Greetings Friends! First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to click onto my newest, latest, and greatest, Hearthstone communication. We’ve just ushered in a new year and I’m sure many of you have decided to take on some resolutions to make this year the best it can be. Most people dedicate themselves to weight-loss, eating better, or living healthier. Regardless, of what vice you’re choosing to give up or what area of your life you’re striving to improve this year, it’s always a good idea to be more financially sound. Today, I cordially invite you to gather around, as we discuss 4 essential keys to keeping your hard earned dollars in your pocket, as well as your in-game currency in your Hearthstone pot.
I’ve always had the deepest, most profound respect for the hard core members of the F2P nation, the dedication and perseverance required to die clutching onto to Blizzard’s pledge of Hearthstone’s Free to play aspect of the game, is nothing to guff at. Struggling, to piece together one’s card collection bit by bit, while toiling and scrounging for every last gold coin is no easy feat, I assure you.
You might be surprised to know yours truly, was a F2P guru many moons ago as the allure of the F2P feature of Hearthstone during beta was a tantalizing prospect. However, as time has gone on and new adventure expansions have been released, my need to keep up with the Joneses has outweighed my dedication to protect my nickels and dimes. To date, I’ve certainly spent entirely more money on this game then I’d care to admit, mostly because the pain begins to seep deep into my bare bones the more I think about it.
That said, I can write half-way intelligently on this subject, and provide some key pointers to those of you who are either F2P yourselves or fall into that intermediate group who are just interested in saving some in-game gold, or actual real world money. As long as Hearthstone remains a cash cow for Blizzard and new players and veterans alike are willing to put in the time or open their wallets to gain access to certain expansions, don’t expect to see changes to their business model anytime soon.
Primarily, I write this article to offer up some nuggets of value, for those individuals who are F2P due to real life circumstances, like disabilities or unemployment more so than because they fall victim to their own frugal personalities. Fact is there are many Hearthstone players who live month to month on a limited budget, without much wiggle room for entertainment expenditures. Regardless of what portion of the spectrum you fall in or what your Hearthstone goals are, if you’re interested in getting some tips on saving money while enjoying our common love, read on.
Cost Cutting Measure #1: Figure Out What You Need
The majority of this article I’m going to be referencing more of the “pack-based” expansions more so than “wing-based” adventure models. While every expansion regardless of the method Blizzard dictates to funnel the masses through to gain access to these new cards, I’ve found the expansions that are not “wing” based seem to be more expensive in the long run.
When it comes to those “pack-based” expansions it requires on average the purchase of 300-400 packs to unlock the entire set. That’s a lot of time spent playing if you’re into using your gold reserves, and a lot of cash money if you fall into the pay to win variety of Hearthstone type players.
Before we go any further, allow me to point out that Hearthstone is currently configured to allow players to harvest enjoyment as well as progression (albeit slow) through the constructed ranks, with a single, well-constructed deck of 30 cards. The problem is, your highly unlikely to find actual fulfillment if your collection manager is only able to yield one great deck. Additionally, you’re susceptible to being unable to complete the daily quests that require you to play various other hero classes, which will inevitably conflict with your one deck the vast majority of the time.
A sizable portion of the entertainment value garnered from Hearthstone in the first place, is piecing together your collection manager, with awesome cards with which to decimate the competition. So, if you’re a veteran F2P player you’re probably going to want to liquidate your stashes of gold and Arcane Dust, and if you’re spending real world money then you’re probably going to be spending cash in order to grow your card collection sooner rather than later, so you won’t need to rely upon a single deck to get you by.
Regardless of the type of spender you are, let me assume that your goal for world domination is to acquire every card that you’re likely to ever want to use in any competitive ladder deck. Obviously, this is a lot more than you’ll realistically going to ever need for one deck list, but it’s actually a lot less than the total set.
Now, very briefly let’s talk stats for a minute. The numbers here will vary but on average regardless of which “pack-based” expansion is in question,on average they break down as follows:
Total cards in a set: 132
Total number of commons: 49
Total number of rares: 36
Total number of epics: 27
Total number of legendries: 20
Ratio of Epics: 1:5 packs
Ratio of Legendries: 1:15-20 packs
*A complete set will require 2 of each card except Legendries which require only 1 of each.
As you can infer based on the numbers above, you’ll collect all of the commons and rares long before you get all of your epics and legendries. Players, who have been at this game for a while, know that once you get past a certain point the only thing that really matters is finding packs with those coveted legendries inside. All others will be liquidated for their dust value because they serve no other purpose once you have several duplicates stock-piled.
Given how coveted the epic and legendary cards are, it’s important that you realize that MOST of them aren’t very useful. Legendries particularly are very expensive but rightly so when you consider the powerful, often game changing effect they have once on the field. However, it’s important to note that there is a practical limit to how many of those your collection actually requires.
WHEN IT COMES TO DECK BUILDING, you can’t run a viable deck that runs on the heavy side with expensive, late-game based cards early on, otherwise you run the risk of having nothing to play in the early stages of gameplay, and ultimately you’ll lose the match-up before it even starts. Let’s say that you have an open slot in your build for a 7-mana cost Legendary and the only really efficient one in your collection is dr-boom. Despite the fact that for variety’s sake you’d like to utilize a different 7-mana cost Legendary you don’t have,for no other reason than because it seems cool, in actuality is nothing more than a worse-than-Dr. Boom option, that you really don’t have room for you in deck anyway.
In my opinion, out of the over 60-ish collectable legendary minions available in the Hearthstone set, there are really only about 20-25 that are worth their salt and see regular gameplay in viable ladder decks. Before you send me hate mail, let me add that there are few niche legendary minions that a few folks have had some success building around. However, if you’re a cost conscious Hearthstone player, you need to really look at which ones are mission essential and which would just be nice to have.
The entire purpose behind this particular key to cost efficiency is to show you how important it is to hone your focus down to collecting only the useful cards and treat all the others as useless fluff. Doing so can actually cut your cost in half, not only with legendary minions but within all rarity levels. As you scour the internet for net decks, and peek into the YouTube feeds pro players have set up, you’ll notice many decks boil down to the same set of core cards regardless of the build. A single legendary or epic tech card a top tier net deck is running, the majority of the time won’t be the difference between winning and losing.As I’ve stated in previous articles, they’re tech cards not super cards. There is nothing wrong with wanting to branch out and try and collect every card available. However, that should be a priority once you obtain the cards that truly matter first. Everything else can and should be safely ignored—which brings us to our next section.
Cost Cutting Measure #2: Plan Out Your Crafting
Most of you know how this works, but for the small percentage of my audience who doesn’t it’s similar to selling back your video games to GameStop or similar stores—that is to say you don’t get back what you put in. Disenchanting an Epic card, provides you 100 points of Arcane Dust, the same process yields 400 Dust for a Legendary, but crafting an Epic costs 400 points, while crafting a Legendary will require 1600.
Crafting upper echelon cards, as you can see, obviously requires the disenchantment of multiple cards so it stands to reason it’s always more efficient to find the cards you need for your collection from card packs than it is to try and craft them. I can tell you from experience that the pain is real when you scrimp, scavenge, and save just to end up spending 1600 points of Arcane Dust to craft a Legendary, only to find a duplicate within a card pack weeks or months down the line that you end up having to disenchant for a meager 400 points of return.
What most people do, is craft their highest-priority epics and legendary cards early on, and then keep amassing card packs to slowly build out their collection a piece at a time, but conducting business in this manner can often times end up becoming counter-productive as outlined in the example listed above.
I have found it is much more cost efficient to make all your in-game gold and real world money purchases during an expansion release all at one time. After that’s done, then you can focus on crafting the cards you didn’t receive within the purchased card packs, to minimize the chance of finding those duplicates within packs later on. I used this approach when TGT was released, and found in the long haul it was a safer, more cost-efficient alternative. Now, I can shift my focus to stockpiling gold and arcane dust from cards packs I win in Tavern Brawls and Arena runs, to buy card packs from the next set—whenever that is.
Cost Cutting Measure #3: Don’t Craft Too Soon
Whenever a new “wing-based” adventure is announced or a card pack based expansion is released, it’s extremely difficult for anyone to really give a fair assessment on which cards will be worthwhile and which will end up being complete duds within those first several weeks of their unveiling. Many “pro” players, and Hearthstone writers will do their best to provide the masses with an educated guess, but therein lies the problem—it boils down to exactly that…a guess.
It takes weeks, sometimes even months to truly battle test new cards from new expansions, before an accurate analysis can truly be given. It’s not uncommon for commentators to make errors in judgement while assessing certain cards early on, (I know I have) only to find hidden gems no one saw coming way after the initial release.
A large percentage of cards from new expansions will never find their way into constructed decks. So, if you’re not really into collecting every single Hearthstone card, it makes sense to take a conservative approach, and only buy enough to be able to craft the cards that you truly want or need. This tactic may require a bit of discipline on your part, to hold off on making any purchases until way after an expansion is released while ignoring the hype and watching other players going ape crazy brewing decks, that on paper would make virtually anyone salivate. However, remaining strong for several weeks to bide your time long enough for the dust to settle and the Meta to really evolve, is a key ingredient to saving money in long run.
Having said all that, it’s imperative regardless of what your financial goals may be, to hold off on crafting any beefy, expensive Legendries until the dust settles and the Meta truly takes shape. I had a lapse in judgement not long ago, when GvG was first announced. At the time, everyone thought the must-have card of that release was troggzor-the-earthinator, and I decided to craft him on launch day! Ugh, I could kick myself now.
As it turns out, weeks down the line what was discovered was that good ‘ol Troggzor in reality, wasn’t at all very good. After numerous brews, and numerous in game tests the conclusion, community wide, was that Mr. Earthinator was very situational because he was only effective during circumstances of having complete board control during the later stages of the game. Consequently, the conclusion that was reached by almost everyone is that, it made no sense to use him (or any card for that matter), only under certain conditions, when there exists better alternatives for the same mana-cost that are more effective regardless of the state of the board.
Moral of the story is, no matter the hype, no matter the opinions, DO NOT craft cards today, you may end up regretting tomorrow, leaving no resources behind to craft something better next month in the process. Take your time when deciding which cards to allocate your resources to crafting. Make sure it’s a commodity that addresses a real need, and not something that fulfills a personal want. When you’re living life on the low end, having to scrimp and save every last penny and in-game gold nugget you don’t have the luxury of making crafting mistakes.
Cost Cutting Measure #4: Find the Best Price If You’re Spending Real World Money
If you want to purchase a bunch of card packs, the cheapest way to go about it is through the Amazon App Store. The Amazon App store uses a digital currency called AMAZON COINS, which sells for 10% off their face value if you buy $50 or more, and they often run various promotions where they refund 20% of the coins you spend on Hearthstone cards. If you ever plan on making card pack purchases with actual real world money, it’s wise to put your money toward the Amazon coins, particularly when Amazon runs promotions. Having a stockpile of these coins can pay dividends in future purchases, because you know eventually Blizzard will release another expansion even if you’re not too interested in making any purchases in the here and now. Additionally, stay tuned to this site, as JIMMY regularly notifies our readers when such promotions are available.
So how exactly does the whole Amazon Coin thing work? Good question. Should you buy 80 card packs, that would cost you about $100 through the Hearthstone Shop, but you can buy 97 card packs for $90 with Amazon Coins, which really is a pretty significant savings. If you’re wondering how Amazon comes out ahead in this, it’s really pretty simple. Amazon uses this sort of loss-leader for its own shop, which is exclusively available on its Kindle Tablets and certain other Android devices.
If you don’t own an Android tablet or a smart phone with Amazon’s App Store you can download AN ANDROID EMULATOR FOR PC and access the Amazon App Store that route. Should you go down this road however, I’d advise you get Hearthstone up and running through Amazon before you buy any coins.
Additionally, Blizzard occasionally will promote sales of a new expansion by offering players the option of making a pre-purchase which usually includes a decent savings in cards packs as well as a pretty nifty exclusive card back. I remember a few weeks before TGT was released Blizzard offered it’s Hearthstone players the opportunity to pre-purchase 60 card packs of the expansion, plus an exclusive card back for $49.99 USD. If a future new expansion is a purchase you’re planning on making anyway, sometimes taking advantage of long run value despite paying a few extra bucks upfront is a more worthwhile investment.
BOUNS: Cost Cutting Measure #5: Other Tidd Bits To Save
- Dust Marginal Legendary Minions: This is a cost cutting measure that is very difficult for me to follow. I like all Legendary Minions, even the useless ones. I like having access to as many cards as I can get my grubby little hands on, and when it comes to those less-competitive Legendries I enjoy utilizing them in odd-ball ladder decks (generally without great success) and I find sometimes they can be useful in heroic modes of Adventure “wing-based” expansions. However, if money and in game currency is a concern for you, it is definitely more beneficial to immediately disenchant any Legendary you come across via card packs that don’t address a viable need within your collection manager. Use the yielded Arcane Dust to craft something you desperately need or save it up for a nice little treasure down the road.
- Dust All Golden Cards: Again this is a difficult aspect of cost cutting for me to swallow. I really like the Golden version of Hearthstone cards. I like the way the gleam, the way they glimmer; I like the animated movements of the minions within. Fact is though, these are cards that are nothing more than Hearthstone version of foil cards that provide no other value except the cosmetic significance. They function the exact same way as their non-golden counterparts, so they are essentially nothing more than another luxury that makes Hearthstone more expensive than it has to be. However, there is one fundamental difference that exists with these gold versions that you can’t find in the non-gold version: they can be disenchanted for a whole lot more dust. I’ve never really kept an accurate ledger, but I’m pretty sure If I totally disenchanted every last one of my personal gold cards I’d have enough dust to craft a few Legendries. This could be a similar case for you, if you really look closely at your own card collections. I’d hang onto a gold version only if disenchanting it means that you’ll end up with either just a single card or you’d lose that entire “class” altogether. Immediately, dusting any gold card you come across will get you to your end state like NAS boost in The Fast and the Furious. It’s worth considering, and definitely worth your time, to calculate how much dust the current gold versions in your card managers would produce.
- Don’t Waste Monetary Resources On Silly Aspects: I can’t remember how long ago, but recently Blizzard decided to provide players an option of changing your hero’s portrait. Remember, Blizzard’s primary goal is to make money—and lots of it. You can’t blame them either, as it’s an arguable aspect of life that money makes the world go ’round. The key is to wisely allocate your own hard earned dollars, to purchases that truly make sense. As time goes on I suspect we’ll see more of this type of add-on, which in the grand scheme of things are utterly useless unless of course you’re an extreme hardcore Hearthstone player, or an individual who doesn’t mind being a big spender. Don’t fall into these needless expenses. These hero portraits serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever within game-play. The value is strictly cosmetic, and provides Blizzard with another outlet to garner more of your cash donations. Try and see the forest for the trees, and remember to spend your resources (whether that is in-game gold or actual cash money) wisely to usher in more bang for your buck.
Thanks again for stopping into my neck of the woods, and taking the time to spend a few minutes with me. I hope this article has been helpful in some way, and pointed out a few things some of you might be able to take away to save some cheddar this coming year. It’s a difficult balancing act to meet your Hearthstone goals, while not ending up in the poor house in the process. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas to keep your cheddar where it is. Everyone likes saving cheddar.
I encourage you (as in all my articles) to leave me a comment at the bottom, or maybe a suggestion to save some bucks, that I didn’t cover here. If you enjoyed the article, feel free to leave me your loose change via tip jar also. I’m a student of the game myself, always evolving, always learning so be sure and let me know about any ideas you’ve used to keep your money in your wallet.
Until Next Time!