February 2017: 30 Arenas Complete

February 2017: 30 Arenas Complete

Playing arena in Hearthstone was always a challenge in that accomplishments were never acknowledged. Your arena average isn’t officially recorded anywhere, and there is no counter on how many times you got 12 wins. Job postings for Blizzard still ask how many times you got Legend. Well, when they released the first arena leaderboards last month, it was the first time that arena accomplishments could be validated.

I set a goal at the beginning of the month to at least qualify for this leaderboard by playing 30 arenas. It was a tall task from the start given that February is a short month, and that #100 in the Americas had a 6.46 win average last month, a full 1.5 games above my regular arena average. In the end, I failed in getting anywhere near the leaderboard, but I was able to play exactly 30 arenas in February 2017. Let’s take a look at what went down for me.

Hearthstone Screenshot 02-22-17 00.20.59.png

Stats

feb17stats
Courtesy of Hearthstone Decktracker

The Decktracker recorded an average of exactly 5 wins per run, a 150-84 record, a 64% clip. A day of disconnects sabotaged 2 games I played out and won, but were counted as disconnects from previous games that disconnected me. In the end, costing at least 2 games wouldn’t even get me to 5.1, so that point is moot. I had the full range of arena games from 0-12 wins. I did not get high-win runs of 8, 10, or 11 in the month.

After 18 games my average was 5.94 wins, and I felt good. Then I closed out my last 12 games with a 3.58 average.

Despite being a self-proclaimed Rogue player, the class did not do well for me, averaging 3 wins per run for 8 runs. Warlock and Mage averaged over 7, with Mage only accounting for just 1 run. Paladin and Priest were also solid contributors with 6.8 and 6 wins on average.

On the opponent side, I faced Mage and Warlock almost half (43%) of my games on the month. This was predicated by Mage being OP forever in the arena, and the rise of Warlock thanks to broken cards.

Hearthstone Screenshot 02-18-17 00.09.34.png

Experiences

I don’t think I have ever played 30 arenas in month, as I usually take 1 or 2 days off each week. Making sure that I hit this mark was a bit tiring. As February was a short month, I had to double up runs a few days, or do 1.5 runs on certain days. There were also days that I didn’t play an arena because of life business, so I doubled up more than I wanted to.

I was out of it to start the month, and contemplated giving up on the task right away. But, the horrible ranked meta didn’t give me incentive to stop, and I felt like getting the dust rewards in the end. And of course, I like playing arena more than anything, so that kept me in it. I wound up playing 29 (19-10) ranked games during the month of February, ending at Rank 12, something I haven’t done in a long time.

There were highs, in that I got my 12th and 13th Lightforge Keys. I also possibly played against Hafu (and won!), who is known to play under the tag “Battlepants.”

My last arena of the month, my only Druid run, was played with a Wild deck, while the Standard arena was implemented for the first time. I got to play with GvG stalwarts Zombie Chow and Mechanical Yeti for the last time in that run, while I faced opponents with golden cards and spells.

Overall, I played this month of arena with the least  thought possible. While I did know to play around meta-heavy cards like Abyssal Enforcer and Potion of Madness, I just didn’t play around much else, and play a fast style. Opponents seemed to be playing fast as well, which was interesting.

I’m not going to play 30 arenas next month. Chasing the #100 spot on the leaderboard appears beyond my capabilities. But it was a good experience to partake in.

Deck Spotlight: DeceptiLock

Deck Spotlight: DeceptiLock

Deckbuilding in Hearthstone is not a strong suite of mine. First of all, I play a lot of arena, which limits the amount of thought I put into constructed thinking. There is a different mindset that goes into that, and I seem to lack the motor for the constructed mindset. Second, I play mainly Rogue in Hearthstone, which limits my ability to build decks that are not Rogue decks. Third, I don’t like losing a whole ton, so just freewheeling it into ranked with some made-up deck is likely going to be soul-crushing.

That is why it is such a surprise that I am already Rank 10 in the first week of October 2016, with some deck I just made up. I had a backlog of Warlock quests, and the arena wasn’t giving me Gul’dan. I just made up a deck, a Reno deck since I don’t enjoy ZooLock at all, and started winning games. And the deception of the deck itself is probably the strongest attribute.

About the Deck

RenoLock decks came out of the demise of HandLock decks, following the nerf of Molten Giant. They are typically slow control decks that run a lot of removal, heals, and taunts. Given that RenoLock decks are typically highlander decks (30 1-ofs), there is a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

Given I had no experience building RenoLock, I honestly did not think of intermediate heals at all. Didn’t think of Earthen Ring Farseer, Refreshment Vendor, or Cult Apothecary. Also given my lack of experience playing really slow decks, I didn’t want a really slow deck that was resigned to Life Tapping every game. I did believe that RenoLock should have a lot of high value cards, in good legendary minions. I also believed that highlander decks are the easiest to add tech cards to, to better adapt to the meta flavor at the moment. With these thoughts in mind, I built the deck.

Decklist

tricks.PNG

Cards in Deck

Core Cards

  • Reno Jackson – For all I was concerned, Reno Jackson is the only core card in a RenoLock deck. He is the win condition, and the card to build around.

Removal

  • Power Overwhelming – While this card provides burst, it also has plenty utility for providing a cheap trade on a bigger threat. With PO, I immediately thought of Shadowflame.
  • Shadowflame – The first AoE card that came to mind, which works really well for a full clear with Power Overwhelming.
  • Demonwrath – Shaman seems pretty strong, and the appeal of a 2-dmg early AoE seemed good on totems.
  • Hellfire – My last choice for AoE. While I’m not completely a fan of the slowness of the card, the face damage provides extra utility.
  • Mortal Coil – This card is close to a core card, but I felt it was a Warlock core card. I don’t recall seeing a Warlock deck without it.
  • Shadow Bolt – This card was not a regular inclusion for old HandLock, but seems to be a decent card in RenoLock. The early-mid removal option for minions.
  • Siphon Soul – I think Siphon Soul is an easy pick for RenoLock decks. As an arena player, I put lots of value in having a hard removal, and this is that.
  • Twisting Nether – Given this deck is meant to drag things on for a while, having a full board clear to exhaust my opponent seemed appealing.

Value

  • Dark Peddler – A great pick for any Warlock deck, and the 1-cost card just has tons of utility, forcing one to pick the best given the board state.
  • Imp Gang Boss – Just coming from arena, the most valuable Warlock card. I also think it has a place in virtually any Warlock deck for ranked.
  • Dread Infernal – Not a conventional pick, but I think the extra 1-dmg AoE would be good against aggressive boards.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner  – The value in Sylvanas does not necessarily come in what you’re stealing, but mostly forcing bad trades on the opponent. Sometimes, she’s a full board clear, because your opponent doesn’t want things stolen.
  • The Curator – Not a conventional choice for Warlock, but the idea of having a taunt and drawing 2 cards seemed too good to not take advantage of in a highlander deck.
  • Ragnaros the Firelord – Dealing 8 damage every turn? Value Town Inc.
  • Lord Jaraxxus – I saw Jaraxxus as my second heal in this deck. Plus, the hero power is great in a long game. The weapon provided removal and reach in the late game.

Techs

  • Mind Control Tech – Not the most conventional ranked tech, but I play arena, so this is my idea of a tech! Also given the Shaman’s ability to flood the board, and overall tempo meta, I thought he is a fine inclusion. Plus, 3/3 for 3 isn’t horrible.
  • Eater of Secrets – There is a prediction that Hunters would contend with Shamans for the top spot of the meta. While that still has yet to happen, the Eater of Secrets is meant to shut down Hunter decks with secrets, which seem to be most. I also believed Freeze Mage would be back given the Yogg nerf, so this could negate Ice Blocks. Also useful for rare pesky Paladins running around.
  • Harrison Jones – Going on with the last thought of a Hunter meta, destroying an Eaglehorn Bow is usually better than getting rid of secrets. Warriors and Shamans often have weapons as well. Paladins and Rogues also affected.
  • Stampeding Kodo – This was a consequence of having The Curator in the deck, and being the best Beast available. Also, this is a great arena card, which I thought could have an impact in ranked.
Hearthstone Screenshot 10-05-16 22.40.11.png
Hunter plays 3 secrets. Me as Floating Watcher, “YES, YES!”

Handlock Vestiges

  • Mountain Giant – Drawing to Reno is an objective for this deck, and this only helps make Mountain Giant a great tempo play in the midgame.
  • Twilight Drake – Another card that benefits greatly with drawing cards. This is a card I felt was core to the slow Warlock, and helped bring in The Curator.
  • Sunfury Protector – While most RenoLocks run Defender of Argus, I think Sunfury Protector is better for the the deck. I believe having a 2-drop to play is more valuable than the +1/+1 boosts. Also, the deck is expensive and doesn’t run cost reduction, making a 4-drop clunkier with other big stuff.

Smoothing the Deck

  • Bane of Doom – Being a moderate-risk high-reward card, Bane of Doom was never a strong ladder card because of the inconsistency. But the highlander build allows Bane of Doom to exist as this hybrid removal-summon. It is a real wildcard though, and the consequences will win or lose games.
  • Soulfire – This is not a normal card to run in RenoLock. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I didn’t know any better when making this deck, and felt the extra removal was needed for my survival. Having Soulfire made me realize this deck has burst potential.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Originally a Doomguard, I felt a charge to the face could provide a pocket burst option. With Power Overwhelming already in tow, with Soulfire and Hellfire, we could make for some good plays that don’t allow the opponent to interact with the board.
  • Azure Drake – I already had The Curator and Twilight Drake down pat. Being a Rogue player, Azure Drake was always in my deck and never really disappointed me. I felt this deck could use a card like Azure Drake.
  • Voidwalker – I lacked early game and felt that Voidwalker doesn’t disappoint in trading with small stuff. This helped build the Zoo look of the deck.
  • Flame Imp – I lacked early game and felt that Flame Imp doesn’t disappoint in early game aggro, or forcing removal. This helped build the Zoo look of the deck.
  • Huge Toad – Pick 30. I still felt I was lacking early game and combed through all available 2-drops. I felt Huge Toad was tied with Flame Juggler, but had value being a Beast, and searchable with The Curator. Also good for confusing experienced players who read meta reports.

How to Play

  • Through the happenstance of deck building ineptitude, I built a RenoLock deck that combines elements of ZooLock and DragonLock. The real strength of this deck is tricking your opponent into playing around some other archetype.
  • From my limited experience so far, this deck has a very low skill floor. It is not very skillful, and it can forgive many mistakes in the gameplay.
  • The real skill of this deck is knowing your opponent’s deck and win condition. Know when it is time to get Reno and play Reno. Know when it is time to play Jaraxxus. Play faster than your opponent if they are a straight up Control deck. Play reactive when you are a slower deck, but know you have pocket reach cards as well.
Hearthstone Screenshot 10-06-16 23.30.35.png
Lord of Fatigue

General Mulligan and Gameplay

  • Coin Games – Twilight Drake, Mountain Giant
  • Shaman (Midrange/Aggro) – Demonwrath, Early Game Minions, Reno – Shaman will always be the aggressor against this deck. Some early 1-2 drops will help disguise this deck as ZooLock. Fish for your AoE, and doesn’t hurt to have Reno right away either. MCT isn’t bad against Shaman. You can tap more than before, given the Shaman nerfs.
  • Hunter (Midrange Beast/Secret) – Hellfire/Shadowflame, Early Game Minions, Eater of Secrets, Harrison Jones, Reno – All Hunters will have a Bow, so Harrison Jones is a good pick. Eater of Secrets will have a big impact when the secrets come down. AoE is not as essential than the Shaman matchup, but could work on their early game. Reno Jackson not bad to have, but not essential. Keep hard removals for seemingly Turn 8 Ragnaros, and expect Turn 9 Call of the Wild.
  • Warrior – Early Game Minions – Warrior is the hardest to predict. Against Control Warrior, just keep taping and play your minions as you get them. While you will get removed, there are enough valuable minions in this deck to get by. Jarraxus is the win condition there. Dragon Warrior is a tougher match, but just count on your removals. Overall, playing your early game minions to disguise a Zoolock is the best strategy vs Warriors.
  • Druid – Twilight Drake, AoE, Early Game Minions – Druids still play Yogg now, meaning they use a ton of spells. This will allow you to tap a good amount, and lay down some hefty minions. Violet Teacher and Saplings could force you to pick some AoE in the beginning.
  • Mage – Early Game Minions, Shadowflame, Demonwrath, Reno – Tempo Mages seem more aggressive than ever after cutting Yogg. Have your early game to contest the board, and your AoE removals. Not a bad idea to have Yogg in games as well. Against “Fast Mage,” you’ll need Reno right away, and be ready to use him right away. You’ll need to protect your life from getting bursted down. Against Freeze Mage, tap often and get your Eater of Secrets.
  • Warlock – Early Game Minions, AoE, Reno, Kodo, MCT – Demonwrath is less reliable here, as your opponent could very well be running demons. But AoE would shut them down. Having Reno is not bad, as they are trying to race you. Having your early game doesn’t hurt in contesting the board. Your tech stuff doesn’t hurt either, given swarmy Zoo decks.
  • Rogue – Shadowflame, Early Game Minions, Twilight Drake, Mountain Giant – Shadowflame is your only defense against a bunch of cloaked targets. Twisting Nether not bad to have against them as well, but not worth the mulligan. Mountain Giant is really good against Rogue, given Sap just makes it cheaper the next turn. Use your early game to bait out removal, and progress to your value minions to win.
  • Paladin – Early Game Minions, Harrison Jones – Anyfin Paladin seems to be the rage, and it is a fairly slow, final burst deck. In this matchup, you can be the aggressor with your early game and big midgame. The Leeroy/Soulfire/Power Overwhelming burst is pretty good here.
  • Priest – Do whatever you want. They’ll exhaust their Excavated Evils on your early game and Entombs on your minions. You’ll have enough valuable minions to outlast them. Dragon Priest is a little more tricky, and you’ll need to fish for your removals.

Moving Forward

I’m going to ride this deck out on Ranked for the rest of the season, until I hit a wall. I’m surprised a gimmicky deck like this has done well so far. I’ll see what adjustments I will have to make to it as the meta gets tougher on this deck.

 

Fixing a Hole: Brainstorming Standard Play Adjustments

Fixing a Hole: Brainstorming Standard Play Adjustments

The Hearthstone-playing community has no idea when the game will face it’s biggest shift ever, when Standard Play and Wild become established. There is an upcoming Hearthstone announcement in about 2 weeks, so perhaps the end is nigh for our current state of the game. While there are going to be changes to basic/classic cards, and a whole new expansion, let’s take a look at a deck in particular, and look for ways to fix the hole afforded by the exclusion of Naxx and GvG cards.

Reliquary Zoolock

Currently this is one of two decks I ladder with in February 2016, and I am currently Rank 9. Fairly standard Reliquary/Flood Warlock deck. It plays a little heavier by excluding a 1-drop for having both Enhance-o-Mechano and Gormok. Brann has revitalized the deck, allowing doubled battlecries that work great with Reliquary Seeker, Dark Peddler, Gormok, and most of the other cards. This deck is fast and has limited removals.

Cut list

  • 2x Nerubian Egg
  • 1x Loatheb
  • 1x Echoing Ooze
  • 2x Haunted Creeper
  • 1x Enhance-o-Mechano
  • 1x Dr. Boom
  • 2x Imp-losion

1/3 of the deck is restricted for Standard Play, so a fairly big loss!

Current replacement options (in some order of relevance)

  1. Imp-losion – Seems like the biggest blow to this deck. You are losing a token generator and the only spell removal of the deck.
    • Bane of Doom – A small spot removal, with the potential to make a bigger demon on your side. While not great in this deck, the removal + minion effect directly gives what Imp-losion did. The minion will be stickier than the imps you get, but that will depend on RNG.
  2. Haunted Creeper – Just a great value card, where you get 3/4 worth for 2 mana. The staggered effect of spiders also works very well.
    • Knife Juggler – A lot of people run Knife Juggler in the current Reliquary format, given some synergy with cheap minions. To make it work, the deck will have to get smaller, with more 1-drops. Loss of Imp-losion also works against it.
    • Flame Juggler – A sturdier 2/3, with a battlecry that could trigger twice with Brann. Another 2-drop consideration.
    • Sunfury Protector – A 2-drop that can let you taunt up big guys or Imp Gang Boss.
  3. Nerubian Egg – Another big loss, as this was the prime target for buffs in this deck, to make a 4/4 minion.
    • Dragon Egg – This egg is inferior, but can fill the same role as the Nerubian. You’re getting a 0/2 for 1 mana, so a Power Overwhelming will give the same 4 attack egg beater, and summons a 2/1. A Defender of Argus will make a 1/3, which has potential to spawn 2 2/1’s. Really the only benefit of Dragon Egg is that it costs 1 and has the potential to make 2 Black Dragons.
    • Ancient Watcher – Only has utility to be taunted up, or if you want to waste your Owl to let it attack.
  4. Loatheb – He served as the protection play to save the board, close out a victory, or just be a 5/5 for tempo.
    • Lorewalker Cho – Right now, Cho serves as the immediate “protection” from spells. This protection is more a mental stressor on the opponent, as nothing is preventing them from taking action to play the spells. Against a flood deck, playing a Blizzard, Flamestrike, or Consecration is likely well worth it getting copied by Cho. In other cases, you will get a spot removal spell, when they kill Cho. Cho also only costs 2, which is good for this deck. Also, this deck runs almost no spells.
    • Frostwolf Warlord – Can fill the 5-drop tempo hole, and has the potential to be fairly big minion (10/10) in a flood deck. The best case scenario has Brann out as well, so can become a 16/16. There are enough beaters in it though with the Reliquary Seekers and Sea Giants.
  5. Dr. Boom – Token generator and great value that fit very well in this deck.
    • Onyxia – A subpar legendary replacement, but the flood of Whelps could have a use for setting up the rest of the deck.
  6. Echoing Ooze – Just a token generator, not the hugest loss for the deck.
    • Murloc Tidehunter – A clearly inferior option, as the 2/1 and 1/1 Murlocs can be readily killed by hero power, while the Oozes were 1/2 minions.
    • Razorfen Hunter – Gives you a 2/3 and 1/1 for 3 mana, which something to think about.
    • Imp Master – Provides a steady stream of Imps, but is a little slow at 3 mana.
    • Silver Hand Regent – An infinite token generator that is a bit slow to set up for this deck.
  7. Enhance-o-Mechano – Just an RNG-dependent upside card, one that could provide a big swing with the windfury, or some protection.
    • Blood Imp – Theoretically Enhance-o-Mechano was always the budget Gormok, so he can be replaced by the “Zombie Chow” that was always in the deck. But no Zombie Chows in Standard Play. The 1-drop Blood Imp will remain on the board if you’re not facing Mage, and gives buffs to keep your small things alive.
    • Gadgetzan Jouster – While providing use with early surveillance on your opponent’s deck, the only way she wins a joust if you reveal your own Sea Giant.
    • Argent Squire – Sticky 1-drop. Very good!
    • Leper Gnome – More aggressive and likely not to make the deck.
    • Flame Imp – Another 1-drop for consideration

 Standard Version

Reliquary Zoolock

Of course this exercise is moot given the new expansion, but this is a good starting point of thinking about the effect of Standard Play on a deck like this.

Into the Void

Twisting Nether is one of those cards that is so cool to see and visually stunning, but sucks enough to never see it. The rough life of an epic rarity card. Thank goodness there is arena!

Classic board clear mouse hover over own hero type shock.
Classic board clear mouse hover over own hero type shock.
Bad card 101: I could only put out a 2-cost minion to follow through.
Bad card 101: I could only put out a 2-cost minion to follow through.
Everyone's going sideways and shit.
Everyone’s going sideways and shit.

I dragged them to the void like:

Medium Knight of Evil

The discard mechanic just doesn’t work in Hearthstone. With virtually no interaction with the “card graveyard” and a hard limit on 30 cards per deck, it a mechanic that only serves as a downside. The Tiny Knight of Evil virtually has no way to be all too useful for constructed play.

Felraging
Felraging

In the image above from Tavern Brawl, I got 2 discards off the Doomguard. Let’s run through the cards that provide discards.

  1. Soulfire – discard 1
  2. Succubus – discard 1
  3. Doomguard – discard 2
  4. Dark Bargain – discard 2

So let’s say you slot in 2 each in your deck. That would be 12 maximum discards (granted you don’t discard these cards in your hand). The Tiny Knight of Evil can be at best a 15/14 with 10 discards. Not worth discarding over 1/3 of your deck for just a 12/12 boost to one minion.

Warlock Arena Run (9/8/15)

Below is the first of hopefully many arena run walkthroughs.
I went into this run picking Warlock, a slightly below-average class for me, but a class I can play a little.
Draft (Heartharena Scores)
  1. Bloodsail Corsair (34); Mana Wraith (30); Dragon Egg (22)
    • All bad picks, but the Bloodsail Corsair can destroy a weapon and is a 1 drop. Dragon Egg does nothing to the board, and needs an activator, which is not guaranteed.
  2. Maiden of the Lake (47); Silverback Patriarch (24); Summoning Portal (14)
    • Maiden of the Lake is an easy pick here, the 2/6 body on 4-drop is actually decent. Nice ability for the Warlock with the 1-cost draw.
  3. Fearsome Doomguard (61); Sen’jin Shieldmasta (76); Floating Watcher (67)
    • All decent picks but the Sen’jin Shieldmasta has the most value.
  4. Summoning Portal (16); Acolyte of Pain (47); Stonetusk Boar (43)
    • Card draw isn’t needed for Warlock, but Acolyte of Pain is better than the other 2.
  5. Lance Carrier (51); Gnomish Inventor (51); Ironforge Rifleman (39)
    • The Lance Carrier provides a boost for other minions. Have enough four-drops for now.
  6. Darkbomb (69); Flesheating Ghoul (56); Power Overwhelming (64)
    • Removals are a premium so Darkbomb is needed. The Dragon Egg not being picked looks bad now, the last 2 picks provided a boost option.
  7. Flying Machine (13); Sacrificial Pact (0); Voidcaller (64)
    • Slam dunk pick here. Now my game plan shifts to picking big fat demons.
  8. Explosive Sheep (31); Burly Rockjaw Trogg (58); Demonfuse (17)
    • We have a ton of four drops now, but the Trogg is the best pick.
  9. Frostwolf Grunt (47); Lance Carrier (46); Volcanic Drake (52)
    • Volcanic Drake is the first big drop here. Need 2 drops, but they are not good enough to pick.
  10. Dark Bargain (93); Doomsayer (44); Garrison Commander (73)
    • I really need 2’s still, but Dark Bargain is too good to pass up. 2 big removal potential.
  11. Sunfury Protector (80); Void Crusher (38); Injured Blademaster (62)
    • Sunfury Protector gives us the 2 drop we need. Passing up on a demon, but it is not good enough to pick.
  12. Core Hound (26); Leper Gnome (48); Magma Rager (19)
    • Trifecta of bad to subpar classic picks. The one drop is the best here.
  13. Mortal Coil (74); Goldshire Footman (33); Dragonkin Sorcerer (49)
    • Have enough 4-drops and the Footman is pretty bad. Mortal Coil is a solid card for early removal and card advantage.
  14. Cogmaster (34); Kobold Geomancer (48); Hungry Dragon (64)
    • We have 2 removal spells for Kobold, but Hungry Dragon has the most value.
  15. Flame Juggler (89); Ancient Brewmaster (42); Summoning Portal (11)
    • Flame Juggler gives us the great 2-drop we need and has that snipe ping.
  16. Refreshment Vendor (55); Silver Hand Knight (73); Clockwork Knight (57)
    • Halfway into the draft and there are barely any 3 or 5 drops. Silver Hand Knight comes in as one of the best neutral 5-drops around.
  17. Silvermoon Guardian (44); Mad Bomber (85); Salty Dog (40)
    • Another easy decision, as the bomber gives us a good 2-drop.
  18. Recruiter (46); Junkbot (4); Bane of Doom (89)
    • Second epic selection and it is an easy pick. Bane of Doom provides tempo with potential to swing the game with a free big demon. Recruiter gives you a 1-cost 2/2 each inspire, but is a little slow.
  19. Hungry Dragon (65); Worgen Infiltrator (78); Imp Gang Boss (120)
    • Imp Gang Boss is one of the best 3-drops around. It also provides a 3, and finally a demon synergy.
  20. Violet Teacher (73); Azure Drake (76); Grim Patron (21)
    • Tough call here. The spell power boost for the removal spells gives and edge over the Violet Teacher.
  21. Darkscale Healer (67); Succubus (60); Lord of the Arena (60)
    • I want more demons, and do not necessarily need the 5 or 6 here.
  22. Razorfen Hunter (78); Darkbomb (71); Spectral Knight (71)
    • Don’t have enough 3-drops, but taking another removal, since they are premium.
  23. Flying Machine (18); Clockwork Gnome (61); Thrallmar Farseer (19)
    • Skipping 2 3-drops again in favor of a decent 1.
  24. Silvermoon (42); Floating Watcher (89); Cogmaster (34)
    • Floating Watcher is not really a 5-drop and is heavier. Can provide great tempo with a timely Voidcaller drop.
  25. Acolyte of Pain (45); Silvermoon Guardian (42); Jungle Panther (86)
    • I’m not a huge fan of the panther, but it helps fill out the curve.
  26. Silver Hand Knight (72); Tinkertown Technician (55); Voodoo Doctor (57)
    • Not enough mechs for Tinkertown Technician.
  27. Soulfire (86); Sense Demons (37); Fearsome Doomguard (74)
    • Skipping the value removal pick since there are more than enough removals so far. Picking likely the biggest body of the deck.
  28. Priestess of Elune (33); Magma Rager (20); Hungry Dragon (58)
    • Hungry Dragon is the clear pick here, having more value than anything else.
  29. Sacrificial Pact (-2); Grimscale Oracle (4); Blood Imp (61)
    • Blood Imp dilutes the Voidcaller drop but provides some value.
  30. Saboteur (85); Imp-losion (114); Angry Chicken (6)
    • Saboteur is great, but Imp-plosion provides a ton of value. The deck has plenty of removals and seems like a control deck.
Deck Analysis
The curve is biomodal, centered on 2 and 4. There are 9 1-2 drops here, giving more than enough early game. Very few 3-drops. 6 serviceable 4-drops, and a few big guys. Again, the plethora of removal here works great. No AOE spells like Hellfire or  Shadowflame, but Dark Bargain can remove 2 big threats right away.
Gameplan
Will mulligan hard for 1-2 drops, Darkbombs and other early removals. Voidcaller can be a decent pick in the hand if I have the coin. I expect to get hit in the face more because I am a Warlock.
Games
  1. Shaman; 1st; Result: 0-1 – This game went into turn 11 and became a real slobberknocker topdeck fest. I flooded the board and had my opponent down to 2 health but lost to a topdeck Lightning Bolt. 1 Life Tap cost me the game there.
  2. Priest; 1st; Result: 1-1 – Not much to say here. It was a longish game, but I took control of the board and never fell behind after.
  3. Paladin; Coin; Result: 2-1 – Interesting game where the Paladin played 3 secrets. Luckily I did not have to face a Mysterious Challenger. I pushed out a ton of value with my Bane of Doom summoned Illidan. Dark Bargain also took out 10 mana worth of minions.
  4. Priest; 1st; Result: 3-1 – This game lasted 3 minutes and about 6-7 turns. I basically aggro-controlled my way to victory here.
  5. Warlock; 1st; Result: 3-2 – Mirror match where I played a Warlock who played straight tempo and beat me in 9 turns. My opponent somehow played around Dark Bargain, but putting in a scrub (Injured Kvaldir) to take the blow for one of 2 big guys.
  6. Mage; Coin; Result: 4-2 – Mage coin matchups are typically a bane (48% win rate), but I can say I won this game due to card advantage. My Acolyte of Pain drew me cards, my opponent got a Naturalize. Dark Bargain came up again and cleared 8 mana worth of minions and I flooded the board.
  7. Warlock; 1st; Result: 5-2 – Basically my opponent played face until it was too late, and I took the board and won the game.
  8. Druid; 1st; Result: 5-3 – I somehow lasted 9 turns after staring down a turn 1 Savage Combatant. 2 Ironbark Protectors at the end sealed the deal though.
Somehow I lasted till turn 9.
Somehow I lasted till turn 9.

Overall a very average run for me, but one that I had fun with because of cards like Dark Bargain.

Wanted: Dreadsteed

While ranked play in Hearthstone exposes you to the same old sauce over and over, the introduction of TGT has allowed new decks to breed.  Yesterday, I got beat by a Dreadsteed deck. Dreadsteed is a 4 mana 1/1 that has an infinite return effect on the deathrattle. On the most recent Value Town Talk Show, all three guests (Trump, Reynad, Kibler) all saw no value in Dreadsteed.

Roll the footage!

The One-Eyed Cheat wasn't fooling anyone.
The One-Eyed Cheat wasn’t fooling anyone.
Really bad screen, but there are 2 Dreadsteeds, 2 Mal'ganis, and 1 Void Terror.
Really bad screen, but there are 2 Dreadsteeds, 2 Mal’ganis, and 1 Void Terror.
dreadsteed_partial
Partial decklist

I tried to friend my opponent after the match to get the full decklist, but this is all I’ve got.

Anyway, I was super impressed with that deck and hope to see thousands of demonic horses overrun the meta.