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October 18, 2017

Table of Contents

Anticipating Curve Plays in Arena

Greetings, I’m shokunin, an infinite Arena player and a coach at

The most frequent advice I give to my students, who are aspiring infinite Arena players, is to work on anticipating curve plays and playing your hand accordingly. In order to accomplish this, you need to know what Neutral and Class cards to expect.

You will notice that I only reference Common, Rare, and Epic cards. This is because the probability of drafting a given Legendary is very unlikely. For example, you only need to concern yourself with Deathwing when you are so far ahead that it becomes one of the only cards that will cause you to lose.

In addition, I have not listed every card because if you plan for the standard and premium cards in each mana slot, you are already prepared for all the substandard cards. Focus on identifying the Commons, Rares, and (to a lesser extent) Epics that are the bread and butter of Arena.

Expected Turn 1 Plays

Neutral 1-drops

Standard 1-drops come with 2/1 stats. Notable 1-drops are found below.

Class 1-drops

Expected Turn 1 Plays (when opponent has Coin)

The most common use of the Coin on Turn 1 is to play a 2-drop followed by another 2-drop on Turn 2. This allows the second player to take back the initiative since Arena decks often do not have a playable 1-drop in the opening hand. However, there are some class-specific openers which you need to be aware of.


  • If they Coin a 2-drop on Turn 1, the potential followup threat is Argent Protector which could allow their 2-drop to kill your 2-drop for free. The only ways to avoid this are to remove the minion or to play a minion with more Health than the Attack of their Coined 2-drop (e.g. 2/3 vs. 2/3).


  • If they play any 1-drop, the potential followup threat is Coin into Kabal Talonpriest.


1-Mana Removal

If you play a minion on Turn 1, you should be aware of the potential 1-mana and 2-mana removal available to your opponent. A consideration when deciding which 2-drop to Coin on Turn 1 is to avoid 2-damage removals with a 3+ Health minion. Another consideration is that 2/3 minions are better against 2/4 minions on 3-mana while 3/2 minions are better against 3/3 minions on 3-mana.

1-Mana AOE

Expected Turn 2 Plays

Standard 2-drops come with either 2/3 or 3/2 stats (e.g. River Crocolisk, Bloodfen Raptor). Notable 2-drops are found below. If the opponent did not use Coin yet, they may use it to play 3-drop into 3-drop (see the next section).

Class 2-drops

2-Mana Removal

2-Mana AOE

Expected Turn 3 Plays

Standard 3-drops come with either 2/4 or 3/3 stats (e.g. Grimestreet Smuggler, Ironfur Grizzly). Notable 3-drops are found below.

Class 3-drops

3-Mana Removal

  • 1-damage
  • 2-damage
  • 3-damage
  • 4-damage
  • 5-damage+
  • 3-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 4 Plays

    Standard 4-drops come with 3-5 Attack and 4-5 Health (e.g. Aberrant Berserker, Ancient Brewmaster). 5-Health is a critical threshold in Arena since 5+ damage removal is uncommon. Notable 4-drops are found below.

    Class 4-drops

    4-Mana Removal

    4-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 5 Plays

    Standard 5-drops come with 3-5 Attack and 5-6 Health (e.g. Fen Creeper, Silver Hand Knight). Notable 5-drops are found below.

    Class 5-drops

    5-Mana Removal

    5-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 6 Plays

    Standard 6-drops come with 4-6 Attack and 5-8 Health (e.g. Archmage, Boulderfist Ogre). Notable 6-drops are found below.

    Class 6-drops

    6-Mana Removal

    6-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 7 Plays

    7-Mana Drops

    Class 7-Mana Drops

    7-Mana Removal

    7-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 8 Plays

    8-Mana Drops

    Class 8-Mana Drops

    8-Mana AOE

    Expected Turn 9 Plays

    Expected Turn 10 Plays

    Rule of Thumb

    Maximum Health for Common Drops = Minion’s Mana Cost + 1

    This is the most damage you need to remove a single minion of a given mana cost. Notable exceptions are found below.


    I hope this guide helps you improve at planning your turns for the Arena. I often hear stories of players complaining about getting blown out by a Legendary or a topdeck in the late game of an Arena match. What they don’t recognize is that often these situations can be completely avoided by anticipating and countering the standard common plays via the mulligan, early game openers, and strong midgame play.


    If you’re looking for one-on-one help becoming an infinite Arena player, hitting Legend rank, or reaching your Hearthstone goals, you can find me and other top caliber coaches at We’ve provided over a thousand hours of coaching to students around the world.

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    Leave a Reply

    1. This would be incredible if it could be put into an overlay addon. Like if deck tracker could show “next turn you might be dealing with these 4-5 cards based on the class you’re playing and what’s been played so far” and you make your play on what you’re seeing.

    2. GeorgeC says:

      This article along with the grining goat series are so good that could be ”premium content”

    3. Anonymous says:

      Great summary, thank you! The math about Mad Bomber seems off though since there are 3 possible targets to hit.