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What's the Move #23 - Let's Even the Odds

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My favorite games of Hearthstone are the ones that go completely off-script. In this week's episode of WTM, I'm delighted to report that things go completely off-script.

 

Situation #21: Elementary, My Dear

 

We left things off last week on turn 4 with our Spiteful Mage deck. We're up against a Murloc Paladin, a board-centric deck that wins games by sticking Murlocs and overpowering their opponents with synergy.

 

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Our deck also relies on tribal synergies, but packs far more value than our opponent's Murloc Paladin deck does. Our gameplan in this matchup should be built around leveraging that fact. We obviously need to fight for board control and prevent our opponent from sticking too many Murlocs, but we should be able to pick up some 2 for 1s along the way with cards like Fire Plume PhoenixBonfire ElementalBlazecaller, and Mind Control Tech. If we can use these cards to handle our opponent's board, we should be able to deplete them of resources and eventually run them over with card advantage.

Okay, so there's the gameplan. How do we best execute it on turn 4?

We can start by eliminating all plays which don't put an elemental on the board this turn. Seeing as our hand is quite full, Coining out Aluneth next turn seems like a bad idea. Leeroy Jenkins is also a poor play for obvious reasons. This means that we're very likely to play the Bonfire Elemental or Tol'vir Stoneshaper next turn (depending on what we do this turn), so we'll need to set that up this turn with an Elemental.

With that in mind, let's quickly review all the reasonable Elemental plays which are available to us:

  1. Spellbreaker the Righteous Protector and Coin out Flame Elemental, then clear a minion with the Tar Creeper.
  2. Coin out Bonfire Elemental.
  3. Tol'vir Stoneshaper and Coin out Flame Elemental.
  4. Fire FlyFlame Elemental, ping Righteous Protector and clear it with the Tar Creeper.

Quickly reading over these lines, the Spellbreaker play jumps out to me as weaker than the others. It doesn't buy us nearly as much board presence as the other plays do, and it forces us to use the Coin for relatively little tempo. We can scratch this one off the list.

To determine the best of the remaining three lines, we should begin by considering which cards our opponent is likely to play next turn. Enviousmtg wrote a very detailed and thoughtful response to this situation, which correctly began by identifying that our opponent floated 2 Mana on his pivotal turn 4. This basically rules out Call to Arms (he would have played it), Blessing of Kings (would have been excellent on either minion), Unidentified Maul (could have been used to clear Tar Creeper), and Spellbreaker (would have played for the board better than his Hero Power) as potential cards in our opponent's hand.

Given that we're unlikely to see any of those cards on our opponent's turn 5, what we're much more likely to see is some kind of Murloc play. Murloc Paladin typically doesn't run any 5 drops, but it does run a healthy number of 2 and 3 drop Murlocs which buff each other. Assuming our opponent doesn't draw Call to Arms off the top, we want to make the play this turn which does the best job of contesting Murloc + Hero Power or Murloc + Murloc.

This rules out option #4 (Fire FlyFlame Elemental, ping Righteous Protector and clear it with the Tar Creeper), as the 1/2 Elementals do a poor job of tussling with 2 and 3 Health Murlocs. Now all we're left with is option 2 (Coin out Bonfire Elemental) and option 3 (Tol'vir Stoneshaper and Coin out Flame Elemental). I think both of these lines are justifiable, but I have to give the edge to option 3, playing the Bonfire Elemental.

If we play the Tol'vir Stoneshaper now, our opponent will be able to pop its Divine Shield with one of their remaining 1/1s. We'd much rather have our Stoneshaper trade its Divine Shield for a Murloc, or have it come down on a turn where it can protect another minion and set up some favorable trades. If we play the Bonfire Elemental now and the Stoneshaper next turn, we are much more likely to set up a situation where our Stoneshaper is trading with Murlocs or enabling our Bonfire Elemental to trade into their board aggressively.

Between our hero power and the Spellbreaker in our hand, it seems very likely that a Bonfire Elemental played this turn will be able to trade into any minion our opponent plays next turn while drawing us a card in the process. Given what we know about our opponent's hand, Bonfire Elemental plays to the board just as well as Stoneshaper does, and allow us to advance our gameplan of playing to the board while outvaluing opponent.

 

Situation #22: Let's Even the Odds

 

My favorite games of Hearthstone are the ones which go totally off the rails. I like to think of myself as an instinctual and improvisational player who thrives in these kinds of situations, which is part of the reason why I love to play off-meta decks. The more off-meta your deck is, the easier it is to create a situation your opponent has never seen before, which forces them into a spot where they'll have to improvise. This is exactly what I attempted to do to my opponents on the ladder with Even Shaman, but in this game, it's what my opponent ended up doing it to me:

 

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Aah, yes, the classic Odd Warlock vs. Even Shaman matchup. This was the very first time I had encountered an Odd Warlock on the ladder, and in just my second game with Even Shaman to boot. Talk about having to improvise!

 

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Deck Code: AAECAfe5AgYgvQGrBooHps4CzfQCDNMBmQLyBfsFwAfZB/AHkcECm8sClugC9uwClO8CAA==
 

Credit for this list goes to isthisdudesrs and his guide to Even Shaman on reddit. I started with his list and made some small changes to it, though I'd recommend using his list over mine for generic laddering. As to our opponent's deck list? Your guess is as good as mine!

Our opponent played a Kobold Librarian on turn one, tapped on turn 2 (for no damage), played a Tar Creeper on turn 3, and a Stonehill Defender on turn 4. We have 4 Mana and plenty of options available to us.

So... what's the move?

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Obviously, giant on turn 4 seems really strong, and I think I would go for it everytime without a second thought (including hero power ofc). The next play I considered was playing the second Dire Wolf Alpha so I can clear everything, but we can clear next turn anyway with the Scale thing and hit face with the giant. The last play would be to play the Corpsetaker.

Also to note, he can't Hellfire or Defile cause he is odd, so I guess no board clears can mess up our board.

So the first play is: Hero power, play giant.

Now we can't clear everything, and that brings us to: what do we leave up? I think it comes down to which totem we get.

Heal: Hit the Stonehill with the 3/3, trade the murloc in so we can protect the Alpha (which gets healed)

Taunt: Hit the Stonehill with the 3/3, but don't trade with the murloc now, since the Alpha is protected and with the second one next turn, the murloc becomes a 3/1 and can trade with the Tar Creeper.

Searing:  Maybe don't attack at all?

I would not trade with the Tar Creeper now, since he doesn't pose any threat to our board.

 

Second play is: Corpsetaker next to the Alpha

He gets everything due to Alakir and protects our Alpha and board quite well. In this case, I would not trade something in, cause maybe we can play the giant next turn for free.

With two Alphas the following turn, we can dictate the trades, and maybe play the giant for 0.

 

If I am playing brain afk (which I do sometimes), the giant play would be my go to choice, but maybe Corpstaker is the safer one, and the longer I think about it, maybe the better one.

I expect Lackey next turn into Voidlord the following, so if we get the giant out the next turn we are still completely fine to contest the Voidlord.

 

That's just my guess, but I could be totally wrong :D

Edited by Breadd
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So I see four likely plays incoming from the Warlock: Skull, Doomgaurd, Dreadlord, or Lackey. Skull and Doomgaurd are the least likely plays as they either do nothing or force him to lose two cards he may need. Lackey is possible, but it leaves him vulnerable to Spellbreaker, so my guess is he plays Dreadlord on his next turn. With this in mind, playing the Giant now seems the best option, after using the hero power, mainly because he won't be playable after the Dreadlord.

As said by breadd above, the totem you get will determine how you trade: heal is the most optimal, and allows you to trade the best, in which case you trade the Eel into the defender, then the murlock there as well. The worst your opponent can do is ping the Wolf with the Tar Creeper, and let it die by the Dreadlord. If you get taunt, you want to do the same play as above, though you might also trade the Wolf into the Tar Creeper to set up the turn after to play the other Wolf and use your totem to kill the Tar Creeper. the 1/1 is useless here, and the best trades may just be clearing your opponents board, the Eel into the Tar Creeper and the murlock then Wolf into the Defender, to make way for the Giant next turn. Playing the Corpsetaker on this board seems good, but if the Dreadlord or Doomgaurd drop, it might very well be a waste as either play kills at least one or two minions, forcing your Giant out a turn. if he plays Skull here, or a 3 drop plus hero power. then the giant is still a good play.

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Contesting the board should be done with both hellfire and dreadlord in mind (So keeping things at 1 health is useless unless there is going to be a healing totem).

 

At the same time I'd still try to bait out a hellfire when I keep your deck in mind, but not so much to overextend. Him using a hellfire would also mean he can only play a 1 drop with it (Because of it being an odd deck) - on top of it being a bad thing to hedge against too many possibilities. That's my reasoning for baiting it out if he has it, if not, you have board control.

 

Therefore:

1. I wouldn't play sea giant (It won't bait out the hellfire)

2. I'd put the Dire Wolf Alpha in your hand on the left side of the board

3. Trade in the double-wolf buffed murloc with the ooze

4. Put the Scalehide in between the two wolves

5. Remove the Defender with the Scalehide and Eel.

 

If he'd play a Dreadlord, then you would only lose a wolf. If he Hellfires, then you can use the corpsetaker to maintain control of the board. If he has neither, you still have the totem + giant play in case you get a bad card dealt to you on your next turn.

 

If you'd play the totem + giant now and you don't get a healing totem in specific (1/3 chance), the dreadlord would set you back a lot farther as you still have 2 taunts to chew through unless you sacrificed some of your minions earlier after playing the giant.

 

Besides, it's not like he has Siphon Soul (even card), so delaying the giant by one turn (Depending on what you draw of course) isn't going to change anything out of your favour (Because he has taunts earlier anyway)

 

My 2 cents!

 

Edit: alternatively, you could send the wolf in instead of the Scalehide on the Defender if you're confident he'll play a Dreadlord, to save one health on the Scalehide, but he doesn't have Defile so you don't have to be concerned about a two bridge in the first place (Godfrey can only be played from 7 anyways and since you'll be using totems all the time, it's not going to be easy to balance or hedge against that)

Edit2: Ultra facepalm regarding the hellfire mana cost, this post is void. F to pay respects.

Edited by Yridaa

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1 hour ago, Yridaa said:

Contesting the board should be done with both hellfire and dreadlord in mind (So keeping things at 1 health is useless unless there is going to be a healing totem).

No Hellfire since he is odd, you said it yourself as you mentioned defile :)

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Hellfire is even too, so no need to worry about that.

A likely option the warlock has that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Voodoo Doll with one of the 1 mana spells that kill his own minion. Ratcatcher could also be around for a bit of extra damage than might be expected. Dreadlord being the other immediate threat.

Our options appear to be:

(i) tap+giant, kill stonehill with Murloc and eel

(ii) dire wolf + scalehide, full clear

(iii) Corpsetaker, pass or kill stonehill

(i) is pretty nice against dreadlord. Voodoo doll makes us sad though, so it might be tempting to bait that out with corpsetaker or fire elemental later.

(ii) we can clear the board leaving us with a 1 health dire wolf, a 2 health dire wolf, a 2 health eel, a 2 health totem and a 2 health scalehide. Dreadlord is the worst response for us, we lose the first dire wolf and it’ll take the eel and scalehide to kill it off too.

(iii) voodoll doll kills off the corpsetaker and then we lose our one health minions for free. Dreadlord kills those minions too and breaks our shield.

(iii) seems the worst to me so I’m eliminating that first. (ii) was my gut instinct, particularly as we want to get value out of our small minions before Lord Godfrey potentially wipes then out. The worst case scenario of dreadlord leaves us with tap+sea giant or tap+corpsetaker next turn.

But I worry about how we fare in the late game, so I’m inclined to go with (i) tap + sea giant since it’s strongest against dreadlord and threatens big damage if he has no answer.

Edited by Bozonik
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1 hour ago, Bozonik said:

Hellfire is even too, so no need to worry about that.

 

1 hour ago, Breadd said:

No Hellfire since he is odd, you said it yourself as you mentioned defile :)

Oh god, I'm facepalming myself here. My brain thought it costed 3 instead of 4. My brain logic must have confused me with the damage number it did for mana or something.

 

Good thing I only watch popular streamers and not actually play the game myself. /embarrassed

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      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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