We have another “Why you should try:” article for you this week from Team Rankstar in partnership with Inked Gaming. This week we will be talking about a game you have probably heard of once or twice before: Hearthstone. I am Tyrant, the current Hearthstone team captain for Team Rankstar and an active competitor in the Esports scene.
Starting off with that statement like that it shows I’m a little biased towards Hearthstone. It’s been my primary focus for entertainment, creativity, and competition for over 5 years now. That’s not where I started with CCGs, however. I was an avid Magic: The Gathering player for over a decade and played at a competitive level. I was skeptical when I picked up Hearthstone then, and it was the best thing I have done in my gaming career. Today I’m going to talk to you about why Hearthstone is still the most popular digital card game out there to this day and why you should give it a try, even with all the competition that has emerged in recent years. With that said, let’s dive in.
Why you should try Hearthstone: A game that is easy to learn but hard to master
Hearthstone’s design is brilliant because it walks the line at being easy (for a card game) to follow and learn as a beginner, while also having, in my experience, the highest skill cap of any card game available. Hearthstone’s design focuses on being available on the mobile market (which I’ll touch on later), but because of this they made sure that the game is easy to pick up. Limiting minions available on the board at a time and only being able to play cards on your turn simplifies the game mechanics and makes it a much easier game to pick up and enjoy. One thing that always stuck with me is how many people who never played a card game before downloaded and fell in love with Hearthstone. This isn’t just a card game for card game players, this is a card game for everyone, and it showed.
On the flip side, the seemingly simplistic design can be a turn off for some expert card slingers. As a magic player for over a decade, not having a way to play spells on my opponent’s turn was annoying. Then I learned how to use that to my advantage. Anticipating plays is crucial in Hearthstone. Knowing breakpoints for everything that can be done by your opponent creates a laundry list of situations, and you have 90 seconds to find the optimal line. Hearthstone rewards you for card knowledge like few other games do. In most other card games, you can read the card then respond if you want to, but Hearthstone at a high level forces you to anticipate plays and create the most advantageous situation for that scenario. Hearthstone is one of the easiest card games to learn the basics of and get started, while also always having ways to improve and gain a competitive edge within the game.
Accessibility: Don’t you guys have phones?
Hearthstone isn’t the only card game available on the mobile market anymore, but it is certainly the most polished and well designed for that platform. Being able to reach in my pocket and play a quick game of Hearthstone is one of the most endearing parts of the game. Everything looks clear, and it doesn’t feel like a forced port from PC. The average game in Hearthstone is also fairly short (as long as you stay away from warrior), so if you have a 10-15-minute bus ride getting a game in on your commute is an easy task. Like most digital card games, Hearthstone is free to play and has a limited game mode called Arena. So, you can start playing without investing, and it’s a great way to learn the basics about tempo and board control within the game.
Another beneficial aspect to newer players, or inconsistent players, is the concept of an evergreen set. Like most card games that have been around for a while, Hearthstone has a rotation system for their standard format. However, the original classic and basic cards are ALWAYS available for competitive play. These cards tend to really define each of the classes’ identity, and as a bonus you will always have these cards available to you, even if it’s your first time back in years.