“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

Occasionally Huffer?

Hearthstone is over 2 years old, and players have been duking it out Wizard Poker style well before that in the beta stages. It’s safe to say that some cards are more well-known than others, owing to either effectiveness in the meta, being nerfed, or just being well-known for some inexorable reason. Take Annoy-o-Tron for example.

Annoy-o-Tron had utility when Mech Mages roamed the earth, but they weren’t typically a staple card. It’s still pretty good in the Arena, at all phases of a game. But Annoy-o-Tron became a factotum of Hearthstone because of it’s effective absurdity. The card fit as being good, but wacky and a butt monkey of GvG. These qualities allowed Annoy-o-Tron to have it’s own Tavern Brawl and have it featured in Hearthstone commercials.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-30-15 13.22.25.png
OP pls nerf.

As such, another really well-known card amongst the Hearthstone community is Animal Companion. And of course, Huffer. Just plug in “always Huffer” into Google, and you’ll find 276,000 results.

Context

“Always Huffer” refers to Animal Companion always getting Huffer. Typically, this applies to your opponent playing Animal Companion, and having a 4-attack charge for insta-reach, and allowing cards like Kill Command to hit face. In a recent and spectacular Hearthstone cartoon, “always Huffer” was cleverly invoked with the Random Animal Generator (R.A.G.).

r.a.g..PNG

Animal companions

If you bootstrap it enough times, each Animal Companion should come out 33% of the time. And really, all of the Animal Companions are great value plays for 3 mana. Huffer is a +1/+1 over Wolfrider. Misha is a +1/+1 over Ironfur Grizzly. Leokk is a 0/+2 over Raid Leader. All have their respective uses and are appreciated.

Small sample results

Last night, I had my first successful Arena in a few days, taking a Hunter to 8 wins. And the deck had 3 Animal Companions. Through the run, I realized it wasn’t always Huffer. In fact, it was infrequently Huffer! I went back and looked at my Animal Companion summons over the 11-game Arena run.

  • Total Animal Companions played: 13
  • Huffer: 3/13
  • Leokk: 3/13
  • Misha: 7/13

Conclusion

In my Arena, I got Misha over half the time. And I can’t argue with the results, given we are in the “taunt meta” in the Arena, where taunts are just really good. Anyways, I’ve come to some conclusions about “always Huffer.”

  • It is a byproduct of “salt.” Huffer doesn’t come out 90% of the time, probably.
  • Hate for Aggro Hunter has always been a thing, and Huffer represents all that is bad with that playstyle.
  • Misha and Leokk deserve some love too!
Hearthstone Screenshot 05-07-16 23.40.59.png
Where the F is Huffer?

 

Hearthstone Sniper

Snipe is a pretty bad card that isn’t really present in Constructed and rarely seen in the Arena. It’s notoriety as a bad card lends to it never being seen. But then the element of surprise strikes, and hardly anyone seems to play around it!

I think in this 8-3 Hunter run, it was picked up 1 or 2 times total. It made for great tempo in removing useful minions.

Sniped Murloc to Insta-concede. Hey! You can be a Hunter and win by turn 6 without going face once!
Sniped Murloc to Insta-concede. Face Hunters hate him. One weird trick to winning on Turn 6 without going face.
2-cost Volcanic Drake kaput.
2-cost Volcanic Drake kaput.
Fact: I played a Spectral Knight next turn.
Fact: I played a Spectral Knight next turn.
Sniping a Legendary has a better ring to it than on a Common.
Sniping a Legendary has a better ring to it than on a Common.

Portrait of a Scumbag Deck

I admittedly “hate” aggro, though that only reflects my attitudes towards my opponents in constructed play. I have found myself draft arena decks (where I play most) towards fast decks, often classified as aggro in Heartharena. I just drafted this monstrosity.

Dang, I missed the Core Rager pick.
Dang, I missed the Core Rager pick.

A super low-value deck with 1 5-drop (not really) and 1 Molten Giant. It looks like my win conditions are Timber Wolf + Unleash + Kill Command. Yes, this deck will either get 1 win or 9.