Welcome to The Elder Scrolls: Legends! My name is rubberducky182 and I have been playing this game since closed beta. I already helped a lot of new players on Reddit and on Twitch streams in the past, so I decided to bundle all the answers to the most common questions in one single guide. This guide is aimed at new players who are just getting started with the game. I will be talking about Twitch Drops, Starter Decks, how to spend your gold and soul gems and how to expand your collection in an efficient way.
The very first thing you should do as a new player is linking your Twitch account to your Bethesda account. You can do that on the Bethesda site at this link. This enables you to earn Twitch drops while watching TESL-streams. Twitch drops are currently: 50/100/600 gold, 50/100/1500 soul gems or a random legendary card from the core set. These will be expanded upon and continue to change in the future. There is no possibility to influence which drop you get or when it drops – it is entirely random and typing “!drop” in Twitch chat does not help you to get drops faster. You just have to make sure that your accounts are linked and that the streamer itself has his or her accounts linked – which will be the case for almost any TESL streamer, because deactivating drops would prevent them from getting drops themselves.
If you receive a drop, you will receive a whisper from Bethesda on Twitch and a pop-up window when launching the game. There is a certain cooldown time before you can receive another drop – but after that it is entirely random. It can take minutes, hours or days. The cooldown time used to be 24 hours, but the developers stated recently that this time “can and will fluctuate”. Therefore it is not unusual if you do not receive a Twitch Drop for several days. They are random and there is no guarantee to get one within a certain timeframe.
The Starter Decks have been introduced with the Skyrim expansion and offer a lot of value. By purchasing one of the Starter Decks, all 50 cards will be permanently added to your collection. This is a much better investment than buying 5 card packs, because those will only give you 30 cards and usually less than one legendary and four epic cards. On top of that, some of the Starter Decks are quite good budget decks if you tweak them a little bit. This is especially true for the Ancano and Aela decks.
I will link optimized top tier deck lists which you can aim for while building your collection. I will also tell you about the strong cards (the ones that see play in a variety of decks) and weak cards (the ones that are just bad and rarely see play in serious decks) in each deck, so that you get a feeling for which cards you should keep in the deck and which you should cut first. Just keep in mind that not every card mentioned as a strong card will fit the optimized deck that I linked. Take, for example, Execute and Grisly Gourmet; while both cards are good and see play in different decks, they are usually not run in the same deck, because you do not need this effect 6 times. This is why I linked the optimized decklists, so that you can get an idea of what those decks aim for.
The best deck in terms of card quality is Ancano’s Cunning. You can turn this into a budget Midrange Mage pretty easily. An optimized legend-rank Midrange Mage deck looks something like this.
Strong cards: Execute, Firebolt, Bruma Profiteer, Shrieking Harpy, Wardcrafter, Cunning Ally, Dark Rebirth, Grisly Gourmet, Mage’s Trick, Cloudrest Illusionist, Lightning Bolt, Mystic Dragon, Piercing Javelin, Ice Storm, Ancano
Weak cards: Calm, A Night to Remember, Crystal Tower Crafter, Insightful Scholar, Praetorian Commander, Mages Guild Retreat
Strong cards: Rapid Shot, Afflicted Alit, Circle Initiate, Lurking Crocodile, Orc Clan Captain, Wind Keep Spellsword, Crushing Blow, Morkul Gatekeeper, Aela’s Huntmate, Shadowfen, Priest, Triumphant Jarl, Aela the Huntress
Weak cards: Whiterun Protector, Night Predator, Ancestor’s Battleaxe
The other 3 decks also contain some very good cards and all Starter Decks are definitely worth buying in the long-term as far as the gold value is concerned. Yet, the 3 other decks do not offer the possibility to be upgraded into top tier decks that easily. This of course does not mean that you cannot turn these decks into good decks – it is simply not as straightforward as with the Ancano and Aela deck.
Strong cards: Dragontail Savior, Tree Minder, Edict of Azura, Hive Defender, Midnight Sweep, Preserver of the Root, Piercing Javelin, Mantikora
Weak cards: Dragon Cult Ghost, Encumbered Explorer, Cliffside Lookout, Mentor of the Watch, Dragonplate Armor, Imperial Camp, Revered Guardian, Karthspire Scourge, Snowhawk Detachment, Ironscale Dragon
Strong cards: Firebolt, Shadow Shift, Goblin Skulk, Thieves Guild Recruit, Elusive Schemer, Lightning Bolt, Moonlight Werebat, Riften Pickpocket, Thief of Dreams
Weak cards: Move in the Shadows, Paralyze, Palace Prowler, Caravan Enforcer, Lockpick, Torval Crook
Strong cards: Drain Vitality, Rapid Shot, Fighters Guild Recruit, Murkwater Witch, Thieves Guild Recruit, Nimble Ally, Earthbone Spinner, Murkwater Shaman, Leaflurker, Shearpoint Dragon, Paarthurnax
Weak cards: Word Wall, Shadowscale Partisan, Unrelenting Force, Young Dragonborn, Greybeard Mentor, Dovah of the Voice, Duel Atop the World
If you do not want to build a deck based on the Starter Decks, you can also check out CVH’s Budget-ify series on his YouTube channel. Some of the videos are up to date, others are not, but they generally highlight some good budget options to replace popular epic and legendary cards with commons and rares.
Building a Collection and Spending Soul Gems
As a new player, it makes sense to focus on two colors first. Experiment with the different classes, watch videos and streamers and find out which colors you like the most. After building a good deck in your first class, expand into new classes one color at a time. If you have card game experience and know your preferred archetype, here is a very rough rundown of which archetype is typically associated with which classes:
Aggro: Battlemage, Crusader, Archer, Warrior
Midrange: Sorcerer, Assassin, Archer, Warrior, Mage
Control: Mage, Monk, Spellsword
Ramp: Scout, Spellsword
Token: Crusader, Spellsword
Combo: Archer, Assassin, Battlemage
Just keep in mind that this is a very generalized overview and does not show every possible combination. TESL offers a variety of archetypes within each class, although some are more popular or viable than others – this also always depends on the current state of the meta. If you want to see which decks are currently strong and popular, take a look at the latest meta snapshot from July. A new meta snapshot is released every month on this site.
Many new players want to craft legendary cards first, because they seem very special and strong (and some of them definitely are). Yet, I don’t recommend this, because a single legendary card in your 50 card deck will not vastly improve your deck quality if you are still missing many other cards. As a new player, you should instead be focusing on epic cards first, because you can craft 3 copies of them for the price of one legendary. 3 good epic cards will increase the quality of your deck more than 1 very good legendary card, simply because you will draw them more consistently.
If you want to get an idea what is worth crafting, you can find a crafting guide on this site. Just keep in mind that the guide was written before the release of the Skyrim expansion, so none of the Skyrim cards are included.
One main source for Soul Gems are Twitch drops, but you cannot rely on them since they are random. If you need a certain amount of Soul Gems to craft a specific card, you can farm Soul Gems in Practice mode against the AI. Winning a match on expert difficulty will reward you with 15 Soul Gems – you can do this until reaching the daily maximum of 300 Soul Gems. This can get very tiring and monotone though. A much more entertaining way of acquiring new cards is playing Arena. You can play Solo Arena against the AI (9 max wins) or Versus Arena against real players (7 max wins). Reaching max wins in Versus Arena will give you better rewards than reaching max wins in Solo Arena. The Solo Arena is a great start though to get used to the format. You can find a guide on Solo Arena here. A guide on Versus arena can be found here. Also check out the Arena Tier List on this site to improve your Arena drafts.
One thing that should be mentioned as well are the level up rewards that you receive for leveling your character to level 50. Here is an overview for the level-up rewards. The race of your hero has an influence on the cards you receive, especially at level 24 and 32, at which you receive legendary cards. Breton is generally considered a safe choice, because all of those legendaries see a lot of play. Wood Elf is also a good choice, since both Ungolim and Allena can be played in some decks. Redguard is good choice if you want to get Merric to craft a Merric Battlemage deck. All other races are a risky choice, because you can get at least one bad legendary card from them. Keep in mind that you also receive race-related rare and epic cards in between, so it might make sense to run a different avatar and just switch it before reaching level 24 and 32. Every race in Legends is connected to a specific class – you can see which race belongs to which class by taking a look at dual-colored cards.
How to Spend Gold and/or Money
You can earn gold by completing daily quests, by receiving Twitch Drops and by getting 3 win-rewards from casual and ranked play (between 15 and 50 gold + a random card). Keep in mind that arena is mainly a way to acquire new cards, but not a good way to earn gold – on average you will get less gold as a reward than you paid to enter.
As I already mentioned, the Starter Decks are a great deal for your gold, so you should get them sooner or later. You will receive a random one just by completing the story. But you should keep in mind that you probably want to get the cards from the Dark Brotherhood expansion as well. The Dark Brotherhood expansion consists of 3 parts, which can be bought for 1000 gold each. In my opinion, it makes sense to get one or two of the Starter Decks to then focus on getting the Dark Brotherhood expansion, since it gives you access to some very good cards. You can still buy the remaining Starter Decks at a later point. I would make this decision based on the deck you are trying to build and the cards you are missing for it: Do you miss many basic cards that are part of one of the Starter Decks, then buy that deck. Do you mainly miss cards of the Dark Brotherhood expansion, then go for that. If your collection is small in general, you can also invest your gold into Solo or Versus Arena to get card packs.
While TESL is one of the most generous card games out there and being a free-to-play player is definitely possible, you can of course also spend money to expand your collection faster. If you are planning to spend real money on the game, the Starter Pack with 10 core set packs and a guaranteed legendary is a great deal. There are also some card pack deals related to the Madhouse Collection (Mad Prince Pack) and the Skyrim expansion, which are cheaper than buying normal pack bundles. Aside from that, buying the Dark Brotherhood expansion with real money will save you a lot of in-game gold. You can see it this way: by spending $20 on the expansion, you are saving 3000 gold, which will get you at least 30 card packs (or more if you spent the gold on arena tickets). So you are basically spending $20 for 30+ card packs, which is a very good deal.
Sooner or later, you might want to get the Madhouse Collection as well. This 10-card collection enables you to play some very specific decks, which mostly require you to have a lot of cards from the core set. Therefore this expansion definitely has the lowest priority for new players. CVH made a very informative video on it, also highlighting which decks you can play with the cards in it.
There is no single right way to get started in Elder Scrolls: Legends aside from signing up for Twitch Drops and getting at least a few Starter Decks. This guide is meant to show you some of the different options you have to build your collection and your first decks. TESL offers you a lot of room in terms of deckbuilding and finding your preferred playstyle, so go ahead and take some time to experiment with different classes and archetypes. And the most important thing: have fun while doing so. See you on the ladder!