. The remaining rewards are determined randomly from a number of possibilities. The type of each reward appears to be chosen individually from the range of possibilities, with the result that each possible reward may be granted multiple times by the same Key. For instance, a Key may reward several individual portions of arcane dust, several individual cards, or a mix of the possible reward types.
All Keys grant the player one guaranteed card pack. Keys at higher levels also offer a guaranteed gold reward, of a larger amount than other possible gold rewards for that Key.
- All gold and dust rewards have a range of possible values for each Key.
- Individual card rewards may be common Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There , rare, epic, legendary Rarity is a rough measure of the quality and scarcity of a card. Cards of higher rarity are typically more powerful and more useful, but are harder to find and more expensive to craft. There and/or golden, and are not limited by class. Individual card rewards may be from either the Classic The card set interface Card sets are categories into which collectible cards are divided, reflecting how they can be obtained, and determining whether they are eligible for use in Standard format. Card set does not set, or any expansion set currently in Standard format Standard format, or Standard, is one of Hearthstone s two game formats, the other being Wild format. Standard format is intended to feature a fresher and more focused Hearthstone experience, with a limited pool of cards . Higher rarities/golden versions of individual cards appear to be far more common at higher levels, but according to some reports can occasionally occur at lower levels. The top three Keys may reward any rarity of card, but will not reward non-golden common cards.
- The guaranteed card pack given each run will always be from the most recently released expansion set. If the player earns a second card pack from the same run, they will always be from a different Standard format set.
- It is possible for a player to be matched twice against the same player over the course of a single Arena run. For instance, if player A defeats player B, but then loses their next game, while player B is defeated by player A but then wins their next game, the two players will be a viable match-up for their third games. Be that as it may, given the large player pools this is very rarely seen.
- Rarity is on average far more significant in Arena than in any other game mode. While in constructed Constructed is a term used to refer to decks which have been created using cards from the player s collection. Constructed play is play in either Play mode, Practice mode or Friendly Challenge. Some Tavern Brawls play rarity mostly affects new players who have not yet collected higher rarity cards, with higher level players usually having already collected all desired cards, in Arena rarity randomly determines card selection options, affecting players at all levels. Rarity also affects game balance far more in Arena than in constructed. In higher level constructed play, the only impact of rarity is that legendary cards are limited to one copy per deck. In Arena, the decision of what rarity to give a card determines which options it will be matched against, and how frequently it will appear, increasing the likelihood of players having several copies of the card in a deck. Both of these factors mean rarity will directly determine how often a card shows up in Arena, making the rarity of certain cards a common subject of discussion for Arena players.
The below table aims to chart the range of possible rewards for each key. The `No.` column lists the number of individual rewards granted by each Key.
This table represents a collective effort to chart the range of possible Arena rewards. The possible ranges of dust and gold rewards are presumed to be slightly larger than those stated, and individual cards are likely available at slightly lower levels than currently listed. Additionally, it is possible for higher rarity cards to be obtained at far lower levels than listed here, but the probability of this appears to be extremely low.
When adding data, please note individual rewards, e.g. 235 + 85 + 20 gold, rather than simply 340 gold.
|Wins||Key||No.||Guaranteed rewards||Random reward pool|
|0||Novice||2|| || |
|1||Apprentice||2|| || |
|2||Journeyman||2|| || |
|3||Copper||3|| || |
|4||Silver||3|| || |
|5||Gold||3|| || |
|6||Platinum||3|| || |
|7||Diamond||3|| || |
|8||Champion||4|| || |
|9||Ruby||4|| || |
|10||Frostborn||4|| || |
|11||Molten||4|| || |
|12||Lightforge||5|| || |
At the end of each month the top 100 players in the Americas, Europe, and Asia regions are listed on the official site (for the corresponding region). Players are ranked by their average wins per run, with a minimum of 30 runs.
Arena competition presents a very specific pattern of player elimination. As each player must either win or lose each game to proceed to the next match, it is possible to calculate the specific percentiles and distribution across the possible win/loss records. This allows players to mathematically rank their run in the Arena according to the percentage of players who have achieved the same record.
Note that these statistics do not represent the player`s actual chances of reaching any number of wins. Success in Arena is substantially determined by deck construction and skill in playing each match. The numbers below merely reflect the proportion of players who reach each number of wins. In addition, while these numbers reflect the intended design, for reasons of shortening queue times it is possible players will not always be matched against players with precisely the same score. Be that as it may, given the large player pools currently seen in-game, any deviation from the design is expected to be negligible.
Number of wins
Players may complete their Arena runs with between 0 and 12 wins, with the number of wins directly determining the scale of the prizes awarded.
The below table lists the percentage of runs that reach each number of wins. For instance, Arena runs achieving 5 wins are in the top 22.66% of runs. 50% of Arena runs will achieve 3 wins or higher.
Exact sequence of matches
Each Arena run features a potential of 14 matches for each player, with runs ended upon reaching 3 losses or 12 wins. In each match, it is possible to win or lose the game, dividing the players between one of two possible paths.
The below table shows the percent of runs that will reach each given point on the overall potential sequence of matches, with numbers rounded off to two decimal places. The numbers in bold indicate possible final scores, assuming the player does not retire their deck. For instance, we can see that only 0.02% of runs end at 12-0, and that the most common score is either 1-3 or 2-3, with more than a third of all Arena runs ending with one of these scores.
For those who are interested in the underlying mathematics, the below table shows the basic model using a theoretical count of 8192 players (2 to the power of 13), which is the smallest number of players capable of placing a whole number in each position.
Effectively, this table takes 8192 ball-bearings, and drops them through a maze which evenly divides them at each interval, thereby illustrating overall player distribution across matches. From this we can see that for every 8192 Arena players, only 2 will reach 12 wins with 0 losses, making this a 1 in 4096 achievement.
In Oct. 2016 official statistics were released for Arena play between Jan. and Sep. 2016. A series of infographics listed the top players in each region, followed by some global statistics. The original infographics can be found here.
The performance of individual players was broken down by region, and by a number of criteria. Some of these statistics are collated for all regions below. As a rule China and Asia tallied higher numbers of total wins, runs and 12-win runs, compared to the Europe and Americas regions. The individual class records were mostly claimed by the Americas region, while the Europe region dominated in areas related to average run performances.
- Highest average number of wins per run: Caesar (EU) with 8.090
- The second and third highest also went to the EU with Pollitos at 7.991 and Woett at 7.692
- Highest number of 12-win runs in total: ggcnm (China) with 152 12-win runs
- Highest number of wins in total: ggcnm (China) with 8,378 wins
- Longest streak of 7+ win runs: Woett (EU) with 17
- The players with the highest average number of wins per run were selected from those with at least 100 runs. Designer Dean Ayala states that there were players with higher averages, but all below 100 runs, and mostly below 25 runs.
- Although not mentioned above, the Americas player with the second highest average number of wins per run was BattlePants, which is actually a `smurf` account belonging to well-known streamer Hafu.
The following stats were presented collated for all regions, for Jan.-Sep. 2016 period. Additional stats can be found in the original infographics.
- Number of hours spent in Arena games: 157,872,547 hours
- Number of turns: 6.31 billion turns
- Most drafted cards:
- Least drafted:
- Common: Warsong Commander, Moonfire, Totemic Might
- Rare: Savagery Savagery Set: Classic Type: Spell Class: Druid Rarity: Rare Cost: 1 Abilities: Deal damage Tags: Attack-related Deal damage equal to your hero s Attack to a minion.It is true that some druids are savage, but others , Cursed Blade, Darkshire Librarian
- Epic: Siltfin Spiritwalker, Embrace the Shadow, Tentacles for Arms
- Legendary: Acidmaw, Nat, the Darkfisher, Herald Volazj
- Most of one card in a single deck: 9 copies. A Light in the Darkness is shown, but there may be other examples.
- The Arena run with 9 copies of A Light in the Darkness went 3-3.
The design of the Arena provides for a very different way of playing Hearthstone than that found in constructed Constructed is a term used to refer to decks which have been created using cards from the player s collection. Constructed play is play in either Play mode, Practice mode or Friendly Challenge. Some Tavern Brawls play. In comparison, Arena rewards players based more on their ability to construct decks from a less than ideal selection of cards, and to improvise in unlikely match circumstances. It also features a greater emphasis on basic gameplay skills, rather than complex strategies and specific gimmicks. Arena is far less dependent upon knowledge of the current meta, and sees far fewer highly organised decks, but frequently features unlikely, improvised and sometimes extraordinary plays which can be extremely hard to predict.
Arena also provides a second chance for cards rarely seen in constructed play. Many cards widely considered poor choices for constructed decks are presented to players as Arena picks, and end up finding their way into players` decks. Because of this, the diversity of cards seen in Arena is far greater than that of constructed, again contributing to a greater focus on improvisation in response to unexpected circumstances. This is one answer to the often asked questions regarding the existence of certain seemingly poor cards; while they may rarely be chosen in constructed, their presence in Arena broadens the variety of the game mode, and allows it to offer almost an additional set of cards to that seen in constructed play. Not only does their presence provide a greater range of options, but due to the random nature of Arena picks, these otherwise panned cards have the opportunity in Arena to become valuable and even game-winning choices, due in part to the other unlikely cards presented to players when constructing their decks.
Because of the far greater difficulty in constructing a deck with a specific design, knowledge of the current meta, and the ability to play around a central gimmick or specific strategy are far less valuable in the Arena. Improvisational skills are highly important, both in responding to an unpredictable opponent and in playing a less than ideally constructed deck. Players cannot rely on a common sense expectation of what the opponent`s deck should hold, nor on a consistent or balanced deck of their own. While "net-decking" the latest top-ranked decklists can provide great advantage in constructed, Arena is far more rewarding of a knowledge of the constituent parts of a deck, and the many ways in which they can be combined when ideal opportunities fail to present themselves.
For these reasons, a different type of player can expect to shine in Arena than in constructed play. While it is possible for players to excel at both, many will find themselves consistently seeing more success in one type of play than in the other. Players with a greater knowledge of the current meta and a focus upon refining specific decks and strategies will likely fare better in constructed, while those less well-versed in the latest trends may have a better chance in the Arena. The lack of opportunity for ideal deck construction allows players with less advanced deck building knowledge a greater chance of success, with familiarity with the latest decklist less valuable than a shrewd instinct for the basic building blocks of the game.
Arena can also provide a break from the relatively construction-focused domain of constructed play. While success in constructed often requires constant tweaks to a deck, and may punish players who do not keep an eye on the latest developments in the meta, a deck made in Arena cannot be changed, and once built must be played as is for better or worse. This can allow players to simply enjoy doing their best under less than ideal circumstances, without excessive focus on where they could have improved the deck, especially considering the great variety between the cards offered in each Arena run.
Arena also gives players a chance to experience many interesting and hard to obtain cards which they may not have the opportunity to play with in the rest of the game. While higher rarity cards are relatively uncommon picks, Arena is the only mode besides the limited realm of adventures Choosing an adventure Game formats Each Standard year, any adventures released prior to the previous calendar year are marked as Wild format. The adventures are removed from the Shop, and players will be unable to ` Class Challenges (and certain Tavern Brawls) in which players can play with cards that they do not actually own. This can provide great insight into which cards to craft, or simply highlight the fun of playing with cards the player has never chosen to experiment with. The variety of classes found in Arena can also give players an opportunity to experience playing with classes they do not often choose, as well as sampling those classes` higher rarity cards and higher basic cards, which the player may not yet have earned.
The Arena - originally titled `The Forge` - was first conceived as a way to incorporate `draft mode` style play into the game. Drafting with a physical CCG involved players passing round packs of cards, drawing individual cards until they had each built a deck - something many of the developers enjoyed, but which would be difficult to implement within Hearthstone. To solve this problem, the developers implemented asynchronous drafting, allowing each player to separately - yet randomly - build, or `forge` a unique deck.
Early versions of the Forge had players keeping all the cards they drew for their deck. Admission cost several card packs, and would win packs in exchange for achieving wins. One snapshot of the development process shows the player earning a pack for each win above 4, with 10, 15 and 20 wins granting 5, 15, and 30 additional packs.
The developers eventually decided to remove both the card pack admission cost, and the reward of keeping the chosen cards. One reason for this was to remove the conflict between whether to choose the card that was better for the current Arena run, or the card which the player ultimately wanted to add to their collection. This change allowed players to focus purely on building the best possible Arena deck. Another reason for the change was to remove restrictions on which cards were presented. When the player kept the chosen cards, it was necessary for the range of cards presented for selection to match those which would have been obtained if the player had simply opened the card packs spent to enter the Arena. This ensured the result was fair, but also tied the developers` hands for Arena balance. By no longer allowing players to keep the cards chosen, the developers were free to adjust the balance of rarity to make more exciting Arena runs, as well as including cards from other sets, where before only Classic (then called Expert) cards were featured.
The change also removed the necessity for players to choose whether to open their card packs or spend them to gain access to the Arena, where previously spending card packs might see players unable to keep cards they would have kept if they had simply opened the packs. While players still had to choose where to spend their gold (and real money), the change removed the "horrible tension" of this choice, allowing players to simply enjoy opening card packs without these concerns.
These changes were accompanied by the change of name from the Forge to the Arena. The change was in response to feedback from internal testing, where players often mistook the Forge for the game`s crafting mode, believing it was where you went to "forge" new cards. While the term accurately described "forging" a new deck, it was also confusing in that it didn`t evoke combat or battle against other players, which was ultimately the main focus of the mode. The new name "The Arena" was chosen to clearly indicate the gladiatorial nature of the mode.
The rewards for the Arena were also iterated upon. Prior to the shift from the Forge to the Arena, rewards came in the form of card packs, directly compensating players for the admission fee. A screenshot from early 2013 shows players earning one card pack for every win, starting with their fifth victory. Extra card packs were awarded upon reaching certain milestones, with reaching 20 wins awarding a bonus of 30 additional card packs. The milestones stated also reflect the Forge`s lack of limit to the length of runs in the game mode`s early versions. The arrival of the Arena saw the key system introduced, with each win earning a new key, and a maximum of 9 wins. This was later increased to a maximum of 12 in Dec. 2013.
Following the Arena`s emergence in the late alpha, and during most of the beta, the fixed system of card pack rewards was exchanged for a number of smaller random rewards. In early Arena builds the number of rewards did not vary dependent on the number of wins, only the contents of the rewards themselves. A player with only 1 win would still win 5 rewards, but these might consist only of 5 gold, 5 gold, 5 gold, 10 dust and a card pack. This was changed in Dec. 2013`s Patch 184.108.40.20617, with both the number and quality of rewards now scaling with wins. The exact rewards have since been tweaked a number of times, but this general scheme has remained in place.
All new cards are designed to take into account both Play mode and Arena games. Be that as it may, the developers acknowledge that some cards "get way better" in Arena than in Play mode, and vice versa.
The first cards to be excluded from the Arena were those of the Promo set, namely Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftain, likely due to their initially being available only through special promotions. With only two cards excluded, and both of those rarely seeing play in any game mode, Arena essentially used the full card pool for the first 2-3 years of the game`s life.
It was not until the release of Whispers of the Old Gods in Apr. 2016 that the first major exclusions were made, with C`Thun and all related cards being specifically excluded from the drafting process. These were excluded due to their specific synergy, with the likelihood of drafting enough such cards to prove effective being extremely low.
On Aug. 8, 2016, after receiving negative feedback over the upcoming Purify Purify Set: One Night in Karazhan Type: Spell Class: Priest Rarity: Common Cost: 2 Abilities: Draw cards, Silence Silence a friendly minion. Draw a card.Even better than a hot shower with vigorous scrubbing!See this card and the weakness of the priest class in the Arena, Ben Brode announced that Purify would not appear in Arena drafts. This marked the first time a card had been excluded due to Arena balance concerns over its poorness, as opposed to the general lack of synergy of the C`Thun cards.
While the exc
Arena, loosely based on the booster draft format found in many TCG/CCGs, is a game mode that is entirely separate from constructed deck game modes and focuses on deck construction from random drafts. Arena is the only game mode currently that has a cost of entry, requiring either $1.99 or 150 gold from the player per run. A player may have only one arena run active at a time, but there is no time limit in which to finish that particular run. In an Arena run, a player must first select one of three randomly selected heroes and then build an entirely new deck for the selected hero from a series of randomly selected cards. Players are shown three random cards at a time and must choose one of the three to be put in their deck. This selection process is done until a full deck (30/30) has been created. Though the cards are selected randomly, there is a uniformity of card rarity⃢₀ₔthat is to say, if one of the card choices in a group is legendary, all of the card choices will be legendary, and so on. Because of the random nature of Arena, basic deck limitation rules found in constructed are bypassed; therefore, a player can potentially have more than two of any particular card in their deck, and, though highly improbable, could also have more than one of the same legendary.
Once the hero has been selected and the deck constructed, the player then can queue up for Arena matches against other players who have built decks in exactly the same fashion. An Arena run ends when either the player has lost a total of three games with that particular deck, or if the player has won a total of 12 times (without losing three) with that particular deck. When an Arena run is finished, the player will receive a random series of rewards that vary based upon how many wins were acquired on that particular run. The rewards can include arcane dust, gold, single cards, as well as packs of expert Hearthstone cards; and the amounts of gold and arcane dust found in each reward will increase based upon win-rate. However, the rewards will always include at least one pack of expert Hearthstone cards regardless of win-rate.
In order to unlock the Arena game mode, a new player must first defeat all 9 of the AI opponents on normal difficulty in Practice Mode. Once it has been unlocked, a player then must either pay $1.99 or 150 gold per Arena run in order to play. After the cost of entry has been met, a player will then be shown three randomly selected heroes and must choose one before deck construction can begin.
Building a Deck
The deck construction process is inspired loosely by the concepts of booster drafting, a popular variant of play that is found in many other TCG/CCGs. During the building process, the player is shown a group of three randomly selected cards and must choose one that will go into the deck. After a card has been selected, the process is repeated and the player must choose a card out of a new group of three randomly selected cards. This process continues until a full 30 card deck has been built. Because of the random nature of Arena, basic rules found in Constructed play do not apply: there is no single-card limit (a player could run a Mage deck with four Frostbolt cards or three Pyroblast cards if given the option, for instance) within a deck, and, though highly improbable, a player could theoretically run a deck with more than one of the same legendary. For more advanced strategies regarding Arena deck building, please see Deck Building Strategies. Once a deck has been constructed, the player can begin playing Arena matches.
Beginning the Run
Once a hero has been selected and a deck constructed, the player can begin searching for matches in the Arena. A single run of Arena ends due to one of two possible scenarios: a player loses three times with that deck, or a player wins 12 times with that deck. Until either of the scenarios has occurred, the run will still be considered active; therefore, a player does not have to finish an Arena one in a single sitting. All players participating in the Arena have built decks in exactly the same fashion, so due to the random nature of construction play style strategies can differ greatly from standard constructed play.
Because of the random nature of the deck building process in Arena, the strategies for building a successful deck are much different from constructed decks. Though players` strategies will vary, there are a few basic concepts and strategies that will almost certainly increase a player`s win rate. The first thing that a player must understand is that themed and combo decks, types that are extremely strong in constructed, are almost never successful in Arenas due to the random building process. The reason these types are not often successful is not because they are inherently weak against arena match ups, but rather because it is almost impossible to build a coherent and strong themed deck or combo deck due to the random card selection process. Oftentimes when a player attempts these styles they will be left with a deck that is only partially synergetic at best, and has a large amount of cards that are essentially dead weight with regards to the intended theme or combo. Therefore, most successful players evaluate cards and their strength in Arena based only upon their merits and potential value alone, disregarding potential synergies that are unlikely to be possible. This isn`t to say that a player shouldn`t choose cards that synergize well with cards that have already been chosen, but merely that one shouldn`t choose cards that require another particular card that has yet to be seen in order to be effective. For more on this, see the Retroactive Synergy v. Predictive Synergy article below. An excellent example of a card that has a high value without themed or combo synergy is the Chillwind Yeti, whose high health, high damage, and relatively low mana cost means this minion will trade efficiently on the board as well as will be a relatively strong threat at almost any stage of the game. For further information regarding card values in Arena, Trump`s Arena Ratings Guide is an excellent resource.
Retroactive Synergy v. Predictive Synergy
There are two types of approaches to drafting synergy in an Arena deck: predictive synergy and retroactive synergy. Predictive synergy is a drafting strategy in which you take a card with the hopes that you will be given the option for the other necessary card(s) in order to fully realize that synergy or combo. Retroactive synergy occurs when you make synergy selections based upon the cards that you have already selected up to that point in the drafting process. As a general rule, the most successful arena decks are crafted with a combination of retroactive synergy as well as picking cards based on their stand-alone value, sans synergy entirely. Retroactive synergy becomes more viable and powerful the further a deck is in its completion, because the player has a greater knowledge regarding the efficacy of the potential synergy. While predictive synergy can pay off occasionally in the Arena, it is so reliant upon luck that it more often than not leads to weak decks that contain dead weight cards or decks that have a few partial synergies awkwardly and ineffectively spliced together. To give a few examples:
- Predictive synergy might cause a player who is playing a Mage deck to choose an early Mana Wyrm, with the expectation that they will have the opportunity to gain an extensive spell arsenal during the drafting process. If they are not able to secure at least an acceptable amount of spells, the Mana Wyrm now has become dead weight, and therefore one of the other choices would have likely been more beneficial. Furthermore, if the player selects a Mana Wyrm before they have enough spells, they might force themselves into choosing spells over other cards that would be more valuable for the deck itself. As one can see, predictive synergy strategies can greatly limit future card selections.
- Considering the same scenario above, a player utilizing retroactive synergy would likely forgo from the Mana Wyrm early in the drafting process because they had no other cards (viz. spells) that would synergize with it, unless that Mana Wyrm had the best stand-alone value compared to the other options. However, if the Mana Wyrm choice appeared half-way through the drafting process instead of at the beginning, the player would be able make a much safer, more informed choice regarding the viability of the Mana Wyrm. Even if the player has an acceptable amount of spells, they might choose to forgo the Mana Wyrm for a more useful low-cost drop to fill a weakness gap in their current deck; or, alternatively, they might decide that the rest of the deck construction needs to focus on areas other than spells in order to be strong. Retroactive synergy strategies offer a great amount of flexibility and cater well to the Arena style of random drafting.
Importance of the Mana Curve
When building an Arena deck, it`s often easy to get distracted by the random selection process and focus fully on what might be considered `power cards` while neglecting the mana curve of a deck. Just because a player is given the option of having four Consecration cards in a Paladin deck doesn`t mean that it is always a good decision to choose them, and likewise just because a player is given the option to choose four high cost legendary cards doesn`t mean that it is a strong decision. An ideal mana curve is the one that doesn`t swing too far in a singular direction, and one that gives a player multiple play options for both the early, mid, and late game (unless the deck is attempting to follow a particular theme). It is always important to be cognizant of the mana curve during the entire card selection process to ensure that a player isn`t forced into situations where they might have multiple turns in a game without a play. A common strategy when building the decks is to spend the first 10-15 cards choosing the cards they might want (grabbing powerful, expensive cards when available), and then spend the last 15 cards balancing out the mana curve as much as possible. A common mistake by many players, and one that occurs in both constructed and arena, is underestimating the importance of low cost 1-2 drop cards when building their decks. Having a good amount of these cards (2 cost 3/2 cards are generally considered to be the best early game value cards in Arena) ensures that the player will have early game options and responses, giving them the opportunity to establish early game board control. Establishing board control early on will often determine the tempo of the mid-game and late game and can greatly swing favor towards the player that does this. Understanding the importance of having early game presence and responses is critical to success in both Arena and Constructed. A player that constructs decks with logical, balanced mana curves will see a dramatic improvement in the Arena results.
When crafting your deck, do not neglect card draws. Draw cards are sometimes hero abilities, such as the Mage`s Arcane Intellect, or can be effects on minions (both battle cries and death rattles), such as Gnomish Inventor, Loot Hoarder, or Azure Drake. These are necessary in order to maintain or gain card advantage against your opponent. Draw cards are especially important if your deck relies heavily upon cheap cost cards. Ensure that you have at least a few abilities that include card draw in your deck, regardless of its theme. Minion cards with draw are especially powerful because they create threat upon the battlefield while simultaneously replacing themselves in your hand.
Basic Match Strategies
It is difficult to predict the opponent`s strategies and play styles due to the random nature of Arena. In Constructed, predictive play is not only viable, but also often very rewarding. Assuming that a particular class has a particularly strong ability or minion in their deck (Priests running Mind Control, for instance) allows the player to play in a cautious and intelligent manner that can counter the assumed threat. Also, the Constructed rule that only allows two instances of a single card in any deck means that a player can rest easy after they have seen a particular minion or ability played twice. Things are not quite so predictable in Arena. One can never be certain as to how many instances of a card their opponent has, and one can also not safely assume that a deck is or isn’t running a particular card. A Priest opponent may have no Mind Control cards, or they might have three. Therefore, conservative plays are generally more safe and successful in Arena. Although every move is more of a gamble/risk in Arena than in Constructed, there are still safe ways in which to govern one’s play style in order to avoid potential misplays.
The following are a few basic guidelines of conservative play that can greatly enhance the success of an Arena player. Many of these guidelines can also be applied to Constructed play. (A quick caveat: Theses are merely suggestions that have a high percentage of success in a broad range of scenarios, there are clearly situations where these will not always be the most optimal strategies.)
- Learn each class in-depth. This perhaps goes without saying, but it is incredibly vital that you know the entirety of your opponent’s potential arsenal so that you are not caught off guard. Memorize the specific details about high threat cards from each class, don’t just be satisfied with general knowledge. General knowledge of a Mage’s Flamestrike allows you to understand that it is a form of AOE board removal kills lots of things. Specific knowledge allows you to know that it is a seven cost spell that deals four damage to every one of your minions. The specific knowledge allows you to intelligently prepare for flamestrike—i.e., you don’t saturate the board with low health minions prior to the Mage’s turn 7; you don’t play multiple low-health minions in a single turn during the late game phase; &c. Specific knowledge about each class and their abilities will win you games.
- When you have board advantage, don’t immediately over-saturate the board with minions. Depending on the match-up, assume the threat of AOE board removal. This can be Brawl from a Warrior, Flamestrike or Blizzard from a Mage, Holy Nova from a Priest, Swipe from a Druid, Fan of Knives from a Rogue, or Consecration from a Paladin. Memorize the damage and cost of these spells, then only saturate the board with minions that can survive them (or on a turn when the ability in question can`t yet be cast). Some minions capitalize on saturated boards, such as the Mind Control Tech. Keep minions in your hand to replace those on the board that might be lost to the various forms of AOE and hard removal. Don’t over-extend unless you are securing lethal damage on the following turn.
- When playing powerful, high cost creatures against a Priest in the late game, be absolutely certain you have a means by which to remove it from the game. Whether this is through minion trades on the board or hard removal abilities, be prepared for the possibility of Mind Control.
- Learn to understand the importance of the early game. Many games are decided in the early game, even if they are played out to mid or late game. Understand the importance of establishing early board control and maintaining it. Trade efficiently. Learn intelligent uses of The Coin, and use it when possible to gain early board control. Some control decks do not require early board advantage in order to succeed, but there are few decks that do not greatly benefit from it.
- Recognize the value of trading minions (as opposed to directly attacking the hero) in order to gain board advantage. Learning when to directly attack the hero versus clearing trading minions can take some time, but know that it is often best (unless your deck adheres to an aggro theme or playstyle) to clear most minions before dealing with the hero. As always, consider your match-ups. Your Paladin opponent’s 1/1 hero ability minion might be ignored because it is not deemed a considerable threat, only to have it turn into a 5/5 after being buffed by the Paladin’s ability Blessing of Might the next turn. Minion trading and board clearing become crucial when going against Heroes that have a multitude of buff abilities at their disposal.
Learning your match ups, following these guidelines, and playing conservatively should greatly improve your Arena run results. For more detailed strategic resources and card analysis, please see Miscellaneous Resources.
Hearthead`s Arena Practice Tool
An excellent resource, this tool allows you to practice drafting a deck for an Arena run. Hearthhead`s Arena Practice Tool can be found here.
Trump`s Arena Ratings Guide
Trump is a popular and extremely skilled Hearthstone player, who specializes in Arena gameplay. In this guide, Trump rates all common and basic cards based on their Arena value. This is an excellent starting point for any new player to learn the differences between card values in Arena versus Constructed. Trump`s Arena Card Rankings can be found here.
High Level Player Streams
One of the best ways to increase one`s skill in arena is to watch high level players compete. Below is a list of popular, high-level Arena players` streams. Many of these players also have YouTube channels that contain videos of past matches.
- Trump`s Twitch
- Trump`s Youtube Channel
- Kripparrian`s Twitch
- Kripparrian`s Youtube Channel
- ek0p`s Twitch
- Hafu`s Twitch
- Hafu`s Youtube Channel
- ChanManV`s Twitch
- ChanmanV`s Youtube Channel
The show Value Town on ChanmanV`s channel is an excellent resource for aspiring Arena players.