Our old friend Ben returns to the show, eager to share his advice for improving your Hearthstone play. And while he’s here, he helps Josh dig through a huge pile of bite-sized topics that listeners have sent in over the past few months.
NOTE: The next episode will be from BlizzCon! That week, we’ll publish at least two episodes. One of the panel Josh will be on, and one special-report on BlizzCon news! See you then!
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- Ben is on the show this week
- Topic: Strategy Potluck!/li>
- Reasons to be happy
- BlizzCon happens Nov 4-5! Josh will be on the Con Before the Storm Hearthstone podcasts panel!
- Scott Lantz’s card game launched on Android and iOS this week! Go play Plants vs. Zombies Heroes RIGHT NOW!
- Win free card packs from Blizzard By Choosing Your Champion!
- Heroic Tavern Brawl is coming soon. Here are the rewards!
- Thailand Facebook group with amazing infographics
In Your Back Pocket: Preparing for the Game
- First and foremost, remember it is a game so have fun.
- If you are not having fun maybe try a different deck or class or even mode.
- If you are still not having a good time maybe play a different game.
- Limit distractions.
- Especially visual. Music should be fine.
- This guide isn’t going to be about how to ladder. If it was, I would be telling you to play face shaman and concede early and concede often to keep your win ratio to time ration high.
- This has been more of a guide to get better.
The Element of Surprise
“Information warfare. Sun Tzu states that all war is based on deception. Control the battle by only playing cards as necessary and you will maximize your card’s potential! For example, it’s generally a bad idea to play an Arcanite Reaper and then not attack with it that turn. In theory, you’re following the advice above of keeping weapons for killing minions. But if they know that it’s coming, they’re never going to play good minions onto this board. Or worse, they’ll destroy your weapon before you get any value from it. Save your threats for the opportune time to strike to maximum effectiveness.”
In Your Back Pocket: Knowing Which Mode to Play
- What environment, mindset, situation are you looking for when you choose to play Ladder?
- What about for Arena?
- When do you choose to play Wild over Standard?
- The age-old question — Do you play more than 1 win of Tavern Brawl?
Mastermind: Matt Thomas
“What do you and *insert guest host here* want to see from any tournament functionality that is implemented in the game? In my mind there are actually two different things that are being asked for when the internet hive mind shouts about a tournament mode…
1) In game client tournaments instigated by Blizzard, they would set the rules for entry, any cost required, prizes etc. In my mind this would function in a similar way to Arena, you join a tournament make a deck that follows it’s rules and start playing. Obviously the issues here would revolve around how many people are in the bracket and the time constraints that could cause when matching up with people.
2) A tournament organising tool which allows the members of the public to organise their own competitions, with their own sets of rules.
The comparison I keep thinking of when mulling this part over is when I used to create custom games in Halo. You could set all manner of different parameters, not just the basic number of kills etc, and then play that with your friends.
In hearthstone this would end up allowing you to customise things like tournament type, bans, number of people, wild/standard, and what ever else you can think off.
What do you guys think? What would you like implemented in game?”
In Your Back Pocket: Picking Your Deck Type
- First, you should have a look around and see what other people are playing. It’s no shame jumping on Youtube or Twitch to watch a streamer play or even going Hearthhead or Tempostorm or even Reddit to see what everyone is playing.
- What are good counters or tech choices?
- You don’t have to use those decks if you don’t want to and if you find a deck that looks fun or good you don’t have to copy the deck card for card.
- Pick a class you know or want to know and work out what kind of deck you want.
- Aggro: Face Hunter, Face Shaman, and some warlock zoo decks.
- Midrange: Midrange Shaman or Totem Shaman, some Dragon Warriors, and quite a few Paladins.
- Control: Control Warrior, Dragon or N’zoth Priest, N’zoth Paladin, and Anyfin Paladin
- Combo: Miracle Rogue, OTK Priest, Freeze Mage
“Casino decks – I’ve seen a few of these Casino-style decks lately. @jaugustine, we should build some and have some fun!”
In Your Back Pocket: Picking Cards For Your Deck
- Right once you have a deck type idea have a play around with it work out what cards you want to put in it. What’s fun and what’s vital?
- Always have rotating cards in a deck. Try and leave 1 or 2 card spots for wiggle room for Tech Cards.
- Tech Cards usually refer to cards that specifically combat the current meta.
- Playing a lot of Warriors and Rogues? Throw in an Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones.
- Lots of Taunt Druids? Play The Black Knight.
- Lots of Secret Hunters or Freeze Mages? Pop in a Secret Eater or Kezan in Wild.
- Getting run down too quickly? Pop in a Sunwalker or Shieldmasta or another AOE spell.
- If it’s feeling slow today, add Ragnaros or a few heavy-mana cards.
- Remember you deck is not set in stone when you press the finish deck button. You can adapt and amend it as much as you want and if it isnt working you can always chuck it out and start anew. Tech cards are mostly to your own discretion how you feel the game is when you play.
- I currently have 11 priest decks some are very similar with only 2 or 3 cards different depending on how the meta feels while others have 28 cardes different from the others.
- As stated before about meta decks, it is important to have a basic grasp on them. How they work and more importantly how they kill you. Most classes have a few archetypes. Try and learn them or at least the popular ones and know the telltale signs of them.
In Your Back Pocket: Turn By Turn
- Turn 1: Watch out for Warriors here. Either they have mulliganed their whole hand and seen 6 to 8 of their cards, or they kept them all they will probably have Fiery War Axe.Maybe you don’t want to drop that Mana Wyrm or Northshire Cleric
- Turn 2: Priest will almost always heal your face this turn then say “the light will burn you”. It’s their way of saying they’re probably not playing dragon priest or they just had really bad draw. Watch out for Shamans. This is where they start snowballing, so try to clear as fast as you can and hold board. Hunter will try and Coin Cloaked Hunter and dump their Secrets this turn too. Have a system prepared to check for their traps. I usually attack a minion first to check for Freezing and Snake, then go face to check for Explosive and Bear. The new Cat trap is in the mix, but you cant really play around it except by not playing spells.
- Turn 3 + 4: You need to be careful of Innovate here against Druids. You have to be careful of it always, of courrse, but they’re now in range of their good cards. They can Coin Innovate to get Druid of the Claw or Savage Combatant and Hero Power or even Violet Teacher, Innovate, then a multitude of cheap spells to build a massive board out of thin air. Hold your AOE if you feel like they’re holding back. Sometimes taking 8 face damage this turn is worth it, if they empty their hand next turn and you get a full clear. They also have Swipe here.
- Turn 5: This is the time AOE shows up usually. Watch out for Brawl, Holy Nova, and Excavated Evil. They’re all pretty good AOE and is especially brutal if they have spell power down from Bloodmage or a Coin Azure Drake.
- Turn 6: Some mages will drop Blizzard here. It’s not super common, but Coin Flame Strike is bread-and-butter. Gadgetzan Auctioneer appears this turn followed by usually Coin Conceal. Only Flame Strike or Bomb Lobber can kill him at this point, without some big-luck random damage. This is the turn to prepare for a massive turn next from both Rogues and Druids. Bloodmage and Swipe is a strong clear this turn from druid too. Sylvanas also come down this turn and so does Entomb. Try to bait these cards early to protect your better ones later.
- Turn 7: Hello, Flamestrike. The amount of times I’ve played into it is shameful. It will decimate Shaman, Hunter, and Warlock. It can singlehandedly win some matches. Try to make them play it on a turn where they can’t spend their mana efficiently, like turn 8 or 10. Also Coin into top Legendaries (most 8-cost) is here. A well-placed Ragnaros can spoil everything for you.
- Turn 8: The Legendary level! If you’re playing Forbidden Shaping, play it now or Hero Power and play it on Turn 10. 8 mana is the most consistent to get a good minion. Also Tirion Fordring comes out now, so hold your Entomb or Silence to be able to keep going face.
- Turn 9: Most Dragons pop up here, like Nefarion and Ysera.
- Turn 10: Anyfin can happen! I hope you’ve been keeping track of slimy swarmers. If a Paladin has played any murlocs, they will have this and they can do mammoth amounts of damage instantly. It can also be pulled off of Ivory Knight to to heal a lot. Deathwing Dragonlord in some Priest or Warrior decks may show up. Try to silence it or don’t kill it if they have a big hand (or, on the very outside chance that you have a Mind Control, use it!). No one expects it, so mabye pop one in for fun!
Favorite Character Art/Voice/Spell FX
“Your “Best/Worst” animation reminded me of a topic I’ve been meaning to suggest; the “Aesthetics of Hearthstone” episode! Which class has the best/worst card art? Character art vs. Spell art. Best card voice acting/dialogue/sound fx. Best in-game animation/fx. Best flavor text. Maybe not episode caliber but maybe enough for a segment. Best wishes, Jellybone.”
In Your Back Pocket: After the Match
- Take a breath, take a break!
- Were there any cards in your deck that were dead in your hand?
- Were there any cards that you wish you had?
- Are there any single copies in your deck that you want to change to a double?
- Did the opponent obliterated you and you don’t know why?
- Try to make their deck. Reconstruct it from your notes and memories.
- An old music teacher told me practice does not make perfect it makes permanent if you practice wrong you will not get better. Watch people who are better than you. Don’t get salty. Learn from losses!
- Accept every friend request you get and send them to everyone you have fun playing with.
- Reddit: CompetitiveHS
- Thailand Facebook group with amazing infographics
- Questions: N/A
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