Inside Nuba's Mind: Building a Deck
Its been some time since I started writing Hearthstone articles over the internet, not only about various types of different decks I created, but also analysis, gameplays, and a whole bunch of other Hearthstone things over the past months.
On this article I am going to share with you a little about my knowledge regarding how I create decks, how I am able to simply put a bunch of cards together and still make sense of it or even make it competitive tier.
Understanding what you want to do
In Hearthstone every competitive deck must have an objective, if you stop to analyze all the competitive decks that once took over the meta, all of them had an objective:
- Miracle has a powerful draw engine on the Gadgetzan Auctioneerthat takes over the board while recycling the whole deck looking for the 9 mana 22 damage combo;
- Zoo aims to take control of the board early in the game while drawing an avarage of 1,5 cards a turn and not having to worry about its life total (since it will be forcing you to worry about yours);
- Warrior Control Aims to get total control of the board both recycling and removing all your threats, until the point it exhaust you and overcome you with powerful legendaries;
- Hunter Midrange Aims to take control over the board during the mid stages of the game while pressuring your life total and has the potential for a big turn where it will draw a lot of cards with Starving Buzzard+Unleash the Houndscombo;
- And so on...
My point is: that you need an objective! The reason why so many decks fail is because they fail to get a point, the objective must always be solid, that is the reason why so many "combos" fail in the first place (I will get to this in the next sections of this article).
Now, there are quite a lot of objectives in the game, strategies you can take in order to win the game, let us think about some of them:
- Rush: A deck composed of small minions, with little to no synergy with each other, the main objective here is to kill the opponent before he can respond, those strategies ignore the board and usually only tries to deal with taunts and imminent life total threats. Usually these decks are inconsistent due to the fact they run out of steam pretty easily.
- Aggro: Decks whose strategy is usually to take over the board early in the game and maintain that advantage while threatening the life total of the opponent. The most consistent versions of these decks are hunters and warlocks, due to their unfair card advantage mechanisms. These decks are far more consistent than the rush decks, but have less explosive potential.
- Tempo: Decks that work similar to the face rush, but those decks usually realizes on cheap strategies that disrupt the opponents board control while they keep on pressuring their opponent's life total. These are very hard decks to build due to the fact they tend to run out of steam pretty quicker whenever the opponent is able to stabilize, and they also need to be on par with the meta.
- Midrange: Decks focused on the Medium-size minions that generate valuable trades and are strong by themselves. Usually these decks have a poor early game that is compensated with cheap removal spells, but their strategy is to take over the game during the mid stages of the game and snowball from that point, these decks tend to have multiple ways of dealing with different situations, which is usually what makes midrange the best option for ladder grind.
- Control: Decks focused on massive early game removal followed by big late game threats that causes big impact on the game, these decks usually are stronger the more diverse the card pool is, so expect control decks to be more dominant the more cards are added to the game.
- Combo: Decks focused around one single combo that is supposed to win the game in one turn.
So, in this section I would like to talk a little about how I see card combos in Hearthstone. Keep in mind that whenever I say the word "combo" in this section, I mean a combination of 2 or more cards that generate some effect.
Whenever you are to analyze a combo, you should never start thinking on it from the end point, it's not only the effect that matters on a combo but the cards themselves, and how does that work?
Lets first talk about some combos in some decks: Auchenai Soulpriest+Circle of Healing, Force of Nature+Savage Roar,2xShadowstep+Leeroy Jenkinsand Wild Pyromancer+Equality. 2 of those combos are game winning: the FoN+Roar combo, and the 3x Leeroys Shadowstep combo, and the other two are board wipe combos.
What do these combos have in common? The first 2, the game winning combos, have cards that are weak/bad, but when combined wins the game, and the second combos have good/reliable cards, that when combined generate a desired effect.
And what do I want to say with that? Well, my point is that in order for a combo to be good, either the cards on the combo are good by themselves, or the combo wins you the game. You can not try to build a deck around clunky combos with bad cards that will not win you the game in that exact turn.
What I mean is: You can only combo bad cards together if that combo wins you the game, whenever you get good cards together and combo then, it's just a bonus! You can also figure a combo with X good cards and 1 bad that wont win you the game but is still playable, but that is all about it.
Why am I talking this? Well, because a lot of people have been trying to make combos such as: Reincarnate+XXX+Baron Rivendare, or Echoing Ooze+XXX Buffs to work, and that will not happen simply because these cards are bad by themselves. Baron does literally nothing on the board and only works whenever you are already winning(and even then, only on a few situations), reincarnate is simply too weak to be used on shaman decks, and buffs are bad by themselves while echoing ooze is too weak to hold its own ground.
And even when these combos work, they don't win you the game right away, so chances are you might still lose! So, stay away from these combos!
Building a Deck: Where to start
Oh wait where was I? Oh yeah, how to build your own working decks!
After deciding which strategy you want to take, you should look for the base of the deck you want to build. A Deck Base is the part of the deck you must have in order to play it, for example: you can not build a druid deck without Innervateand Keeper of the Grove, these cards will always be there in every druid deck regardless of meta. There are quite different decks with different deck bases and since Naxxramas came out the game shaked so much we don't have accurate bases as of yet, so what do we do? We build our own!
Always try to start building a deck by adding the needed cards first, the base, instead of adding the cards in the order you find them.
How about we build a deck while we are reading this article? Let us make a druid deck, shall we?
This is the base I choose to start with:
Building a Deck: Choosing the strategy
Alright, so we have the deck basis, now what is the most important thing we should focus on? Yes, the title spoiled it: the strategy. We need to focus ourselves on what path we want to make, in this case we can go either way: Late game or Mid game. Obviously, for different classes and different bases there are different approaches, but you have to stay focused on the strategy you choose and not flee from it*.
After choosing the strategy, try to focus on getting the cards you need the most to fulfill that strategy, remember the techs and big cards always come last!
*too much. hehehehehe
Well, now I decided I want to choose the Late game strategy, and I will try to focus my deck heavily on taunts and late game threats, since the taunts are the most important part of a Druid Ramp/Control deck, I decided to add them first, this is how we are so far:
Wait, no! What if we wanted to go Mid game? Well:
Building a Deck: Completing the Deck
This is the final part of the deck building process, this is where you put the most important parts of the deck and the ones that will make it different from the others, be it big legends, or tech cards only you use, there are quite different choices for different decks and different occasions and these slots are the most fluid ones of all the slots in your deck, you can constantly change them in order to play test and see which effect is the one you benefit the most.
Remember no deck is perfectlu solid, every deck has fluid spots that you should/must change and experiment in order to fully understand how it works and why said options were taken.
Now, to finalize the decks let us add a little of Nuba to both lists I presented you guys in the former sections: I tried to make it so both decks would have as much responses as possible while still maintaining their elegant strategies, the Control deck is a strong Tournament deck* that is focused on the brute individual force of each card it has, while the Midrange deck is more focused on Ladder grind with faster but still strong and resilient minions as well as responses to some possible threats that may arise.
* The reason why I call this a tournament deck is that even tho this is consistent, it may die to a lot of the explosive/inconsistent decks used on the ladder, these decks are usually less used on tournaments.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you the results of today's deck building:
A Little about Nuba's Mind
As I said before, no deck is perfect. Always try to understand everything about a deck before playing it, and then think about improvements you can make to each deck, not only yours but also other's, whenever you see good lists, dont just think "I will copy it", try to think "I will make it better". Being different is what gives you that special "shine", and that is not only a Hearthstone lesson, but a life lesson!
Talking about life lesson...
And this was it. I really hope I helped you all, making it so building decks become easier and we can see deck builders poping out more often, I also would like to thank you all for the support I have been getting from this website and especially from you, the reader.
I hope to see you guys soon, I have been dividing my little time between Hearthstone writing and Diablo 3's new season and haven't had much time to play, but I am still developing new and exciting decks, and as soon as I get one good enough to hit legend on a big win streak I will come to you guys with another huge guide!
Remember this website is the only one in the internet that supports its authors, so you'll always find quality posts here!
Hope to see you guys soon,