by Will "GernBlanston" Thompson
You see them on stream, but of course they have an all-golden deck. They’re a pro. They get paid to play Hearthstone. And that guy in THL who has one, well, that’s clearly where last week's paycheck went, right?
Maybe some folks are paying out-of-pocket for an entirely golden deck, but you certainly don’t have to. I’ve yet to complete one of my own, but I’m working toward it. I’ve invested some cash toward the task, but I’ve still got a ways to before I get to use that elusive golden The Coin (which is unlocked when the rest of your deck is golden). It’s a huge test in patience, but I’m finding it a rewarding layer to my Hearthstone experience. Here are steps I’ve taken to ensure I’m getting the most for my dust as I seek that Midas experience.
Establish Your Collection First
Don’t prioritize crafting golden cards until your collection contains what you need for the decks you regularly play. If you’re on a THL team or plan to be, make sure your collection is diverse, too. Don’t invest in just weapons classes or just Secrets classes. You’ll get Kezan’d and Harrison’d into no tomorrow. To begin, it’s probably wise to have five to six classes with viable decks that you can bring to THL.
Put the Gold in Your Sights
Some decks are cheaper than others—not just in dust, but in the level requirement. Decks like Tempo Mage, Oil Rogue, and most Hunter decks are very reliant on class-specific golden cards you earn from getting your hero to level 50, while level 51 and up each earns you a card from the basic set, which is why only masochists, er, Rogue players have golden Acidic Swamp Ooze.
Here’s a generous list of basic cards that have popped up in recent popular decks, and the hoops you’ll have to jump through to add them to your deck:
Novice Engineer: Druid level 59/60
Bluegill Warrior: Paladin level 53/54
Gnomish Inventor: Priest level 57/58
Murloc Tidehunter: Rogue level 53/54
Acidic Swamp Ooze: Rogue level 57/58
Sen’jin Shieldmasta: Rogue level 59/60
Grimscale Oracle: Warlock level 53/54
Wolfrider: Warrior level 59/60
When it comes to dust, based on my calculations, an average deck will cost 15-20,000 dust to make fully golden. This calculation is for decks like Secret Paladin and Warlock Zoo that tend to run a number of rares, a couple epics, and one to two Legendary creatures. I haven’t tabulated the cost on a fully golden Control Warrior because I don’t need a stomach ache (but you can ask VendiClique).
"I haven’t tabulated the cost on a fully golden Control Warrior because I don’t need a stomach ache (but you can ask VendiClique)."
Make a Spreadsheet
Create a spreadsheet to list the cards you need to craft and, in the next column, list the card’s crafting cost. Once you’ve done that, use a spreadsheet function to tally up the cost of the deck. Every time you craft something or are lucky enough to pull a golden you actually need (mind blowing, right?), update the spreadsheet. It’s also suggested to tally up the cost of several decks you might like to make golden, since you might already have a few, thus significantly reducing the cost of the deck.
You can also look up a variety of collection trackers online. There's this Google doc that was created by a reddit user. But there's plenty others to choose from out there.
The other benefit of this is that you’re able to see which golden cards are shared between decks. You’ll likely get the itch to make all your decks golden, which is dangerous. Therefore, it’s wise to…
Craft Golden Adventure Neutrals First
There’s no chance you’ll pull them from a pack, so you’re guaranteed to never, ever get another one after you’ve already crafted it. Loatheb, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Sludge Belcher—no redundancy and all max value here.You can also play them in another deck. That’s maximum mileage on your shinies.
What's up next? the non-adventure neutrals. Another good idea is to craft from the card set you open the least, When I disenchanted my original, non-golden Dr. Boom to get the final 400 dust for a golden one, Hearthstone warned me that nine out of my nine custom decks would be invalidated by this action. No need to belabor the point here, right? Other highly played neutrals: Azure Drake, Piloted Shredder, Ironbeak Owl, Big Game Hunter, and Knife Juggler, to name a few.
Some may argue that it’s best to start by crafting class-specific Legends first, followed by class-specific epics, then on down the line to neutral commons and there’s merit to this. By crafting expensive, class-specific legends first, you’re heavily invested right out of the gate and are less likely to divert to another class. However, if you commit to a deck with which you quickly get bored, then starting with the neutrals will let you switch classes with the least dust “wasted.” You’ll also see more of your goldens more often, increasing the chances of those flashy animations distracting your opponents.
Arena vs. Packs
How you spend your gold is up to you. If you aren’t into Arena, don’t play it, though it is the only way to regularly earn dust, outside of your end of season rewards for Ranked play. Also, starting at eight wins and above you have a chance to snag a golden card with your rewards. Based on a sample of 15,109 packs, a Hearthstone wiki predicts the chance of getting a golden common is just 1.48%. Yet, some interesting research on the Pity Timer (that is the amount of packs between guaranteed drops) shows that you are guaranteed a gold common every 25 packs and a gold rare roughly every 30.
So, if you like arena and can occasionally get more than eight wins, this can be a bit more reliable source of goldens. But, don't worry, open enough packs and the golds will come.
Getting Packs on a Budget
When Hearthstone went mobile it opened a whole new world of deal scrounging to players. If you’re planning on making a purchase, it’s always a good idea to check the Amazon Appstore for any promotions that can stretch your Hearthstone budget a bit farther.
Although prices are a bit steeper on iTunes, it’s also relatively easy to find giftcards at discounts up to 20%. Finally, for those Droid users with a relatively laid back attitude toward sharing their personal info, Google Opinion Rewards is an app where spending a few seconds answering surveys will slowly earn you Play credits, which are good for all in-app purchases.
Which Set to Crack?
Which set contains the most cards you need for your deck? Then this is the set you crack, which I’m pretty much willing to bet my own hard earned dust is Classic. For my money, opening any other set feels like a lesson in disappointment, as I find there’s a ton of chaff in both expansions. I’d much rather open a golden Loot Hoarder or Acolyte of Pain than, say Micromachine or Tournament Attendee, as I can actually use those other golden commons in other decks. Classic also has the most playable Legends, so perhaps you’ll get lucky and open an Edwin Van Cleef and finally be able to try out Oil Rogue, as opposed cracking a Wilfred Fizzlebang.
This is also a consideration if you plan on playing Arena, since you’re much more likely to get Grand Tournament packs than Classic or Goblins vs. Gnomes—though the chance of getting dust out of Arena probably outweighs having to open a pack from the “wrong” set.
Don't Get Distracted
Getting halfway done with a deck and then crafting a few commons for another deck because they’re “cheap” means less dust for that golden Legendary for which you’ve been saving. Golden Loatheb might take a few weeks, but it’s necessary if you’re going to get that golden Coin.
The All-in Approach
I would only recommend this to those with a true gold addiction. Decide which classes you’re going to play—it’s not uncommon for a player to just rule out a class or two entirely. Hate the randomness of the Shaman hero power? Don’t play it. Does healing things go against your destructive nature? Don’t play Priest. This means that, no matter what you open in this class, you are free to dust it.
Longterm, this approach will really hamper your collection. But, it can also aid in your skill level with the classes you regularly play, since you won’t be distracted by the hot new deck in another class. However, if diversity is your game, then plan to have all the staples for each class. You’ll need them. And given how just one or two new cards can completely revive a class (looking at you Tunnel Trogg), this approach could hurt your success in THL.
But, honestly, just look at how shiny that golden coin is.
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