Hi there, Octocat here! Hearthstone fanatic since Closed Beta. Today I’d like to share a little Hearthstone guide about what it takes to become Legendary!
Reaching Legendary: Five Habits You’ll Have To Overcome
So you’re not a new player. In fact, you’ve played Hearthstone for a while now and you consider yourself to be fairly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the game – so why can’t you reach legendary? Where are you going wrong?
I think that we can look to human psychology to answer this question, in particular, I’m going to outline five common habits and thought processes that you’ll need to overcome in order to succeed at Hearthstone and reach LEGENDARY!
It seems entirely logical to aim to protect your own health; especially in a game where running out of health is the losing condition. However, this can cause players to go to extreme measures to protect their own health, causing sub-optimal plays and less than ideal minion trades. You have a few resources in Hearthstone. Mana is the most obvious, but minions, cards, and health are all resources too.
Imagine you’re a warrior and it’s turn 5. You have an Arcanite-Reaper equipped and a Reckless-Rocketeer in hand whilst your opponent has a Booty-Bay-Bodyguard on the board. You have two choices that will both destroy your opponent’s taunt, so which do you choose? You can wait until next turn to take out the taunt with your minion, or you can take five damage to your hero on this turn to remove it. In most cases, your minions are going to be more valuable to you than health; minions win you the game. Five damage to your hero seems like a lot, but in most cases you’re going to take that damage when the minion attacks you anyway! Weapons are most useful as minion-removal tools, allowing you to save your minions from trading in order to gain board control or continue momentum – depending on the type of deck you are playing.
Other common mistakes regarding health-saving include wasting taunts (that could otherwise be used to protect valuable minions) to protect early-game health, or using heals on your hero (when you are not within range of fatal damage) when you have damaged minions on the board.
Remember: Health is a resource and sometimes it’s better to lose health than a minion.
Success in Hearthstone requires in-depth analysis of each and every game. You need to be assessing who has card advantage; who is ahead and by how many turns; potential opponent play style; whether you and your minions are within range of fatal damage – the list goes on. When you’re keeping such a close eye on the game it’s easy for you to judge whether or not it’s going in your favour, but you cannot let the current state of the game affect the way you continue to play!
Imagine you’re playing against a priest with significantly less health than you. It’s turn 10. You have a lot of minions in your hand, and you decide to drop them all on the board since you’re fairly sure you’re going to win anyway. Most of them are above the 2 health threshold for Holy-Nova, and even if he does use it, you’ll have enough minions and attack power left to do fatal damage. You’re fairly confident that you’re going to win, so you don’t mind that you’ve dropped your entire hand. Next turn, the priest double Holy Nova’s you: you have no minions, no cards, and you’re now relying on random card draw to pull out a finisher, in which time the priest has time to heal and regain board control. If you hadn’t assumed you’d win, you would have only played the minions necessary to do fatal damage. You should never abandon logical plays just because it seems like the game is going in your favour.
It’s also worth mentioning that this works both ways! Just because it seems like the game isn’t going in your favour, it does not mean that you should panic and make bad plays! At every stage in the game, whether it’s in your favour or not, be sure that you’re making the absolute best play you can in that turn.
Remember – if you have advantage, it’s for a reason. Don’t make bad plays through the assumption that you’ve won.
The “Ooh, Shiny!” Distraction
In Hearthstone, cards come in various qualities – Free, Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. Some cards are also golden, which is a purely aesthetic change that gives the card a golden frame and an animated version of the standard illustration. Naturally, the higher quality/rarity your card, the “better” it is at face value – a Ragnaros-the-firelord is obviously preferable to an Argent-Squire – but there is more to Hearthstone than simply face value, and getting distracted by high value cards can be extremely detrimental. This particular issue doesn’t only affect gameplay either – it’s also a common issue in deck-building.
If you’ve played for a while, you probably have quite a lot of rare/epic cards, and probably even a legendary or two. Assuming you’re going to keep whatever legendary cards you get, you’re going to want to use them – but it’s important to recognise when (and when not!) to include it in your deck. An extremely common mistake in deck-building is putting a legendary in a deck it doesn’t belong in, simply because it’s of epic/legendary value. It may be disappointing to have such a powerful card sat in your collection doing nothing, but it’s a lot better than trying to make Ysera work in a rush deck, for example.
Another common deck-building error (especially amongst new players) is building an entire deck around a single card. An example would be flooding a deck with divine shield cards in the hope that you’ll draw a Blood-Knight. In most cases you’re not going to be in the ideal situation to play the exact cards you want, causing you to make sub-optimal plays and probably lose the game before you get to throw out the combo.
Your best option in these situations is to research decks that currently contain the cards you want to use and work from there. However, even this can be detrimental if you’re playing a control deck around Ysera when you are much more suited to aggro/rush decks. Sometimes you’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll be doing better without it than with it – It’s just a coloured gem after all.
Getting distracted by high value cards is a problem in gameplay too. I can’t even count the amount of times people have rushed to kill my legendary/epic minions without noticing that they could have done fatal damage. Playing high value cards in non-optimal situations is another example – just because you have Ragnaros-the-firelord in hand and it’s turn 8, it does not mean that it’s time to drop him! Assess the game – is the opponent’s side of the board clear? Play Ragnaros. Are there only high-health/ high-threat minions that you want to instantly remove on the opponent’s side? Play Ragnaros. Ask yourself if you’re thinking of playing these cards because they’re good, or because they’re going to give you advantage. If it’s not the latter, don’t do it.
Remember: A card is only as valuable as you make it! A coloured gem is just a coloured gem.
Climbing the ranked ladder to Legendary is a long, boring drag; for most players it’s going to be a journey of at least 100 games. With every game and every rank getting progressively harder, it can quickly become tiresome to put in 100% focus and attention. Nevertheless, there’s no avoiding this! Every single game poses a new challenge that you can’t face by simply trusting your first instinct and playing whatever comes to mind first.
So many lost games could have been won with a little more time and thought. Imagine a Mage with the-coin, Mana-Wyrm and Mirror-Image in hand. You know that you want to drop these three on your first turn – in fact, you’ve decided this before your opponent has even finished their turn. Your turn comes, and without much thought (because you already thought it through, right?) you play The-Coin so that you have two mana available, pull out your Mana-Wyrm and… Oops. You’ve lost the +1 attack buff from The-Coin being a spell because you didn’t think about it enough.
Play order isn’t the only thing affected by impatience; in a lot of cases people are just trying to get through each game as quickly as possible to climb the ladder as fast as possible and don’t think through each play properly – attempting to use The Coin to play a Mountain-Giant is a good example of this. Your first idea isn’t always the best one! In fact, some of the best moves are ones that take a bit more thought and aren’t instantly noticeable.
There is no real way around this as every game requires patience and focus. If you’re tired of climbing the ladder to the point that you’re trying to rush through it, you’re going to end up going backwards and making a harder job for yourself later – perhaps play a few casual games or take a break and then attempt it again. Try to assess each play twice before you actually make the move; double-check your calculations! Impatience will lose you games and make it near impossible to reach Legendary.
Remember: Take your time! Consider all options before you make your move.
Hating to waste
If you find the following point relatable, you’ve probably found the answer to why you’re struggling to reach legendary rank in Hearthstone. Arguably the most common problem amongst struggling Hearthstone players is playing as many cards as possible, every single turn, in an attempt to use up all of their mana. It may feel wrong to “waste” that usable mana left after you’ve made your necessary plays, but I promise you, it isn’t!
Mana should be viewed as nothing more than a limit. Your other resources – cards and health – are much more valuable to you than mana; the fewer cards you play now, the more you will have at your expense later! Not only does this make you more susceptible to board clearing spells that leave you with an empty hand and board, but it causes you to waste cards that you specifically put in your deck for another purpose, thus ruining any pre-planned deck synergy.
Try to ask yourself before every single play “What will I achieve by playing this? How is this play advantageous to me?” If you’re not achieving anything, if it’s not advantageous, if you can recognise that you’re playing a card just because you can – don’t!
Remember: Just because it glows green, it doesn’t mean you have to play it.
Reaching legendary is a very difficult task – it’s going to take you a lot of time, effort and it’s going to be frustrating! Don’t be disheartened though – take your time, enjoy the game, and if you try to keep the above points in mind I have no doubt that you too can climb the ladder to legendary!
Please comment and let me know what else you think should be on this list and perhaps there’ll be a part 2 to this!