Greetings, I’m shokunin, an infinite Arena player and a coach at HearthstoneCoaching.com.

The most frequent advice I give to my students, who are aspiring infinite Arena players, is to work on anticipating curve plays and playing your hand accordingly. In order to accomplish this, you need to know what Neutral and Class cards to expect.

You will notice that I only reference Common and Rare cards. This is because the probability of drafting any given Epic or Legendary is very unlikely. For example, you only need to concern yourself with Deathwing

when you are so far ahead that it becomes one of the only cards that will cause you to lose.

In addition, I have not listed every card because if you plan for the standard and premium cards in each mana slot, you are already prepared for all the substandard cards. Focus on identifying the Commons and Rares that are the bread and butter of Arena.

Author’s Note: This guide will be updated once TGT is released.

Expected Turn 1 Plays


Neutral 1-drops

  • Zombie Chow
    : This is the strongest possible neutral 1-drop. Its stats challenge 2-drops independently and usually allows the first player to maintain initiative and board control.
  • Argent Squire
    : Unlike Zombie Chow, this usually requires an Attack buff (e.g. Abusive Sergeant
    , Dire Wolf Alpha
    ) to threaten 2-drops. However, the Divine Shield helps it stick to the board and trade up later or act as a ping because you usually cannot afford the tempo loss of using Hero Power on Turn 2 to remove the Shield.
  • Worgen Infiltrator
    : This is a strong 1-drop that is frequently drafted because Stealth allows it to trade on its terms, unlike other 2/1 minions which can be countered by a 2/3 minion or removed with a Hero Power ping.
  • 2/1 minions: These are threats if you only hold 2-drops with 2 or less Health and you do not have a Hero Power that pings.

Class 1-drops

  • Hunter – Webspinner
    : Like Argent Squire, this usually requires an Attack buff to threaten 2-drops. In combination with Glaivezooka
     the Hunter can efficiently deal with any 2-drop you play.
  • Mage – Mana Wyrm
    : The threat is a followup Frostbolt
    or Flamecannon
    . However, the 1/3 stats alone are not a threat to most 2-drops.
  • Priest – Northshire Cleric
    : Without coin, strong players may avoid playing a Northshire on Turn 1 since it can be countered by a 3/2 minion or removed with most early-game spells. It can be held for Turn 2, in combination with Power Word: Shield
    , or played later to draw cards.
  • Warlock – Flame Imp
    : Along with Zombie Chow, this is the strongest possible 1-drop.
  • Warlock – Voidwalker
    : Like the other 1/3 minions, it usually requires Attack buffs to threaten 2-drops. Demonfire
    is a potential followup.

Expected Turn 1 Plays (when opponent has Coin)


The most common use of the Coin on Turn 1 is to play a 2-drop followed by another 2-drop on Turn 2. This allows the second player to take back the initiative since Arena decks often do not have a playable 1-drop in the opening hand (as seen above). However, there are some class-specific openers which you need to be aware of.

Paladin

  • If they Coin a 2-drop on Turn 1, the potential followup threat is Argent Protector
    which could allow their 2-drop to kill your 2-drop for free. The only ways to avoid this are to remove the minion or to play a minion with more Health than the Attack of their Coined 2-drop (e.g. 2/3 vs. 2/3).

Priest

  • If they Coin a 2-drop on Turn 1, the potential followup threat is Shrinkmeister
    which could allow their 2-drop to kill your 2-drop for free. The only ways to avoid this are to remove the minion or to play a minion with more Health than the Attack of their Coined 2-drop (e.g. 2/3 vs. 2/3).
  • If they play any 1-drop, the potential followup threat is Coin into Velen's Chosen
    to kill your 2-drop for free. The only ways to avoid this are to remove the minion or to play a minion with more Health than the Attack+2 of their Coined 2-drop (e.g. 4-Health vs. Northshire Cleric
    + Velen's Chosen
    ). Otherwise, you will need removal or Silence during a later turn.

Rogue

  • Defias Ringleader
  • If they Coin into their Hero Power on Turn 1, the potential followup threat is Goblin Auto-Barber
    . If possible, play a minion with 3+ Health to avoid your minion dying to their 2-damage weapon.

Shaman

  • If they coin Whirling Zap-o-matic
    on Turn 1, the potential followup threat is early removal for your minions which will allow the Whirling to deal 6+ damage for multiple turns. The only way to avoid this is to remove the Whirling.

1-Mana Removal

If you play a minion on Turn 1, you should be aware of the potential 1-mana and 2-mana removal available to your opponent. A consideration when deciding which 2-drop to Coin on Turn 1 is to avoid 2-damage removals with a 3+ Health minion. Another consideration is that 2/3 minions are better against 2/4 minions on 3-mana while 3/2 minions are better against 3/3 minions on 3-mana.

  • 1-damage
    • Neutral – Elven Archer
    • Druid – Moonfire
      : Not highly picked
    • Paladin – Light's Justice
    • Shaman – Earth Shock
    • Shaman – Frost Shock
      : Not highly picked
    • Warlock – Mortal Coil
    • Warrior – Inner Rage
    • Warrior – Upgrade!
      (Rare)
  • 2-damage
    • Druid – Claw
    • Hunter – Arcane Shot
    • Mage – Arcane Missiles
      : Against one minion, you have 87.5% to kill a 1-Health minion, 50% to kill a 2-Health minion, and 12.5% to kill a 3-Health minion.
    • Paladin – Noble Sacrifice
      : Not highly picked and Avenge
      is the most frequently played Paladin secret.
    • Priest – Holy Smite
    • Rogue – Backstab
  • 3-damage
    • Shaman – Lightning Bolt
    • Shaman – Rockbiter Weapon
  • 4-damage+
    • Warlock – Corruption
      : Not highly picked
    • Warlock – Soulfire
      : Usually not played early to avoid discarding a curve play.

1-Mana AOE

  • Shaman – Forked Lightning
  • Warrior – Whirlwind
    : Not highly picked

Expected Turn 2 Plays


Standard 2-drops come with either 2/3 or 3/2 stats (e.g. River Crocolisk

, Bloodfen Raptor
). Notable 2-drops are found below. If the opponent did not use Coin yet, they may use it to play 3-drop into 3-drop (see the next section).

  • Acidic Swamp Ooze
  • Amani Berserker
    : It can be a threat against non-ping classes after a 2/3 vs. 2/3 trade and can be activated with the Mage Hero Power.
  • Faerie Dragon
    : Can’t be killed by most early removal.
  • Gilblin Stalker
    : It is a good target for buffs on Turn 3 (e.g. Shattered Sun Cleric
    , Velen's Chosen
    ).
  • Haunted Creeper
    : Sticky minion
  • Mad Bomber
    : Against one minion, you have 70.4% to kill a 1-Health minion, 25.9% to kill a 2-Health minion, and 3.7% to kill a 3-Health minion.
  • Mad Scientist
    : It is only a threat in Secret classes.
  • Mechwarper
    : If left alive, it can power out a 4-mana Mech on Turn 3 (e.g. Piloted Shredder
    , Mechanical Yeti
    ). If Coined out Turn 1, it can power out a 3-mana Mech on Turn 2 (e.g. Spider Tank
    , Harvest Golem
    ).
  • 2-mana Mechs: If left alive, they can activate Tinkertown Technician
    on Turn 3.

Class 2-drops

  • Mage – Snowchugger
    : This has the potential to shutdown weapon classes.
  • Mage – Sorcerer's Apprentice
    : If Coin is available, you can also play a Frostbolt
    or Flamecannon
    on Turn 2.
  • Paladin – Shielded Minibot
    : If possible, mulligan for and play a 2-drop with 3+Health to challenge.
  • Paladin – Argent Protector
    : Can help a 1-drop or Coined 2-drop trade for free.
  • Priest – Shrinkmeister
    : Can help a 1-drop or Coined 2-drop trade for free.
  • Warrior – Cruel Taskmaster
    : This is a very effective counter to 1-drops with only 1-Health, but otherwise poor on an empty board.

2-Mana Removal

  • 1-damage
    • Rogue – Shiv
  • 2-damage
    • Neutral – Bluegill Warrior
    • Hunter – Glaivezooka
    • Paladin – Seal of Light
    • Rogue – SI:7 Agent
      (Rare, requires Coin)
    • Shaman – Lava Shock
    • Shaman – Stormforged Axe
    • Warlock – Demonfire
    • Warrior – Slam
  • 3-damage
    • Druid – Wrath
    • Hunter – Quick Shot
    • Mage – Frostbolt
    • Warlock – Darkbomb
    • Warrior – Fiery War Axe
  • 4-damage+
    • Mage – Flamecannon
    • Priest – Shadow Word: Pain
      (3-Attack or less only)
    • Rogue – Eviscerate
      (Requires Combo)
    • Rogue – Sap
    • Shaman – Crackle
      (3-6 damage)
    • Warrior – Heroic Strike

2-Mana AOE

  • Neutral – Unstable Ghoul
  • Neutral – Explosive Sheep
    : Not highly picked outside of Mage, who can ping it immediately with 4-mana.
  • Paladin – Equality
    (Rare): Usually combined with Consecration
    .
  • Rogue – Betrayal
    : It often serves as a single-target removal instead. Carefully position your minions.
  • Rogue – Blade Flurry
    (Rare): Hard to play around and usually needs to be combined with a weapon buff to be effective.
  • Warrior – Cleave
  • Warrior – Revenge
    (Rare): Hard to play around because you almost never intentionally hold back damage in Arena.

Expected Turn 3 Plays


Standard 3-drops come with either 2/4 or 3/3 stats (e.g. Goblin Sapper

, Ironfur Grizzly
). Notable 3-drops are found below.

  • Spider Tank
    : A premium 3-drop because it can kill other 3-drops for free.
  • Ogre Brute
    : A premium 3-drop because it can kill other 3-drops for free.
  • Jungle Panther
    : One of the few 3-drops with 4-Attack that can challenge the two above. Potential buff target.
  • Shattered Sun Cleric
    : It buffs a 2/3 minion into a 3/4 usually resulting in a free kill. It buffs a 3/2 minion into a 4/3 which can kill a 2/3 for free.
  • Scarlet Crusader
    : Potential buff target if the Shield is not removed.
  • Harvest Golem
    : Sticky minion.
  • Raging Worgen
    : Potential buff target and can be activated by the Mage Hero Power.
  • Tinkertown Technician
    : Requires a Mech.
  • Imp Master
    (Rare): 2/5 worth of stats at the end of turn.
  • Mind Control Tech
    (Rare): Whether to play around this later in the game is situational.

Class 3-drops

  • Druid – Druid of the Flame
  • Hunter – Animal Companion
  • Paladin – Aldor Peacekeeper
    (Rare)
  • Paladin – Muster for Battle
    (Rare)
  • Priest – Dark Cultist
  • Priest – Velen's Chosen
    (Requires a minion)
  • Shaman – Feral Spirit
    (Rare)
  • Shaman – Unbound Elemental
    (Requires Overload)
  • Warlock – Imp Gang Boss

3-Mana Removal

  • 2-damage
    • Druid – Savage Roar
    • Rogue – SI:7 Agent
      (Requires Combo, usually Backstab if no Coin)
    • Warlock – Drain Life
      (Not highly picked)
  • 3-damage
    • Neutral – Wolfrider
    • Hunter – Eaglehorn Bow
      (Rare)
    • Rogue – Deadly Poison
      (Requires a weapon)
    • Rogue – Perdition's Blade
      (Rare)
    • Shaman – Powermace
      (Rare)
  • 4-damage
    • Warlock – Shadow Bolt
    • Warrior – Ogre Warmaul
      (Not highly picked)
  • 5-damage+
    • Hunter – Deadly Shot
    • Hunter – Kill Command
      (Requires a Beast)
    • Priest – Shadow Word: Death
      (5+ Attack only)
    • Shaman – Hex
    • Shaman – Lava Burst
      (Rare, not usually played on 3-mana due to Overload 2)

3-Mana AOE

  • Hunter – Unleash the Hounds
  • Rogue – Fan of Knives
  • Shaman – Lightning Storm
    (Rare)
  • Warlock – Demonwrath
    (Rare)

Expected Turn 4 Plays


Standard 4-drops come with 3-5 Attack and 4-5 Health (e.g. Burly Rockjaw Trogg

, Lost Tallstrider
). 5-Health is a critical threshold in Arena since 5+ damage removal is uncommon. Notable 4-drops are found below.

  • Piloted Shredder
    (Consider Doomsayer
    , Explosive Sheep
    , Mana Wraith
    , Nerub'ar Weblord
    , Patient Assassin
    )
  • Chillwind Yeti
  • Mechanical Yeti
  • Sen'jin Shieldmasta
  • Dark Iron Dwarf
  • Cult Master

Class 4-drops

  • Druid – Keeper of the Grove
    (Rare)
  • Hunter – Houndmaster
    (Requires a Beast)
  • Mage – Water Elemental
  • Mage – Goblin Blastmage
    (Rare, requires a Mech)
  • Paladin – Blessing of Kings
    (Requires a minion)
  • Priest – Auchenai Soulpriest
    (Rare)
  • Priest – Lightspawn
  • Shaman – Fireguard Destroyer
  • Warlock – Voidcaller
  • Warrior – Arathi Weaponsmith

4-Mana Removal

  • 3-damage
    • Paladin – Hammer of Wrath
    • Warlock – Imp-losion
      (Rare, 2-4 damage)
  • 4-damage
    • Druid – Bite
      (Rare)
    • Druid – Swipe
    • Paladin – Truesilver Champion
    • Rogue – Tinker's Sharpsword Oil
    • Warrior – Death's Bite
      (5-damage on 2nd swing)
    • Warrior – Kor'kron Elite
    • Warrior – Mortal Strike
      (Rare, 6-damage if 12 or less Health)
  • 5-damage+
    • Mage – Fireball
    • Mage – Polymorph

4-Mana AOE

  • Druid – Poison Seeds
    (Not highly picked)
  • Hunter – Multi-Shot
  • Mage – Cone of Cold
    (Carefully position your minions)
  • Paladin – Consecration
  • Priest – Shadow Madness
    (Rare, 3 Attack or less)
  • Warlock – Hellfire
  • Warlock – Shadowflame
    (Rare)

Expected Turn 5 Plays


Standard 5-drops come with 3-5 Attack and 5-6 Health (e.g. Fen Creeper

, Darkscale Healer
). Notable 5-drops are found below.

  • Stranglethorn Tiger
  • Spectral Knight
  • Silver Hand Knight
  • Antique Healbot
    (Most beneficial for Rogue and Warlock)
  • Azure Drake
    (Rare)
  • Sludge Belcher
    (Rare)
  • Stampeding Kodo
    (Rare)

Class 5-drops

  • Druid – Druid of the Claw
  • Druid – Druid of the Fang
    (Requires a Beast)
  • Rogue – Ogre Ninja
    (Rare)
  • Priest – Upgraded Repair Bot
    (Rare, requires a Mech)
  • Warlock – Doomguard
    (Rare)
  • Warlock – Floating Watcher
    (Usually played on Turn 7 with Hero Power)

5-Mana Removal

  • 2-damage
    • Neutral – Stormpike Commando
    • Rogue – Dark Iron Skulker
      (Rare, undamaged minions only)
  • 3-damage
    • Hunter – Cobra Shot
      (Not highly picked)
    • Rogue – Assassin's Blade
  • 4-damage
    • Neutral – Bomb Lobber
    • Mage – Dragon's Breath
      (Not highly picked, variable cost)
  • 5-damage+
    • Druid – Starfall
      (Rare)
    • Warrior – Arcanite Reaper

5-Mana AOE

  • Neutral – Abomination
    (Rare, not highly picked)
  • Druid – Starfall
    (Rare)
  • Hunter – Explosive Shot
    (Rare, carefully position your minions)
  • Priest – Holy Nova
  • Rogue – Dark Iron Skulker
    (Rare, undamaged minions only)

Expected Turn 6 Plays


Standard 6-drops come with 4-6 Attack and 5-7 Health (e.g. Archmage

, Frost Elemental
). Notable 6-drops are found below.

  • Boulderfist Ogre
  • Drakonid Crusher
  • Sunwalker
    (Rare)

Class 6-drops

  • Druid – Mech-Bear-Cat
    (Rare)
  • Hunter – Savannah Highmane
    (Rare)
  • Priest – Temple Enforcer
    : Try to clear the Priest’s board by Turn 6 or leave only low-attack minions.
  • Shaman – Fire Elemental
    : Try to keep important minions at 4+ Health.
  • Warlock – Dread Infernal
    : Trade off 1-Health minions or keep your minions at 2+ Health.
  • Warrior – Shieldmaiden
    (Rare)

6-Mana Removal

  • 4-damage
    • Neutral – Argent Commander
      (Rare)
  • 5-damage+
    • Druid – Starfire
    • Druid – Recycle
      (Rare)
    • Priest – Holy Fire
      (Rare)
    • Warlock – Siphon Soul
      (Rare)

6-Mana AOE

  • Mage – Blizzard
    (Rare)

Expected Turn 7 Plays


7-Mana Drops

  • Stormwind Champion
  • War Golem
    (Not highly picked)

Class 7-Mana Drops

  • Paladin – Guardian of Kings
  • Rogue – Sprint
    (Not a drop, but played late game)

7-Mana AOE

  • Mage – Flamestrike

Expected Turn 8 Plays


8-Mana Drops

  • Force-Tank MAX

Class 8-Mana Drops

  • Druid – Ironbark Protector

Expected Turn 9 Plays


  • Druid – Volcanic Lumberer
    (Rare, variable cost)

Expected Turn 10 Plays


  • Priest – Mind Control

Rule of Thumb


Maximum Health for Common Drops = Minion’s Mana Cost + 1

This is the most damage you need to remove a single minion of a given mana cost. Notable exceptions are found below.

  • 2-drop = 3 Health (e.g. River Crocolisk
    )
    • Neutral – Nerub'ar Weblord
      (Not highly picked)
  • 3-drop = 4 Health (e.g. Spider Tank
    )
    • Druid – Druid of the Flame
  • 4-drop = 5 Health (e.g. Chillwind Yeti
    )
    • Neutral – Hungry Dragon
    • Neutral – Mogu'shan Warden
      (Not highly picked)
    • Neutral – Oasis Snapjaw
      (Not highly picked)
    • Mage – Water Elemental
    • Shaman – Fireguard Destroyer
  • 5-drop = 6 Health (e.g. Spiteful Smith
    )
    • Neutral – Gurubashi Berserker
      (Not highly picked)
  • 6-drop = 7 Health (e.g. Boulderfist Ogre
    )

Conclusion


I hope this guide helps you improve at planning your turns for the Arena. I often hear stories of players complaining about getting blown out by a Legendary or a topdeck in the late game of an Arena match. What they don’t recognize is that often these situations can be completely avoided by anticipating and countering the standard common plays via the mulligan, early game openers, and strong midgame play.

Coaching


If you’re looking for one-on-one help becoming an infinite Arena player, hitting Legend rank, or reaching your Hearthstone goals, you can find me and other top caliber coaches at HearthstoneCoaching.com. We’ve provided over a thousand hours of coaching to students around the world.

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