Frequently Asked Questions


Who are ADWCTA & Merps, and what is the Grinning Goat?

Hi, we're ADWCTA & Merps (the two members of the Grinning Goat). We've been good friends since middle school and have a long history of tryharding at co-op games. We started playing Hearthstone in open beta and fell in love with the Arena, collecting a combined 20,000+ Arena wins since release.

We started writing articles and streaming weekly co-op Arena runs back in July 2014 (the "Arena Coop") , seeing just how high we could push our record. The Arena Coop plays all classes evenly and averages ~7.5 wins/run, with ~15% of our runs ending in 12-wins. All runs are meticulously tracked, and you can find the current Arena Coop record here and ADWCTA's personal record here.

Ever since we started, our mission for the Grinning Goat has always been to produce the highest quality Arena content for the community, live streams to on demand videos, audio podcasts, written articles, updated tier lists, and more.

What is the Lightforge?

I swear "The Lightforge" is also a Podcast!

Not a question. But you're right! The Lightforge Podcast is the Hearthstone world's top Arena-focused podcast, hosted by the same people behind this website. We release a new episode every week, covering Arena-related news, analyzing the best strategies in the current Arena meta, and challenging the way you think about drafting and gameplay in the Arena. We make sure that you stay on top of the meta while you improve your record in the Arena. If you like listening to top players talk about the Arena, then check us out on Youtube, or download on iTunes!

How can I support the Lightforge's future?

We have BIG plans for the Lightforge! I don't want to give too many details, but the current website is only a very small portion of what the tools the Lightforge Development Team hopes to eventually bring to the community. We are laying the groundwork for a much larger project. When the final website releases, we hope it will revolutionize the way you interact with the Arena, and any other similar formats Blizzard creates for Hearthstone.

In the meantime, the best way to support the Lightforge is to tell your friends and/or random strangers on the internet about us! If you would like to support us with donations, please Feed the Goat! Your support in any form is greatly appreciated!

Hearthstone connects a global community with large playerbases in many areas across the world, from Russia to Brazil, from China to France. Although we speak different languages, we hope that the Lightforge can connect the entire global Arena community. The Lightforge currently supports all Blizzard-supported languages, and we hope to be able to continue to provide all new features to all languages as well. To make this global dream a reality, we are currently looking for translators with working knowledge of Hearthstone Arena terminology to volunteer to translate. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in helping out with our localization efforts!

Tier List

How do I use the Tier List?

It's easy! The "value" of a card is the giant number on the right, and the tiny number on the left is its mana cost. The higher a number is, the better the card is. Value is scaled linearly so a 80-value card is better than a 60-value card by 20-points, same as a 60-value card is better than a 40-value card. You can group and sort and filter any way you like so that the information is easiest for you to see.

The "Neutral" cards are available to every class and many of them are adjusted to suit the particular class, so while this tab is a good reference point for general thinking, you should really be looking at the class you're drafting for!

Finally, sometimes, you will see a * next to a card, which means that this card is fairly situational and that you should be wary of picking more than one copy of this card in your deck, as it is unlikely that that situation will arise multiple times in a match. A smart strategy is to pick these cards at lower values earlier in the draft to prevent duplicates, and value them higher late in the draft if you don't have one yet!

How are Value #s Determined?

This is. . . complicated. We have a mathematical model that sets the baseline (not shown) for every card in a meta-less environment, tying the entire tier list in a complicated web. Value numbers are adjusted for each meta based on our experience with and against the card, and progressively adjusted through the 4-month expansion cycle as the meta changes. When one card is adjusted, the reasoning behind the adjustment typically affects many cards in a Chain Reaction as the web moves together.

The Value you see represents the 15th pick value in an average deck.

We also sometimes consult with other arena experts as to their experiences in the current meta, as well as read reddit and other forums for feedback. We generally value feedback from infinite players much more than those by others, but everything is filtered through our own experiences. No card (except certain legendries) move without our personal experience, and in any case this Tier List values all cards assuming a max skilled player.

Should I Draft Straight Down the Tier List?

Drafting strictly based on the Tier List is not the best gameplan. At least, not for the second half of your deck. In the beginning of a draft, it makes more sense to draft for value and going down the Tier List is a pretty good idea to build the best deck. However, as more and more cards are added to your deck, you should be able to identify certain needs of your deck and adjust accordingly. There are many considerations in an Arena draft, from card-to-card synergies (Kobold w/ Swipe), to curve considerations (a minimum of 5 two-drops), to diversity of removal options (small/large removal, board clear, and ping cards for certain classes). There are then advanced deck construction considerations, such as the balance between tempo and card advantage, victory conditions, reach, and survivability.

You should definitely use your brain to adjust your picks based on the cards already in your deck. Later on in the draft, the Tier List should be used as a starting point and not the final word!

Is there an Automatic Overlay for this Tier List?

Yes! Currently, two third-party apps use the Lightforge Arena Tier List. We are also developing our own system, complete with stat-tracking/analysis and an advanced algorithm for Arena deckbuilding when the site is complete. We hope to release by the end of the year, but may experience delays in development. In the meantime, the two tools below are excellent and you will be able to import your data from both of these tools when our website is complete.

ArenaDrafts - Created by a longtime supporter of the Grinning Goat, this website / automatic overlay shows your our tier list values, and also automatically tracks and organizes your stats while also providing a basic decktracker. It also has some advanced card-categorizations like "reach" or "true 2-drop". Super easy to setup and easy to use. If you are used to other stat-tracking systems, you’ll feel right at home here. ADWCTA and Merps currently use this themselves!

Decktracker - Arena Helper - This is a plugin for the popular Hearthstone Decktracker. Hearthstone Decktracker itself has extremely advanced and helpful features such as tracking when your opponent drew each card in hand and automatically eliminating secrets played based on game info. We currently use Decktracker too. The Arena Helper plugin creates an overlay that shows you our Tier List Values for cards offered during the draft. If you have no need to track your stats, or already use Decktracker, this is recommended.


What are the most important skills for an Arena player?

Although there is a ton of luck involved in any particular Arena match or run, Arena actually evens out in the big picture to be a highly consistent game mode for good players. Top Arena players can generally average 7+ wins/run playing all classes evenly, and 8.5+ wins/run with their top classes. In order to be "true infinite", meaning you earn gold on average from playing the Arena without counting quests, a ~6.7 win/run average is needed. To be "soft infinite", meaning you can earn enough gold in the Arena to play one Arena per day indefinitely after completing daily quests, a ~6.0 win/run average is needed.

The most important skill in the Arena is playing the game. That may seem obvious, but too many people believe that the draft is more important. The difference between a good deck and a bad deck typically accounts for a 2-win differential on average. Drafting skill will account for about half of this win differential. You still cannot control what cards you are offered no matter how good you are at drafting! This means that in the difference between a 6-win per run player and a 3-win per run player, 67% of the difference is gameplay skill!

So, while drafting is certainly important (who wouldn't want an extra win/run?), for the average player, once you consult a Tier List and get the basics down, it is much more beneficial to focus on gameplay. The most important decisions you make in an Arena match are: "Should I attack the enemy hero or trade with his minions?", "Should I use a removal on his minion or play my own minion?", and "Should I play around Card X, given what I know about his hand?" There are no easy answers to these questions in most cases and context is everything. This is where the top arena players separate themselves from the average player. Good luck!

What's the best way to improve in the Arena?

The best way to improve Arena is to play the Arena! That being said, watching Streams/VoDs or reading articles is a helpful thing to do on the side, helping you think about things you wouldn't have thought otherwise, and testing your Accumulated Knowledge/skill. Particularly helpful is watching a VoD and pausing before every play, to test yourself to see if you make the same decision as the streamer. This can be tedious, but it is very helpful for learning the game. Hearthstone is 100% about decision-making, so if you regularly make the same decisions as a great Arena player, then you are a great Arena player. No exceptions.

We recommend a 3:1 ratio between playing the game yourself and watching/learning the game from others.

Where can I discuss this Tier List or the Arena generally?

The Hearthstone Arena community is full of discussion! If you would like to join, please visit Subreddit arenaHS for general arena discussion, or Subreddit grinninggoat for discussion specific to this Tier List or our other content. We check both of these subreddits on a frequent basis, and we read every post.