The One Major Free-to-Play Quality of Life Improvement Hearthstone Needs

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Hearthstone exploded on to the CCG and later tablet/mobile gaming scenes in a massive way. The success that Blizzard has seen with their first ever free-to-play game shows some serious potential, but there is one significant improvement that the game could make in that respect to its accessibility.


To provide some context, I wanted to look at some other free-to-play games briefly. Across a variety of genres and platforms, here are some free-to-play games out there today:

  • Dota
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Neko Atsume
  • Final Fantasy Record Keeper
  • Puzzle & Dragons
  • Candy Crush
  • Trivia Crack

All of these games have one behavior that is uniquely and consistently different from Hearthstone - all of the content is free. You can purchase in-game currencies to speed the games up in games where energy/currency systems artificially limit progress, or purchase characters within the game, but the complete game experience is available without spending a dollar.


Hearthstone, on a technicality, is a free-to-play game for the same basic reasons, but it makes a choice that distinguishes it: The game gates content, not rewards, behind its pay wall:



The cost model for Hearthstone's Blackrock Mountain adventure.


Players can earn in-game currency to purchase access to Hearthstone's in-game adventure mode content. Strictly, that makes it free-to-play - you don't have to spend money to play the game - but unlike almost any other free-to-play game, a new player cannot download Hearthstone and enjoy it in its entirety.


With Adventure Mode content behind the game's pay wall, players need to play a lot of Hearthstone in order to gain access to all of the content. Each of the currently 10 wings available (five wings each on two Adventure Mode expansions) costs 700 gold to purchase in-game. To build up 700 gold would take:

  • 210 Play Mode wins (max 30/day); OR
  • An average of 14 daily quests

Assuming some basic math, to unlock the entirety of the current Adventure Mode content as a free-to-play player would take just shy of 47 days of 30 wins per day, including completing a daily quest every day. 30 wins per day will take an average of 60 games, which - at an average of approximately 10 minutes per game - would be 10 hours per day. If a casual player plays maybe an hour in a day, you're talking about 116+ days, assuming they can complete a quest every day.


All of this math is not to prove in any way that Hearthstone's gold acquisition model is unfair, or that the price of the Adventure Mode is inappropriate. It's simply to provide a snapshot of what it would take to achieve access to the content, to lend some credence to the following:


Adventure Mode bosses should be available for free, and the card rewards should be unlocked by in-game purchases.



The Lord of Blackrock shouldn't cost so much just to visit.


At its core, Adventure Mode is Hearthstone's single player content. For a ton of people downloading and playing free-to-play games out there, they're not looking for the competitive multiplayer experience that was Hearthstone's initial 'core' game - they played a ton of Angry Birds, and now they're seeing ads for Hearthstone, or seeing Hearthstone in the top 20 free games on iTunes, or whatever, so they decide to take it for a spin.


Many of those players might not stick around to play Hearthstone on the ladder, or grind through Play Mode to earn enough gold to do Arena runs or purchase Adventure Modes, but they might have enjoyed the Adventure Mode content independent of the other parts of the game experience.


What would be different if Adventure Mode was free-to-play, and the associated costs were for purchasing the rewards? Some initial thoughts:

  • Would a significant number of current Hearthstone players that did purchase the Adventures not have? I would argue this is not an issue. Current Hearthstone players are, by and large, playing the game for its Play Mode, because that is the game's current core. They purchase the Adventure Mode to unlock its rewards, as they are designed to be attractive for competitive play.
  • Would players not purchase certain wings, because their rewards were not attractive enough? Doubtful. Even a cursory glance at the card rewards from Curse of Naxxramas shows at least one significant neutral minion from every wing. Blackrock Mountain's design, with somewhat more class-specific cards on a week-to-week basis, might have been moderately problematic in that regard, but in the long run, competitive players would seek to complete the collection to have access to all of these cards.
  • Would players who didn't purchase the Adventure Modes under the old system (pay to access) play them under the new one (pay for rewards)? I think so, absolutely. As even more Adventure Mode content continues to be added in Hearthstone, the Adventure Mode portion of the game can evolve into its own enjoyable activity, moderately independent of users whose focus might be Play Mode or Arena.


And let's not forget the explosive new market that mobile has opened up for Hearthstone.


So, the quality of life change I would propose for Hearthstone, as a free-to-play game, is simply to make it truly free-to-play: Gate rewards, not content, behind costs. There are people paying for World of Warcraft subscriptions simply to enjoy pet battles, despite that not being the 'core activity' the game was designed around - that doesn't make that subscription, or the revenue it generates, any less meaningful to Blizzard!


If a gamer wants to explore Hearthstone as a single-player puzzle game using Adventure Mode, drawing them in seems absolutely worthwhile. It creates a new vector to interest players in the game without an up-front investment, and it also provides yet another avenue for Blizzard to create in-game purchases - you don't have to look far to find stories of players spending plenty of money on in-game purchases for single-player games! If a gamer wants to take Hearthstone for a spin as a single-player game, and then decides to spend money to purchase card packs to help them defeat the single-player content (since they maybe don't want to use Play Mode or Arena to do so), how is that style of enjoying Hearthstone wrong?


Conclusion: Hearthstone was released as a free-to-play multiplayer game, and has since had a purchasable single player game added to it. I believe that the single player game should be free, as there is a unique audience - one that is not currently being reached - available to Blizzard, and without any meaningful impact to the existing ones. Keeping the rewards behind the pay wall ensures that purchases continue, both for current and future players, as the primary multiplayer audience for Hearthstone will still be working towards collecting cards, and may also entice a unique single player audience into purchasing rewards or card packs to defeat the single player Hearthstone 'puzzle' content.


What do you think? Would you, or someone you know, try Hearthstone out for its single-player content? Would having the card rewards - or exclusive card backs - as the purchasable portion of Adventure Mode expansions change your purchasing habits?


This one weird click bait title is actually a conversation about improving Adventure Mode accessibility.

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Well met Odinn!


This is the reason I stopped playing.  It's free, from a certain point of view.




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hearthstone is basicly either pay to play or nerd to play(in the sense that you have to be a freak like me who plays games all day in order to enjoy this game to it's fullest if you don't intend to invest money).



this is the nature of all blizzard games though,except that most of the others don't even give you the second option.

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Did you know that WoW is also Free-to-Play, up to level 20.

It's pretty limited though tongue.png I tried it once and I couldn't speak with anyone, I couldn't exchange gold, couldn't use the auction house. I felt a bit limited ^^

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Odinn, thanks for the post.  I'm glad you pointed out how difficult it is to play the adventure modes for free - I especially enjoyed the math! I started playing Hearthstone about two months ago in early March after two friends recommended it.  I only agreed to try it out because it's free and I'm not one to spend a lot of money on games.  I instantly loved the game and have been playing regularly ever since.  I decided my first priority for spending my gold was to purchase each wing of the Naxxramas set.  Getting the first few wings didn't feel too bad to me since I was able to quickly win gold as a new player through unique quests (unlocking each hero, playing 3 games in play mode, etc.).  Earning enough gold for the last couple of wings definitely felt like a chore, though. For this reason I'm debating whether or not to use real money for Blackrock Mountain.


Having said that, I don't think having access to the set for free would have changed my behavior.  I see myself as a long-term player and I really want to collect all the cards, but I'm still reluctant to spend real cash, so I think I still would have earned all the gold in order to get the Naxxramas cards for free.


I have a brother, however, who I think would enjoy Hearthstone (he currently enjoys playing MTG), but like me won't want to spend money on it.  Unlike me, however, I don't see him having the time or patience to spend much time in Play Mode to earn gold (at least not initially).  Having access to the single player content for free might be a great way for him to get exposure to the game.  And, who knows?  It might reel him in to the other facets of the game.  I like the idea!

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Hi everyone!

Perhaps a different point of view. I played MTG '94-98 and then again 2010 onwards. 

If you want to build a competitive deck for example "singleton" with some dual lands you are going to hit 300€ quite easily.

Of course, the "value" of some cards rises over the time, but I have a nice collection of Doomtrooper, Vampire TES, Rage (Werewolf) and Star Wars, worth of near to nothing. Can I play? Yes, of course. But you always need an opponent.

That is what Heartstone makes so brilliant. You can play anytime, anywhere.

And, if you are not going to spend money, just let ranked mode be, and everything is going to be fine.

So, it's fine for me to pay every month a bit to "speed up" my collection, because the time I've saved is worth more.

And Naxxramas or BRM are "no random" cards, so even if you need couple of moths, you still going to get your Loatheb, Sludge Belcher, Khel'tuzad and all the gorgeous Dragons in BRM.

And the point is, at this moment, with soul bond cards only (including Naxx and BRM) you are able to build up an pretty competitive deck!

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That's exactly the reason why I actually play Hearthstone. It is not a simple puzzle game like Candy Crush. I want have the possibility of having every card without paying a dollar (or an euro) and play with real people. I make adventures just to have the reward and because it's nice. I am an occasional player (meaning that I play one hour per day or little more, but I play since the Beta exit) and so I do not want that Hearthstone begin to be like MTG, where you have to spend hundred euros to get a competitive deck. In Hearthstone you have only to be lucky enough or to be patient to have your dust.

Edited by Phage
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I think the single player content is something Blizzard can absolutely looking to expand upon in hearthstone. If they had more sinlge player content it could really suit the phone player audience, as it's much more casual and puzzle like as you have said. As for making the single player content free is very much possible when they start to make more content in that direction, only two adventures are out so far, so it is still a growing space within the game.

Although the cards is the main draw of the adventures, the single player content isn't something blizzard is willing to throw out for free just yet.

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I managed to get lucky and play since beta.


I've spent about £50 on cards and then bought both of the expansions. I love playing the game now its more accessible on my phone and tablet rather than being rooted to my PC.


So roughly £100 spent so far.  Not that bad considering the amount of time I've played and the fun I've had.  But BRM has been a huge barrier for a lot of my friends.  Most of them start after Naxx was released and few want to pay to unlock it.  At first it didn't seem much of a big deal as they had so few cards anyway, missing the Naxx ones didn't seem to have that much of an impact on their games / decks.


But now you throw in the BRM expansion into too and it seems like there a ALOT of cards they won't really have access too.  They don;t want to grind out the wings with gold as they are using the gold to try and catch up with the basic cards already.


Depending what the next expansion is like and how much it costs I may decide to either wait or buy with gold.  Or perhaps if there is a MUST have card maybe just pay for that wing. 


Although great fun - I can;t remember going back to Naxx to rerun the old class missions etc it's more of a one off play.

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Howdy Odinn,


Solid thoughts on the play of adventure mode. I personally use gold to buy all of Naxx as well as BRM and yes a little peeved I don’t get the BRM fiery card back. As for the best way to gather gold. I like to clear all of my daily quests along with the 10 gold for 3 wins averages out to around 420 gold a week. One wing every two weeks and since I am storing up in between I normally have 4k plus going into the next adventure.


How can I get more gold? I personally like to gamble in the arena if you can pull off 2-3 wins it’s a wash as you get a card pack and some gold, go +5 and your moving forward in gold collection and getting some cards. Already have the cards dust them to make the extra cards you don’t own.


Just my thoughts and I play this game way too much, work and sleep are such an interruption.


Have a Beautiful Blizzard Day!


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I guess I can chime in with the pro player perspective here and verify a point that Odinn made. If his proposed change were put in place, and the Boss wings became free, with the cards themselves being behind the paywall. I would absolutely pay the money/gold/whatever to get the cards.

I play Adventure mode at the moment purely to unlock the cards, I gain little or no enjoyment from the Adventures themselves, so it is purely a vehicle to allow me to continue to access the full card set at all times.

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Out of curiosity Sottle do you play the heroic modes of the fight? If you do is that just for Icy Veins or for personal goals?


Suppose for top end players they are more of a means to an end rather than something you can do for enjoyment.

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Yeah, I do play the Heroics, I seem to remember enjoying the Naxx ones a little more, since they actually seemed like fun puzzles, but I might just be remembering them poorly. Most of the BrM Heroic bosses are just criminally unfair advantages given to the AI because the designers are too lazy to create competent AI. It's just artificially inflated difficulty, which is poor game design.

Not asking for miracles, but perhaps playing the Dragon in your hand before your Blackwing Tech is something they could address instead of just giving a boss unnatural advantages.

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It is free to play only to get you to spend money when you play.  If that model stops working then the game will be cancelled.


I am enjoying it so spending a few bucks a month is worth it.  I also don't have the time to grind as a free player so if I want to play in the higher levels it will take some money investment.  I don't have a problem with it.  An hour a night is fine and winning more than I lose makes it more fun.

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    • By Aleco

      These four mistakes come up way too often, and they can be easily avoided.
      These four mistakes Hearthstone mistakes come up all time on the ladder, but they can be easily avoided by adopting new some heuristics.
      Decision trees in Hearthstone grow very tall. Most of these decision trees grow far too tall for us to ever traverse them completely before our turn timer expires, especially if we find ourselves in a situation we've never been in before. For me, that happens just about every game. Practice can help reduce the number of situations we've never been in before, but at some point we'll need to adopt a few heuristics along the way to help us make decisions in a timely manner.
      In this guide, I'll walk through a number of very common mistakes I see on the competitive ladder, which to me are obvious examples of poor heuristics at work. My hope is that we can learn some newer, smarter heuristics by asking ourselves why these misplays are so common, and that we can use these new heuristics to avoid similar mistakes in the future. With that said, please keep in mind that it is sometimes correct to make these mistakes, because there are exceptions to every rule in Hearthstone. The goal of this article is to outline examples of bad Hearthstone heuristics so we can replace them with better ones, not to claim that the so-called mistakes I outline below are the wrong thing to do 100% of the time.
      With that out of the way, let's begin!
      Mistake #1 - Missing Hero Powers

      Example Situation
      It's my Aggro Secret Mage opponent's turn 8. I have control of the board and the only hope for my opponent is to burn me out. They cast a Firelands Portal to my face, play The Coin, and Frostbolt my face. On their turn nine they play an Arcanologist, the secret from it, and ping my face with Hero Power, stranding 2 Mana and 1 damage forever.
      Why It's A Misplay
      The reason to Fireblast over Frostbolt on turn 8 is obvious - you're never going to get that Fireblast back. The Frostbolt will always be there for you on a future turn (with certain exceptions, such as Counterspell), but a Hero Power unused is a Hero Power lost. If you're reasonably sure that the Mana will be there for Frostbolt on a future turn, then playing Frostbolt instead of using your Hero Power is permanently stranding one point damage in a game where every point counts.
      This mistake can also come up whenever a player passes on their Hero Power for a 2 or 3 Mana spell which doesn't effect the board, such as a Secret or card draw spell, so long as they would have had the Mana to cast that spell next turn anyways. The Frostbolt over Fireblast play just happens to be the most common of these mistakes, as Aggro Mage is a relatively popular deck in the current ladder environment.
      Why do players make this mistake?
      My best guess is that it comes down to a misunderstanding of the Hero Power as resource. Just like Mana, cards, and your life total, your Hero Power is a finite resource. The number of times your Hero Power can be used in a given game (excepting cards like Auctionmaster Beardo) is equal to the number of turns you get in that game (minus turn one, I suppose). Each turn your Hero Power goes unused is a tick of that resource you'll never get back.
      This view of the Hero Power as a finite resource will do you about as much good as a screen door on a submarine if you're getting beaten down by an aggro deck, where the only thing that matters is playing for board. However, there are a number of decks and matchups where this heuristic is a useful one. A Fatigue Warrior stalling things out in the late game or a top-decking Face Hunter in need of those last few points of damage could be in a position where they need to use their Hero Power every single turn in order to win. Though you probably won't miss out on more than one or two Hero Powers per game due to mistakes like the one I outlined above, those one or two Hero Powers can often prove to be the difference between victory and defeat.
      Mistake #2 - Playing 1 Drops To Die

      Example Situation
      I'm on Cubelock and I'm going first. I play Kobold Librarian on turn one and pass. My Warlock opponent plays Mistress of Mixtures and passes back.
      Why It's A Misplay
      Assuming both me and my opponent will Life Tap on turn 2 (which we did), I will end up one card and 4 life ahead of my opponent on this exchange. The Deathrattle trigger on the Mistress of Mixtures will heal me for 4 (2 damage from the Kobold Librarian and the 2 damage from Life Tap) while my opponent is still at 30 life. Meanwhile, the Kobold Librarian drew me a card with its Battlecry. Now we start a new game of Hearthstone on turn 3 where I'm at 30 life, my opponent is at 28, and we have an even number of cards in our hands despite the fact that I went first. Advantage? Me!
      Playing the Mistress into the Librarian on a future turn won't yield us better results. For example, if you play the Mistress on turn three you would just end up healing back the 4 points of damage you took from the Librarian's 2 extra attacks, and you'd still be down that card. Playing it later than that would result in an even greater net loss of damage. The move here is to pass the turn.
      Another misplay cut from the same cloth as this one would be to play a Grimscale Chum into a Northshire Cleric, a Mage/Rogue/Druid Hero Power, or a Vilefin Inquisitor. In all of these scenarios, what you are signing up for is a situation where an on-board play from your opponent will put you in an unfavorable position. Wouldn't it be better to hold on to the Grimscale Chum until it can be played alongside a Gentle Megasaur, Coldlight Seer, or Rockpool Hunter? It will probably generate more damage over the course of the game if played in combination with those cards.
      To be fair, there are a number of games where playing Mistress of Mixtures into Kobold Librarian is the correct move. For example, you might be playing against a Zoolock and be in the unfortunate position of having nothing in your opening hand which can interact with the board until turn 5. In the Cubelock vs. Zoolock matchup, card advantage is far less important than extra damage from the Librarian. We should be able to find a way to win the game eventually so long as we can survive to the part of the game where we play a million Voidlords, so we should make plays that preserve our life total as much as possible. On the ladder you often won't know if your opponent is on Zoolock or Control Warlock if all they've done is play a Kobold Librarian, but the numbers will tell you that its safer to assume Cube or Control than Zoo.
      Why do players make this mistake?
      Your role in the matchup is key to understanding whether or not you should play to the board (and sometimes into less-than-favorable trades), or to hold onto your minions and play for card advantage. In the Cubelock vs. Cubelock matchup, the game is way more likely to come down to card advantage than chip damage. The Mistress of Mixtures might not seem like an important resource, but it has value as a 2 health minion for Defile clears and is an extra card in hand to cheapen the cost of Mountain Giant. This is to say nothing of how rewarded you get for holding on to that Mistress if you topdeck a Mortal Coil for the Librarian in the next few turns. That said, I don't think the reason I see this misplay so often is because my opponent's don't understand their roles in matchups. I think they happen because players go on auto pilot use bad early game heuristics. Having made this mistake on numerous occasions, I know from firsthand experience how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking "it's good to play to the board early" or "I should be using all of my Mana", and plop down a 1 drop on turn one without hesitation.
      A better way to think about the early game would be to weigh every option available to you. In early game situations such as this one, we are dealing with a very limited number of alternative decisions to playing that Mistress of Mixtures. If we took the time to ask ourselves "what alternatives do I have to playing this minion right now, and are any of them better?",  I think we'd find that the only alternative we have is to not play the Mistress of Mixtures, and that it is in fact the smarter play. 
      Mistake #3 - Not Respecting Combos

      Example Situation
      I'm playing Combo Dragon Priest, and my empty-handed Dude Paladin opponent draws a Vinecleaver for turn. He has 2 Silver Hand Recruits and a Righteous Protector on board right now, and he can make 3 more Silver Hand Recruits this turn between the Vinecleaver attack and his Hero Power. He has lethal set up next turn if he can draw something like Sunkeeper Tarim, but I have a 4/6 Twilight Drake in play. He attacks my face with everything (the Vinecleaver, Righteous Protector, and 2 Silver Hand Recruits), puts me down to 10, and passes the turn. I proceed to draw a Potion of Madness, play it on the Righteous Protector, heal the Twilight Drake up to 8 health, and cast double Divine Spirit into Inner Fire for the 32 damage OTK.
      Why It's A Misplay
      If I was the player in the Murloc Paladin's seat, that Potion of Madness topdeck would make think about throwing my laptop out the window. In reality, this was a situation where my opponent was able to play around all but the most ridiculous of combos by attacking the Twilight Drake instead of my face. My 6 health minion was able to become a 32/32 with my Hero Power, two Divine Spirits, and in Inner Fire, but it would have taken me a lot more effort than that to pull off an OTK if my Drake was at 2 health after a Vinecleaver attack. Assuming my opponent was at 30 life, I would have needed to find 4 more points of health for my Twilight Drake through some combination of Power Word: Shields and Kabal Talonpriests to be able to OTK with a 2 health minion. 
      I'll let you in on a little secret, Combo Priests always have the combo. Well, not always. But in a number of situations (especially when you're ahead) its a good idea to play as though your opponent's hand and draws are the perfect combination of cards to kill you. If you have a significant lead on board, you're ahead in life, and the only way for your opponent to kill you is with their combo, see if there isn't a way to take away the combo from them if it doesn't change your clock significantly. Many aggro players do a good job of combining their cards in a way which maximizes damage output, but they don't know when to pivot their role in the matchup and become the "control" player, or how to play things safe with a lead.
      In the situation I described above, the opportunity cost for my opponent to attack my Twilight Drake was practically nothing. If my opponent attacks my Drake down to 2 health and topdecks a Sunkeeper Tarim, a Level Up, or a Lightfused Stegodon into +3 attack, I'm just as dead from 10 life as I am from 14. The attack to the face doesn't set up any kills with Dire Wolf Alpha or Dark Conviction, so there's practically no downside to attacking my Twilight Drake with Vinecleaver to substantially limit the number of  OTKs I have. There's also an argument for sending a couple of minion attacks at the Twilight Drake to finish it off, as this line would do a much better job of playing around Duskbreaker.
      Why do players make this mistake?
      Combo Priest OTKs have both won and lost me many, many ladder games. From my experience on the Combo Priest side of the table, I often find myself thinking: "Please don't attack my minion, I have the kill next turn if that minion keeps all of his health!". When I play against Combo Priests, my inner monologue goes a little more like this: "If he has the combo I should clear board and not attack face. Does he have the combo? Nah, I'll attack face. He had it?! What a luck-sack!". Sound familiar to you?
      One of the most useful heuristics for navigating combo decks from both sides of the table is the concept of playing to outs. I discuss this concept at length in my Legend in the Making series, but I'll do my best to summarize it here.
      In the example game described above, the cards my opponent failed to account for in their decision-making process were the combo pieces I need to kill him (Potion of Madness, 2 Divine Spirit, and an Inner Fire) and the cards he needed to kill me (Sunkeeper Tarim, Level Up, and Lightfused Stegodon). The cards I can kill my opponent with are my outs, and the cards my opponent can kill me with are my opponent's outs.
      When it comes down to scenarios where the game is likely to end in the next few turns, try to identify which cards can win the game for you outright if drawn off the top of your deck (your outs), and which cards  would win the game for your opponent between their hand and draws (your opponent's outs). Try to construct a sequence of events out of your opponent which leads to you losing the game, then see what can be done to prevent that happening. Next, try to construct a winning sequence for yourself and see what can be done to maximize the chances it occurs (this is generally much easier and less time consuming than seeing things from your opponent's perspective).
      In this particular example, there were a couple of plays my opponent could have made which would have both prevented lethal and set up lethal of their own. These plays are ideal, but there won't always be a perfect intersection between winning and not losing. When considering outs for both you and your opponent, you'll often need to make a judgement call as to whether you should attempt to maximize your own chances of setting up lethal, minimize your opponent's chances of setting up lethal, or go for something in the middle of both to play around a specific card.
      Mistake #4 - Setting Up Board Clears

      The Situation
      It's turn 4 and I'm on Murloc Paladin against an unknown Warlock. I have a Vilefin Inquisitor and a Hydrologist in play, both with full health, and my hand is looking juicy. I have a Grimscale Chum, a Murloc Warleader, and a Gentle Megasaur. I play Chum into Warleader to set up the huge Megasaur turn, attack everything to face, and pass.
      Why It's A Misplay
      Playing the Grimscale Chum gave my opponent the 1 Health minion they needed to set up the full clear with Defile. They would have needed Hellfire to clear my board if I hadn't played the Chum, which means that giving them 1 Health minion effectively doubled their chances of being able to clear my board.
      Defile is one of the trickiest cards to use in Hearthstone - we shouldn't make it any easier on our opponents than it needs to be. Sure, sometimes they won't have the Defile or the Hellfire and you'll just win with Gentle Megasaur on turn 4, but in this particular scenario, why not hedge your bets and wait on the Chum? They'll still get blown out by Megasaur next turn if they don't have a Hellfire, and if you play into Defile you give your opponent a clean 4 for 1.
      Why do players make this mistake?
      I tend to make mistakes like this one when I get tunnel-visioned on making value plays and lose sight of the big picture. It just doesn't "feel" right to play our Murloc Warleader before our Grimscale Chum, it leaves value on the table. However, that doesn't mean it's the wrong move. We're very likely to win this game if we don't get our board cleared, and the reward of the Grimscale Chum's Battlecry is far outweighed by the risk of playing it.
      I think most players have a natural bias towards big, flashy plays that set up kills as quickly as possible if everything goes right, but that they don't slow down to think about what happens if things go wrong. A heuristic which can help remind us to slow down and consider our options in these scenarios might sound something like this:
      The strongest play is not always the best one.
      The "best" play for any given situation probably starts and ends by considering the unknown variables - the cards left in your deck, the cards your opponent is likely to play, etc. It's tempting to see the explosive potential in a play that's right in front of you and just go for it, to say "let's see what happens" and accept the consequences if things don't work out. I'd by lying if I said I never played straight into board wipes just to see if I could set up a turn 4 kill, but in a few of this situations it was actually the right move!
      There are a number of times where, as an aggro player, the correct move is to just go for it and accept the consequences if your opponent has the board wipe. However, there's a big difference between those situations and the one I outlined above. You won't always be presented with a choice between "going for the win" and "GOING FOR THE WIN!". Whenever you have to opportunity to assemble a board that is capable of winning the game, what do you really stand to gain by putting even more minions on it? Do you get to win more? Last I checked, "big wins" didn't count for extra stars on the ladder.
      The Hero Power is a finite resource. Use it or lose it forever. Its almost always better to Hero Power than it is to play a 2 or 3 Mana spell if you could just play that spell next turn (or the turn after). The first few turns of the game are really important - don't auto pilot them and throw away cards for free. There are very few options available to you in the early game, so take your time to carefully consider all of them. Playing your minions is not always the best option available to you. When you have a lead as an aggressive deck, it's often a better idea to protect that lead and to become the "control" player than it is to push damage to face. Try to think about late-game situations in terms of specific outs from both you and your opponent, and use those outs to guide where your damage should go. Winning is good enough! Committing more resources to the board than you need to win can set yourself up to get blown out by board wipes.
    • By Zadina

      Dean Ayala is here with a brand new Hearthside Chat, explaining the new odd and even mechanic introduced in The Witchwood and how it can work in actual decks. Four new Witchwood cards were also revealed.
      With the announcement of The Witchwood, people were intrigued with the new Start of the Game legendaries Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater, which require a specific kind of deck built with only even and odd cards respectively. The first impression of the community was that these legendaries were weak, but it looks like odd & even decks are getting more support in The Witchwood.
      Dean Ayala explained how the mechanic can fit into both current and older decks, like Control Quest Warrior and Aggro Hunter.
      Four new cards were also revealed and they are all about the odd and even shennanigans!

      Mike Donais clarified on Reddit that there are only few even/odd support cards and not for every class. The team aimed at less expected combinations so that players could experiment with new decks. For example, Mage has some signature even cards like Frostbolt, Fireball and Meteor but Black Cat is a pretty powerful card, if the condition is met. It also makes sense that all six odd/even cards won't be offered in Arena (source).
      Do you think these cards make odd and even decks more enticing to play now? The Witchwood is after all introducing more new mechanics, like the keywords Rush and and Echo, so hopefully we will have more deck diversity and deck builders can rejoice!
    • By Damien
      This thread is for comments about our The Witchwood Expansion Hub.
    • By Zadina

      A patch dropped last night bringing Arena updates, the ability to pre-purchase The Witchwood packs and some bug fixes.
      For starters, Patch 10.4 brings the already announced changes to Arena mode. The drafting process will now offer more compelling choices featuring cards of similar power level, but different rarities. Moreover, the nine Arena-only class cards, that were chosen during BlizzCon 2017, are being added to the game. Lastly, the increased chance to see cards from the most recent expansion has been disabled until The Witchwood is released.
      Yesterday, the first expansion of the Year of the Raven was announced. You can now pre-purchase The Witchwood from the Shop. This time, the pre-purchase bundle contains 70 packs, instead of the usual 50, so it is an investment worth considering.
      Lastly, there's also mention of a Year of the Raven celebration event. According to Hearthpwn, it looks like you'll be able to win up to 20 free card packs from Kobolds & Catacombs and The Witchwood by completing multiple daily quests each day. The details of this event are still a bit elusive, but there should be an announcement for it soon.
      Here are the patch notes:
      This Hearthstone update introduces pre-purchase for Hearthstone’s newest expansion: The Witchwood! This patch also introduces Arena gameplay updates, including all-new Arena exclusive cards that were chosen by the crowd at BlizzCon. We’ve also laid the groundwork for the new Hearthstone Year, optimized loading times, and fixed several bugs.
      Read on to learn more!
      The Witchwood
      Prepare to join brave heroes as they embark on a hunt for the source of an eerie curse in Hearthstone’s newest expansion. Read the official blog for more details!

      Pre-purchase now to receive 50 The Witchwood card packs. You’ll also receive the In a Dark Wood card back and 20 more The Witchwood card packs as a bonus! Use your new card back right away, and you can look forward to opening 70 card packs once the expansion arrives!
      New Year Party!
      We’ve prepared a special event for you to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Raven! More details to come soon! Arena Updates
      We’re trying out a new Arena format to make choosing cards more interesting and skill testing. New Draft Rules: Each pick in an Arena draft will now feature 3 cards of relatively equal power level, but mixed rarities. Picks 1, 10, 20, and 30 will continue to have a guaranteed Rare quality card or better. The increased chance to draft cards from the most recent expansion has been removed until the launch of The Witchwood. New Arena cards chosen at BlizzCon are being added to the Arena for a limited time.
      All cards that are excluded from the Arena draft pool remain unchanged. All the other existing Arena rules in place that affect appearance rates are unchanged.   Bug Fixes and Updates Hearthstone now loads faster on many devices. Fixed several minor UI and visual issues. Players can now create Blizzard Battle.net accounts via Facebook. Rakanishu now correctly displays in history during the King Togwaggle Dungeon Run encounter. [Mobile] Alternate Heroes that you do not own should now display their names in the Collection Manager. [iOS] Due to changes in iTunes, it will no longer be possible to purchase one-time only items for multiple Blizzard accounts from a single iTunes log in. Each account holder must log into iTunes separately to make those purchases. [iOS] Older iOS devices are now more stable when changing menus. (source)