L0rinda

hearthstone Hearthstone Arena: From Beginner to Infinite #1: The Vanilla Test

11 posts in this topic

Welcome to the first of L0rinda's Arena mini-guides. L0rinda starts off the series with a simple card evaluation method.

16097-hearthstone-arena-from-beginner-to

The purpose of these mini-guides is going to be not only to teach you how to play better Arena, but also how to self-improve outside of the guides. I will be starting with the very basics and building up over the coming weeks to more complicated concepts.


The most important thing to realise about Arena is that you cannot rely on card synergy, particularly at the start of a draft. This means that the cards need to be evaluated on their stand-alone value far more than in constructed play. In this first article I'll be discussing how to evaluate cards on the most basic level, as this will be a useful building block for the future. When you first start playing Arena, evaluating all of the cards is a daunting task. For that reason I want to introduce you to something called the Vanilla Test.

A vanilla minion is a minion with no text. Examples of this can be seen below:
 

wfWM9L9.png


For any evaluation, you need a starting point. The Vanilla Test uses vanilla minions as a base. As these minions have no text, they provide a base level for us to compare minions of different mana costs. You can then ask if an upside on a card is worth the stats loss, or if a downside is worth the stats gain.

Let's start with an easy example. You have to decide between Goblin Sapper or Spider Tank. The Goblin Sapper has a point of power less than the Spider Tank and in return it gets the ability to be a 6/4 if your opponent has six cards in hand. While you can imagine that this card has potential in some constructed situations, it should be clear that the upside in Arena, where people are playing their hand as it comes, is very limited. This means that the Spider Tank is almost always the better card. However, this is not the main power of the Vanilla Test. The power comes in comparing cards of differing costs.

To show what I mean, let's consider Dark Cultist versus Priestess of Elune.
 

stLz5Zi.png


At first glance the cards are not very similar, but using the Vanilla Test it soon becomes apparent which is better. The Priestess of Elune gives up a point of power and three points of health compared to a Boulderfist Ogre. In return, she heals you for four health. That's a lot to give up, as healing your own face tends to only delay the inevitable and not develop your board. I think most players would agree that you would prefer the better stats of the Boulderfist Ogre. Against that, compare Dark Cultist to Spider Tank and the Cultist is actually better than the vanilla card outside of any Mech synergy. The Cultist is ahead of the vanilla minion, while the Priestess is behind. This means we can declare the Cultist better than the Priestess.

Comparing cards in this manner gets harder as the cards get closer together in power level. You will need experience to decide which abilities suit you better than others, and over time you will find you get better at doing this. You will also learn to adjust the value of cards based on small synergies your deck might pick up as the draft progresses. While you are gaining this experience, you will probably find a Tier List helpful. There are several available lists, our one, by Sottle, is available here. Hopefully using the Vanilla Test, you will be able to see why certain cards are rated the way they are. Over time you will be able to make your own evaluations, so remember to only use the list a crutch and not an absolute.

Part 2 of the series can be found here
6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a great guide, but it might be confusing for newer players why Sen'jin is better than Venture Co. Mercenary, when Sen'jin loses one stat and Mercenary gains two stats (I've met such players). Also, new players tend to think that Tournament medic is a good card because it has all 9 stats and has a beneficial ability (I see way too many of them on 0-2 wins). Of course, it seems silly to better players, but the pro players aren't the target group, I suppose. Will you cover that in your following articles, or is just too specific to be included?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a rough outline for the coming articles but any feedback is very likely to be included.

I have a feeling this particular point will gradually get tidied up in the near future, but if not, I'll be sure to bear it in mind as it is definitely a valid point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cant do anything but admire the effort put behind the post ..as a player who struggled at first alot in the game i find it really helpful ..thanks for sharing (Y) 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attack vs health stats is a topic I would definitely like to see covered. I'm not a pro player but I think that's the drawback of certain minions that have 1 attack?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess Murlock Raider would be the 1-mana point, and that 7/7 the 7-mana point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess Murlock Raider would be the 1-mana point, and that 7/7 the 7-mana point?

Those are fine. You can use an imaginary 7/8 for the 7 point if you like. After reading these comments and some feedback from other places, I'll be covering those bits again, likely in the third installment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, why is the Bloodfen Raptor (3/2) better than the River Crocolisk (2/3)?  Is it because it can trade up?

 

That being the case, why is the Chillwind Yeti (4/5) better than the Lost Tallstrider (5/4)?  Does health become more important at higher mana costs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, why is the Bloodfen Raptor (3/2) better than the River Crocolisk (2/3)?  Is it because it can trade up?

 

That being the case, why is the Chillwind Yeti (4/5) better than the Lost Tallstrider (5/4)?  Does health become more important at higher mana costs?

You can use Bloodfen Raptor or the Crocolisk. I chose it so it didn't lead people to believe that the pattern was 100% relevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, why is the Bloodfen Raptor (3/2) better than the River Crocolisk (2/3)?  Is it because it can trade up?

 

That being the case, why is the Chillwind Yeti (4/5) better than the Lost Tallstrider (5/4)?  Does health become more important at higher mana costs?

Usually, an arena deck has less 1-drops (2/1s) than 3-drops, and most of 3-drops are 4/3. This is why Raptor trades up more often than he trades down. 

Tallstrider is worse than Yeti because of 4-dmg effects, such as Bomb Lobber, Soulfire or Flamestrike.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am by no means a pro player, and have seen many many guides like this, i know all the basics, favourable trading, good cards, when to face, weapon holding, using life as a resource but I just can't seem to win games, its so frustrating to me that I know these things and I don't know why I lose, I seem to never draw cards that impact the board, and when I do my opponent always clears them. I'm not saying I'm super ultra unlucky and that's the only reason why I lose games, and when people coach me while I'm playing I win, I just can't put my finger on what misplays I do.. I want to get proper coaching but I don't want to spend money. I can never seen to find the right plays, and other people can. Does anyone know how to help me?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Vlad
      This thread is for comments about our OTK Djinni Priest Standard deck.
    • By Zadina

      The announcement of the Year of the Mammoth was the big news of the week and obviously it stirred everyone's curiosity. An upcoming live stream will hopefully answer all of our questions.
      Tune in this Tuesday February 21st at 11 a.m PST (20:00 CET) to learn more about the changes that the Year of the Mammoth will bring. Among the topics that will be discussed are the set rotation, expansions and missions, and the Wild format.
      It is not specified who will be hosting the Q&A, but we assume it's going to be Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode and Game Designer Dean Ayala again.
      Blizzard Entertainment
      Want to learn what’s on the horizon for Hearthstone in 2017? Join us on February 21 at 11 a.m. PST for a live Q&A session on Twitch. This week our developers will be reviewing the upcoming changes for Year of the Mammoth, so tune in to hear their thoughts on topics like: set rotation, expansions with missions, and the Wild format.  
       
      Have something you'd like to ask? Here’s how you can be part of the conversation:
      - Tweet @PlayHearthstone with the hashtag #QA with your question
      - Post a question below in the blog comments
      - Join us live in Twitch chat and direct questions to us @PlayHearthstone
       
        Can’t make it? Don’t worry – we will be posting the full video on the PlayHearthstone YouTube after the Q&A has completed.
       
      Follow the official Hearthstone Twitch channel to be notified when the stream begins.
      We’ll see you there!
      (source)
    • By L0rinda

      Blizzard have announced that the next Hearthstone year will be called The Year of the Mammoth. Six cards from the Classic set will be moved to a new Hall of Fame set, which can only be played in Wild.
      The announcement explains that the new Hall of Fame set will include cards that are currently in the Reward set, but the big news here is the six cards that will be leaving Standard. You can see Blizzard's reasons on the link above, but I've given a few notes in this article. Those cards are shown below.
      As well as the removed cards, there will be no adventures in 2017. Instead we will be given three full expansions that will be accompanied by a single-player mission, which will be used to enhance flavour, and offer challenges. This sounds like it will be along the lines of an adventure, but optional. I feel this is a great change, as it hurts nobody.

      Azure Drake is simply in too many decks. It is a hard card to nerf without making it weak, but it is pretty much as powerful as a 5-drop can be. Removing this to free up other 5-drops makes sense.

      The reasoning for Sylvanas is similar. Blizzard's words make a lot of sense on this one, and also give an insight into the future:
      Blizzard
      Similar to Azure Drake, it’s hard to see a card at the six mana cost out-value Sylvanas. In addition, Sylvanas has the most powerful Deathrattle effect in the game—as a comparison, the Priest card Mind Control costs 10 mana. We have exciting Deathrattle build-arounds coming soon, and in combination with Sylvanas, they would be too powerful for Standard. This seems to imply that N'Zoth, the Corruptor will be making a big comeback soon!

      I suspect a lot of people will be glad to see the back of Ragnaros. The Random element was often a contentious issue.

      The removal of Power Overwhelming is a bit of a surprise, but it seems that it has mainly been nerfed because of its strength in combinaton with cards like Leeroy Jenkins and Faceless Manipulator. I would also assume that Warlock is going to be getting some fun new toys to replace it.

      Ice Lance has been removed to remove Freeze Mage and allow new strategies to develop. It is also interesting that Blizzard mention it will allow them to make cards that copy cards. That could also apply to Power Overwhelming, so I would expect something along those lines to be in the next set.

      Conceal leaving will make sense to everyone. It allows Gadgetzan Auctioneer to survive as an interesting card, and removes the annoyance of not being able to interact with your opponent.
       
    • By L0rinda

      This week's Tavern Brawl is called Blood Magic. It is the 88th Tavern Brawl.
      Blood Magic has a simple enough concept, which is that all spells cost Health instead of Mana. This could lead to an interesting metagame where healing is premium, and expensive burn spells are used to finish your opponent. Violet Illusionist is a key card in this Brawl, it allows the burn finish to only kill your opponent and not yourself. I expect to see it a lot over the coming days. 
      This is the third constructed Brawl in a row. It is an interesting Brawl to me, as I have felt that Blizzard have been trying to push this mechanic slowly on us over the last few expansions, but are terrified of it. In other card games, paying Health for cards has often been a broken mechanic, and I feel this might be a test to see how far they can push it.
      As always, feel free to leave your own lists in the comments.
    • By L0rinda

      Blizzard have ended speculation as to the fate of Small-Time Buccaneer by announcing nerfs that will be active with Update 7.1. The ladder system will also see a small change.
      The changes were outlined by Blizzard in a Reddit post, and they should shift the metagame significantly.
      The big, although expected, news is that Small-Time Buccaneer will be nerfed to become a 1/1 rather than a 1/2. This puts it into turn 2 ping range and should stop the card getting out of control. It remains to be seen if it will still be playable considering it will still fetch patches, and still trade one Mana for two Mana in a lot of early game situations.
      Spirit Claws also sees a change, and although expected by many, was a minor surprise to me as Blizzard generally dislike messing with cards from adventures. The cost of the card has been raised from 1 Mana to 2 Mana. This might seem like a minor change, but the implications are huge. It will be very awkward in the early game with Bloodmage Thalnos and Wrath of Air Totem, and it will almost certainly see far less play after the update. 
      The ladder changes feel like Blizzard dipping their toe in the water, rather than a full on change. There will now be a series of Ranked Play floors, which are ranks that you can't de-rank below within a season. Those ranks are 5,10, and 15. This should help a little with ladder anxiety for many people.
      No date has been confirmed for the patch yet, but it seems likely that it will not be before the APAC Playoffs which end on February 25.
      Overall I feel that the changes are good. There will be chance for more sweeping changes when the new expansion hits later in the year, but these should tide us over in the meantime. Reno Jackson decks will be the obvious beneficiaries of the changes, but this means that Jade decks will be stronger. It will be fun to see where the meta settles down.