GvG Arena: Tips on Drafting with the New Cards!

Players can enjoy the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards in the Arena, experimenting with their strengths and weaknesses. Let's explore their potential in the Arena!

Introduction

Hello guys, Giordy here! Welcome to another one of my reviews!

I am a season 3 and 6 legend player and a huge Hearthstone fanatic.

Today I want to talk to you about the unexpected and exciting turn of events regarding The Arena!

Since December the 4th, players could enjoy the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards in the Arena, experimenting with them and finding out their strengths and weaknesses. All Hearthstone players have been awarded a free Arena ticket, so that even those that currently have insufficient gold to start an Arena run can now enjoy at least one ride on this wild new horse!

But the fun doesn’t end here! People can now enter Spectator Mode and watch their friends play! This is a great feature that developers implemented in Hearthstone: players have been asking for it for a long time and now they can finally enjoy it before the new expansion is even released! I tried the spectator mode myself and I have to say that it’s fun and educational, since you can learn a lot of things by watching other people play. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, there is always some trick under your mates’ sleeve that you didn’t think of!

Anyway, that’s enough chitchat! Let’s get to the juice of the upcoming expansion!

Goblin vs Gnomes features at least 136 new cards (123 of which are collectible), and a good amount of them is now playable in the Arena. People are already having fun with Spare Parts and a huge array of whimsical new minions! For those who didn’t get the chance to take a look at the new cards available, they can find them here. My advice is that you dedicate a little of your time at taking a close look at them, so that when the expansion is released you already know which cards to craft. Unless you are very wealthy, you won’t be able to collect all the cards in just one go, hence you want to know which cards to prioritize and which to leave for last. Personally, I already have an idea of the cards I want to craft first. Reading the articles of my hearthstoneplayers.com fellow writers on the new cards is also a good idea, because they can give you a great insight into the upcoming expansion.

How to handle The Arena

I am sure that most players will be playing The Arena from this moment on to December the 9th, so that they can have fun with the new cards already and be ready to take up ranked play again with the official release of the expansion. Not all of them might know, though, that ranked play and The Arena are two totally different worlds. Of course, when it comes to intelligence, the most intelligent person has more chances of defeating the less intelligent one, but in Arena there a lot of things to take into consideration that you wouldn’t normally consider in ranked play. One of these things is one’s deckbuilding skill: of course you have to build a deck to play in ranked, but let’s face it, most players copy/paste the decks of famous streamers, substituting very few cards. Besides, many decks have reached a stale, fixed build as of now, such as Rexxar’s aggro Hunter build. Sure, some cards may vary, but most of them remain the same (Undertaker, Haunted Creeper, Webspinner, Leper Gnome, etc.).

When it comes to Arena, you need to learn how to build a deck that can perform consistently over a (hopefully) large number of matches. In order to do that, you need to take into consideration both the cards you pick and the mana curve of your deck: if the mana curve is too unstable you will end up starting the game too slowly, or having no late-game threats from turn 10 onwards. Another key aspect of playing Arena is picking the right cards: when you build an Arena deck you get to choose between three cards each time; sometimes you are lucky and you already know which one of them is the best one, but some other time you need to choose between 3 mediocre cards, and it’s then that you need to know which one of them to pick and why.

When I played Arena last night I stumbled upon a large number of players adding several new cards to their decks which have random effects: I am talking about cards such as ogre-ninja, ogre-warmaul, bomb-lobber and such. I am not saying that these cards are inherently bad, but when you sum up their “randomness” things can easily get out of control for you, and you may end up losing too much tempo. In this sense, picking new cards over old ones just for the sake of trying them out might not be the wisest choice when playing the Arena. You always want to pick up the card that gives you more value.

I recently hit the 12-victories achievement in Arena and I usually have a pretty good winrate, but I don’t feel like I am the best Arena teacher you could have: for this reason, I won’t focus too much on the basics of Arena; my objective is to give you an overview of the  “new” Arena world and to give you helpful tips on how to handle it. As for a thorough guide on the Arena basics, I invite you to check Vivafringe’s Guide to Arena : this guide contains everything you need to know about the general principles on playing Arena.

I want you to also check Jimmy’s Top Ten Tips to Becoming a Better Hearthstone Arena Player and Sheng’s Advanced Arena Guide.

Good Arena Picks

Since there are a lot of new cards out there to try out, it is understandable that players want to try them and see how powerful they are. Among all those cards, though, there are certain ones which are always good to have in one’s hand, and other ones which are generally bad, or not so good. Of course the strength of one’s deck does not rely on individual cards, but on the consistency of the deck as a whole. Nevertheless, it is individual cards that make a good deck, hence every Arena pick must be done carefully.

A general rule in picking minions in Arena is to prefer ones with more health over minions with more attack, because board control is fundamental in Arena, even more than in constructed. Given that most players are already familiar with old Arena picks, they might now be wondering which new cards are usually good picks. Many players have probably been reading other writers’ opinions on new cards, but it must be clear to them that some cards which are considered great in ranked may not be as powerful in Arena. If you check this article on the top 15 cards for GvG constructed, for example, you will notice that Jeeves and Mechwarper are considered great picks for constructed. Unfortunately, they are not great picks for Arena, in my opinion, because their mechanics would be hard to use with success in the Arena environment (you can’t pick as many mech minions as in constructed, nor can you build as much of an aggro deck).

So, the question is: which cards among the new ones are generally solid picks in Arena? I can’t possibly go over most cards, because that would require a huge amount of time, but I will list the ones that in my opinion are solid choices no matter what.

As for common neutrals:

  • clockwork-gnome is a decent one-drop, since it has the stats of a leper gnome (hence it trades well with many  2-drops) and when it dies it gives you a spare part, which can come in handy later on in the game. Of course its single point of health makes him vulnerable to several spells/hero powers, but it’s still worth including it in your deck as a one-mana drop.
  • annoy-o-tron is probably one of the best cards that this new expansion has given us. It is quite simple and it might look silly or weak at first, but it is really annoying on the battlefield and can protect key targets really well, especially during the first turns of the game. It will surely annoy your opponent when you drop this crazy robot!
  • explosive-sheep is another wonderful card: it is the perfect anti-aggro pick and can really save your day against aggressive decks. Unless you manage to run an aggro deck yourself in Arena, my suggestion is that you keep at least one copy of this explosive sheep in your deck!
  • Stonesplinter-Trogg, along with his bigger brother Burly-Rockjaw-Trogg, is also a great pick: he has the same stats of a river-crocolisk but the buff he gets is permanent, making it great for early trades and discouraging your opponent from casting spells.
  • spider-tank and mechanical-yeti are two mechs with great stats and should be picked almost always.
  • piloted-shredder is also a great pick, along with its epic bigger brother piloted-sky-golem. Even if they have more attack than health, their deathrattle ability makes them stickier than ever.
  • Force-Tank-Max is also excellent in Arena. I don’t know how useful it will be in constructed, but having a 7/7 with divine shield in Arena really makes your day easier! And being it a common, it is a choise you will often have!

There are too many legendaries to discuss them all here, but most of them are solid picks, especially the most expensive ones. What I want to list though, is a few class cards that can really make your day better if you stumble upon them. I won’t include the classes legendaries, since it’s hard to draft them and most of them are good anyway.

Druid:

  • Anodized-Robo-Cub is simple, but effective. There is no reason not to have one in your deck!

Hunter:

  • Glaivezooka is a great, great weapon to have during the first few turns of the game. It’s a must!
  • Steamwheedle-Sniper is simply awesome! Keep this at all times!

Mage:

  •  flamecannon is phenomenal: consider it as an additional frostbolt, more random but more powerful.
  • Snowchugger is also a good pick, it is a sort of mini water-elemental.
  • goblin-blastmage is a bit situational, but if you get to trigger his ability he is devastating.

Paladin:

  • Shielded-Minibot is a great two-drop: if you couple him with argent-squire or annoy-o-tron you really got something!
  • Muster-for-Battle is also pretty good, although a bit more situational. If you use this spell at the right time, it can really help you set up a good board.
  • Coghammer is also exceptional: you never want to pass this weapon!

Priest:

  • velens-chosen is a nice spell in Arena, it makes your minions a lot more durable.

Rogue:

  • Goblin-Auto-barber is simply amazing, nice stats and nice effect. It really makes your first turns smoother.
  • Tinkers-Sharpsword-Oil is also amazing, if you use its combo it really gives you an edge! (pun intended 😛 )

Shaman:

  • Whirling-Zap-o-matic is an ok pick! Its stats are like those of most two-drops, but if not removed it can hit pretty hard, especially if buffed!
  • Crackle is Shaman’s new wonderful spell: it hits hard and its overload is not too bad. It will probably have a fixed spot in constructed and it is great in Arena as well.
  • Powermace is a little situational given its deathrattle effect, but even if not triggered it is still a nice weapon, I would keep it if I had the chance.

Warlock:

I will be honest, there aren’t any warlock cards among the new ones that aren’t good picks in Arena. With the possible exception of Mistress-of-Pain, which you can live without, and fel-cannon, which is way too random and often hits your own minions, all the other ones are solid choices!

Warrior:

  • Warbot is pretty simple, but for one mana is a good enough drop, I would keep it if I had the chance.
  • Shieldmaiden is better in Arena than in constructed, it has good stats and a good effect, it is a very nice pick.
  • Siege-Engine is also pretty solid in Arena, it can only get better if left unchecked!
  • bouncing-blade is a wonderful new spell if you are lucky enough to draft it!

Conclusion

That is about it, I hope my overview of this new Arena world pleased you! I had fun checking out the new cards and playing games in Arena! I hope you enjoy your time before Goblins vs Gnomes is officially released!

As always, if you have any suggestions, tips, or questions, feel free to write in the comments section below.

Also, if you would like me to review a deck that is particularly dear to you at the moment, link it to me and I will check it out.

You can also contact me any time in-game (I mostly play on EU but also occasionally on NA): my battletag is Giordy#2566.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Peace out!