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Legend in the Making - An Advanced Guide to Competitive Hearthstone: Part 4

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The decisions we make outside of games are often just as impactful as the ones me make inside them. In the final installment of "Legend in the Making", we cover the meta-skills you'll need to conquer the most difficult stretch of the ladder.

Legend in the Making: Part 4

Ranks 5 to Legend - Tools for the Climb and the Art of the Read

I’d like to start off the fourth and final installment of “Legend in the Making” by letting you know that I most certainly have not saved the best for last. In fact, I’ve done quite the opposite. The concepts I’ll discuss in part four aren’t necessary for reaching Legend at all, I know this to be true from of all the comments and messages I've received from readers who were able to reach Legend for the first time after reading just the first three parts of this series. Part four doesn’t set out to reinvent anyone’s approach to the game of Hearthstone, if you’re capable of reaching rank five then I believe you already have the knowledge you need to reach Legend.

The first section of this article aims to help players who are struggling with the final push to Legend get the most out of their laddering sessions. Sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t knowing the right thing to do, but having the ability to keep your composure and put together the things you already know while maintaining a winning mindset.

We’ll wrap up this series by covering “reads”, or the art of analyzing the human element of Hearthstone. Once we have a thorough grasp on the fundamentals we can look beyond the X’s and O’s and begin analyze the subtle things our opponent’s do which reveal their true intentions.

Let's get started.

Section 1 - Tools for Optimizing Your Climb

It’s obvious that the decisions we make throughout the course each game are important, but have you ever thought about the impact of the decisions you make outside of them? In-game decisions affect the outcome of the game they’re made in, while the decisions we make outside of games have the ability to affect the outcome of an entire ladder session. Let’s take a look at the things we can do between games to avoid losing streaks and to prepare ourselves for tough decisions.

Avoiding Tilt

Quote

Tilt

A term usually applied to video games, tilt is an emotional state which can occur after a repeated process produces repeated negative results. Tilt is an emotional breakdown caused by hard work not resulting in success which is deeply craved. When you or someone you know is tilted, the best thing to do is take a break from that activity.

- Edited from Urban Dictionary

I’ll be honest you, I struggle with tilt.

I nearly always get a bit angry after losing a game which was completely out of my control. I can happily accept a loss which came as the result of a mistake I made, but I absolutely hate it when I lose a match where there was nothing I could do and there were no lessons to learned. Card games can be uniquely frustrating as they are one of the few competitive outlets where it is possible to do everything right and still lose.

The worst thing about tilt is that it is self-perpetuating. Tilting causes mistakes, mistakes cause losses, and losses cause more tilt. Playing on tilt can dramatically drop your win percentage and lead to a string of losses which put you even further away from your goal of reaching Legend. It could very well be that your win percentage while you maintain composure is more than enough to carry you to Legend, but that the losses you accumulate while on tilt are dragging your overall win percentage down low enough to keep you from the promised land.

So what can you do to prevent tilt? The solution is incredibly simple, and I’m almost embarrassed that it took me so long to do it myself:

Stop playing!

That’s really all there is to it. Whenever you find yourself on tilt, the best thing you can do is take a break, even if it’s just for a short time. What works best for me is to fully close the program and take a break until I’ve fully calmed down. If that’s simply not an option, the absolute minimum you should do is stand up to stretch your legs, get some water or going to the bathroom, take a few deep breaths, and consider changing decks before jumping back on the ladder. Slamming the “play” button as fast as you possibly can is a recipe for disaster.

For some, the trickiest part will be convincing yourself that it’s the right idea to stop playing. How could not playing Hearthstone be the best way to rank up? If you ever feel this way while on tilt, try to remind yourself that every loss puts you one step further away from your goal, and that stopping yourself before an impending stretch of losses is functionally identical to going on a win streak.

For others (and I include myself in this category), the tricky part isn’t stopping but recognizing when tilt is starting to become a problem. How can you know when to stop if you don’t even recognize that you’re angry? Self-awareness is the best tool you can have for avoiding to tilt, but it's also one of the most difficult meta-skills to cultivate in life, let alone in Hearthstone.

The trick I’ve taught myself for catching tilt before it becomes a problem is “three loss” rule. Every time I lose three consecutive games I ask myself if I am starting to go on tilt before hitting the play button again. I found it to be a bit excessive and self-patronizing to check myself after every single loss, and that I was almost always starting to go on tilt after losing three consecutive games. If you find a better trigger for yourself to check if you're going on tilt then I encourage you to use it, the three loss rule is just something which worked for me.

I’m far from an expert at dealing with tilt, so I would highly recommend that you seek alternative resources for dealing with tilt if it’s a problem you deeply struggle with. Tilt isn’t unique to Hearthstone, it’s a problem which is shared by nearly all competitive online games. There are thousands of articles and videos on the internet which are written by people far more qualified than myself to give advice on the topic, so if you need help (and you know who you are!) I encourage you to go out and find these resources before proceeding any further in your quest for Legend. Your biggest obstacle for reaching Legend may not be your ability, but your mindset.

Local Metagames

One of the very first things I discussed in part one of this series was the importance of deck selection, where I encouraged readers to ditch their homebrews and play popular decks for a variety of reasons. One of biggest reasons to play a popular deck is the vast amount of data which you’ll gain access to about your matchups. Thousands of matches between top tier decks are logged by deck trackers and uploaded to various Hearthstone sites for statistical analysis on a daily basis, providing us with a powerful tool we can use to avoid unfavored matchups. Now that we’ve reached the stretch of our climb to Legend where the tiniest margins make the biggest differences, we should be very interested in any tool which could potentially increase our win percentage by multiple points over the span of multiple matches.

One peculiar phenomena of the Hearthstone ladder is the “local metagame”. If we use the term “metagame” to refer to all of the decks which are popular at a given time, the term “local metagame” refers to a group of decks which are likely to be encountered at a specific rank. Especially between ranks 5 and Legend, I’ve found that it is quite common to play a stretch of games against the same two or three decks for the span of an entire rank. I won’t pretend to understand why this phenomenon occurs, but I’ve encountered it more than enough to be confident that it exists.

Let’s take a look at a recent screenshot from my deck tracker:

screen1.jpg

This nice run of wins began in the middle of rank 3, where almost every deck I encountered on ladder was either Jade Druid or Kazakus Priest. Playing as Pirate Warrior, a deck which is favored against both, I was able to go 7-1 and climb all the way up to the the top of rank two! Not bad, eh?

Let’s see what happens next:

screen2.jpg

Same deck, new local meta, and I’m right back where I started. Four of the five Druid games you see above were against Aggro Druid, a deck which is massively favored against Pirate Warrior but was nowhere to be found in rank 3. After losing to two Aggro Druids in three games, what I should have done was switch to a deck which wasn’t so unfavored against it. Switching decks at this point could have prevented two future losses, which is absolutely massive!

The best tool I’ve found for battling local metagames is the Data Reaper Live Report. To use the report, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select “Top Archetype Matchups”. This will reveal a chart with matchup winrates for all of the most popular decks in the format, which should allow you to select the best deck from your collection for conquering whichever local metagame you are up against. I understand that most of you won’t have the cards you need to play every deck on that list (I certainly don’t), but you probably have the cards to play at least two or three of them. Even if you don’t have access to the best deck for your local meta, you can still use the report to select the best from the ones you have access to.

Are you facing 90% Jade Druids? Play one of the three aggressive decks which have favorable matchups against it. Are you seeing only Murloc Paladin and Aggro Druids? Token Shaman would be a solid choice for this local meta.

The same tool I use for preventing tilt, the “three loss” rule, is the very same tool I use for detecting local metas. Any time I lose three games in a row I check to see if my deck choice may be a part of that reason (in addition to checking if I’m starting to tilt). If I ever find that I lost the same unfavorable matchup more than once during a stretch of three games I’ll probably change decks to something more favored against the local meta.

I’m sure there are some experts out there who will vehemently disagree with my suggestion to regularly switch decks. The counterargument for why you should stick with one deck through thick and thin is that by frequently changing decks you will never master a deck well to the point where you can play it at a high level. This is a fair point, but I wholeheartedly disagree with it.

From a competitive perspective, I believe that you stand to improve more as a player by playing multiple decks. Having a thorough understanding of a deck certainly provides you with an advantage when you play with or against it, but this advantage is predicated entirely on the effectiveness of that specific deck being effective in the meta. If you only ever play Pirate Warrior, will your advanced deck knowledge be able to make up for the massive disadvantage you’ll have in each game against a local meta of Aggro Druids and Golakka Crawlers? I find it highly unlikely that you’ll be able to string together wins from your advanced deck knowledge alone if the metagame becomes toxic towards the deck you've planted your flag in.

The other reason I advocate for switching decks is that it’s more fun! After an hour or so with the same deck I frequently find myself wanting to play something else, local meta be damned. I enjoy winning as much as the next guy, but even I will get bored of winning if it means that I have to play the same matchup over and over. I enjoy Hearthstone the most when I’m able to play a wide variety of decks and strategies, something I’ll never be able to do if I only play one deck on my climb to Legend.

The Winning Formula

The number of variables which can factor into a single decision in Hearthstone is staggering. Even if you only take into account the tools I’ve discussed in series, you’ll still need to evaluate up to five highly nuanced and loosely related concepts to reach a single conclusion:

  1. “Who’s the beatdown?” and knowing your role.
  2. Data from the past, present, and future of the current game.
  3. Having a plan.
  4. Playing to outs.
  5. Line-up theory.

Collectively mastering each of these concepts should be more than enough to carry you to Legend, but it’s no easy feat to keep track of them in the middle of a game. Even if you understand each concept individually, finding the thinking time to thoroughly evaluate and weigh them against each other before each decision is no easy feat.

I discussed the topic of “making smaller circles” from The Art of Learning in part three, which is the process of internalizing complex topics on an instinctual level. Through this process it is possible to greatly reduce the amount of mental throughput it takes to evaluate each of the concepts I’ve discussed, but even this doesn’t account for the varying importance of each concept in different matchups.

Knowing your role might be the most important concept by far in one matchup but the least important another. Certain decisions might require you to weigh all five against each other at once, while other matchups might demand to be approached from another angle entirely. Attempting to factor each concept into our decision making process at all times is a fool’s errand, as it is neither the most effective use our limited thinking time nor the most efficient way to arrive at smart conclusions.

Instead of trying to balance the importance of everything we’ve learned at all times, we can frontload this entire process into something I like to call “the winning formula”. Within the context of a specific matchup but outside the context of a specific game, we have all the time in the world to weigh the factors and data against each other to determine what the keys to victory are. Let’s explore an example from my own past where I was able to overcome my instincts to determine the winning formula for a specific matchup.

When I first played Midrange Murloc Paladin my approach to the deck was the same as most other midrange decks. Against Control decks I played aggressively and flooded the board with early murlocs, and against Aggro decks I attempted to control the board early so I could stall out the game until my heavy hitters could take over. Unfortunately, the mirror matchup completely baffled me.

“Knowing your role” told me that Midrange mirrors tended to be won by outvaluing the opponent and trading two-for-one as often as possible, so I originally approached the matchup by keeping cards like Finja, the Flying Star and Stonehill Defender in my mulligans. These cards have “value” written all over them, and they fit perfectly into my initial plan of accruing card advantage over the course of a long game.

This sounded like a nice idea in theory, but in practice it got completely destroyed. It took me four or five losses in the mirror match before I realized that the matchup wasn’t about value at all, but tempo. I noticed that the player who got control of the board first was frequently able to snowball their early lead into a massive tempo advantage. The vast majority of Midrange Murloc Paladin decks simply lacked the tools to catch up from behind once they were already behind on board. Even Sunkeeper Tarim, an all-star against other aggressively slanted decks, was often too little too late.

When it comes to formulating a gameplan in the Midrange Murloc Paladin mirror, locking on to concepts like “who’s the beatdown?” was actually doing me more harm than good. Understanding “who’s the beatdown?” still helped me out on a decision by decision basis, but the big picture formula for victory was dictated by something else entirely. Regardless of the past, present, and future, mulliganing aggressively for one and two drops and playing to establish early control over the board is the plan. In this matchup, the “winning formula” is to grab control over the board early and never let go of it.

The goal with a winning formula is to be able to be able to enter each matchup with a solid understanding of the specific factors which contribute most towards victory and defeat. By front-loading this thinking before we ever enter into a game we free our minds to ignore unimportant concepts and allow ourselves to hone in on the most critical pieces of information. Here are some examples of what a winning formula might look  like for a variety of matchups:

  • As an aggressive deck, kill the opponent before they are able to play their board wipe. If this is not possible, don’t over-commit to the board and attempt play around the board wipe as much as possible while applying pressure.
    • Example: As Evolve Shaman against Kazakus Priest, Dragonfire Potion is the single card which is capable of causing you the most problems. Plan A (obviously) is to kill the Priest before they get the chance to play the card on turn 6, but this isn't always possible. Barring an early kill off Bloodlust, apply pressure while not over-commiting to the board until they use their Dragonfire Potion.
  • Avoid getting beat by a specific card. Conversely, set up a scenario where a specific card dominates the game.
    • Example: As Evolve Shaman against Aggro Druid, Devolve is the most important card in your entire deck. Devolving a board of Mana Treants is often game winning, while Devolving a board of cheap minions which are buffed up by Mark of the Lotus or Power of the Wild can buy you enough time to take over the late game with your superior cards. Understanding that you are the control deck in this matchup is important, but perhaps not quite as important as understanding the value of Devolve.
  • A singular concept from this article series, such as “who’s the beatdown?” or line up theory.
    • Example: In the Pirate Warrior vs Jade Druid matchup there are really no mysteries about the correct plan for either player is. Kill ‘em dead, and don’t get killed.
    • Example: As discussed in part 3, Shaman decks with double Hex and double Devolve can attempt approach threat-light decks such as Miracle Rogue from the perspective of line up theory.

Finding a winning formula takes equal parts out-of-game preparation and in-game experimentation. The winning formula might be immediately obvious from the first time you play a matchup, or it might some thought or trial and error to put together. Regardless, if we spend some time outside of the game thinking about the factors, concepts, and circumstances which contribute most to winning or losing a specific matchup, we are able to spend far less time in the middle each game worrying about concepts which might not even matter. The goal isn’t to be able to remember every single concept I’ve discussed in this series at all times, it’s to understand which factors supersede these concepts and which concepts don’t deserve to be considered at all.

Section 2 - The Read

By paying close attention to the behavioral quirks of our opponents we can occasionally catch a glimpse of their working mind. We have already trained ourselves to consider what our opponent is doing, but there is much to be learned from how our opponent goes about doing those things. By carefully watching the cards our opponents almost play and the moments they choose to pause, we can often use the information we already know about their deck to determine the exact cards in their hand.

In this section I will briefly cover a variety of situations where we can take advantage of the mistakes our opponent’s make in sequencing to gain information about the contents of their hand. This list of reads is not intended to be exhaustive. Reads are much more of an art than a skill, and this section is meant to make you aware of the kind of minutia you are free to shift your attention towards once you have hard coded the fundamentals into your play.

It bears repeating that being able to read your opponent is a completely unnecessary skill for reaching Legend. It provides you with a small advantage at best, and can even get you into trouble if it takes away focus from more important matters. With that said, once you’ve reached a point in the ladder where both players are able to maintain their focus and have a total understanding of the fundamentals, the information which can be gained from reads is a way to create separation between you and an otherwise evenly matched opponent.

Read #1 - The Awkward Pause

You should always try to formulate a complete plan before making attacks or playing cards, yet in practice this doesn’t always happen. The reason it’s important to make all of your decisions before taking any actions is because of the information you accidentally reveal when pausing in the middle of a turn.

If you start the turn with ten mana, spend six of it to play a minion, then spend the next thirty seconds paused at four mana before making your next play, this unintentionally reveals to your opponent that you had choices to make about how you will spend your final four mana. Pausing with four mana for this long implies that you had at least one cards in your hand which costs four or less. By paying close attention to the amount of mana your opponent pauses at, the cards which your opponent has already played, and what your opponent accomplished with the play they eventually ended up going with, it should often be possible to determine the exact card that your opponent was considering playing.

A particularly obvious giveaway is a long pause at 0 mana while the player has The Coin in hand. Especially if you can see your opponent hovering over the coin several times, this should be a pretty clear signal that they have a 1 drop in their hand which they are thinking about playing. The same can be said for Druids who take a long pause at 0 mana with a potential Innervate in their hand.

Players at the highest ranks aren’t stupid. If your opponent paused for a long time to eventually make what seems like a totally obvious play it probably isn’t because it took them a long time figure out something obvious. They were most likely considering multiple choices, implying there may have been another play in their hand which costs the same amount of mana and at least deserved some consideration.

Read #2 - The Unplayed Card

A card is only capable of being dragged out over the battlefield if it is able to be played. Any time a player drags a card out onto the battlefield but doesn’t play it, this guarantees that the card costs equal to or less than the amount of mana they have access to, and implies that the card was being considered as a potential play.

On turn 10 it might not reveal a lot of information to you if your opponent accidentally drags a card out onto the battlefield without playing it, but in the earlier turns and at lower amounts of mana it is often just as good as if they revealed the card to you. By taking a look at the situation and using process of elimination, it is frequently possible to deduce the exact card which your opponent elected not to play.

Even more damning than a minion or spell which goes unplayed is a targeted minion or spell which goes unplayed. An arrow appears on screen for any spell or minion which requires a target to play, and there are many circumstances where it’s trivially easy to narrow down which card the opponent was considering playing based on their deck.

Read #3 - The Hovered Card

I try not to read heavily into cards which are merely hovered over but not actually dragged out over the battlefield. It is often just as likely that they are considering playing this card on future turns as they are considering playing it now. They could have simply left their cursor over the card for no particular reason, or could be merely checking out the art. You can sometimes notice behavior which suggests that they are heavily considering a card which is being hovered over (such as when an opponent hovers back and forth between two cards), but I found that I got into trouble a little too often by reading into hovered cards and choose to ignore this read more often than I choose to consider it.

Read #4 - Cards in Hand

There is a lot information to be gained from paying close attention to how long your opponent holds onto cards in their hand, starting at the beginning of the game with the mulligan. It’s safe to assume that cards which were kept in your opponent’s opening hand but are not played in the first few turns are key cards in their deck or in the matchup. If your opponent kept a card but it still hasn’t been played by the end of the midgame, you should adjust your plans accordingly to expect a heavy hitter. You can also expect that cards which were not kept during the mulligan and remain in the opening hand for a long period of time are likely to have expensive mana costs.

The longer a card sits in a player’s hand the more information you can glean as to what it may be. There are a limited number of cards in each player’s deck which are worth holding onto for a long period of time, and as more and more situations arise where these cards could be potentially played you should be able to systematically eliminate cards from contention until you are positive as to which card they are holding.

Read #5 - The Card Off the Top

Players at rank 5 and above are likely to consider cards which they would be happy to draw the following turn, but sometimes they are a little too eager to play those cards when they are actually drawn. Cards which are drawn and immediately played are likely to be cards which your opponent was quite happy to see. By slamming down a board wipe off the top deck, your opponent signals that they likely don’t have another board wipe in hand, and that coast is clear to dump your hand into play the following turn.

Reversing the Reads

Using this knowledge to your advantage, it is sometimes possible to construct a scenario where you can send a false signal to your opponent about the content of your own hand. Though this might sound tempting, the advantages you gain by attempting to trick your opponent with intentionally misleading behavior are so small that they are rarely worth pursuing. The majority of opponent’s might not notice your misleading actions as at all, and the thinking power which is required to construct these false reads is likely better spent elsewhere.

I suggest that you use your knowledge of reads not to mislead your opponent's but to avoid giving away information. Try to always formulate your plans completely before taking any game actions so that you can avoid pauses mid-turn. This will hopefully also prevent you from dragging cards out onto the battlefield which you won’t actually play. Lastly, be aware that slamming cards down immediately after they are drawn is a signal to your opponent that you were happy to draw the card, so try to exercise some patience before playing lucky topdecks.

Conclusion

For those of you who have stuck with me through all four parts of “Legend in the Making”, it is my sincerest hope that I have imparted you everything you’ll need to reach Legend. The fundamental card gaming concepts which I discuss in this series are hardly rocket science - the true challenge of the climb to Legend is overcoming the frustrations and setbacks of the competitive Hearthstone ladder.

This too is far from an impossible obstacle to overcome, and the formula for battling adversity in a competitive environment is to embrace your mistakes and adopting the mindset of a constant learner, but you don't have to take my word for it. These are ideas from Josh Waitzkin's wonderful book The Art of Learning, which I've recommended throughout this series to anyone who is interested in the learning methodologies of a world champion competitor.

If you were able to reach Legend after reading this series, you have my sincerest congratulations. Reaching Legend is a tremendous accomplishment which you deserve to be proud of. Not many people can claim they’re in the top .25% in the world at something which millions of people of do on a daily basis, but you can!

Enjoy the climb,

Aleco

 

Part 1 - Ranks 25 to 15 - Knowing your Role and Embracing Mistakes

Part 2 - Ranks 15 to 10 - Having a Plan and Playing to Outs

Part 3 - Ranks 10 to 5 - Line Up Theory and Mulligans

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I read your guides but didn't reach Legend, so your guides must clearly be wrong!

 

Just kidding of course, thank you for the effort you put into thinking up and writing these guides, I am sure that at least some parts of it will be helpful to me (and others, ARGH!) in future games.

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Thank you for these great articles. Combined with The Art of Learning it has helped me reach new heights on the ladder. I have taken a slower approach to reach legend, setting goals for each season. 2 seasons ago it was rank 15, last season was 10. I finished last season as rank 9 and this season I'm already at 14 with a goal of 5. I am sure I will hit legend within a few months!

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Thanks for the great series of articles.

I initially went down the road of playing one deck only. I started playing a bit over a year ago; a few months before Karazhan. After watching Trump's FTP quest to legend with pirate-dragon warrior I picked that as my first attempt at Legend as it was cheap to craft. Eventually I ditched the dragons and played a more 'standard' pirate warrior (they were very rare in those pre-patches days, something like 1% of matchups - which meant your opponent never mulliganed for aggro). After a ridiculously long grind over the final weekend I scraped it to Legend on the last day. I played it pretty much exclusively until MSG, partly because I wanted to master the deck and partly because I felt I was playing it much better than anything else I played. I did start to tech the deck based on the meta I was in though. I remember playing the black knight quite a lot in a season that I was losing a lot to big Druid taunts (he wasn't bad against the popular midrange Shaman decks too). One season I almost gave up due to struggling against both secret hunter and tempo Mage that were popular; I found I was often narrowly losing out in race situations. I eventually made it after I tried sticking in two violet illusionists which helped conserve a bit of health and acted as soft taunts too (I didn't consider bash which might have been a good choice too).

I feel learning how to play one deck very well was beneficial, but I also think you benefit more in the long run from playing a variety of decks. It's much easier to find the right plays against a deck if you have previously played that deck. I think realistically for a low or moderate spending new player, you're likely stuck to one optimised high tier deck for a few seasons and I don't think that's a bad thing, but I do think you should be aiming to branch out as soon as you can after you feel like you're playing that deck very well.

Been playing midrange Murloc Paladin a bit recently btw. I absolutely hate the mirror matchup, agree with your comments about it but seems to me it's the most coin dominated matchup in the game (in that you really really don't want the coin).

Edited by Bozonik

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Thank you for the conclusion of a very fine serie of Guides. While the advice in the first three where easier to implement directly I find this last one just as full good of ideas as the others.

I normaly reach around rank 5 - 4. Basically doing what you described in your first 3 Guides. And I am battling finding time for 300 games a month.  To less time in the last part of the month frequently translates into loss streaks due to Tilt. I totally agree that the only thing that helps is a pause. But with limited time pausing awey good game time is frustrating.

And thanks for the advice of not wasting time on misleading. I do believe I once or twice have convinced a player to commit the wrong card by doing 30s hovering back and forth between 2 completely unplayable cards. But the energy used for something like that could be used better.   

.......

Now I am taking a Tilt pause after a 5 loss streak. I just checked Data Reaper. And guess what - My pirate warrior win stats have dropped considerable against more than 50% of the played decks. Murloc Paladin still looks good. I try that before anyone reads this.

best rgds

PanPan 

           

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On 9/4/2017 at 4:16 PM, PanPan said:

I normaly reach around rank 5 - 4. Basically doing what you described in your first 3 Guides. And I am battling finding time for 300 games a month.  To less time in the last part of the month frequently translates into loss streaks due to Tilt. I totally agree that the only thing that helps is a pause. But with limited time pausing awey good game time is frustrating.

I always find that, in the months where I don't have as much time to push, those loss streaks just feel so much worse. They lead to more losses, more misplays and it's just such a horrible, slippery slope. It's also so tempting to jump between decks and finding yourself losing because of the constant swapping and yeah. It's not good :p

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Such an awesome guide! I just started playing hearthstone about a month ago and I just hit legend tonight for the first time! I owe a lot to the tips in this guide, it really helped me learn a heck of a lot faster and allowed me to keep focus and keep a good mentality while playing!

Thanks a lot @Aleco

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Just found your guide and it’s opened my eyes. I’ve been playing Hearthstone for 12 months and finally hit rank 5 in March 2018 with Secret Mage. Over the past 4 months in Witchwood I’ve tried many decks, reaching rank 4 in April, rank 3 in March and rank 2 in June.

I’d put my losses down to rock, paper, scissors, just being unlucky to queue into bad matchups and blaming the Hearthstone gods.

Since reading the guide I’ve committed to playing Odd Rogue as I like the game style and understand that deck the best. It’s also in a good place in this meta. I’ve gone 21-6 with the deck and won matches I normally wouldn’t.

I think more in games now, plan ahead, think about what my opponent will do, and play the role I need to play.

The game is so much more enjoyable now. Thank you very much. Will let you know when I reach legend.

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      A new Hearthstone update has just arrived, featuring the “Doom in the Tomb” Hallow’s End event, Wild cards temporarily returning to Standard, portrait rewards for dedicated Hearthstone players, and much more!
      New Event - Doom in the Tomb!

      Pack your torches and latch your helmets, Heroes. The Headless Horseman has infiltrated Uldum’s deserted desert tombs, outfitted himself with powerful relics, and has set his sights on besting the battling Leagues! The new Doom in the Tomb event starts today, October 8, and will last until October 30. Here’s what’s in store:

      Week 1: Doom in the Tomb, Part 1
      Gear up with your favorite member from the League of E.V.I.L and delve into the Haunted Temple, full of the baddest bosses in Uldum! The clock is running, too – race to set the record for the fastest Temple run! Rewards Complete a run in under 1 hour and earn a Rastakhan’s Rumble Card Pack. Complete a run in under 40 minutes to earn a Golden Common Ancient Mysteries!
      Week 2: Doom in the Tomb, Part 2
      E.V.I.L has their turn, and now it’s up to Reno and the League of Explorers to join the run and flex their Temple diving speed. New enemies and challenges await!

      Rewards Complete a run in under 1 hour and receive a Golden Common Temple Berserker Complete a run in under 40 minutes to earn a Golden Rare Generous Mummy
      Week 3: The Haunted Carousel
      Get ready for the big mix-up! In this Tavern Brawl, you’ll need to strategize around minions constantly rotating board positions – all while controlling the Horseman’s time-shifted Dreadsteeds!

      Rewards Summon 100 Dreadsteeds to earn a Rise of Shadows Card Pack Dual-Class Heroes

      The Dual-Class Arena Hallow’s Eve dress-up party is back! When you start an Arena run during the Doom in the Tomb event, you’ll choose a Hero, then a Hero Power, and card offerings will feature cards from BOTH of those classes, in addition to neutral cards.
      Players who have an active Arena run when this begins will have their current run ended and will receive an Arena Ticket as compensation. To ensure that players have a chance to try out this devilish dual-class deck-building dress-up party, anyone who logs in during each of the first two weeks will receive one Arena Ticket per week! This event coincides with our normal Arena rotation. The new Arena sets in rotation are as follows: Curse of Naxxramas Goblins vs. Gnomes Blackrock Mountain The Grand Tournament League of Explorers Whispers of the Old Gods One Night in Karazhan Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Journey to Un'Goro Knights of the Frozen Throne Kobolds & Catacombs Hex & Flex Bundles

      Hex Bundle
      If you thought the League of E.V.I.L. was securely under wraps, think again! Arch-Villain Rafaam has leveraged his lackeys and put together the Hex Bundle, 20 Rise of Shadows card packs and a random Rise of Shadows Legendary card at the discounted price of $19.99 USD. Flex Bundle
      Reno’s vest just doesn’t have room for bulging biceps AND stacks of card packs. That’s why he’s whipped together the Flex Bundle! Get 20 Saviors of Uldum packs and a random Saviors of Uldum Legendary card at the discounted price of $19.99 USD. Standard Shake-Up

      Starting with today’s patch and lasting until our next major update, 23 cards from across Hearthstone history are temporarily stepping out of Wild and back into Standard. To ensure that everyone can participate in this meta-mixing event, we’ll be granting everyone free copies of each card (these copies cannot be disenchanted or crafted) so they can add these heavy-hitters to their decks and get straight into the action. These cards will be considered "event" cards, which essentially means that they're temporary copies and not permanent additions to your collection. Even if you already own the cards you'll still receive these event copies, and when the event ends they'll disappear.
      IMPORTANT NOTE: While these cards were re-introduced during the Doom in the Tomb event, they will remain in Standard past the event's conclusion, until the launch of our next major update. More details will be shared, including exact end dates and times, in the coming weeks.
      Card List: Druid: Astral Communion Kun the Forgotten King Mage: Babbling Book Flamewaker Paladin: Mysterious Challenger Avenge Hunter: Lock and Load Call of the Wild Shaman: Evolve Thing from Below Rogue: Shaku, the Collector Swashburglar Priest: Lightbomb Vol'jin Warlock: Imp Gang Boss Renounce Darkness Warrior: Varian Wrynn Bloodhoof Brave Neutral: N'Zoth, the Corruptor Sylvanas Windrunner Ragnaros the Firelord The Curator Emperor Thaurissan 1,000 Win Portrait Rewards

      The time has come for dedicated Hearthstone players to flex their Hero mastery! We’re introducing new portraits earned by achieving 1,000 Ranked or Arena wins with each class. Wins earned before this update goes live will retroactively count towards these totals.

      Fire Mage Jaina

      Wanderer Rexxar 

      Lightforged Uther

      Corrupt Garrosh 

      Shan'do Malfurion

      Shadow Gul'dan 

      Warchief Thrall 

      King Anduin 

      GGCap'n Valeera
      Game Improvements and Bug Fixes
      Hearthstone has upgraded to a new version of Unity. [Android] As a result, Hearthstone will no longer support the ATC texture format. Users who are using ATC will re-download a different texture format. [iOS] As a result, Hearthstone will no longer support devices running iOS 8 or earlier versions. Fixed a bug with The Storm Bringer that would sometimes display incorrect attack or health for the transformed minion. Fixed bug with card text on Shadows created by an opponent's Shadow of Death. [Tombs of Terror] Lucky Spade no longer adds multiple copies of cards discovered from Power of Creation and similar cards. [Mobile] Memory optimizations have been made. Ghost card FX adjusted to reduce memory. [iOS] Collection manager animations disabled on devices with 1.5GB RAM or less. The limited-time Hallow's End community event is now live through October 30.
    • By Stan
      Blizzard today announced a new event coming to the game on October 8. It's called Doom in the Tomb. Check out what's in store for Hearthstone this month!
      UPDATE
      Placeholder for tweet 1180177096972222464 Blizzard (Source)
      Legends have told of dangers lurking within the Haunted Temple of Uldum and the grand ancient treasures they conceal. Of course, “treasure” was all anyone had to mention to get Reno and Rafaam on board, and now their sights are set on acquiring the temple’s powerful artifacts for their own campaigns!
      It won’t be an easy task, though. While our Heroes and Villains battle to push deeper through the Haunted Temple, the Headless Horseman has resorted to a nefarious contingency and opened a sealed sarcophagus full of WILD terrors. Now it will be up to you to aid the conquests of good, or E.V.I.L, in a race to uncover the tomb’s precious secrets and escape the doom in the tomb!

      Step into the Haunted Tomb
      The spooky spelunking adventures begin at 10:00 AM PT on October 8 and end at 9:00 AM PT on October 30 – three weeks packed full of new activities to participate in:

      Unique Tavern Brawls

      Week 1: Doom in the Tomb, Part 1 Gear up with your favorite member from the League of E.V.I.L and delve into the Haunted Temple, full of the baddest bosses in Uldum! The clock is running, too – race to set the record for the fastest Temple run! Rewards Complete a run in under 1 hour and earn a Rastakhan’s Rumble Card Pack. Complete a run in under 40 minutes to earn a Golden Common Ancient Mysteries!
      Week 2: Doom in the Tomb, Part 2 E.V.I.L has their turn, and now it’s up to Reno and the League of Explorers to join the run and flex their Temple diving speed. New enemies and challenges await! Rewards Complete a run in under 1 hour and receive a Golden Common Temple Berserker Complete a run in under 40 minutes to earn a Golden Rare Generous Mummy
      Week 3: The Haunted Carousel Get ready for the big mix-up! In this Tavern Brawl, you’ll need to strategize around minions constantly rotating board positions – all while controlling the Horseman’s time-shifted Dreadsteeds! Rewards Summon 100 Dreadsteeds to earn a Rise of Shadows Card Pack
      Treasures from the Tomb!

      23 cards from across Hearthstone history have been unsealed from Wild and unleashed by the Headless Horseman! Until our next major update, these cards are stepping out of Wild and will be playable in Standard matches. To ensure that everyone can participate in this meta-mixing event, we’ll be granting everyone free copies of each card (these copies cannot be disenchanted or crafted) so they can add these heavy-hitters to their decks and get straight into the action.
      These cards will be considered "event" cards, which essentially means that they're temporary copies and not permanent additions to your collection. Even if you already own the cards, you'll still receive these event copies. When the event ends they'll disappear, just like the Headless Horseman himself!
      IMPORTANT NOTE: While these cards were re-introduced during the Doom in the Tomb event, they will remain in Standard past the event's conclusion, until the launch of our next major update. More details will be shared, including exact end dates and times, in the coming weeks.
      Card List: Druid: Astral Communion Kun the Forgotten King Mage: Babbling Book Flamewaker Paladin: Mysterious Challenger Avenge Hunter: Lock and Load Call of the Wild Shaman: Evolve Thing from Below Rogue: Shaku, the Collector Swashburglar Priest: Lightbomb Vol'jin Warlock: Imp Gang Boss Renounce Darkness Warrior: Varian Wrynn Bloodhoof Brave Neutral: N'Zoth, the Corruptor Sylvanas Windrunner Ragnaros the Firelord The Curator Emperor Thaurissan
      Dual-Class Arenas
      The Dual-Class Arena Hallow’s End dress-up party is back! When you start an Arena run during the Doom in the Tomb event, you’ll choose a Hero, then a Hero Power, and card offerings will feature cards from BOTH of those classes, in addition to neutral cards.
      Players who have an active Arena run when this begins will have their current run ended and will receive an Arena Ticket as compensation. To ensure that players have a chance to try out this devilish dual-class deck-building dress-up party, weeks 1 and 2 of this event will award Arena Tickets on login! This event will also coincide with our normal Arena rotation. The new Arena sets in rotation will be as follows: Curse of Naxxramas Goblins vs. Gnomes Blackrock Mountain The Grand Tournament League of Explorers Whispers of the Old Gods One Night in Karazhan Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Journey to Un'Goro Knights of the Frozen Throne Kobolds & Catacombs
      Hex & Flex Bundles

      Hex Bundle: If you thought the League of E.V.I.L. was securely under wraps, think again! Arch-Villain Rafaam has leveraged his lackeys and put together the Hex Bundle, 20 Rise of Shadows card packs and a random Rise of Shadows Legendary card at the discounted price of $19.99 USD. Flex Bundle: Reno’s vest just doesn’t have room for bulging biceps AND stacks of card packs. That’s why he’s whipped together the Flex Bundle! Get 20 Saviors of Uldum packs and a random Saviors of Uldum Legendary card at the discounted price of $19.99 USD.
      Legendary Quests and Login Rewards
      Begin your Quest: A new Legendary Doom in the Tomb quest* will be unlocked at the start of each week during the event, in addition to your normal daily quests. These new quests will reward you with either card packs from one of the current standard sets, or a hefty sum of Gold! * Legendary quests will replace an existing normal quest if your quest log is full, so we recommend that you have a spot open when this event goes live. Legendary Login Rewards: Login any time during the event (10/8-10/30) to earn a bundle of 5 Hearthstone card packs! 2 Saviors of Uldum packs 2 Rise of Shadows packs 1 Rastakhan’s Rumble pack
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Tombs of Terror Brann Bronzebeard guide.
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Tombs of Terror Elise Starseeker guide.
    • By Starym
      Today we get a look at some of the smaller stuff coming up in Hearthstone's future, including new events like dual-class arenas, 23 old cards returning to standard (Ragnaros and N'zoth were mentioned), new class portraits for 1000 wins, and plenty of quality of life improvements!
      Behind the Doors (source)
      While we’re constantly recruiting lackeys, tinkering with experimental tech, and delving into dusty tombs to bring you new Hearthstone expansions and Adventures, we’re also hard at work on some awesome, albeit less flashy, new stuff. In this blog we’ll shine a light on some of the smaller, but still exciting new features, events, and changes coming to Hearthstone in the near future.

       
      Adding More Events

      After the overwhelmingly positive response to the recent Fire Fest-E.V.I.L. event, we’re looking for more opportunities to introduce even more large-scale in-game events with rewards, themed Tavern Brawls, and changes that could temporarily (or permanently!) create fun new Hearthstone experiences for players.
      We’re starting off with a new event in just a couple weeks featuring Dungeon Run-inspired Tavern Brawls, dual-class Arenas, Legendary quest rewards, and some meta-shifting changes outlined in the “Shaking up Standard Play” section below.
      We’ll have more to share on this sensationally spooky event on October 4, but in the meantime . . . try not to lose your head!
       

      Shaking up Standard Play

      Now that the Saviors of Uldum Standard ladder experience has solidified, we think it’s a great time to throw a wrench or two (or twenty-three) in the gears. We’re going to be pulling some of the most popular and game-changing cards from across Hearthstone history, including
      Ragnaros the Firelord and N'Zoth, the Corruptor, out of Wild and dropping them back into Standard for a limited time. To ensure that everyone can participate in this meta-mixing event, we’ll be granting everyone free copies of each card (these copies cannot be disenchanted or crafted) so they can add these heavy-hitters to their decks and get them into the action.
      We’ll be sharing more details (including the full list of 23 cards) in a blog update on October 4. Stay tuned!

      1,000 Win Class Portraits
      Looking ahead, we want to continue celebrating personal successes and milestones for all you dedicated Hearthstone players. Our next major update will introduce some really cool new portraits that you can earn by earning 1,000 wins with each class. Wins earned before this update goes live will retroactively count towards these totals. Take a look at a couple of examples below and start stacking up those wins!



      Quality of Life Improvements
       
      Alternate Search Terms
      We want it to be easier to quickly find the cards you’re looking for while deckbuilding, so we’re adding alternate search terms for some hard-to-type cards. We’ll be adding common misspellings and simplified versions of leetspeak card names (found on some Mech minions). For example, searching “snip” or “snap” will now show you SN1P-SN4P. While this feature will only be enabled for a few commonly misspelled cards at first, we’ll be able to add even more alternate search terms as needed.
      This feature will also support languages other than English. For example, SN1P-SN4P in Latin American Spanish is “CL1C-CL4C”, so searching “clic” would return the expected results. Quest Changes
      While not included in our next major update, here’s a preview of some of the changes we’re making to quests a little further down the line.
      We’re cutting some of the less popular daily quests and tuning down some of their requirements to make them quicker and easier to complete. We’ll also be adding some new quests to the pool to mix things up! We split most daily quests into two buckets: Easy (50g) and Slightly More Difficult (60g). Rerolling a Slightly More Difficult (60g) quest (like Play 10 Beasts) always gives you an Easy (50g) quest, so players can be guaranteed to get an Easy quest every day if they want. We love  Murlocs and Pirates as much as anyone, but it should be your choice if you decide to complete their quests.
      We’re excited to be bringing these new features, events, and other changes to Hearthstone soon. Please let us know what you think on social media or the official Hearthstone forums. Until then, we’ll see you in the Tavern!
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