Hearthstone Q&A: Deckbuilding advice for new players
We’re trying something a little new this week: I’ve received numerous questions about Hearthstone from newer players who are looking to improve their play. Some of the questions range from which cards to add to class specific matchups. Let’s see if we can clear up some confusion go ahead and dive in to the Q&A.
There are two ways to go about this. You can look up specific decks that you want to put together and begin to assemble them, or you can have a small collection of flexible cards that can fit multiple classes and deck types. With the latter, it means that your decks may not be the most optimal. For example, you may not have access to Grommash Hellscream for a Patron Warrior deck but you can substitute in a Raging Worgen instead.
Here are some priority neutral legendaries to consider crafting:
- Dr. Boom: You’re doing yourself a disservice by not picking him up.
- Sylvanas: She has the potential to force your opponent into playing sub-optimally, which will always help your game.
- Ragnaros: APPLIES PRESSURE BY CONSTANTLY THREATENING TO PURGE WITH FIRE.
- Alexstrasza: The next popular legendary to pick up as she slots in nicely into Control Warrior, Handlock, and Freeze Mage decks, but can be skipped if you have no interest in that playstyle.
- Harrison Jones: This is a flexible card that can remove opposing weapons on demand. It’s more of an advanced card to consider in higher end competitive play, but not a bad pickup if you have nothing else on your to-craft list.
- Ysera: She provides additional cards and can swing the game in your favor. The 12 health ensures that she’ll be on the board for a while yet.
- Baron Geddon: Works quite well with Control Warrior.
Everything else is optional, as they fit specific niche or class decks:
- Cenarius: Slots into your Fast Druid or Ramp Druid decks.
- Mal’ganis: The other heavy hitter in Zoo Warlock decks.
- Lord Jaraxxus: THIS EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION WORKS WELL IN HANDLOCK.
- Archmage Antonidas: Fuels alternate win conditions in Mech Mage and Freeze Mage with extra Fireballs.
- Grommash Hellscream: Your Warrior deck’s finisher.
- Tirion Fordring: Fits in just about every Paladin deck.
- Edwin Van Cleef: Good for Rogues, but it’s completely optional. It’s possible for Oil Rogue to secure wins without him, but he does help.
Among non-legendaries, here’s a list of neutral cards that can fit a wide variety of classes:
- Big Game Hunter: At least one copy as he’s your response to Dr. Boom.
- Azure Drake: Great value! Cycles for an extra card and provides a spell power buff.
- Piloted Shredder: Sticks to the board even if the Shredder gets removed since you get an extra minion out of it.
- Knife Juggler: Fits in with aggressive decks like Face Hunter and Zoo.
- Kezan Mystic: At least one copy will help you against Hunters and Mages.
- Ironbeak Owl: The silencer!
Definitely unlock Naxxramas first. Many cards from the set still see play and will fit in with most of your decks. Cards like Zombie Chow, Mad Scientist, and Haunted Creeper are incredibly useful. The Sludge Belcher is a staple and can help stymie aggressive decks. Lastly, Naxxramas boasts one of the best legendaries in the game since a well-timed Loatheb potentially buys you an extra turn where your opponent is unable to execute their combos. Conversely, Blackrock Mountain adds Grim Patron, a key component in Patron Warrior. Cards like Quick Shot and Emperor Thaurissan serve as upgrades in their respective tournament decks.
This is where you can use the class knowledge in your favor. In my decks, I try to specifically add minions and spells that will give me an edge against that class. I’ll usually add one copy of a Kezan Mystic to trip it against my opponent when their secret lands. Face Hunter decks try to ignore threats on your side of the board in the hope of piling as much damage as possible on your hero before you get stabilized. With that in mind, you can stack some extra taunt minions in your deck like a Sen’jin Shieldmasta or a Sludge Belcher. Antique Healbot provides you a little extra breathing room. A turn 1 Zombie Chow will provide you with an excellent buffer and can usually trade quite effectively against their early minions.
This is an extremely subjective question and depends on a many factors such as your play style, the size of the tournament, and other components. What you can do is attempt to tailor your decks against specific classes that you think you’ll see the most of. Face Hunter is one of the most affordable and competitive decks that can be assembled. Knowing this, you can give yourself a slight edge by slotting in cards mentioned in the previous question. Note that modifying your decks against specific classes is just one way to go about it — the second way (and the one I’d advocate for newer players looking to take a step into tournaments) is to simply play the three classes that you’re most comfortable with. If you’re familiar with playing Mech Mage, play that. If you’re more used to playing a Midrange Hunter, then play that. As you continue playing and building upon your experience, you’ll slowly branch out and learn to play new decks or classes that you can add. Decks that are strong on the ladder might not necessarily be the ones you should play in a tournament setting.
If I knew how to properly play any deck, I’d personally bring in a Control Warrior, Midrange Hunter, and Handlock. To me, those three decks statistically provide the most favorable matchups against a field where Patron Warrior is the dominant deck.
It looks like additional deck slots are currently in development!
— Ben Brode (@bbrode) June 10, 2015
Class specific questions
Explosive Traps will trigger when you attack your opponent with anything (your hero or a minion). Freezing Traps trigger whenever any of your minions attack. In cases like this, you want to think about what the best play for you. If you have to pass a turn and not attack until you can properly prepare your side of the board, be willing to do that. Aside from that, to play around the Explosive Trap, look for the minions that would end up dying in the process and see if you can afford that. Playing around the Freezing Trap means you’d be set back slightly because you have to replay that same minion again for a slightly higher cost. This is can be beneficial for you if you have certain Battlecry abilities like an Antique Healbot or a Keeper of the Grove with which you can reuse again.
You can almost never go wrong with Ironbeak Owls in your deck. I usually recommend newer players slotting in at least one to help protect them against unexpected cards. You never know when you need to shut down Tirion Fordring at the end of a game! In most cases, you can get away with no more than 2 Silencing cards. If you add more, you’ll start hurting your deck’s game plan. You might have to make room for Silence effects by removing cards that otherwise might’ve helped you secure the game!
That’s it for now! If you have further questions, feel free to tweet me or respond in the comments below!
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