Damien

[Archived] Hearthstone Low Budget Mage Aggro Deck

Sign in to follow this  

22 posts in this topic

This thread is for comments about our Low Budget Mage Aggro Deck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This deck is god aweful, it is entirely to slow and just about every deck out there beats this deck by turn 6. Please delete this deck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This deck is god aweful, it is entirely to slow and just about every deck out there beats this deck by turn 6. Please delete this deck

Hey, Xiepher

Could you please be a bit more specific about the meta game. What decks are causing you problems?

I've lost my first game with similar low budget mage at rank/lvl 15. Later on at 7 I decided to swap to a different deck as there were a lot of druids in the meta game with heals (Earth Ring Farseer, Healing Touch) maindeck. 

The version of this deck that I've played didn't have Frost Elementals or Ice Lances, I used 2x Azure Drake and 2x Argent Commander instead. 

You might find some helpful information in these guides:

http://www.icy-veins.com/why-am-i-losing-in-hearthstone

http://www.icy-veins.com/hearthstone-adapting-to-the-meta-game

http://www.icy-veins.com/hearthstone-how-to-build-a-deck

Best of luck

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this deck is absolute shit

 

The deck will not improve unless you can elaborate on why this is so.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

 

Here are my experiences with this deck so far: 

I have lost 6 games in a row after I specifically crafted and assembled this deck to the letter. I have lost by just a few hairs most of the time. Usually the other player is down to ~8. 

 

Some issues that I notice are a lack of control, removal and board clears. I tend to get overwhelmed by minions because I cannot afford to waste powerful spells for removal or I will deplete them and be left with weak minions that would fail to finish off the player. Most of the minions are pure sacrifices for card draws or distraction. They come in and leave in a turn.

 

I was defeated by 2 hunters very quickly with beast heavy decks as well as a Murloc deck where I got the priest down to ~8 before he burst me down with a board full of murlocs, some buffed up to 6/3. I was relying on my Fireblast to wipe out the 1 healthers. I was thinking how useful Flamestrike would have been in that case. Priests, also in general are pretty difficult to beat for their buffs.

 

Polymorph may have come in handy for a tank heavy deck I played against where my minions were completely blocked from supplementing damage.

 

Ice Block is tremendously useful, but by the time I use it, I have one or two cards left that are not good enough for my last turn. Even when I had Pyroblast, the player had, on two occasions, 11 and 12 health on my turn.

 

It does also seem slow. Burst is there, but it happens far apart and gives the other player plenty of time to set up their board.

 

I may be playing it wrong, and I have only played a few games with it, being a relatively new player. If you have any more specific tips on how to play this deck, please let me know. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

 

Here are my experiences with this deck so far: 

I have lost 6 games in a row after I specifically crafted and assembled this deck to the letter. I have lost by just a few hairs most of the time. Usually the other player is down to ~8. 

 

Some issues that I notice are a lack of control, removal and board clears. I tend to get overwhelmed by minions because I cannot afford to waste powerful spells for removal or I will deplete them and be left with weak minions that would fail to finish off the player. Most of the minions are pure sacrifices for card draws or distraction. They come in and leave in a turn.

 

I was defeated by 2 hunters very quickly with beast heavy decks as well as a Murloc deck where I got the priest down to ~8 before he burst me down with a board full of murlocs, some buffed up to 6/3. I was relying on my Fireblast to wipe out the 1 healthers. I was thinking how useful Flamestrike would have been in that case. Priests, also in general are pretty difficult to beat for their buffs.

 

Polymorph may have come in handy for a tank heavy deck I played against where my minions were completely blocked from supplementing damage.

 

Ice Block is tremendously useful, but by the time I use it, I have one or two cards left that are not good enough for my last turn. Even when I had Pyroblast, the player had, on two occasions, 11 and 12 health on my turn.

 

It does also seem slow. Burst is there, but it happens far apart and gives the other player plenty of time to set up their board.

 

I may be playing it wrong, and I have only played a few games with it, being a relatively new player. If you have any more specific tips on how to play this deck, please let me know. Thank you.

 

Hello!

 

I have just played 10 games with this deck, and won 9 of them. The game I lost, I lost because of my own errors.

 

I did this in Ranked mode, at ranks 14-13, mind you. If you're playing it at better ranks, perhaps the results will be worse. Also, if you're playing it in Casual mode it's impossible to tell much about it, since people there use totally non-standard decks.

 

So, about the deck itself. I agree that it does lack board clearing spells. In some instances, having a Flamestrike would certainly have been nice, although I didn't feel that it was needed. You can include one (at the expense of an Iceblock, I'd say, since the chances of using both Iceblocks in a game are pretty low), if you want to try it out.

 

You have a ton of removal, in the form of your direct damage spells. I habitually use Frostbolt, Fireball, and even Pyroblast to take out an enemy minion that I know will cause a lot of problems down the line. If you keep their board clear, then you are going to see far fewer buffed minions. I beat 3 Priests, and I found it quite easy. Faerie Dragons destroy Priests, especially if you buff them with Shattered Sun Clerics in anticipation for Holy Nova on turn 5 (so it doesn't kill the dragons).

 

Your general priority should be to keep your minions alive. This means that you use your spells to take out enemy minions, so that your minions can thrive. The only exceptions are when you a) can't use spells or b) anticipate a board-clear is coming up, in which case it's better to trade off your minions.

 

It's true that it's a bit tricky, and requires a bit of experience, to know exactly when to switch from keeping the board under control to going for your opponent. If you have a Frostbolt, an Ice Lance, a Fireball, and a Leper Gnome in hand (which I often found myself having), then that's 15 damage right there, all of which is practically unavoidable.

 

Also, the Water Elementals are important. Protecting them as much as possible is key. Minions like the Leper Gnomes, the Loot Hoarders, the Novice Engineers, etc. are expendable. Use them to bait your opponent into taking them out, or use them in conjunction with your Hero Power to take out threats.

 

Also, I'd like to make three additional points that might help you out.

 

If, on a turn, you know for sure you're going to play Arcane Intellect or Novice Engineer, do it first, before you play your other cards that turn. This way, you get to draw your cards first, which might actually give you a better solution for the rest of the turn.

 

Never use Arcane Missiles when the opponent has no minions on the board (unless you're going to kill him with it). I see a lot of people using Arcane Missiles on turn 1, or using it randomly just to buff the Mana Wyrm. Arcane Missiles is great because it helps you deal with pesky minions with 1 health, or it helps bring other minions down in range of your Fireblast.

 

Finally, I personally prefer not to use my direct-damage spells on my opponent until later on in the game. The surprise factor is important, because your opponent will play more relaxed, and perhaps more carelessly when they're sitting at 25 health than when they're sitting at 8. And also, by keeping your spells in hand (spells like Fireball, Frostbolt + Ice Lance combos), you also have them available if the opponent plays some big problematic minions.

 

I hope this helps in some way.

 

Also, regarding the image you posted, I really cannot tell very much at all from it, since it's impossible to tell what had happened previously in the game. Now, if you could record your game(s), I'd be happy to look at that footage and tell you what I think.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! Your advice helped tremendously. I just played a few games with your tips in mind and I effectively destroyed my opponents by a large margin. I also swapped in Ethereal Arcanist and that's been a huge help when I play Ice Block early on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! Your advice helped tremendously. I just played a few games with your tips in mind and I effectively destroyed my opponents by a large margin. I also swapped in Ethereal Arcanist and that's been a huge help when I play Ice Block early on. 

I'm very glad to hear that.

 

I'd also like to give you an additional tip for Arcane Missiles.

 

I'll give you a scenario, but this type of thing comes up pretty often.

 

Your opponent has 2 minions on the board, let's say a 3/2 Shattered Sun Cleric and a 4/3 Azure Drake. You have a Water Elemental on the board (3/6). Your plan is to play Arcane Missiles this turn, either to try to kill the 3/2 Cleric, or at least to bring it to 1 health so you can Fireblast it. You also want to kill the Azure Drake with your Water Elemental.

 

In this situation, you should always make the Water Elemental attack first. This is because any damage Arcane Missiles would do to the 4/3 Drake would be totally wasted, since the Elemental can kill it anyway. Attacking with your Elemental first will increase the chances of getting the desired result out of Arcane Missiles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just gotten finished playing 20 games with this deck (with the only exception being that I swapped out one Iceblock for one Flamestrike) and I love it! 85% win rate. The only players I had any trouble with were the ones that could get a ton of minions on the board and overwhelmed my ability to control them.

 

Thanks for all the tips!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey,

very nice guide, i also changed one iceblock to a flamestrike.

i just got antonidas as a new card, what do you guys think does it make sense to add him to the deck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey,

very nice guide, i also changed one iceblock to a flamestrike.

i just got antonidas as a new card, what do you guys think does it make sense to add him to the deck?

Taking out Ice Block(s) works, however Antonidas is a rather slow finisher and since you are playing an extremely aggressive deck, it might not fit in with your tempo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have tried to use this deck for around 10 games now and I've only managed to win once. I really do not understand how to win with a deck that has little means of keeping board control. Even when I swapped in a flamestrike for an iceblock I still end up losing most games because my opponent can easily grab board control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been testing the budget decks listed on the site, and so far my personal experience leads me to believe that the trouble people may be having with this deck is that it is by far the most suicidal aggro deck. Well, I'm not sure that's how the creator of the deck list intended it to be, but it has been for me.

 

Assuming that low-budget decks aren't meant for higher level gameplay, I've done okay with the deck with a 70-75% win ratio on play mode. Granted, play mode isn't that competitive, but I'm by no means an amazing player either with only a week and a half of experience so far. Not to mention, the majority of my losses came while I was learning to play the deck. Today for example, I've won 5 games and lost 1.

 

Now, to illustrate what I mean by suicidal:

 

Sometimes it works as a straight-up early beatdown. You pull out cheap mobs, the supposedly control-oriented opponent gets a bad draw and can't clear fast enough or put down enough big taunters. Occasionally rogues and warriors shoot themselves in the foot by clearing Leper Gnomes with their faces. (4 damage for 1 mana is a great deal) Sometime after the mid-game you zerg him down with all the mobs you have.

 

This is how I usually play aggro decks, and that's the problem. Unfortunately, this scenario almost never seems to happen with this deck.

 

Rather, in many of my games I won just barely using a combination of Pyroblast/Fireball and Iceblock: ready to drop dead next turn if he so much as sneezes on me. To illustrate, here is how one of my wins went:

 

Late Game vs Hunter

 

I have 9 health+Iceblock, two 3/2s and one 2/1 minion.

He has 26 health+secret, at least 3 minions with +4 attack, and a couple smaller minions.

 

1. I Pyroblast him.

2. He brings me down to 3 health, Iceblock pops, he kills my minions instead.

3. I Fireball him and use another Iceblock.

4. He attacks me again, Iceblock pops. He says "Well Played".

5. I Pyroblast him again, and win with 3 health

 

At first, I'd assumed it was a lucky win, given I had the exact cards necessary. (I had to hold on to two Pyroblasts since turn 3, and was holding on to one Fireball before things got out of hand) Keep in mind, this was a game where I mulliganed two pyroblasts and an Iceblock only to get a Fireball, Arcane Intellectx2, and a Pyroblast draw on my first turn.

 

Up to that point, I had been losing unless I could zerg my opponent down with minions. Which made me assume that my lack of success was due to a combination of weaknesses in the deck and personal skill.

 

Yet, after that win, I went on a 3-win streak in which I won each game in similar ways.

 

1. I use Fireball, and then Iceblock with 8 health. I have no minions while the opponent controls the board with 4 huge minions, and brings me down to 1 health. I Pyroblast next turn and win with 1 health.

2. I have 15 health and Iceblock, and two 3/2 minions. My opponent has 10 health and a couple 4/4ish creatures. He brings me down to 4 health and finishes off one of my 3/2s. I ping him, attack him with my remaining 3/2, and use Fireball. I win with 4 health.

 

You get the picture. I've had as good a win ratio with this deck as with any of the low budget decks on this site. You really need to adopt the mindset that "only the last hit point counts". If you pay 29 life to score 30 damage on your opponent's face, you still win.

 

So:

 

If you want your opponent to throw a tantrum after you win, play this deck.

If you don't like heart attacks, definitely do not play this deck.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Subtext
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have tried to use this deck for around 10 games now and I've only managed to win once. I really do not understand how to win with a deck that has little means of keeping board control. Even when I swapped in a flamestrike for an iceblock I still end up losing most games because my opponent can easily grab board control.

 

Please read my post(s) above which, I believe, provide a great deal of useful information. If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask them.

 

I've been testing the budget decks listed on the site, and so far my personal experience leads me to believe that the trouble people may be having with this deck is that it is by far the most suicidal aggro deck. Well, I'm not sure that's how the creator of the deck list intended it to be, but it has been for me.

 

Assuming that low-budget decks aren't meant for higher level gameplay, I've done okay with the deck with a 70-75% win ratio on play mode. Granted, play mode isn't that competitive, but I'm by no means an amazing player either with only a week and a half of experience so far. Not to mention, the majority of my losses came while I was learning to play the deck. Today for example, I've won 5 games and lost 1.

 

Now, to illustrate what I mean by suicidal:

 

Sometimes it works as a straight-up early beatdown. You pull out cheap mobs, the supposedly control-oriented opponent gets a bad draw and can't clear fast enough or put down enough big taunters. Occasionally rogues and warriors shoot themselves in the foot by clearing Leper Gnomes with their faces. (4 damage for 1 mana is a great deal) Sometime after the mid-game you zerg him down with all the mobs you have.

 

This is how I usually play aggro decks, and that's the problem. Unfortunately, this scenario almost never seems to happen with this deck.

 

Rather, in many of my games I won just barely using a combination of Pyroblast/Fireball and Iceblock: ready to drop dead next turn if he so much as sneezes on me. To illustrate, here is how one of my wins went:

 

Late Game vs Hunter

 

I have 9 health+Iceblock, two 3/2s and one 2/1 minion.

He has 26 health+secret, at least 3 minions with +4 attack, and a couple smaller minions.

 

1. I Pyroblast him.

2. He brings me down to 3 health, Iceblock pops, he kills my minions instead.

3. I Fireball him and use another Iceblock.

4. He attacks me again, Iceblock pops. He says "Well Played".

5. I Pyroblast him again, and win with 3 health

 

At first, I'd assumed it was a lucky win, given I had the exact cards necessary. (I had to hold on to two Pyroblasts since turn 3, and was holding on to one Fireball before things got out of hand) Keep in mind, this was a game where I mulliganed two pyroblasts and an Iceblock only to get a Fireball, Arcane Intellectx2, and a Pyroblast draw on my first turn.

 

Up to that point, I had been losing unless I could zerg my opponent down with minions. Which made me assume that my lack of success was due to a combination of weaknesses in the deck and personal skill.

 

Yet, after that win, I went on a 3-win streak in which I won each game in similar ways.

 

1. I use Fireball, and then Iceblock with 8 health. I have no minions while the opponent controls the board with 4 huge minions, and brings me down to 1 health. I Pyroblast next turn and win with 1 health.

2. I have 15 health and Iceblock, and two 3/2 minions. My opponent has 10 health and a couple 4/4ish creatures. He brings me down to 4 health and finishes off one of my 3/2s. I ping him, attack him with my remaining 3/2, and use Fireball. I win with 4 health.

 

You get the picture. I've had as good a win ratio with this deck as with any of the low budget decks on this site. You really need to adopt the mindset that "only the last hit point counts". If you pay 29 life to score 30 damage on your opponent's face, you still win.

 

So:

 

If you want your opponent to throw a tantrum after you win, play this deck.

If you don't like heart attacks, definitely do not play this deck.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned two things in your post, namely that this deck is not meant to attain a high win-rate against top-tier (no budget) decks, and that you've been playing the game for less than two weeks.

 

Now, in Hearthstone, anything can happen, and you can beat a "best in slot" deck with a Basic-only deck, sometimes. So upsets do happen. But statistically, it's very rare. Up to a point, and with exceptions, the more freedom you have for building your deck (in terms of budget/card restrictions), the stronger your deck will be. In this sense, a deck that only has 1,000 (or 4,000) Arcane Dust to work with will certainly be at a disadvantage against a deck that has no limits.

 

So, I would say that a low budget deck is probably good for bringing you up to something like rank 13 with a win-rate that doesn't mean you need to grind too many games. A mid-budget deck can bring you to rank 6 or so, while you need a budgetless deck for attaining ranks 1-2 or Legend rank. This is just the nature of the game.

 

The second thing is that these decks' (and any decks'!) win rates rely greatly on the player's ability to play them well. These decks are created by us (myself to a lesser extent, mostly by Poyo). Poyo is a veteran card game player and an exceptional high level Hearthstone player. So, from their very conception, these decks were designed with a certain experienced playstyle in mind.

 

I suspect that right now, and for some time to come, Hearthstone players will, in the majority, be very new to the game. This means that most people who use our decks will do so while still not having a deep understanding of the game mechanics. I started playing Hearthstone as soon as the Beta came out in August, and it took me a good many months to really get a good grasp on the game, even with reading anything and everything I could get my hands on.

 

If you've only been playing for two weeks, I literally have an overload of ideas of things I could tell you about to try to teach you how to be a better Hearthstone player. Unless you're some genius, there are literally dozens of concepts that you aren't familiar with, and tons upon tons of situations that you are handling sub-optimally.

 

You'll learn in time, and our other guides here on Icy Veins offer a lot of complementary information, but it's not an instant process.

 

I know I'm kind of ranting, but what I wanted to really say is that I appreciate the good-natured post you made. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great deck,

Sadly I do not have pyro blast or the other epic card but I replaced them with two legendary cards and I have great success! 

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Vlad
      This thread is for comments about our Aggramar guide.
    • By Aleco

      It's rare, it's slimy, and it's latest card to be spoiled from Kobolds and Catacombs.
      It wouldn't be a proper dungeon crawl without an encounter against a giant ooze, and it wouldn't be a proper Hearthstone set without a Hunter card with Deathrattle synergy. Say hello to Seeping Oozeling:

      Despite the random nature of this card's Battlecry, it actually doesn't seem too difficult to construct a deck with nothing but hard-hitting Deathrattles. As a mere 5/4 for 6 mana I doubt that Seeping Oozeling will see play on the back of its stats alone, but there are plenty of powerful Deathrattle cards for this ooze to gobble up from your deck. Deathwing, Dragonlord, Cairne Bloodhoof, and Rat Pack come to mind as potential friends for the Oozeling.
      Do you think that Seeping Oozeling will find its way into standard decks this December? Let us know what you think about the card in the comment section, and remember to check our news forum and the Kobolds & Catacombs hub for more new cards from K&C!
      Card image courtesy of Hearthpwn.com
    • By Aleco

      After an unexpected delay, Spectral Pillager was announced as the latest Netural Epic from Kobolds and Catacombs.
      After an unexpected five-hour delay, Brazilian eSports site Esporte Interativo spoiled Hearthstone's latest Neutral Epic:

      In typical fashion for Neutral Epics in the Year of the Mammoth, Spiteful Summoner appears to be next in a long line of minions with fun and powerful, underwhelming stats, and conservative mana costs. With some creative deckbuilding one could attempt to maximize the effect of this cards Battlecry trigger, but it doesn't appear to be powerful enough on its own to build an entire deck around.
      What do you think about Spiteful Summoner? Let us know what you think about the card in the comment section, and remember to check our news forum and the Kobolds & Catacombs hub for more new cards from K&C!
      Card image courtesy of Hearthpwn.com
    • By Zadina

      The third Kobolds & Catacombs card reveal for today is Zola the Gorgon, a neutral Legendary minion.
      Popular Hearthstone personality Jeffrey "Trump" Shih revealed this card on his YouTube channel. Zola the Gorgon is a 3-mana 2/2 with the Battlecry: "Choose a friendly minion. Add a Golden copy of it to your hand."
      According to the schedule, there was supposed to be another card reveal before the one from Trump, but so far we've seen nothing. At this rate, it's not sure if four or five cards are going to be revealed today. Keep checking our news forum and our Kobolds & Catacombs hub for more new cards!
    • By Aleco

      Standing on the shoulders of the Star Wars: Battlefront II controversy, the Hearthstone community has been voicing their concerns over the game's rising costs louder than ever. What can be done to fix Hearthstone's payment model?
      The Hearthstone community isn't happy - what can Blizzard do to fix the rising costs of the game?
      Since the release of Star Wars: Battlefront II, EA Games has found itself in the midst of one of the most heated, unified, and prolonged attacks against a game studio in the history of the gaming industry. Infuratied by the game’s costly “pay to win” microtransactions, the online gaming community made a recent reddit comment by the EA Community Team the most downvoted comment in the history of reddit, an impressive accomplishment which EA can rest on their mantle next to their back to back "Worst Company in America" in awards.
      Hot on the heels of this controversy, Blizzard released an advertisement for Starcraft II to spread the word about its recent shift to free-to-play which appears to take some serious shots at EA. It's a funny and well-crafted advertisement which is certainly worth a watch:
      As we discussed on the Icy Veins podcast, it's a bit odd to see Blizzard to take an aggressive stance against other gaming studios. Not only does Blizzard have a tendency to play it safe with their marketing and advertising, but one could make the case that Blizzard is currently in the midst of a very similar (albeit far smaller) controversy over their payment model for Hearthstone.
      There has nearly always been a vocal part of the Hearthstone community speaking out against the game’s cost, but the complaints against Hearthstone’s payment model are currently as loud as they have ever been. Just as Blizzard decided to capitalize on the EA controversy to advertise StarCraft II, the Hearthstone community is using the Battlefront debacle as a pedestal to shout their grievances from.
      With such a significant portion of the Hearthstone community demanding changes to the current in-game reward systems and payment models, now seems as good a time as ever to have an honest dialogue about what kinds of changes will strike the fairest balance between our bank accounts and our Hearthstone collections.
      A Fair Price for Hearthstone
      Is there something fundamentally broken about Hearthstone’s reward systems and payment model, and what can be done to fix it? To answer that question, the Hearthstone community needs to be honest about what kind of game Hearthstone really is.
      It’s far too easy to draw unfair comparisons between the cost of Hearthstone and the cost of other games. Take Overwatch for example. It’s undeniable that you’ll get a vastly superior return of fun on your investment of 40 bucks for Overwatch when compared against the $49.99 it will cost you to pre-order 50 packs of the latest Hearthstone set, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to compare the cost of these two games against each other. First and third person shooting games (Star Wars: Battlefront II notwithstanding) rarely cost more than $59.99 for an entire game’s worth of content, while card games are expected to charge their customers for packs of cards instead of charging for the game itself. So how does Hearthstone stack up against other card games? 
      If you compare Hearthstone against the grandaddy of them all, Magic: the Gathering, Hearthstone is incomparably cheaper. Speaking for myself, the primary reason I switched from MTG to Hearthstone was to save money. Take a look at the average cost of a Standard deck, then take a look at the average cost of a Legacy deck (the rough equivalent of Wild). Want to play a round of draft (the MTG equivalent of the Arena)? That’ll cost you between 10 and 15 USD to play three matches of Magic.
      Is Hearthstone starting to sound cheap yet? Well, it shouldn’t, because MTG and Hearthstone are also totally unfair comparisons. Magic is a trading card game, not a collectible card game, which means that its individual cards hold value and can be traded to other players. Though Magic is undeniably more expensive than Hearthstone no matter how you slice it, the fact that its cards can be sold at any time for real money means that the two games should be held to very different pricing standards.
      It’s about as useful to compare the price of MTG to Hearthstone as it is to compare the price of a BMW to a John Deere tractor, yet I see comparisons like this being made all the time. I’m personally guilty of drawing comparisons between the cost of MTG and Hearthstone in a guide I wrote on this very site.
      If we want to have a realistic conversation about what a fair payment model should look like in Hearthstone, then we need to be realistic about what kinds of games it’s fair to compare Hearthstone with. Not FPS games, not trading card games (TCGs), but only other collectible card games (CCGs). These are Hearthstone’s true competitors. Games which are free to download, charge money to unlock cards at an accelerated pace, and have no system in place to trade cards between players.
      Here’s a quick list of the most popular non-Hearthstone CCG’s on the market:
      Shadowverse Gwent Eternal Elder Scrolls: Legends Ready for a controversial opinion? Hearthstone should be more expensive than the other CCGs. It’s the oldest and most polished game of the lot, it has the largest player base by a mile, and it has vastly more cards, expansions, and free single player content than its competition. Before we can begin to discuss ways that we can improve the reward systems and payment models for Hearthstone we need to accept that Hearthstone has earned to right to call itself the premier CCG in the world. As such, a fair price point for Hearthstone is something higher than that of the other CCGs and something lower than Magic: the Gathering, which is where Hearthstone currently lies.
      The Hearthstone community would probably complain far less about the game's cost if its players felt as though they were being appropriately rewarded for their investments of time and money; superior products are allowed to cost more than inferior ones. However, there is a tangible gap between the time and money players are investing into Hearthstone and the feeling of “reward and accomplishment” they are getting in return. This is a problem which, quite frankly, the other CCGs just don’t have.
      Win or lose, playing the Draft mode in Eternal makes me feel as though I’m steadily marching closer and closer to building the decks I want to play on the ladder. Creating a Shadowverse account bestows players with so many packs that it made me feel as though I owed the developers a debt of gratitude in return. Having played each of the other CCGs I mentioned earlier in this article (some much more than others), there is a strong sense of generosity and progress present in these games which is largely absent in Hearthstone. 
      The unfortunate truth is that Hearthstone is so much bigger and more profitable than the competition that these games need to be generous with their players in order for them to stand a fighting chance. It's an extremely common business practice for smaller companies to undercut their bigger and better-funded competition. If the Draft mode in Eternal didn’t tangibly feel as though I was progressing towards a complete collection of cards then I probably wouldn’t play it at all. If Shadowverse didn’t immediately shower me with packs for creating a new account then it may not have held my attention past the tutorials. These vastly smaller CCGs are fighting an uphill battle by attempting to compete in the same design space as Hearthstone, making it a virtual necessity for their developers to be overtly generous to their player base.
      Blizzard has earned the right to charge more and reward less to Hearthstone players than other CCGs do. What Blizzard has failed to do thus far is make its players feel as though the rewards offered by playing and paying for Hearthstone are worth every penny.
      In-Game Rewards and Player Psychology
      Blizzard has made some serious strides in the past few expansions by providing its players with more free content than ever. They’ve started giving out one free Legendary card per set, have started producing rich single-player content for every new expansion, briefly experimented with daily login rewards leading up to the release of Journey to Un’Goro, and have periodically run festivals that handed out free packs and Arena runs. These are certainly significant strides in a positive direction, yet players still feel guilty when purchasing packs from the shop. Why is that?
       
      Let’s start by taking a look at the random Legendary reward which was introduced at the start of Knights of the Frozen Throne. It’s certainly a welcome prize, but how does it make players feel? I’d argue that in practice, the average Hearthstone player will end up receiving a shiny new Legendary card that they didn’t actually want. The majority of players will be crossing their fingers for a specific Legendary (such as the one belonging to their favorite class) and will feel disappointed when they receive one of the eight other Legendaries they weren’t hoping for. Newer players might only have enough cards in their collection to build a deck for one or two of the classes (I only crafted Druid cards for my first few months in Hearthstone) and will probably have no use at all for a random Legendary outside of those classes. What we have is a reward that is purely beneficial to players, yet somehow it often results in a negative player experience.
      Player psychology is an incredibly important issue in game design, and it’s an issue that Blizzard has demonstrated the ability to masterfully navigate in the past. A famous example comes from World of Warcraft, where Blizzard was able to successfully morph one of the most complained about systems in the game into a system which has since been copied by nearly every MMO after it:
      This notion of player psychology is undoubtedly playing an important role in the perceived gap between player investment and player reward in Hearthstone. The way that rewards and punishments are framed has a tremendous effect on player psychology, and it certainly seems as though Blizzard is losing the psychological battle with its player base. Without having to make any sweeping changes to the in-game reward systems, I’d argue that Blizzard could gain a lot of good will with its players by reframing the way that some of its current in-game rewards are presented. Let’s start by revisiting the random Legendary reward to see if it can reframed in a way which feels better its players.
      At worst, a random Legendary card can be turned into 400 dust; enough to construct four Rares or one Epic. Instead of setting up a large portion of the player base to be disappointed by receiving a random Legendary they may or may not have really wanted, how would players feel if they were simply given 400 dust instead? This reward would be strictly worse than receiving a random Legendary, but I would guess that it would have been received much better by the average Hearthstone player than the random Legendary reward currently is. It’s not so bad to receive a free reward you didn’t really want, but it feels downright awful to dust a Legendary into one quarter of its previous value. Taking this one step further, imagine how excited players would be if they received 1600 dust (or a Legendary of their choice) for trying out a new set. This would give players a feeling of agency and control which is wholly absent from the current in-game reward model. The single biggest problem with Hearthstone’s current in-game reward systems and payment models is a perceived lack of player control. 
      A Lack of Choice in Hearthstone’s Payment Model
      The slow trickle of gold players receive for playing games leads to a slow trickle of packs, and this slow trickle of packs leads to even slower trickle of dust, the only resource players get for constructing the cards they truly want. Outside of grinding away on the ladder, the only other tool at player’s disposal for getting the cards they need to build competitive decks is to pay for packs.
      The best rate that players can get on packs is $49.99 for a one time pre-order of 50 packs of the new set. The estimated average dust per pack is 102.71, assuming you dust every single card you open. 102.71 dust per pack times 50 packs equals 5135.5 dust, which is just enough to construct three Legendaries of your choosing but not nearly enough to build the vast majority of competitive decks in the current metagame.
      If you assume that most of the players who pre-order every new set have the majority of the most popular Legendaries and Epics from previous sets, then it’s fair to assume that 5k dust will be enough for these players to build one or two decks using cards from the newest set. For a newer player with a thinner collection, it’s much more likely that they will be at the mercy of the cards they open in those 50 packs and won’t be able to afford the luxury of dusting most of the cards they purchased. One could make the case that $49.99 is a fair price for a player with a deep collection to pay to be able to immediately build a couple of new decks, especially when you take into account the amount of free content that Blizzard has been rewarding players with of late. One could also make the case that it isn’t. Regardless, I have a very hard time believing that $49.99 is a fair price for a new player to pay to maybe be able to construct a single deck that they may or may not have wanted to build in the first place.
      Its debateable as to whether or not the issue with Hearthstone’s payment model is the actual value players are receiving from their purchased packs. One thing we can for certain is that there are no choices associated with opening packs that feel good for players to make. There’s really no two ways about it, dusting cards that you may or may not need in the future feels awful. A 25% rate of return for dusting cards feels like selling your grandmother’s jewelry to a pawn shop, yet choosing to dust or not dust cards is the only choice players are presented with after purchasing packs.
      Why is it that the only choice players are offered after paying money feels bad to make? There’s nothing intrinsic to the design of Hearthstone which has to prevent players from having more authority over the kinds of cards that are being added to their collection, and I seriously doubt that it is Blizzard’s goal to associate paying money with bad choices. Returning to the idea of player psychology, if we could reframe the current pack purchasing system to offer players more choices, to offer them better choices, perhaps Hearthstone fans wouldn’t feel as disenfranchised as they are feeling right now.
      An example of a way that Blizzard could offer players more choice in their pack purchases would be to give players the option to choose from one of nine “prerelease bundles”, one for each class. Each bundle could be guaranteed to contain one Legendary, two Epics, and four Rares belonging to the class of their choosing. Blizzard could easily adjust these bundles of 50 packs so that they have the same expected value as 50 normal packs. This would offer players with smaller collections a choice that maximizes the likelihood that they will actually be able to use the cards they open, while simultaneously offering the more hardcore players a better opportunity at opening the specific Legendaries and Epics they want most. All this upside can be offered to players without having to actually increase the total amount of cards and dust that players receive from their prerelease packs, and has virtually no downside for players when compared against the current prerelease bundle. I hope this example illustrates that Blizzard is highly capable of improving their existing payment model by providing players with more choices, and that sweeping changes to crafting and pack opening systems are likely unnecessary.
      Conclusion
      To recap, here’s everything we’ve discussed so far:
      Hearthstone fans are currently as upset as they have ever been with the cost of the game. As the premier CCG on the market, Blizzard has earned the right to charge more for Hearthstone than other CCGs. The onus is on other companies to undercut Hearthstone to attract players to their less popular products. The way that players feel about the rewards they receive is just as important, if not more important, than the quality of the rewards themselves. Hearthstone has room to improve from a player psychology perspective and should seriously consider reframing some of their current rewards if they are unwilling to increase them. The only choice players receive when purchasing packs is which cards they would like to dust after opening them. The very low rate of return on dusting cards means that the only choice associated with spending money on the game is one that makes players feel bad, yet there’s no discernable reason that pack purchases can’t offer players meaningful choices that actually make them feel good. Its undeniable that Hearthstone has some room to improve on the systems which are currently under fire from its player base, but at the same, the player base needs to be a little more realistic about what they truly deserve from Blizzard. Hearthstone is an incredible game which provides its players with loads of free content, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that its devoted fans don’t deserve more than they are currently receiving for their money. It seems as though Blizzard and Hearthstone fans need to meet each other halfway.
      Blizzard doesn’t need to make sweeping changes to its in-game reward systems and payment models to silence their unsatisfied customers. By offering players a greater degree of choice than they are being offered today, players will feel as though they are getting a much better return on their investments of time and money. There will always be a vocal minority of the Hearthstone community who feel as though they deserve more for their money, but when that minority turns into a majority as it has in today’s Hearthstone community, it’s time to make some changes.
      - Aleco