L0rinda

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
  • Like 6

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?

  • Like 1

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) 

  • Like 1

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?

  • Like 1

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.

  • Like 3

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 Damien
      This thread is for comments about our Even Rogue deck list guide.
    • By Aleco

      Get your games in with Cubelock and Even Paladin while you can! The upcoming balance patch will drop on the 22nd.
       
      Confirmed today on the official Hearthstone blog, the upcoming balance patch will go live on May 22nd.
      Though the nerfs had been announced several days ago, a timeline had previously not been provided for when the nerfs would go live. For those who have yet hear, the following cards will be receiving nerfs:
      Naga Sea Witch will have its Mana cost increased from 5 to 8 Mana Spiteful Summoner will have its Mana cost increased from 6 to 7 Mana Dark Pact will restore 4 Health instead of 8 health Possessed Lackey will have its Mana cost increased from 5 to 6 Mana Call to Arms will have its Mana cost increased from 4 to 5 Mana Crystal Core will turn minions into 4/4s instead of 5/5s  
    • By Aleco

      This week's episode features a fresh take on a popular deck, courtesy of Casie.
      Can you guess the next move?
      Situation #22: Let's Even the Odds
      Picking up where we left off last week, we find ourselves in the middle of an odd/even matchup between Warlock and Shaman. I picked this situation partially because it was an interesting spot with many options available to us, and also because its a ladder situation I highly doubt any of my readers have encountered before:

      Commenters quickly identified several key factors about this matchup, namely that Defile and Hellfire are off the table for our opponent and that the only "board clear" available for our opponent is Despicable Dreadlord. Our opponent is more likely to have single target removal (such as Voodoo Doll) or is looking to play a demon-related 5 drop next turn in Skull of the Man'ari, Possessed Lackey, or Doomguard.
      Bozonik summed up this situation excellently in his comment from last week's thread:
      There seemed to be a consensus among commenters that "Option 1", Hero Power + Sea Giant was the line here. It puts a big nasty minion on the board, applying pressure and forcing our opponent to have Voodoo Doll. In the heat of the moment I went with "Option 2", the full clear, but after looking back on things and reading over the comments I believe Hero Power + Giant was the correct line. Despicable Dreadlord is really the only card which gives us serious trouble next turn (since our opponent won't be able to play Possessed Lackey and kill it) and this line plays around Dreadlord while applying just as much pressure as the other options.
      I was secretly hoping that the tap + Giant wasn't the correct line here (because its the most obvious one), but the obvious solution is often the correct one. If you're ever in a situation such as this where you have no idea what your opponent is up to, it's probably best to go for the "obvious" line and not get cute.
      Situation #23: Broken Mirrors
      Today's deck comes courtesy of Kevin "Casie" Eberlein, who cut the dragon package from Mind Blast Priest to turn the deck into something with much more of a combo/aggro feel to it. Many pros are pegging Mind Blast Priest to be the next "best deck in the meta" after the nerfs drop, and Casie's list has a serious advantage in the mirror match:
      Though I didn't find nearly as much success with the deck as Casie did, it did provide me with plenty of interesting situations for What's the Move! Here's the one I ended up choosing for this week's episode:

      It's turn 2, we're on The Coin, and our ladder opponent just played a Wild Pyromancer. For the purposes of this exercise, we can say that we're 100% confident our opponent is on Mind Blast Priest. However, this isn't a mirror match at all. We have Prophet Velen, Holy Smite, two copies of Holy Fire (most Mind Blast Priests run just one), and Lifedrinker in our deck, which gives us a huge advantage in late-game Anduin vs Anduin races. Knowing that we have an advantage in the late game should color our decision heavily on turn two, where have a surprising number of options available to us.
      So, what's the move?
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Murloc Paladin.