They say the first time is the hardest. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but they’re right! Getting to legend the first time takes a ton of grit, determination, and time. It’s also a fun, rewarding, and memorable experience. At the end, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
In this article, I’m going to share 10 tips that will help with your climb to legend. The tips range from practical game play advice to psychological strategies that can make the climb go much smoother. Let’s get started!
#1 It Will Be Harder Than You Think
This is a video game right? How hard could it be? You see people posting all the time about how they hit legend, so it can’t be that hard.
This line of thinking is a surefire way to make your climb to legend much harder. The problem with this is you set yourself up so any rough patches you hit seem that much harder.
If you have it in your head that the climb to legend isn’t going to be hard, then anytime you suffer a setback it’s going to seem that much more ‘unfair’ and put you on tilt fast.
Imagine two players start the season at rank 20. Player 1 thinks his first climb to legend should be a breeze. He’s read some guides, has some good decks built, and considers himself reasonably intelligent. He figures it will take a little bit of work, but shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Player 2 on the other hand is prepared for an uphill battle. He knows the competition is fierce, he’s read that it’s perfectly normal to go on bad losing streaks or even fall a number of ranks during your climb. He understands that it’s going to be a lot of work and not easy at all.
Fast forward to mid-month and player 2 is at rank 10. He hoped to be a bit further along, but because he wasn’t expecting to hit legend ranks without a lot of work, he isn’t that upset. He’s stuck to the same few decks and really tried to improve his game.
Player 1 on the other hand, is at rank 15. He can’t understand what’s wrong. It couldn’t be anything to do with him as a player, so it has to be something else. It’s got to be stupid newbies net decking, or the matchmaking system always pairing him with a deck that’s broken, or maybe it’s the new expansion that’s totally ruined the game.
My point here is that if you expect things to be easy, then you’re going to be easily frustrated if they aren’t. If you gear yourself up for a tough climb, then any rough patches you hit will seem more ‘normal’ to you because you expected it.
This also brings up another crucial point – variance is totally normal. You will go on winning streaks and losing streaks. It’s not at all uncommon to lose ranks during your climb. Be mentally prepared for this and it won’t throw off your game as much. Players get into real trouble when they expect the climb to be easy, then hit a bad streak and drop a few ranks. If they aren’t expecting this, they blame everything but variance. This leads to making poor choices like changing decks often, or playing when on tilt.
A great way to sum this up is by saying that in any card game you play, you will lose a lot. That’s just the nature of card games in general. If you accept that, then losing won’t seem so painful and more just a normal part of playing this game.
#2 Almost Any Deck Can Reach Legend
This was a hard one for me to grasp when I first started. I thought you had to use a deck that was built by a pro, or one that everyone said was the ‘best deck’. What I learned is that almost any deck can get to legend – it’s really more about the player than the deck.
A good example to illustrate this is the first time I almost got to legend. I was playing a deck that was considered ‘tier 3-4’ at the time, but doing reasonably well. I shot up to rank 5 in a short amount of time but then kind of stalled there.
I figured it must be the deck because people were saying it wasn’t that good, and hardly anyone was running it. I ended up switching decks (which of course lead to more switching of decks) and promptly went on a losing streak to finally end the season at rank 12.
A few weeks later, the deck I was playing was suddenly considered a tier 2 deck and people decided it was a decent deck.
Looking back, what I should have done is just stick to that deck and realize the competition heats up around rank 5. If I would have just stuck it out, I might have hit legend or at least finished much higher than I did that season.
If a deck can get you to rank 5, it can get you to legend. Trust your own stats/results and don’t let your choice of deck be dictated by anyone else. I do think it’s important to start with what’s considered a ‘strong’ deck which you can change/tech as needed.
#3 Understand You Can’t Be Favored In All Matchups
Whatever deck you play, you’re going to have good and bad matchups. Study the matchups and learn when you’re favored or not. This will hopefully prevent you from trying to tech in too many cards to try and have favorable match ups against everything, which just isn’t possible.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to win every match though. You should always play to win, even if you’re not favored. Sometimes making a few key tech changes can work wonders. What you don’t want to do is start trying to tech your deck for every possible match or situation. Doing so will most likely end with your deck not doing as well overall. Whatever deck you play will have strengths and weaknesses. Your job is to learn how to play to the deck’s strengths the very best that you can. That will do so much more for you than trying to tech against everything.
Knowing your deck’s strengths and weaknesses is an important part of becoming a great player. Equally important is knowing your opponents deck inside out (more on this later).
#4 Take Your Time
Like many players, I have a tendency to rush and it always hurts my game. There are a lot of decisions to make in Hearthstone so take your time and think about each turn.
You want to think not only about your current turn, but future turns too. If you make a certain play this turn, what will you play next turn? How will that affect what your opponent can play or not play? What do you need to draw into, or what does your opponent need to have?
If you use a deck tracker like Hearthstone Deck Tracker, you can have it display a countdown timer showing how long you have left on your turn. I strongly suggest taking as much time as you need to thoroughly think through your turn.
One big difference between ‘good’ and ‘great’ players is minimizing misplays that can occur when you play too fast.
There are a ton of subtleties that go into each play. They aren’t always apparent, but this becomes much easier with practice and taking as much time as you need on every turn.
Some people like to talk through their plays out loud. Try it and see if you find it helps.
#5 Learn The Most Popular Decks
I’m not saying you have to master every popular deck out there, but you should have an idea how they play and what they can do on each turn. I can’t stress how important this is.
Take a look at the ‘decks to beat/watch’ here and go play 5-10 games with them (in casual mode if you’re really worried about rank). Try to get a feel for how each class plays. Learn what their strengths/weaknesses are, their win conditions, and any synergies between cards/spells.
Understanding how your opponents deck plays gives you a huge advantage. You can learn some of this just by playing against the deck, but you really need to play with a deck to fully understand how to beat it.
#6 Track Your Stats
Tracking your stats can help your game play in numerous ways. Besides the obvious knowing your win/loss percentages, it helps you know understand how the deck is actually performing.
It’s easy to think ‘ugh, I always lose to ‘X’ deck’. Our minds like to exaggerate certain things. You might think you face a ton of secret paladins, or always loose to control warriors, but your stats will tell you the truth. It will help you to understand you don’t have to switch decks all the time or constantly try to tech your deck for certain match ups.
Some popular deck trackers are:
#7 Get Some Coaching
There’s nothing like having an experienced player look over your shoulder and help walk you through different plays. I can’t tell you how many valuable tips I’ve learned from just a few coaching sessions.
One thing to note – you can find a lot of inexpensive coaches around, but the quality varies greatly. You don’t want someone who will just tell you what play to make. You want someone who will actually walk you through each possible play and explain why one is better than another. Ideally, you would tell them what play you would make and then they would explain why they agree or disagree.
A great place to get coaching is listed right here in the resources – http://hearthstonecoaching.com/ they’re full of top quality coaches who are both incredible players and teachers.
#8 Review Your Games
If you’re using one of the trackers I mentioned, you can go back and review your games after they’re over. This is a great feature, and can teach you a lot about why you’re winning or losing. In the actual game you have a time constraint and it’s hard to know if you made the optimal play. When you review afterwards, you can take as much time as you need to study each play and its potential outcome.
You can also record your matches to watch later. This can be extremely effective because you can pause, rewind and play out different lines in your head. A great (and free!) option to use is Cam Studio.
A lot of players don’t take the time to do this. They would rather grind more games than study past games. While it is important to play a lot of games, taking the time to analyze your games can greatly increase your win rate and make you rank up faster while playing fewer games.
#9 Make Some Connections
One of the best things you can to do grow as a player is to network with other players and make friends. Reach out to people on Reddit, through forums, or find a local Hearthstone meetup where you can connect with other players.
Talking with other players gives you viewpoints or ideas you might not have considered before. Everyone has their own way of looking at things, and the more ideas you hear the more likely you’ll pick up tips that really accelerate your game play.
You can also connect with streamers on Twitch. Many of them are generous with their time and will answer questions from chat.
It’s super easy to make friends in the community. People love connecting and talking about Hearthstone, so don’t be shy!
#10 Have Fun
This is a small point, but one that you should always try to remember. Hearthstone is a game that can be played casually, with friends, or in competitive environments. Above all else, you should remember why you started playing in the first place – because it’s fun!
It’s easy to get mad at RNG and losing streaks. Sometimes it’s best to take a break and come back. The grind is a lot easier if you’re having fun!
Reaching legend for the first time is a challenging, rewarding, and sometimes frustrating experience.
Keep these tips in mind, and refer back to them while you’re climbing. You should always strive to improve your gameplay. Sometimes you’ll improve in leaps and bounds, and other times it can seem slow and tedious.
It’s easy to learn the basics of Hearthstone, but to continue towards the legend ranks you’ll need to improve and analyze your gameplay each step of the way.
With some time, dedication, and persistence, you can hit the legend ranks!
I hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have any questions? Comments? Tips of your own that have helped? Let me know in the comments!