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What's the Move #22 - Elementary, My Dear

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We've got a wacky deck and murky midgame scenario for you in this week's episode of What's the Move!

 

Situation #21: Azari Incoming!

 

We left things off last week with our Vivid Velen deck staring down an impending Azari, the Devourer:

 

Hearthstone Screenshot 04-17-18 00.12.35.png

 

We don't have enough damage in hand to kill our opponent from 28 life, and we'll never get the chance to draw additional damage if our opponent plays Azari, the Devourer next turn. For that reason, any and all plays which don't start with Shadow Essence here are incorrect. Sure, you can clear board with Psychic Scream and there'll be a Shadow Word: Death in hand to kill their Azari, but that won't change the fact that we're 8 points of damage short of killing our opponent on the following turn.

I know this is a cliche, but we need to play to win here. It doesn't make sense to play not to lose if our deck is gone. Fortunately for us, there is a line that wins us the game if our opponent plays Azari next turn (which they do). It is far from guaranteed, but it still exists! And we have to go for it.

Frogspoison described the winning line perfectly with this comment:

 

On 4/18/2018 at 1:05 PM, Frogspoison said:

Shadow Essence is a must imo, to get out that additional minion next turn. If you get Looter/Thalnos, and the opponent plays wrong, then you'll get an additional card from your deck before it gets destroyed. I would also go ahead and SW:D the 6/6 demon, as this means your opponent either has to down the 5/5 with his 5/5, OR leave a 5/5 body on the board.

If you get Radiant Elemental, then I would use both Shadow Word Deaths to clear the 5/5 and the 6/6 - This sets up the win. 6 mana to res Velen+Radiant elemental - 1 mana to get a second Velen. 0 mana for 20 damage via Mind Blast, 3 mana for Holy Nova for the remaining 8 damage. You also have 5 damage from the Radiant Elemental.

So, yea. 25% chance to get that last Radiant Elemental, and win the game. 50% chance to get a Looter, and probably lose the game. 25% chance to get Thalnos, and leave the opponent with 4 health remaining, where you have 18 to survive with on his turn.

So, yea. It's not pretty, but it's better then a 100% chance to lose the game.

 

As Frogpoison deduced, Shadow Essence for Radiant Elemental gives us lethal! There's only a 25% chance that we land the Radiant Elemental, but that's way better than 0. I went for the Shadow Essence, landed the Radiant, and ended up winning the game.

 

Situation #21: Elementary, My Dear

 

I've been having a blast with this Spiteful Elemental Mage deck I brewed up. It's probably not as good as Spiteful Druid, but I think it's a  more consistent at beating Paladin and Warlock with its plentiful burn. If those classes are giving you trouble on the ladder, you could do a lot worse than the following list.

 

Spiteful Elemental Mage

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Code: AAECAf0EBq8ErMIC08UCotMCnOICw+oCDN4F8gW/CJfBAsLBApnCAuvCAsrDAsjHAtfrArfxAs7yAgA=

 

My build of Spiteful Mage is more aggressive than most, and is built around the burst damage provided by Spiteful Summoner, Blazecaller, and Pyroblast. My idea was to take advantage of the fact that our 10 Mana Spiteful Summoner spell is excellent at closing out games, so I included an Aluneth to help dig for those last, precious points of burn we need to kill our opponents. I used my flex slots on Mind Control Tech and Tol'vir Stoneshaper to help with the Paladin and Rogue matchups, but you could consider playing an additional Fire Plume PhoenixMindbreaker, or Vicious Fledgling in their place.

My burn-based build is great at killing Warlocks as they attempt to hide behind their Voidlords, but it lacks the late-game punch that other Spiteful lists typically include. If you'd rather win grindy matchups than go the aggressive route, you could trim on some of the more aggressive cards (such as Leeroy Jenkins and Aluneth) for late game cards such as Frost Lich Jaina and The Lich King.
 

 

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This brings us to our situation. We're up against a Murloc Paladin who has a Righteous Protector and a Silver Hand Recruit on board, played a Hydrologist on turn 2, and still has the secret from it in their hand. We have the following cards in ours:

 

 

Both the Bonfire Elemental and the Tol'vir Stoneshaper are active this turn thanks to Tar Creeper. With The Coin, we can play any card in our hand except for Aluneth. So... What's the Move?

As always, I highly encourage readers to submit their own situations to What's the Move! All you need to do is play with a deck tracker, send me the game's replay link, and include a screenshot of your situation and your decklist as I did above. The replay link and two screenshots will easily fit in a tweet, or in a direct message on Icy Veins or Reddit. I look forward to reviewing your submissions soon!

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I'm just gonna start spitballing and see what conclusion I come to. 

The first thing I notice is that the game seems to be going real well for us. We're at a healthy life total against an aggressive deck, and he floated 2 mana last turn. The fact that he floated 2 mana last turn is surprising in an aggressive deck, so I'm going to guess at a few cards in his hand to see what we might have to play around. 

Call to Arms: He would have played it last turn if he had it. 

Blessing of Kings: It looks like the Righteous Protector could have attacked last turn but didn't. If he had Kings, he could have wasted our Tar Creeper without trading dudes into it. So I don't think he has that. 

Sunkeeper TarimVal'anyrVinecleaver: I'm going to guess that at least one if not two of these cards are stuck in his hand. 

Divine Favor: As of his last turn, he had six cards in his hand to our seven. Not an ideal time to play a Divine Favor. There's a chance that it's also stuck in his hand. 

Unidentified Maul: As of his last turn, he had 3 minions in play that he could have buffed with maul, and instead of using his hero power, he could at the very least have dealt the last two damage to our Tar Creeper. I think this would have been better than hero powering, so unless he's holding a very good Maul buff for an ideal board state, I don't think it's in his hand. 

Spellbreaker: Tar Creeper would have been a fine Spellbreaker target, I think playing it would have appealed to him more than trading off his minions, so I doubt it's in his hand. 

Anything that buffs murlocs: With only one murloc on board last turn, these would be pretty dead cards in his hand. The exception being Warleader, which could have made his trade with Hydrologist much more favorable. So with that exception, he could have any of the possible Murloc buffs in his hand. 

Do we know what the secret in his hand is? We know that he floated 2 mana last turn and didn't play it. He might have held Getaway Kodo or Redemption because we are Mage and he made a Silver Hand. Repentance and Noble Sacrifice both seem like secrets he would have played, if he got them. It's pretty easy for him to deal 1 damage with his minions from a Repentence setup, and Noble Sac would kill our Creeper which he conveniently left at 2. So I don't think he has those. He also could have taken Hidden Wisdom, but if he's been tracking our hand he'd know we have the Coin, and he'd want to set that before we used it. In my opinion, it's most likely that he took and isn't playing Eye for an Eye, which he could set before our Pyro turn and is a somewhat typical selection by Paladins against Mages, though they don't have to play around Ice Block anymore. It might be something to keep in mind if we're gonna Leroy any time soon, but I don't think we're too concerned about his secret at this point. 

So I'm guessing he's stuck with some high cost cards, maybe Divine Favor, and a secret that doesn't matter much. Still looking pretty good for us. 

As far as our play goes, we can eliminate some stuff right away. There's no reason to think about Leroy this turn, and since he's at 30, setting up for some kind of Leroy play is probably a bit far down the line to be thinking about right now. We could Spellbreaker off his divine shield and clear the Silver Hand, which I might be inclined to do against Dude pally but I don't see a reason to against Murloc. Coin Bonfire is an option. It's not worth using a Voodoo doll here, especially if we have to coin and ping it to kill his minion. That would play around Kings, but I don't think he has that (and I think that would still be pretty bad anyway). Tol'vir Stoneshaper is another option, although it's easy for him to pop the divine shield. Finally, we could make Firefly and its token and ping. 

We're already winning and besides the obvious things not to do, the things we can do all seem pretty similar. So the question I'm asking here is, how do we lose? I think the cards we're most likely to lose to are Call to Arms off the top, and eventually Sunkeeper Tarim somewhere down the line. The weapons also wouldn't be great for us, but playing around those is a little harder. The fact that he might have Val'anyr is an extra reason to hold Spellbreaker, I guess. 

The best way to beat the cards I'm most afraid of is to get on the board before he plays them. The line I want to take is Tol'vir Stoneshaper, Coin, Fire Fly, hit the divine shield. I'm thinking we simply want to get as much on the board as possible to be able to trade profitably into anything he might Call to Arms for before he can buff them. I don't like just coining Bonfire Elemental, because even if we hit off the divine shield, he can kill our Tar Creeper with his Silver Hand and then any minions he makes are protected behind a taunt, and at best we have to spend mana pinging it out of the way. What we get out of using coin for Fire Fly here is continuing our elemental chain so we can Bonfire next turn if we want, while having a 1/2 on the board which is pretty good at getting rid of an extra one of Pally's minions, and might save us a ping next turn. I also like hitting off the divine shield, just as a proactive measure as we want to clear as much off the board as soon as possible. Getting rid of the Divine Shield is also good on the off chance one of the cards he couldn't play last turn was Fungalmancer. Using the Coin, furthermore, makes his Divine Favor a bit worse if he happens to have it, giving him fewer outs. I think this line is better than Fire Fly, token, ping, even though it would clear one more thing, because we'd have more stats on the board this way. As Zalae in his infinite wisdom would probably tell me, a 3/5 is bigger than a 1/2. 

Considering how good of a situation it seems like we're in, I'm probably massively overthinkng it, but that's the benefit of working off a screenshot with unlimited time instead of being in the middle of the game. I guess. 

I don't know either of these decks super well so there's a solid chance I'm missing something important that's just whooshing over my head, but that's they play I think I would make. 

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Nice analysis. I’d make the same play. There does seem to be a good chance he wants to play fungalmancer next turn, and getting the tolvir down really helps against that, as does popping the divine shield. Coining the firefly out seems logical too, reducing hand size a bit is good against divine favor, keeping the elemental chain going is good, having as wide a board as possible is also good against another deck that goes wide (especially as we don’t have board clears).

I feel Getaway Kodo is most likely for the secret, or possibly redemption. Eye for an eye against a class that can just ping your face makes no sense to me at all now that ice block isn’t a factor.

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Btw, what do the red deck tracker symbols on the Turn 0 cards in the opponent’s hand signify? Are they cards he kept in the mulligan phase or cards he got back from mulliganed cards? Presume the latter, as I can’t think of two cards he could possibly have kept and yet played neither on turn 4, but thought I’d check.

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1 hour ago, Bozonik said:

Btw, what do the red deck tracker symbols on the Turn 0 cards in the opponent’s hand signify? Are they cards he kept in the mulligan phase or cards he got back from mulliganed cards? Presume the latter, as I can’t think of two cards he could possibly have kept and yet played neither on turn 4, but thought I’d check.

The red M's stand for cards that the opponent got in place of mulliganed cards, so yes, it is the latter.

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1 hour ago, Bozonik said:

I feel Getaway Kodo is most likely for the secret, or possibly redemption. Eye for an eye against a class that can just ping your face makes no sense to me at all now that ice block isn’t a factor.

You're probably right. My automatic assumption was that Pally would pick Eye For an Eye against Mage just out of habit - or because Pyro is popular at the moment, but I don't think a legend player would do that. 

If I had been thinking, "What secret is he likely to pick on turn two when his hand includes two terrible cards off the mulligan," I probably would also have assumed something that possibly gives him more plays, i.e. Getaway Kodo. 

 

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11 hours ago, Vayazu said:

Getaway Kodo is rotated to wild! Part of the Gadgetzan set. I guess the secret is probably Redemption.

Haha good point, Eye for an Eye is certainly more likely than Getaway Kodo then! I imagine redemption too then.

I wonder how many games this season I’ve misplayed due to playing around stuff that is no longer in rotation. Last rotation didn’t affect me so much I guess as I started playing after OG. This time around I keep encountering stuff that’s become wild that I had imagined was part of the classic set.

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Low rank player here just doing some learning 'in public' :-)

I like enviousmtg's Tol'Vir + Coin + Fire Fly (for the reasons mentioned), and I guess it does make sense to break the divine shield with the Tar Creeper (though I would be tempted not to, risking him playing a buff instead of Call To Arms, so as to potentially get a 2-for-1 trade; that's probably a bad risk).

However, I was also thinking about the likely secret a fair bit. I'd assume it is very likely Redemption (for great stickability with the Righteous Protector) but also possibly Repentance. (He knows we're an elemental deck and knows our preferred turn 5 play is a biggish minion like Bonfire Ele, or a turn 6 Coin + Blazecaller.)

So clearing the Righteous Protector now might be a good option (Voodoo Doll + Coin + ping Voodoo + kill Recruit), leaving him with an empty board and nothing to buff. The problem there is that a turn 5 Call To Arms (plus a Redemption or Repentance) is bad for us since we haven't prepped the Tol'Vir with an elemental (plus, if he does play Repentance, our turn 5 choices are very tricky).

So I'd still go with enviousmtg on balance.

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      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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