Arena can be intimidating at first. It has totally different rules than normal play, and knowing which cards are the best to pick can be tough, even for veteran players. But we’re here to help! Ryan and Josh lay out their advice for picking the right cards and winning Arena, with tricks for everything ranging from finding your win condition to sneaking a peek at their mulligan choices.
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- Topic: Arena Tips!
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Arena is fundamentally different from constructed play in that you don’t build your deck from your personal collection, but rather choose cards one at a time from three options drawn from the entire card pool. Because of this, you’ll encounter cards not commonly played in constructed and be able to pick cards you don’t personally own.
This means the strategies and tactics here are different, which calls for different tactics! Removal is generally scarcer and the powerful finisher combos seen in constructed cannot usually be drafted. This usually leads to a slower game in which value plays leading to card advantage are often the deciding factor in winning.
Tip #1: Getting Ready for Arena
- Get all classes to level 10. If you don’t have a basic understanding of the classes, you will be surprised by your opponent’s play and will play into board clears like Consecration (4) or Flamestrike (7).
- Buying packs (100g) vs. buying Arena (150g)
- Arena currently only offers Goblins vs Gnomes packs as a reward, so buying classic packs is better if your goal is to build decks for constructed.
- If your classic collection is mostly fleshed out, Arena is better value. For 50 more gold, you have a chance to earn additional gold, dust, cards, even an extra pack!
- 7 wins gives at least 150g (infinite arena), 3-5 wins is break even point, rewarding a pack plus around 50 gold on average.
Tip #2: Choosing the right Hero!
- Your most comfortable class
- when in doubt: Mage, Paladin, Priest
- All are viable with decent drafts and good play (I have 12 wins with Warrior, Rogue and Hunter)
Tip #3: The Lingo We Use
- Value: Cards that are independently good (Spider Tank) or affect the board state (Stormpike Commando/Frostbolt).
- Win more: Cards that are reliant on synergy or specific board states to be used effectively (Enhance-o Mechano/Bloodlust)
- Curve: How many cards in total you have in each Mana cost. Why it matters – If you have something to play on curve every turn and your opponent does not, you will be ahead on the board. Missing turn 2 or 3 gives the initiative to the opponent.
- Drop: A minion card that can be played onto an empty board the turn that matches its mana cost. Like Senjin Shieldmasta. A Fireball for 4 mana is ideally not played on turn 4. So when talking about how many “drops” you have at a given mana slot, you don’t count situational spells or minions (Big Game Hunter is not a 3 drop).
Tip #4: Drafting 101
- Start by picking “best” cards regardless of mana cost for the first 10 picks.
- Re-evaluate at 10/15/20/25 picks in. When you have a tough decision, choose the one that fills a hole in your curve. Towards the end of the draft you might pick a mediocre card over a “better” one if you are lacking early or late game.
- Currently the Arena meta is rather aggressive. One and Two drops are very powerful so draft them or have way to slow them down. This is because you are guaranteed the early game but not late. You might not live until Turn 8 to play your Ironbark Protector.
- How many spells ideally, compared to minions? It depends on what spells (weapons are basically spells). Can you have too many Fireballs or Flamestrikes? Probably not, but it depends what the other options are. You want at least 1 or 2 AOE spells and a few big target removal spells, if they can also be used for burst finishing, that’s a bonus.
- Know which type of deck you drafted: Fast, mid, or slow
Tip #5: Mulligan
- Do you have the Coin?
- You want a turn-two drop! Turn-one drop also, if you drafted enough. Take the board or fall behind.
- Curve out. ex: (1-2-3) | (2-3-4) w/coin: (2-2-3) | (2-4-4) |(3-3-4)
- Keep removal? Watch opponent’s mulligan, also depends if you already have 1 or 2 drop.
Tip #6: Early game
- o coin or not to coin, that is the question… Coin on turn 1 only if you have a turn 2 play to follow it up or to remove a snowballing minion like Whirling Zap-o-Matic.
- Obtain board control without playing into AOE board clear
- Play value minion each turn
Tip #7: Face vs. Board Control
- What is the win condition of your deck? Can you win a control (slow) game?
- Just because you or opponent are below 10 health doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over!
- Play to win vs. play to not lose: If playing against a slower deck and you are running out of cards, you probably need to try to finish the game, otherwise their bigger minions will crush you. The longer the game goes on, the more likely you will lose. When playing a against faster deck, if you can stall the game out, they will run out of cards and your big minions will be uncontested. You will gain a feel for this as you play more games.
Tip #8 More Resources
- Donations: Jayme ($30), Falana ($5/month)
- Question: Which cards to dust?
- iTunes Reviews: We read German (terribly)
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