Collectible card games such as Hearthstone have the reputation to cost a lot of money. To some extent, if you want to own every card or an all-golden collection, this is true. However, spending little money or even being completely free-to-play (F2P) is possible.
But, if you are like most people, that cannot spend insurmountable time to grind every last bit of Gold out of the game needed in order to get everything and avoid spending a dime. This guide will give instructions on how to spend as little money as possible for the new set Rastakhan’s Rumble. Calculations are done in US Dollars and Euro (calculations based on German prices).
For an excellent workup of what you can expect rarity-wise from opening packs, please follow this link. The most important facts are summarized directly below:
- Every pack has one guaranteed Rare or better
- Epics: you get 1 Epic every 5 packs at average, the pity timer is 10
- Legendaries: you get 1 Legendary every 20 packs at average, the pity timer is 40
- Golden card drops range from 1 in 48 (Common) to 1 in 12 (Legendary)
- Pack Openings
- Opening 100 packs from an expansion will give you around 75% of the cards of the set
- Opening 250 packs from an expansion will give you the full set
- Arcane Dust
- One pack is worth around 100-110 Arcane Dust
- You get approx 1600 excess dust (one Legendary craft) from opening 70 packs
- From 100 packs, excess dust amount is to be expected at approximately 3000
- Free Stuff
- At the start of a new set, Bizzard usually gifts
- 1 Class Legendary
- 6 packs (obtainable through special quests)
- For Rastakhan’s Rumble, Blizzard has confirmed we will get 6 packs, a Legendary minion, and two Rares just for logging in during launch week; we might get another couple packs once the single player goes live, but do not have confirmation of that at this time
- An average player can obtain 70-75 Gold per day through dailies and winning games by just playing 6 games a day at a 50% winrate. There are approximately 122 days between sets, on average. Therefore, the average player can accumulate at least 6000 Gold per set, even accounting for a few days off and missed dailies.
- At the start of a new set, Bizzard usually gifts
There is also an interesting tool called the Pity Tracker with which you can track your pity timer
Generally, prices are 10% or more higher on iOS than on PC or Android because Apple charges an extra fee on everything including in-app purchases. This is why you should never purchase any packs from the shop on an iOS device. Prices on PC and Android devices are the same, but if you own an Android device, you can purchase Amazon Coins (AC) which will give you a discount. The more ACs you buy, the more discount you get. The range of discount is from 7% to 20% in the US and 3% to 20% in Europe. Therefore, buying with ACs is cheapest across all devices if you are willing to invest some money in advance. If you own a PC, you can install an Android emulator (e.g. BlueStacks or NoxPlayer) to also take advantage of the AC discounts of up to 20%. There are a lot of guides on YouTube how to setup an emulator and buy Hearthstone pack via ACs. For a detailed overview of discounts see both tables below.
Note: Just to clarify, I am not sponsored by Amazon nor do I receive benefits by suggesting to buy Amazon Coins. However, if you follow this link to make your purchases, Blizzpro gets a small cut that helps us pay for website hosting, etc.
PRICE IN $ US (DISCOUNT)
Table 1a: Amazon Coin prizes and savings in the US (December 2018)
Table 1b: Amazon Coin prizes and savings in Germany, EU (December 2018)
Conclusion: Buying on Android (or an emulator) with Amazon Coins saves Money you some serious Money. Buying on iOS is expensive, try to avoid it
Before starting to buy packs, it is worth deciding how many you want to buy overall because it is a lot cheaper to buy the big bundles. In the below list, you will find the price per pack (PPP) for each bundle size to see the difference. It will also show you the price at maximum AC discount as well as at a reasonable AC discount when buying 5.000 Coins at % 41 (€ 42.50) instead of the full 50.000 at $ 400 (€ 400).
|BUNDLE||PRICE||PRICE (5K AC)||PRICE(50K AC)|
|2 Packs||$ 2.99||$ 2.45||$ 2.39|
|7 Packs||$ 9.99||$ 8.19||$ 7.99|
|15 packs||$ 19.99||$ 16.39||$ 15.99|
|40 packs||$ 49.99||$ 40.99||$ 39.99|
|60 packs||$ 69.99||$ 57.39||$ 55.99|
|17 packs pre-purchase||$ 19.99||$ 16.39||$ 15.99|
|50 packs pre-purchase||$ 49.99||$ 40.99||$ 39.99|
Table 2a: Bundle prices in the US and calculated discounts via Amazon Coins.
|BUNDLE||PPP W/O AC||PPP (5K AC)||PPP (50K AC)|
|2 Packs||$ 1.50||$ 1.22||$ 1.20|
|7 Packs||$ 1.42||$ 1.17||$ 1.14|
|15 packs||$ 1.33||$ 1.09||$ 1.07|
|40 packs||$ 1.25||$ 1.02||$ 0.99|
|60 packs||$ 1.17||$ 0.95||$ 0.93|
|17 packs pre-purchase||$ 1.18||$ 0.96||$ 0.94|
|50 packs pre-purchase||$ 1.00||$ 0.82||$ 0.80|
Table 2a: Per pack prices (PPP) in the US and calculated discounts via Amazon Coins.
|BUNDLE||PRICE||PRICE (5k AC)||PRICE (50K AC)|
|2 Packs||€ 2.99||€ 2.54||€ 2.39|
|7 Packs||€ 9.99||€ 8.49||€ 7.99|
|15 packs||€ 19.99||€ 16.99||€ 15.99|
|40 packs||€ 49.99||€ 42.49||€ 39.99|
|60 packs||€ 69.99||€ 59.49||€ 55.99|
|17 packs pre-purchase||€ 19.99||€ 16.99||€ 15.99|
|50 packs pre-purchase||€ 49.99||€ 42.49||€ 39.99|
Table 2c: Bundle prices in Europe (Germany) and calculated discounts via Amazon Coins.
|BUNDLE||PPP W/O AC||PPP (5K AC)||PPP (50K AC)|
|2 Packs||€ 1.50||€ 1.27||€ 1.20|
|7 Packs||€1.42||€ 1.12||€ 1.14|
|15 packs||€ 1.33||€ 1.13||€1.07|
|40 packs||€ 1.25||€ 1.06||€ 0.99|
|60 packs||€ 1.17||€ 0.99||€ 0.93|
|17 packs pre-purchase||€ 1.18||€ 1.00||€ 0.94|
|50 packs pre-purchase||€ 1.00||€ 0.85||€ 0.80|
Table 2d: Per pack prices (PPP) in Europe (Germany) and calculated discounts via Amazon Coins.
From the numbers above, you can see the vast difference in price per pack. The smallest bundle that you buy on your iPhone ($/€ 3.49 ) will cost you more than double the money if you buy the pre-purchase on Android with Amazon Coins. If you buy the pre-purchase without AC you are still paying 15-20% more. So planning ahead will pay off. You can find three examples in the next chapter that will help you determine what you need and how much money it will cost you.
As a side note you may notice that at the middle tier discount of AC, US citizens are better off than the ones in Europe. On top of that, the same prices apply in Euro as in US Dollars rendering Hearthstone another 13% more expensive for European citizens (using the actual exchange rate as of Dec. 1st, 2018).
Conclusion: Bigger bundles are cheaper and the big pre-purchase gives you the lowest price. Nonetheless, the small pre-purchase has almost the same price as the 60 pack bündle (1 Cent difference) and is a good Option for People who just Need a few packs as a head start in the expansion
How Many Packs Do I Have To Buy?
To answer this question, you have to know first what you want to get as a result. Do you want a full collection with all cards or just the cards that you need playing one or two good decks on ladder? Maybe something in between? I’ve constructed a couple scenarios for these different goals. In my scenarios I assume that you amassed Gold during the last expansion from doing your daily quest regularly. As discussed above, you can easily obtain 6000+ Gold per expansion resulting in 60+ packs. I will calculate with an average of 65 packs obtained from Gold, which is what I personally tend to have at the end of an expansion cycle. Also, don’t forget you get one Class Legendary for free for logging in during the first weeks of the expansion as well as some special quest that will give you extra packs (six packs for the last two expansions, and at least six this time). Overall, you will start with about 70 packs for free that way.
Scenario 1: just laddering semi-serious
Goal: You don’t need all cards and definitely not right away. You just play to enjoy some semi-serious ladder play with a competitive deck or two but you are willing to fill some missing legendary spots with other cards as you play for fun first and foremost.
What you need:
- Money: $ 0-16 or € 0-17
- Packs: 70-87 packs (70 free packs plus optional Challenger’s bundle (17 packs) which will give you a slight head start)
Scenario 2: competitive only
Goal: You only want to all play ladder/tournament viable decks – not just a single one but all tier 1 and 2 decks to be able to participate in tournaments. Therefore you need around about 40-50% of all Epics and 50-60% of the Legendaries available*. Obtaining this amount of Epics and Leggies by opening packs you should obtain all Commons and Rares no matter what.
(*This is an approximation and includes tech cards which are often Epics. With a lot of class Legendaries these days, the amount of Legendaries played is also higher than before. You can discuss that this number is a little high.)
What you need:
- Money: $ 40 or € 42.50
- Packs: 120 packs (70 free packs + 50 pre-purchase packs)
Scenario 3: completionist (non-golden)
You want it all. Every single card matters and is worth trying out. These cards can be either golden or non-golden.
What you need:
- Money: $ 168-172.2 or € 168-178.5 (depending on the amount of ACs you buy)
- Packs: 250 packs (70 free packs + 67 pre-purchase packs + 2 times 60 packs)
Changes to obtaining Legendaries has paid off for the players. The last time I did an article like this, it was still possible to get duplicate legendaries, which slowed down the rate of acquisition for the full set by about 100 packs! Additionally, Blizzard has been a bit more generous with free packs and free Legendaries at the beginning of an expansion over the last years and average Gold from quest have been increased. Overall, it is now possible to be free to play and have some good cards. (scenario 1). If you want a bit more than that, the pre-purchase bundles are sufficient for most players to be able to play to high ranks, with their choice of a handful of decks. Taking into account that you can play hours on hours every season with the cards at the cost of a single console game is not too much, in my opinion, which renders Hearthstone rather affordable compared to some paper TCGs.
Shout-outs go to Nicholas “HSdecktech” for helping to proofread and providing assistance in writing the article. With those I will conclude my article. I hope it has helped you save some money–or at least plan for how you intend to spend it. If so, I would be happy if you could spread the word to other players of our community. As always, please comment below or tweet me @OtakuMZ1978 .
Annex: Crafting Strategy
Disclaimer: This part was copied from an older article of mine (release of Old Gods) and is subject to an update later this month. I wanted to include it anyway as it gives you a good guide on what to craft first if you are missing cards.
TL;DR: Craft Legendaries first and Rares and Commons last as you pill pick up the latter two mostly anyway along the way.
According to an article of PCGamer, the average result from the pre-order will give you 91 Commons (93% of all Commons), 46 Rares (64%), 11 Epics (20%) and 3 Legendaries (15%). This amount is not enough for all the scenarios we painted. There are two studies that try to answer the exact question this article asks. One for Whisper of the Old Gods (Old Gods study) and the other for The Grand Tournament (TGT study). Rarity distributions in between Old Gods and TGT compared to JtUG are not totally equal, but in the bigger picture both studies deliver a more than acceptable approximation.
The Old Gods study gives an exact value of a mean of 380.453 packs for 100% completion of your collection with a minimum of 258 packs and a maximum of 507 in 10,000 runs performed in this simulation. There are some not-so-slight nuances regarding the strategy of HOW to obtain those cards. For this, let’s take a look at the TGT study: Will you complete your collection by investing the dust in missing Commons or Rares first or do you start at the top end with Legendaries? In the case you plan to get >100 packs, the recommendation is to start with the precious orange crystals first to get the most value out of every single booster opened. With an investment of 150-200 packs you will most likely get all Commons and Rares anyway. The argument behind this strategy is mainly drawn from the three figures below (Figures 4-6) which belong to the TGT Study.
Percentage-wise, you will complete your collection faster up to a certain point by starting with Commons because the Legendaries account for very few cards. By doing so, you will have to dust more cards reducing the overall value. Figure 7 shows an accumulated graph of completion for all rarities combined depending on crafting strategies. In the end, the difference will be just a few packs, but why waste any value if you are aiming for a ≥ 70% collection.
Brute forcing the completion of the set is not a good idea, meaning not dusting any card and just waiting until you get all cards. Completing the set will take >1000 packs in comparison to approx. 380 boosters* when dusting unnecessary copies (compare Figure 8).
*now approx 250