• 0

    posted a message on Top 8 Decklists EU MG Friday Night Swiss #1



    LeonardK
     – 1st Place:

    LeonardK EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Timbolt – 2nd Place:

    Timbolt EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    [MG] Moon – 3rd Place:

    [MG] Moon EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Jaeska – 4th Place:

    Jaeska EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Minion (17) Ability (13)
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    Deep – 5th Place:

    Deep EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Minion (29) Ability (1)
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    IBM_Aremar – 5th Place:

    IBM_Aremar EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    MagPyro – 5th Place:

    MagPyro EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Phazul – 5th Place:

    Phazul EU Swiss 12/20/13
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    Posted in: Decklists
  • 1

    posted a message on Common Situations With the Three Resources by Sar (Part 3)



    Welcome to Part 3 of the series! 

    Healing Cards

    The most basic class of healing cards is the direct heal spell.  These cards generally tend to be relatively cheap and can heal a hero or minion.  When used to heal a hero, such spells result in a loss of tempo and card advantage (due to spending a card and mana with no effect on the board) but result in a large increase in hero life.  It should be noted that in general, healing spells are twice as effective as damaging spells; as such if Player 1 damages a hero or minion with a damaging spell then Player 2 heals that damage with a healing spell, Player 1 will in general have the larger tempo loss. 

    When a healing spell used on a minion to maximum effect, such a play results in a small loss in card advantage and an increase in tempo.  First, why is it a small loss in card advantage?  Because healing spells tend to heal for very large amounts, to use them to their maximum effect, they must be used on a large minion damaged to very low health.  Such a minion still has value as a card, but because it is easily killed, it is not equal in value to a full card anymore.  By healing it back to full health, you save the card, but it cost the spell card used in the process; thus, the net result is a small loss of card advantage.  However, it is substantially less mana to heal a large minion than it is to play a new one; as such, healing the minion is a tempo increase.  This setup can be deceptive however.  It is often a rare occurrence to find a large minion which is so heavily damaged that a healing spell can be used to its full effect without the enemy completely killing such a minion.  As such, it is far more common that if a healing spell is going to be used much of the healing will be wasted.  In such a situation, the card advantage loss is more severe and the change of tempo will be worse (potentially a loss of tempo if the amount healed is too small).  Because of this, it is more common to see healing spells used on the hero, where the full effect of the heal is far easier to obtain.

    Certain minions have battlecries which heal.  Some minions are limited to healing the hero, while others allow the player to choose which character they want to heal (minion or hero).  Unlike healing spells, there is no card advantage lost due to the fact that a minion is placed on the board in addition to the healing effect.  Healing minions will in general have lower stats than generic minions of the same cost, but how much of a stat loss occurs is fairly inconsistent (cheaper minions tend to have less of a stat loss).  Healing minions tend to have less of a tempo loss than healing spells but also heal for far less. When such a minion heals the hero, the net effect is a small tempo loss in exchange for a small amount of hero healing (though it should be recalled that a small amount of healing may still be larger than comparable damaging hero effects). 

    When a healing minion’s effect is used to heal a damaged friendly minion, the result is usually both a tempo increase and a card advantage increase.  The rationale for this is similar to when a healing spell is used to full effect on a minion, except that since a minion is being played in this case, there’s no card lost.  As a result, bringing a minion back from near-death actually results in a card advantage gain, since you bring a card from being at fractional value due to damage up to full value.  Similarly, you in general will save a substantial amount of mana by healing the minion compared to what it would have cost to play a new minion; even with the slightly lower stats of the minion which heals, this is usually a net tempo increase.  Because healing minions tend to have relatively small heal compared to those of healing spells, it tends to be simpler to use these effects at maximum efficiency when healing damaged friendly minions.  That being said, this still requires a friendly minion being damaged without dying, which tends to partially limit the usage of such abilities. 


    Hero Powers

    The various hero powers are quite diverse, and in many ways define the class more than the class-specific cards do.  As such, an in depth analysis of hero powers is beyond the scope of this article.  However, what’s important to realize is that hero powers are designed to be roughly the strength of a 0-cost card or, at best, to be less than the strength of a 1-cost card.  A few comparisons between cards and hero powers are shown below to demonstrate this. 



    Thus, all hero powers cost two mana but give the effect of approximately a zero-mana card.  As a result, all hero powers inherently function as a tempo loss but a card advantage gain.  Ensure this statement is not misinterpreted; many hero powers have the ability to generate tempo by killing off enemy minions or saving your own.  However, as an example, what a Mage accomplishes with their hero power for two mana could also be accomplished with Moonfire for zero mana (but would cost a card in the process).

    The tempo loss of a hero power tends to be more substantial at the start of the game, when playing a hero power in general will means there is not enough mana to take any additional actions that turn. In the very late game, due to having a large mana pool and potentially a small hand, hero powers can often be used without actually sacrificing plays available to you.

    Conclusion

    The purpose of this article was to provide a basic assessment of tempo, card advantage, and hero life.  These three mechanics are the foundation for understanding more complex strategies, and will be competing resources in every game.  It is important when reading the breakdown of various situations to understand that these are not judgments as to whether or not a play is the right play or not, even if the breakdown seems to imply this.  Sometimes a “bad” play is the best play available.  For example, using an 8-mana Pyroblast to kill a 6/2 enemy minion is hugely inefficient; but if you are going to die if you don’t kill the minion, and this is the only option available, then it is still the best play.  

    Using simply these concepts, you should be have a better grasp for whether certain trades and moves are advancing the game for you or your opponent better, beyond simply looking at which hero’s health is lower.  Inexperienced players will sometimes look at the game as nothing more than a race between hero health, and as such, consider a player to be winning simply because their health is higher.  But as indicated earlier, things are far more complex than this; while the hero’s health is indeed an important factor, such an advantage can be quickly reversed by a player who has tempo and enough cards to maintain that tempo.

    And most importantly, while this article only covered the basics of these concepts, it is the first step to understanding more advanced plays and choices.

     

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on Interview with Muffinsssss - Winner of the 12/14/13 NA MLG/MG Tourney
    Quote from Fenixdown »

    I'd love to know moreso when they'll ask this guy what he thinks of the freeze nerfs. Wake me up when he gets to that point.

    This interview was done prior to the changes. Thanks for your feedback.

    Posted in: Tournaments
  • 0

    posted a message on Warsong Commander -> Youthful Brewmaster charge?

    Charge from that card is an ongoing effect and would cease when Warsong Commander leaves the board in any way.

    Posted in: Card Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on State of the Meta With Jotto 12/14/13

    Hello Everyone! This is Jotto and welcome to the 3rd recap of the ManaGrind weekly tournaments, this week we had some old decks show up and a very interesting new deck that we haven’t seen in a while....

    Mages are still hanging around as expected they fought through the now very anti Mage metagame with the frozen giant deck coming both 1st and 2nd. However I will not be talking about these decks this week, why? With the new Mage changes coming up the freeze based Mages will fall back down a bit so that we won’t have the severe Mage dominance that we have become used to. So what about the rest of the top 4?

    Rogue cantrip is a very interesting deck that has fallen out of favour recently due to its severe weakness to burn decks such as the extremely powerful Mage decks. However the deck is still very powerful with the buffs it has at its disposal and the shear draw power at it has access too is mind boggling as between Loot HoarderNovice EngineerAzure Drake and the like. It will always have a full hand of useful cards that it can use to win the game, I would fully expect this deck to come back to the meta in force just like before the last patch.

    Nimrod US 12/14/13
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    The real highlight of the top 4 was the Shaman midrange deck, an archetype that we have not seen in months. As for a basic rundown of the deck, it capitalizes on shaman’s early removal and large midgame minions such as Fire Elemental and Earth Elemental. Shaman’s overload mechanic is also used to its fullest in this deck through Unbound Elemental and the many, many cheap removal spells with overload on them along with Stormforged Axe providing some sustained removal at the cost of life.


    The deck also has the very powerful legendaries Ragnaros the Firelord and Sylvanas Windrunner at its disposal to provide a potent late game finished and a midgame anti removal beater respectively. Sylvanas Windrunner in particular is seen a lot as a counter to minion heavy decks that used damage based removal to solve their problems, if this tactic is used on a Sylvanas Windrunner it will result in a two or three for one as they might have to remove the minion that they lose to the Sylvanas Windrunner deathrattle trigger. 

    Finally take note of the one of silence in Spellbreaker. Silence has become quite unpopular even though it deals with many buff cards and early game threats such as Harvest Golem and most importantly it can unfreeze a minion on your board, this will often result in the Mage taking too much damage and having to play defensively as oppose to offensively with burn.

    In conclusion with the new patch coming into effect I would recommend straying to more of an aggro style or midrange, for these decks can be very powerful and with the burn Mages weakening the won’t have to worry about some of the weaknesses that plague them in the current metagame.

    Jotto

    If you want to see more content by Jotto you can check out his YouTube channel or check out his Twitch stream!

     

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 3

    posted a message on Common Situations With the Three Resources by Sar (Part 2)



    Welcome to Part 2 of the series! The goal is this section is to outline the trade-offs between the three resources associated with some basic plays.  Note that there is no implication in this section as to what constitutes a “right” or a “wrong” play; such judgments will vary based on the state of the game.  What’s important is to understand what is being gained and lost by certain plays, which may not be obvious at first glance.  Also note that in this section, it will be considered a tempo loss to not spend your full mana towards advancing the board position; this makes the analysis simpler.

    Minions


    First, start with the most basic cases related to minions.  On turn 1, imagine playing a standard 1-cost minion.  This results in an increase in tempo because you have utilized all of your mana in order to improve board position.  Your card advantage is not changed because you still have the same total number of cards in your hand plus on the board, though one card has moved from your hand to the board.  On turn 10, if your only action is to play a standard 1-cost minion, then you there is still no change in card advantage, but you have a drastic decrease in tempo since most of the mana for that turn has been wasted.  Neither of these situations should come as a surprise.  Another common situation is using The Coin to play a 2-cost minion on turn 1.  This is a dramatic increase in tempo since you are using more mana than you should be able to use in a single turn; this is doubly true if you couldn’t have made any plays on turn 1 without using the Coin.  If you operate under the assumption that The Coin is a card (which is technically true), this is a loss of card advantage since you played two cards to get a single card on the table.  Note that in general Player 2 will still have a card advantage at this point in the game, however, since Player 2 starts with 2 more cards than Player 1 (counting The Coin).

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    Turn 1: Play 1-cost minion

    Improve

    No change

    No change

    Turn 10: Play 1-cost minion and nothing else

    Lose (but better than playing nothing)

    No change

    No change

    Turn 1: Use The Coin to play a 2-cost minion

    Large improvement

    Lose (The Coin)

    No change


    Next, let us examine several situations related to minions attacking.  First, imagine the situation pictured below.  It’s your turn, and you have a single large minion on your side.  The enemy has a comparable strength large minion and also a small minion.  



    There are several options you could choose here.  First, if the large minion attacks the enemy large minion, such that they trade, there’s no net difference between the players in terms of tempo and card advantage; essentially, you don’t gain any tempo, but it also removes the ability for your opponent to make you lose tempo (related to the large minions) on the next turn, and as such could be thought of as a “safe” move. 

    The second option would be to attack the enemy’s small minion.  In doing so, you gain card advantage, since you’re destroying an enemy card without losing one of your own.  However, the tempo will vary depending on what the opponent does next turn.  If the enemy uses the large minion to attack your damaged large minion, then the total move gained you both tempo and card advantage, since you destroyed both a 3/3 minion and a 7/7 minion while only losing a 7/7 minion yourself.  However, if the enemy is able to use a spell to destroy your large minion, while you’ve still gained card advantage, the change in tempo is ambiguous, depending what strength of spell is required to destroy the large minion.  This also exposes your hero to large damage on that turn, since the War Golem will be able to attack your hero unopposed. 

    Lastly, you have the option of attacking the enemy hero directly.  Doing this is, of course, gains you an advantage in hero life.  However, doing so is a tempo loss; as mentioned before, the player choosing the attacks has a tempo advantage, so by choosing use the large minion’s attack in order to not affect tempo, you are essentially losing tempo.  This, once again, becomes somewhat of a risk.  If the enemy uses their large minion to destroy your large minion, then the net tempo and card advantage is the same as if you initiated the minions killing each other, but in this case, you have extra damage on the enemy hero.

    However, attacking the enemy hero with your large minion exposes yourself to the greatest risk in terms of tempo.

    - Consider if the enemy has access to a “destroy any minion” spell in their hand.
    - Losing your large minion while destroying the enemy minion prevents them from using the spell effectively (this turn at least).  Of course, if you have an even larger minion about to hit the table, this will simply expose that minion to the spell instead.
    - If you used your large minion to destroy the enemy’s small minion, then you’ll have mitigated the enemy’s tempo to some degree since you were able to destroy a “free” small enemy minion in the process.
    - By attacking the enemy hero directly, you expose yourself to all options.  If they have no spells to assist in killing your large minion, they can choose to trade large minions.  If they have a medium-strength spell in hand, they can choose to attack your large minion with their small minion plus use the spell.  If they have the “destroy any minion spell”, they can use that without losing any further minions.
    - The net result is that attacking the enemy hero results in hero damage of course; in this case, a substantial amount.  It also exposes you to the greatest potential tempo loss since the enemy can tailor their actions to destroy your minion while minimizing their own tempo loss.  Keep in mind that this is not a judgment as to which option is best, as it depends on the overall situation 

    So, to summarize these situations:

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    Your large minion attacks enemy large minion; both die

    No change

    No change

    No change

    Your large minion attacks enemy small minion; only small minion dies

    Ambiguous: Usually an improvement

    Improvement

    Ambiguous: Either no change or a loss

    Your large minion attacks enemy hero when other minions can be attacked

    Loss due to giving enemy control of attacks next turn

    No change

    Improvement

    Minion attacks hero when no enemy minion are on table

    No change

    No change

    Improvement


    The last type of minion this section will examine is what is often called a 2:1 minion (2-for-1).  These are minions which kill an enemy minion for free and still leave you with a minion on the table in the process.  This is called a 2:1 minion because, if that minion later trade with an enemy minion, you’ll have destroyed 2 enemy cards while losing only one of your own.  Usually, these conventional 2:1 minions have some sort of requirement for minions it can destroy.  For example, Stampeding Kodo can only destroy minions with 2 attack or less, but the effect is wasted if no such minions exist.  The obvious effect of a 2:1 card is that it generates card advantage when it destroys an enemy minion for free.  

    The tempo change depends on the exact card stats and what enemy minion is destroyed.  In most situations, the 2:1 minion is only slightly weak stat-wise relative to its cost.  This means it is a small tempo loss if played without destroying an enemy minion.  There will usually be a tempo gain if the 2:1 minion kills even an extremely small minion, with a potentially very large tempo gain in the best situations.  However, such judgments may vary depending on the exact stats and cost of the 2:1 card.  A good comparison can be seen by comparing Stampeding Kodo to Stranglethorn Tiger.  Both are the same cost, but Stampeding Kodohas 2 less attack than a Stranglethorn Tiger.  If the Stampeding Kodo manages to destroy an enemy minion when played, this attack difference will usually be well worth it

    Substantially rarer is the 3:1 minion, which follows the same concept of the 2:1 minion, but to a stronger degree.  An example of a 3:1 minion is Cabal Shadow Priest, which steals an enemy minion when played.  The reason this is a 3:1 minion is that you get the Priest itself, the enemy loses a small minion, and you gain a small minion; this generates a 3 card swing while only costing you a single card.  Comparison of this card to a card of the same strength, Boulderfist Ogre, indicates that this 3:1 effect is more heavily penalized stat-wise than a card with a 2:1 effect.  Thus, while the concept of a 2:1 and a 3:1 is the same, the 3:1 is much stronger when used correctly and much weaker when used incorrectly.

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    Play 2:1 minion with no valid target

    Loss

    No change

    No change

    Play 2:1 minion with on valid target

    Improvement

    Improvement

    No change

    Play 3:1 minion with no valid target

    Larger loss

    No change

    No change

    Minion attacks hero when no enemy minion are on table

    Larger improvement

    Larger improvement

    No change

     

    Damaging Spells


    Spells will be an integral part of almost any deck.  The effects of spells can vary dramatically, but this section will only deal with spells which do damage to enemy minions.  The most basic situation is casting a spell which deals a specific amount of damage to a single enemy minion.  If you cast a spell which does roughly the required damage to kill an enemy minion without much overkill, then there is no change in tempo, card advantage, or hero life; essentially, you’ve just made an equal trade.  If you need to cast 2 spells (or combine spell damage with a minion attack) to kill a large enemy minion, in general, you’ll lose on card advantage (since it took you 2 cards to destroy a single enemy card), but usually there’s no change in tempo (since usually the cost of the 2 cards required to destroy the single large enemy card will be comparable). If you cast a spell which destroys an enemy minion with a large amount of overkill, then there is no change in card advantage but you have a loss of tempo (since it required much more mana than necessary to kill the enemy minion).  

    If you choose to use a direct damage spell on the enemy hero, you’re sacrificing both tempo and card advantage to gain an advantage in hero life, because you have lost a card without destroying an enemy card and you spent mana which did not improve the board position.  One important point should be noted about all of these situations; direct damage spells in general cannot be used to gain tempo nor card advantage.  Direct damage spells allow for quite a bit of versatility and can save games from being lost, but in general they cannot be used to gain tempo nor card advantage.

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    Use a spell to kill an enemy minion with little overkill

    No change

    No change

    No change

    Use a spell + a second spell or minion to kill an large enemy minion

    No change (usually)

    Loss

    No change

    Use a spell to kill an enemy minion with large overkill

    Loss

    No change

    No change

    Use a spell for direct damage on the enemy hero

    Loss

    Loss

    Loss

     

    The next set of spells to examine is those which damage multiple minions.  The simplest versions of these are AoE spells, which are spells which hit all enemy minions, usually for a small amount of damage.  The ideal situation to use such a card is when the enemy has a substantial number of minions (perhaps 4 or more) which will all die from the AoE damage.  In this situation, you are gaining a massive card advantage and almost certainly a massive tempo advantage (pending the strength of the minions killed).  This is an inherent risk with over-populating the board with small minions, and can easily lead to a loss if it occurs. 

    Good players will often be wary of putting too many minions on the board which can die from AoE for this reason.  Also, in the late game, the board is unlikely to be this populated simply due to the decreasing hand size of the players.  As such, a more common situation is that the enemy has 2 minions which will die from the AoE spell; in this situation, you still gain a card advantage, but usually this will generally be no change in tempo since cost of the minions will be roughly equal to that of the AoE spell; as before, however, this is dependent on the exact minions on the table.  If an AoE spell is used against a single large enemy minion, it is both a loss of card advantage (since it will take at least one additional card to kill it) and a large tempo loss, since AoE spells tend to be expensive and will not come close to killing a single large minion. 


    Another set of multiple enemy spells are 2:1 spells.  These are generally spells which hit two random targets at a time.  These are generally far more mana efficient than AoE spells when the enemy only has two minions, but unlike AoE spells, they do not have the ability to hit more.  If a 2:1 spell kills two enemy minions, it is a card advantage and generally a tempo advantage (once again, pending the exact minions killed).  2:1 spells usually cannot be cast against a single enemy minion, so there is little point in analyzing this situation. 

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    AoE spell on many weak enemy minions

    Very large gain

    Very large gain

    No change

    AoE spell on 2 weak enemy minions

    No change (usually)

    Gain

    No change

    AoE spell on a single large enemy minion

    Large loss

    Loss

    No change

    2:1 spell on 2 weak enemy minions

    Gain (better than AoE)

    Gain

    No change

     

    Weapons

    Currently, Rogues, Hunters, Shamans, Warriors, and Paladins have access to weapons; Warlocks can gain a weapon through use of their legendary card, Lord Jaraxxus.  The primary features of weapons are that they usually can be used multiple times, and the enemy usually cannot destroy the weapon until these uses are completed (though a few specialized cards can do so).  When attacking minions, the general theme is that trades your hero’s life in exchange for card and tempo advantage.  

    In general, low-attack weapons are most effectively used to kill weak enemy minions.  Doing so results in card advantage, as weapons have multiple swings, each of which can be used to kill a minion.  This also generally results in a substantial tempo advantage, since weapons are usually very cheap relative to the total damage they can do.  The hero of course takes damage in the process, leading to a loss in this resource.

    Weapons can also be used to attack the enemy hero; in this situation, just like spells, you lose card advantage and tempo in exchange for an advantage in hero life.  Since weapons are cheap relative to their total advantage, the tempo loss associated with attacking the enemy hero with a weapon is less than that of spells (with the limitation that the damage is spread amongst multiple turns). 

    In order to gain maximum mana efficiency, high-attack weapons must be used on high-health minions; that is, using a high-attack weapon to kill a weak minion is a tempo loss compared to using a cheaper weapon.  The downside of this is that high-health minions tend to have higher attack, resulting in larger hero damage from using high-attack weapons on enemy minions.  Thus, using a high-attack weapon at its max efficiency (i.e. large enemy minions) still follows the same guidelines in terms of tempo, card advantage, and hero life.  However, the tempo and hero life swings are larger, with the hero taking higher damage but gaining more tempo.

    Bear in mind in all these comparisons that weapons can be used multiple times over several turns.  Thus, players can mix-and-match using the weapon sometimes to attack enemy minions and sometimes to attack the enemy hero.  This is a common use of Assassin Blade due to the fact that it has a large number of attacks.

    Situation

    Tempo

    Card Advantage

    Hero Life

    Weapon used to attack minion

    Gain

    Gain

    Loss

    Weapon used to attack enemy hero

    Loss

    Loss

    Large gain over multiple turns

     

    Card Draw Mechanics

    By default, a player draws one additional card per turn.  The maximum mana a player can have is 10.  Most cards in a player’s deck will have costs well below 10 mana, meaning that if the game goes on long enough, a player will eventually run out of cards.  To attempt to compensate for this, there are many cards in the game which allow a player to draw additional cards.  While they follow different mechanics, most of these cards are characterized by sacrificing tempo in order to gain card advantage.   There are three common categories of card draw mechanics: draw X, cantrips, and draw on condition.

    Draw X cards refer to cards that directly tell a player to draw multiple cards; such cards are usually spells.  These are the most straight-forward draw mechanics, and the simplest to use as they require no special conditions to utilize other than having the mana cost to spare.  It should be remembered that the spell itself must be spent to cause the draw, so the card advantage gained is one less than the card states.  For example, Arcane Intellect requires a player to spend one card (the Arcane Intellect spell itself) in order to draw two cards, so the card advantage is one.  The tempo loss is due to the fact that the player needs to spend mana that does nothing to alter the board state.  Draw X cards that draw small amount of cards tend to be less mana efficient than Draw X cards that draw higher amounts; for example, Arcane Intellect costs 3 mana per net card drawn, whereas Sprint costs 2.3 per net card drawn.  However, while less mana efficient, it tends to be easier to spare the mana required to play a small Draw X spell while being able to perform other actions that turn.  A high Draw X card like Sprint essentially costs the entire turn to play, so the tempo loss associated with playing it will be extremely noticeable.

    The second class of draw mechanics is cantrips.  These are either spells or minions that draw a single card on use as well as performing an action.  Essentially, you can think of these types of cards as allowing you to perform an action without using a card.  Unlike Draw X cards which can be efficiently played anytime you have spare mana; cantrips are only useful if the minion or spell’s effect is useful at the time.  For example, you gain little by playing Hammer of Wrath if there’s nothing of value to do 3 damage to on the board.  The benefit gained by using cantrips is that they tend to be more mana efficient than Draw X cards, and thus, a lower tempo loss.  Usually minions will have a penalty of costing roughly one extra mana whereas spells will in general cost two extra mana in exchange for being a cantrip (either of which is lower than the cost of somewhere between 2.3 to 3 for Draw X cards).   


    The final class of draw cards is limitless draw.  These are cards that provide no limit to the number of cards they can draw, but usually will only draw under certain conditions; examples include drawing upon casting a spell, drawing once per turn or drawing each time a minion attacks.  Like other draw mechanics, the player sacrifices tempo since such cards tend to have weak stats relative to their cost.  These draw mechanics tend to be the hardest to use but the most beneficial when used well.  Unlike Draw X and cantrips, there is usually no guarantee that these cards will draw a single card; if played at an incorrect time, they could be destroyed by the opponent before they get the opportunity to draw a single card, which causes the player to sacrifice tempo without even gaining card advantage in the process.  However, the bonus is that since the draw effect has no limit, the card advantage gained by such a gain can be massive, and can win a game by itself if it gets out of control.  



    It should be noted that none of these classes of draw mechanics is “best”.  It is a matter of gaining enough draw power to allow the deck to keep consistent tempo, and most decks will likely mix-and-match several of these mechanics.

    Draw Mechanic

    Tempo Loss

    Card Advantage

    Difficulty of Finding Opportunity to Use Effectively

    Draw X

    Largest

    Moderate

    Easiest

    Cantrip

    Smallest

    Smallest

    Moderate

    Limitless Draw (if used right)

    Varies

    Largest

    Hardest

    Limitless Draw (if used wrong)

    Varies

    None

    Hardest

     

    ...Watch out for Part 3 Next Wednesday where Sar dives into more common situations with the three resources and how you can make the best choices given the circumstances! 

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on Interview with Muffinsssss - Winner of the 12/14/13 NA MLG/MG Tourney

    Interview with Muffinsssss - Winner of the ManaGrind/MLG NA Open # 8"
    (Interview done by TheChiv1, Edited by Homebrewed)



    Name: Ryan Shackelford
    Age: 25
    Location Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Muffinsssss‏ US 12/14/13
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    To see more of the top deck lists from the 12/14/13 tournament click here.


    Well I would like to welcome you back here today Muffinsssss. This is your second ManaGrind/MLG Hearthstone victory, and you are the first NA two time winner. Congratulations on an epic victory.

    Thanks :)

    That’s a real accomplishment. How does it feel?

    It feels good. I wish I was using a more original deck, but it feels good.

    Yes you were using a Mage deck, probably the most hated class in the game right now.

    Yea, the class is a little too strong in the meta right now. I have been playing mostly Mage since I started with Hearthstone, so I hope if nerfs come they are delicate...

    Yes we don’t need another class turned into the Hunter.

    Haha, I do feel a bit bad for Hunter sometimes.  Who knows, maybe there is some new Hunter deck hiding out there...

    So what have you been doing since the last victory?

    I’ve been really busy with work. I work for S2Games and we have our new game "Strife" going into beta soon. I’ve been very busy working on that.

    That’s pretty amazing that with all that you still managed to pull a win today.

    That’s what I like about Hearthstone - it’s a game that I can invest a smaller amount of time to and still be a good player.  It’s all decision making, I don’t need to practice any mechanical skills.

    Now you have done well in this format, but is there another type of card game format you would enjoy?

    I think tournaments should be using a Swiss format instead of single elimination. Getting knocked out because of one unfavorable matchup never feels good.  Card games are games of odds, and single elimination just doesn’t suit that as well.  Also, with Swiss newer players still get a chance to play against multiple opponents, which is always good!

    A lot of people love the Swiss format and it’s something we here at ManaGrind hear a lot. Moving on, our first ManaGrind/MLG victory you and I faced off in the top 8.

    Yea, I remember that. Back when you could switch classes whenever you wanted.

    Yeah. You beat me like 2-1. I beat you once with the Hunter OTK and then you beat it and I switched and you just clobbered me.

    You know I was really worried you would just keep playing that Hunter OTK deck in the third match. It was one of the decks that would have done well against what I was playing.

    Yes well sometimes you pick correctly other times you make a mistake. Since you brought up the Hunter let’s talk a little bit about this patch. We saw a few changes to some cards and I would like to hear your opinion on these changes.


    Sure, I’ll comment on some of the more relevant changes. Mind Control going to 10 will hurt a class that isn’t that strong to begin with, but I agree it was a card that needed changing.  I would have rather seen a change to make the card less “swingy” by adding a restriction on the card (for example, “take control of minion costing 6 or less” - you could even reduce the mana cost at that point).  Most of my problems with the card have to do with how situationally effective it is, and how bad it feels when it’s used on your legendary win condition… and that hasn’t really changed.

    Shattered Sun Cleric going to 3/2 was a good change. I have played with it and the loss of one health really makes a difference. Argent Commander is now a 4/2 - this won’t change too much, but I don’t think the card needed a significant change. I don’t play much Hunter, but the new Unleash the Hounds doesn’t seem very good - but I’ll withhold judgment for now. I can see why they wanted to change the old one, but I always get a bit sad when a unique kind of deck get killed.  I actually never had a huge problem with Hunter OTK.  I do want to see our players, maybe with some balance help, playing new styles of Hunter.

    That’s pretty deep.

    I think Blizzard is trying to take things slowly as we are in beta and they have a lot of other things to do.  Balance is a tricky thing, and if you react too quickly you can step on the players’ toes.  I always prefer to see players overcome a problem without help from the developer.  That being said, sometimes changes are needed. I have faith Blizzard will get things in shape.



    Now let talk about the one issue everyone seems to have an issue with since the patch. Let’s talk Mage. We have heard a lot of feedback from players about 3 things: the freeze mechanic, Pyroblast, and Ice Block. What are your thoughts?

    I actually like the freeze mechanic. I think it’s a really cool way of playing control, and I don’t think it’s the mechanic that’s a problem, but the prevalence of it. With Cone of Cold, Blizzard, and Frost Novathere is a lot of AoE freeze. I think the amount of it combined with the burn spells makes it a little too strong. If they are not going to reduce the amount of freeze in the game then it’s possible some sort of counter play may become necessary. Something that can remove debuffs or provides protection that is more efficient than single target silence.  I think the concept of Pyroblast is fine and fun for players that like that play style. The spell is not super cost efficient but it is very card efficient. It’s possible some change to the cost/damage value could be made so that it’s not taking 33% of your health. For Ice Block, I think more play around secrets could be added into the game. The problem is if too many cost effective counters like Flare are introduced, then secrets become really bad.  I don’t like hard counters like Flare and prefer softer counters that provide other benefits as well.



    You know I thought about some neutral secret removal and my idea was a single neutral minion 5 mana for 4/4 with a battle cry to destroy a secret.

    Yeah, long as it destroys a random enemy secret. This way a player can cover their important secret somewhat by playing multiple secrets.

    Now let’s move on to the new rank system. A lot of people love it, some hate it, and we had a bit of a controversy involving people cheating the system. What are your thoughts?

    I like it a lot. My only concern would be they mentioned a reset every month and I worry that this could be too frequent. At 1 month it might feel like too much of a grind. As for the controversy, that kind of abuse will go away as the game goes live. I have faith that Blizzard will take measures to solve those kinds of issues. Its beta and things are supposed to be explored and fixed.

    In your opinion what are the four top neutral cards?

    Recently I’ve been loving Doomsayer, it’s a really fun card. Bloodmage Thalnos is probably the best card in the game. Argent Commander is still a top card and I really like Sylvanas Windrunner in there as well.

    What is some advice you can give to other players to become better?

    It’s kind of hard to give simple advice to make someone better, besides practice. For deck-building, the best thing to do is to find an established deck and experiment with it. Make some changes to the deck and feel how that affects it.  It’s a lot easier to digest small changes to a deck, and the more you do that the better you’ll understand how changes to a deck affect it.  Do that enough with lots of different deck types and eventually you’ll start to understand some of the deeper concepts in deck building.

    Well I think we are going to wrap it up here. Again congratulations on your 2nd victory in our Tournament. We here at ManaGrind thank you for taking the time to do this interview and we hope to see you back here again.

    Thank you.

     

    Posted in: Tournaments
  • 0

    posted a message on Winning Decklists Archive

    MG/MLG Tournament Decklists

    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #14
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #14
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #13

    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #13
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #12
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #12
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #11
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #11
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #10

    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #10 
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #9
    Top 3 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #9
    ---- EU MLG/ManaGrind Tourney #8 cancelled. ----
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #8
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #7
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #7
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #6
    Top 3 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #6
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #5
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #5
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #4
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #4
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #3
    Top 4 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #3
    Top 4 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #2
    Top 3 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #2
    Top 3 Decklists EU MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #1
    Top 3 Decklists NA MLG/ManaGrind Open Tournament #1

    MG Friday Night Swiss Tournament Decklists

     

    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #6
    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #6
    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #5

    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #5
    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #4
    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #4
    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #3
    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #3
    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #2 
    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #2
    Top 8 Decklists EU ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #1
    Top 8 Decklists NA ManaGrind Friday Night Swiss #1

    Posted in: Content
  • 0

    posted a message on Interview Archive

    Interviews

    Interview with Kaldi - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #13
    Interview with Chakki - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #13
    Interview with Spo - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #12
    Interview with Imablackbelt - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #12

    Interview with Kaldi - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #11
    Interview with Polishking - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #11

    Interview with Peseto - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #10
    Interview with Pkughost - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #10
    Interview with MKR3 - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #9

    Interview with USScaptain - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #9
    ---- EU MLG/ManaGrind Tourney #8 cancelled. ----
    Interview with Muffinsssss - Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #8
    Interview with Timbolt – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #7
    Interview with Gnimsh – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #7
    Interview with Ostkaka – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #6
    Interview with Fjord – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #6
    Interview with y4p – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #5
    Interview with Kisstafer – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #5
    Interview with Forsen – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind EU Open #4
    Interview with Eldorian – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #4
    Interview with Timbolt – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind Eu Open #3
    Interview with LuigeZZ – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind NA Open #3
    Interview with p0rn – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind Open #2
    Interview with Kithros – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind Open #2
    Interview with [MG] Wuaschtsemme – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind Open #1
    Interview with Muffinsssss – Winner of the MLG/ManaGrind Open #1

    Posted in: Content
  • 0

    posted a message on Top 4 Decklists From The 12/14/13 US MLG/ManaGrind Tournament

    Muffinsssss – 1st Place:

    Muffinsssss‏ US 12/14/13
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    Twisted – 2nd Place:

    Twisted‏ US 12/14/13
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    Nimrod – 3rd/4th Place:

    Nimrod US 12/14/13
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    This deck was built to address the current aggro-meta. It is pretty dangerous around turn 6 or 7 and doesn't lose steam in late game. My sideboard included: Acidic Swamp Ooze, another Hex and Earthen Ring Farseer (replaced Lightning Storm against Ice Block Mage)

    Galleon – 3rd/4th Place:

    Galleon US 12/14/13
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    Posted in: Decklists
  • 0

    posted a message on Interview with Timbolt – Winner of the 12/08/13 EU MLG/MG Tourney

    Interview with Timbolt Winner of the EU ManaGrind/ MLG Open #7
    (Interview done by TheChiv1, Edited by Homebrewed)



    Name: Eike Heimpel
    Age: 25
    Location: Berlin, Germany 

    Timbolt EU 12/08/13 Deck 1
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    To see more of the top deck lists from the 12/08/13 tournament click here.


    Today is a very special day. This is the first time I have had to interview the same winner from a previous tournament. Congrats on achieving that 2nd victory Timbolt.

    Thanks a lot man.

    There were a lot of people who were trying to achieve that, but you were the first.

    That’s awesome thank you.

    Now this tournament you just won, who was your toughest opponent? 

    I think it was a rogue I played in the third round. We went 1-1 and then in the third round I won with very little HP at the end.

    Now you won with Mage deck, we saw this yesterday as well. Where did you get the deck? 

    I copied it off the deck list posted and I saw Gnimsh’s giant deck and wanted to make that but I didn’t have one card in it. Mages are really good because you can play two different decks and be really good. It’s consistently strong.

    What was your favorite part of the tournament?

    The finals were really hard because he was playing a Mage. He was playing the giant deck and I was playing more the Moon’s aggro deck. It was cool to see how they matched up against each other.

    Now your finals got delayed because we had a player who was also playing in another tournament at the same time and he was doing really well in both. However while he was in the semifinals a player in the ESL tournament forced him to concede because he was in ours as well.

    Yeah that was kind of sad. 

    I mean it was looking like he could have won both tournaments at the same time.

    Yeah but sometimes you have to choose and be willing to make that choice. I would have just drop the ESL tournament myself and just played the ManaGrind one.

    Now was there any one you were glad you didn’t have to face off against in the tournament.

    Not really I didn’t see to many people I knew. There was P0rn who busted me four tournaments in a row, so yeah him.

    You know P0rn is a really strong competitor, perhaps you and he should make a team, and you’re both German if memory serves.

    Maybe.

    Now last time you won you were pretty calm about it, anything different this time?

    Last time I was very calm about it till after I won. This time I was excited the whole tournament.

    Now let’s look at your deck. You were running a Mage deck. So what would have been the biggest threat to it?

    Priest decks would have been a problem, mirror matches, or maybe a Paladin.

    What were your MVP’s? 

    Let me think about it. Well probably the Faerie Dragon, because of Mages. It stays up so long and you really get great value from it.

    I’m shocked it’s not the Pyroblast?

    Pyroblast is a really good card. It’s really too powerful and needs a nerf. I’m not sure what yet but, it needs a change.

    Personally I would like to see it be a legendary allowing only one to be used in each deck.

    That could work out really well. If they added some common cards to counter Pyroblast in some way would be good too. My opponent was running Counterspell and that caused me some issues.



    Yeah its funny the only class that can really counter a Mage, is a Mage. Moving on, what were your best neutral cards?

    Argent Commander is just the best card. Dark Iron Dwarf, and in this meta I would say the Faerie Dragon.


    With mages making a comeback I think we will see more Faerie Dragon and stealth minions possibly coming back in style.

    I agree.

    Now since last we talked we have seen a lot developing in the Hearthstone competitive scene. We had the 2p.com NA vs. CN tournament, which NA won.

    Yeah, No EU though. They hate us (laughing).

    We have also been seeing a lot of weekly national tournaments popping up all over the place. There has also been a huge call for team based tournaments. What are your thoughts on that?

    That’s awesome. I really like those kinds of tournaments.

    See you and P0rn could make a team and maybe put a hurting on some of those other EU teams. If team play takes off it’s going to be very interesting.

    I would love to see a NA vs. EU tournament. Like take all the winners of the tournaments in a month, form a team on each side, and then teams battle it out.

    That would be really interesting, though a little hard to manage and conduct. Though I think it would be one hell of a match.

    Yeah it would be awesome.

    What features would you like to see added to Hearthstone?

    Spectator mode would be awesome, in-game tournaments and a change in the ranking system.

    Let’s move onto the topic everyone has an opinion on. What are your thoughts on the upcoming balance patch?

    I don’t know how exactly how you will do it, but something is needed to counter the Mage. Something in the neutral would be good. They can play the same aggro every other class can but their spells are better. Maybe if they made the Mana Wyrm a 1/2 instead of a 1/3.

    What about the Neutral cards.

    Yeah definitely, like Argent Commander. Not sure maybe a 3/3 or something. Without putting in new cards there is way too much that would have to be changed. I think the better solution is to buff up other cards.

    Don’t you think that would just transfer the issues we have now onto other cards?

    Yeah I guess but balance is a really hard thing to do without new cards. It would be better for them to change the non-good cards then messing with the good cards.

    Now since this week you’re a Mage player. Do you think if there were more healing abilities in this game Mage domination would be less relevant?

    Yes most definitely. Some neutral cards are great with better heal and stats, could give value versus a Mage. When you look at Earthen Ring Farseer, it’s perfect. Then you look at the Priestess of Elune, it’s just garbage. If they would fix that card I think most classes would do better against Mages.



    Well I think we can wrap this interview up. Again, congratulations on winning your 2nd ManaGrind/MLG tournaments and being the first to achieve that in this format.

    Thank you.

     

     

     

     

    Posted in: Tournaments
  • 0

    posted a message on Mage Aggression: ManaGrind Tournament Overview by Jotto

    Hello everyone this is Jotto and welcome to the 2nd recap of the ManaGrind weekly tournaments, this week we had a very.......interesting development.....

    So Mages.....

    Eight Mages in both of the Top 4's... just count them: eight! We have never seen a class be this successful over both servers before and I suspect that it will be a long time before we see this again. So what does this mean? It raises some problems balance wise as the one thing you want to avoid is one class dominating and that is what has happened. So the real question is what is the problem here?

    Gnimsh NA 12/07/13
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    First of all let’s take a glance at the winning deck from both tournaments. What stands out is the shockingly low amount of draw power that this deck can get away with. It only plays Novice Engineer and Acolyte of Pain and shows the individual power level of each card which would be required to consistently win with this little draw in the deck. Let’s have a look at some of these ‘’power’’ cards that Mage has access to.

    Minion wise the Mana Wyrm is the only Mage minion in the deck but backed up by the notorious buff minions it proves to be one of the single most powerful one drops in the game, even surpassing the Warlock one drops to some extent, with The Coin it is very easy to play Mana Wyrm on turn one and Coin out a Shattered Sun Cleric for a massive 3/4 on turn two along with the 3/2 Cleric. However it’s not only the Mana Wyrm that is putting in the beats in the early game, Argent Squire and Faerie Dragon function as some of the best early buff targets in the game and Harvest Golem closes out the aggressive openings with its bulky stats and two for one trading capacity. The late to mid game is then secured by the ever so reliable Argent Commander and Dark Iron Dwarf along with Defender of Argus and Sylvanas Windrunner.

    While the minions are impressive, it’s the spells that make Mage aggro stand out of the pack of aggro decks, Mage aggro decks have on average 36 points of burn in spells, 36! Not to mention that just the pair of Pyroblast hold 20 of those points meaning that you can afford to burn some creatures for removal purposes and that the minions only need to do on average 15 damage for you to win the game, this makes standard anti aggro decks have a hard time against Mage as it is very hard to stabilize against the extreme amount of burn that Mages have at their disposal.

    In conclusion while aggro is the metagame at the moment, arguably the most powerful deck and class in the game would be the Mage as they have a counter to other aggro decks in their spells and have the burn to brute force through the midrange decks and cantrip focused deck that the meta has to offer. So how do you play against mage in general?

    Generally keeping your health above twelve/thirteen will keep you out of burn range. This can be done by using control spells to stop his aggression before he inflicts too much damage and most importantly using healing spells to negate the damage that he does inflict as you will not be able to stop all of it. By doing this you can stay out of Pyroblast range and set them up for a kill a couple of turns later. On a final note many Mages that do not play aggro decks tend to play giants and Alexstrasza so often setting up a quick kill is more effective than grinding them down.

    Jotto

    If you want to see more content by Jotto you can check out his YouTube channel or check out his Twitch stream!

    Posted in: Tournaments
  • 26

    posted a message on The Three Competing Resources: Tempo, Card Advantage, and Hero Life by Sar

    Certain analogies can be drawn between chess and Hearthstone.  In chess, each player starts with an identical set of pieces.  In Hearthstone, most cards are relatively balanced in terms of strength.  That means that, while players may be able to synergize their cards in a more effective way than their opponent, the individual “pieces” (i.e. the cards) are going to be roughly equally strong for each player. 

    For this reason, in both chess and Hearthstone, victories are often initiated by gaining the smallest of advantages over an opponent.  In a chess game between two equal opponents, the capturing of a single free pawn in chess can result in a win, even though this is only a tiny portion of the starting board.  This occurs for two potential reasons.  First, if one players forces equal trades amongst the pieces, eventually the board will reach a state where that single pawn is a massive advantage (for example, if the remaining boards are 2 pawns for one player and 1 pawn for the other).  Second, the extra piece acts as an extra tool on the board, improving that player’s board position and potentially allowing him to force uneven trading of the pieces.  The first reason closely resembles the concept of card advantage in Hearthstone, and the second reason closely resembles the concept of tempo, which will be focuses of this article.

    The analogy between chess and Hearthstone can only be taken so far, however.  While the “pieces” in a deck are of roughly similar strength, they aren’t identical, meaning that even extremely similar cards can be used differently.  Second, while you control the cards in your deck, you can’t completely control which cards you draw and when you draw them, meaning that the options available to you at any given time will likely be different almost every game.  Of course, the same will be happening with your opponent.  As such, learning strategy in Hearthstone is much different than in chess.  In chess, a perfect player could theoretically predict every move that the opponent might do, prevent it, and never lose; there is nothing “hidden” to the player in chess.  

    In Hearthstone, you do not know what plays your opponent has available, only the moves that they MIGHT have available.  As such, good plays in Hearthstone become more of a statistical matter.  You cannot make plays that are guaranteed to be the right moves; you can only make plays that are statistically likely to be the right moves.  You won’t come out ahead of every such play; whenever statistics are involved, sometimes you will win, and sometimes you will lose.  However, if you play the odds correctly on every move, more often than not, in totality, you will come out ahead.  As such, playing Hearthstone well is somewhat different than many genres of game, where you can see an action and be told to respond with a specific action.

    The Three Competing Resources

    In the long run, the goal of these articles will be to teach Hearthstone strategies.  But due to the wide variety of options, we need to first start with the basics of tempo, card advantage, and the heroes’ life points.  These are the three primary resources within the game, and often, advancing one tends to occur at the expense of at least one other.  Understanding these trade-offs is necessary for understanding more complicated strategy elements.  As a summary, these three resources are:

    Tempo: References the rate at which you can spend mana in order to put minions on the board or remove enemy minions.
    Card advantage: References the number of cards each player has on the board and in hand.
    Hero life: The remaining life the hero has; when it hits zero, you lose.

    Tempo

    Tempo is a reference to how quickly you can spend your mana in order to gain position on the board.  Note that many card game players will also include the health of the enemy hero when it comes to tempo, defining it as the pace at which the game can be brought to an end.  While this is a reasonable definition, for the purposes of this article, tempo will reference the rate at which you utilize your mana to have lasting effects on your board; this is largely done so that the hero’s life can be thought of as a separate resource.

    Position on the board accounts for the number of minions you have on the board, the strength of those minions, and if applicable, any special effects the minions might have which will affect who can control the board.  For example, a large minion and multiple small minions can have roughly equal amounts of tempo.  At its most simplistic point of view, if player 1 is able to use what they currently have on the board to kill everything player 2 has on the board, and player 1 still maintains some minions after this is done, then player 1 has a tempo advantage.  

    Some cards may have weak stats in exchange for abilities which affect the board.  For example, compare Demolisher to Kirin Tor Mage, which have the same mana cost.  The Demolisher has weaker stats but its effect has the ability to damage enemy minions on the board without taking any damage itself.  This ability will do damage every turn as long as the Demolisher stays alive.  So Demolisher trades tempo in the form of stats in exchange for tempo in the form of its special ability.  Which card is more effective depends on the situation.

    Finally, the first player to generate tempo tends to have an advantage.  It is often said that the best defense is a good offense; this true moreso in Hearthstone than other games, largely due to the ability of the attacker to choose which targets they wish to attack in an advantageous way.  For example, look at the board below.  Each player starts with an identical board.  But because Player 1 chooses which minions attack which, the net result is a board position which greatly favors Player 1; since the boards started equal, if Player 2 had been the one attacking, the result would have been in Player 2’s favor.  As such, it must always be remembered that tempo will tend to favor the player who plays minions first (or more specifically, the player who gets to choose the attacks).

    In this article, tempo will reference the rate at which a player manages to spend their full mana bar in order to gain minions which are purely focused on gaining control of the board.  Some minions may have effects which don’t affect the board position; such minions will generally have lower stats relative to their cost to compensate for this, which causes them to be a tempo loss compared to other minions of similar cost.  As a simple example of this, consider the 6-cost minion, Priestess of Elune.  By comparison to Chillwind Yeti, we can see that Priestess of Elune has comparable tempo to a 4-cost minion; and we can see her stats are several points below a basic 6-cost minion such as Boulderfist Ogre.  Unlike the other two minions, Priestess of Elune heals the hero for 4 health when she enters play.  As such, Priestess of Elune is a card which trades tempo in exchange for healing the hero.

    So, why does tempo matter?  Well, tempo in general results in damage to the hero.  If you constantly have minions on the board, and are playing them faster than your opponent, you will be able to start attacking the enemy hero with those minions every turn.  For example, imagine you saw the following cards being played by each player each turn.  It’s hard to imagine that Player 2 would be able to survive much past turn 5, even if Player 2 were to constantly keep healing themselves.  So in essence, consistently having much higher tempo than your opponent will tend to result in a win.

    Card Advantage

    At its most simplistic level, card advantage is simply the number of cards you have on the table plus your hand.  At the more complex level, partially used cards on the table may not count as full cards anymore.  For example, a large minions which has been substantially damaged may no longer have the value of a full card anymore.  Consider a Boulderfist Ogre damaged to 1 health; it is now nowhere near as valuable as a Boulderfist Ogre at full health due to the fact that it might be easily killed.  Another aspect of this is cards who generate much of their value from their Battlecry.  Consider, for example, the card Ironbeak Owl.  The card, while a 2-cost card, has substantially weaker stats than most 2-drop cards because it has a battecry which silences a minion.  As a result, once it’s on the board, some of its value has been “used up”, and to a degree, it can be thought of a card which only now has a fraction of its value remaining.

    Card advantage matters for two reasons.  The first reason is that card advantage is a source of tempo.  For example, when you have 10 mana, if you only have a single card in your hand, you are unlikely to be able to spend that full mana in a turn.  This leads to a loss of tempo, and as mentioned previously, a consistent loss of tempo to your opponent will usually result in a loss.  The second reason card advantage matters is options.  If you only have one card in your hand, even if it’s an extremely expensive card, such that you can play it without tempo loss, that card is your only option; you either play it or you don’t.  On the other hand, if you have an extremely large hand, you have options, and can play the cards that are most beneficial to the situation. 

    By default, a player draws one card per turn.  If the game lasts long enough, players will eventually have 10 mana to spend per turn.  Most cards in your deck will cost well less than 10 mana, so if the player only uses the default drawing mechanism, cards are likely to be consumed faster than they are drawn by default.  Thus, in a long game, if a player relies solely on the single card draw per turn, they can expect to eventually run out of cards and reach what is known as the “top-decking” phase, where you essentially draw a card and then have to play it that turn in order to keep up with your opponent, regardless of what the card is. 

    Hero Life

    Hero life is probably the simplest of the three resources to understand; you start with 30, and if you hit zero, you lose the game.  So in some ways, hero life could be considered to be the most important resource, much in the way that the King is the most important piece in chess.  However, in practice, a player should learn to think of their life as another resource.  Until your hero’s health hits zero, you haven’t lost; it doesn’t matter how much damage your hero takes as long as the enemy hero’s health hits zero first.

     As was mentioned before, tempo tends to lead to consistent damage to the enemy hero every turn, and in a long game, card advantage tends to lead to tempo.  Thus, particularly in the early game, it can often be beneficial to trade a small amount of hero life in order to gain tempo and card advantage, with the goal being for this to result in a large advantage in hero life later in the game.

    The Three Resources: How Much Do They Matter?

    All three resources have at least some effect on the game.  Basically, in a nut shell, the goal is to reduce the hero’s life to zero.  However, until it hits zero, it does not matter how low it is; bringing the enemy hero’s health to zero while yours is at one is still a win.  In general, the enemy hero’s health can repetitively be brought lower each turn by generating greater tempo than the opponent.  Consistently generating tempo requires having both enough cards to play and the right cards to play, which requires card advantage over your opponent.  You will often have the opportunity to sacrifice your hero’s health to generate additional tempo and/or card advantage, or sacrificing these things to add to hero health. This is the interaction of these three resources amongst each other.

    Differences in hero life and card advantage tend to be less important when they are high.  For example, if Player 1 has 8 cards in hand and Player 2 has 7, while it is true that Player 1 has a card advantage, the difference at the moment is negligible.  Both players are likely to have plenty of options available to them to spend their full mana bar.  On the other hand, if Player 1 has 2 cards and Player 2 has 1 card, then the same different in card advantage has now become extremely relevant.  Of course, that doesn’t mean card advantage should be completely neglected with a large hand; if the players are forced into trading cards 1:1 with each other, which can often happen, then the 8-7 card advantage will likely eventually become a 2-1 card advantage over time if nothing is done to reverse the situation.  Similarly, hero life becomes far more important as it falls low.  You don’t lose until your health hits zero, and that needs to be remembered.  Thus, taking a few points of damage when a hero has full health is almost irrelevant, especially in comparison to tempo and card advantage.  On the other hand, by the time the hero’s health is down to only a few life, that few points of damage becomes much more relevant.

    Unlike card advantage and hero life, small differences in tempo can be very significant, even if the individual tempo of each player is large.  Tempo is far more easily traded between the players, meaning that a player can often easily force a large board with only a small difference in tempo into being a small board with the same difference in tempo.  Beyond that, however, a small advantage in tempo tends to give a player far greater options for clearing the enemy’s board.  Once this starts happening, that player can gain solid control of the board, and begin forcing trades that are in their benefit.  In this way, the tempo tends to snowball out of control, where a small advantage in tempo becomes and increasingly larger and larger increase in tempo every turn due to the winning player losing small amounts of their tempo to remove large amounts of the enemy’s tempo.  As such, gaining early board presence can be extremely important in Hearthstone, even if the minions are weak.

    Basic Two-Phase Game

    A player can expect a standard game to go through two main phases.  The first phase involves the players jockeying for board position, often trading tempo and getting in free hits on the enemy hero when it does not result in a loss of tempo.  At some point, one player may begin to ignore tempo and begin attempting to simply kill the enemy hero, particularly if they can follow up on later turns with spells or weapons (which tend to do large and immediate damage).  Any advantages in terms of the hero’s lives will give them an advantage once the race to burn the enemy hero begins.  Different decks will tend to use different combinations of these two phases.

    For example, a rush deck has the goal of trying to kill the enemy hero as quickly as possible.  Such decks will often completely neglect enemy minions unless then are a uniquely large tempo advantage, and will focus almost entirely on doing as much damage to the enemy hero as possible.  Such decks recognize that over a long amount of time they are likely to fall behind on tempo, in part because they are usually allowing the enemy to choose how the minions will attack each other; however, the goal of such a deck is to do so much damage to the enemy hero before this happens that they cannot recover.

    On the other hand, a control deck may do completely the opposite of a rush deck.  Such decks will almost never focus on attacking the enemy hero directly unless there are no enemy minions to neutralize.  So for example, such a decks would often attack an enemy’s 1/1 minion using their own 7/7 minion, despite the fact this is a large loss of hero damage, and will only ignore enemy minion’s if they can kill the enemy hero no that turn.

    A good example of a deck that has a noticeable blend to these two phases is a version of the Mage deck.  In the early game, such a Mage deck will attempt to quickly drop a limited number of low-drop minions.  They then proceed to kill off any minions with direct-damage spells, hide their minions behind minions with taunt, or freeze enemy minions to prevent them from attacking (or some combination of these tactics).  The goal is not to simply pick at the enemy hero’s life for several turns, trying to reduce them to roughly half health.  Around turn 7 or so, the Mage will often lose their board control, but the goal up to this point was simply to damage the enemy hero to roughly half health.  At this point, the Mage will take advantage of the fact that they have several spells that can do large damage to the enemy hero to kill the hero, even though they have lost tempo by this point.  Recognize that the point of this description is not to say that all Mage decks will play like this; rather, this was presented to demonstrate how a deck will start by utilizing tempo to attack the enemy hero’s life then use the advantage gained from this to finish the game.

    ...Watch for Part 2 Next Wednesday where Sar dives into more common situations with the three resources and how you can make the best choices given the circumstances! 

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Welcome ManaGrind!

    Looking forward to the future and expanding the community!

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