Grinding Tools

February 2016 was a rather unusual month for me Hearthstone-wise. I’ve considered myself an arena player for quite some time, and expect to play plenty in the future. But a baffling inability to win games in the arena forced me to turn to Ranked Play. And playing quite a few constructed games gave me a bit of insight into the grinder mindset.

Gory stats

Feb16 stats

Deck Tracker kept track of my games for the last month. The 93-72 record equates to a 56% win rate, which is only better than my Priest and Warrior arena records. It has been said that players can reach Legend with a low 50’s win rate, but only through quite a bit of grinding and some lucky win streaks. You just have to endure lots of losing, some winning, and need to have gobs of time to play Hearthstone.

  • As much as I like to complain about the Druid Combo, I don’t do the worst against them.
  • Mages were very predictable this month, allowing me to get quick reads and prepare well.
  • I didn’t lose to Rogues all month in Ranked!

Grinding Tools (Decks)

  • LiveHigh Tempo Rogue – (Ranks 20-8) – This deck did all the heavy lifting to get me through all the lower ranks. A Rogue deck with the Gadgetzan Auctioneer draw engine, Sabotage, Antique Healbots, and the surprise wildcard of Ragnaros. LiveHigh makes some amazing decks.
  • Kolento Aggro Shaman (Ranks 9-6) – The popular aggro/burn Shaman is common in competitive ranked play. Kolento’s Shaman in the Curse Trials is a board control-based version of the Burn Shaman with Antique Healbots, Elemental Destruction, Lightning Storm and Hexes.
  • Brann Reliquary Warlock (Ranks 12-9) – I crafted Gormok this month, and decided to make a Warlock deck. I previously enjoyed the Reliquary Deck, but the addition of Brann Bronzebeard was new to me. My variation of the deck contains Enhance-o-Mechano and Gormok, so it is slightly slower than the average flood Warlock.
  • Ryzen Oil Rogue (Ranks 8-6) – Ryzen’s Oil Deck has the classic look of the Oil Rogue you have seen for ages, but with Edwin VanCleef and Sludge Belcher.
  • My Reno Rogue (Waffling in Rank 6) – This is the Reno Rogue I made myself, which can use some solid tweaking. While it is useless against the lower ranks during a season grind, it won about 50% of the games in Rank 6.
  • J4CKIECHAN Injured Camel (Ranks 7-6) – I fell off Rank 6 on the last day of the season. So I spent Leap Day getting back to Rank 6 with this new flash in the pan Hunter deck. A completely surprise of a deck, which features Desert Camel summoning a 2/4 Injured Kvaldir from the deck. A board control-based deck that baffles opponents while it is still new. I ran out of steam often with this deck, unless I had my Cult Master on the board.

What I learned

I put some time in Constructed the last month, and I got my best rank ever. This is what I learned.

  • A big component of Ranked is the element of surprise. When someone comes in playing a deck you don’t expect, you can’t play around things or make correct reads. While the tried-and-true meta decks you see over and over are effective and popular for a reason, you can make better reads against them.
  • It takes a different animal to succeed in the grind for Legend. I have somewhat diminished game stamina now, and am occupied with work. No wonder the top Hearthstone players don’t have jobs!
  • I can’t wrap my head around playing the same deck for a whole season. The Tempo Rogue got me far, but when I started losing games, I turned to other decks to keep pushing my rank up. Keep cycling your decks to prevent things from getting stale.
Hearthstone Screenshot 03-01-16 08.47.00
What?!
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-02-16 23.25.35
I decided to craft Ragnaros on February 2nd. It paid off big time! But then I got one in a pack a week later.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-20-16 21.32.18
Surprising effective anti-aggro move.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-17-16 20.39.11
4 Coghammers for the price of none.
Hearthstone Screenshot 02-28-16 01.00.40
I guess there’s a reason Aviana costs 9.

 

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Things I’m Thankful for in Hearthstone

I know, I know, the title of this post is cheesy as all heck, but I am somewhat spent and just ready for a few days of not working. In elementary school, they made us do assignments for holidays to know the relevance of them, and much is the same for American Thanksgiving. While making hand turkeys out of yellow/brown/orange/red construction paper did not teach me of the etiology of smallpox transmission vectors across American Indians, we were told to give thanks on Thanksgiving. Here’s what I’m currently thankful for in Hearthstone.

  1. New Meta – The LoE expansion did a lot to refresh the ranked meta. The meta was so unenjoyable that I became an exclusively arena player for a few months. I’m glad to be facing Trogg Shamans, Reliquary Warlocks, Raptor Rogues, Reno Jacksons, etc. The good thing is that only half of the expansion is out, so there are plenty of new decks bound to come up in the coming weeks.
  2. Tavern Brawls – It’s clear that Casual Mode is abused and serves no real purpose besides testing out a deck you don’t want to take to ranked. Tavern Brawls not only give you something else to do, but for me they help me clear daily quests. I don’t play all classes equally, and my 9 decks (more decks please) usually consist of a Warlock, Priest, Shaman, and 6 Rogues. So a premade deck in a Tavern Brawl gives me a chance to clear 60 gold on a class I never play.
  3. The HS Arena Community – I enjoy the arena a lot and am thankful that an arena community actually exists. There are streams, articles, podcasts solely about the arena. While this is a small minority of the overall Hearthstone community, they are really dedicated in fostering what is IMO the best aspect of Hearthstone.
  4. eSports – While I enjoy regular sports (baseball, football) very much, there was no way I could’ve been a professional athlete. The biggest factor is that I’m 5’4″. While eSports is still trying to make it, it seems as if it is starting to get somewhere in America.  It would be a pretty good gig to make a living playing video games. Hearthstone has been instrumental in helping eSports becoming bigger, with the creation of content, teams, tournaments, etc.
  5. Reno Jackson – The feeling when you play Reno Jackson against a face deck.
UM5MOIL - Imgur
I never realized all the guns were censored when I was kid.

http://i.imgur.com/UM5MOIL.gifv

Jerry-Rigged Footage of Reno Jackson

My Reno Rogue deck is likely the most useful deck I have ever created. I’m not a great constructed player (don’t ask about arena nowadays) at all, and this deck has now taken me to Rank 13 with 2 weeks left in the month. Rank 13 is typically around where I end my seasons, but with no gold to play arena, I have been forced to play constructed. And it has been a blessing in disguise since the Reno Rogue deck is refreshing and the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Below are some videos of some gameplay I recorded, mostly yesterday. Also Failure is playing in the vids, which is a band I like a lot.

There’s also a game in which I lost, which is not posted here, but is on the YouTube channel.

Lethargy

In lieu of writing a real post about Hearthstone, here is a collection of screenshots from recent-ish games.

That time I beat Hafu in constructed. Well, who knows if it's real Hafu.
That time I beat Hafu in constructed. Well, who knows if it’s real Hafu.
Eydis on supplements
Eydis on supplements
Poisoned Blade Action v2.0
Poisoned Blade Action v2.0
Respect to Hobgoblin arena guy.
Respect to Hobgoblin arena guy.
Ancient Mage value
Ancient Mage value