Arena Play by Play – Part 3: Overloading and Overcommitting

YelloRambo is back with his detailed commentary - Part 3 of his Arena Play by Play Series. Let's go for a hat-trick!

The Arena Play by Play series covers a complete Arena run with very detailed commentary – more so than the video format would allow. With almost every ingame event showcased on a separate screenshot, you can be sure you won’t be missing out on anything! This also allows for a more extensive commentary than a video would. All the plays will be documented with pictures except when noted: I set my recording software to take a screenshot every second. (That means around 6-700 per game for me to go through and choose from.) I hope you will find it informative and entertaining!

Find the other parts here: Part 0Part 1 Part 2Part 4

Welcome back! Two games, two wins – can’t complain so far.

No point buffing the Inventor as it will survive anyway. It’s also worth considering that playing the Cleric would just set up a decent target for Lightning Storm without accomplishing anything useful. As such, I draw some extra cards instead.

I kill the annoying Murloc and end my turn. Neither of us have put up any pressure so far, so it’s fair to assume that my opponent also has expensive late-game cards in hand. I hope that having all these cards in my hand will give me an advantage.

Yeah, I know, Sea Giant. Here’s the thing: what the hell will I do if it gets Hexed? Also, my opponent is one damage away from just trading for it: I’d rather not use up my heavy-hitter for such a menial task. This game will be going on for a while and I will most likely need strong cards later down the line as well. Instead I go with a solution that removes most of my opponent’s board while improving mine.

Personal bias here. I understand that this is generally considered to be a good card, but I find the 2 mana overload excessive. Then again, I dislike the Overload mechanic and Shaman in general (it’s well designed, I just really don’t enjoy playing it), so my opinion doesn’t really count. In any case, I was really surprised to see this card because I never consider it in my own decks either.

One more thing: why did I not mind the potential Lightning Storm this turn, when I was so worried about it a turn ago? Simple: I’m a bit closer to heaven now (turn 7, where I can nuke the board if things go wrong). Also, unlike on turn 4, now I could actually remove something valuable with the help of the buff.

My opponent’s turn isn’t over yet, so let’s keep watching – he still has 5 mana after all…

If this was Civ 4, this guy would definitely get the Protective trait.

You can probably tell by now that I am a very careful and pessimistic player. I would never play something like this unless my hand was absolutely forced: this board is essentially screaming “PLEASE FLAMESTRIKE ME NEXT TURN”. If I were him, I would have kept the Grunt as a backup and gone for a totem instead. (Not taking Mind Control Tech paranoia into account.)

Now’s the time for the Giant. If my opponent trades for it, I get more valuable minions than I would have gotten last time. If it eats a Hex, the combination of Flamestrike and the frankly excessive amount of cards I have in my hands will let me quickly rebuild a strong board on turn 8 and beyond. (Had I done this earlier, I would not have had the option to play two minions in one turn if things go wrong.)

This is a textbook case of overcommitment. I get it, I really do: you can reduce my health to 13, you can kill me next turn if everything stays like this, the lone Giant cannot get through all the taunts, the poor Dust Devil is just there, I guess, forcing me to use 2 mana on removing it… it looks juicy. But for God’s sake, this is the turn where the Mage gets to play its SCREW YOU VERY MUCH-card! You need to take that into consideration! Especially when your opponent holds 8 cards (soon to be 9) in hand!

Sure, sometimes you have no choice but to go all-in and hope that your opponent hasn’t got the AoE card. Here, however, he could have been more conservative with his minion plays and also had the option to trade for my 8/8.

As for the Dust Devil, it’s just an awful card. If you play it on the first turn of the game, you literally cannot follow it up with anything on turn 2. Three out of the nine classes will just remove it with their hero ability. The only fringe benefit of it here is that I would have been unable to use both the Frostbolt and the Fireball to clear.

My opponent is hurting, but he is not out of it yet. It only takes him two cards to remove my minions.

Life is very nice now. My main concern is to use all of my mana up on every given turn. I decide to go with the Tiger (the stealth is very nice) and the Raptor.

I have all the time in the world. My opponent can’t say the same. He’s facing 8+1=9 visible damage and potentially even more from spells. That stealthed minion is almost impossible to remove at the moment. He needs an immediate solution, most likely in form of a taunt.

Ancestral Healing is generally considered to be a pretty bad spell, especially in Arena where it is just not a good enough topdeck on its own. Sure, there are nice scenarios where you kill an enemy minion and then just heal the victor back up, but it’s more likely going to be a dead card that you’ll have to throw away in a desperate situation like this. Surely you would prefer an actual minion to it, even if it doesn’t have taunt?

Time for the Azure Drake to make use of that extra spell damage. Also, a redraw never hurt anybody.

Three out of three: we should expect stronger opposition now. I must say I got pretty lucky in the last two games with my openings – even though I kept getting very slow starting hands, I didn’t get punished for them either time. My card advantage put me in a good position in the middlegame, but the turning point is – needless to say – is my opponent’s massive blunder on turn seven. Had he played more totems and less minions, the fight would have probably gone on longer. As it was, the Sea Giant dealt a quite frankly ludicrous amount of damage to him, and there was no turning back from that.

I got down to 13 health by turn 7 even though my opponent had a slow start. I need to mulligan better – I’m bound to run out of this sort of luck sooner rather than later. However Game 4 may go though, I hope you’ll be there to accompany me for the ride!