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Old December 11th, 2015, 18:03   #1
makkert
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Hearthstone Arena - Makk's Advanced Klass Korner [MAKK]

Greetings Sirs and Madams,


If you reached this Korner, you already visited the basic guide that is in a different thread.

This thread will be collection of posts explaining plays in detail for the more advanced Hearthstone player.


The SoF forum regulars should know me by now after all these years. I just love writing and analysing. Am I the best arena player in the world? Certainly not. I average now 6 wins a run.
http://www.heartharena.com/profile/makkert

That puts me way below the real elite of the Arena - Twitch streamers like ADWCTA & Merps, Shadybunny, Hafu, Ratsmah to name a few. I enjoy watching their streams and learning from them. But I can understand that most people dont feel like watching endless Twitch stream to learn bits and pieces left and right. That is where this thread comes into play, for the very busy. I will blatantly steal their thoughts left and right and share them with you, or delve from my own plays.

Entries will be entered here with new posts when there is something to say.
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Old December 11th, 2015, 18:49   #2
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shaman run

Today I wanted to share my shaman run.
http://www.heartharena.com/arena-run/x0ov10
The shaman went a very nice 9-3. I'll here share my thoughtprocess and experience.


draft (see tab in the link: "choice overview")
Take a look at the draft choices.
pick 1 - Abomination is terrible for Shaman. Shaman tends to win by playing boardcentric and flooding the board usually with its totems. Abomination will kill your own Totems, and was an absolutely not the pick here while playing Shaman.
Gnomish Experimenter is a very playable 3. It's battlecry means you at the worst draw a 1/1 chicken. you still draw something that can be played at some turn to manacurve efficiently, try to think of it that way. If it draws a non-minion, then it is just a plus.

pick 2 - here we immediately are in a fork of the road. Spiteful Smith and Volcanic Drake are both playable minions. If I had chosen the Drake, it would mean I would need to emphasize early game 2 and 3 drops. That would ensure the Drake would be an efficient manacosted minion. But I like Drake more in Rogue, which has a lot of early game weapon buffs and tends to favor aggression, or in Hunter that by nature of its Hero power is aggressive. So I chose the more generic Smith, and with early in draft a decent chance for a weapon.

pick 5 - anyone that thinks Zombie Chow is bad - you are wrong.
Pick it highly. And use the Chow to trade for your opponents minions. It will give you board dominance in the early game usually.

pick 16 - brewmaster vs totem golemn. I'm suprised these are so close in score. It's not close in my book. Both create anti-tempo. The brewmaster by bouncing your own minion, the Golemn by overload. unless there is nothing on the board, then the brewmaster is a regular 3/2. Which is just average. Playable. A 2 hp body dies to a lot of things currently in the meta. Paladin is popular (consecration-shelded minibot), rogue is popular (backstab, buccaneer, Goblin autobarber, si-7) and mage (not much that makes a difference here with higher hp miniion, except the epic Arcane Blast)
Right now I like a steady 2/3 probably over a 3/2 which can be window to get behind. A few 3/2 is fine though.
Let me emphasize this: it is incredibly rare to have a brewmaster that bounces a battlecry minion lategame to let the battlecry trigger again. In the early game, you can't afford the tempoloss. In the late game it is possible, but the times you pull this off are are and far between. it is almost ever at best a generic 3/2.
EDIT 12 december - I'll make a special exception for the possible synergy with Argent Protector, as the upswing with that is just a lot more.

the run
This deck got to where it ended by its synergies. Rumbling elemental was a big winner in this draft, due to the high amount of battlecry minions in the deck (9x - see also 'Deck Synergies' tab in the link).

The deck had a very distinct powerspike on turn 7, due to the many inspire minions that needed 7 mana to be played and right away inspire. This was very much felt during playing.
- Muklas champion
- thunder bluff valiant 2x
- recruiter (better on 8 then on 7)
These enabled the totems to become useful.

What made this deck work is that I traded as much as possible in the early game to stall to this powerspike. Once there, if they removed one of the above, the next turn a mukla's would further buff a minion if they took out the thunder bluff the turn before. This snowballed power of the totems. More often then not, it was the Thunder bluff paving the way to victory.
an example of just keeping pace in the early game was playing the crazed alchemist while my opponent paladin still had a 2 power weapon up. The weapon needed to go to free up plays in the future to take back the initiative.
Also played the micro machine like a regular 2 drop. Not something of a snowballing gamewinning minion that it can be in other decks. if it just traded, i was happy.

one thing about this deck is that you have to think one turn ahead. Realise how much you will overload, and what you want to do the next turn.

Demolisher was not that useful in this deck, as i usually didnt have the iniative needed to let a Demolisher cascade out of control. But I dont think that pick would have been beter with the Dunemaul Shaman. The Demolisher basically has taunt - your opponent will feel forced to immediately remove it. That sort of forcing on your opponent is valuable. The shaman in a way as well, but for the 5 mana you spend, it basically requires the same amount of attack to take it down.

last thing to notice are the 2 hex. hex is always great. But it is about patience that will win you the game with hex. if you can kill a minion with trading, its usually better to not hex. the longer you wait, the higher chance you will see that big minion that can swing the game by hexing.
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Old December 12th, 2015, 11:00   #3
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Wow great detail, you sure know your stuff when it comes to Hearthstone!! I enjoyed playing Shammy

Annoyingly HS is a bit too high powered for my low powered budget tablet (so I tend to play sudoku on that )

I think Hearthstone is great, I just wish I'd gotten in at the beginning rather than as a late player. I often feel the same about DOTA/LOL. (This is off-topic, but is Smite any good? I think that's like LOL/DOTA).
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Old December 13th, 2015, 18:08   #4
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Well, if you would play the Arena (and not consructed) it really doesnt matter if you start now.
Collections are build up with Arena, but everyone starts with the same every arenarun: draft

If constructed is your thing - yes, entry barrier is pretty high. If you would start now, I advise the Naxxramus adventure. It has a very high concentration of powercards.

LoL - very high entrybar.

Smite - I only saw it on streams. I can't comment it.
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Old December 13th, 2015, 18:31   #5
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Well, if you would play the Arena (and not consructed) it really doesnt matter if you start now.
Collections are build up with Arena, but everyone starts with the same every arenarun: draft

If constructed is your thing - yes, entry barrier is pretty high. If you would start now, I advise the Naxxramus adventure. It has a very high concentration of powercards.

LoL - very high entrybar.

Smite - I only saw it on streams. I can't comment it.
Naxxramus is where you buy the card set right? (Which I don't have a problem with. I don't have a problem expecting to pay for games).

LoL I won't play as probs not my thing and too late for it also.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 18:56   #6
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you buy the solo adventure.
some easy AI games and then the cards are yours.
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Old December 15th, 2015, 22:00   #7
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today we are going to handle one of my worst runs.
I went 1-3. That is a rarity for me. Then something was either terribly unlucky, or I screwed up. More common of these runs is the later one.
To give a vision on how rare: I believe in like 150 runs I registered, i only had 1 run that went 0-3, and 5 or 6 that went 1-3.

Immediately after the draft I already knew - this deck isn't good. First lets take a look at the deck:
http://www.heartharena.com/arena-run/36120y

After the run I went back to see which makes I made during the draft phase.
I'll write them here in spoilertext. Try first to see if you can spot my mistakes in retrospect on the 'choice overview', 'deck coverage' and 'results and rewards' tabs.

Spoiler

- the deck is low manacurve. It is aggressive. But it has 2 zombie chow that heal my opponent. that does not help. Zombie chow is incredibly powerful in the early game. I do not fault myself for picking the first zombie chow. I do however fault myself for picking the second one.

- I have 5 one drops. That is way too much. Most decks function at 2 or 3. so pick 26 was a mistake, i could have picked amani instead of the zombie chow.
pick 20 was not a mistake. that is just bad luck. it was the best option there.
pick 18 - was the best pick, and that was the third one drop. that would have been fine.

- the deck is lacking in 4 drops. that put my previous conclusion on pick 18 further in doubt. refreshment vendor would however not fit in an aggressive deck. so i dont fault myself still on that pick.
what i do fault myself for is pick 14. it should have been the lost tallstrider.
Fan of knives is a great card. But i already had one copy of fan of knives, picked up on pick 5. What happend is that i ended up with both Fan of Knives in an opening hand after mulligan, losing me that particular game mostly. One copy of Fan of Knives is the lesson learned. 2 is usually not that great. i got blinded by the anti paladin sentiment (killing muster for battle, divine shields).
But i ended up playing mostly mages in this run, making Fan of Knives pretty useless.

- bigger bodies. I probalby should have picked less aggressive in general, and in one or more of the picks 11, 15 and/or 19 picked the bigger minion.

These factors led up to this disaster of a run. Don't make the same mistake.

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Old December 21st, 2015, 21:07   #8
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And here we are again for another write up.

Today: paladin

The paladin is one of the most hated classes by top players. They feel it gives poor players a decent shot at beating them, and that paladin is not a good class in general.

Are they right?
To some degree.
Time to explain what is going on.

So how does the paladin win or lose?
The paladin wins or loses by control of the board.
This can't be emphasized enough. A paladin generally has little to no reach. The only thing they have is Holy Fire, and that is a rare. I guess one can put Truesilver in this category as well. But bottomline is: a paladin has little reach in general. So it is often forced to win on the board to come to a victory.

The the next question is: how does a paladin win the board?
A paladin often wins the board usually if it is given iniative. A paladin that does not have initiative is far less scary.
A paladin with iniative can:
- blesssing of kings
- argent protector
- buff its hero powered silverhand recruits some way (i.e. abusive sergeant).
- seal of champion
- hand of protection
- better protect Murloc Knight

One of the core strenghts is Divine Favor trading of the paladin. Which is why initiative is such a big thing for the paladin. A divine shiled is far less impactful if it can be pinged of by a hero power.

Once a paladin does not have initiative, it has a few tools to come back on the board. It still is pretty hard to come back if a paladin loses the initiative. Before, Truesilver was one of the few ways that paladin had a reliable way to get back on the board, with Peacekeeper similary but as a rare. LoE has brought now Keeper of uldaman, the new rising star in this department.

The thing with paladin is that it's average common quality is pretty damn high. And that means consistency in draft, which boosts the overal powerlevel of the paladin.

on top of the previously named commons, one can add: consecration (personally not a big fan, but still powerful in the right hands), shielded minibot, hammer of wrath, solemn vigil.

Then we have some non-common cards that are just over the top in Muster for Battle and Coghammer. Those cards are just nuts. A little overlooked plus side of Muster is that it gives the paladin a ping that it normally lacks with the weapon. Both cards usually trade at least 2 for 1, and give an huge tempo advantage.

secrets
The secrets of the paladin are usually so-so. Most commonly used is Avenge, followed by Noble Sacrifice. Both can be played around by a skillfull player. Normally for that reason i don't pick them highly, but there are situations in which those are the best pick in draft.

match ups
The rogue is the natural enemy of the paladin. The hero power of the rogue crushes the hero power of the paladin 2:1. rogues are masters of controlling the early game and pulling initiative to them through backstab or weapontricks.

The warrior looks pretty scared when facing of against a paladin. The hero power of the paladin will overtake the warrior in cascading way in the late game.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 18:47   #9
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The rogue is the natural enemy of the paladin.
Some things don't change, even across games!!!
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Old December 25th, 2015, 13:52   #10
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Today some blasphomy (not related to xmas ).
It's not arena. it's constructed.
I don't like constructed in general.
Too many netdecking.

But what I do like is the monthly rewards.
The notable reward tiers:
rank 20 - 1 golden common, 5 dust, card back
rank 15 - 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 5 dust, card back
rank 10 - 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 5 dust, card back
rank 5 - 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 5 dust, card back

Now, rank 20 is the cardback, and you can't lose stars till that point. just a matter of playing.
Rank 10 is the weak ass rank, because it is a lot of grind for a measily extra golden common.
So I set my goals every month on rank 15, which is pretty doable.

Around these low ranks, the pests known as aggressive decks are the brunt of what you will face.
- aggro hunter
- mech mage

I could have loaded my deck with legendaries, but there is no need. It's more fun to slap someone in the face with a deck that has no legendaries.
And due to the nature of the aggro decks that are common, I had to forsake the paladin deck that I previously used. I was getting outpaced.
Instead I picked shaman, and this deck is a lot of fun to play, as well has a very good win record at the low ranks up to 15.

So I present for your use: Slap 'm Shaman
budget style: 3 rares, 2 epics.
And probably the deck does not need 2 Earth Elemental. Replacing one for a second Frostwolf Warlord would work just fine. But I just think its fun. Also fun combo with Tunnel Trog.



I tried Feral Spirit as well, which is great. But in the end, choices have to be made.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 20:37   #11
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Meta Musings

Constructed is well known for it's meta. Netdecking causes a couple of particular well-developped decks to dominate the scene at the higher ranks.
The arena however also knows a form of meta. It is less obvious then constructed, as each run creates a different deck.

The macro meta
On the macro level people genrerally are well aware of the arena meta. The dominant used classes are Mage, Rogue and Paladin. Currently in that order of strength, strongest first mentioned. The relative strength of a class changes with each new set, as the new released cards influences how the class works. Most important influence factor are the common cards, as they are drafted the most in the arena. In example warrior got a boost with League of Explorers, due to 2 strong common cards: Fierce Monkey and Obsidian Destroyer. The general consensus is now that Warrior is a middle of the pack class, and that Priest currently is carrying the red lantern for worst class.
To understand the movements over time, it is important to realise the following:
1) class cards receive a bonus in the chance that they will come up in a draft over non-class cards of 100%
(double as likely to get a class card compared to the amount of class cards that class has)
2) the last released class has a bonus in the chance that they wil lcome in a draft of 50%

So the last released set will put a stamp on the meta. This piece of information is vital in becoming a good arena player. Do you see a secret played by your opponent? Statistically you first can think of the secrets released in the last set, if they are any good.

It also explains that the meta will receive a shock with each release. Each release the previous set loses its draft bonus, and the new set gains it draft bonus.
This can really be felt while playing. in the TGT (grand tournament) era, the speed of the games played slowed down due to the Inspire mechanic. Another effect was that classic set cards were pushed back in draft. Less Flamestrike and MC Tech meant that there was far less punishment for playing a lot of cards on the board. Normally playing 3 minions is maximum. In the TGT era I felt that the chance of being punished for overextending beyond three minions by those cards was so minimal I didn't play aroound it. Now LoE is released. As it such a small set of cards (it's an adventure, not a full set), the class bonus applied is only over a few cards. As a result, it is far more likely at this point in time to come acros a MC Tech or Flamestrike now. Playing reseverd and not playing more then 3 minions is a must again.

I don't foresee that the top 3 classes are likely to lose their crown soon. Their hero power, as well as the list of good commons they have build up now over the releases till date means that they probably will remain the dominant force in the arena for the foreseeable future.

The micro meta
The micro meta is the relative strength of a card that can change over time. At the early days just after release a 2 mana minion was preferably with the stats 3/2. The logic back then was that the 3 mana minions were relatively weak, and had a maximum of 3 health. So a 3/2 2 mana minion could trade up with a 3 mana minion.

These days the 2/3 minion is valued about the same as a 3/2 minion. This is the result of a couple of factors:
- people starting to realise the value of a 1 mana 2/1 drop, which can threaten a 3/2
- the release of cards in new sets that threaten a 2 health minion: shielded minibot, buccanneer
- the release of 3 mana minions in new sets that had more then 3 health: spider tank, the aforementioned Fierce Monkey, Dark Cultist

As a result of these factors, the value of a 3/2 is now looked different upon as when Hearthstone was just released.
Some of these changes are not as obvious as others. For example Hungry Dragon actually got worse with LoE due to Pit Snake. There is a chance, how small however it is, that if you play Hungry Dragon on turn 4 you will get incredibly unlucky and give your opponent a Pit Snake. Which would lose the game probably. So Hungry Dragon is now something of a liabillity to play on turn 4.

The playing meta
Besides the set rotation, there is something as what you come across in general. But this is more visible if you average a number of wins in the arena and play regulary. A perception I had lately is that the quality of opponents is going up in general. Especially the last week was though. This could have various reasons, but I'm not the only one noticing that the last week was a particular strong week in the arena (Lightforge #21 podcast. I got outvalued a lot lately, and I will need to adjust what I draft to either be very aggressive, or be more late game oriented, depending on what is possible in the draft.



~ Makk
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Old February 2nd, 2016, 20:42   #12
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http://www.heartharena.com/arena-run/53ox9e#choices
Here we have an example of drafting with a bit of courage.

Pick 1 - horrible rares. Tierlist pushes for the blade, but I really dislike the blade.
I decide to pick the Screwjank Clunker, a card that most frown upon.
I picked this card against the common opinion for the following logic:
- if I get the synergy off, I have 4/7 of stats for 4 mana, which is really good.
- I can focus the draft on mechs on the coming picks
- the blade is perceived as great momentum in the early game. The thing is, I don't perceive the meta as fast, but more mid range based, with just a few late game cards to edge it out to a win. And late game the blade is beyond bad.

pick 3 - my first opportunity for a mech, and a decent one for warrior that uses weapons to clear.

pick 8 - oh boy. shit is getting real. warsong commander is trash after the change. and the inner rage simply is too little of an effect to tempt me. I have one taunt at that point in time - a fierce monkey (pick 5).
The warrior has been pushing taunts with League of Explorers, so I decide to take the second gamble.

pick 10 - a mech AND a taunt. oh goody.

pick 17 - no, im not THAT desperate for a taunt.

pick 20 - hallelulah! a second arcane nullifier. great!

In the end I went 5-3, which is ok for a deck that is played with a second tier class and not the greatest of draft options.
Synergy paid off - I got one win from a double trigger of Bolster, one win from Screwclank Junker.

Not always the highest tier card is the pick.
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Old February 14th, 2016, 16:55   #13
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deck / picks: http://www.heartharena.com/arena-run/wdbw1d#basics

Today we went 12-0 with Rogue. As I'm not the greatest rogue player out there, I learned some fundamentals this run that can be carried over to other rogue runs.

so why did this run go the the full nuts?
Shadow-Pan-damonia.
Having 4 Shadow Pans is insane. Also the two SI--7 Agents helped a lot.
The way this deck is played out is that it is superaggressive.
Take control of the game early, and push for the win normally around turn 9 or so.
This aggression was enabled by the SI-7 and Deadly Poisons.
In the mid to late game the Shadow Pan army is taking over for the push to lethal.
Fun fact: I won one game by being on 1 life with my opponent having a Truesilver. I played Voodoo Doctor, bounced it with Ancient Brewmaster to play again, and survived barely to win the game.

fun, this deck story, but what do I learn from this?
Some basic rogue principles are underlying in this deck.

1) early aggression
Normally this is what rogue excells at. the hero power clears up the board nicely for an efficient price. The value is diminishing late in the game as taking a hit from a Boulderfist Ogre with your hero power is quite painfull.
On top of that, cards like Backstab facilitate this way of taking the board early.

2) the curve
Keep the curve low. This enables the early aggression better, as well as provide reliability that you curve out while playing. Reliability is a BIG thing in arena if you want high number of wins on your arenarun.

3) the 1 drops
The 1 drops are a bit higher in value in rogue then in other classes. They enable combo's so very well. (SI 7, Shadow Pan, eviscerate, etc). It is ok to draft 1 or 2 more then you normally would if they aren't total dog shit.

4) plan one turn ahead
this is about all the previous remarks. plan ahead wether or not you will have mana to use your hero ability next turn. If you dont, its usually not worth going face with your hero ability.
Plan ahead if you can get a combo of with your hand the next turn with the plays you intend to make this turn. Sometimes it is better to keep a 1 drop in your hand as combo enabler.

5) 2 drops
Because your hero power is so good in the early game, it is ok to have 1 less 2-drop then you would need in other classes. Hero Power on turn 2 is acceptable. It's not bad to have a normal amount of 2-drops, but you can get away with one less then normal.
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Old February 20th, 2016, 19:40   #14
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Welcome to another episode of Makk's Advanced Klass Korner!

Thie time i want to highlight thie following arenarun:
http://www.heartharena.com/arena-run/rovy0x
This paladin went 12-2.
It had some pretty ridicilous OP value, so I wasn't suprrised it did well.

But I'm not here to boast about the run. I want to highlight an important underlying principle that is relevant in every arenarun.

Every draft varies. As more sets have been released, removal (i speak of removal in a wide spectrum. not just a Fireball, but also a Stormwind Knight) has become a bit more exclusive.

You CAN'T be selective on your removal usually. The draft decides to which removal you have access. And the removal decides what minions you should draft.

If you are given lots of small removal (i.e. frostbolt) but no large removal (i.e. polymorph), make sure to draft some big minions. Else you have nothing that can fight their big boys efficiently.

on the other side, if you have big removal, but no small removal, you need a lot of small minions. Else you end up spending that hex on a small minion.

This paladin draft is a good example of the second part. lots of small minions, and lots of large removal (keeper of uldaman and Aldor Peacekeeper). This combination made it powerful and kept my tempo high. It is the combination of removal and minions that should synergize for good arenaresults.
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Originally Posted by Crash Test View Post
My tactic is to confuse the enemy with my superior lack of logic.

Last edited by makkert; February 21st, 2016 at 07:59.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 05:39   #15
Epinephrine
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 6,606
Nice, I started Hearthstone a while ago as well, hit 12 run on arena, too.
Currently very frustrated by the incredibly control oriented meta. Was playing a variety of aggro decks, was proud of a few of them, got to rank 5 or so a few times.
Also trying to make Span of Shadows work; control priest with Spawn of Shadows has worked ok; combining it with the natural Shadow Priest elements is not enough healing, but too slow vs fast decks and not enough healing to stall the real control decks.

Very much looking forward to Standard mode, shake things up a bit.
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