The Art of Replacing Cards

Today’s subject is going to be a lot different than the ones we’ve had before, today we are here to discuss card replacements, and how to properly do them in your deck, by yourself. You see, replacing a card for another isn’t something that is easily done, and requires a lot of knowledge towards how […]

Introduction

Today’s subject is going to be a lot different than the ones we’ve had before, today we are here to discuss card replacements, and how to properly do them in your deck, by yourself.

You see, replacing a card for another isn’t something that is easily done, and requires a lot of knowledge towards how the game properly works, but thankfully I am here to explain every single bit of how replacements work in Hearthstone.

Just in case this wasn’t clear, if you want to replace a card in your deck, you most likely need a list where you’ll be basing yourself upon, like the ones we usually see around the internet!

The Two Kinds of Replacement

Before we start explaining how cards are replaced, lets first understand the two ways you’ll want to replace a card:

  • The Obvious One – When you don’t have a card and need to put something instead.
  • Techs – You want to make your matchup better against a certain type of deck or strategy.

Replacing Cards that you Don’t Have

In order to replace a card that we don’t have, we first need to understand the basics about Deck core and deck complements. A deck core is part of the cards that can not leave the deck, its the deck’s basis – Cards like ancient-of-lore and wild-growth for example are part of the Druid’s deck core. A deck’s complements are the extra cards added to the deck, that can be replaced by other cards – azure-drake and emperor-thaurissan on Midrange Druid are fine examples of Complement, tech cards are also part of the complement.

Finding out if a card is part of the deck’s core or not is very much needed in order to be able to know if you can, or can not, replace it for another card. The easiest way to tell that is knowing if a card is part of the deck’s main engine(game plan), for example: Wild Growth, darnassus-aspirant for Midrange Druid, leper-gnome and mad-scientist for Face Hunters, aldor-peacekeeper for Non-Secret Midrange Paladin, and so on…

A good way to know if a card is, or not, part of a Deck’s core is looking into a lot of similar lists and seeing which cards are in all of them.

Sometimes, when expansions come out, deck’s core become unknown, and we actually can change a lot of cards into a deck’s core, the most notable example of this is the removal of both acolyte-of-pain and cruel-taskmaster from Control Warrior’s deck core post TGT expansion.

Ok ok, now that you know what a Deck core is, and you are sure the card you want to replace is not part of the deck’s core (because if it is, sorry, you can’t replace it!), the easy part comes: finding a replacement.

If a card is not part of the Deck’s core, like dr-boom, it means the card can easily be replaced by a Tech card (like harrison-jones, acidic-swamp-ooze, kezan-mystic or the-black-knight), a good removal (like big-game-hunter), another strong Legendary that you think would benefit you in some matchups, or even add redundancy to your deck, like adding a second unleash-the-hounds to your hunter, living-roots to your druid or even fan-of-knives to your rogue.

The key to finding the perfect replacement is not screwing up the curve, by either getting a good Tech, or not going too low or too high on the mana cost. For example, it is fine to replace a gormok-the-impaler on a Shaman deck for a copy of defender-of-argus (or the opposite), but it is not fine to replace it for lets say deathwing.

Fine example of Tech cards you could replace your missing Legendaries would be:

  • the-black-knight.
  • harrison-jones.
  • kezan-mystic.
  • loatheb.
  • and so on….

But don’t be limited to this list, and once again: don’t screw the curve – doing stuff like replacing Priest’s 3-drops for non 3-drop cards for example can be bad.

Talking about Priests, since this might be relevant to the whole article, I started a discussion on /r/CompetitiveHS about Priest’s 3-drop options a month ago, and is just an example of how these cards are part of the deck’s complement and can easily replace one another, the only difference in this case is how good they are in different matchups.

https://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitiveHS/comments/3jcm7y/dragon_priest_3drop_discussion/

Making your Matchup Better Against X

Now we understand what is a deck’s core, and how to replace cards that aren’t in the deck’s core that we don’t have, let us talk about how we improve our matchup against other decks.

This kind of Teching applies a lot more to Midrange and Control decks than to aggro decks, but this doesn’t mean this doesn’t apply to aggro decks at all.

There are a bunch of cards that you can add to your deck that will make your matchup better against specific decks, let us try to peek into a few of these cards:

  • zombie-chow makes your Aggro matchup better, but your Control matchup worse.
  • deathlord makes your aggro matchup much better, but your Control matchup much worse.
  • holy-nova, unleash-the-hounds and lightning-storm all make your Aggro matchup better, but your Control matchup worse.
  • big-game-hunter and the-black-knight makes your Control matchup much better, but your Aggro matchup much worse.

    mana-tide-totem makes your Control matchup much better, but your Aggro matchup much worse.

    kezan-mystic and harrison-jones makes your X matchup better, and your Y matchup worse.

  • This list goes on and on….

Well, basically the idea is trying to balance this as much as you can, unless you are going into an extremely controlled metagame, like the Tournament ones, where you are supposed to predict how it is going to be and be able to counter it.

Sometimes we are able to predict, or experience, how a metagame is beforehand, and being able to make the correct changes in the deck can give you a very strong upper hand.

Playtesting Techs

After a change is made, you then move on the the playtesting phase of the Teching you just did, and this is the most important part of the whole substitution idea.

I have a personal trick of mine that I use whenever I am playtesting or deciding which card I want to have in my deck:

Whenever you are testing X card vs Y card in your deck, trying to decide which one is the best option, ask yourself all the time you get that X card in your hand if you would want it to be exactly that card, or the Y card.

Knowing the number of times the X card would be better versus the number of times Y card would be better, on a large amount of playtesting games on the ladder (20+ games), will surely help you decide which card is better for your deck.

After the whole playtesting is done, your deck is finally ready to be shared and/or played in tournaments.

Conclusion

When testing decks, most people get accommodated by running certain lists, and they don’t really want to change it unless someone else does it first and performs well, that is usually where you can tell which players are in the very top of the ladder, and which ones aren’t!

I hope I was able to clear you guy’s mind only if just a little about how card replacement is done in Hearthstone, writing this is something that I had in mind for quite some time, but only now I decided to put it to words and show it for you guys ^_^

Love you all :3

OH, OH, I FORGOT TO TALK ABOUT PATRON NERF!!!!

Actually, words can’t describe how I feel, so i’ll just go with images:

Much love guys! See yall later (with a lot of brews, hopefully :3),

Nuba