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Rating  603

Contributed by

Sheng

Guide Type

Dust Cost

Last Updated

March 13, 2017

Table of Contents

Example Rogue Draft
Class Cards (10)
Backstab 0
Conceal 1
Deadly Poison 1
Defias Ringleader 2
Eviscerate 2
Fan of Knives 3
2
Perdition’s Blade 3
Assassin’s Blade 5
Sprint 7
Neutral Cards (20)
Abusive Sergeant 1
Argent Squire 1
2
Worgen Infiltrator 1
2
Acidic Swamp Ooze 2
Amani Berserker 2
Knife Juggler 2
2
Loot Hoarder 2
Mind Control Tech 3
Razorfen Hunter 3
Ancient Mage 4
2
Oasis Snapjaw 4
Spellbreaker 4
Violet Teacher 4
2
Fen Creeper 5
Frost Elemental 6

Mana Curve

1 0
6 1
8 2
5 3
5 4
3 5
1 6
1 7

Attack Curve

6 0
2 1
12 2
8 3
1 4
1 5
0 6
0 7

Health Curve

6 0
6 1
6 2
4 3
1 4
3 5
2 6
2 7

Beginner’s Arena Guide: Choosing a Class and Drafting a Deck

Note: For the latest pro and top decklists, meta deck rankings, crafting and new player guides – visit Disguised Toast website!

Introduction


Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

Many of you on Reddit have asked me to find a more permanent location for my arena guide, and I’m happy to announce that starting now, I’ll be writing for HearthstonePlayers.com. My first arena guide will be a Beginner Arena series, where I’ll be going through these three topics:

  • Choosing a Class
  • Drafting a Deck
  • Winning Games

This guide is primarily targeted towards less experienced players, and it is my hope that by the end of this series, readers will be able to average over 4 wins consistently. For those of you who are more advanced players, hold on tight! In the future, I’ll be writing arena guides on the more subtle and advanced techniques needed to consistently earn 150+ gold each run.

The Best Arena Classes


As of July 2015, I’d personally rate the arena classes from Best to Worst as follows:

Excellent

  • Mage

Good

  • Paladin
  • Rogue

Average

  • Druid
  • Shaman
  • Warlock

Below Average

  • Hunter
  • Priest

Really Below Average

  • Warrior

What Makes a Good Class?


While an extremely skilled Hearthstone player can still do well with any class, in general, it’s clear that some classes perform better in arena than others. But why?

The answer has do with the draft format. In the 30 cards that you choose for your deck, the 1st, 10th, 20th, and 30th are guaranteed to be rare or greater. The rest of your 26 cards are much more likely to be basic or common. Thus, it’s not surprising that the the top arena classes have the strongest basic and common cards.

These cards all fall under the categories of Board Clear, Efficient Removal, Unconditional Removal, or Efficient Minions.

Board Clear

Efficient Removal

Unconditional Removal

Efficient Minions

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Mage is the most popular arena class by far, with its basic cards from all four categories in Flamestrike, Fireball, Frostbolt, Polymorph, and Water Elemental.

So why do some classes fare so much worse statistically? Well, frankly, classes that rely more heavily on card synergy in constructed (Beasts, Control Warrior, Handlock, Zoo) or rares tend to fare worse in arena because it’s not guaranteed you’ll be able to get the combos you need to make your deck effective. This is due to the randomness of the cards offered.

Which Class Should I Choose?


I recommend newer players choose three main classes from the Excellent, Good, or Average categories. Focusing on a few statistically favored classes will help you develop a better win rate. If you happen to come across three classes that aren’t your mains in arena, don’t panic! Choose one that you’d find the most fun to play. The game is random after all. If you just want to win, you may find the arena class tier list helpful for making a decision.

My personal mains are Mage, Druid, and Rogue. I have some of the highest win rates with these classes, and I favor them over others when given the choice in arena. I’ve found that because I know these classes so well, when I play against them in arena, I can often predict what my opponents will do next, giving me an advantage.

Which Cards Do I Draft?


So you’ve paid for your Arena ticket, and you’ve chosen your hero. How do you know which cards to draft?

The first time I drafted arena, I went to Trump’s Arena Tier List and chose the best cards from his spreadsheet. I did this without regard to card synergy and mana curve. Knowing nothing, I was lucky and went 9-3. After this lucky run, I wasn’t able to replicate the same success, and a few unsuccessful runs later, I realized that I needed to do more than just auto-pilot my way through the draft.

Eventually, I developed my own drafting strategy, which I call…

The Diligent Draft

For your first ten picks, follow ADWCTA’s Arena Tier List. After doing so, take a good look at the cards you’ve chosen.

  1. Do you have any removal?
  2. Do you have any efficient minions?
  3. What does your mana curve look like?

Choose your next ten cards, but assign greater value to cards that synergize well with the theme you observed from your first 10 cards. If you have a low mana curve:

If you have a balanced mana curve:

  • Continue drafting for highest value using the tier list.

If you have a high mana curve:

  • Start valuing lower cost minions a bit more. Having a bunch of Ironbark Protectors and big guys are meaningless if you’re dead by turn 8.
  • Also value cards that can accelerate your mana curve (Innervate/Wild Growth) a bit more so you can get your expensive minions out earlier.

Finally, choose your last ten cards, but focus on filling in gaps in your mana curve. Note that you should always choose a very good card over a poor card, even if the poor card fits better in your curve.

What’s a Mana Curve?


If the term “mana curve” is foreign to you, here’s a very simple explanation:

  • A mana curve is the number of cards you have at each mana slot. (1 mana, 2 mana, 3 mana, and so forth.)
  • A balanced mana curve will allow you to play a minion or spell on each turn.

If you are interested in learning more, Massan, a professional Hearthstone player and streamer has written an excellent arena guide on the subject here: Massan’s Arena Guide to Midrange Arena.

An Example Draft


To solidify your understanding of this process, let’s go through an actual arena draft that I did recently.

My choices will be italicized with a supplementary explanation.

0. Choose an Arena Class

  • I was given the choice between Rogue, Priest, and Warlock.
  • Given that Rogue is one of my main classes, I chose Rogue.

1. Mind Control Tech, Questing Adventurer, Abomination

  • Mind Control Tech was the best card of the lot. 3 mana for a 3/3 and the potential to steal one of your opponent’s creatures is a bargain.

2. Spellbreaker, Shieldbearer, Bluegill Warrior

  • Spellbreaker isn’t the strongest 4 drop, but the silence can be situationally useful. Picked this because the other two cards weren’t great.

3. Fen Creeper, Booty Bay BodyguardGoldshire Footman

  • Fen Creeper because my other two choices were awful. Booty Bay Bodyguard is considered a bad card because of its 4 health at 5 mana.

4. Argent Squire, Sinister StrikeMurloc Tidehunter

  • Again, pretty bad choices. I chose Argent Squire because the other two choices were strictly worse. Murloc Tidehunter doesn’t look too bad, but dies easily to hero powers from Rogue, Mage, and Druid. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence I favor these classes the most! They all have hero powers that can remove minions on their own.

5. Violet Teacher, Sunfury Protector, Coldlight Oracle

  • Violet Teacher is an amazing card if you have enough spells in your deck to generate tokens. Unfortunately, in arena you’re less likely to pickup that many spells. 4 mana for a 3/5 is still mana efficient, and every token you can generate on top of that is just icing on the cake.

6. Perdition's Blade, Coldlight Oracle, Ravenholdt Assassin

  • Finally, a great card! Perdition’s Blade is one of the best Rogue cards in arena. Being able to do up to four damage on the turn it comes out is just awesome.

7. Loot Hoarder, Shiv, Stonetusk Boar

  • While dying easily to a hero power, Loot Hoarder cycles itself, and it’s better than Shiv or Stonetusk Boar. Forcing your opponent to use his hero power inefficiently (i.e. on turn 3 to kill the Loot Hoarder, wasting him 1 mana) is good as well for your own tempo.

8. Loot Hoarder, Core Hound, Mogu'shan Warden

  • Loot Hoarder wins again. Core Hound is considered awful because of its 5 health at 7 mana, and Mogu’shan Warden is an expensive wall, that you really don’t want to play on turn 4 onto an empty board.

9. Worgen Infiltrator, Defias Ringleader, Priestess of Elune

  • This was a toss-up between the Worgen Infiltrator and the Defias Ringleader. Either would be solid picks. I went for the Worgen Infiltrator because it’s such a strong turn 1 play. The fact that it is stealthed prevents hero powers from killing it, and it prevents your opponent from keeping a 3/2 on turn 2.

10. Knife Juggler, Coldlight Seer, Blade Flurry

  • Knife Juggler is simply the best 2 mana neutral minion in arena. Auto-pick for me.

Break: At this point, I took a step back and analyzed the cards I chose. I noticed that my deck looked very early game-centric. I didn’t have any strong late game minions, but several efficient early game minions. With such a low mana curve, I decided that I would try to pick more expensive minions and card draw if they were available in my next 20 picks.

11. Deadly Poison, Faerie Dragon, Boulderfist Ogre

  • This was a difficult choice. I would love to have all three of these cards in my deck. In the end, I chose the Deadly Poison over the Boulderfist Ogre because a 3/2 Wicked Blade is such efficient early game removal, and a Deadly Poisoned Assassin’s Blade can win games by itself.

12. Razorfen Hunter, Wisp, Goldshire Footman

  • This was simply choosing Razorfen Hunter (an average card) over other terrible cards.

13. Abusive Sergeant, Nightblade, Priestess of Elune

  • Man, my mana curve is still so low! Given that Nightblade and Priestess of Elune aren’t mana efficient for their stats, I chose Abusive Sergeant. Abusive Sergeant also has a higher chance of being able to buff something as my deck has so many early game minions.

14. Worgen Infiltrator, Conceal, Silverback Patriarch

  • Another auto-pick of Worgen over various garbage.

15. Defias Ringleader, Stormpike Commando, Elven Archer

  • The first Defias Ringleader you choose will always be great. Every subsequent Ringleader is slightly worse, as there’s a probability you’ll get both in your hand at the same time. (Using a Ringleader to combo another Ringleader kind of sucks.) This is our first one, so it’s a good choice.

16. Acidic Swamp Ooze, Cold Blood, Novice Engineer

  • Ooze is just a great 2 drop that can potentially destroy a weapon.

17. Fan of Knives, Elven Archer, Mogu'shan Warden

  • I chose Fan of Knives here because it cycles itself for another card. Useful when you have such a low mana curve.

18. Acidic Swamp Ooze, Worgen Infiltrator, Sap

  • With two Worgens already, I went with the Ooze. Sap is good, but situational.

19. Fen Creeper, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Spellbreaker

  • Had to skip Ooze #3. Picked the Fen Creeper because I desperately need some semblance of a mid/late game.

20. Ancient Mage, Mana Wraith, Headcrack

  • All pretty awful cards, though Ancient Mage is the best of the bunch. The dream is to have a 4 damage Backstab, or 3 damage Fan of Knives.

Break: At Pick 20, I took a break and looked through my deck again. Unfortunately, besides the Boulderfist Ogre, I haven’t seen any other good late game cards. I really need card draw and some finishers.

21. Eviscerate, Southsea Deckhand, Assassin's Blade

  • All good Rogue cards. I chose Eviscerate because it’s the most flexible card of the lot, and 2 mana for a potential 4 damage is amazing. I wondered at this point whether I would be missing the Assassin’s Blade though.

22. Backstab, Sprint, Defias Ringleader

  • Also three cards I would love to have in my deck. Unfortunately I can only choose one. I desperately need Sprint, but I made a gamble that I would see another one (and you only really want to play a single Sprint due to its casting cost). Backstab is great for triggering combos too.

23. Oasis Snapjaw, Faerie Dragon, Silverback Patriarch

  • Faerie Dragon ranks higher than Oasis Snapjaw, but I needed 4 drops desperately.

24. Conceal, Wisp, Murloc Raider

  • Wow, these are all awful. I thought a while about choosing Wisp just to combo something, but then I realized I only had 3 cards I could combo with in my deck. With such low probability, I went with Conceal, which could potentially be useful.

25. Assassin's Blade, Sprint, Earthen Ring Farseer

  • I chose Assassin’s Blade because it was the best card, and I didn’t have one already. Honestly I would have taken every one of these if I could. Might have been a mistake because Sprint is so crucial for such a low-curve deck.

26. Amani Berserker, Elven Archer, Ironbeak Owl

  • Took the best card available. Spellbreaker already provides silence.

27. Oasis Snapjaw, Dragonling Mechanic, Shieldbearer

  • Oasis Snapjaw was the best of the worst.

28. Sprint, Fan of Knives, Vanish

  • Phew, I let out a sigh of relief. Finally got the Sprint that I needed.

29. Frost Elemental, Sprint, Flesheating Ghoul

  • Frost Elemental over the 2nd Sprint. Flesheating Ghoul is a bad turn 3 play onto an empty board.

30. Perdition's Blade, Coldlight Oracle, Angry Chicken

  • Took the 2nd Perdition’s Blade. Its low durability means that it’s less likely I’ll suffer if I have both in my hand at once.

Understanding Your Deck


Once you’ve finished your draft, you need to analyze your deck.

Keep close attention to your mana curve, late game minions, and removal cards. In very close games, the difference between winning and losing may be the knowledge that you have one more specific card (Flamestrike, Swipe, Polymorph, , etc.) in your deck that can turn things around. With this knowledge, you might choose to draw cards instead of playing more minions, drawing you the card you need to win. The more you understand your deck, the more likely you will pilot it to victory.

To make things more concrete, let’s use my Rogue draft as reference. The first thing I did after drafting my cards, was go on HearthHead.com. I created a new deck guide using their deck builder, and put in all the cards I drafted. After doing this, I found that I had 21 minions, 6 spells, and 3 weapons. With my deck list on hand, I asked myself a few questions:

1. What are the quality of the cards I have?

  • Having drafted Rogue many times, I looked at the cards I had and knew that this was a pretty bad draft. The Innkeeper consistently offered me poor options, and I was forced into many of my picks.

2. Do I have an early game?

  • Yes, and an extremely strong one. In fact most of my deck is consisted of 2 mana cards.

3. Do I have a mid-game?

  • Unfortunately, not really. My 4-6 mana minions are of fairly poor quality, and I don’t have enough spells to be able to use Violet Teacher‘s ability to generate tokens effectively. I really wish I could have drafted cards like Chillwind Yeti, Dark Iron Dwarf, or Sen'jin Shieldmasta to bolster my mid-game.

4. Do I have a late game?

  • Not at all. I only have one 6 mana minion, Frost Elemental, and he is quite weak.

5. What removal do I have, and how many of them?

6. How do I expect to win my games?

  • Having analyzed my deck to this point, I realized that the only way I could win was to kill my opponents before I ran out of steam.
  • If games dragged out long enough I would inevitably get destroyed by a board clear (Flamestrike, Consecration, etc), or by large minions my small minions and weak removal can’t deal with.

Post-Draft Analysis


After analyzing my deck, I estimated that I would only win 4 or 5 games. Surprisingly, this deck went 7-3! All 3 losses were to Mages with multiple Flamestrikes (the greatest weakness of my deck). In my 7 other games, I was able to pressure my opponents and kill them before they could get out their late game threats. Because I had an understanding of my deck’s strengths and weaknesses, I could determine what plays were optimal at the right time in the game.

One might ask why I chose this arena as an example over others that were more successful. The answer is because this deck overachieved. Choosing the best cards out of a poor draft pool, and piloting a below-average deck to 7 wins is more impressive than winning 12 games with a completely overpowered deck. The key to becoming a great arena player is to do as well as you can with the choices you’re given.

Beginner’s Guide to Arena: Winning Games


Be sure to check out the second part of this series on winning games, where I’ll teach you how to pilot your deck properly to maximize its win-potential!

https://hearthstoneplayers.com/beginners-guide-arena-winning-games/

Coaching Lessons


If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

Want to Become Better at Other Games?


I also run RankOneCoaching.com, where our top coaches will develop a personal plan for you to achieve your dreams in other games. Personal lessons are an in-depth experience and most students improve significantly after just one full session!

Enjoyed this article?



Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students reach the same goals.

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113 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. Zenchu says:

    I’m wondering how you played the deck? Since you have such low costs and no mid/endgame threat + just 1 sprint and no other way to draw cards, did you go pretty much all in, going to the face more than killing opponent’s minions? (except for really valuable ones)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ive been a bit unlucky with my first 2 tries but now im 5-2 and thats impressive for me 😛
    With really tied games though

  3. Anonymous says:

    this guide is insane, I went from being a three win player to being a 7 win player on average, the first run that I used this guide on, I went 12-1. I suggest not relying on the tier list on every call, sometimes you must decide, based off of what you have in your deck, but the tier list is a MUST HAVE

  4. Anonymous says:

    I used this guide, I am normally a three win arena player, but I am proud to say that I went 12-1 using this guide in arena, thanks.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hm. Before using your guide, I averaged around 3 wins. Using your guide, my average dropped below 1. Both with around 10 arena games played in each experimental group. When I went back to my own system, I actually went up to an average of around 4 now. I don’t really know what my issue is, since everyone else seems to be getting good results from your guide :-/ Just wanted to leave this here, as an outlier result perhaps : )

  6. Anonymous says:

    What do you think about drafting a face hunter 😀 ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    first time i got 7 wins. then it gots worse: every enemy I face counters my deck even with this guide. i never play arena anymore. this sucks.

  8. Anonymous says:

    all i did was skim this guide and I got to 7 wins. 3 more than i’ve gotten at my best!

  9. Anonymous says:

    First time using this guide and got 12 wins!!!

  10. Skanana says:

    Rogue is severely misplaced in a lot of ratings. If you get the right class cards and some high value low cost neutrals then Rogue is quite possibly the best at arena.

    A good Rogue deck can smash Mage through its ridiculous tempo, but if you get caught short on your picks Rogue is in league with Warrior. Low health class creatures, minimal card draw and a hero power that depends on power ups means if Rogue fails it plummets.

    People should know that while Rogue is potentially the best arena class it is a huge gamble at the moment, with a lack of late game and even mid game depending on synergy this is not a class to choose blindly because good players say it is one of the best.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Great guide, but why are the cards green, red or blue?

    • Sheng says:

      It’s the rarity type of the card. Red is Basic, Green is Common, and Blue is Rare.

      • Jimmy HSP says:

        Sheng’s correct. And to explain – we needed to come up with a color for Basic (since it had no gem color) and white text wouldn’t work for Commons. So we decided to use the color Green for Commons, a color from World of Wacraft for items a step below Rares (Blue).

  12. Deadshot says:

    Great guide, but my arenas are still genuinly awful. They are by far the most fun I have in hearthstone too bad I am so bad at them. Averaging 2/3 and with my abysmal 23% winrate with Paladin even this guide cant get me more than 2 wins with him.

  13. Mind says:

    Thx for the guide. Although it isnt the only one i read Im sure it contributed some to making 12 wins in my 9th ever arena (and some luck probably ^^)!

    • Sheng says:

      Wow, congrats on achieving the dream!

      • Mind says:

        Well so far its been a one time thing unfortunately (averaging only 5 wins for now); the deck below is what made 12. Could you help me find what the key strength in it was?

        2 drops: acidic, 2x haunted, mechwarper, snowchugger
        3 drops: jungle panther, kirin tor, tinkertown
        4 drops: dark iron dwarf, gnomish inv, goblin blastmage, 2x mech yeti, 2x sen’jin, twilight drake, water elemental
        6 drops: boulderfist, sunwalker
        7: war golem

        spells:
        2x flamecannon
        arcane intellect
        2x vaporize
        3x fireball
        2x flamestrike

        What I think was valuable was a lot of (cheap) damage from spells (flamecannon/fireball) and the mech synergy (warper with yeti/snowchugger, yet/chugger with blastmage and tinkertown. Could you help out?

        • Sheng says:

          You had a great curve, and really efficient minions at all points in the game. The three Fireballs were probably the MVP of the deck honestly. They just provide so much reach.

  14. Erathirea says:

    I just drafted a near perfect mage deck (2 HN, 3 PW:C, Temple Enforcer, Velen’s Chosen, Dark Cultist, 2 SW:D, SW: P, amongst others, solid mana curve, no gaps… lost 0-3. Clearly I’m just rubbish.

  15. Stan says:

    I picked mage and the draft phase offered me subpar spells such as Dragon Breath and Spellbender, no Flamestrikes or Fireballs, every other mage I faced has at least 2x flamestrikes, 2x fireballs, polymorphs
    I don’t understand how am I supposed to do anything in such conditions

  16. Sarah says:

    Wow! Thank you for this guide – I have always been a sore loser in the arena, not really knowing what I was doing wrong and finding it very hard to make a good deck. And now that I’ve read your guide, I’ve already won five times, and I’m not done yet. So, thank you. So much.

  17. saman says:

    thanks mate great guide <3 😀

  18. Anonymous says:

    good guide, it gives you a insight on what to think about when you pick card, what to look at and what to look for. I started here (with not so much win rate improvement but improvement in how to play with/against each class) and recently went up to 11-3 (so close!). I also manage to get 4+ in every class/every bad RNG card draft.
    I personally would add that for most of the classes its always more profit to pick a good high cost(5+) over a very good low cost minion(0-3) because a early curve get easily messed up by bad luck card draft (forcing you to take not so good or combo oriented low cost is devastating for rush, while deck with high cost can use it as fillers). Also after 5 wins its like 80% of the time mages and around 8-9 wins most mages have decent counter for rush deck until turn 7 (unless the rush deck really got good carddraft).

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much this guide provides so much information I never thought about before!

  20. Anonymous says:

    What about collecting minions that buff eachother, like mechs, murlocks or beasts? Wouldn’t this give you a bigger advantage going into the fight?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but you can never be sure that you will get good combinations in an arena draft, and it is even less likely that you will draw them at the right time during a match. Picking inferior cards with the hope that you’ll get to pick another card later that will balance things out won’t work out.

      TL;DR: You never know what options you’ll have in arena, so picking a card that requires you to pick another card later on is a bad idea.

    • Sheng says:

      In general, you don’t really draft for synergy, at least early in arena because you never know if you’ll end up with the necessary number of Beasts or Murlocs to make drafting a card that relies heavy on synergy worth it. With that said, I’ve coached a student to a 12-1 run before where we managed to play Murloc Tidehunter on turn 2 into Murloc Warleader. It was insane :)

  21. jecrump says:

    Ignore the haters who are just angry they can’t win even with good coaching. This is a good guide.

    • Sheng says:

      Thanks! I think most people that are angry on here are probably just a bit frustrated with their progress. Reading a guide won’t transform you into a great player overnight, it takes consistent and deliberate practice. Haha.

  22. Michael says:

    what are efficient and removal cards? i think i missed that….

    • Sheng says:

      Efficient removal cards, generally, will take care of minions that cost more than the casting cost of the spell.

  23. Marco van den Berg says:

    Hello Sheng. I really love your guide. It’s excellent! And a great help for new players – with sound strategy! There is just one thing you need to take into account. Just assume all players are of equal skill (or everybody would follow your guidelines ;), then everybody would have the same chances of getting reasonable decks (or good, or bad). Pure mathematically this would give every player only a 33% chance of scoring 4 or more wins out of 6 games. That means 67 % chance of not getting 4 wins or even losing before getting to 6 matches. Now I have been playing the game for a bit more then a year ( few months before Naxx came out) and I notice that at those days it was a lot easier to get 4+ (or 6+ wins). It seems now there are not only more players, but also more skilled players. For me it’s rare now to get 6+ vics (and a hard time getting 4+ vics at a rate of 2/5). So my statement would be, if you really manage to score an almost full 4+ wins account in arena runs (definitely after G&G with another host of players who are getting more experienced everyday), you are either extremely lucky drawing better then all opponents or playing against many players that are still developing their skills ;).Maybe it’s region based, but Europe is quite tough it seems. I would consider a 50% (4+) win in all arena games now an absolute brilliant achievement. (on the other hand, I do play only 2 – 3 arena runs a week though 😉
    Regards, Marco ( a maths teacher :) )

    • Emersizzle says:

      People may be getting better at drafting but are still not good at playing. I have averaged 6 or so wins over my last ten runs or so and I’m sure I annealing a lot of people who use tier lists. Simply put, playing the game is much more in depth than drafting. I think years of MTG has helped me; a new player might not understand things experienced players would see as obvious.

  24. Ty says:

    6 times now. I swear its impossible to get more than 3.

  25. Ty says:

    Tried this guide 5 times and the best I did was 2-3. I hate the arena.

  26. Gimlan says:

    I don’t think I have ever been as unlucky as I started this arena. My first two games I lost on the final draw before I would have won (they drew a charge, and a swipe to win). I was so excited with my deck. I had :

    Arcane Missiles
    Mirror Image
    Frostbolt x2
    Faerie Dragon
    Loot Hoarder
    Micro Machine
    Nerubian Egg
    Youthful Brewmaster
    Mirror Entity
    Big Game Hunter
    Dalaran Mage
    Harvest Golem x2
    Kirin Tor Mage
    Scarlet Crusader
    Fireball
    Polymorph
    Kezan Mystic
    Mechanical Yeti
    Piloted Shredder
    Sen’jin Shieldmaster
    Abomination
    Sludge Belcher x2
    Blizzard
    Argent Commander
    Flamestrike x2
    Stormwind Champion

    I ended up winning the next 4 games with ease, but I’m still dying inside over what could have been

  27. Esteban says:

    Got my first 11-3 after reading this guide, this is incredible!

  28. Hunter Williams says:

    You are awesome dude. I’ve been playing HearthStone for about a week. Went 1-3 in my first (free) Arena. Went 3-3 in my second after reading this (I played Mage as the class I was most familiar with of the options available, but I like Priest/Paladin much better). I am now 8-2 in my third Arena, and loving it.

    Thanks!

  29. Chad Kunsman says:

    Followed this guide meticulously. Previously I’ve gone 3-7 before but no better. The first time I followed this guide I got Paladin and went 0-3. *sigh*

    I think the methods are sound, but you cannot stop bad luck sometimes.

    • Chad Kunsman says:

      Next game, same thing. Deck looked even better. 1-3. And that first win was because the guy quit 2 turns in (disconnect). **SIGH**

  30. zendarin says:

    Thank you SO much for the guide. I started with this one and then went on to your recommended reading links. I have played for over a year and never made better than 3 wins in arena so I had given up. After studying everything you suggested I just got my first 8 win arena match.

  31. Anonymous says:

    This fucking guide sucks balls, no matter if you follow the tier list the fucking game pairs you with way better decks than you get from the tier list, when 0-3 and wasted 150 coins in the process

  32. Anonymous says:

    Very nice guide. It really helps to build an arena mentality when approaching deck construction. Stopping at around 10 and then 20 cards to really *look* at what you have so far was amazing advice. As was making the deck on the deck building site. Was very useful to get a feel for things before going in. My midgame rogue deck (as terrible as it is) is currently 5-0.

    Thanks a lot for helping me change my approach to arena:D

  33. Anonymous says:

    worst guide!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I thought this would be not that helpful, but I have played arena before and have only had at most 2 wins and now I am 3-0 after following this guide! Well done. I like the emphasis on the worth of the card based on the mana cost. I used this with a paladin and squeaked out some close games.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This guide sucks. The “tier list” is stupid and does nothing to actually construct a useful deck. All these expert players are doing with their “tier lists” is funneling lambs to the slaughter so they can get free packs.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to say, but it looks like you’re complaining that blindly following the tier lists doesn’t automatically win games for you.

      If so, the author literally says this in the article. Maybe you should try actually reading it.

    • Sheng says:

      As an expert player, even I consult tier lists to help me draft decks. I usually use Hearth Arena when I play because it helps me track the synergy between cards. It’s unfortunate, but over time it becomes harder for newer players to get into arena, because older players will always have the edge when it comes to overall game knowledge.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this guide. I just started playing hearthstone last week and still don’t know the strat/combo to look for when playing. After going 0-3 in my first arena i started looking for guides. Using what was shown on this guide i went 5-3 this morning in my second draft ever.

    Needless to say im a fan now and will be following more of your guides!

  37. Anonymous says:

    this guide made me do much worse in arena

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, I agree with you. Going with what you feel comfortable with beats any “this class is better” crap. Mage might be great in arena, but if you can’t play a mage, then it’s not so great anymore.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, being comfortable with a class is a significant factor.

        At the same time, maybe you should learn to feel comfortable with the better classes to maximize your chances.

  38. DeFerret says:

    Wonderful guide, and fantastically detailed example draft. Definitely helpful to those of us still trying to master the Arena.

    I have a question or two about your class rankings, though. Most of them make sense as of January 2015 (aka, post-GvG release and all); Mage still rules the Arena with its board clear and removal spells, with Paladin as a pretty solid second. The other end makes sense as well; Warlock just doesn’t have the same power in Arena as it does in Constructed, and Warrior is too conditional on *just* the right cards to be a top choice.

    But I’m curious about some of the middle rankings. In particular, I’m wondering how Hunter snagged the number 3 rank (or just the Above Average classification) when it is widely considered one of the worst classes for Arena, and you noted the need for Beast synergy for a decent Hunter deck. What’s your thoughts on Rexxar’s power in the Arena and why you think he can stand up there with Anduin and Uther as Above Average. (I get the Priest boost; there are some pretty impressive cards in the Priest collection now, but Hunter just doesn’t seem to have the same power.)

    Similarly, I’m wondering why Shaman got bumped down to Average. I’m not sure what new cards are doing enough to justify that sort of decrease, and I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    All of this is not to say that I disagree with your rankings or what have you; I don’t play nearly enough Arena to come up with my scores about the relative power of each class. I’m just curious to hear a bit more about what you think on the matter.

    • Sheng says:

      Thanks, and sorry for the super late reply. At the time, Hunter was quite strong because weapons like Glaivezooka were super-useful for establishing control on the board early. Oftentimes you didn’t even need Beast or Mech synergy at all because you just needed to get on the board early, be either even or ahead towards mid to late game and then use your hero power to finish games.

      Shaman got quite a bit weaker because of its variable removal. With a larger card pool, it becomes much harder to draft much needed Lightning Storms, and the new 4 health minions at the 3 mana slot made Lightning Bolt less valuable than before. In general, Deathrattle and 4 health minions made it harder for Shaman to jockey for control of the board with removal, and without the board, Shaman really can’t do much.

      In general, you can see up to date class rankings at http://www.heartharena.com/tierlist. Just check out the FAQ section. They update it quite frequently :)

  39. Angga Reza says:

    This is one of the BEST guide I’ve ever read about Arena. Step by step, very easy to follow guide i’ve been looking for. Many of the guide i came across states only the general rule but never taking into account that most of us reading the guide simply cannot understand a simple and general rule of “board control”

    In this guide you kindly explain the “what”, “why” and “how” to get it. Not many guide does this. Very patient and i am sure you put a lot of time and mind into this. You may stating the obvious here, but bear in mind, we beginners do need to be tought about the obvious stuffs in hearthstone. We simply overlook it many times.

    Looking forward for other great guides like this from you. Please do me a favour, tell the other hearthstoneplayers contributor to make great guide like this

    Kudos!!

  40. Pixstrad J. says:

    THANK YOU for this guide. Before reading and following this I’d constantly go 1-3 or even 0-3 in arenas. I’m playing now and I’m 3-1 so far. You’re the best!

    • Sheng says:

      Aww, you guys are the best. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have anyone to write for. Really happy you’re doing better now in arena.

  41. Since I’ve read your guide I only went below 3 wins once, and recently I had arena runs with 7, 8 and then 9 wins! Your formula works perfectly. I’ll reach 12 wins in an arena run soon, I’m sure about that. Thanks man!

  42. Retnuhen says:

    Great guide and thanks for the link to the card values. I had not gotten more than than 4 wins and my first time out after reading this and using the card values I am at 10 and 1 so far. Perhaps I can make it to 12.

  43. Kannyn says:

    Wow, I’ve been about even at the Arena, then tried your advice and immediately went 10-3 with a Priest deck. Got a lot of concedes with Kel’Thuzad, hehehe. Thanks for the tips.

  44. hatersweargreen says:

    i think the sheer bomb potential of the priest (mind control; even at ten mana it will make its mana back, effectively removing unconditionally an opponent’s threat and giving you one of your own) might put him a lil higher than worst. my only two 9-3 runs were with anduin and 2 mind controls. I certainly can’t argue with the mage and rogue being great, though… rogue being great was counter-intuitive to me at first but you explained it very well. I want to try her soon in an arena.

    I feel like hunter and shaman are both high variance choices… they both have multiple-for-one kill spells but you certainly aren’t guaranteed to get them… at least in my (limited!) experience. For whatever reason i always see a mind control with anduin.

    thanks for the well-written guide and gl in the arena, and in the MTG that i assume you play also ^____^

  45. Rasmus says:

    Thanks for the guide. I think it realy helpt me getting into drafting an arena deck.
    I am not use to play arena, so i will not go in wasting gold on it.
    Using an arena simulater and this guide i got this deck: http://www.hearthhead.com/arena=11/druid#Aok2qQseSpQlgyQdYSI2DBAe_nBn6ZBtAMIV3tIb03NnBXMfvaEvNEEIWtBv-zIde6NEvdEJCkMEl0ZH92ExGoQNfeEPRbAnljYd46NBQ5A92dMZkgJxeXUJW6VVMRQe1LInuGEkYhYkoHIz8jILNyMphNAMg6Q59wFxzWAxQEBHrwAws4AsWaJVGREe

    Is it a good deck or do you think i need to lean more before entering the arena

    • Sheng says:

      Hey Rasmus, the deck looks pretty good! You have an ideal mana curve, and drafted very good spells and minions. You should definitely try out arena, if you haven’t already done so.

  46. Chelsea M. says:

    Thanks for this! Only thing – Trumps tier deck has no hunter, and none of the nax cards =/

  47. Theonox says:

    Here’s a link to a google sheet I made with the best Arena card picks: A, B, C and D correspond to the Best, Excellent, Good and Average ratings provided by the liquidhearth link in this article. Open the link on your phone so you can use your computer to pick cards in the Arena!

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZCjCt1NQIECPa48e5NEMjxcBMH7ftreTVbIgdO3EPRE/edit?usp=sharing

    Each of the top 5 classes mentioned in this article is on a separate tab. Cards are categorized by rarity, then alphabetically. If a card doesn’t appear on the list, it either had a low rating or has been added since the google sheet was made.

  48. twflash says:

    Not agree with the Shaman and Paladin “good” rated. I arena, better choose classes that affect PV directly and got the most powerfull common cards : Mage is the best. Next, Hunter and Priest. Finaly, in the order, Warlock, Thief, Shaman, Warrior and Druid.

    Shaman good deck needs a few cards to be competitive. If you dont draw them, you’re screwed. That’s not the case with Hunter or mage…

  49. Ben lei says:

    Hey Sheng – thanks for the great article! I’ve decided to start another arena armed with this knowledge and am stumped by my 14th pick: water elemental, fireball, or flamestrike.

    Here’s what I’ve drafted so far:
    arcane missiles
    frostbolt
    amani berserker
    haunted creeper
    counterspell
    harvest golem
    scarlet crusader
    fireball x2
    polymoprh
    argent commander
    flamestrike x2
    stormwind champion

    I feel like flamestrike is so strong that a 3rd one wouldn’t hurt. But Fireball is also pretty good, and is cheaper. Water elemental on the other hand,is a really strong 4 drop, and at the moment I don’t have any 4-drop minions. Since my curve is still fairly balanced, I’m not sure which one is really the best one.

    What’s your recommendation?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Sheng says:

      Wow, nice draft so far! Every Flamestrike after the first is diminishing returns. I think 2 is perfect up to a maximum of 3… You don’t want to clog your hand early. In this case I would take Water Elemental; arguably the best 4 drop in the game. You should take as many of those as you can, especially since you already have 2 Fireballs and 2 Flamestrikes.

      • Ben lei says:

        Alright! thanks again for the recommendation!

        • Sheng says:

          No problem! Let us know how your run goes!

          • Ben lei says:

            I ended up going 4-3. At least I got 3 games, but I was a bit more optimistic given the cards I had drafted. I lost my first game due to a freeze in the game itself. The second was against a shaman with flametongue totems, for which flamestrike never came. And my final game was against a priest with double shadow madness, plenty of shadow words, and even a mind control. I shall trudge on!

            here’s the final deck:
            http://www.hearthhead.com/deck=71213/mage-1

  50. Stru says:

    I am 1-12 in the Arena right now. I feel like I’ve wasted so much money on absolute bullshit. I’ve gotten swept with the Mage three times, and ironically my only win was with the priest. Idk what I’m doing wrong seeing as how I probably have at least a 75% win percentage in Play Mode. These random decks are really fucking me sideways, and the cards I’m offered vs. the cards I actually draw in-game are complete buns to what my opponents get.

    Hoping this guide will help me somewhat, but who knows with my luck -.-

    • Stru says:

      Just went 0-3 with the Rogue after using your guide and the Tier List as well. I was getting absolutely annihilated by everyone I faced. They were using combos I would’ve never even known existed. Well, it looks like I’m done with the Arena.

      • Scyrus says:

        Sounds like you need to do more research on what works in Arena besides just this guide. There is some really good info out there on YouTube.

  51. Fourak says:

    Awesome. I am deeply grateful. Normally I was doing an average 3´5 wins per run with my raw knowledge. After following this guide to the letter in my first run I just did 5-0 then I lost one match… now Im at 7-1 and stopping to thank you a lot. Keep up the good work.

    • Sheng says:

      Thanks for sharing. Glad you’re doing better in arena. Let us know how your run goes!

  52. Woosier says:

    This is the best, most comprehensive guide that I’ve come across and it’s helped me sooo much. My win rate has doubled and my whole outlook on the arena has changed. Awesome, 10/10…would buy again (reposted from part 1)

  53. Ryuu says:

    I posted on the 2nd part but I’ll do it here too.

    10/10 guide for someone new like me who never gets more than 4 wins. My problem wasn’t just draft, general knowledge, mana cost, efficient mana, mana curve, stages, strong points, weak points, strategy …. as far I was playing without all of that maybe just with “decent draft”.

    I envy all new players you coach but at least we’ve this awesome guide saving our cursed souls.

    • Sheng says:

      Thanks again! If you’re interested in coaching, send me a PM on Reddit and we can set something up.

      /u/shengster

      • Ryuu says:

        Ok, I’ll do it.

        I played 2 runs and I get out of gold right now to keep playing. The first I was 3-0 and for some reason my luck don’t know where it goes, my first hand and draw in general was awful and for that I lost the early game and gg, the same think for the other 2 games, 3 loss strike after 3-0.

        On my last run I was 4-0 doing very well, and same thing as before. Worst first hand even with the re-roll, lost every early game and again 3 loss streak, 4-3.

        I’m really mad right now, 3 loss streak on my 2 runs after being undefeated so far.

        They draw always the right card for deal with my situation, every game of that 6 loss, for me was a replay over and over of the same game but on 6 different games. I don’t think that luck is very important here, maybe some? but that people who play against me …. 100% luck in every way, I put them all to the wall and with the draw they deal with me just with that draw 3 or 4 times when I was winning.

        And my luck? don’t know. My deck with 2 flamestrike and on 6 loss never see it on my hand, that’s unlucky.

        Sadly that’s not all, on my last game I loss for 1 single damage, he win with 1hp. I had 2 flamestrike as well and never shows up for deal 1 single damage. The game want to kick me out of arena twice after a simple 3 or 4 win streak.

        • Sheng says:

          Ah, don’t get too down. There’s a lot of variance in arena, and it’s very difficult to overcome an expensive opening hand. As you win more games in arena, you get matched up with better players, and typically better decks. Most people hit a wall after they win their first few games.

          It might be useful to record your arena sessions and play them back at a later date to see what you could have done better. Hindsight in these situations is very useful.

          If it’s any consolation, you should have earned back your arena ticket’s value by winning 3 games alone.

    • Ryuu says:

      I forgot something to say.

      The after-10 and after 20 break was 100% useful to me, before I just draft what I thinkg was good but not filling the gaps, too late game?, too early game? focus another stuff even if another cards is more value (not eveytime but sometimes).

      Thanks again for everything!

  54. Rorshach says:

    Thanks so much! I managed to draft this deck with your help! How should I play it, any tips?
    I’ve gone 7-8 wins before with mage and paladin, and I’m hoping to beat that with this deck. What do you think?
    http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/79423-arena-mage-1

    • Sheng says:

      Hey Rorshach, good timing! I just published a guide on Arena play today:

      https://hearthstoneplayers.com/beginners-guide-arena-winning-games/

      I think you did a great job drafting a midrange deck. The mana curve is good, so you should have no problem dropping minions early on in the game. You should try to save your Crazed Alchemist and Mind Control Tech for when you can utilize their battlecries positively. This means that if you get them in your opening hand, and you have other 2 or 3 drops already, you should throw them back.

      Early on you should be trying to put pressure on your opponent, so Arcane Intellect or Spellbender on turn 3 would be quite weak. You’ll want to play these later in the game when they’ll be more useful.

      It’ll also be good to remember that you have 1 Frostbolt, 3 Fireballs, and 2 Flamestrikes, as later in the game, knowing exactly how many of your burn spells you’ve used can be key.

      • Rorshach says:

        Thanks! Got a few wins already by pressuring early game and then waiting on the top deck burn spells, so many thanks for the advice!

  55. Sanjot says:

    Hey Sheng, what are your thoughts on each of the classes on a ranked/casual basis? And which of the classes would you recommend to beginners in that regard?

    • Sheng says:

      On ranked/casual any class can be relevant. It really depends on what class you enjoy playing most, and which class cards you own.

      With that said, Mage is a good place to start if you don’t have any cards. I believe it has the best Basic cards. I’ll be working on a series soon that will go through starter decks for each class, so stay tuned!

  56. Thanks for this, I’m very interested in improving my arena game and it’s great to see your thought processes. I also prefer guides 10x more than watching hours of streams, so kudos to you for writing one.

  57. Kruul says:

    Great guide! I won’t say I’m a pro player, but I’ve been playing since the initial beta so I consider myself above average, but I even learned a few things from this. Your guide gave me a few things I’ll definitely be considering when I make my next Arena draft. I wish I could go start an Arena now. Sadly, the game is offline for “scheduled maintenance” so I gotta wait a few hours. :(

  58. Nykyrr Krygyrr says:

    Good guide Sheng – I particularly enjoy the explanation of the rationale behind selecting some over others.

    One thing – I don’t understand the colour formatting system you’ve gone for in the draft options section?

    • Sheng says:

      Thanks! The colors denote the rarity of the card. Red is Basic, Green is Uncommon, Purple is Epic, and Gold is Legendary.

  59. Anonymous says:

    great guide thanks bro