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Modalko

A little experiment for next season...

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Preamble

Since playing ladder doesn't really reward you for anything except if you get legend, I have decided to start a little experiment for next season: laddering with a 0-dust deck. I play purely for fun, and while I guess that I'm sort of decent (averaging 5-6 wins in Arena) I will probably never reach legend simply because I only play 300-400 games per month and some arena. As I understand, reaching legend takes about 500 games at least for any sort of decent player so why bother trying? Plus, I like to try out weird decks occasionally which would hamper my efforts even further dropping ranks when played on ladder and simply reducing my game count even further when played on casual. Hence this experiment in trying to steal games from people with a zero dust deck! 

 

The journey ahead

I have no expectations of reaching high ranks, just want to see how far I can go and post weekly updates here for your entertainment. In fact, the expectations that I do have are that in the first week when all the serious players start their grinds I will be tossed back to rank 20 but I hope to climb a rank or two or three per week thereafter. So that would take me to rank 12-13. Actually, that would actually be a rather pleasing result come to think of it.

 

The deck

My only requirement for the deck is to be 0 dust, though not necessarily completely f2p so I can include cards from Naxx and BRM. My first idea was to build an aggro deck because shorter games means less chance of defeats on pure card quality. But when looking into it, it appears that aggressive decks like zoo, mech and facehunter can do well with a lot of commons and a few rares, but they are looking much weaker when really going to zero dust. Hence I will start with a dragon priest deck which looks much more reasonable. The current list by casting cost:

 

Power Word: Shield × 2

Northshire Cleric × 2

Twilight Whelp × 2

 

Shadow Word: Pain × 1


Acidic Swamp Ooze × 2

River Crocolisk × 2

 


Shadow Word: Death × 2

Dark Cultist × 2


Blackwing Technician × 2

 


Dragonkin Sorcerer × 2

Sen'jin Shieldmasta × 2

 



Holy Nova × 2


Blackwing Corruptor × 2

 


Drakonid Crusher × 2

 


Chromaggus × 1

Nefarian × 1

Mind Control × 1




 

22 Minions, 8 spells

 

Early thoughts

I've tried it out in 'Casual' and it works reasonable well against all the filth present there. Without keeping track exactly, I played 30-odd games with it, going more or less 50-50. Early thoughts are that the weakest elements in the deck are the Dragonkin Sorcerer and Mind Control. With just PW:S to buff the Sorcerer it basically is just a 3/5 that's a dragon (which IS kind of important in this deck smile.png ) But I need something in the already meager 4-slot. I also tried Hungry Dragon, though that felt worse, probably losing me more games that winning. Might give the Volcanic Drake a go, which should often be castable on a 4.

The Mind control is often dead weight, but in longer matches that are all too common I really have no answer for Ysera, Tyrion, Sylvanas and the like, and even just simply big guys like Rag or Boom can cause problems... there's only so many SW:D's. So I'll stick to it for now, though an Emperor Thaurissan also looks tasty.

The River Crocs are of course very average as well but in early trading their lack of abilities has proven little problem. Basically, they do their job.

 

And further?

My plans are to play solely this deck in ranked for next season. Of course I could modify it down the road or even switch to a completely different 0-dust deck though I think it will be more interesting to see how this one progresses and early signals are hopeful enough that I will progress sometime... I will try to post a weekly update here with games played, wins and losses and more thoughts. Then again, my attention span sometimes means that all good intentions end up in the dustbin. If that's the case here, apologies in advance wink.png. Of course any tips and feedback are much appreciated. It doesn't mean that I will automatically take your advice, but I will definitely read it with interest and consider it! 

 

 

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I've been playing a priest deck with the same basic structure as this, meaning I use all the same basic cards. The big difference is that, since I don't yet have Blackrock Mountain, my deck is filled with more Naxx cards such as Zombie Chow, Sludge Belcher, and Maexxna. I'm slowly replacing cards as I collect new ones, though, so my version isn't zero dust anymore...

 

I expect you can get to at least Rank 15 with this deck, but if you play well you can get higher. Good luck!

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So the first week of the new season is over, time for a small update on how the experiment is going:

 

First of all, I replaced the Dragonkin Sorcerers before starting the season (but after doing a few more practice games). They just don't do enough and with the Technicians, Senjins and Dark cultist I already have a fair few 3/x minions. So I added a Volcanic Dragon and a Hungry Dragon to replace them. Neither of which is great, but I need dragons and at least these cards do something. Also, I noticed that my only buff cards for the Sorcerers (PW:Shield) are either used early in the game to get control of the board early or late in the game to draw of Chromaggus (and boost his Health). Another reson to drop the Sorcerors...

 

But what about the results? I played 53 games, going 25-28 but due to 4 bonus stars I actually won a star, leaving me at rank 18. So I didn't lose any ranks as initially expected. That's the good news. Still, after being rank 16 with 3 stars after 30 games it was sort of a letdown when I lost 8 games in a row. Some good and some bad I suppose. Other priests gave me the hardest time - I encountered 7 of them and lot 6 games. Paladin was the best matchup going 5-1 with the other classes being more even. Warriors are an interesting case as I went 3-4 against them, beating all control warriors but losing to all Patron warriors. Not faced a single druid though.

 

I think that I will continue this deck for at least another week but am also considering switching to Mage thereafter as I noticed that my Flamewaker deck also is rather low-dust and could probably be made 0-dust while still being competitive... we'll see but I'll stick with the priest for a bit longer for now! 

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The competition tends to thin out during the last week each season, so I expect you can still end up at Rank 15 with this deck, or other zero-dust decks, if you keep trying. My first month playing Hearthstone I got up to Rank 15 using a variety of basic decks, but most of my progress happened during the last few days.

 

My second month playing Hearthstone was similar. By then I had Naxx, but other than that I was still using almost all basic cards. I ended up at Rank 13, again with most of my upward movement occurring at the end of the month.

 

So it's definitely possible to be competitive with basic decks, at least at the upper ranks. Good luck! Keep having fun. biggrin.png

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So another week went by on the ladder. Due to real-life constraints I didn't play as much as I'd hoped but the results were quite satisfying. I managed to get 34 games in going 21-13 for a 61.8% win rate this week. With a couple of bonus stars that brought me to rank 14 with 2 stars. (Overall results since the start of the season are now 46-41 for a 52.9% win rate).

 

Regarding match-ups: I finally faced some druids and managed to beat all 3. Hunters are a pain - unless you get a boosted Blackwing technician on turn 2-3 the game is likely a loss. Rogues are also difficult but the traditionally have been our nemesis. Warlocks on the other hand appear to be a rather good matchup. Currently I'm 8-3 against them with an especially good record vs handlocks. Maybe that's because it's more difficult to play and at lower ranks people make more mistakes though. 

 

Because I didn't play too much I'm not yet completely fed up with playing this deck so will probably stick with it for the next week. Let's hope we can keep up this win rate and earn a few more ranks! 

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I'm running a similar Priest deck; I've never crafted anything, but I do have the cards from Naxx and Blackrock Mountain.  Is that what you mean by a zero-dust deck?  Anyway, the highest I've gotten is rank 17, and I just dipped back down to 18.  I actually seem to have a higher win rate in Arena, heh.

 

Speaking of win rates: where do you keep or find your win-loss stats?  I use arenavalue.com for my Arena runs, but I hadn't thought about tracking my ranked matches.

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Hi Razzle, yes, that's exactly what I mean with a zero-dust deck - a deck that only contains non-crafted cards, i.e. cards from the basic set that are available to everyone who levels up to level 10, from Naxx and from BRM.

 

Regarding win-rate: I also haven't found a specific tracker so I just use Excel :)  

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Thanks for your reply.  So I've been playing with a dust-free deck too.  I'm surprised how many fine-tuned synergistic decks I keep encountering, even at lowly rank 17.  I had one Warrior with a Grim Patron-and-Warsong Commander combo whomp me hard.  A Warlock with all sorts of synergy wiped me easily too.  And a half-dozen decks with Dr. Boom and often a slew of other legendaries.  The only legendaries I've got are those I earned with Naxx and Blackrock.  Anyway, I win some and I lose some, but in general it's tougher than I expected.  My guess is that my ranked and casual win-rates are lower than my Arena rate (55% now, thanks to my first seven-win run!).

 

Heh, I do use Excel to track my collection, so I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use it to track my Ranked/Casual play too.  (I use arenavalue.com to track my arena runs.)  Thanks for the suggestion.

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"As I understand, reaching legend takes about 500 games at least for any sort of decent player so why bother trying?"

While the idea in the topic seems like a lot of fun, and I totally support it, this is a gross overstatement. You can easily hit Legend in the 300-400 games you say you play with a reasonable winrate. On a brand new Asia account I started recently, I hit Rank 4 before the end of the season with a sub-optimal Zoo deck I cobbled together (the account is free to play) in less than 100 games played. Rank 5 is generally about half way through the climb from Rank 25, so the total climb was probably somewhere around 200 games for me. Even if you're considering the stats for an average player, not pros, there's no reason you can't set hit hitting Legend as an attainable goal for yourself, it's just a matter of improving your winrate :)

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Well, I am not sure if you are talking about the same thing, Sottle. While you play with a 0 money deck, Moldalko uses a 0 dust deck. I am not arguing that any of these is better or easier, but Moldalko's version is definitely more comparable/repeatable. In the simple FTP Version, someone might just get lucky and open 4 epic and a legendary card in his first 2 packs (that also fit to the class he wants to use) while the other one just gets the "regular" 2 rares (and of course of other classes) cards only. In the end, it will all even out (especially considering also the RNG in the game itself and also the RNG of enemys' skill ("the greatest luck involved in any game are the opponnents you face"), but the start and even the first weeks might turn out quite differently.

Edited by Horn

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Yeah I agree that it is an oversimplification, but 'just' improving your winrate isn't as easy as just pressing the space bar 3 times smile.png Out of curiosity, I actually made a little simulator in Excel and it turns out that to reach rank 5 (considered halfway there by common wisdom, though I could expand the sheet to legend rank if someone is interested) you need

 

102-odd games if you have a 65% winrate

147-odd games if you have a 60% winrate 

230-odd games if you have a 55% winrate

270-odd games if you have a 53% winrate

 

That would mean 200, 300, 460, and 540  games with 65,60, 55 and, 53% winrates respectively. Now winrates aren't distributed linearly and I figure that the vast majority of players sits somewhere between 45 and 55%, while a 65% winrate is only possible for the real top players (top 5%). and even a 60% winrate is for very good players only (top 20%?). These are all assumptions of course but I think they are not unreasonable, and I figure that a decent player is someone who sits on the higher end of the massive 45-55% group, i.e. 55% winrate

 

Back to the results of the experiment: I only played 13 more games during the last two weeks of the season (actually didn't play at all during the very last week due to tavern brawls which I hugely enjoyed, little time in general and losing interest in the deck) going 8-5, which means that I ended up in rank 13 with a 54-46 record overall. That's pretty much in line with my initial expectations. Quite happy with that!

 

EDIT: By the way, while I played a little less this month than normally due to personal commitments, but it turns out that my initial estimate of 300-400 games was on the high side. I played 100 games with the 0-dust deck on ladder, then about 50-60 more games in casual to complete quests that couldn't be done with the priest, and 30-40 brawls for a total of about 200 games. I guess normally I would play 250 but certainly not 400.

Edited by Modalko

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Well, I am not sure if you are talking about the same thing, Sottle. While you play with a 0 money deck, Moldalko uses a 0 dust deck. I am not arguing that any of these is better or easier, but Moldalko's version is definitely more comparable/repeatable. In the simple FTP Version, someone might just get lucky and open 4 epic and a legendary card in his first 2 packs (that also fit to the class he wants to use) while the other one just gets the "regular" 2 rares (and of course of other classes) cards only. In the end, it will all even out (especially considering also the RNG in the game itself and also the RNG of enemys' skill ("the greatest luck involved in any game are the opponnents you face"), but the start and even the first weeks might turn out quite differently.

 

The statement of "500 games to reach Legend" had nothing to do with the f2p or 0 dust deck, it was just a general statement, that's what I was referring to.

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