Hearthstone’s One Night in Karazhan adventure was released well over a month ago. While a very upbeat set thematically, the adventure caused a lot of consternation amongst competitive players from the get-go. Constructed players were mad about the release of Purify for the nonexistent ninth class, while the oppressive Shamans got more tools. Arena players were mad about Firelands Portal being a common, cementing Jaina as the tyrant queen of the arena. The backlash from the community so torrential and angry that the devs responded within weeks of Karazhan’s full release, with an arena card banlist, and card nerfs. We are just over a week since the card nerfs, and well, Midrange Shamans dominate the ranked meta and Mages still terrorize the arena.
While there is still some potential for new decks and strategies to emerge, there is only so much innovation that you can squeeze of the adventure and card nerfs. There won’t be a new Hearthstone card release for at least 1 or 2 months, and this is being optimistic that Blizzard is sticking to the 2 expansion + 1 adventure annual production goal. Though Hearthstone remains an amazing game despite the imbalance, even the most dedicated players can get bored during long stretches of nothingness. The meta starts to get stale, and it’s just the same old sauce curdling in your bowl. Luckily there are ways to keep Hearthstone fresh as we approach the stale meta phase of the game.
1. Play Arena
Tired of this oppressive and uninteractive meta? Play Arena! While some of us play Arena by default, I say this knowing that Hearthstone is defined by Constructed/Ranked. Good/pro players are known for how many times they achieved Legend and an overwhelming majority of players stick with Constructed.
There are many benefits to playing Hearthstone Arena. First of all, the satisfaction of doing well in the Arena with your draft can’t be rivaled by any other feeling. The Arena forces you to make tough decisions during your draft, as you are building a deck from scratch. You will be forced to take bad cards from time to time. And winning a game with some crappy card is just an amazing feeling. You learn to appreciate underlooked cards that don’t ever appear in Constructed. That brings me to my second point, you get a much deeper connection to all the cards from Arena play. You start developing an encyclopedic knowledge of cards from the exposure. You begin to have affinities to cards that you become comfortable playing (Addled Grizzly is bae). Thirdly, I believe that there are much greater stories that stem from the Arena. All the factors that come into play, from the two differently-built drafts, the bigger card pool, the gameplay decision-making, all collide into something magical. You will remember epic moments in the Arena, and also certain runs.
2. Try Something New
Playing Arena as a Constructed player is technically trying something new, but there are other things you can do in the game. Despite being a wasteland for broken cards, Wild Hearthstone will instantly provide relief from seeing the same deck rotation in Standard. Overall, is more deck and class diversity, with things like viable Priests running amok. A player in Wild also has the chance to create deeper decks, with all the cards around. While things are unsettled, Wild Hearthstone has a chance to appeal to a distinct audience once more card sets are in the game.
It also isn’t a horrible idea to try a new deck if you are sticking with the Standard meta. We are still fresh off the recent nerfs, and decks are still in the process of optimization. Before everyone “figures things out,” bust out some new deck to take advantage. It doesn’t even have to be some whole new deck, just variations and techs off a popular archetype. I recently made a RenoLock deck without any guides, and it came out quite different than the conventional Reno deck. And it has a 67% win rate now at Rank 10! I don’t expect this to keep up as I climb the ranks, but it is fun to win with such a deck.
3. Set New Goals
Sometimes you won’t even notice the arduous Ranked meta when you have a set goal in mind. While grinding to legend status or some other arbitrary rank are real goals, the ability to keep a winning streak is all the more magnified on the path to attaining said goal. You’ll probably get more bummed out than before.
In my opinion, grinding for a golden hero, with 500 ranked wins, is the best way to not notice the meta. I acquired golden Rogue in the throes of the Huntertaker meta, shortly after the release of Blackrock Mountain. I had about 400 wins when I picked up the “Fast/Cycle Rogue” deck, which was essentially an aggro deck that tried to outrace Face Hunters. While my winrate was fairly close to 50%, the games were not only fast, but also fun, as I was playing a whole new Rogue deck. Though I am nowhere close towards earning another golden hero, the push I had for golden Rogue was a great experience in not noticing what was going on in the meta.