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The essential beginner’s strategy guide to Hearthstone (and The Grand Tournament)

Blizzard Entertainment’s latest game has been growing at a vigorous pace over the last year, hitting 30 million registered users this May. Hearthstone is what’s known as a collectible card game (CCG), a genre pioneered in the 90s by Magic: The Gathering and its many imitators. Players collect cards representing creatures, spells, and other fantastic things, and build 30-card decks that they can use to play against each other. The game is tactical without being overly complex, and fast-paced enough that you can easily squeeze in a few games on your daily commute.

If World of Warcraft’s endless cycle of decline and rebirth is any indication, Blizzard will be keeping this game up and running for over a decade. So, if you have avoided Hearthstone up ‘til now, there’s still plenty of time to learn. Pull up a chair and read our guide to the basics.

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The first step is obviously to install the game. Hearthstone is available for free on computers as well as Apple and Android devices. Regardless of which platform you want to play on, you will need to create a Battle.net account. Battle.net is the platform for launching and updating all of Blizzard’s games. Even if playing on a mobile device, you will need a Battle.net account. Your progress in single-player modes and your collection of cards are linked to your account, so whenever you log in to Hearthstone on any device you will have access to your collection.

Once you have your account set up, you can download the game through Battle.net on the PC, or through the Apple, Google Play, or Amazon app stores if you’re on a mobile device. With all that taken care of, it’s time to start playing.

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