Greetings everyone. Drafting a deck in arena is a very important and complicated task to do. Drafting the deck well is as important as playing well with it. Going forward I’ll talk about aspects of each card you want to consider when choosing between 3 offered choices. In short those are synergy, quality of the cards, curve and deck archetype. When deciding which card to pick during your draft think about which cards is best at these four aspects.
Synergy is simply how well a card works with either other cards or your class. Simply two synergy cards when played together provide a better effect than if you were to play them alone one by one. Synergy includes both synergy with other cards and with the class you are drafting deck for. There are also examples of anti-synergy cards which will be briefly mentioned.
Synergy between cards
There are various synergies between cards. Some are more noticeable than others. For example elven-archer has a pretty obvious synergy with execute. You can use Elven Archer to deal 1 damage to enemy minion then finish it off with Execute. There are synergies between tribes too. goblin-blastmage has synergy with mechs. That means that if you draft a Blastmage, add more weight to cards with mech tribe cards when considering what to pick later in the draft. There are synergies that aren’t as easy to spot. For example a flamewaker has a good synergy with senjin-shieldmasta. This is because you can play Flamewaker on turn 3, have it survive since it has 4 health and then play Senjin on turn 4 to protect the Flamewaker. Now as long as your Senjin doesn’t die Flamewaker is well protected from minions and will give a nice bonus to you when casting spells. When wondering if two cards have a good synergy imagine you playing them together and ask yourself do these cards perform better when they are played together than one by one.
Since there are cards that work well together it would make sense that there would be cards that are bad with each other. That is true in some cases. Cards are considered to be anti-synergy when you have both active and they do something bad. For example spectral-knight works bad with any buff spell like blessing-of-kings since you can’t buff it. Same goes with healing spells like healing-touch which can’t be used on the Spectral Knight. Another example of cards that have anti- synergy are wild-pyromancer with forbidden-ritual as if you have a Pyromancer and you play Forbidden Ritual all your tentacles will die from 1 damage AoE. When wondering if two cards are anti-synergetic just ask yourself if having them both in play is worse than playing them alone one by one.
Synergy with your hero
When talking about synergy with the hero you’re playing right now you may think of synergy with hero power only, however that isn’t the only thing. Each hero in Hearthstone has strengths and weaknesses and there are cards which help embrace a certain hero’s strength or weakness. Mage, for example, is well known for a lot of damage spells available in her class card pool. Because of that when playing Mage minions with spell damage are worth more than heros that don’t have many damage spells like Paladin. Weaknesses and strengths of each hero is a topic for another day, however.
Card synergy with hero power is an important factor too. Each hero power has some synergy with certain cards. Below i will list most common synergies with hero powers.
When you choose a hero that can’t ping with his hero power (Mage, Druid, Rogue) cards that deal 1 damage like elven-archer or stonetusk-boar become a lot better than if you were playing Mage for example.
When playing Warlock specifically due to nature of life-tap low cost minions are valued a lot higher than in general. In the late game instead of playing a big threat like other heroes would, Warlock can use hero power and play 2 small costed minions instead of a single big minion.
Rogue Druid and Warlock all will take considerably more damage than rest of the crew. Warlock will deal damage to himself when using hero power or some class cards. Druid and Rogue will take damage from attacking into enemy’s threats. This leads to minions with taunt and cards which restore health being a lot more valuable when playing one of these three classes. Where you would rarely want to see a refreshment-vendor when playing Priest. Yet you would be delighted to see it when drafting a deck for Rogue.
When drafting a Priest deck don’t forget that lesser-heal is best when used on minions with high health. Because of this you’d rather have one minion with big stats instead of being split into 2 like silver-hand-knight.
If you’re either a Paladin or a Shaman minion buffs become a lot better than they are as you will have a target for them more often. dire-wolf-alpha or spawn-of-nzoth become noticeably better in these two classes.
Lastly when dealing with inspire mechanic some hero powers heavily outweigh others. When you have a card with inspire you want to be able to use your her power proactively. This means that it would have good value on an empty board. Paladin and Shaman hero powers are very good when used with inspire minion on the board. Druid, Mage and Warlock follow up in terms of best hero powers to use with inspire. Even though the effects from these hero powers are a bit conditional, they’re still not too bad if used to trigger inspire. Rogue and Hunter are on the worse side. With Rogue you want to use your hero power every 2 turns so you lose some inspire value by only using hero power every 2 turns. Hunter hero power doesn’t affect the board and is better used in the late game. Lastly Warrior and Priest are just bad heroes to draft inspire in general. Warrior’s hero power doesn’t impact board at all which is much needed in the mid game when you play your inspire cards. And Priest hero power may do literally nothing if there is nothing to heal on the board and if you are at full health.
Quality of the card
This aspect is simple. It’s simply how good a card is compared to other cards. There are 2 ways to know how good a card is. First of all it comes with experience. I’m sure after a while you will notice that in the arena ogre-magi performs a lot worse than chillwind-yeti for example. Another way to know which cards are better than others is to check out arena tier lists online. I personally recommend Lightforge Arena Tier List. Simply look up the three cards you are presented during the draft and see what numbers they have next to them. For example you have to choose between mechanical-yeti, ogre-magi and evolved-kobold. In the list you can see that they have 58, 48 and 28 points respectively. Clearly Mechanical Yeti is the best options from these in terms of card quality with 58 points.
Curve and Deck archetype
I’ve put both of these aspects in the same category as they go hand in hand. First of all let’s talk about deck archetypes. When half of your deck is already drafted you should have a general idea of whether your deck will turn out to be aggressive, midrange or control. When you get a good idea of what deck archetype your deck will turn out to be, you need to pick remaining cards with your deck archetype in mind. An aggressive deck wants to have very consistent early game to grab the board early. This means if you notice that your deck is leaning towards aggressive type, make sure you have enough drops for the early game, especially turn 2. On top of that with an aggressive deck you should have at least some damage from hand. Whether it is in shape of charge minions or damage spells you need to have a way to finish off your opponent when he takes over the board. If you need to choose between powershot or argent-commander and some other irrelevant card as an aggressive deck, Argent Commander more often than not will be the right choice when you don’t have any damage from hand. Even though Powershot is rated higher with 72 points as opposed to Argent Commander with 68 by Lightforge Arena Tier List.
On the opposite side you have control decks. While aggressive decks want to get as much damage as possible in the early game and then finish off opponent with damage from hands, control decks want to get a big card advantage over their opponent. With a big enough card advantage the opponent won’t have a way to deal with big threats. In that sense if your deck is leaning towards control archetype, you will want to have solid late game including bunch of big threats like bog-creeper and boulderfist-ogre. On top of that as a control deck you want to draft cards that can 1 for 2 in terms of card advantage. In a simpler way you want cards that can take out multiple opponent cards. For example AoE like flamestrike can kill multiple minions in turn giving good card advantage. Same goes for minions that have a lot of health and can trade down like Bog Creeper.
The curve you want will depend on what archetype you’re drafting. Aggressive decks tend to have more early game, control decks tend to have more late game and midrange decks are in the middle. Despite what deck archetype you have you want to have at least some minions to play in the early game through turns 1-4. Generally you want at least six 2 drops, four 3 drops and four 4 drops. Of course it isn’t bad to stock up on 2 drops as you can play two 2 drops on turn 2 or play a 2 drop and a 1 drop on turn 3. The goal is to have plays for early game as often as possible. So when you are in dire need of 2 drops you may need to pass up that mechanical-yeti in favour of bloodfen-raptor.
The first 10 picks
You want to draft first 10 picks differently than the rest of the deck. This is because you can’t take into account all aspects mentioned before. You can’t make any decent synergies between 10 cards most of the time. Also it’s important not to draft first card of two card synergy hoping to get the next part along the way. For example don’t draft gorillabot-a-3 and then hope to draft mechs along the way. Only take the Gorillabot if you already have a decent amount of mechs in your deck. If you hope to draft them later few problems arise. First of all you give yourself to rng and only luck will tell if you will be offered mechs or not and that is not a good thing if you want to stay consistent infinite player. On top of that later in the draft you will be pushing yourself to pick mechs even if they aren’t necessarily better picks. With a Gorillabot you may be tempted to pick a clockwork-gnome instead of worgen-infiltrator when the latter is better overall.
In the first 10 picks you don’t have a clear picture of what your deck archetype or curve will be as less than 10 cards can’t depict neither archetype nor curve. Don’t fall into the mistake of thinking you will be an aggressive deck after 5 or 7 picks and then picking only aggressive decks. That will often backfire as you will be constantly missing great control or midrange cards that were ignored due to fact that they’re not aggressive.
All of this leaves us 2 things to consider. Those are quality of the card and synergy with the class you are playing. This means when you are drafting your first 10 or so picks you will want to consider card quality mostly along with some synergy between the card and the class you are playing. Since you don’t need to worry about curve, deck archetype and synergies between cards the best way to draft the first picks is to use an arena tier list like the Lightforge Arena Tier List which was mentioned previously.
Rest of the deck
Now you have the base of your deck which should be around 10-15 cards. By pick 15 you should determine the direction you want your deck to go in terms of curve and deck archetype. With 10-15 cards in the deck already quite a few synergies between cards should be appearing. Overall when filling rest of the slots for your deck you need to consider all of the aspects covered in the article: curve, deck archetype, synergies between both class and other cards and lastly don’t forget that quality is still important.
That is all for today. Thank you very much for reading through. Hopefully you learned a thing or two which you can apply in your draft.
As always if you have any questions, regards or feedback in general feel free to leave a comment and I will answer it. Follow me on twitter to never miss an article.
Until next time.