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Trading minions help

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Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone could explain the best way to trade minions for board control in a tempo/arena setting.


I usually play aggro or control decks so I'm used to ignoring minions or killing them all, and I'm finding it difficult to know when to target them in a tempo situation.



I either focus minions too much and ignore the hero when I should be pushing damage, or I trade incorrectly and end up unable to reclaim a presence on the board at all.



I know using a 8/8 to kill a 1/1 would usually be incorrect, but at what point does it become more beneficial to focus minions to keep board control?


(Assuming it is a board with equal minions in a tempo situation)

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Usually, you want to midrange trade until you are one turn away from lethal (you attack now and next turn you finish him off). Midrange trading usually means that if you have good trade (including playing around a card, such as MCT), you do it, otherwise you just go face. Once you have a really strong board, you should play a bit more aggressively.

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Record your games and analyze them afterwards. Or have people help with that. Turn by turn if needed. This needs to be specific instead of generAL.

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Hearthstone is not a game of "absolutes". Often times, you need to fight for the board with decks like face hunter/shaman(especially against other aggro decks who have a better start than you) and even when playing something like control warrior it is sometimes correct to be aggressive rather than trying to grind the game out(example: against midrange paladin with justicar, your best way to win is to simply find a good turn to rush them down with alex/gromm, because their hero power will eventually run you over if you let the game progress too far). Hell, even freeze mage has a couple of match ups where the best way to win is to get minions like scientist and loot hoarder early on and start getting some chip damage early on so you can burst them down more easily in the midgame(renolock). So basically the only way to pinpoint when/how you should go about trading is via personal experience. That being said, here are some basic pointers(which again, have their exceptions, and need to be taken into context on each individual game):



-in arena, regardless of how low-curve your deck is, you should usually still be playing for tempo rather than face damage(which is to say, you should be clearing your opponents board with efficient trades and going face with your left over minions, rather than risking to lose the board the following turn), unless you see yourself winning the game the next turn even in the worst case scenario because you have enough damage in hand to end it.

-again about arena, pay close attention to your mana curve when drafting. Don't just pick cards because they are at a high tier on this site or any other. Even if a card is objectively better in isolation, you won't win any arena games with a deck full of 6-drops, no matter how good they are. After the 15th or so card, you should prioritize picking cards that fit your mana curve and theme of your deck better, unless the cards are particularly bad/good(it would take quite a lot to make me skip a shredder or a yeti, for instance).

-playing aggro well is much harder than people give it credit for. One of the most important skills you develop as an aggro player is to correctly play around your opponent's board clear options. Before you just dump your hand on the board, consider what your opponent might do about it on his turn. If you are approaching turn 4 against a paladin, don't just fill the board with 2-life or below minions. That being said, there are games where playing into these possibilities is correct, as you won't be able to win the game anyway if you play conservatively. Learning when each strategy is correct is again very situational and depends on personal experience at playing aggro.

-know what your goal should be on each match up. If you are playing a control deck that's designed to win the long game with a million legendaries, but you happen to be facing a deck like face hunter, realize that your win condition is simply survival. This means you should not be making overly greedy plays like holding out a sludge belcher until you can play it with a duplicate on. Your deck will be more than capable of out valueing the opponent if the game progresses after a given turn anyway, so there's no need to risk taking too much damage early on. Against other heavy control decks though, face damage is largely irrelevant and you should simply be trying to get the most out of your minions every turn.

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