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!

Behind the Blogging Scenes Interview: Rohan

It’s been quite a long time since I last featured a blogger from the community. My fault though as I’ve been wrapped up in so many projects and works. But I do plan on getting back to these when I can especially now that my schedule has cleared up a bit. The blogger we’re looking at today is Rohan of Blessing of Kings

 So who exactly are you and what do you do?

My name is Rohan, and I’m a software developer in Vancouver, Canada. I work on financial software, usually in Java. It’s pretty dry and boring, really. Rounding numbers is the bane of my existence.

MMO-wise, I’m a PvE raider, currently playing a Holy Paladin in WoW, and an Imperial Agent Sniper in The Old Republic.

What do you feel are your strongest post types as a blogger?

Probably the posts that try to examine “why” we do what we do in games. This is the part of MMOs that most interests me, how human behavior reacts to the rules of the game. And then how the rules of game get modified in reaction to that behavior.

Where can we find your work?

My writing is on my site, Blessing of Kings.

Productivity

 How much time do you spend on a weekly basis just reading and researching for blog posts?

I write mainly opinion pieces, so there’s not a whole lot of research involved, other than just reading what all the internet news is and what other people are writing. And also thinking through posts in my head. Probably an average of an hour a day or so.

 How do you prepare yourself before blogging?

I mainly just sit down and start writing. I’ll have the general idea of a post in my head, usually because it has been percolating for a few days.

I do try to maintain a list of ideas for posts, but inevitably I find reasons to ignore the remaining ideas on the list.

How would you advise a blogger to beat procrastination?

Heh, this is something I’m not very good at. I’m a terrible procrastinator. The key I’ve found is just to start writing, and try to get into a routine. I tend to write steadily for a stretch, then “fall off the wagon” for a week or two.

Also, don’t try to perfect the idea in your head. The moment you start writing the idea changes. The thoughts in your head always change when they hit the paper.

When is the best time of day for you to blog?

I generally write posts at about 9pm or so. That’s really just when I have the block of free time available. Plus it’s nice and quiet, and you get the post up in time for the next day when everyone comes into work and checks the internet.

The downside of this is that the post never gets edited properly. I always notice tons of mistakes when I go to check it the next morning.

How many hours a week do you spend actually blogging? How many days a week?

Ideally, I would write a post each day. In reality, I probably average 3 posts a week. Each post takes about half an hour, so 1.5 hours a week. I would like to get it up to 3.5 hours or so.

Who are your favorite inspirations and authors?

Blogging-wise, I am a fan of Megan McArdle. She writes about a wide variety of subjects in a fairly dispassionate way that is unusual for writers who touch on politics. In particular, I find she is one of the few mainstream writers who is willing to outline the trade-offs inherent in every question.

That “dispassion” and attention to trade-offs is something that I aspire to in my writing.

As for authors, my favorite is probably Lois McMaster Bujold. I adore her books, and she has a knack for writing pithy quotes that just seem to sum up and contain a great amount of wisdom.

What quote best defines you?

Lately, I have been strongly influenced by the following quote from G. K. Chesterton’s The Thing:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious.

John F. Kennedy summarized it as:

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.”

What type of music do you like to listen to when you write (or none at all)?

I don’t listen to music while writing. I’m not very good at multi-tasking. I find that when I’m focused on writing I end up tuning out any music that is playing. So I don’t really bother with music.

Are there any areas you’re looking to expand into as a blogger?

I am thinking about starting a blog about real-life topics. But I don’t really like to make really controversial posts about topics that matter (as opposed to videogames), so I don’t think anything is going to happen with that.

I would like to be able to make graphs and simple illustrations more easily. Walls of text are all very well, but a good illustration is very useful. Unfortunately, my attempts at illustrations seem to take an inordinate amount of time. I am very envious of those people who can dash up quick sketches.

How do you crush writer’s block (if you believe in it)?

Just sit down and write something trivial. You never know where an idea is going to take you once you start writing it down. Also, don’t underestimate “trivial” posts. They’re often the posts that the audience relates to the most.

Where do you go when you’re drawing a blank on ideas?

My favorite technique is to go down my blogroll and read the latest posts. When I find a post that I’d like to comment on, instead of commenting on that site, I write up the comment as a post on my site, linking to the original post.

Not only does this provide an easy post, but the other blogger will like it, as getting linked by someone else is always nice. In some ways, it helps build the community.

Are you a risk taker or do you play it safe when it comes to broaching potentially controversial topics?

I’m a total coward when it comes to real-life controversial topics. (In-game controversies are another matter.)

On blogging

How would you define a truly great blogger?

Someone who writes fairly often, and writes posts which are interesting to read. I read primarily for new ideas, so I like people who introduce new ideas or new ways of looking at things.

What platform do you blog on?

I use Blogger, which is Google’s free platform. It’s simple and easy to use. It doesn’t allow you as much control as some of the other options. However, I feel that you get the best results from writing more, rather than tinkering with your site.

Which blogs do you try to keep up with the most and why?

Kurn and Liore, definitely. I do try to keep up with pretty much everyone on my blogroll.

But I’d like to specifically call out Gevlon at Greedy Goblin. He gets a lot of flak in the blogosphere, but there are three reasons I enjoy reading his posts:

  1. I really admire how fearless he is about writing about controversial topics. As I’ve noted above, I shy away from controversial topics. I rather wish I could be more like Gevlon and not care about the prevailing orthodoxies.

  2. He has genuinely new ideas and ways of looking at things. I don’t always agree with his perspective, but it is a unique perspective on things, at least among the bloggers.

  3. I find that I usually agree with Gevlon at the start of a post, but by the end of the post I  disagree with him. I am never quite sure if this is because Gevlon took a wrong turn somewhere, or because I am unwilling to follow the argument to the logical conclusion.

Is there a specific program you use for blogging?

No, I just use the editor with Blogger. I am technically inclined, so I have no issues with dropping down into HTML, which does make some things a little easier.

Other than using a focus macro, how do you stay focused on your task?

I don’t multi-task well, so I tend to tune out any distractions until my task is finished. My problem is procrastination, and not starting the task at all.

What challenges or problems have you run into when blogging?

The biggest problem I have is that I will get “stuck” on a post. I’ll have an idea for a post, but it isn’t fully fledged, or is more controversial than I am comfortable with posting. So I’ll try and write about something else, but my mind stays stuck on that post, and it’s all I can think about.

Have any strategies on staying organized?

Not really. Try to keep things simple. Juggling many things is a lot harder than only needing to worry about a couple things. Making lists is always useful.

How do you unwind after your day is over?

I play video games, specifically Massively Multiplayer Online games. I also read a fair bit, mostly science fiction, fantasy, and older regency novels.

For fun

What is your biggest annoyance right now (blogging or otherwise)?

Twitter. I hate trying to trace Twitter “t.co/HASH” links to my site back to the original tweet.

Actually, I’m growing somewhat disenchanted with the way the web is closing off as a whole into walled gardens. I can see people linking to my site from Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, but it’s really hard to see the specific reaction. In contrast, I can follow a link back to a normal site, see their discussion of my ideas, and respond. It’s all about feedback. I can use the feedback from the “normal” web to refine my ideas, but Facebook, et al, are just black boxes.

Do you have a slogan that you adhere to?

No.

What has been your proudest achievement?

I don’t really know.

Choose a celebrity (alive or dead) that you would like to have dinner with.

I’m always thrown for loop by these types of questions. I can’t help but think about the celebrity’s reaction to having dinner with me.

Albert Einstein: I developed the theory of Special and General Relavity, and won a Nobel Prize.

Me: I write blog posts about elves.

Seems very unequal, and probably an awkward dinner for the both of us.

My attitude towards celebrities is the same as my attitude towards bears. I will leave the bears alone, and the bears will leave me alone.

What do you wish to do more of (or get started doing) this year?

I’d like to get out more, maybe leave my city more often. I’d also like to program a bit more, do some simple side projects in some of the newer languages like Erlang or Go.

You travel back in time to meet your younger self when you started blogging. What piece of advice would you offer?

Get fixed in the habit of writing one post every day. Buy Apple stock. Don’t take the job with the mobile gaming company or the real estate company.

Also, pay more attention to the high end raiders, and don’t try to fight against theorycraft results. You won’t truly learn to raid effectively until you’ve raided with the high end, and so you should aim to join them as soon as possible, because you’ll really enjoy efficient, competent raiding.

Where can readers find you online?

Mostly at my blog, Blessing of Kings.

What else would you like readers to know?

I’m really not very good with these wide-open questions. My mind simply blanks out.

Thanks to Rohan for taking the time out of his day to help offer a behind the scenes look at his blogging process and methods! Don’t forget to visit his blog at Blessing of Kings!

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.

Playing with Confidence

I know, it’s been a while since the last update. We’re up 8 bosses into Siege. I’m hoping to rack up at least one or two more on Monday. I’m not sure what happened between Throne of Thunder and SIege of Orgrimmar, but the raid has been playing much tighter and more disciplined. It wasn’t uncommon for us to take down a progression boss and then just wipe on trash successively. I mean, it still happens from time to time but not as often. We have a tendency in making our own hard modes, that’s for sure. Dark Shaman definitely a pain in the backside for us and I was worried we’d hit another road block but managed to punch through it. Nazgrim took but a few shots for us before we buried him into the ground. That was an enjoyable encounter with the amount of control and restraint we had to exercise throughout the encounter.

Another team composition adjustment that was made is that we’re now regularly running five healers instead of our standard six. Running an 18 DPS lineup means we can simply apply brute force to bosses and negate some of the tighter enrage checks. The only exception was Dark Shaman where I switched from Shadow to Holy to help heal. Having the opportunity to both heal and DPS these fights means I get to enjoy the challenges from two different roles.

Maybe the Flex raid wings are helping along with the preparation. By being exposed to some of the later bosses in a slightly tiered down version, it adds extra familiarity when we tackle these encounters in normal. Whatever it is, the raid train is humming along nicely. This just might end up being an easier tier compared to Throne of Thunder.

Day 1: Siege of Orgrimmar

My glyphs! They’ve been changed! Ever since Dark Binding went baseline, I had to make some changes to my shadow glyphs! Now I’m using Glyph of Fade, Glyph of Mind Flay, and Glyph of Vampiric Embrace

For healing, I removed my Glyph of Lightwell (so that Lightspring is now baseline). I switched back to using Glyph of Renew and kept Glyph of Mending along with Glyph of Circle of Healing.

Our day 1 in Siege of Orgrimmar was a blast! Immerseus was two-shotted and the Protectors of the Vale was taken down in one shot (even with a third of the raid dead). Ran into a wall with Norushen but after multiple attempts and hitting the enrage timer with about 10% left, I think he’s well within range for a kill on Thursday. Just have to stack the deck a little bit more in terms of who gets sent to the other side.

How did your day 1 go?

Where we kill Heroic Tortos and Iron Qon

Two weeks ago on a Monday night, the biggest (and most annoying) turtle since Firelands went down on heroic mode. Took us over 70 attempts before we were finally able to kill the oversized shell. It’s the same thing for about 6 minutes non-stop and it demands an unbelievable amount of focus from really key players. If even one person stops thinking or loses sight, it’s an automatic wipe. I probably caused maybe 20% of the wipes due to bad calls, mis-kicks or other stuff. The DBM option which automarks turtles is a god send.

I had three total kickers including myself and my job was to tell the kickers which shell to kick for breaths and for debuffs. In addition, I had to direct ranged DPS traffic. We were consistently getting him low to around 25 to 30% but we kept losing our kite tank (we used a Death Knight for this as we didn’t have a tanking Monk available). What’s funny is that ont he final attempt of the night, I errantly forgot to refresh my shield (or it was taken out by a rock fall or a turtle spinning and I didn’t see it). At that moment, my duties were absolved of all kicking and I was able to instantly focus on directing traffic and set up a specific order on which shells would be used when.

Maybe I should die more often.

This is indeed a fight where the fate of the many rest on the shoulders of the few.

Things that can go wrong

  • Your kite tank dying
  • Your main tank dying
  • Your main tank pulling bat aggro somehow
  • Your misdirectors unable to misdirect bats
  • Your kickers not kicking
  • Your kickers missing
  • Your shields not being refreshed on people

The lockout was subsequently extended and we made a large push towards Iron Qon. We actually were able to pick up where we left off since we last worked on him about two months ago. We hit phase 4 a few times, jockeyed around with the DPS order. Turns out killing Fire Quillen guy first might not be the best idea since the shields from the Ice Quillen caused us to miss a whole bunch. We switched our targets, delayed our Heroism into that phase and unloaded everything. This was one of the few attempts where we had just about everyone alive and managed to stay stable throughout it.

Thank goodness. That put us to 6/13. Now we have two more days to make it 7. I feel like we’ve made a really strong push at the end of the tier and helped make up for lost time. I just hope that it’s enough momentum to really get us going into Siege. Rumors are that other Alliance guilds are either switching servers or switching factions. A shame really. Our server’s going to slowly shift towards faction imbalance if it does go through.

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).

Deck Construction on WoW Insider

You may or may not be sick of Hearthstone already. Or maybe you want to learn a little more about the game. I wrote a lengthy post on WoW Insider about Deck Construction basics. Don’t expect to pull out any turn one wins. But it’ll at least help get you started with the game and assembling a solid deck to work with.

We managed to push Tortos down to about 25% earlier tonight on hard mode. I think we can get him killed on Monday. This is a high intense focus fight, that’s for sure. So many right things are depending on a small number of people. The kiting tank needs to make sure he stays ahead of everyone. The kickers have to be on the ball. Every player needs to ensure that they hit the crystal to activate the shield when they’re at full health. So many things can possibly go wrong. I’m happy that we received an extension on the patch though. With it debuting early September, it gives us a little more time in clearing out some additional hard modes.

Heroic Council Down!

Heroic Council Down!

hcouncil

Here at Conquest, we have a habit of making our own hard modes. We’ll often ace (or get a boss down reasonably quick) before wiping on trash due to overconfidence. We had just finished Heroic Horridon the other week and we had some time left in the raid. Why not make a push for Heroic Council and see what we can do with almost no homework or preparation?

Our raid group pushed further than expected and the call was made to start prepping for him next day because it seemed like the entire council of trolls was within striking range. So with a little over two and a half nights of progress, we managed to get him last night. Arguably the hardest part of the encounter was not dying to Kazrajin. The Blanka look-alike kept doing us in towards the end until we were able to carefully balance our DPS and healing to live just long enough. Our main DPS focused on Sul first so that we wouldn’t have to worry about Sandstorm. We ended up with around 2 or 3 Kazra Empowered phases. We managed to push the remaining trolls to under 10% before mercilessly cutting them all down.

Heroic Council is supposed to be a boss a raid group works on later in the progression. Something like 8th or 9th. But what the hell, we did it backwards. In theory, this would suggest that we have the DPS and healing capacity to get through the other easier bosses. Right now we’re just aiming for kills more than gear especially since we have such a limited window before the expected 5.4 release.

I’ve outlined a new schedule that’s going to include Flex raiding into the works. We’ll still be raiding Mon, Tuesday, and Thursday. But Wednesday night will be an optional Flex raiding night. Any regular raider that didn’t raid because of group composition or attendance related issues can come and step in for that. This way, those players won’t fall too far behind in terms of gearing and experience. I anticipate that the first few opening weeks will be chock full of players on their mains and once they no longer need the gear out of there, they’ll switch to either their alts or opt out allowing me to start bringing in other friends and players who want to see the content without the fuss of LFR.

How’s your guild doing in preparing for the patch? We’ve been doing our best to continue stockpiling gold and mats. Our forums are thriving with raid strategy, discussion, and videos.