Hearthstone Top Decks F2P BTW Challenge: Week 1 Update

Week 1 of the Hearthstone Top Decks F2P BTW Challenge is in the books! Here, you see my end of week rank, keep up with my current decklist and get a sense of how I spent my time, gold, and arcane dust for the first week.

End of Week 1 Rank

Rank 12


Current Deck List

I will continue to update my decklist as I gather new cards and record any changes during the challenge. You can see my current build below:

Week 1 Summary

Week 1 consisted of a bit more housekeeping that I had hoped. While tutorials and single player content are great for new players first getting acquainted with Hearthstone, I found them a bit tedious. Personally, I would have liked to have skipped some of the content explanation grind and jumped straight into the content acquisition grind. Once the early stages were behind me, however, I was able to reach the goal I had set for the week faster than anticipated. The speed in which I surpassed Rank 15 is somewhat deceptive, however, as there were certainly a handful of speed-bumps along the way.


As is the case with all new players, I was thrown into the tutorial before getting access to cards of my own. Essentially, the Hearthstone tutorial consists of six boss fights of increasing difficulty in which a game mechanics are slowly released to the player. Each of these matches lasts a couple minutes and are largely scripted battles to ensure the player not only progresses but also learns about foundational components of Hearthstone.

Unfortunately, there is no way for experienced players such as myself to skip over the tutorial, but I’m glad I sat through some of the dialogue (especially the Millhouse Manastorm encounter) to gain a full appreciation for the new player experience. Despite a bit anxious to dive into matches and start accumulating card, I was surprised by how well done it was. It had been years since I completed this portion of the game but, even though I didn’t learn anything new, I felt it covered enough to introduce several critical components of Hearthstone.

Solo Adventures

After completing the tutorial, I was able to access most of the full game. However, only the Mage class is granted to new players and unlocking remaining heroes requires defeating each hero in Solo Adventures. Once again, I impatiently returned to battling the A.I. so I could complete my first quest, which required me to win 5 Practice games.

Ever the fan of efficiency, I set my sights first on Rexxar and used Hunter to make quick work of the next four heroes. Having just spent an hour or so playing against non-human opponents I deemed unworthy of my time, I declared myself ready for Play Mode (and my next quest, First Blood, undoubtedly agreed).

Ranks 25-20

Early ranks posed a far greater challenge for me than expected. Shortly after taking down the Innkeeper, I approached Ranked Play with the arrogance of Anakin Skywalker facing down opponents who clearly had the high ground.

An easy win in my first game only fed into my overconfidence. Soon after, I faced a Paladin who, after a series efficient minions on curve, threw down a Tirion Fordring on turn eight. Much to my dismay, I was soon staring at the screen below.

This was certainly an embarrassing setback but I’m not too proud to say that I saw the words “You can’t lose stars at this rank.” several times in these early stages of my climb. All of the horror stories from Reddit about the frustrations of low-rank gameplay (most of which I have always been quick to dismiss) were suddenly coming to life.

Soon, after losing to a Priest that dropped an inactive (yes, really) Raza the Chained on turn 5  followed by Shadowreaper Anduin on 8, it became clear that the Basic Cards I had thrown together wasn’t going to get the job done. I returned to battles against the Innkeeper, unlocking the remaining four classes and armed myself with a few new cards from the quest rewards.

With Savannah Highmane‘s in tow, I was able to make my way through a sea of grotesque versions of top tier decks and make it to ranks where I was actually at risk of losing stars.

Arena Run

After my difficulties in the two-star ranks, I realized more cards would be necessary to more efficiently find wins on the Standard Ladder. To bolster my collection, I dove into Arena with the free ticket granted to every new account. To my disappointment, none of the traditionally powerful Arena heroes was an option and I was forced to settle with Gul’dan, who is, at the very least, capable in the format.

Continuing with my streak of unfortunate luck, I was faced with several awkward choices in my draft. Worse yet, still sore from my losses at Rank 25, I was taunted by a set of cards in which Angry Chicken was the best option. The resulting deck was the rather abysmal list below.

Fortunately, I managed to eek out 4 wins with this deck (before a few embarrassing on-stream misplays), which proved to be just enough to snag some decent rewards from the run.

Tavern Brawl

This week’s Tavern Brawl, A Peek to the Past, was perfect for an account with a limited card pool. Essentially, the rules forced my opponents onto an even playing field with my fresh account. As such, it made for a quick and easy Classic Pack with my main deck.

Between Ranked Play grinds, I used the Brawl’s restrictions to my advantage and was able to begin leveling up other classes that were getting trounced in Casual mode by meta decks. My one remaining introductory quest requires me to reach Level 10 with all heroes, which is difficult with how few cards I currently have access to.

Ranks 20-15

After breezing through the Tavern Brawl, I return to the Standard Ladder to continue towards my goal for the week. Despite failing to boast a very impressive win rate, I quickly jumped from Rank 20-15 on the back of a handful of win streaks. The importance of bonus stars cannot be overstated when leveling on decks that are overmatched. Favorable matchups even against much more expensive (and popular) decks provide Hybrid Hunter with the opportunity to sneak a few consecutive wins and jump ranks efficiently.

Due to sub-optimal cards in several slots, wins still did not come easily. Voodoo Doctor and Bloodfen Raptor are not suitable replacements for the powerful AlleycatCrackling Razormaw openers. Stuck on a seemingly unending win-loss cycle, I broke down and crafted these two cards with some of the rewards for my Arena. The new Beasts had an immediate impact on my results and I was able to reach my goal for Week 1 of Rank 15 within 3 days of the account’s inception.

Week 1 Statistics

Throughout the F2P BTW Challenge, I’ll be collecting detailed statistics related to Win Rates, Pack Openings, Card Crafting, Quests Completed, and Time Played.

Win Rates

My win rate in the first week of the challenge was pretty abysmal. While I’d like to place all of the blame on a sub-optimal decklist, my play was not great during the week. Early on, I severely underestimated my low-rank opponents (especially their decks) and my win rate suffered. Much of my success in ranking up this week was thanks to a series of win streaks that carried me to each rank threshold. These streaks were able to compensate for my poor win rate and propel me past my goal for the week.


Ranks 25-20

Ranks 20-15

Rank 15-10

Pack Openings

Going into the challenge, I had a specific strategy I was going to follow for my pack openings (more details later). In short, the plan was to cycle through sets until I opened a Legendary, thus maximizing the Arcane Dust value of my packs. Thanks to the changes to pack openings with the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne, this was guaranteed to happen within the first 10 packs. Additionally, the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne came with the reward of three free packs and my new account was not too late to claim this prize.

Because the deck I’m looking to build doesn’t contain any Legendary cards, I’ve been hoping to open low-quality Legendaries that I can quickly convert to Arcane Dust. Unfortunately, the Legendaries I have opened so far have been mid-tier (at best). At weeks end, I was stuck holding cards that neither good enough to run in any decks nor bad enough to find their way on the Safe to Disenchant list.

If it weren’t for the self-imposed rules of the challenge, I’d have disenchanted each of the Legendaries I opened to complete my deck. For new players, I’d recommend the same. Aggressively disenchanting cards (Legendaries, especially) that don’t see regular play is a great way to craft Commons and Rares that make up the foundation of nearly any deck.

Classic Packs

  • Number of Packs: 7
  • Average Dust Value: 105
  • Legendary: Baron Geddon

Knights of the Frozen Throne Packs

  • Number of Packs: 4
  • Average Dust Value: 162.5
  • Legendary: Arfus

Journey to Un’Goro Packs

Whispers of the Old Gods Packs

  • Number of Packs: 2
  • Average Dust Value: 40
  • Legendary: None

All Sets

  • Number of Packs: 21
  • Average Dust Value: 118.1

Card Crafting



Total Arcane Dust Spent: 520

Quests Completed

Early on, Introductory Quests are relatively generous in terms of their rewards. However, with so few of these quests available, that well is quick to dry up. To make matters worse, new players are forced to finish off several 40 gold quests before the more lucrative assignments become available. Unaware of this myself, I was constantly rerolling early quests assuming it was merely a bad string of luck. Eventually, research uncovered a threshold of these low-reward quests that must be reached before others are unlocked. The result is a seemingly reasonable amount of resources early on followed by a period of drought.

Introductory Quests

  • Win 5 Practice Games: 1 Classic Pack
  • First Blood: 1 Classic Pack
  • The Duelist Play: 100 gold
  • Ready to Go!: 100 gold
  • Enter the Arena: 1 Arena Run
  • Crafting Time: 95 Arcane Dust
  • Level Up: 1 Classic Pack
  • Crushed Them All!: 100 gold
  • Android Phone: 1 Classic Pack
  • Chicken Dinner: 300 gold

Daily Quests

  • Destroy them All: 40 gold
  • Welcome to the Jungle: 40 gold
  • Arcane Brilliance: 40 gold
  • The Maelstrom: 40 gold
  • Priest or Paladin Victory: 40 gold
  • Druid or Hunter Victory: 40 gold

Time Played

My excitement over starting the F2P BTW Challenge is apparent in the amount of time spent playing Hearthstone this week. While I still truly enjoy the game and play quite a bit as it is, starting fresh brought back some of the excitement from my introduction to the game.

However, I could feel some negative effects of my longer than usual gaming sessions during the week. The combination of fewer breaks, published goals, and a sub-optimal deck made me tilt quicker than normal and misplay often.

  • Monday: 0 hours
  • Tuesday: 3.5 hours
  • Wednesday: 1.5 hours
  • Thursday: 3.5 hours
  • Friday: 1.5 hours
  • Saturday: 3 hours
  • Sunday: 3 hours

Week 1 Total Time Played: 16

Week 2 Goals

Rank Goal: 10

Reaching Rank 10 in the upcoming week will give me plenty of time to make my to Rank 5 by the end of the season. Given that I’m already closing in on this milestone, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to accomplish. However, pacing myself a little better (in terms of time played) in upcoming weeks may be beneficial.

Knights of the Frozen Throne Solo Adventures

Along with reaching Rank 10, I’d like to complete the Knights of the Frozen Throne Solo Adventures with my limited card pool. While I’m not certain that the cost to reward ratio is worth the time for the sake of the challenge, completing this single-player content does provide additional, highly-valuable packs.

About the Author

A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.


A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception.

Check out Roffle on Twitter or on their Website!

Leave a Reply


  1. MattH
    October 11, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I wonder how much your results would vary if you chose to undertake this experiment at a different time in a different meta. Most of the top tier meta decks right now use a couple of legendary cards and some epics as a minimum.

    Not too long ago Pirate warrior was the deck to beat and aside from patches (lerroy is also legendary but its possible to play without it) it is incredibly cheap to craft for the strength in the meta. You could make a legendary capable deck within a week or two depending on time spent on the game.

    It reminds me of when Patron Warrior was reining supreme, admittedly you would have to pay for the adventure to get the card but once you have it you had the strongest deck in the game (you didn’t need any epics or legendarys from memory), for a minimal amount of initial outlay a new account could have the best deck in the game on the same day it was made. This was the only season I recall having legend on multiple accounts for the simple reason of how cheap it was to play with the same deck on a new account as someone who has held their account for years.

    • Roffle - Author
      October 12, 2017 at 8:36 am

      I think it’s possible that different seasons might have been easier. Others could have been more challenging as well, though. I’ve done this in the past with Aggro Druid and had an easier route to Legend. Ranked play would probably be easier later in the season, but I also think Hunter isn’t in as good a spot as I expected right now.

      To your point, even though there are several meta decks with few Legendaries at the moment, I think it’s also the higher concentration of quality Epics that’s driving up the cost of a lot of decks. My current list feels pretty hamstrung by the lack of Bittertide Hydras, for instance.

      Something I haven’t heard mentioned is that Solo Adventures, while generally good value in terms of overall card collection, can make it more difficult for a new player to access some cards required to assemble a single, powerful deck. Having to shell out hundreds of gold for a couple commons is really an option. In that sense, the new content release schedule isn’t all bad for the new/F2P player.

  2. Necronlord111
    October 11, 2017 at 7:00 am


    al little Tip for maximal Gold through Quests. Change away all your 40 Gold Quests and if you get a new 40 Gold QUest just don’t do it until you have to (because you have two other quests). This gives you more Gold and pack value.

    • Roffle - Author
      October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Yeah, it’s a good tip but, as mentioned in the article, new accounts have to finish a certain number of 40g quests before they can get one that offers more gold. No matter how many times I rerolled my quests, it came up 40g. I should just need a couple more quests cleared before I can start putting this strategy into practice.

  3. SerFapaLot
    October 10, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    There is also a quest which grants you 3 Classic packs if you log in from a Samsung Galaxy s6 or higher.

    • Roffle - Author
      October 11, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Yeah, that quest is nice and I know you can use emulators to game the system a bit for free packs, but I wanted to avoid doing anything that might be considered cheating :).

      I have an Android phone so I only claimed that pack, despite how easy it would be to log in on other devices to snag quick packs.

      • SerFapaLot
        October 12, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        As a f2p I immediately called a friend over as soon as I heard about this ? just saying

  4. chris
    October 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Glad you experience for yourself the low ranked horror of the loaded decks that now flood ranks 25-20

    it can be extremely frustrating for players with limited skill/experience and card pools to deal with.

    • Roffle - Author
      October 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Honestly, I was pretty surprised. I had mostly written off discussions about this issue as just general complaints, but there really were people with fully assembled meta decks at the 25-20 rank range. My basic cards just couldn’t keep up.

      It really is a legitimate concern and one of the downsides to uses a ranking system rather than a rating system.

      • CD001
        October 11, 2017 at 4:36 am

        It’s always worst at the start of the month where everyone who was in the mid-ranks have been dropped back down to around rank 22.

        I mostly play for lulz so I don’t hit the ladder that often, been playing for nigh-on two years and haven’t yet got a single golden hero yet, so I’m generally kicking about in the lower ranks when I do ladder – and the effect is noticeable. As the month progresses, at lower ranks, the quality of your opponents’ decks declines and the number of mis-plays they make increases, as the better players rank up.

  5. Holly
    October 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Did you really play 320 ranked games, an Arena run, and all the basic stuff in 13 hours?!

    • Roffle - Author
      October 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      I only see 136 ranked games, but I’ll double check my stat tracker to confirm that I recorded everything correctly.

      • Holly
        October 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

        I misread it.
        But still, that is 10 ranked games an hour!
        Not counting Arena, deckbuilding, or anything else…

        • Roffle - Author
          October 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

          I started ranked play less than one hour after creating the account. The duration of the arena run was 52 minutes. My average ranked game length is 5.2 minutes, so that’s more than 11 games per hour. Since I only run 1 deck at the moment, there is little to no time spent deck building.

          That said, I went back to my VODs and there were a rounding errors with my tracker, as well as time missed on Saturday/Sunday in other games modes that have been corrected.

        • Raemahn
          October 11, 2017 at 8:45 am

          It seems fast, but (1) he’s experienced, so no learning curve, (2) he’s playing a faster deck, so shorter games, and (3) it seems like players in the 15-25 range tend to take less time on their turns/higher likelihood to rage quit than those at lower ranks, but I can’t say that I have any data to back that observation up. If he is conceding early (which I doubt) to cycle no-win games quicker to maximize wins for the time played then that could also be a factor.

          I find this experiment fascinating and I appreciate the effort and write up. Thanks for sharing your journey!