A guide to TESL for Hearthstone players


A guide to Elder Scrolls Legends for Hearthstone players

So you’ve watched Kripp play some TESL and no you want to jump in and get going on a collection. You already have a good idea of the basics of CCGs from HS and are really just wondering differences between the games and how to build a good deck/collection. This guide is for you.


So how is TESL different from HS and what does that actually mean for gameplay and deck construction?


The basic gameplay of TESL is identical to HS. You have cards in hand a drag and drop onto the board. You target the same way and there is no blocking phase and the only creatures that can keep you from hitting face have guard (exactly the same as taunt in HS).

Some creatures have summon abilities that work the same way as battlecry creatures in HS with one very important caveat: if that minion is summoned in a way that is not from hand (there are a few) it will still get to use it’s summon ability.

Some creatures have last gasp abilities that work exactly the same as deathrattle in HS.

There are keywords in TESL that are important to learn, I will list them with equivalent HS mechanics where applicable:

Ward = divine shield
Guard = taunt
Lethal = destroy any minion damaged by this minion
Charge= charge

Breakthrough is the same as trample from MTG but is missing from HS. It means that when the creature trades, any damage it can do over the current health of the minion it attacks will hit face. So if you hit a 1 health creature with a 4 power breakthrough creature it will kill the creature with 1 health and do 3 damage to face.

Regenerate creatures have all health restored at the start of your turn. This works like stoneskin gargoyle.

Drain creatures return all damage they do as health to your face, NOT to themselves. 2 things you need to know about drain: Ward blocks all drain as it counts as 0 damage and drain creatures always drain their power value whether or not the creature you hit had that many HP. So if you hit a 2 HP creature with a 6 power drain you will heal for 6. Drain creatures only drain on your turn!

That covers the main differences in creatures which are the biggest part of TESL gameplay.
There are also spells which are called actions. They are less numerous and generally less powerful than in hearthstone. There are only a couple decks that use more than 6-10 actions.

The big differences in gameplay come from 2 major board differences from HS. There are 2 lanes in TESL and creatures cannot attack between lanes, however, most summon abilities can be used in one lane while the creature is placed in the other lane.

The 2 lanes, however, share an important difference: creatures summoned in the shadow lane (the right hand lane) cannot be attacked for 1 turn after they are summoned. Unlike stealth in HS they can still be targeted by actions or summon abilities.

The idea of 2 lanes and the shadow lane will make most HS players sick with the idea of unchecked aggro which is where the 2nd big change to gameplay comes in: runes.

Players start with 30 health and 5 runes at 25,20,15,10 and 5 health. When your health reaches one of these runes the rune breaks and you draw a card. The really interesting part is that there are prophecy cards that can be played for free when you draw them off of a rune break. This mechanic changes the SMOrc meta considerably and you have to be careful about playing around runes. Something you should also know is that if you run out of cards and draw dead it breaks one of your runes. If you have no runes left, you die.

One more thing to mention is that board clears in TESL are much more rare than in Heartthstone. They may look underpowered but creatures are generally much less sticky than in HS so they can still be incredibly effective.


The system of card organisation in TESL is much the same as in HS. Instead of classes there are colours. The rarities of cards are the same: common, rare, epic and legendary. One difference is that not all legendaries are unique. You can have up to 3 of some legendaries in a deck.

Where the big differences come in is in construction of a deck. Any deck can use cards from 2 colours as well as from the neutral card pool. The game has class names for all the 2 colour combinations:

Red-blue: Battlemage
Red-yellow: Crusader
Red-green: Archer
Red-purple: Warrior
Blue-yellow: Mage
Blue-green: Assassin
Blue-purple: Sorcerer
Yellow-green: Monk
Yellow-Purple: Spellsword
Purple-green: Scout

You can also make single colour decks or even full neutral decks but I would advise against it.

There are 2 dual colour cards for every class, 1 epic and 1 legendary. All other cards can be used in whichever class has that colour.

What you see with this is that good cards get spread around to a lot more decks and the meta is generally more mutable. It also allows for creativity in deck construction.

Decks are 50 cards and other than specific unique legendaries you can have up to 3 of any card in your deck. Legends-decks.com is the best resource for finding deck ideas but you can often personalise or come up with decks that can be successful outside the established decks.

Those are the basic differences between TESL and HS. Now to cover how to approach playing and building a collection from the PoV of a Hearthstone player.

2. Building a collection

In TESL there are resources just like in HS. There is gold and gems(dust in HS). To get gold and gems you can complete the free PvE story-mode (VERY recommended as it gets you a tons of cards and other rewards), you can do daily quests and you can do arena runs which come in 2 flavours: solo and vs. You can also get up to 300 gems a day in practice vs. the AI which for the patient is a good way to build a collection. Every 3 wins in non-arena vs. mode also gives 15-35 gold and a single card with a small chance to even give a pack.

Card packs cost 100g and arena tickets cost 150. Gem costs for cards are the same except legendaries cost 1200 gems as oppose to the 1600 dust.

Arena tickets are definitely the best bang for the buck as the rewards are very good. Solo arena is a great way to learn the cards in the game and get some decent rewards. It does, however, get quite hard from ranks 3-1 as the AI gets very good decks and sometimes starts with a huge advantage. Solo arena caps out at 9 wins and VS. arena caps out at 7 wins.

If you are a good arena player in HS this is what you should do to increase your collection as the rewards are very generous.

There is also a founders pack that is $5 for 10 packs, 3 alternate art cards (3 of each) and a guaranteed legendary. It is definitely worth it if you enjoy the game.

I would advise against dusting everything to complete a full meta deck with all the legendaries and epics. The meta shifts a lot and having more than one deck to play with can help you rank up faster. I would also advise against red as a first choice of deck colour as almost all the best cards are epic or legendary.

Direwolf releases a new card every month at the end of the season (you get 1 copy at rank 9, 2 at rank 5 and 3 at rank 1) which can change the meta. They also are not afraid of buffing or nerfing cards. Nerfed cards get full dust refunds so keeping every card you get is the best or just dust extras. If you want to go really crazy you can just keep extras of good cards that may get nerfed. I do not have the time or patience to do that but it is the most efficient way to build a collection.

So now you’ve got a decent deck and want to go laddering. The ladder starts at rank 12 and goes up to 1 after which there is legendary which is the same as in HS. The one difference in ranked is you cannot drop a rank. You just end up in the serpent which at maximum requires 2 wins in a row to get out of in order to resume your climb. This allows a lot more creativity on ladder as a long losing streak won’t completely kill all your progress and you can screw around with new deck ideas in a competitive environment.

I have made it to legend and I used 5 different decks during my climb depending what I was facing that day. Often a good switch has put me on large win streaks to rank up quickly. To get out of rank 5 I played a version of aggro mage on a 9 win streak. To get from 4 to 2 I played mostly an assassin deck that can snowball out of control vs. control decks. It would probably count as mid-range. To get from 2 to 1 I used a spellsword token deck that was just perfect to combat what I was facing on the ladder at the time and got me a 7 win streak. To make it to legend I used a mix of aggro mage and then an all out aggro crusader that was surprisingly effective.

Often, I would get stuck with a deck and either a tech option (support removal/silence) or deck switch would get things rolling nicely. This is another reason I recommend having a big collection, deck switching can really help the ladder climb.

The other decks I used are a fairly typical aggro mage, token spellsword and prophecy assassin.

This is now really long so I’m going to stop, enjoy the game and community!

This topic was hosted on: https://goo.gl/jyqsvm – Thanks to Karandor

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