The tutorial is the initial experience designed to introduce players to Hearthstone. It is composed of six 'missions', and must be completed before the player can play Hearthstone properly. The tutorial comprises a kind of introductory game mode with reduced gameplay and helpful instructions. There is no option to skip the tutorial.
The tutorial is presented the first time a player opens the game in any region. While the tutorial is designed to only be played once, by playing in a new region or on a new account, the player can repeat the experience. There is no way to replay the tutorial for any given collection, although a replay feature may be added in the future.
Each 'mission' takes the form of a battle against a special enemy hero, or boss. The player controls Jaina, and the story follows her as she learns the basics of Hearthstone. Compared to normal play the tutorial is heavily directed, with the player's actions limited to a few possibilities. Basic game elements are added with each mission, slowly introducing the basics with helpful tips and instructions.
Each mission also features substantial dialogue between Jaina and her opponent. These bosses are unlike regular heroes, with unique abilities, cards and soundbites, and cannot be selected by players in the rest of the game. All of these characters, however, can be collected as legendary minion cards. Each can be found in the Expert set, with the exception of Hemet Nesingwary, who was released in the Goblins vs Gnomes set.
Differences from regular play
Several changes to the usual rules apply during tutorials to provide flavor, simplify gameplay, and/or make the missions easier than facing a regular opponent:
- The coin flip and deck order is scripted, not random, and mulligans are unavailable.
- Bosses' decks contain unique, uncollectible cards, and have no restrictions on size or multiples of any card.
- Neither hero has a hero power until the fifth mission. The last boss's power is much stronger than standard ones.
- The second player does not receive an extra card until the third mission and beyond.
- There are no starting hands in the first mission, while it is only two cards in the second and third.
- The Coin is never added to any hand.
- The player cannot see the number of cards left in either deck.
- The first five bosses start with 10, 20, 25, 26, and 20 health, respectively, against the player's 27. Both sides have 30 for the final mission.
Additional restrictions on player decisions are in place at first, and are gradually removed as players progress through the tutorial.
- Certain targeting options in the first mission must be made as directed.
- Until the third mission, players cannot end the turn with mana still available to play a card. (The message "Not yet! You have more cards to play!" is shown.)
- Until the fourth mission, players cannot end the turn without attacking with all minions possible. ("Not yet! You can still attack.")
- Players cannot cast Fireball (the only available direct damage spell) on themselves or their own minions. ("Save that for the enemy!")
Players receive written and spoken advice throughout all missions, but are not forced to follow it except as described above.
The following bosses are fought in sequence:
- Hogger has three unique minions, as well as one unique spell. Player actions are tightly controlled, making the encounter impossible to lose. Fighting him illustrates the basic mechanics of playing minions and spells, attacking, and taking damage.
- Millhouse Manastorm, unlike most bosses, has no unique cards. He uses most of the same spells as the player, but no minions. Players have slightly more choice in their actions compared to Hogger, but winning is still guaranteed. This encounter is intended to teach about mana usage, and also hints at the value of minions compared to spells.
- Lorewalker Cho comes with two unique spells and two unique minions. Unlike the first two bosses, this fight is possible to lose, but is still very easy as long as some cards are played each turn. It is designed to teach how to trade minions effectively, and also contains the first usage of healing effects and enchantments.
- King Mukla brings a minor unique minion and spell, plus the very powerful, unique Mukla's Big Brother. This demonstrates the value of Taunt minions, in conjunction with the strategy of rushing the enemy instead of smashing weak minions into a superior one. Despite this, it is not difficult to kill Mukla's Big Brother and then win. Most of the tutorial restrictions on gameplay are lifted at this point. This is the first opportunity for players to use Taunt, Charge, heals and buffs on their own minions.
- Hemet Nesingwary is the first boss to feature a hero power, which in his case mimics the mage's Fireblast. He has two unique minions, and one unique spell.
- Illidan Stormrage is the final tutorial boss. He has two unique minions, and one unique spell. He also comes equipped with three unique weapons, as well as a powerful hero power. He's supposed to teach how powerful minions with low mana cost having major downsides.
In response to player requests, it has been stated that the tutorial may be made replayable, and/or expanded into more advanced lessons. No specific plans have been announced.