Hearthstone Revamped Apprentice Track Experience – Guide For New Players To Make The Most of It

Hearthstone is now easier to start than ever! Blizzard revamped the new player experience in patch 28.2 and the start of the game is now smooth, pleasant, and fast. I played through the new Apprentice Track, and in less than four hours I was on the main ladder, equipped with six loaner decks and two competitive pre-made decks that were given to me early in the game. I also had hundreds of cards in my collection, all without spending a penny. This is the start new players have deserved for years, and it is finally here!

In this article, I will review the contents of the new Apprentice Track and give you some helpful tips to avoid the few remaining pitfalls and get the best possible start on your path in Hearthstone.

The Apprentice Track

New players are not thrown to the wolves right away. You start the game in a protected Apprentice Track, where you will get rewards after almost every game, win or lose. You will also face many computer opponents at the start, before facing other new players, and finally graduating to the main ladder. Curiously enough, I started facing some Blizzard bots again when I entered the main ladder, so the difficulty curve took a step downward at that point. But you will meet the top meta decks soon enough! But fear not, because, with the rewards you get from the Apprentice Track, you will have the tools to face them.

The Apprentice Track will provide you with:

  • 650 Gold
  • 13 Standard Packs
  • 5 Showdown in the Badlands Packs (from Tavern Guide quests)
  • 2 Catch-Up Packs
  • 2 Pre-made decks
  • 1 Tavern ticket

You will also unlock all classes and get starter decks for each, but those starter decks that comprise free cards are not worth much if anything.

A more useful unlock is access to Tavern Brawl, which will give you one free pack each week.

When you reach the main ladder, you will also get two more Catch-Up Packs and a quest chain to get another three Catch-Up Packs, for a total of seven Catch-Up Packs for a new player. You will also get six loaner decks for one week, after which you get to pick one to add to your permanent collection.

Choosing Your Pre-Made Decks – Deck 1

The pre-made decks provide roughly equal value in terms of their card rarity, but they are very different in their power level.

In your first choice, you will choose between a Deathrattle Druid deck called Drums and Deathrattles, an Arcane Hunter deck called Titanic Traps, and an Automaton Priest deck called Astral Array.

The Druid deck is a slow deck with big minions. It aims to use its Deathrattle effects multiple times thanks to Hedge Maze to summon many major threats late in the game. It includes the Legendary cards ColaqueSesselie of the Fae Court, and Neptulon the Tidehunter. Neptulon is the only meta Legendary out of this bunch, and the deck is not very competitive overall. The Druid class Legendary cards from this deck do not see play in the main current Druid decks, and it does not have the tools to really compete in the current meta.

The Priest deck is an Automaton Priest. It aims to play, copy, and resurrect Astral Automatons that grow in size the more copies of it are summoned throughout the game. Some of the Legendary cards from the deck are available for free, but it does include Ini StormcoilRa-den, and Aman'Thul. Ini and Aman’Thul see competitive play, Ini in various Mech decks, and Aman’Thul in practically all Priest decks. Performance-wise, the deck is mediocre at best, but it is much better than the Druid deck. Ini will also be offered in the Rogue deck in the second phase, so if you want to pick that one, you may want to avoid this one.

The Hunter deck is a strange match to the other two. It is a fully meta Arcane Hunter deck that can be played all the way to Legend ranks on the ladder! The deck can be aggressive, but it can also take things a little slower by buffing its Arcane spells and unleashing them later on for a devastating effect. It provides two top-tier Legendary Hunter cards, Halduron Brightwing (only used in Arcane Hunter) and Aggramar, the Avenger (used in almost all Hunter decks). Curiously enough, the same deck is also one of the six loaner decks you will be offered later, so you will have another chance to pick it up once you move on to the main ladder.

Overall, I would recommend the Hunter deck as it is a fully capable meta deck. The Priest deck is an interesting alternative if you prefer the slower pace of the Priest class. The fact that it gives you Aman'Thul is a major bonus. The Druid deck is far behind the other two in performance and in the use value of its individual parts.

Choosing Your Pre-Made Decks – Deck 2

In your second choice, you will choose between a Rainbow Mage deck called Elemental Creations, a Mech Rogue deck called Mimiron’s Machinations, and a Big Demon Hunter deck called Brutal Demons.

The Mage deck is a meta Rainbow Mage from the last expansion. The deck aims to play a variety of spell schools to power up Sif for a powerful damage burst from hand. It can also go for a board-based win after playing several different spell schools thanks to Elemental Inspiration. The archetype got some minor improvements in Showdown in the Badlands, but the old list remains playable. It will be very easy to upgrade to a fully Legend-capable meta deck as well, although the deck was just slightly nerfed and its future potential is a little unclear right now. The deck includes the Legendary card Sif and Norgannon, both mainstream meta Legendary cards for Mage.

The Rogue deck is also a meta deck from the last expansion, a Mech Rogue. The deck builds a rapidly snowballing threat of growing Mechs and overwhelms the opponent. The deck includes three Legendary cards: Mimiron, the MastermindIni Stormcoil, and V-07-TR-0N Prime. It is notable that Ini is offered both in the Priest deck in the first choice and this Rogue deck, so you probably do not want to pick them both to avoid duplicates. The current meta Mech Rogue uses two Legendary cards that are not provided here, Neptulon the Tidehunter (which you could get from the Druid deck in the first pick, but it is unlikely to be worth it) and Crabatoa. Without those cards, the deck is weaker, but it is still a playable deck throughout the ladder.

The Demon Hunter deck is the strangest of these three. It was a niche meta deck in the last expansion and cannot reach a 50% win rate in the current ladder. It is a Big Demon Hunter deck that aims to summon and resurrect big Demons. It provides two Legendary cards, Felerin, the Forgotten and Xhilag of the Abyss. Both of them are fine cards, but neither has a good deck to shine in at the moment.

The Demon Hunter deck is weaker than the other two, so it mostly comes down to whether you want to choose board-based aggression with Rogue or a slower combo style with Mage.

Making the Most Out of Your Packs and Gold

There are some important things you need to know about card packs and card legality in Hearthstone.

First of all, the Standard format uses cards from the current year and the previous year. It rotates when the first expansion of a year is launched. It is now December 2023, so this is the final expansion during which cards from 2022 will be playable in Standard. When the first expansion of 2024 launches (usually April, but expected in March this time), cards from 2022 will no longer be playable in the Standard format. The expansions from 2022 are Voyage to the Sunken City, Murder at Castle Nathria, and March of the Lich King. The expansions from 2023 are Festival of Legends, TITANS, and Showdown in the Badlands. Cards from the latter three will be more valuable in the long term, although you will also need cards from the first three to compete right now.

Second, you are guaranteed to get a Legendary card within the first 10 packs you open from each expansion. This means that it makes sense to get 10 packs (or less, you can open them one by one until you get a Legendary) of all current expansions to get those valuable Legendary cards.

Third, you will get the previous login reward Legendary cards from each expansion when you go to open your first pack of the expansion. This will give you several good Legendary cards, all you need to do is to buy one pack of each set from the store with your Gold:

Finally, Catch-Up Packs become worse the more cards you have opened from their expansions. The current Catch-Up Packs contain cards from the previous five expansions, but not from Showdown in the Badlands. Therefore, you should try to open your Catch-Up Packs before you open multiple packs from any of the other Standard expansions except for Showdown in the Badlands. You should also not open your Standard Packs until you have opened your Catch-Up Packs!

The optimal way to spend your starting Gold and Packs is as follows:

  1. You can open your Showdown in the Badlands Packs at any time.
  2. Buy and open one pack from each Standard expansion previous to Showdown in the Badlands: Voyage to the Sunken City, Murder at Castle Nathria, March of the Lich King, Festival of Legends, and TITANS. This will give you the opening bonuses for each expansion without affecting your Catch-Up Packs.
  3. Open your Catch-Up Packs, including the ones you get from reaching the main ladder. You should get seven such packs overall. You can open them as soon as you get them.
  4. Open your Standard packs.
  5. Buy and open packs from all current Standard expansions one by one until you open a Legendary from each set, unless you already got one from your first packs of those expansions.

You Are Ready for Ladder! Or Are You?

After completing the new player experience and getting the Catch-Up Packs from the main ladder, my collection is as follows:

  • 16 craftable Legendary cards (and all the uncraftable bonus ones mentioned above!)
  • 21 craftable Epic cards
  • 120 craftable Rare cards
  • Hundreds of craftable common cards

That’s a lot of cards!

However, I am still missing a lot of cards, too. I am still missing roughly half of all Standard-legal common cards, and the majority of Rare cards. My Epic card collection is particularly poor, even worse than my Legendary card collection thanks to the bonus uncraftable Legendary cards.

So, no, Hearthstone has not miraculously turned into a completely free-to-play game with no effort required. The basic model of selling you random card packs still exists.

And yet, this is a far easier start than has ever been possible in Hearthstone before. I have a couple of meta decks that I can play, all the way to Legend if I have the time and the skills. I have 1610 Dust, so I can craft a bit of something to upgrade another deck to a competitive state. I can actually play the real game starting from my first day instead of being completely starved for resources and forced to compete with inferior tools.

Hearthstone is often described as pay-to-have-variety, or a little less favorably, pay-to-have-fun, instead of pay-to-win. But you would have struggled to put your first competitive deck together before the revamp. Yeah, it was doable with moderate effort, but it was not instant without ruining the long-term economy of your account. Now, you can have a couple of competitive decks right at the start. You will still need to grind or pay to get more variety, but this is a major improvement. And that’s why this is the best time there has been in years to start playing Hearthstone.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

Leave a Reply


  1. BIackBear
    December 11, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    Can you access this rewards path even if you’re past apprentice?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      December 14, 2023 at 7:04 am

      Sorry for a late reply. If you’re already past apprentice ranks there’s no way to go back to them.