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 Hearthstone Tips

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PostSubject: Hearthstone Tips   Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:12 pm

This post is just to consolidate all the tips that i gave in the original huge hearthstone topic into a single easier to reference post

Deck Building
Im not going to go too in depth on this since it would be really long, im just going to mention a few things

All aggro decks need 1 form of instant removal, mainly to get past a taunt, the black knight is the best at this but you can use a class specific instant removal spell to accomplish the same thing
Aggro is fairly straight forward to make, just know that putting in 6 cost minions can work even though that doesnt sound aggro, minions like argent commander, you can also use reckless rocketeer as a ghetto replacement for leeroy in any aggro deck other then a hunter unleash the hounds aggro, the 1 damage difference never matters, the 2 extra cost of the rocketeer does matter sometimes, but its never caused me to lose a game
Aggro will generally win before the other person can play legendaries so if you hate dealing with legendaries you can just make an aggro deck

All control decks should have 2 things in the current meta, anti aggro cards and burst damage

Aggro is still pretty popular so having some from of early anti aggro in your deck is required just to survive, argent squire and madbomber can work, wild pyromancer can work but can be a bit slow, sunfury protector forces aggro to attack your minions but can take sometime to set up, any low cost spell can be anti aggro as well, and any 1/3 minion that your class might have is anti aggro too

Burst damage is something that i didnt really consider to be that good, mainly because i was doing it with bloodlust which is probably the worst way to do it, but now i put it in every control deck, having it is incredibly useful and against certain decks is required, burst damage is just the ability to do a lot of damage in 1 turn (12-20 damage in 1 turn)
Most burst damage requires a combo of at least 2 cards to do, at most it should only take 3 cards, you dont want too many cards to be part of the combo because you might not draw all of them, 2 is the best
All of the classes have a way to deal burst dmg, some are better then others at it though, paladin is the worst at it, well actually their burst damage is the best but it only works on minions so its not really the same thing, and some are more expensive then others, like druid burst requires an epic card, and rogue requires leeroy to do properly, but some are easy to get like double fireball for mage or windfury and rockbiter on reckless rocketeer for shaman (although this one works better with leeroy or argent commander in place of rocketeer)
The important thing about making burst damage is that you shouldnt dedicate everything to making the burst damage work it should be flexible, like with double fireball for a mage, using the fireballs to kill minions rather then as burst damage can be better, the burst damage potentail from those cards is just a bonus so they shouldnt need to be used together as burst damage, like the shaman example i gave above, you could use any of those cards i mentioned by themselves, especially if you go with argent commander, even windfury could be put on something else to be used with a different purpose
Against certain decks you will need that burst damage though, and ill talk about that later when i talk about specific decks in the current meta

You can use bolderfist ogre as a ghetto replacement for most of the popular big legendaries, except ysera and alexstraza, stormwind champion can also work but isnt nearly as good
Geomancer can replace thalnos really well, nat can kind of be replaced with loothoarder or acolyte of pain or any early game card draw really
Class specific legendaries cant be replaced

Knowing what cards to keep and which to throw back at the beginning of the game can be the deciding factor of some games
The way i do it is if i see hunter or warlock i will throw back anything that doesnt help me against an aggro deck since those 2 classes are the most aggro ones in the current meta, if it turns out they arent aggro your aggro answers still arent that bad against warlock control, it might be back against hunter midrange beasts though but its still better to do that then risk it and lose to hunter aggro
Against other classes i will assume they are a bit slower and will try to go for 1-4 cost stuff, if im going 2nd ill keep 4 cost stuff, if im going 1st and have no turn 3 play ill throw a 4 cost back, and if im playing druid ill keep up to 5 cost stuff unless i have innervate in my opening hand, with innervate ill keep up to 7 cost stuff when going 2nd (6 when going first)
Try to keep stuff that will let you play at least 1 card per turn, it doesnt have to be 1 2 3, as long as 2 of the cards are low enough to play turn 2 and 3 at least
There are certain low cost cards you should always throw back, like situational cards that are much better in the late game even though they have a low cost, like geomancer, thalnos, or any low cost instant removal spell (unless your playing against a druid)
The type of deck your playing with will also change what you might keep, a late game control deck would keep removal spells and an aggro deck would want to get all 1 cost stuff, after you play your deck a bit youll know specifically what to keep and what to throw back

Minion Trading
Knowing when to kill minions and when to attack the enemy's face is important
If you always trade minions you wont be dealing damage to him and if he swings board control back in his favor with aoe you can fall behind very quickly and will never have a chance to attack him directly
If you always hit his face you give him all the favorable trades and can run out of steam before you can kill him

The general rule that ive been following recently is only kill minions with your minions when you see that the enemy can make a favorable trade against you, not when you can make a favorable trade against him
So for example, lets say you have a 4/5 out and he has a 3/2 out, you could use the 4/5 to favorably trade against his 3/2 but theres no reason to since his 3/2 cant kill your 4/5 on his turn anyway, so most likely he will run his 3/2 into your 4/5 and then finish your minion off with 2 dmg from something else, the result is the same the but you got an extra 4 dmg in on him by not trading
But lets say we have that same situation but you want to play a 1/3, his 3/2 could kill your 1/3 favorably so you would have to use your 4/5 to kill his 3/2 to play your 1/3 safely, so in that case you should do the trade (depending on what 1/3 it is and on what class i was playing, mana wyrm and northshire cleric are the only 2 1/3s i would do this for, but for other minions that arent 1/3 i would do the trade), the same is true if the minion you want to play is equal to the minion (so if you wanted to play your own 3/2 or 2/3 you should do the kill his 3/2 with your 4/5)
There are some exceptions to this though, if your playing against an aggro deck you should clear as many minions as you can at all costs, and i mean all costs, ive used hex on direwolf alpha (a 2/2 that grants 1 attack to adjacent minions) and other crappy stuff that you would never think to use something as powerful as hex on and it has won me the game because those aggro decks generally wont have huge things that you need to save hex for, also if your playing with an aggro deck you should be going for the face almost all the time since your minions have such low hp and you need to deal as much dmg as possible asap
The other exception is against certain classes on certain turns when your minions have a certain amount of hp, like if im playing a mage and i have a bunch of stuff with 4 hp and my enemy has stuff with 3 attack, normally ill just ignore his 3 attack stuff until right before he hits turn 7 (or turn 6 if he has the coin and hasnt used it) and then do all the trades in the most favorable way i can so that his flamestrike doesnt screw me, this is true for all classes with aoe spells, you need to learn how much mana and how much dmg every class's aoe spell costs and does so you know when to do trades to avoid being screwed by aoe

There are 2 problems you can run into by following this rule and its exceptions
The first is that you can be punished by a spell that kills your minion and leaves you with no way to kill the minion that you didnt kill, the good thing about this is that he just used a spell to kill your minion so your minion got some dmg in and probably took a swipe or a fireball away from your enemy, because of this i generally will kill fairy dragons since those are a pain in the ass to kill after something like that happens, but most of the time you should have a spell or another more powerful minion to deal with his minion so it should be fine
The other problem is against paladins and priests, both classes can buff their minions a lot, this isnt too much of a problem though, you can use silence to fix it pretty easily with priests, and with pally i normally will clear the 1/1s he gets so that he cant use kings on its own to kill something with his free summon, but in the current meta buffs like that arent really used so the main problem with pally isnt buffs, its an equality combo since that can come out at any time past turn 4 and does infinite dmg to all your minions so you never know when to clear minions, ill talk more about equality combos when i talk about paladin decks later

Tempo: Choosing which cards to play and when
Try to play cards that make it so you still have cards to play next turn
For example, lets say your going 2nd and have a 2 cost, a 3 cost, and 2 5 costs in your starting hand you could coin out the 2 cost on turn 1, but then you have no turn 2 play so you should just save the coin for turn 4 where you can coin out 1 of those 2 5 costs so you can play something every turn
Its better to be able to play something every turn then it is to get stuff out faster (unless your playing against an aggro deck, then you might want to coin out that 2 cost depending on what he did on his turn 1)
Spending your mana efficiently is more important then getting out big stuff, for example on turn 7 you could play a big 6 cost minion and have 1 mana left over, or you could play a 3 cost and a 4 cost minion and have none left over, i would choose the 3 and 4 cost over the 6 cost unless my enemy had something big of his own on his side (i might still pick the 4 and 3 cost depending on what it is) or if playing that 6 costs minion gives me the potential for lethal on my next turn
You should also play the worst possible solution to any problem, for example on turn 4 the enemy has a 3/2 out and you could either play yeti or shield master, both can kill the 3/2 but the yeti is better so the shield master is the 1 you should play to deal with it since you can play the yeti later and have it be on 5 hp for something else, the same goes for spells, if your enemy plays something with 6 hp and you have fireball and polymorph in your hand you should use fireball and save polymorph for something bigger since polymorph is the best solution (unless your super close to winning and fireball (or w/e dmg spell) can be used as your finisher)

This is a bit more advanced, but if you cant play something on a turn then you can kindve fix your tempo by using a minion to hit the enemy in the face rather then killing a minion (while disobeying the guidelines i just said above in the minion trading section), its highly situational and should only be done when you need a certain tempo (like the next couple of turns will lead you to lethal by getting that dmg in now)

The Limit
The main problem with a control deck is that you will run out of instant removal/silence after your enemy plays a bunch of legendaries in a row and those boulderfist ogres that your using as replacements can only get you so far, winning with a control deck against another control deck without the ability to match the number of legendaries the other guy plays can be done, but is really hard to pull off
The absolute limit to the number of big legendaries (big as in 5 or more hp) that any normal deck without big legendaries can handle in a single game is 5, 2 of them are easy 1 for 1 trades just use your classes instant removal, you should save that for ysera and rag, the next 2 will require 2 cards to deal with, a silence and something to kill the silenced minion off with (if you use an orge to do it can technically be a 1 for 1), save that for carine and sylvanus, the last 1 is the hardest because by now you are out of answers and will probably have to take a 3 for 1 to kill the 5th legendary, the best you can do is 2 for 1 with an ogre and something that can finish it off
If you have your own big legendaries you can add 1 to that limit for every big legendary you have in your deck, faceless manipulator and big game hunter can also add 1 to this limit for each 1 of those in your deck, for the rest of this post im going to assume you dont have any of those and you are just working with 2 class instant removals and 2 silences
Ive tried putting more silence in my deck to see if i could extend the limit a bit, but it doesnt work, there arent that many legendaries that can be silenced as a way to deal with them
When your enemy plays his 3rd legendary you need to start trying to end the game, if you were following what i said above about minion trading and having burst damage you should still have a good chance at winning even if you havent drawn into the burst damage, you should start taking more risks here though in an attempt to hit him in the face more often
If he gets to the 5th legendary you are going to be super behind and probably wont win, if he heals; you lost, but drawing into that burst damage can save you and will probably be required to win at this point
If he plays that 6th legendary you need to ignore it and finish the game immediately the only thing that will save you at that point will be burst damage, if you dont draw into it after a turn or if the enemy has more hp then your burst damage + board damage can do you may as well just concede

This limit is smaller for druid since their instant removal isnt good to use 2 of, and potentially larger for paladins because they can take out 2 at a time with an equality combo though that wont happen often since people wont play 2 at a time against a pally

Also sometimes your board position will be strong enough to power through some of the legendaries, like being able to kill cairne twice without losing anything, so occasionally the limit can be higher, but in those cases your already so far ahead that you wont need to worry about the limit

Arena Tips
So i went 12-2 in arena a while back with this deck:

So i feel like i can talk about the arena now

Arena is very different from constructed, it has a completely different meta, its not about getting combos or synergy, its just about getting good minions out and trading well with them
Mage and palladin are the best classes in arena imo, the have the best basic class cards and the strongest hero powers for arena

Making an arena deck
Building the deck is probably the most important part of arena, no matter how well you play a bad deck just wont get you to 12 wins
You can use this as a guide for what cards you should pick:
However you shouldnt always pick the card that that list says is the best, if you do youll probably only be able to get 6-8 wins at max, probably less then that
Your mana curve is more important than picking the best card every time and you shouldnt go over 2 copies of the same card unless that card is in the best or excellent category AND picking it fits your mana curve
You want mostly 2-4 cost minions (5's are fine too, but dont stack the 5s) with a few removal spells and a couple big hitters for the end game
2 cost minions are really important as a lot of the time matches are decided by who has the better board presence within the first couple turns, 3 is also important for the same reason (you can use the deck i got 12 wins with for a guide to mana curve and how many 2-4 cost minions are good, the curve on that deck is almost ideal, it might have too much early game
At first you pick the best cards, and as you go you start making the mana curve work by picking the 2nd (sometimes 3rd) best card that fits the curve (you should avoid picking stuff from the terrible category even if it fits your curve, nightblade, windfurry harpy, and thralmar farseer are the only 3 from the terrible category that i would consider picking if i was desperate to fix my curve and the other 2 choices were meh)
If youre lucky the best card will fit your curve every time and youll end up with an amazing deck, but that rarely happens (its never happened for me)

Playing an arena deck
Unlike constructed you shouldnt hold back cards for bigger plays later, youll see that the deck i got 12 wins with has big game hunter which is a situational card that can be amazing, however holding it back for the potential that they play an 8/8 is wrong, you should try to save it, play it last, but if you have no turn 3 play you should just play it to get something out there, holding it back will cause you to lose in the long run
Ooze is the same way, if it ends up being your only turn 2 play against a shaman you should just play it even though he could play axe and kill it, but playing around that possibility in arena is usually bad, again you should try to save it, if you have another turn 2 play then you should do that instead
The exception to this is when your already ahead, if you already have stuff on the board and you have 3 extra mana you could send out the big game hunter, but theres no reason to at that point since you already have stuff out, same with the ooze and the other situational minions
Also playing around flamestike (or any aoe) when you already have a prime flamestike board is a good idea too, even if it means basically skipping a turn because if he doesnt flamestike you know he doesnt have it and you can keep playing stuff the next turn (unless he played nothing on his aoe turn, then hes probably baiting you to play more stuff, in that case you skip again or play stuff that will survive the aoe)
You also want to go to the face more often than you would in constructed, theres a lot less things to punish you for not killing a minion so leaving a minion up usually wont result in disaster like it could in constructed, once you get initiative and a good board presence you can hit face every turn without having to worry about too much as he will want to use his minions to kill yours to stop taking damage, the only time you should trade for sure is the turn before they can use a big aoe spell, so like against pally turn 3 or against mage turn 6, of course you should still kill minions if you can do it without your minion dieing and it prevents the minion you killed from killing another 1 of your minions
The most important thing to know is when to save spells for enemy face and when to use those spells to clear minions, the deck i got 12 wins with had 2 fireballs, so if i was able to keep both of those i could deal 12 burst damage to his face, there were 2 games that i won because i saved those fireballs for his face and managed to come back from a definite loss, i was able to see that using them wouldnt stop me from losing, it would just prolong my death, but saving them gave me a chance at winning and i was able to get the win, there was 1 game that i lost because i didnt use my hero ability on his face when i shouldve, he played ancient of war and my only hope was double fireball (which i didnt even have in hand at the time, i only had 1 in hand) i pinged his ancient with the plan to kill it with 1 fireball and a 3 attack guy, but then i drew the 2nd fireball and realized if i had just pinged his face the turn where i hit his ancient instead i wouldve had the win (he removed my 3 attack guy with a spell from the top of his deck too so it was impossible for me to win after that)
So think of your damage spells as "will this let me win" rather than "will this let me survive" unless youre desperate and have no choice (like you are about to lose if you dont use it)

Making a play
Making a play is just deciding what cards to play and in what order to play them on your turn, whenever i decide what to do and make my play i consider 5 things

1. Do I have lethal already?
Doing a lethal check before you commit to anything is helpful, even if they are at 20 hp the damage you have on board and the damage in your hand can potentially add up to amounts that you wouldnt expect like 20 damage

2. Is the play i came up with the best play?
Its good to go over your other options before doing anything, the first play you think of isnt always the best even if it seems like it, a lot of the time theirs an obvious play that puts you in a good spot, but you also have another option which is harder to see that puts you in an amazing spot so go through every play you have with the cards in your hand before committing to anything, try to get as much value from all your cards as you possibly can

3. Whats my next play?
Whenever you come up with a play you should consider what the next step is, this can allow you to make plays that set you up for the next turn or prevent your next turn from being weak, for example if you have 1 2 cost minion in hand you could coin into it on turn 1, but then what do you do on turn 2, hero power?, that play is weak and the coin can get more value later, the only time you should do something like that is if your being rushed
Or on the setting up side of things, if you have flamestrike in hand you can use frost bolt on something like an ogre then ignore the ogre play out stuff other than the flamestrike, then flamestrike the next turn after he plays more stuff to catch the ogre and w/e else he played in the flames
You can also set up lethal for next turn if you do your lethal check and realize your only a bit short you can use the current turn to get that bit that your missing in on his face to set up your lethal for next turn (the best way to do it is to have lethal from your hand so that even if he clears the minions you have you still win after the set up)

4. What will my opponent do in response to this play?
After i decide on my play i think about what can go wrong with this play before i do it, if i was my opponent what would i do in response and whats his best possible response to my play, if he hasnt played aoe yet i might decide to hold back on the play i want to make
Reading your opponent is important for this and ill talk about that in a section below

5. What can i draw into that will save me here?
Sometimes you will end up behind and need a topdeck to come back, for example if aoe is the only thing that can salvage the game for you play as though you will draw that aoe as it gives you the best chance of winning since your going to lose anyway, its the same for using your draw to try to draw into a solution, like you can use power word shield on an 8/8 enemy minion in the hopes to draw shadow word death, these are desperate plays but they can cause the game to swing back around from a certain loss if you end up drawing what you need

Reading your opponent and bluffing
Before you can read your opponent you need to know how to bluff, theres 5 types of bluffs

1. Secrets
This is the obvious way to bluff, playing a secret and doing something to make it look like its that type of secret will cause your opponent to think its that secret, even if he thinks your bluffing he still cant risk it and will play the way you want him to depending on your bluff even if its not the secret you want it to be

2. My minion is better than yours
This is the bluff youll see the most of in arena (and it really only works in arena), this bluff is when you both have minions of equal power but you dont trade your minion into his and you hit his face instead, like a 3/2 vs a 2/3, your basically saying i have a way to either remove your minion without using my minion so im not worried or i can buff my minion so that your minion cant kill mine even when you cant do either of those things

3. I have X card(s)
Making them think you have certain cards when you dont can make them do things that allow you to not need that card when you otherwise would require it
You can set the hp of minions to 4hp to make them think you have flamestrike or 2hp to make them think you have other aoe even if you dont have aoe in your deck, most of the time it will prevent them from playing more minions for a turn and make them trade into your guys, so you end up clearing their board without flamestrike, you could also hold a card and set them to 10 hp as a mage to make them think you have pyroblast even if that card isnt pyro, or hit them in the face more aggressively to bluff that you have a hand full of burst damage
Based on what you do people will conclude that you have certain cards as thats the only way your play makes sense, so a lot of the time they will play into your bluff and you end up not needing the card that you dont have

4. I dont have aoe
Making them think you dont have aoe when you do can set you very far ahead, doing desperate things can make them think you dont have aoe or that your hand is ass so they will start playing more things that your aoe can kill, they end up feeling safe and will over extend, taking a bit of extra damage to the face is fine if your aoe gives you a massive card advantage after they over extend

5. I have lethal no matter what you do
Hitting everything to the face and setting their hp low will make them think you have lethal in your hand for next turn and will usually cause them to go into desperation mode trying to draw something to save them and/or clearing your board at all costs to try to give themselves the best chance of winning, even if they manage to clear your board they will usually do it inefficiently and you will eventually win
This only works if your hp is high enough to be out of lethal range, if you have at least equal board control with your opponent and if you have a card or 2 in hand left after you threw spells at his face, this bluff usually ends the game a turn or 2 sooner than if you played normally and can prevent huge out of no where comebacks from your opponent, i usually only do it when my opponent only has 1 card in hand as theirs not much risk in it

Reading your opponent to find out whats in their hand is incredibly useful and not all that hard, but you do need to know what every card in the game does first (there arent that many cards so its easy after awhile)

If your opponent is trading minions in an inefficient way it probably means he doesnt have his aoe as if he did he could just skip past your guys and hit you in the face and make you trade into him is just 1 of many many examples that are possible, its impossible to go over everything that you can do to read your opponent, its something youll learn through playing a bunch, the stuff i said about how to bluff should be helpful in reading your opponent as well since they will do those things normally (without it being a bluff)

The important thing about reading your opponent is to know when hes bluffing or not, seren and i lost a game because i read our opponent as bluffing a pyroblast and it turned out he actually had that pyroblast, i think that was more of my misread than it was from good bluffing by our opponent, which happens sometimes
The only time i will read something as a bluff is when they dont make it obvious that they have the thing they are bluffing about, so like there was a game me and seren played where it was turn 7 and i told seren to play a bunch of things against a mage who could have flamestrike and seren was probably thinking "are you insane" but he didnt say anything, then he said "no flamestrike" and i was like "i know" i knew that he didnt have it because he was bluffing by being subtle about having it while he was behind, if he actually had it he wouldve committed to it more because it wouldve put him so far ahead to actually have it since he was super safe, but not having it meant that committing to it would end up putting him behind still, but if we had fallen for it we wouldve ended up even (possibly ahead depending on what he did have in his hand) which was his plan
He couldve been doing the "i dont have aoe" bluff but his plays were too inconsistent for it to be that

RNG and forcing it to work in your favor
RNG is RNG, but you can stack the odds in your favor by having back up plans when the RNG doesnt go your way and/or by literally changing the odds by changing the board state before you use your rng

Generally i take 50/50 odds as being an acceptable risk, so killing minions until theres a 50/50 chance of what i want is when i would play my RNG, 33% chance is way too low

A back up plan just means you spend a bit more to do what you want when the RNG fails, having a backup plan is required for shaman as a lot of their stuff is RNG, if the RNG works out for shammy they will be very very far ahead as they didnt need to use the back up plan and their plan B solutions happen to be very powerful as plan A solutions too

You can also stack the enemies RNG against them, like if they play ysera and you know that ysera awakens will end up potentially killing you, you can set them to 5 hp and ideally kill ysera so that if they got lucky on the dream card draw and got ysera awakens they cant play it without killing themselves too
Or flood the board against ragnaros so his 8 damage at the end of turn doesnt hit you in the face
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