“500th” Arena Run: SMOrc-fest 2016

“500th” Arena Run: SMOrc-fest 2016

Last night, I played my “500th” Arena run in Hearthstone. While I have officially played more than 500 runs, it was my 500th recorded run, where I have the stats recorded on a website. Prior to stat tracking, I had 2 12-win runs, along with a number of likely really bad runs. So now, I have my 500th recorded run in the books. For the sake of nostalgia, let’s take a look at what happened in this run.

Draft – Hunter

  1. Emperor Cobra, Coldlight Oracle, Injured Kvaldir – Clear pick.
  2. Illuminator, Defender of Argus, Sunfury Protector – Early in the draft, going with value pick.
  3. Razorfen Hunter, Pantry Spider, Salty Dog – These are equally bad, but liked the beast synergy and stickness of Pantry Spider.
  4. Cult Master, Unleash the Hounds, Cloaked Huntress – All good, Unleash is just on another level, used offensively and defensively.
  5. Murloc Raider, Cult Master, Blackwing Technician – Clear pick, not punished by taking Cult Master before.
  6. Tinkertown Technician, Spellbreaker, Puddlestomper – Felt I needed a 2-drop, Spellbreaker not good enough to change my mind.
  7. Frost Elemental, Polluted Hoarder, Blackwing Corruptor – Wanted to go faster as a Hunter.
  8. Multi-Shot, Arcane Shot, Faerie Dragon – Situational, but one of the best removals.
  9. Ironforge Rifleman, Desert Camel, Fiery Bat – Solid 1-drop that works great with Hunter.
  10. Imp Master, Questing Adventurer, Arcane Nullifier X-21 – Questing Adventurer gets out of hand, but taking the sure thing with Imp Master. My plan was to be aggressive and swarm the board.
  11. Voodoo Doctor, Volcanic Drake, Annoy-o-Tron – Fills lack of 2-drops.  
  12. Gnomeregan Infantry, Abusive Sergeant, Kvaldir Raider – Just the value pick. Didn’t have any card above 4-mana at this point.
  13. Tinkertown Technician, Violet Illusionist, Grotesque Dragonhawk – Best pick.
  14. Jungle Panther, Kill Command, Squirming Tentacle – Another easy pick as Kill Command is great for face and killing a 5-health minion.
  15. Evolved Kobold, Mechanical Yeti, Blackwing Technician – Clear pick.
  16. Acidic Swamp Ooze, Carrion Grub, Explosive Sheep – Carrion Grub has more value, but severely lacked 2-drops.
  17. Tracking, King’s Elekk, Tundra Rhino – 2-drop beast and draw upside. Can’t get better than that.
  18. Elven Archer, Mechwarper, Dragonhawk Rider – Another 2-drop. Helps 2 other Mechs.
  19. Armored Warhorse, Eater of Secrets, Questing Adventurer – Skipped on Questing again for an aggressive pick that worked well with deck.
  20. Forlorn Stalker, Nerubian Egg, Infest – Good for replenishing the hand, and the other choices were not convincing enough.
  21. Kindly Grandmother, Brave Archer, Houndmaster – Tough choice, but I took a chance to pass on the 2-drop for a great card in Houndmaster.
  22. Stormpike Commando, Spider Tank, Twisted Worgen – Not a great 2-drop, given things like Twilight Flamecaller, but needed a 2-drop.
  23. Kindly Grandmother, Lord of the Arena, Arcane Shot – I’m a broken record, but 2-drop.
  24. Bear Trap, Arcane Anomaly, Arcanosmith – At this point, Bear Trap had the most upside to put a 3-drop beat on Turn 2.
  25. Core Hound, Cloaked Huntress, Archmage – At this point, I had nothing big. Core Hound has poor value, but beast works okay.
  26. Arcanosmith, Frostwolf Grunt, Cult Apothecary – I figured Arcanosmith has upside, as the shield will protect my minions, while they go face.
  27. Zoobot, Tracking, Southsea Deckhand – I felt fine with my draws to pick Zoobot to buff my beasts.
  28. Boneguard Lieutenant, Jungle Panther, King’s Elekk – Best of these early drops.
  29. Misdirection, Bloodsail Corsair, Jeeves – All horrible, but Misdirection provides the most upside and keeps the enemy guessing.
  30. Argent Commander, Arcane Nullifier X-21, Abomination – Clear pick.

Hearthstone Screenshot 11-09-16 22.14.56.png

Gameplan

  • As evidenced by the draft, I had 1 each of 5-6-7 drops, and nothing but 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s. With this draft composition, I had a clear path to play my fast tempo game. The low cost minions also allows me to hero power a good deal as well.
  • I drafted a lot of beasts, which allows me to use cards like Houndmaster, Kill Command, and Zoobot for max value.
  • With cards like Cult Master, Infest, and King’s Elekk, I had the card advantage game down pat. Given I am hardwired to play tempo, I often topdeck in the arena.
  • Taunts in the deck also allow me to go face and trade less.

Game Replays

Thanks to the folks at HearthSim, all of my games under Deck Tracker are now uploaded to the Internet. You can see all my questionable gameplay below.

Upshot

  • Despite not having weapons or Freezing Trap or Savannah Highmane, this deck did a ton of work to make my 500th arena a good outcome.
  • Cult Master and Infest won me card advantage as expected, and the small minions were great for that. Infest in particularly gave me stupid-good value minions.
  • Arcanosmith did a ton of work. The 0/5 Shield was often on the board while I went face.
  • Mechwarper did work getting the 3-drop Yeti.
  • Misdirection, being the “unknown secret,” worked 2 times in this run. It was played around otherwise.
  • Overall, a very solid run, and one that was very fun to play. Given my tempo mentality, this was right in my wheelhouse. On to the next one!

Screenshots

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

I played a Druid deck over the course of 2 days, and got my first 12-win run with the class, and my 10th Lightforge overall. Fittingly, I’ve been using The Lightforge Tierlist for drafting lately (thanks ADWCTA/Merps), given some recent struggles.

Arena Druid 9.19.16

Deck type

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.29.png

This deck is weird in that it had no 5-mana cards at all. There is a heavy presence of 2-4 drops, and good amount of late game. See the Addled Grizzly? That was actually Pick #1, and I picked it over Knife Juggler. Seems crazy, but Addled Grizzly is a card I am well-fond of and know how to use.

Two drop consistency

Crazed Alchemist isn’t a true 2-drop, more of a gadget tool. Besides the Alch, there are 8 true 2-drops, which is more than enough to cover my poor mulligan choices. And the 2-drops I drafted are pretty good themselves. Anodized Robo Cub with it’s taunt and choose one ability is as good as it gets in the 2-hole.

Middle game

The 3-4 drops in this deck did a lot of work. 2 Chillwind Yetis, Ogre Brute, and Eydis Darkbane provided the meat for efficient board trading. Addled Grizzly and Flesheating Ghoul served as win-more tools. 2 Cult Masters helped me draw my way to victory in some games. When I had Innervate, I opted to play a 3-drop or 4-drop early.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 21.46.08.png
1-mana 3/4! The Mana Screw is real.

Big drops

Kodorider is a bit of a trump card to force concedes, though it was played on Turn 8 once for trading. 2 North Sea Krakens provided huge value as a Turn 9 play. Ironbark Protector was great against aggressive boards. Boulderfist Ogre was a useful fat guy. Stormwind Champ great as always. Moonglade Portal provided me some useful 6-drops, including Sylvanas in my 11-2 game, key to survival against 2 Frothing Berserkers.

Reach

North Sea Kraken and Swipe have use as board clears, but were often used to go face in this run. Besides that, Stormwind Champion and Addled Grizzly provided minion buffs for extra damage. Addled Grizzly was MVP in some games.

hearthstone-screenshot-09-19-16-22-30-34
Hey guys, Addled Grizzly is pretty good.

Survivability

Taunts galore, with 6 taunts in this game. The 4 2-drop taunts were key for protecting my early game board, while Ironbark helped in games where I was behind, or facing lethal. Moonglade Portal was surprisingly useful for the 6 heals.

Card draw

No cards provided instant draw, but the 2 Cult Masters outright won me games when I had the board. The constant cycling of board trading and card draw is one of the greatest feelings of dominance when playing arena.

Early removal

I guess Swipe counts, but I did not really use it for removal in this run.

Hard removal

Naturalize is the only hard removal. Though I am hesitant to give my opponent cards, I used Naturalize in a non-greedy fashion, in junctures to gain tempo advantage the board, or just on reads when I felt the opponent had no other good minions.

AoE/Board clears

Swipe was the only board clear, but I don’t think I used the function to much success. I Swiped face once to clear 2 1-health minions. Eydis Darkbane had a spare part trigger once to injure a minion.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 23.23.59.png
Malfurion moonlighting as a Rogue.

 

Synergy

The main synergy combo in this deck is Haunted Creeper + Addled Grizzly, which forces the creation of 2 2/2 Spectral Spiders. Tinkertown Technician was very good with the 2 Anodized Robo Cubs. Taunts have inherent synergy with Cult Master and Addled Grizzly.

Conclusion

Coming into this game, Druid was my 7th best class (or 3rd worse). My draft was helped vastly by the recent banlist, which helped weed out bad cards. Every card I drafted was at least average, and I made it work with some synergy. Though I had a Swipe, I mostly won my games through minion trading, or using my hero power. With my Rogue struggles since the banlist, it makes sense that Druid would be a good class to pick, given the similar hero power. Now I have 3 classes left to get 12-wins with, Warrior, Priest, and Mage. Frankly, I’ll be happy with 12 in any class nowadays.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.51.png
Max bling

Rogue Arena Run – Cannons, Knives, Galore

Well, it’s going to be a long 3 weeks till the release of Old Gods. To kill the time, I’ve been at my nearly 1 arena/day pace. I haven’t really been getting better, but I am making enough gold to sustain these runs.

Draft

Decklist

Hearthstone Screenshot 04-03-16 13.04.34.png

  • It hurts every time to draft a deck where no Backstabs, Eviscerates, Fan of Knives, or Assassinates are provides. This is going to be amplified once the new expansion comes out. As more cards come out, these “core cards” of a class will get diluted further.
  • In lieu of core Rogue removal, I have a lot of minion spot removal cards throughout the deck. Some of these are targetable (SI:7, Undercity Valiant, Stormpike), others are based on RNG (Bomb Lobber, Ship’s Cannon, Knife Juggler)
  • There is a little pirate synergy with Ship’s Cannon and Shady Dealer.
  • The deck is aggressive, but there is a ton of card drawing in it. I should never run out of steam.

Games

  1. Shaman – 1st – 1-0 – The longest game of the run (12 minutes) was mostly a prolonged fight for the board for 10 turns. I repeatedly got coins with Cutpurse and continually dominated the card advantage game. My opponent ran out of steam.
  2. Mage – 1st – 2-0 – Well I certainly had RNG on my side, including a double knife juggle into 2 1-health minions. I traded a lot of my life towards the end to keep my opponent in check, and preserve my minion’s health. With my opponent topdecking, I was able to win again thanks to card advantage.
  3. Priest – 1st – 3-0 – My opponent just had no answers to my small minions (Cutpurse, Ship’s Cannon), while SI:7 and Bomb Lobber kept the board clean for my guys to do face damage. This ended by Turn 8.
  4. Rogue – Coin – 4-0 – A somewhat competitive game, where Betrayal and Stormwind Champion helped me flip the board.
  5. Paladin – 1st – 5-0 – It was a straight up aggro affair and highlighted what this deck does well in. Swarming the board and spot removal with minions. An oiled Salty Dog finished it.
  6. Druid – Coin – 6-0 – The Druid tried to control the board, but seemingly had nothing to play on certain turns. A Sap on a Captured Jormungar helped me flood the board.
  7. Mage – 1st – 7-0 – A really competitive game. The game featured my using Ancestral Spirit (Spellslinger!) on an injured Stormwind Champion. Then that guy got killed and MCT’d.
  8. Warlock – 1st – 8-0 – A bunch of early game was played on both sides. Mistress of Pain (Shredder) helped me trade life and gain life, while a Master Jouster left my board untouchable.
  9. Paladin – 1st – 9-0 – A Betrayal helped flip the board and then I had a Ogre Ninja on Tinker’s Oil for repeated SMOrc duty. Thanks to Paladin heals, the Ogre Ninja did a total of 36 face damage. Gud akuracee.
  10. Mage – 1st – 9-1 – I was repeatedly fighting for the board, and got a miracle Betrayal (again) to put my opponent in trouble with lethal. But then Pyroblast.
  11. Paladin – Coin – 10-1 – A rather competitive game with lots of trading and fight for the board till the end. Card advantage thanks to Sprint helped me get back.
  12. Rogue – 1st – 11-1 – Enter the Hall of Rogues with Good Removal. I was up 25-11 by Turn 9, but my opponent had a North Sea Kraken. Facing lethal with a 9-6 score at Turn 11, I had a topdeck Undercity Valiant for enough lethal, thanks to Cutpurse coins.
  13. Rogue – 1st – 11-2 – The removals were endless. Backstab, SI:7, Eviscerate, Bomb Lobber, Goblin Auto-Barber, Fan of Knives… It came time when a Reversing Switch on a Evil Heckler (4/5) gave them enough protection to win. Man, this is the taunt advantage for Rogues.
  14. Rogue – Coin – 11-3 – I only lasted 3 minutes and 7 turns. Thanks to Backstabs and Eviscerates, I never got on the board. I got throttled by a Drakonid Crusher.

Upshot

  • You can have the best minions around, but good removal spells are key to the best arena runs. Against other Rogues with Backstabs and Eviscerates, I was never able to establish my board. If I had some consistent removal, I might have had enough for 12.
  • I had enough RNG on my side in this run. Can’t complain about that.
  • Though I didn’t have Rogue removals, this deck was right in my wheelhouse. Plays fast, uses minions for removal, board control.
  • Betrayal came through a lot in this run, as the main card that flipped the board in my advantage. Keep your positioning skills intact!
  • I got surprises from cards like Cutpurse and Salty Dog in this run. I like them a little more now!

Paladin Arena: Liadrin Joins the Struggle

Last week, I spent two days playing WoW in order to obtain my Lady Liadrin Paladin skin. I did obtain her, but was continually not offered Paladin in the Arena. I notoriously don’t play Paladin as a Ranked class (2 wins), so I needed a Paladin Arena selection to debut Liadrin.

Decklist

Hearthstone Screenshot 03-20-16 18.51.17.png

  • A red carpet debut for Liadrin, with two legendaries in Tirion and Fjola. Unlike many other 2 legendary drafts, which don’t work well, both of these cards are pretty good. Tirion could be the most valuable card of any in the Arena.
  • I spent the first 20 picks or so drafting for value, and had a huge glut of 4 drops. My last 10 picks was catch up in drafting early game. I had to make awkward picks like Gadgetzan Jouster over Boulderfist Ogre.
  • This deck has a little bit of everything it seems. Some removal, some AoE, some buffs, some secrets, some weapons, some taunts. Card draw could be an issue, as I just have Hammer of Wrath and Tomb Spider.

Games (now on YouTube!)

  1. Paladin – Coin – 1-0 – A weird game in that I never really won control of the board. I was just ahead through the game and was able to be aggressive to close the game out. Ashbringer from Tirion came through for some face damage.
  2. Paladin – Coin – 1-1 – I got in an awkward spot Turn 8 when I was forced to trade a 8/5 Frost Ele into a 6/1 Lord of the Arena. I burned out due to lack of card advantage and was overrun by Murlocs.
  3. Paladin – 1st – 1-2 – I made the face turn up 30-10, but it was a turn too early. Like the last game, I was topdecking and overrun by Murlocs.
  4. Hunter – 1st – 2-2 – I was mostly in control in the game, and a Tomb Spidered- Maexxna was useful.
  5. Rogue – Coin – 3-2 – A 4 minute blowout in which I had the board right away and had tempo to put stuff out every turn.
  6. Druid – 1st – 4-2 – A game where a lot of taunts were put out on the board, but Tirion ended the game.
  7. Mage – Coin – 5-2 – The mage had no answers in board clears to clear my minions.
  8. Mage – 1st – 5-3 – A 16 turn affair where I just threw the game away. The mage had a lot of spells to remove my minions. Instead of trying to take the board, I kept hitting face and put pressure. My opponent’s Cult Master helped draw enough to beat me.

Upshot

  • Was too greedy throughout the arena run, where trading could’ve helped. The double good legendary draft must have wrecked me with power.
  • Tirion is as good as advertised, but he is not immune to a board of Murlocs.
  • Card cycling is important, and it was a big downfall of this deck.
Hearthstone Screenshot 03-20-16 22.12.32.png
Murloc destroys Tirion

Say a prayer: Priest arena run

Say a prayer: Priest arena run

My Hearthstone Arena experience has been not pleasant of late, with most runs not getting to 5 wins even. My best classes and decent drafts have all failed me. With that, I am turning to my worst and least played class, Priest. Though Rogues perform miracles in Hearthstone, I am dire need of a turnaround.

Decklist

Hearthstone Screenshot 02-21-16 13.06.51.png
Haven’t had one these mana curves in a while.
  • Card quality is pretty good overall.
  • Very little late game, plenty of early and mid game though.
  • Quite a bit of AoE, with 2 Holy Novas, Auchenai + Circle, and a couple of Wild Pyromancers.
  • Card cycling will happen through 4 discover cards I have.

Games

  1. Warlock – 1st – 1-0 – Big board fight on Turn 7-9, helped by a discovered Toshley/Sneed’s Shredder I had. Opponent played two legendary dragons in Chillmaw and Onyxia late, and the Chillmaw definitely backfired in clearing their own board. Fossilized Devilsaur was useful in this game as well.
  2. Mage – 1st – 1-1 – I was going aggro in this game, while my opponent had pure card advantage. I was up 30-4, but started down 2 secrets, likely Ice Block and Effigy. So I kept going face. I was out of cards by the end, and I had to concede.
  3. Rogue – 1st – 2-1 – Easy game, where my opponent anti-tempoed big time by playing Summoning Stone and Blade Flurry. Fossilized Devilsaur and a discovered Cairne chipped away enough.
  4. Hunter – 1st – 3-1 – The true highlight of the run. The fight for the board lasted till Turn 8, when I had a buffed 4/4 Shadowboxer and clear with Holy Nova. My opponent then fueled up with Jeeves, drawing a few crucial cards, including Gladiator’s Longbow. I decided to pick Majordomo Executus for some reason against a threatening board, and he activated when I had 15 life. Though I lose a Armored Warhorse joust, I had enough for lethal thanks for Tomb Spider and DIE INSECT!
  5. Druid – 1st – 4-1 – Really quick 7 turn game where I just out-aggroed the opponent. A board never relinquished will lead to laughers like this.
  6. Rogue – Coin – 4-2 – Rogue did Rogue things, and had a Yeti that stayed on the board forever. I was down 25-5 in Turn 8, and stuck it out to Turn 10 out of sheer desperation.
  7. Shaman – 1st – 5-2 – I had full control in this game, though the board was seemingly contested every turn. A late Entomb sealed the deal.
  8. Paladin – Coin – 5-3 – A smart opponent who knew I was holding on to Holy Novas. A slew of discovery reinforcements were not enough to save me from the big threats I couldn’t clear.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-21-16 14.25.20
I love the Shadowboxer’s attack effects.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-21-16 13.20.29
A Devilsaur gains 3/3 and taunt after become a fossil.

 

Grades

  • Circle of Healing –  C+ – I pulled off the Auchenai Circle combo once in a game I was losing for sure. At other times I used it as a bait for Counterspell. Otherwise it did nothing in my hand.
  • Power Word: Shield – B+ – Didn’t get the card too often, but I used it on an opponent for cycling cards once when I was topdecking. Another time, it allowed a minion to live after trading.
  • Zombie Chow – B+ – A late game Zombie Chow provided enough life in a close game to the opponent. Otherwise, solid early game presence/trading.
  • Shadow Word: Pain – A- – Didn’t get it much, but used it to great value against a 3/5 Dragonkin Sorcerer, and clearing a 3/3 MCT in a close game that threatened lethal.
  • Mad Bomber – C- – I only played Mad Bomber once, and I killed my own minion.
  • Museum Curator – A+ – The best card of the run that seemingly discovered legendaries on every pick. The picks I played include Toshley, Sneed’s Shredder and Cairne Bloodhoof. Once I opted for Majordomo in what resulted in a very close game.
  • Puddlestomper – C+ – Nothing amazing, was played as my opening 2-drop twice and was subsequently traded by the opponent.
  • Shadowboxer – B+ – Despite having bad aim at clearing enemies, the Shadowboxer provided a solid 2/3, which traded well against small things. As other times, the constant face damage helped me quite a bit.
  • Shrinkmeiser – B+ – Did pretty good, allowing me to keep my minions alive after trading.
  • Wild Pyromancer – B – I used the Holy Nova combo a few times to good effect, but sometimes the 3 dmg was not enough. Otherwise, played for tempo a ton.
  • Velen’s Chosen – A+ – Just an amazing card that provided buffs to my minions, allowing them to stay around a while, thanks to the Priest heals.
  • Scarlet Crusader – B- – Did not show up a ton in this run, but it once became a 5/5, until it got Polymorphed.
  • Auchenai Soulpriest – A- – Pulled off the Circle combo once, but otherwise was good for spot clears of dying minions. Traded well with minions as well.
  • Chillwind Yeti – B- – The yeti did it’s job with the vanilla 4/5 stats. Nothing remarkable in this game.
  • Kezan Mystic – C+ – Pulled off a 2 for 1 trade once, but otherwise a tempo card that never got to steal any secrets.
  • Piloted Shredder – B+ – Did Piloted Shredder things, forcing trades and dropping something off. The cards I got from drops weren’t that good in this run.
  • Sen’jin Shieldmasta – A– Did a very solid job to create awkward situations, to allow me to set up my board. Used Velen’s Chosen on him a few times to create a big taunt.
  • Spellbreaker – C+ – I silenced a Nerubian Egg once, which had no bearing on a game I had easily won.
  • Tomb Spider – B – I didn’t get notable cards from Tomb Spider, but it allowed me to activate Fossilived Devilsaur twice. The 3/3 body was useful in wearing down opponents as well.
  • Holy Nova – A- – Quite devastating in a few games, with Wild Pyro to clean up. In my final game though, my opponent played around both Holy Novas I used.
  • Frostwolf Warlord – B- – Showed up a couple times to be a big threat to end games. Traded well or hit face.
  • Madder Bomber – I – Did not show up the whole run!
  • Entomb – A – Used it on Molten Giant, Fen Creeper and Force-Tank Max.
  • Fossilized Devilsaur – B+ – Surprise of the deck. Once being a big time beatstick to hit face, another time being the threat for lethal. Both times, it had taunt thanks to Tomb Spider.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-21-16 13.23.16
I immediately thought of this deck. Huehuehue
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-21-16 13.59.51
Anduin needed a nap during the run.

Upshot

  • My best run in 6 days or so, really with the Priest.
  • With that Priest leapfrogs Warrior as second-worst!
  • This is a deck that better Priest players would take maybe 8 or more wins. Just a great deck drafted, played by someone who doesn’t know how to play Priest.
  • Velen’s Chosen is really good. That will leave a bitter taste when Standard Play comes around.

12 Win Shaman -Arena on Fire

12 Win Shaman -Arena on Fire

Last night I queued up a Hearthstone Arena (like most nights), and decided to play Shaman. 85 minutes later, I got my 6th Lightforge Key, and the first with a Shaman. Here are some possible explanations about this:

  1. All the pro Hearthstone players were playing Duelyst, leaving a weaker crop of opponents.
  2. I have been virtually devoid of extra Hearthstone thought of late, given the blizzard and watching football. Oh yeah, and playing lots of Diablo 3.
  3. I drafted a good deck, and things went well this run.

Unlike previous Arena recaps, I will try a different format. The deck tracker actually lost the replays of my last 4-5 games, so there is no point in doing that. So instead, I will grade every card I drafted, and how well it did in this particular arena run.

Hearthstone Screenshot 01-24-16 22.22.02.png

Report Card

  • Lightning Bolt – B – This was one of 2 removal spells in the deck, and it did what lightning bolts do, remove small things. Occasionally, the Wrath of the Air Totem provided 4 damage.
  • Abusive Sergeant – B – While the battlecry was triggered a few times in the game, this was my go-to 1-drop, to trigger ping minion. That 1-drop tempo at times is very useful in forcing coin usage.
  • Stormforged Axe – B+ – Typically a great weapon, but in this run, I didn’t draw it too often, or had it in the late game. It did it’s job in the few games I had it, allowing me to clear small stuff.
  • Lava Shock – B+ – Did about the same as the Lightning Bolt, though the removal of overloaded crystal helped 1-2 times this run.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – A- – I was able to destroy a poisoned dagger once, and a bunch of Light’s Justices from Paladins. Against non-weapon classes, played a typical 2-drop.
  • Bloodfen Raptor – C+ – I don’t know if this card can ever be amazing outside of Hunter and Druid. But he did his job, trading with things, getting traded by opponents, etc.
  • Flame Juggler – B- – Normally a solid card, but he was a the bad side of RNG consistently in this run. He hit face a lot, when clearing a minion would be better. This won’t stop me from drafting him though.
  • Micro Machine – C+ – Micro Machine is a card people get greedy with. In this run, the card did help me win one game, when it was boosted by a Powermace. Otherwise, it stayed in my hand, or was a good distraction piece.
  • Sunfury Protector – B – This deck doesn’t have a ton of 2-drops, and this was my consistent 2/3 drop, which I prefer. The taunt bonus was used a few times, though mostly played a tempo role. I drew her a lot in this run, giving her a plus.
  • Whirling Zap-o-Matic – B+ – Whirling Zap single-handedly won a game, applying constant pressure to my opponent, and played a big role in another. Otherwise, it was a tempo 2 that got killed right away, or was a distraction.
  • Powermace x2 – A – Just a solid weapon, and the added bonus helped a bunch of my mechs through the run.
  • Hex x2 – A+ – Hex is the best removal in the game, and having 2 was vital to getting 12. I hexed anything that got in the way, from Chillwind Yetis to Force-Tanks.
  • Shattered Sun Cleric – B+ – Shattered Sun provided me a few key boosts, in which the 1-health boost allowed my minions to survived after trading, and trade some  more. Great for totems.
  • Spider Tank – B – Just a steady 3-drop that traded its usual 2-for-1 deal.
  • Dark Iron Dwarf – B+ – I think I only played this guy for tempo once the whole run, so he was otherwise boosting things for trading the whole game.
  • Defender of Argus – A- – The boost helped a lot of minions and totems trade and survive subsequent attacks. Helped stop an aggressive deck once.
  • Fireguard Destroyer – A – Played the role of the beatstick in this game, and I had him in most games for whatever reason. 75% of Fireguard Destroyer outcomes are worth or provide benefit for the cost, so overall great. I don’t recall getting the 4/6 outcome at all, so good RNG.
  • Maiden of the Lake – C – Really didn’t do much in this game, besides sticking around the board. It became a 3/7 taunt with Defender of Argus once. I didn’t abuse the 1-cost totems too much.
  • Rumbling Elemental – A – Bah gawd. This card is overlooked a lot, but one must consider how many battlecry minions there are. This deck had 14. The constant triggers, coupled with good RNG, helped wipe boards consistently of weak minions. I have a whole new appreciation of this card, though it will probably screw me over once in a while.
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Naxx out? Get it, get it?
  • Spellbreaker – A- – Spellbreaker had a key save on a super-aggressive deck, by silencing all the buffs off this 9-attack Argent Horserider, allowing me to come back and win. He also stopped a Sunwalker once, among other fancy things.
  • Thunder Bluff Valiant – C- Normally a very good card, but didn’t do anything in this run. I think I boosted totems once in the entire run. It was more a product of my deck, in which Fire Elementals dominated my late drops. In a loss, he just served as a distraction. Next time bud.
  • Argent Commander – A – I honestly used him to go face a good few times this game, which helps much, given the divine shield.
  • Fire Elemental x4 – A+ – During the draft, I was offered 4 Fire Elementals, and drafted all of them. I was considered I had too many big drops, but I was wrong. This card made up for the lack of removals in the deck, consistently clearing boards and providing a biggish body. Always draft Fire Elemental over any card, with the exception of Hex, if you really really need 1 Hex. Otherwise pick this guy. I probably would have had 6 wins if I didn’t have so many Fire Elementals.
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Yes, I played Fire Elementals for 4 straight turns once.
  • Force-Tank Max – C+ – Often times, this was too big for me to play, but I often paired it with a totem. I did some fancy Powermace buffing with the tank at least 2 times. Just a big threat that did more intimidating than action.
  • Archthief Rafaam – B – The true win condition of the deck, I played Rafaam a total of 3 times the whole run. Once the Mirror of Doom and 3/3 Zombie flood actually helped me win a game. In the other 2 games, Rafaam just served as intimidation, causing people to concede soon after, knowing I had an artifact. Solid legendary pick over Gruul and Bronzebeard.
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Low-gold 12 win award. I did get Epic cards I didn’t have from both packs.

Upshot

  • Shaman becomes my third best class in the arena, actually having a almost identical percentage as Paladin.
  • I had good RNG, though the Rumbling Elemental + Battlecry setup will let you win the randomness battle more than not.
  • Fire Elementals are money.
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I got a bonus reward for my 12th win!

Druid Arena Run – Velociraptor Mafia

5 years ago, I was a second semester senior at college. Coasting through the semester, me and some friends decided to play weekly trivia Tuesday nights at a local bar. We were a consistently competitive team, winding up in the top 3 most nights. One of the other competitive teams was a sorority group, named Velociraptor Mafia. When I drafted 4 Mounted Raptors in this arena run, I thought of them.

Decklist

Arena Druid 1.16.16.png

  • Mostly decent card quality for this run, highlighted by the 4 raptors. Likely faster than a standard Druid arena deck, given the high amount of 1-3 drops.
  • While I do have removals, and card draw cards, there are no synergies in this deck.
  • I still am inexperienced playing Druid in Arena and Constructed.

Games

  • Mage – Coin – 1-0 – Aren’t the first games in an arena run sometimes the most difficult? An 18-turn game here. My board was blown out with a Flamestrike in Turn 13. A Webspinner which dropped from a Raptor was Faceless Manipulated by my opponent, as they were down on cards. My Webspinner wound up giving me a Gahz’rilla, while opponent got a Hungry Crab. My opponent plays Reno Jackson on Turn 17 to heal up, but my boosted Gahz and board were too much. Maybe due to fatigue, my opponent makes a misplay in the end, by playing a minion rather than Fireblasting my Gahz. Oh well.
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Playing around Mirror Entity is easy and makes you feel good.
  • Hunter – 1st – 2-0 – I played a guy named BattleZerg, and it was a bit of an aggro swarm. I had a boosted Scarlet Crusader (4/2) that my opponent was never able to deal with. Things died and my Scarlet kept applying pressure. An opponent Desert Camel brought out enough for a lethal.
  • Mage – Coin – 3-0 – I started with a hand of 3 Raptors, which is a bit much too be honest. But the Raptors did play a big role in giving me things on the board. I simply had minions on the board, while my opponent was left with tech cards and specialty removals.
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Velociraptor Mafia. The 4th one was taking a nap.
  • Warlock – 1st – 3-1 – I used Innervate to get a Mounted Raptor out in Turn 1, but it was countered well by my opponent. It was over when an Imp Gang Boss was out and a Twilight Drake joined in Turn 4. A Jeweled Scarab into Demonwrath cleaned off the board. I tried to stick around the last few turns, but it was clearly over.
  • Mage – Coin – 3-2 – I do the worst against Mages, and this was a straight up Grinder Mage. Flamecannon there, Arcane Explosion and Arcane Missles, 2 Frost Novas here and there. Eventually I got beat by big things like a boosted Ethereal Arcanist, Sea Giant, and Force-Tank Max. Impressive deck that was virtually spells and big things.
  • Paladin – 1st – 3-3 – I was applying pressure most of the game while the board was contested, as evidenced by the 24-8 score by Turn 10. But I was in topdeck mode, while my opponent had a growing board and The Beast. With my opponent at 4 life, I played Raven Idol to attempt to get a spell for damage. I got another Raven Idol. I play it again, and get… Wild Growth. I play Excess Mana, and no extra reach in my deck.
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Possible misplay here.

Upshot

  • Deck was good, but I still have no idea how to play Druid.
  • Mistakes in playing Druid include not knowing when to play Innervate, mulligan options, etc.
  • The Mounted Raptors were useful but not “amazing.” Definitely worse than Piloted Shredder.
  • Possibly the lack of synergies hurt me in this run.