Is Hearthstone a Pay-To-Win Game?

written by Techno

The debate regarding Hearthstone being a Pay-To-Win game has been around since Hearthstone’s Beta and has carried on since then. Even today, this topic has been brought up within the Hearthstone community. But is Hearthstone really a “Pay-to-Play” or “Pay-to-Win” game? Today, we will be solving whether or not it really is Pay-To-Win.

Basic Cards

If you’re just starting out Hearthstone, you will be given a complete set of basic cards. These cards cannot be disenchanted for dust to craft new cards. However, they are some of the best cards for non-effect value. Cards like Chillwind Yeti and Boulderfist Ogre hold tremendous value for their costs. However, if you are a new player and you build your deck with only basic cards, you will be overwhelmed by players that have crafted cards from any of the expansions that Hearthstone has released.


Upon reaching level 10 with one of the hero classes that you will obtain, you unlock all the basic cards for its class. These cards are very powerful, as some of these cards are used in almost every deck for the respective class. These cards include Backstab, Fireball, Hex, and Power Word Shield, Pain and Death.

Obtaining Cards

There are a few ways of obtaining packs in Hearthstone. One of these few options are pulling out the lonely credit/debit card in your wallet to obtain as many packs as you wish for $1.50 each, less if you buy them in larger quantities.


An alternative to using money to buy packs is earning in-game currency through quests. Each quest will give you anywhere from 50-100 gold. You can have up to 3 quests active at once so you won’t have to play everyday. You will also earn 10 gold every 3 matches you win in play mode, but it will be capped at 100 gold. All packs are priced at 100 gold per pack. If you were to do all the quests, along with getting 30 wins, it is mathematically possible to earn up to 6200 within one month if all the quests are complete and 30 wins per day are completed.

Crafting System

If you get unwanted cards from the packs you buy, you can disenchant the card, also known as dusting. However, you will receive less dust than the original cost of the card.

  • Common Cards
    • Dust Received: 5 Dust
    • Crafting Cost: 40 Dust
  • Rare Cards
    • Dust Received: 20 Dust
    • Crafting Cost: 100 Dust
  • Epic Cards
    • Dust Received: 100 Dust
    • Crafting Cost: 400 Dust
  • Legendary Cards
    • Dust Received: 400 Dust
    • Crafting Cost: 1600 Dust
  • Golden Common
    • Dust Received: 50 Dust
    • Crafting Cost: 400 Dust
  • Golden Rare
    • Dust Received: 100
    • Crafting Cost: 800
  • Golden Epic
    • Dust Received: 400
    • Crafting Cost: 1600
  • Golden Legendary
    • Dust Received: 1600
    • Crafting Cost: 3200

How Paid Advantages Diminish

Imagine that two players start playing Hearthstone today. Player 1 spends $70 on 60 packs. From these 60 packs, he receives a full set of commons, a few dozen epics, and maybe 3-5 legendary cards. This gives Player 1 an advantage within the beginning of the game. Player 2 has no intention of spending money whatsoever.

If both players dedicate their time to completing both quests and acquiring 100 gold from winning games in play mode over the next few months, the paying players advantage will be decreased due to several reasons.

50 Rank System

In one of Hearthstone’s recent update, Blizzard made 25 more ranks only for new players. Along with these 50 ranks, new players will receive 4 packs every 5 ranks they climb up to rank 25. These rewards contain 2 Classic Card Packs along with 2 packs from the most recent expansion. These players will not experience rank decay at the end of the month like the current players of Hearthstone.


30 Card Decks

No matter how many cards a player has in their collection, you will only be allowed to use 30 of those cards in one deck. You may only use 2 copies of each card in a deck, with the exception of legendary cards which are limited at 1 copy per deck. Though some of the cards in your deck will be replaced with substitutes, once you complete your deck, the field is evened out.

By having a larger collection, you have more variety over what cards you choose to put within your decks. You can build other decks to switch your play-style. This offers little to no advantages to the player. This offers a little security over a chance of an unfavorable match-up.

Decline of Card Value

Since the majority of cards in expansion packs are common rarity, players obtain common rarity cards within no time. Since each deck can only use two copies of every card, and one copy of any legendary, there is no value from obtaining the second copy legendary and the third copy of other cards. Players will then dust these cards. This destroys the advantage of paying for packs.


To new players, Hearthstone may seem to be a Pay-to-Play game, however that is not the case. Because of Blizzard adding 25 ranks for new players along with rewards for them, being a Free-to-Play player wasn’t as bad as it used to be. Hearthstone is not as much of a Pay-to-Play game as people claim it to be. As there are different routes to completing a deck, there will be different prices and time that one has to dedicate. New players will have the hardest time getting into the game, but it is not impossible to build a complete deck without paying a penny.

Spending money to acquire packs, however, is without a doubt the quickest way to crafting a complete deck. But, depending on the amount of time a Free-to-Play player spends on the game, the advantage is heavily decreased.

2 thoughts on “Is Hearthstone a Pay-To-Win Game?

Add yours

  1. Maybe it’s not pay to win but overall almost everyone past those really “new” players, everyone just pay for all the cards and then they use the same decks over and over for months. This is why people quit heartstone, including me, it’s just plain boring and you have close to zero chance of winning if you don’t have the cards everyone uses.


  2. In your calculation about how much gold one player can make in a a month you said they would make 6200 gold per month if they allways do their quest and win 30 game a day. That would be around 60 games a day. Look up some statistic about hearthstone and you will find, that the average gamelength is about 7 minutes, wich will be different for each deck you use. This sums up to a whopping 7 hours a day, every day, I have to play to get 62 Card packs. Or i could spend 50€ and buy myself 60 cardpacks and save me the 7×30=210 hours+ of playing the game and still get the free packs that everyone gets.


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