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William Tanner
Managing Editor

Entering into its first official ranked season, Hearthstone, the newest game from Blizzard is taking over the free-to-play scene. With new cards, game modes and an ever-expanding universe to pull from, Blizzard’s masterpiece has something for everyone.

Based on characters and creatures from their legendary Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) “World of Warcraft,” Blizzard’s newest spin-off is a card game. On average, games last 5 minutes. Relatively fast paced game play and quick turnarounds can make the game the best or the most frustrating thing ever.

Players select decks based on a hero. There are nine different heroes: Jaina the mage, Malfurion the druid, Uther the Paladin, Thrall the shaman, Gul’dan the warlock, Garrosh the warrior, Anduin the priest, Valeera the Rogue and Rexxar the hunter. Heroes are unlocked by beating the AI in practice mode.

The Heroes have their own strengths and powers. By playing as each hero you can unlock cards. Cards can then be immediately added by using the deck creator. Beginners should wait on crafting until they have a good feel for the game.

It has been suggested that the best thing to do is to play to level ten for each hero before getting into deck building. While that works for some people, that wasn’t a choice for me. After my second level up with the mage, I created a custom deck based on spell control and aggression that I still use today.

Basic decks are provided and they work out pretty well. One of the top Hearthstone players, Trump, has proven how effective basic decks and free to play cards are by going to the legendary rank on a few occasions.

Chances are that at first you will not hit legendary, but with persistence and practice, the game lends itself to making quick but calculated decisions.

Winning matches builds up quest wins. These can prove to be difficult, but are not impossible.

Quest wins provide gold allowing you to quickly unlock card packs. Each pack, 100 gold, contains five cards, one of which is guaranteed to be a rare.

Once you get a good feel for the game there are two more modes for you to explore. Arena mode is probably the most fun, but it comes at a cost of 150 gold.

Your first entry is free. This is where you get the chance to just have fun and mess around while gaining prizes for winning. Arena is all about building decks. You only have a short time to choose between three cards until your deck of 30 cards is full.

Once your deck is full, you now battle against other players in an attempt to get 12 wins. You have three losses before your prize key is locked in. Prizes can include dust used for crafting cards, card packs and gold.

Currently the final game mode is ranked play. It’s just like normal and AI games except stars are on the line.

You start out at rank 25 and each win gains you a star. At lower levels stars are not lost, but once you hit rank 20 stars can be lost. Winning streaks allow for more stars to be gained in a quick amount of time.

If you want something that will take up your free time but wont cost you anything, unless you feel like paying for extra card packs, or extra arena entries. Charge head-first into this game. Leeeeeeroy Jennnnnnnkins!

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