As part of streamlining the experience for new players, the Hearthstone developers have made several changes over the years to hide advanced features from new players. One of these changes is the Wild format. While players were previously free to browse formats without official requirements, new players no longer have this option available when logging in for the first time.
Luckily, the road to Wild isn't particularly difficult, and new players will usually unlock it within a few days of play using their deck of choice. Here's how to unlock Wild Mode in Hearthstone.
How to Unlock Wild Mode in Hearthstone in 2022
The Wild format has evolved from being a format that is generally better for new players to one for Hearthstone veterans and players with a good knowledge of the game. Since the card pool for the format is considerably larger than the selection of Standard cards, players need more synergies and possible cards to play. Blizzard has made a few tweaks to the introductory game experience over the years, including locking the Wild format behind a seldom-known barrier. Luckily, you shouldn't have too much trouble unlocking it.
To unlock the Wild deck, you must participate in a Tavern Brawl with a pool of Wild cards available for crafting. These tavern brawls are more common than standard-only modes, and a new brawl is rotated every week for players to enjoy.
Alternatively, you can unlock Wild by playing ranked matches. Initially, new players are placed in a separate game queue to match similar skill levels and experience to each other. There are 40 introductory ranks (called Apprentice 40 through Apprentice 1). During the Apprentice League, players cannot downgrade and receive various rewards for their participation, such as card packs and gold.
Once players pass Apprentice 1, they are placed into the normal ranked ladder, starting at Bronze 10. From then on, they can begin crafting Wild cards and participate in the Wild ladder.
Another, though less common, way to unlock the Wild format is to get cards that have turned Wild. Players can accomplish this simply by waiting for the annual card pool rotation. If they have any cards from last year's expansion, those cards will become part of the Wild and they can immediately start playing in that format.
How to play Wild in Hearthstone?
Once you've unlocked the Wild format and the ladder that comes with it, playing Wild is pretty straightforward. But first, you'll need to create a deck.
Wild decks are created the same way as Standard decks. The only difference is that you can now use the bottom left filter (the book icon) to select "Wild." You will get an extensive map collection to browse. You can also use the crafting menu to craft cards you're missing for decks you want to play.
You can also play Wild with a Standard legal deck, since all cards in the Standard rotation immediately become Wild. However, due to large discrepancies in power level and deck, you will be heavily pressed against opponents using powerful cards from older sets.
Once you have created or chosen a deck you wish to play, simply enter the Wild ladder:
- Open the “Playback” screen.
- At the top right, you'll see a symbol for the current game mode, above the "Casual" and "Ranked" banners. You can click on this symbol to change it.
- Select “Wild”. It has a prominent infinity symbol (sign cards from all over Hearthstone history are available there).
- Select the deck from the list on the left.
- Choose whether you want to play casual matches or participate in the leaderboard by tapping on the corresponding banner on the right.
- Press "Play" to queue for a match.
The Best Wild Decks for Hearthstone
Since the Wild format has a large selection of cards, new strategies are formed each time a new expansion is released. Older cards can become extremely popular if they have significant synergy or combo potential with newer versions.
Overall, Wild decks follow similar patterns between aggressive, midrange, control, and combo decks, without the overwhelming presence of a deck in the top ranks. It's up to the player to pick a strategy they prefer and build a deck around it, or use some of their strongest cards to build a deck.
The most popular Wild decks are generally aggressive, geared towards finishing the game as quickly as possible. This has twofold implications. First, players can progress up the ranked ladder faster by using a more powerful deck. It won't take much free time to reap the end-of-season rewards. Second, since aggressive decks tend to lose momentum later in the game, they primarily aim to keep the overall match length short if they go on the back foot. This helps them play more games in a relatively short time, so even a moderate win/loss ratio turns into an overall ranking gain.
Some of the most successful Wild decks include various forms of Murloc decks, with the Murloc Shaman being the most popular version. These decks flood the board with efficient and inexpensive minions and put pressure on the opponent's life total on the first or second turn. They can rebuild relatively quickly but may run out of interactive pieces late in the game.
Another popular aggressive variant is the ever-present Aggro Paladin. There are different rosters and builds available, most with a similar gameplay pattern. These decks deploy minions at low cost, bolster them with effective spells and buffs, and use effects that provide tremendous value when they run low on cards (like Divine Fervor).
However, some of the stronger decks generally use more interaction and develop cards that have a significant impact on the board and push the advantage further. These decks are usually incredibly resistant to takedown cards and disruption pieces. If those decks lose a card, they can simply play a stronger one next turn. Decks that use Reno Jackson see the most action due to the massive life-gain mechanic that legend provides.
If you don't want to use existing popular decks, you can always create a powerful deck to reach high ranks. Developing a solid strategy and optimizing how you play each card will inevitably lead to higher ranks given enough time, effort, and a bit of luck.
Why can't I play Wild in Hearthstone?
If you are a returning player, you could be kicked out of the Wild ladder. To unlock the Wild format again, go through the New Player Intro experience and reach at least Bronze 10 on the Standard ranking.
If you've followed our instructions in the "How to Unlock Wild" section and still can't unlock the Wild format, contact Blizzard Support.
What is a Wild Hearthstone Card?
A Wild card is a card that is not part of an expansion released in the current or previous Standard year. Cards change from Standard to Wild each year when the first expansion of the year is released, usually around March or April. Once players have obtained Wild cards, they can create Wild cards to use in the appropriate decks. Players can obtain them naturally as older pieces roll out of standard or by opening card packs from previous expansions.
Should I play Hearthstone Standard or Wild?
The choice is entirely up to you. Standard decks are generally more streamlined, less powerful, and don't have as many spares. The metagame generally evolves relatively slowly after discovering the most powerful decks, and some players may get bored of repeatedly seeing similar decks.
The Wild format has the advantage, due to a much larger pool of cards, to bring the cards from the first expansions. While most of the newer cards are powerful, some unique cards released a while ago remain the centerpieces of Wild decks.
You can also use the Hall of Fame to gauge how different Standard and Wild are. These powerful cards were created early in the game, and their design meant they had to be removed from Standard to keep it healthy. Cards such as Sylvanas, Azure Drake, or Ragnaros are some of the most iconic pieces standard players will likely never see again.
Wild Times in Hearthstone
The game's multitude of formats and strategies is what keeps players coming back for more. If you used to play the game, you might still enjoy playing with the cards you remember and are used to from the Wild format. You can still achieve high ranks with these cards and get seasonal rewards.
What is your favorite Wild deck in Hearthstone? Let us know in the comment section below.