Hearthstone is essentially a digital version of a collectible card game and as such, cards are used to represent almost all aspects of the game and not only the cards in your hand. Spells, effects, summoned minions. etc. are also represented with cards even though they can not be collected or put in your deck the same way as the "regular" cards can.
The underlying rule set of Hearthstone is pretty simple: You start with a hero, the hero's hero power and three (regular) cards. A coin is tossed to determine which one of the players get to start and the player that goes second, gets an extra card, namely The Coin, in order to compensate for the disadvantage of going second. At the beginning of each turn, the player draws one card and can play as many cards as the player likes, as long as the player has enough mana. Cards cost mana to play and every player starts with one mana, while adding one additional mana each turn to a total of ten mana, which refills after each turn. The maximum amount of cards in the player's hand is ten and the maximum amount of minions is seven for each player. The one whose hero's Health reaches zero first, has lost the game. The various cards add or detract from the options each player has at the outset. Cards can, for instance, allow the player to draw extra cards or inhibit the other player in specific ways.
Cards have several categories that they fall into:
- Class: Certain cards can only be used by a certain class, in which case they're class-specific and fall into the category corresponding to their class. Neutral cards can be used by any class.
- Type: There are several types of cards:
- Hero: Heroes are represented by cards and they, in turn, represent the class you wish to play.
- Hero Power: Hero powers are unique powers for every hero. They cost 2 Mana and refresh after each turn.
- Minions: These are creatures that go on the play board.
- Spells: These are cards that have a one-time effect which is immediately resolved upon the playing of the card.
- Secret: These are specific type of spell cards that are played, but which are not resolved until a special event happens. The effect of the card is hidden to the opposing player until it triggers, although the opponent will know that there is a secret in play.
- Weapon: These are cards that allow the hero to gain Attack. They have durability, which is reduced by one each time the hero attacks. A weapon is destroyed once its durability reaches zero.
- Subtype: Subtypes are Minion categories that generally have synergies within its type (example Murloc Tidecaller). Currently, there are seven subtypes (Beast, Dragon, Demon, Mech, Murloc, Pirate and Totem), but more could be added in future expansions.
- Rarity: Rarity determines the crafting cost, disenchant value and is used in determining the probability of cards of a certain value appearing in Card Packs. Only in-game mechanical effect of rarity is that Legendary cards are limited to one copy per deck instead of the normal two copies.
- Card Set: Card Sets are categories for the type of use or method of acquisition of a card. Basic and Expert cards can be obtained through unlocking or opening card sets, while Reward and Promo cards have to be obtained through fulfilling special conditions, in-game or out-of-game, respectively. For the sake of clarity, the community has chosen to categorise certain unobtainable cards in their own categories, such as Mission, Cheat or Debug, although Hearthstone itself remains ambiguous to the existence of these categories.
Rarity vs Card Set
The categories for Rarity and Card Set can easily be confused because all Free cards are Basic and because the player will most likely earn his or her first Common card before having unlocked all the Free cards. The following tables might help to clear some of the confusion:
Rarity vs Card Sets
|Rarity||can be found in sets|
|Legendary||Classic, Reward, Promo|
Card Sets vs Rarity
|Card Set||consists of cards of rarity|
|Classic||Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary|
|Mission||Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary|
Cards also have a golden version. However, in terms of gameplay, the golden version are identical to their non-golden counterparts and the only difference is the way they look: Golden cards are golden and have fancier animations. Golden versions can be crafted (and disenchanted) for higher amounts of Arcane Dust than the normal version and the golden versions of the Class-specific Free cards can be unlocked by leveling the hero beyond level 10.
|Rarity||Normal version||Golden version|
|Rarity||Normal version||Golden version|