Half a Year Later, Relieved at no Chat in Hearthstone

Half a Year Later, Relieved at no Chat in Hearthstone

That certainly took a while to reach.

Yes, I’ve managed to accomplish one of my goals for Hearthstone: Reaching Legendary status. Now I can relax some and experiment with other decks and classes before the next great hunter nerf. The deck I used was the one I linked to in my last post for Hunters. I can now begin focusing on trying my hand at tournaments. I was quite surprised to see that Legend players make up a really small percentage of the population. I guess that makes sense with around 20 million players but how many of them engage in the ladder, I wonder? I’m not a fan of the tournament mode where players are asked to bring 3 different classes but that’s the way it is. I’m experimenting right now on my Shaman, Priest, and Druid decks trying to decide which of them to use and which styles to play.

Anyway, my journey to being a Legend wasn’t quite the best experience. You’ll recall not too long ago about Blizzard’s decision to effectively silence and mute players preventing them from chatting with each other in the game.

Never have I been more glad for that decision. There’s plenty of sore losers out there who can’t seem to get over it and want to make themselves feel better by taking a parting shot at an opponent. I’ve been added after matches multiple times via the Battle Net friends list. Every time, I wonder if it’s going to be someone who actually wants to say good game or that’s a sweet deck, would you like to practice more?

Every time, I am constantly reminded of my own naivety. Players out there don’t seem to care about good sportsmanship. They’re bitter after a loss and just want to take it out on their opponents. I can understand that but it doesn’t mean I agree with it.

legend-rank2

First of all, I’m not actually sorry. Second, I am not a gentleman of African descent. And my scrub ass actually ascended to rank 2. The thing is, I would’ve expected this reaction no matter what deck I use.

legend-stuff

Like, what is it with the desire to send off one parting shot at your opponent? Adding them to your list, sending one well fired insult, and then removing them before they even get a chance to respond? It’s disappointing really. Incidents like these really magnify what the community is like because it’s the only serious exposure we get. When we as players square off against others who respond that negatively, it can be incredibly discouraging to other players who want to get involved in the game and take it more competitively.

Now, to be fair, I had the option to not accept the initial Battle tag request. That is definitely on me. It’s still a shame though that the only kinds of players willing to take the effort to add others are the types who we don’t really want to interact with in the community to begin with. I don’t have a a solution or any ideas how to even begin to resolve it. Perhaps if there was an in-game report button in the corner, it would be convenient enough to access and report the individual. I know the Battle Net chat frames have a reporting option for harassment.

What’s the point? To encourage better behaviour from players. Learned that from Riot’s playbook. Perhaps impose a penalty that gradually escalates based on reports received and examined. Unlike League of Legends, there’s no way to really gauge a player’s moves in games as being harassing or trolling or feeding since this is a 1 on 1 game. Perhaps what I should do is put my own cards where my mouth is and add opponents after every game and say GG instead. Sadly, I don’t think even that move will be received well at all.

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Face Hunter

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Face Hunter

I’ve been piloting the hunter deck throughout the month of August and peaked at rank 3. With a little more time, I think the deck would’ve been able to reach legend but I ran out of gas at the end. Here’s the deck list:

Face Hunter by Matticus
Class: Hunter

Hunter (20)

Neutral (10)

Here’s the win rates and percentages by class.

winrate-facehunter

As you can tell, the weakest matchups are against Rogues, Warriors, and Shamans. I’ve only won 2 out of 6 games against Rogues. Warriors are slightly better but expect to lose those matches 2 out of 3 times. But it doesn’t matter because all this deck needs to do is reliably win against the decks most often seen on the ladder: Hunters (55%) and Warlocks (67%).

I won 55% of my games without a coin and 66% of my games with coin. So it’s a little more advantageous for you to go second.

Hunter percentages are slightly over a coin flip depending on the variations.

Against warlocks, I managed to hold a consistent 60% which isn’t too bad considering how strong they can be.

Mages are a slight coin toss and it depends on the traps that they manage to draw into. If they hold you off long enough, their spells will make short work of you.

Druids, Paladins, and Priests are all matchups that should go heavily in your favor.

Strategy

Your basic strategy is to lay out your cheap early minions as quick as you can. Feed your turn 1 Undertaker as much as possible with your Leper Gnome, Haunted Creeper, and Mad Scientist. Given an option between Creepers or Scientists, play the Scientist first. If it dies, your Explosive Traps will appear in play and it will help thin out your deck so you draw into additional threats later.

Use that Hero Power. Don’t be afraid to not play a card and Hero Power instead. Often times on turn 3 or 4, I have the option to play a spell or a minion using up all my mana instead of using the Hero Power. It’s okay not to cast a spell and hold it for later. An example is if you’re on turn 3 with an Explosive Trap and a Flare, you can play the Flare and use your Hero Power. On turn 4, you can drop the Explosive Trap and Hero Power efficiently using up all your mana crystals.

Your finisher is Leeroy and Kill Commands. Hold on to those until your opponent’s life is sufficiently low enough. Hunter’s Mark and Ironbeak Owl are used to either clear out any taunts or remove your opponent’s threats that could shut down your strategy. Make sure you actually have a beast in play before casting Kill Commands. I’ve made the stupid mistake of casting Kill Command with no beast out effectively stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory.

The Matchups

vs Druid

Keep: 1 mana minion, Mad Scientist, Haunted Creeper

Hold your Hunter’s Marks and Ironbeak Owl if you can for mid game. There’s two main druid deck variants here.

The ramp druid relies on accelerating early on into big powerhouse threats like Druid of the Claw (bear form), Ironbark Protectors, Ancient of War, and so forth. You’re going to have to win this game via early game and direct damage or else you’ll be shut out by the great wall of taunters. Recent variations now include Sludge Belchers, Deathlord, and Sunwalkers while Ragnaros simply pounds you to death. Luckily, if they burn their early mana ramp spells like Innervate and Wild Growth into Druid of the Claws or other an Ancient of Lore, a Hunter’s Mark with a minion will make short work of it. With luck, their hand will be depleted meaning less options for them to deal with your horde. Keep applying pressure. If you can draw both Kill Commands or an unchecked Leeroy Jenkins, you should take this game easily.

The token druid is a bit of an easier matchup. Don’t be fooled though as this is also a race. You’re on essentially a 7 turn clock before they can execute their Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo. Violet Teachers will be in play but the more tokens they generate, the more you can counter-engage with your Unleash the Hounds + Starving Buzzard. Stick to the plan and send your minions right at the druid to begin with. Ancient of Lore and Swipe may slow you down but it shouldn’t stop you entirely.

vs Hunter

Keep: Flare, 1 mana minion, Mad Scientist

There are often two variants of hunters and we’ll go over them quickly here.

The Midrange Hunter is slightly slower then the face hunter counterpart. It’ll feature uses of Savannah Highmanes and Houndmasters. They’ll try to control the board more with potential Freezing Traps, Misdirections, and some variants include a Deadly Shot. Lucky for you, you’ll be able to outrace them in a head to head matchup.

The Face Hunter is the mirror deck which relies heavily on attacking the opponent directly. In other words, same strategy as yours! It’s going to be a race no matter what.

When you Unleash the Hounds, make sure you actually clear out their side of the board before going for the face unless you have lethal. The worse thing that can happen is if they counter Unleash the Hounds against you and drop a Timber Wolf or a well-timed Leokk which doubles the damage done. If they have a Mad Scientist on the board and you’re holding a Flare, wait until the Scientist dies before casting the Flare. When you Track later in the game, you’re looking for Kill Commands and Leeroy Jenkins to close it out fast.

vs Paladin

Keep: Flare, any minion

Brace yourself, this is going to be a bit of a grind. Whatever you do, save the Ironbeak Owl for Tirion. Expect to see your board wipe around turn 4 from the Consecrate, but that’s okay. Hopefully you’ve been able to generate some offense and apply early game pressure. There’s a chance this matchup can go the distance because they have to run cards like Defender of Argus and Sen’jin Shieldmasta to slow you down. Expect to be set back further with Lay on Hands or Guardian of Kings. The trick is to hit early and hit fast so that those cards aren’t even a factor to begin with.

If you run into the aggro variant that has cards like Bluegill Warrior, Blessing of Might, Leper Gnomes, then this is going to be a race. You can do more burst damage. If they Consecrate you, not problem. If there’s enough minions out, your Buzzard + Unleash the Hounds can either neutralize their army or it can go straight to the Paladin.

vs Priest

Keep: Hunter’s Mark, Ironbeak Owl

If you get a chance to eliminate their Northshire Clerics, do it as early as you can. Even if it means burning a Hunter’s Mark against their Power Word: Shield buffed Cleric and suiciding your Webspinner, you do it. Otherwise, this should be a fairly straightforward win. I haven’t played enough against the aggro Priest variants to really say what to do against them. Against the standard Priest deck, hold on to your Hunter’s Mark and Owls to bypass any nasty surprises. You might have to dig in here for a bit. The Priest deck does take a few turns to get going. Holy Nova will ruin your day along with Sludge Belcher so save the Owl against that if you can and just rush them. The Priest is going to spend a lot of time deciding between self preservation or board control and it’s going to be a little difficult doing that with your constant pressure. 

vs Rogues

Keep: Explosive Trap, Flare

Ugh, I hate playing against Rogues. It’s like watching someone play solitaire against you.

Save a Flare against any concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneers or Van Cleefs. This is not a fun matchup against you. In almost 200 games, I’ve only played against 6 rogues so we at least have that much going for us. The odds of you running into them aren’t that high. They’re going to clear the board with Deadly Poison + Blade Flurry. Their center piece here is the Auctioneer. You silence it or neutralize it, then the deck won’t be able to go off and you completely stall out their engine. You can either cast Explosive Trap early to hold off against their early minions and hope you have enough follow up pressure or hold it for later in the game when you anticipate a Leeroy coming in your direction (I don’t recommend this since it’s difficult to time). This matchup is also going to be a race.

vs Shaman

Keep: Ironbeak Owl, minions, no more than one Hunter’s Mark, Explosive Trap

This is another tough matchup. Lightning Storm can swiftly remove your side of the board. Hex can slow down your buffed Undertaker. Their Ghost Wolves will often trade favorably against your minions and outlive them an extra turn. Save Hunter’s Mark for Fire Elementals or Earth Elementals (if you run across any). Ironbeak Owl should be saved for taunters or Nerubian Eggs. If Al’Akir gets deployed, the game is well beyond your reach unless you can last minute Kill Command them and deal sufficient direct damage. Shamans rely on controlling the board and making smart trades. Let them generate totems as it’ll feed nicely into your Unleash the Hounds. In your case, you don’t really care about that. Send everything you have against the Shaman. Get their health low enough so you send out Leeroy or use your Kill Commands.

vs Warlock

Keep: Explosive Trap, Ironbeak Owl, 1 mana minions, Mad Scientist

For Warlocks, you’ll play against two main types.

Against Handlock, you need to pile on damage and fast. Hold on to Hunter’s Marks and Ironbeak Owl. The Marks will be used to knock out any huge taunters in your way like Molten Giants. Ironbeak Owl lets you completely bypass taunt so the rest of your forces can punch through. Any chance you get to attack with your Eaglehorn Bow, you do it. Don’t skip attacking it hoping for your trap to proc because you might end up walking into a wall of giants.

That happened to me one game. During one turn, I had an Explosive Trap and an Eaglehorn with one charge while my opponent was at 10 health. I didn’t attack because I was greedy and wanted the extra charge. Then he dropped a pair of giants with a Shieldbearer. In my next turn, I drew a Kill Command. With a Starving Buzzard in play, I would’ve had lethal had I attacked him the turn prior (3 damage from Eagle Horn, the 2 damage from the Hero Power, and the 5 damage from Kill Command). Instead, I only took him down to 3 health before his giants made short work of me afterwards.

The second Warlock deck you’ll square off against is the Zoo deck. Their win philosophy is similar to yours. Attempt to swarm the board and establish control. Between Explosive Trap and your other cheap minions, you should be able to hold them off. You should be able to outrace them. The big threats is their Doomguard which you can mitigate with a Hunter’s Mark. Save your Owl for their Nerubian Eggs. It’ll set them back in a huge way if you can even silence one. Keep hammering away with your Hero Power and make smart trades with your minions (or just go for the face).

vs Warriors

Keep:

This is literally the worst matchup for hunters. Thankfully, there aren’t that many on the ladder in the grand scheme of things. Their hero power to armor up negates your hero power. Cleaves, will pound away and neutralize your early board minions. You might not have enough direct damage to get to them. Their win lies on holding out and surviving long enough until they can whip out an Alexstrasza or a Grom Hellscream and execute you in one stroke.

Final thoughts

On a budget? No problem. You can sub in Arcane Golems for Leeroy. Just remember that the Golem is used as a finisher. Don’t drop him early on in the game and give your opponent an extra mana crystal. Later on in the game is fine because it won’t be as relevant. All the other cards are either commons, rares, or unlockable from Naxxramas.

Win fast, win early, win hard.

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Warlock Zoo Deck

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Warlock Zoo Deck

Everyone enjoying the new Naxxramas adventure mode? Managed to breeze through the normal and class challenges fairly quickly. I’ll admit I was fairly stumped by the heroic bosses for a bit until I reconstructed my ranked decks from the ground up and made the connection that I wasn’t playing against live players.

To out gimmick a deck, you must create gimmicks of your own. I’ll provide a list later of decks I used against the heroic bosses later.

For now, I wanted to illustrate an evolution of the popular Warlock zoo deck with new Naxxramas cards. Lists similar to this have started cropping up throughout ranked play.

Post-Naxx Zoo by matticus
Class: Warlock

Warlock (8)

Neutral (22)

The main changes from the traditional Warlock zoo deck is the removal of Scarlet Defenders and Shieldbearers along with the addition of Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper. There isn’t as much of a worry about overextending because if the Eggs or Creeper go down, they’ll turn into additional minions on the board.

The overall strategy here is to make smart trades and establish board supremacy.

Your Nerubian Egg can be activated over a number of different ways. Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha, Shattered Sun Cleric, Dark Iron Dwarf, and Defender of Argus can allow you to trade your egg into an opponent’s early minion to get an early 4/4.

Should be fairly self-explanatory what to do with aforementioned 4/4.

Mulligan any expensive cards like Doomguards, Dark Iron Dwarf, and Defender of Argus out of your hand. You want cheap minions as quick as possible. Always keep your opponent’s health total in the back of your mind and weigh it against trading against their board.

So far so good! Managed to shoot myself up from rank 7 up to rank 5.

Good luck!

How Many Hearthstone Wins Does it Take to get to Masters?

Curious as to the amount of wins it takes to reach Masters? After the first beta wipe, I kept a running tally of the approximate wins it took to advance up the tiers. If you hit the quest log, it keeps a total of the amount of wins you have in constructed play and in the arena. It does not keep a record of your losses.

Let’s keep a few things in mind here first. I had around 300+ packs to open up due to the amount I invested into the game. This gave me a much larger card pool to work with than most players. Anything I didn’t have, I purchased with dust that I blew up my duplicates with which gave me three competitive decks out of the gate: Shaman control, Hunter aggro, and Murlock aggro. Most of the time, I mained my but would switch it up in case I ran into a string of losses.

I know, I’m superstitious.

Here’s the amount of total wins per tier it took me to advance.

Bronze 1: 1 win
Bronze 2: 2 wins
Bronze 3: 3 wins
Silver 1: 5 wins
Silver 2: 6 wins
Silver 3: 8 wins
Gold 1: 12 wins
Gold 2: 16 wins
Gold 3: 19 wins
Platinum 1: 23 wins
Platinum 2: 29 wins
Platinum 3: 34 wins
Diamond: 39 wins
Diamond 2: 52 wins
Diamond 3: 58 wins
Masters 1: 115 wins
Masters 2: (After reset) 143 wins
Masters 3: (After reset) 161 wins

I’m not sure what other factors are incorporated into the ranking system. If it’s straight wins, then it means everyone eventually can get into masters. After the reset last week, I resumed ranking again and it seemed that every win advanced my rank up. There’s a huge gap between Diamond and Masters. It took almost twice as long to get from Diamond 3 to Masters 1 as it does to get from Bronze 1 to Diamond 3. If you knock off the 15 wins it took after the second reset, then it’ll have taken around 128 wins to go from Journeyman to Masters 2 and 143 wins to go from Journeyman to Masters 3.

My suspicion is that I have a hidden matchmaking rating (MMR) somewhere which remained the same after the reset last week which explains why I was able to climb the ladder that much quicker compared to the first time. I’m really curious as to what other factors come into play with regards to ranks. Does it take into the account the strength or power of your deck? How fast you win? Activities in a match?

I have no idea if Grandmaster rankings have been implemented yet. Have you been keeping track of your wins?

Quest log wishlist

Track wins: How many wins have I had against other players in ranked vs unranked?
Track losses: I’d like to know what my win/loss ratio is.
Deck statistics: How many wins do I have for a specific class? How many losses? What’s my record against other select deck classes? What’s my win percentage as a Hunter deck vs Warlocks or Priests?
Other cool statistics: How many minions have I killed over time? How many minions have I put on the board? How much total damage have I inflicted? How much damage have I taken?
Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Looking for a decent yet affordable deck to start with? I’ve been piloting the Hunter deck mostly to start with as I start climbing my way back up to Masters and on. It’s a straightforward deck and easy to play. It relies heavily on minions to deliver the finishing blow and you have to be able to time your attacks as well as your targets or else it will cost you. Of course, a little luck never hurts either. The great thing about this though is that you’re either going to win fast or lose fast. The only majorly expensive thing is King Krush, but he’s more of a luxury. Scroll down to the bottom to see a narrated video of this in action!

Overview

You’ve got a hunter deck that’s full of mostly beasts. They’re all midrange costing beasts and they all have some utility. Your Ironbeak Owls can help control and ability threats. Your Buzzards help you draw cards. Animal Companions and Ironfur Grizzlies have their own thing going. Your spells consist of ways to either control the board or accelerate into draws you need.

Deck list

The Cards

Flare and Tracking: Tracking is pretty straight forward. Cast it and you can use it to help cycle and fish for options. There a taunt minion in the way? Hope you draw into a Hunter’s Mark or a Kill Command. Low on minions yourself? Fish the next three possible cards for some beasts to help power your offense.

Hunter’s Mark: Such a good card. For one, it’s free. Second, it allows any of your minions to trade with any of your opponent’s creatures. How pissed off are they going to be when their 4/7 Twilight Drake just got brought down to size and taken down with your 1/1 Snake?

Timber Wolf and Unleash the Hounds: Ideally, you don’t want to see Unleash the Hounds in your opening hand. Timber Wolf is a toss up. You can drop it turn 1, but I find it usually gets blown up early game. The +1 buff does come in handy mid to late game as it strengthens the rest of your minions. However, if you have a Buzzard in your hand, you can use it as a way to feed your hand size.

Snake Trap: I’ll almost always play this turn 2. If I can pair it with a Buzzard in play, even better. This deck needs cards to really keep going.

Ironbeak Owl: Do not play these willy nilly. Sit on these until there’s an actual threat on the board or if it can secure you a win. If your opponent’s big tree druid thing is in the way, silence it and let your army through.

Scavenging Hyena: This is insurance. If your opponents take out other minions, your Hyena gets larger. It’ll definitely attract removal because your opponent won’t want this to get large. What do they do if there’s a Buzzard and a Hyena and play with enough mana for only kill?

Starving Buzzard: I’ll almost always play these around turns 4 – 6. I make sure I have at least 1 beast to follow up with it (ideally 2). If possible, you want to try to protect it or make it really hard for your opponent to kill it (like forcing them to decide between that or a Timber Wolf or a Hyena).

Animal Companion: AC is a random card which can give you either Misha, Leokk, or Huffer. They’re all beneficial in their own ways and you’ll find your plays will

Kill Command and Multi-Shot: These are your direct removal spells. Kill Command has the benefit of being used directly against the player. So when calculating the amount of damage output your beasts have, keep this in mind.

Ironfur Grizzly: The Grizzly is like your best friend. Dependable and will usually take a shot for you (or two if you’re lucky). Don’t expect much more out of it then that since it’s mainly supposed to be a meat shield.

Houndmaster: Turns any of your beasts into meat shields. Great well to help defend your Buzzards.

Savannah Highmane: Throw these away from your opening hand if you see them. It’s a dead card until mid to late game anyway. But it plays right into the theme of your deck and provides durability against any board clears.

King Krush: Your finishing blow. Your upper cut. Your People’s Elbow. Your coup de grace. Need I say more?

Playing the deck

Opening draws: Throw away Unleash the Hounds, King Krush, Savannah Highmanes. You should definitely keep Tracking, Buzzards, Snake Traps, and almost every other minion. Keep Flare against mages, paladins, and other hunters. Keep Kill Command and Multi-Shot against hunters, warriors, and priests.

Everything you do should be used to either go straight to the opponent’s face, clear a path to your opponent’s face, or eliminate any threats that are bigger then you. Certain classes will give you a harder time than others. Know what other class capabilities are and identify what spells they have which can be used against you and play accordingly. Priests have Mind Control. Bait out your 4/3 Starving Hyena so they won’t steal your Highmane when you drop it next turn.

Know when to hold your beasts. If you already have board supremacy (like 3+ creatures) and are in good position, don’t overplay your hand! Your opponent might have a mass removal spell. Suddenly, those extra hyenas and owls you played are dead for no reason because you didn’t have to play them. If all your minions are dead, you have no other offense and you’re in top deck mode. Playing against a mage? Watch out for Blizzard. Against Warlocks? Hold them against Hellfire.

Your hero power is straight forward. 2 mana, 2 damage to the other player. Use it if you have nothing else to do. You should be able to get a few early ones in during the early and late game stage.

Learn how to maximize your minions abilities. For example, the Grizzly’s taunt is great at attracting attention. Your opponent must go through it. So if your opponent has a 4/3 on board without a taunt staring down your Grizzly, and it’s your turn, what should you do? You can attack into the 4/3 and suicide it. Or you can attack your opponent directly and let them attack into your Grizzly. In both scenarios, the opponent’s minion and your Grizzly are both dead. But in the second case, both are dead and you dealt 3 damage to your opponent resulting in steps closer to a win.

If you’re playing from behind, there is some hope but it depends on what your disadvantage is. If you’re behind on cards (as in your opponent has more cards in your hand then you) and a neutral board, it’s not going to look good. Don’t worry about your life total as much so long as it’s above zero, you’re okay. The strength of Hunter decks is based on their ability to burst opponents down in a turn or two. Well timed minion drops with an Unleash the Hounds can help tremendously even the score and even bring it back in your favor. Buzzards are the key to digging yourself out of a hole.

Good luck and good hunting!

Hearthstone: Artosis Shaman Control

Hearthstone: Artosis Shaman Control

This is a deck I ran into one late evening piloted by none other than famous Starcraft caster Artosis! I kept queuing up and played against him repeatedly. My guess is that there wasn’t that many people online at the time playing so I had a little fun trying to alternate decks. I played my Beast Aggro deck, my Murlock deck, and Brewmaster Control but nothing came even close and I was unable to take even one game off of him! I’m sure his deck list has changed since but I managed to put together most of it from memory.

Overview

At the core of it, this deck is designed to control the board. The reason why control decks are called control decks are because you get to have a say on whether the cards your opponent has will stay on the board or not. This isn’t a cheap deck to play though since it has Al’Akir, Ragnaros, Doomhammer, Cairne Bloodhoof, and Sylvanas. It relies on assorted damage spells that usually hit two or more targets for quick controlling efficiency. No other card options? That’s okay as you can make some totems to help! Let’s go through the decklist, shall we?

Deck list

Earth Shock, Forked Lightning, Hex, Lightning Storm: These are your bread and butter removal spells. The Earth Shock is great at shutting down Questing Adventurer, or Twilight Drake or other creatures that have that type of effect (since it silences, then deals damage). Forked Lightning is cheap but has a one turn penalty. You can use it early on if you need to. Keep Hex in reserve against larger threats. Never know when your opponent is going to have a legendary of their own especially in upper divisions. The thing about using Hex is to remember to attack first (assuming your opponent has no taunt cards in play) before playing the Hex. Otherwise you have to waste damage killing it before getting through to your opponent. Lastly, Lightning Storm is your board clear. It’ll do the job against most minions especially if you happen to have an Azure Drake or a Wrath of Air Totem in play.

Rockbiter Weapon: It’s a cheap spell that gives Thrall the ability to clear out any innocuous threats (like a low health Questing Adventurer. Or I can combine it with Doomhammer for a total of 10 damage back to back. Or put it on Al’Akir. Either way, the Rockbiter makes whatever creatures I have on the board just a little stronger to go after minions that might normally be beyond reach.

Feral Spirit: I like the Feral Spirits because it gives you two 2/3 wolves with Taunt. It’s enough to stave off an early rush. The extra 1 toughness lets the wolves walk away from Kobold Geomancers, Ironbeak Owls, and Starving Buzzards.

Defender of Argus: Helps make your totems actually useful. If you happen to have a few of them up, it’ll let totems intercept any attacks coming your way. Sometimes I’ll follow up the Feral Spirits with a Defender and turn them into a 3/4 if I have nothing else on the board.

Sen’jin Shieldmasta: Only included this as a 1 of because of the lone taunt. It’s mainly used to help mitigate any early aggression, just like the Feral Spirit Wolves.

Bloodlust: Great card as it lets you just rush and overwhelming your opponent. If you happen to have a field with totems, it can be a surprise finisher.

Cairne Bloodhoof: Cairne is a basic insurance card against most removal spells. Even if Cairne is killed, Baine will show up to take over from his dear ol’ dad. The only way to really mitigate Cairne is with a Hex or a Polymorph of some sort. You can silence him to remove Baine from showing up, but you still need to deal with the fact that he’s a 4/5 who can go head to head and trade well with other minions.

Sylvanas Windrunner: I’m still not quite sold on Sylvanas yet. I’ve managed to put her Deathrattle effect to great use in maybe 20% of my games. Still, 5 mana for a 5/5 is pretty decent and depending on what my opponent has on the board, it’ll make them think twice before taking her out.

Ragnaros the Firelord: Essentially 8 free damage per turn! If you really need to win the game and focus his efforts, you can Earth Shock your own minions. I’ve played against a number of players who used an Ironbark Owl against Ragnaros to silence him only to realize that instead of the 8 damage getting randomly fired at one of their minions, I can end the game by directing Rag straight to the opponent’s dome.

Al’Akir the Windlord: Great card! The Divine Shield means it’ll survive first contact with most minions. The Windfury allows it to strike twice for six damage off the bat coupled with the Charge. Or you can keep it there as a defender until the next turn when you play something even more dangerous since the Divine Shield basically means it’ll soak the first bit of incoming damage for free. Only real way to deal with Al’Akir is a silence or an outright polymorph type spell.

Twilight Drake: If you can get this out turn 4, great. If you can whip out the Drake earlier in turn 3 with a coin, even better. This forces your opponent to react to a minion that’s at least going to be 4/4 or more. In the later parts of the match, remember to play it first before your other cards to take advantage of the Battlecry effect.

Azure Drake: Cycles for a card and is a 4/4. The Spell Power effect will help buff up your Earth Shock, Forked Lightning, and Lightning Storm spells. Plus, y’know, dragon.

Mana Tide Totem and Gadgetzan Auctioneer: Both of these cards should be played in the middle or late game. You might not need cards early on but as you approach the later stages, you still want that card advantage over your opponent so you can draw into more threats or removal. Ideally, by that stage, if you have a few taunt minions up, you can protect them long enough for them to supply you with a few more cards.

Doomhammer and Stormforged Axe: Both of these turn Thrall into another source of damage. You can use him to clear out any annoying taunts or aim them straight at your opponent’s face. Doomhammer alone represents 16 possible points of damage and has Windfury meaning you can clear out minions. Yes Thrall will take damage the other way, but sometimes it’s worth it to take early damage back in order to prevent taking massive damage later.

Playing the deck

Much of your early game is going to be spent controlling the board. It’s not uncommon to pass the first turn and generate a totem on the second turn. Ideally, you want to set up for Drakes between turns 4 – 6 as they provide a nice threat and allow you to start setting up your attacks. It’ll also draw removal spells towards them as you slowly migrate to the end game and start getting in range of dropping your legendary bombs. Keep making totems if you can afford to. Bloodlust is your ace and you might have the opportunity to finish a game by attacking with all totems. Don’t drop a Mana Tide or an Auctioneer until you can protect them with a few taunts like your Frost Wolves or totems buffed by Defender of Argus. Your weapons should be used to help maintain board control or to go after your opponent.

Hearthstone: Paladin Brewmaster Control

Hearthstone: Paladin Brewmaster Control

This is a deck that I’ve put together that has a ton of synergy and card draw. There’s many different ways to win. First, let’s go over the notable cards. The point of this deck is to make every minion count when it comes into plays. It’s also not a cheap deck to build as it has no less than three legendaries and other epics.

The deck

On WoW Head
On Hearthpwn

 The cards

Brewmasters: This deck aims to control the board with correct usage of Brewmasters. Use it to bring back any creature in play back to your hand so you can reuse the Battlecry effect. You can say that this is the main engine. During early game, I’ll try to use my Youthfuls on my Novice Engineers or Cold Light Oracles to continue drawing cards. Or I can use it on Owls to silence any annoying minions. I once took out two Molten Giants by dropping Big Game Hunter, bouncing it back to my hand, and re-casting it. There’s lots of tricks you can do here.

Leeroy Jenkins: Honestly, he’s not really in there for the consistent damage. He’s in there because his 4 mana allows you to instantly get rid of a 6 health minion with taunt that’s in the way of your miniature army. Not to mention there’s no other removal spell that Paladins have access to which I can use. Sure the trade off is that your opponent gets two 1/1 whelps. But that’s not so bad.

Illidan: Procs off any card played. Secrets, spells, minions, whatever. You get a free 2/1. This will help cement your board advantage. With 5 health, he’ll survive nicely against most smaller minions.

Ironbeak Owl: My favourite card in the game that’s a two drop. Shuts down any minions with scaling health and attack effects. Use it to bypass a taunt. Shut down any special utility creatures like Questing Adventurer.

Tinkmaster Overspark: You might think that the 50% chance to generate a 5/5 is a bad idea. But is there a Molten Giant in play? Or a Ragnaros? Or an Onyxia? Or a buffed 8/8 Questing Adventurer? All of a sudden, a 5/5 Devilsaur doesn’t seem so bad. 3 mana to shut down abilities of stronger creatures is something I’ll take. Save Tinkmaster to neutralize any legendaries.

Big Game Hunter: This will punch through any serious threats. Large demons. Massive beasts. A really buffed creature. You name it, BGH will sharpshoot it down free of charge without having to trade.

Mogu’shan Warden: It’s a 1/7 wall that can stop most things and buy you a turn. Brewmaster it to keep regenerating the the taunt shield alive long enough until you draw more permanent solutions. Combines well with the Crazed Alchemist as a surprise attack.

Acidic Swamp Ooze: Specifically targets warriors, Eaglehorn bow hunters, and really buff rogues. Otherwise, it’s a 3/2 drop for 2 mana.

Earthen Ring Farseer and Guardian of Kings: If you need to buy yourself time, Brewmaster these two for extra life. It should allow you more time to get setup and find more threats.

Sea Giant: Finisher. Towards mid to late game, there will be enough minions on the board to make it cheap to cast. If you plan to Equalize/Consecrate, Equalize first, drop the Sea Giant, then Consecration. 

Crazed Alchemist: Can be used for both defensive and offensive purposes. Opponent has an 0/5 Lightwell? Target it and watch as it becomes a 5/0 and instantly dies. Use it to bypass a Mogu’shan Warden. Turn the 1/7 taunter into a 7/1 and send your Silver Hand Recruit after it to open the way for the rest of your army. Alternatively, that buffed 6/1 Dust Devil that the Shaman has which is going to 2 shot you next turn? Use the Alchemst  on it and watch as it becomes a 1/6 that will attack twice for a measly two damage combined. You don’t always have to kill creatures to neutralize. Sometimes dropping them down to 1 attack renders them a non-threat. Just make sure you have the health for it.

Aldor Peacekeeper: Same concept as the alchemist above except it’s purely for defensive purposes. Opponent has a pair of Ironbark Protectors on the board? Drop a Peacekeeper, Brewmaster it back, drop it again. Those two 8/8s have now become 1/8s and are nothing but ticklish walls.

Equality and Consecration: The best board clearing combination. Levels your opponents field unless their minions have a Divine Shield presence up. Can easily be used on turn 5 with a coin or turn 6 in case things aren’t looking so good. Personally, I’ll wait a little later until I can do it to either finish the game or neutralize my opponent’s advantage. Remember that it costs 6 mana combined to cast. If the board is full. Cast Equality first, then drop a Brewmaster to return something or Leeroy (or a Sea Giant if there’s enough), before nuking their side with Consecration.

This deck has solutions for just about most situations. If not, Equality/Consecration will reset the board for you in your favor. Your card draw should let you fish them out fairly quick. Expect to go the distance with this deck and it’s not uncommon to get to a point where you’re running out of cards in your deck.

Video with commentary

Vs Warlock – With Warlocks, you have to be careful. Their key board clears are Hellfire and Twisting Nether. Brewmasters will help against any of your own minions that have been targeted with Corruption. This Warlock deck will have some spellpower minions to power up Drain Life or Soul Fire or other damage spells. Use Black Knight to punch through Booty Bay Bodyguards. Warlock players tend to hold onto their cards. Depending on the situation, you might be able to cast Coldlight Oracle and remove cards from their deck (do this only if they have 8 or more cards during your turn).

Hearthstone!

Hearthstone!

Like several other members of the WoW media and press fansites, I received an invite into the Hearthstone beta for the weekend. And it is a blast. It can be crazy addicting. Actually, the addicting part I find is just opening boosters and packs (and that’s going to be a problem for a future Hearthaholic).

I’ve played CCGs for many years. I started playing Magic: the Gathering around 1994. My first set was 4th edition and gradually played on and off throughout the years. Was never much of a deck builder though. This card flopper preferred piloting instead of construction. During two headed giant or 3v3 tournaments, I let my friends put together decks and I just played whatever they gave me. I specialized in playing control decks but shifted to aggressive creature based decks.

I’ve unlocked all the basic cards for Priests, Hunters, Mages, and am working on a Paladin right now.

The following deck is a fun list I put together designed to live long enough to go straight for the opponent’s dome. It’s not meant to be super competitive or to be used in ranked play. Not without significant tweaks.

Deathmage

Every card is designed to go straight to the opponents head, protect my head, or draw more cards. I could probably tune it better. Maybe take a closer look at the Frost spells. I didn’t realize I could freeze opponents directly.

Anyway, I’ll post some more deck ideas and lists that I come across. I’ve encountered some neat and potent ones. Right now, hunter decks are extremely powerful. But more details on that in a different post!