A beginner’s guide on how to get into HearthStone

In Fall 2015, I discovered HearthStone and HearthStone’s subreddit. It has been a great source of help and advice at the beginning, and for a few months now I’ve been trying to give back to the community by helping beginners who had questions about how to get better at the game.

The four questions that were asked over and over were:

  • I’m a new player, how do I get into the game? How can I stop sucking and climb over the 18-20 wall? More generally, how can I improve my gameplay?
  • What should I do with my gold or real money? Packs? Arena? Adventures? Which ones? What should I do with my dust?
  • How do I get better at Arena?
  • What should I craft?

I’ve also read the advice that many people provided on the subreddit, and wanted to compile what I found the most useful in a quick post for future reference.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the beginning. There are lots of things in the game, lots of different cards, and the game (or rather, the matchmaking system) is rather unforgiving to new players. So you have to take things step-by-step, accept that at the beginning your card collection will suck, and steadily get better at the game by both improving your gameplay and your card collection.

Get familiar with the game

Get familiar with all the classes by leveling each of them to level 10 first (first against the Innkeeper, then against the Expert Innkeeper, then against other players in Ranked, Standard mode – casual’s matchmaking will often pit you against strong players, and Wild makes collection gaps even more difficult to bridge). Even if you don’t plan to use them, you need to understand the basic strengths and weaknesses of each class.
I suggest you use no-dust deck like Sheng’s 0-dust decks, which you can later evolve into Sheng’s budget decks as you get cards, or consider the guides and lists from WingsOfWax (a bit more expansive and competitive). These decks also come along with detailed guides that explain the cards and how to play them. It will give you a solid basis to attack the game with and be competitive on the first levels of the ladder.

Then play for a while with these basic decks while doing your daily quests and unique quests. These are one-offs that will give you rewards (usually gold or packs) when certain conditions are met.

Also, level one of your classes to level 20 to get access to the Tavern Brawl (and get a free pack every week). This will give you a feel for the game that you can’t have otherwise, which will help you a lot going further.

Once you feel you are familiar with the game, it’s time to get to the second step: improving your mastery.

Improve your gameplay

It is actually more important to improve your gameplay (your knowledge and skill at how to play the game) than increasing your card collection. At the beginning, you can beat seemingly much stronger decks with simple ones just because you understand the game very well.

To do so, there are 3 things you can do in parallel:

  • Read beginner guides and resources. This will give you the basics of strategy and understanding of the game mechanics. For now I’m linking to hearthstoneplayers.com resource (which is pretty good), but I’ll add more individual links as time goes on
  • Watch streamers to get a feel of what to do and what not to do. Prefer educational streamers (ie streamers that explain their moves and thought process), like:
  • Once you have an idea of what you should do, time to know if you’re doing it right. Record your games and discuss them with other experienced players (trackers like Hearthstone Deck Tracker are the best way, and I wrote a guide if you need more help). You’ll get to learn tons about how to play the game, especially since the advice will be directed at your specific mistakes, and not simply generic advice on the net.
    Zero to Heroes lets you do just that, and here are two examples of games that got reviewed for illustration.
  • Also see this post from a first-time Legend player about general tips on how to get good and this short guide to reaching Legend.

You’ll know when you have gotten good enough at the game. You’ll be able to predict the moves the streamers will make, and reviewing your games won’t reveal any big mistake.

And one last thing: HearthStone is a card game, so with natural RNG. Some cards again add some RNG to the mix. Being a good HS player means learning to play with this in mind. You won’t win all your games, but you can play in a way that maximizes your chances.

At this stage, it’s time to increase your collection to be able to build competitive decks (this is obviously mostly valid for free-to-play players. If you’re willing to spend money to buy packs, getting cards will be a lot easier).

Improve your collection

There are three main ways of improving your collection (I’m not counting the Watch and Learn quest, which gives you a free pack but pops rather rarely, or the Tavern Brawl that is limited to one pack per week):

  • Buying packs
  • Buying Adventures
  • Getting packs from Arena

The article (and this section in particular) is written mainly with f2p in mind, so using gold instead of real money. If you’re using real money, Adventures are the best bang for your buck. And in any case, never buy an Arena ticket with real money, it’s just not worth it.

Packs

Buying packs is the most obvious way to go by, and what you should start with. Buy 15-20 packs of the Classic expansion, and as much from the latest one (Whispers of the Old Gods). Please note you can earn 13 free WotOG packs by winning some games in Standard, which you should obviously do. This will gradually lets you expand your collection, get to know more cards, and possibly gain access to stronger decks.

Once you’re there, you have two possible paths: Arena or Adventures. There is no consensus on which one you should follow, and it mainly depends on whether you have fun in Arena, or if you are looking for specific Adventure cards.

Arena

First, should you play Arena at all? This is still a controversial subject.

My take is that at this point, if you took things step by step and focused on improving your gameplay, you should be able to do decently (~3 wins) in Arena. Which, if you like the format, is enough to justify doing Arena to get your packs.
Otherwise, it can be pretty frustrating, and the time investment may not make it worth it compared to playing ranked for your quests.

So before going into Arena, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Read a few guides to learn how to draft and how the gameplay is different from constructed, and watch streamers to get a feel for it. Then do a few test runs, and depending on your results decide whether you’d like to go down this route or not.

Being good in Arena will let you pay 150 gold to earn a pack AND other rewards, mostly gold and dust. At some point (it used to be when you have at least 7 wins, but rewards have changed with WotOG and we don’t have any clear stats yet), you’ll get more gold than your entrance fee, which lets you get a pack for free and do another Arena to continue the chain.
How to achieve this is the subject of a whole post by itself and long hours of sucking at it, but luckily there are plenty of resources available on the net (including an article on this blog).

Adventures

Adventures are pretty straightforward, and lets you play against the AI in predefined scenarios to earn certain specific cards. Two Adventures are part of Standard today: League of Explorers (LoE) and BlackRock Mountain (BRM). It’s probably better to start with LoE. You get more cards for cheaper, and the majority of the set contains viable cards, as opposed to BRM which just has a few playable cards for specific decks. You can build a pretty good deck built around the LoE cards, and they’re really good for new players.

Understand the cards and build your own decks

The final step, and a difficult one. It’s again the subject of a whole article, and again hearthstoneplayers has some interesting resources.

Other resources

Closing words

Getting into HS is more difficult than it should be. Blizzard has done some nice things to make things easier with WotOG, and I hope this trend will continue in the future.

This said, the HS community is very helpful and will help you get past this initial wall. Set your goals to getting better at the game, and you’ll be able to enjoy it from the start.

Decision Making in HearthStone, analysing puzzles #4

Welcome back on this series where I create puzzles to highlight interesting concepts of HearthStone. This will probably be more entertaining for beginners, but I guess it can still be fun for long time players.

Puzzle #3, avoiding mistakes with mill

 

Last time I left you a puzzle as mill druid. There was the tempting solution of [Tree of life] to probably win the game after, but this depends on the remaining cards of the Mage.

Puzzle

HS puzzle: find the lethal as Druid Mill against Mage

There are only two cards left in your deck wich are [Kezan Mystic] and [Innervate]. The mage has only three cards left in her deck.

On your board: [Dancing Swords].

On the opponent board: [Sludge Belcher]. The mages also has a secret and you are sure it’s an [Ice Block]

In your hand: [Ironbeak Owl], [Tree of Life], [Youthful Brewmaster], [Grove Tender], [Swipe], [Poison Seeds], [Deathlord], [Coldlight Oracle], [Druid of the Claw] and finally [Ancient of Lore].

You sit with 1 HP while the mage is at 6 HP. 

Solution of the puzzle

  1. Silence the sludge belcher with the owl. 8 mana.
  2. Attack face with the swords. 2 HP.
  3. Hero power attack face. 6 mana. 1 HP
  4. Play the oracle. 5 mana. The mage has 1 card left in her deck
  5. Innervate and poison seeds (or grove tender, shield from hero power prevents the 1 fatigue damage) resulting in the mage drawing her last card. No cards are left in both decks.
  6. End your turn for the mage to take 1 fatigue damage at the beginning of her turn as she can’t draw more.

Discussion

Why does it work?

I think that a lot of players did misplay when they started playing with secrets. Secrets can only trigger during the turn of the opponent. Hence here the ice block does not protect the mage during her own turn.

One another thing here is to be careful not to mill yourself. When playing mill, you draw a lot, it’s quite easy to burn your own cards. You sit at 10 cards. Playing the oracle first will burn either innervate or Kezan. If it does burn innervate, the only play is ancient of the lore to get back to 6 health, hoping the mage doesn’t have 1 damage in her hand as you will take a fatigue damage next turn. Playing Kezan will not help for the same reason written above.

You must remember when playing mill that your win condition IS milling the opponent. Indeed there will be games where you can win before fatigue. As the fatigue damages increment, sometimes you will want to sacrifice your dancing swords instead of going for 4 damages face. Here you can do both so it’s wondeful.

You’ll find coldlight oracle in every mill decks, it’s really a core card of it. Comboed with [Brann Bronzebeard], it makes people draw four cards. It’s alco comboed with [Youthful Brewmaster], [Ancient Brewmaster], [Echo of Medivh], [Duplicate], [Gang Up] and [Shadowstep] In mill decks you will need strong removals because you cannot afford to take too much damage per turn: [Poison Seeds] + [Starfall] and [Naturalize] (perfect for mill) for druid, or [Vanish] for rogue. You will also need heals like [Tree of Life] for druid, [Antique Healbot] and [Reno Jackson] to be able to live through the turns. Finally you need taunt minions, you really want the opponent to trade your minions instead of going face. So [Deathlord] and [Sludge Belcher] are pretty common, though the deathlord should be played very carefully: while it allows you to remove another card from the opponent deck speeding up the mill, you must be prepared to handle a potential big threat.

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately with mill druid, you can find the decklist here . I haven’t been able yet to go past rank 15 with it, there are a lot of aggro decks in the meta which are difficult to handle. In many games I went to low health pool before being able to heal, and I died to damage spells.

Takeways

  • If you’re playing mill, damages to the face are not so important compared to other card draws and clearing the board.
  • Secrets always trigger during the opponent turn.
  • Obviously the coldlight oracle is at the center of this deck. There are many combos, be it with [Youthful Brewmaster], [ancient Brewmaster], [Echo of Medivh], [Duplicate], [Gang Up] [Shadowstep] and lately thanks to the last expansion with [Brann Bronzebeard]
  • Don’t mill yourself!

Puzzle #4, dealing with secret paladin

 

I’m sure you’ve encountered a lot of paladins with all their famous [Mysterious Challenger] bringing almost 4 secrets each time, or more. You should not react to this puzzle the same way you react to a mysterious challenger as once again we’re looking for a lethal play.

Puzzle

puzzle #4, find the lethal as control priest vs paladin secret*

The paladin just played the [Mysterious Challenger] bringing 4 classic secrets into play ([Redemption], [Avenge], [Noble Sacrifice] and [Competitive Spirit]) along with a [Leper Gnome] directly buffed by [Coghammer]’s battlecry. The [Wild Pyromancer] was dropped through the deathrattle of a [Piloted Shredder] and the [Secretkeeper] was buffed by [Keeper of Uldaman].

On your board: [Reno Jackson] at 1 HP.

On the opponent board: [Mysterious Challenger], [Shielded Minibot], [Wild Pyromancer], [Haunted Creeper] at 1 HP, [Leper Gnome] buffed by [Coghammer]’s battlecry and [Secretkeeper] with 3 HP.

In your hand: [Ironbeak owl], [Mass Dispel], [Velen’s Chosen], [Shadow Madness], [Auchenai Soulpriest] and [Light of the Naaru]

You sit at 2 HP while the paladin is at 9 HP. If you choose to draw, you draw a [Deathlord].

You already saved yourself once with Reno (yes usual control priest don’t run mass dispel or reno), but mysterious challenger made the paladin think that he couldn’t lose. Prove him otherwise.

Solution in the next episode!

*Puzzles are created using http://www.hsdeck.com/puzzle/. Very nice site for creating puzzles

Decision Making in HearthStone, analysing puzzles #3

Welcome back on this series where I create puzzles to highlight interesting concepts of HearthStone. This will probably be more entertaining for beginners, but I guess it can still be fun for long time players. Link to previous episode.

Puzzle #2, clear the Hunter board the most efficiently

Puzzle

Perfect turn for the hunter who managed to pull a highmane out of Ram wrangler which he directly buffed with the houndmaster. The goal is to define the best way to deal with the board of the hunter since it’s not possible to kill him.

puzzle warrior clear the board
HS puzzle: clear the board as Warrior*

On your board: [Shieldmaiden] + [Death’s Bite] equipped.

On the opponent board: [Webspinner], [Ram Wrangler] which summoned a [Savannah Highmane] buffed by the [Houndmaster].

In your hand: [Whirlwind], [Fiery War Axe], [Unstable Ghoul], [Charge] and [Bloodsail Raider]

You sit with 2 HP and 5 armor while the hunter is at 12 HP.

Below is one possible solution which seems the safer play to me.

Possible solution

  1. Attack with the Shieldmaiden the Savannah Highmane.
  2. Play Unstable Ghoul with Charge and attack the Savannah Highmane. Both die + Webspinner. Two hyenas 2/2 are summoned from the highmane. 5 manas left.
  3. Whirlwind + go face with Death’s Bite. Hunter is at 8. 4 manas left.
  4. Play Fiery War Axe, death’s bite deathrattle triggers finishing to clear the board. 2 manas left.
  5. Either play the pirate or hero power depending on how safe you feel. The raider (5/3) ensures a lethal next turn if the hunter cannnot deal with it nor destroy the weapon.

What’s interesting here is to trigger the deathrattle of a weapon by playing another one. It was needed along with Whirlwind and the charging ghoul to get rid of Ram Wrangler, the two hyenas from the dead Savannah HighMane and the HoundMaster. Even if we “lose” one durability of the weapon, the deathrattle effect is here more useful.

Moreover I think a good play here is not to rely on the Unstable Ghoul as the only defense. Imagined you had played Charge on the Bloodsail Raider to kill the taunt. You could trade the Ram Wrangler with Death’s Bite and Houndmaster with the Shieldmaiden. There would be still two 2/2 or 2/1 depending on the play of Whirlwind. Your total health would be 2 + 4 of armor. If the hunter has a silence effect like [Ironbeak Owl] (played in most of the hunter decks) for the ghoul, then it’s game over.

Remember as well that the hunter will get a beast from the Webspinner in his hand. Better to clear the board and lose your minions. Well it depends on how many cards the hunter has in his hand. Indeed, when we play a control deck against an aggressive one, and the situation is almost desperate, it’s sometimes better to play risky to hope for a win, instead of persisting in defending. We’ll probably talk about this in an other puzzle.

Takeways

  • Playing another weapon will trigger the deathrattle of the current weapon. It does not appear often, but once I just forgot and misplayed. Two other weapons have deathrattle: [Powermace] and [Charged Hammer].
  • When playing tempo/control decks against aggressive decks, it’s better to trade your minions with opponent minions instead of relying on a taunt. Your late game is better, allow you to reach it. For example playing Freeze Mage, Control Warrior or Mill Rogue.
  • Always think about what the opponent can play next turn. Knowing cards the opponent can play is necessary to progress in the ranks. It comes mainly by playing every classes and with practice.

Puzzle #3, avoiding mistakes with mill

This week, I want to talk a bit about mill decks. For those who don’t know, milling is a way of defeating opponents by forcing them to draw a lot of cards until they don’t have any more cards in their deck. At this point any card you can’t draw deals you fatigue damage: 1 then 2 then 3 etc. Also, if a player has 10 cards in hand and draws, the drawn card is lost.

When playing mill, it’s easy to do mistakes. I hope these puzzles will help you prevent from doing them. Let’s check this druid puzzle.

Puzzle

This one is about finding the lethal. With mill decks, it can go very fast!

HS puzzle: find the lethal as Druid Mill against Mage*

There are only two cards left in your deck wich are [Kezan Mystic] and [innervate]. The mage has only three cards left in her deck.

On your board: [Dancing Swords].

On the opponent board: [Sludge Belcher]. The mages also has a secret and you are sure it’s an [ice block]

In your hand: [Ironbeak owl], [Tree of Life], [Youthful Brewmaster], [grove tender], [swipe], [poison seeds] which hides, [deathlord], [coldlight oracle], [druid of the claw] and finally [ancient of lore].

You sit with 1 HP while the mage is at 6 HP. 

The Tree of Life could lull you into a false sense of security while there is actually a possible lethal. Can you find it?
Solution in the next episode!
*Puzzles are created using http://www.hsdeck.com/puzzle/. Very nice site for creating puzzles. Too bad they are not dynamic enough to allow the users to test the puzzles.

How to record your HearthStone game [PC, Mac, Android]

HearthStone doesn’t have any built-in replay capability yet, and so the only way to share your game and get advice used to be to record and upload it to a video website like YouTube.

It’s now possible to recreate the game in the browser thanks to the logs provided by HearthStone itself: all the needed information is recorded, and viewers like Zero to Heroes let you replay the game. The unique aspect of Zero to Heroes is the focus on the game review: to help you spot your mistakes, learn from them and improve at the game.

Recording and uploading a game is thus now surprisingly simple:

On PC

It’s now possible (and recommended) to record and upload your game without the need of video recording (see here to see a full game). Compared to a full video, the file is so small it is uploaded in a few seconds, and you can interact with the replay (easily move forward / back in the turn, mouse over the cards, and so on). Also, once you have everything setup, all your games will be automatically recorded – no need to fire up a video recording software beforehand.

You have two programs that let you do that today

Hearthstone Deck Tracker

  1. Download and install Hearthstone Deck Tracker (and optionally download Arena Helper if you want to record your Arena drafts). It’s a free software that will add an overlay on top of the Hearthstone window to track stats during the game. Please see the FAQ if you want to know everything HDT can bring to your game.
  2. You can then either download the Zero to Heroes HDT plugin or upload your files manually (continue reading to know how)
  3. Launch HDT. You can also launch Hearthstone directly from HDT if you like.
  4. Play a game – it will be recorded automatically.
    1. If you use the Zero to Heroes plugin, the game is uploaded automatically to your Zero to Heroes account, and you can stop here
    2. If not, the game is automatically uploaded to hsreplay.net. This is fine if you just intend to watch the game, but if you’d like to analyze the plays and discuss your choices with others, you’ll probably want to import it to Zero to Heroes (see the Import from External site section below)
    3. Otherwise, the recorded game will be a .hdtreplay file in C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Roaming\HearthstoneDeckTracker\Replays. Note: the AppData folder is hidden. If you can’t see it, just manually type \AppData after your current path in the Windows Explorer bar
  5. You can then upload it online to discuss your plays with other players. Zero to Heroes already lets you do that:
      1. Go to http://www.zerotoheroes.com/s/hearthstone and click on Upload
      2. Select Game Replay, and choose your file (or drop it in the zone)
      3. You can then review your game and add comments if you want to.

Overwolf

Overwolf is a multi-game application that has Hearthstone support. Once you complete your Hearthstone session, you’ll have the possibilities to see the replays of all the games you’ve played during this session.

While we’re working on making sharing as easy as clicking a button, you can already upload your games quite easily to Zero to Heroes. To do so:

  • Go to %localappdata%/Overwolf/ZeroToHeroes/Replays (you can just paste that in the Windows Exporer address bar). You’ll find all your game replays there
  • Then go to the Zero to Heroes upload page: http://www.zerotoheroes.com/s/hearthstone/upload/replay
  • From here, you can drag and drop the game you want to share.

Arena Tracker

  1. Download and install Arena Tracker. It’s a free software that will add an overlay on top of the Hearthstone window to track your games or provide advice on your arena drafts. The site itself provides all the installation instructions you need.
    1. Note: you won’t be able to easily have Arena Tracker and Hearthstone Deck Tracker installed at the same time, so choose the one you like best 🙂
  2. Launch Arena Tracker. The first time you’ll be asked for some information.
    1. Play a game – it will be recorded automatically. The recorded game will be a .arenatracker file in the HS Cards/GameLog folder of your Arena Tracker directory
  3. The upload procedure is the same as described above – except that you have to select the .arenatracker file instead 🙂

ArenaDrafts

ArenaDrafts.com automatically records, well, your arena drafts. They have tons of cool features (like sharing live the current pick/draft to get real-time discussions), and have a detailed guide on how to upload the draft to Zero to Heroes.

Import a game from an external site

You can also import games or drafts from some external sites (HearthArena, ArenaDrafts and HSReplay are the most popular today). To do so:

  • Go to Upload > External site
  • Paste the URL of the site you wish to import from
  • Et voilà!

capture

Game logs

It is now possible to simply take your game log file and upload it online:

  1. Enable logging
  2. The log file is then located at <your_hearthstone_installation_folder>/Logs/Power.log or Power_old.log
  3. Important: the file is erased when you restart HearthStone, so take care to upload your games before relaunching the game
  4. The upload works as described for the previous section of the guide. The exception being that, since you will most likely be uploading several games at once, the upload screen will look like this:
  5. Once the upload completes, the Title, Player and Opponent names and classes will be automatically prefilled – you just need to add the info for the game level.
  6. By default all games are uploaded as “private” (only you can access them), and you can change the visibility either on this screen or later on for each individual game

On Mac

  • Arena Tracker now allows Mac users to record and upload your games! The installation procedure is the same as in the above section and described on the official site.
  • You can also upload your game logs, as described in the section above

Since patch 7.1, logs aren’t available on Android anymore, so for now we don’t have a good solution to record and upload games.

On Android (tablet and phone)

Log files

The easiest way to replay your games. There are two steps to this:

  1. First time only: Enable logging as described on this reddit post. The content of the newly created log.config should be this:

    [Achievements]
    LogLevel=1
    FilePrinting=true
    ConsolePrinting=true
    ScreenPrinting=false

    [Power]
    LogLevel=1
    FilePrinting=true
    ConsolePrinting=true
    ScreenPrinting=false

  2. Play HS normally. Your games will be logged in the Power.log file from your hearthstone Log folder (exact installation path depends on the file explorer you’re using, but it’s always something like Android/data/com.blizzard.wtcg.hearthstone/files/Logs)
  3. Important: the file is erased when you restart HearthStone, so be sure to upload your games before relaunching the game
  4. You can then upload your logs as described in the above section of the guide.

Decision Making in HearthStone, analysing puzzles #2

Welcome back to this series where I create manually HearthStone puzzles to highlight some of the important concepts of the game.

Solutions of last week puzzle #1

Last week, I left you with a puzzle “Find the lethal” as Mage vs Paladin.

HS puzzle lethal mage
HS puzzle: find the lethal as Mage*

On your board: [Dalaran Aspirant] with 0 stack of spell damage, [Novice Engineer], [Mana Wyrm] not yet buffed, [Illuminator].

On the opponent board: [Twilight Guardian] with his battlecry buff and [Chromaggus].

In your hand: [Dragon’s Breath], [Blizzard] and [Ice Lance].

And it was actually too simple. Indeed there are two solutions: one basic one and one puzzle-like. When building the puzzle, I had in mind the difficult solution and didn’t see the obvious one…

Simple solution:

  1. Blizzard + Ice Lance on the Guardian which dies. Mana Wyrm gets 3/3. Dragon’s Breath costs 4. (3 mana left)
  2. Attack with Novice Engineer the Chromaggus. Dragon’s Breath costs 3.
  3. Dragon’s Breath the paladin. -4. Mana Wyrm gets 4/3.
  4. Attack with remaining minions. -3 -4 -2 = -9 for a total of -13.

As this was not really what I intended, I present you the updated puzzle.

Puzzle Mage v1.1

puzzle 1 mage bis
HS puzzle: find the lethal as mage v1.1*

On your board: same as above.

On the opponent board: [Sen’jin Shieldmasta] and [Boulderfist Ogre] which is frozen.

In your hand: [Dragon’s Breath], [Arcane Explosion] and [Ice Lance].

So you had another Ice Lance and easy lethal but your younger brother played it against the ogre.

Solution of puzzle v1.1

  1. Hero power on the Illuminator. Dalaran Aspirant gets one stack of spell damage. (4 mana left)
  2. Arcane explosion, 1+1 damage on every opponent minions . Mana Wyrm gets 2/3. (2 mana left)
  3. Ice lance on the Ogre which dies. Mana Wyrm gets 3/3. Dragon’s Breath costs now 4. (1 mana left)
  4. Attack with the Novice Engineer and the Illuminator the Sen’jin Shieldmasta, all three die. Dragon’s Breath costs now 1.
  5. Dragon’s Breath face. -5. Mana Wyrm gets 4/3.
  6. Attack with Dalaran Aspirant -3 and Mana Wyrm -4.

What’s interesting here is the use of the hero power against our own minion so that enough minions die and Dragon’s Breath is playable. Secondly the Ice Lance to kill Ogre has the only effect to buff the Mana Wyrm without impacting the mana for Dragon’s Breath. Finally the spell damage is a powerful ability which sometimes is forgotten. Here it is useful (and necessary) on the three spells!

Takeaways:

  • Even if we don’t usually want to ping our own minions, this possibility exists and should be considered. Freeze Mage decks use it with [Acolyte of Pain]. It’s also used with [Sylvanas Windrunner].
  • Mana Wyrm is a simple minion for 1 mana but can quickly be an issue if not dealt with. The combo is usually played with the coin and [Mirror Image] on turn 1.
  • Spell damage is not to be underestimated. Say hello to [Malygos].

Puzzle #2

puzzle warrior clear the board
HS Puzzle as Warrior vs Hunter, clear the board

Let’s have a look at a new puzzle now, it’s a Warrior one.

On your board: [Shieldmaiden] + [Death’s Bite] equipped.

On the opponent board: [Webspinner], [Ram Wrangler] which summoned a [Savannah Highmane] buffed by the [Houndmaster].

In your hand: [Whirlwind], [Fiery War Axe], [Unstable Ghoul], [Charge] and [Bloodsail Raider]

It’s not about finishing the Hunter (he has 12 Health Points [HP]) as it’s actually impossible this turn. This puzzle is about finding the best play to take the least possible risk for the next turn. You have only 2 HP and 5 armor. So the idea is to clear the board. You could want to put Charge on your Bloodsail Raider to kill the Savannah Highmane, put the Unstable Ghoul as defense and go face with the ShieldMaiden and Death’s Bite to put the Hunter at 3 HP and ensure a victory if you survive next turn. There is also another solution which puts the hunter at 1 HP. That’s the thing though. How much damage can the hunter do in one turn with minions on the board? A lot. It depends of course of how many cards he has in hand. The possible plays are really open to discussion here.

Solution in the next episode!

*Puzzles are created using http://www.hsdeck.com/puzzle/. Very nice site for creating puzzles. Too bad they are not dynamic enough to allow the users to test the puzzles.

Decision making in HearthStone, analysing puzzles, #1

HearthStone is really fun to play. Even more when you manage to pull out a combo. There are classic combos like playing [Force of Nature] with [Savage Roar] with the druid for 14 damages (3*(2+2) +2) a turn for 9 mana. This is simple though and takes no consideration of the board and the different minion abilities.

Other types of combos can happen, just optimizing the synergy between your cards, your board and the opponent board. When they are not so easy to detect, they are called puzzles.

The most funny ones are probably to find the lethal play: being able to finish your opponent without him being able to counter it. I invite you to check out Amaz puzzles serie on youtube or the youtube channel Animated HearthStone Puzzles While some puzzles are more likely to happen with some classes like Priest, it can happen with any class. I’ll try to create manually a puzzle for each class with my knowledge of the game and make it educative. The goal is not to make it the most difficult to spot by counting too much but to highlight one or two interesting concepts of HearthStone that can help you win games.

Here’s the first one as a Mage (edit: there are actually two solutions for this puzzle, one is quite easy and the other one intended for the puzzle :/ sorry!)

HS puzzle lethal mage
HS puzzle: find the lethal as Mage*

On your board: [Dalaran Aspirant] with 0 stack of spell damage, [Novice Engineer], [Mana Wyrm] not yet buffed, [Illuminator].

On the opponent board: [Twilight Guardian] with his battlecry buff and [Chromaggus].

In your hand: [Dragon’s Breath], [Blizzard] and [Ice Lance].

It could be tempting in this configuration to use Blizzard, clear the Twilight Guardian, go face and wait next turn to end the game. But then you’re exposed to counter-plays by the paladin who could even win depending on his hand and his draw. If you hadn’t been told there was a lethal play here, would you have found it?

Solution in the next episode!

*Puzzles are created using http://www.hsdeck.com/puzzle/. Very nice site for creating puzzles. Too bad they are not dynamic enough to allow the users to test the puzzles.