How to Win?
Break it down to two questions:
- How do I defend against aggression?
- How am I countering control? (Mages mostly.)
At a primal level, the majority of Hearthstone winning is smacking face.
At a specifically-arena level, the majority of matchups you have will be against Mage.
- Also being aggressive
- Ping hero power
If you can curve early, you can dictate trades to prevent face damage to yourself. Either you perform the trading yourself, you hide your dudes behind taunts, or you smack his face and pray.
- If you Curve correctly early in the draft, you can be greedier with DDR picks later.
- Hitting 2 and 3 happens more often. t4 = 2+2, t5 = 2+3-drops helps versus aggro.
Control decks win through swing turns. They’re behind on the board and get it back by wiping out an expensive portion of yours:
- Sap (2 mana) on a minion that has been Steed’d (6 mana) is a tempo advantage = (4+minion cost)+(1 card.) Sufficiently mana-expensive single minions are good targets for this too.
- If the Steed has to be traded into, it often requires at least two cards to kill before the death rattle triggers. Then it might take another two. Sometimes it eats a spell or weapon charge that doesn’t full remove it.
- Blizzard (6 mana) on a board of 2 drops with 2 health. Even if it’s just 3 minions, the mage is up 2 cards.
The “swing” refers to board tempo: paying less mana to remove the mana you converted into minions earlier.
It’s even worse if there is sufficient leftover mana (profit?) for them to develop their own board.
Two ways to counter control:
- Kill them faster
- Strong early curve, lots of face pressure. Super aggro.
- Have reach (damage out of hand) to burst them down: damage spells, weapons, charge minions, bloodlust, other buffs etc.
- Eliminate their card advantage
- Honest Value: take the good trades.
- Bait Removal: play threatening but cheaper / less useful minions first, if you’re trading properly they will have to burn single removal on that minion or soak face damage.
- Draw and Discover: if you replace your cards, that’s inherently more card advantage.
DDR Antimagic Arrows
To help you remember what you need to draft to kill Mages, be the lord of dance:
Given the plethora of single target removal and taunts, large single minions won’t see their health translated into value for you.
Make your own value.
Top Tier: Full Spectrum Salt
Hunter to practice aggro, Mage to probably practice control. Rogue as a
combo class able to easily eek in either direction. Mage is the most forgiving of the three, but optimal play for all three really requires full attention.
Top Tier Not Offered: Dude Bangers
I play all three of these classes as Control as possible. I think if I were teaching someone to play the game a lot, they’ll probably favor Mage for its perceived power. Being comfortable playing Control decks will translate here even if you miss having a ping.
Tempo classes are really suffering for me this meta. Face-smacking for board clears or taunt clear usually just puts you in Reach Range quickly, and per-minion health doesn’t do as much as it once did in terms of getting any Value.
I’m also just terrible with drafting Priest, I’m not clear on what I need and they lack Reach to close out games natively.
- Limited time to get good. Limit yourself.
- Deck structure > card quality.
- Draft polar extremes: aggro or greed.
- Comparing near-blacks and near-whites is easier than comparing greys.
- Repeat drafting strategies which work for you.
- Record your interpretation of your stats.
- Numbers without context do not provide meaning.
This is just looking at the types of cards you should or should not consider taking.
- DDR > big minions (play around single target removal)
- Silence (taunts, adapts)
- Spread on 5 vs. Rogue (minimize 5 drops)
- Survival to fend off aggro (1-3 drops, cheap removal)
- Sustain (single-target removal, value, late game resources)
Questions As You Draft
- Do I need more defense against Aggro?
- How am I beating Mage?
Your opponent will either try to out-aggro or out-card you. Be clear on what you’re trying to do to them.
- 2 Eviscerates = 12 wins
- Stabilize on board, single-target removal for a huge Tempo flip, win.
- DDR: Discover slightly less important, if you’re forced to take big minions.
- If you have enough DDR, you don’t need late game.
- Don’t pass on premium 4’s, but you don’t need basic 4-drops.
- Single Target Removal (sap, vilespine, kidnapper)
- Early Curve and Removal
- Late-game Minions
- Mid-game Minions
- Draft for Control.
- Aggro beat: cheap removal, early curve, hero power.
- Control mirror: AoE falls in value.
- If you don’t fall behind on board, you don’t need AoE to get it back.
- You lose value being too defensive/reactive:
- Premium Value/Removal > Curve > second fireball, seemingly cooler Legendary, etc.
- Premium Removal
- DDR and premium Large Minions
- Early Curve / AoE
- Mid-game (Yeti, Water Elemental)
- Your Mission: kill them before the late game, where you will be curb-stomped.
- Stalemating in mirror matches should be the only long game.
- Establish board control, they don’t have AoE.
- Strong early game, powerful mid-game, ~3 single target Removal, and some Reach. Allowance for up to 2 bigger guys.
- The only premium cards are Curve cards.
- Removal > Reach (cuz taunts)
- Draw is too slow.
- Take minions which push damage. Feel free to ignore their downsides.
- Deadly Shot, Freezing Trap, Hunter’s Mark
- Spellbreaker, Owl (Owl’s a beast, synergy help)
- Small Removal (Arcane Shot, On the Hunt, etc.)
- premium only
- One or two
- One or two
Hunters are hurt even more by not spreading against Rogue on turn 5.
Posted in: hearthstone