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    posted a message on Common Situations With the Three Resources by Sar (Part 2)
    Quote from Gi0w »

    Been reading the first article again and maybe this part is the key:

    "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."

    This means that my earlier conclusion would be true, i.e. "removing the opponent's minion is NOT an increase in tempo, while adding a minion of my own IS"....

    But even so I would still be confused, because that would also mean that both AoE-destroying multiple minions or killing a minion with your weapon actually aren't tempo gains - still, these are both identified as tempo gains in the article above.

    Sorry guys, really don't mean to be a stickler for details but I really want to nail my understanding of these concepts!!

    It's primarily just a wording type of thing.  When doing the comparisons in these later sections, you have to ask "Gaining tempo relative to what?"  Basically, purely for purposes of creating these tables, I considered, "Average" tempo to be a situation where you spend most of your mana each turn towards advancing the board.  To understand the reason why, imagine if it's turn 10 and all you did was play a Knife Juggler.  This is technically a tempo increase, since it's something you have on the board that you did not before; however, from a practical point of view, your opponent is almost certainly going to play more than 2 mana on the next turn, so your tempo is going to fall behind them.  As such, when creating the tables, I had to define a baseline situation, and I ended up choosing a situation where you spend almost all your mana.


    As for the spell, what often happens with direct damage spells is that you kill a minion of roughly comparable cost to the spell.  So for example, if you use a Shadowbolt to kill a Raging Worgen, the effect is more or less tempo neutral, since you spent 3 mana to remove 3 mana of value from the table.  This may vary a little bit, and obviously if you can use a 2-mana spell to remove an 8-cost minion that's at full health, that will be a tempo increase for you; that's not the normal situation for removal spells however.

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Countering "Ignore The Board" Mage (Part 1/2)
    Quote from professorryze »

    Malygos  is the biggest threat in a mage deck, if its left alive even one or two turns, a few spells can kill you.  How do I stop that now?

    The same way you'd handle any large minion; either kill it with a removal, ignore it and finish the opponent off or, if the mage's health is still high, kill it with direct damage (not an ideal situation of course).  Malygos sees little play because it's too slow of a card.  Yes, it's game-ending if it stays on the board, but the same is true of any large card, such as Ragnaros, Ysera, etc; you will not survive for very long if these cards remain on the board.  In the case of Malygos, the only offensive spell a Mage can play on the same turn Malygos is dropped is Arcane Missiles, and while 8 missiles is a lot, the randomness of the ability would generally prevent it from doing much.

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Countering "Ignore The Board" Mage (Part 1/2)

    For those wondering, I prefer not to write articles that are immediate reactions to the meta-game; the problem with trying to write about the current state of the meta is that such articles are good in the moment but months later become somewhat irrelevant.  My goal is to create guides that are at least to a degree "timeless" as an instructional guide to newer players.  Writing this article was in part inspired by the fact that mages had been popular in the meta, but not because they were dominating the meta. 


    What I had personally found, particularly from reading the forums, is that a substantial number of players were confused as to how to face mages and felt helpless playing against them.  For example, they viewed that there was no way to counter being stalled by freezes, and that there was no way to fight back against cards like Pyroblast since the only class which could cancel the spell-cast was another Mage.  Neither of these statements is true; both forms of play are counterable. 


    The reason I chose this topic was because countering these Mage tactics appears to be far less intuitive to newer players.  So, for example, two of the more popular classes at the time I'm typing this post are Warlock rushes and Druid ramp.  These decks may beat players, but they tend to inherently understand that early aoe's can fight off rushes and removal cards can tend to fight off Druid ramp.  Mages and their direct damage, freezing, etc., on the other hand, is something that many players simply have no idea how to fight against, and that was the reason I wrote about it.


    Beyond that, a generic "counter mage" article would have to be very broad.  As with many classes, there are a LOT of variants and a LOT of possible cards you could talk about having to deal with.  For example, beyond the things I talked about in this article, some of the common cards that show up in many but not necessarily all decks, and can be potentially very dangerous, are Mana Wyrm, Flamestrike, Water Elemental (albeit somewhat less popular than many of the other mage cards), and secrets other than Ice Block.  These cards could each be articles in their own right, and to try and cover them all in a single article would require such a shallow analysis of the cards that there would be no information given other than "they exist".  As such, I tried to choose the few aspects of mage that in my experience from the forums are giving players the most problems: freezing (albeit a mechanic that's far less popular now since the nerfs), Pyroblast, Ice Block, and Alexstraza.  Not every deck is going to use all of these mechanics in full force, but you can expect to see subsets of these mechanics appearing in many variants of the mage deck.  Because these tend to be the mechanics that many newer players have the most trouble understanding, that is why I chose to write about these aspects of mage in particular.


    Anyway, I hope this clears up why you are seeing a topic about a class that is not dominating the current meta.  Rather, the article was intended to discuss a common set of mechanics within a class that many players have no idea of how to fight back on, which in many cases leads to a miserable gaming experience for them (there is nothing more frustrating in a game than fighting against something that makes you feel helpless).

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on Countering "Ignore The Board" Mage (Part 1/2)

    Countering 'Ignore the Board' Mage by Sar

    Click here for Part 2


    Mages have been a popular topic recently, particularly in the lower leagues of play.  As with any class, discussing the tactics required to beat a Mage would be well beyond the scope of a single article.  However, one of the general Mage concepts that seem to have been causing the greatest amount of trouble is a setup that I call “ignore the board Mage”, for lack of an official term (“ITB” for short).  In a nut shell, the deck works as such:

    1. The Mage will stall out the early games with a few removal cards, but will focus on cycling their deck (cycling: the process of playing a card to draw a new card) in order to draw the important cards they will need as quick as possible.
    2. Once the mid-game hits, the Mage will focus on freezing your troops.  If they get a chance, they’ll AoE them away, but for the most part they’re simply trying to stall your minion damage.
    3. When critical damage starts hitting the board, they’ll make sure Ice Block is down so they cannot die.
    4. Once they have the cards they need, they’ll focus on burning the enemy hero directly.
    5. Alexstrasza functions as a critical card for either burning a massive amount of health off the enemy hero, or healing a massive amount of health to the Mage, pending what’s most needed.

    While this is somewhat oversimplifying the Mage deck-type, and while there are a large number of variants to this concept, these general tenants of this play style make their way into many Mage decks.  It can tend to frustrate players who don’t know how to handle it.  The purpose of this article is to give some information as to how to deal with these tactics.  Note that no deck will win 100% of its games; even playing more or less correctly, a Mage can still win a game against these odds.  But if you set up correctly, you can beat the general Mage deck more often than not, while still maintaining a deck that is viable against other decks.

     Key Mage Cards


    Once again, analyzing every important Mage card would take a long time.  However, the purpose of this section is to analyze a few of the most important cards in the “ITB” strategy of Mages.

    Most players are probably familiar with Pyroblast.  Pyroblast deals 10 damage for 8 mana.  The standard damage curve for direct damage spells is damage = 1+cost, putting Pyroblast (as well as Fireball) at 1 mana cost better than curve.  This is an intentional part of Mages by Blizzard to promote usage of spells.  Pyroblast can be used to destroy large enemy minions, but is far less efficient at doing so than cards like Polymorph.  As such, you can expect that in most situations, Pyroblast will be saved to attack the enemy hero directly.  There are a few important breakpoints to understand in terms of Mage direct damage; hitting one of these breakpoints (in combination with any damage the Mage already has on the board) can put you at risk.  Note that these breakpoints assume no use of spell power or Ice Lance.  Spell power is not used because it leads to too many possibilities and depends on the cost of the minion; Ice Lance is neglected here because damage can get extremely high and lead to a substantial number of combinations, and furthermore, the average Mage deck does not use Ice Lance.  As such, these effects are neglected from the breakpoints simply because it would make the table too long





    Pyroblast + Fireblast


    Pyroblast + Frostbolt


    Fireball + Fireball + Frostbolt



    The first two conditions are fairly common to encounter against a Mage.  Pyroblast is expensive and as a result hard to use except when a full turn is expended, meaning that once a Mage grabs Pyroblast, it’s unlikely to be used until the game reaches its end.  Pyroblast + Frostbolt are a combination that does occasionally occur, but is somewhat less common.  Not only does it require having these two specific cards in the Mage’s hand, which itself makes the combination harder, but Frostbolt is also one of the Mage’s primary early game control spells, so Frostbolt tends to be used up early in the game.  Still, this combination can occur.  The final combination is an extremely rare occurrence.  Drawing both Fireballs at once is an unlikely combination of cards; beyond that, Fireball often gets used at some point in the game to kill an enemy’s mid-game minion, and as soon as one is used, this combination is impossible to pull off.

    The key thing that should be noted about Pyroblast is that it’s actually a relatively low damage output in a single turn compared to what many classes can pull off.  For example, through use of charge minions, Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, Eviscerate, Sinister Strike, weapons, etc. It’s relatively easy to pull out more than 11 damage (the most common Mage breakpoint) in a single turn.  What makes Pyroblast scary is that it only requires a single card; many of these higher-damage combinations tend to require 3 cards or greater.  That being said, playing against a Mage does have one relative benefit in that damage output tends to be predictable; unless Ice Lance is involved, the direct damage spells for Mages are expensive enough that they’re unlikely to be “comboed” together in unexpected ways.

    The second set of Mage cards to be aware of are their AoE freezes: Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, and Blizzard.  These cards can slow down your minion damage substantially; however, relative to their cost, their damage is extremely weak.  Frost Nova literally does no damage. 

    Without spell power, Cone of Cold is unlikely to kill anything (and if you’re swarming the board with large numbers of small minions, you can actually cause multiple minions to be left unfrozen).  It should be noted when playing a Mage; you should place stealth minions or Faerie Dragon in the center to minimize the effects of the card.  Also, if you don’t have stealth minions, and if you swarm the board, a general rule is to place your strongest minions on the outside so that both cannot be frozen by Cone of Cold.  These are just general rules however, and you should take minion placement on a case-by-case basis.

    Lastly, Blizzard does enough damage to kill off early-game minions.  However, at 6 mana, it is the last class to obtain access to its 2-damage AoE, making it far more susceptible to rushes.  Other classes obtain their AoE’s at the following mana:




    Mana Cost



     5 Mana


    Explosive Trap

     2 Mana



     4 Mana


    Holy Nova

     5 Mana


    Blade Flurry

     2 Mana (Requires Weapon)


    Lightning Storm

     3 Mana (2 Overload)



     4 Mana



     5 Mana (Leaves a random minion alive)


    So, the key concept of the freeze cards is that they will slow down your attacks, but at least relative to cost, they do little damage unless buffed by spell power.


    Ice Block is a card that you may not encounter in every Mage deck, but you will encounter it against “ITB” Mages as their goal is simply to survive long enough to chain large-damage spells into the enemy hero.  The first goal with Ice Block is, when the secret comes down, to determine that it is, in fact Ice Block.  This can be accomplished through trial and error, which will be situational, and may be further elaborated upon in another article.

    Unless you are a Hunter, you cannot prevent Ice Block, but you can minimize its effects (Hunters can remove Ice Block with Flare).  In particular, first, it is important unless absolutely necessary to survive to proc Ice Block as soon as possible.  Sometimes players get afraid when playing a Mage and try to wait for the perfect time to proc Ice Block, but the longer you wait, the more likely the Mage is likely to draw into something that will allow them to survive the turn after Ice Block is procced.  Beyond that, you want to get the Mage’s health as low as possible before proccing the Ice Block.  Keep an eye on the order your minions attack in, as often you can get the Mage to 1 health and THEN proc the Ice Block.  This will make the Mage much easier to kill on the next turn.  After Ice Block is procced, focus on clearing any minions the Mage still has on the table.  Even if they’re relatively unfavorable trades, with the Mage at 1 health, it’s far more important to remove the Mage’s options, and clearing minions from the board will do that (while this can once again be situational, it’s usually true).  Lastly, if at ALL possible, keep some sort of direct damage to the enemy hero in your hand.  Spells are the most preferred as they can’t be prevented by taunt, but weapons and charge minions will work as well.  Basically, if the Mage either clears or freezes your board, you still want to be able to deliver the final damage on the next turn.


    Alexstrasza is the key card you need to watch being dropped as it often completely changes the state of the game from the Mage's perspective.  Alexstrasza can either be used offensively to reduce the enemy hero’s health, or defensively to heal the Mage back up.  You want to play carefully, recognizing that Alexstrasza can be dropped on any turn starting on 9.  However, as before, do not be overly cautious; the longer you delay the game being cautious, the more likely the Mage will have been to draw Alexstrasza.  We’ll cover the strategy for countering an offensive Alexstrasza drop a little bit later as it will make more sense then.  However, the defensive strategy for Alexstrasza will be elaborated now.

    If a Mage’s health gets low, they will often hold onto Alexstrasza as a defensive drop when the Mage hits approximately 1 health.  This will usually occur after an Ice Block proc, but can often be done if the Mage hits only a few health without proccing Ice Block.  The important thing to remember about Alexstrasza is that a Mage usually spend their entire turn dropping her, meaning that if forced into dropping Alexstrasza defensively, the enemy will not be able to freeze or remove any minions that turn, except for using what they already have on the board.  If an enemy Mage has used up both their Ice Blocks, and you have direct damage in your hand, you should flood the board as much as possible.  The Mage will not be able to both deal with the minions and heal itself in the same turn.  If they AoE or freeze your board, your direct damage will kill them on the next turn. If they play Alexstrasza, hopefully, you have enough damage on the board to do 15 damage in a single turn. This is akin to the Mage declaring checkmate on you.

    If you can’t deal 15 damage in a single turn, then the result is basically the same as dealing with a player that just healed for 14 health.  This can be extremely annoying, but as long as you have board control, you can still overcome it; unlike direct damage spells, minions get to deal their damage every turn, so keeping up the pressure should often result in a win.  The first step, of course, is to destroy Alexstrasza herself.  This is extremely important to do; some players may often ignore her since they have nearly enough damage on the board, but the problem is that on the next turn, the Mage will once again get the ability to AoE or freeze your board.  Alexstrasza’s constant 8-damage per turn combined with Pyroblast can quickly lead to the enemy hero dying.  Anyway, utilize removal spells or, if necessary, direct minion attacks to destroy Alexstrasza.  One particularly good card is Big Game Hunter, since it can remove Alexstrasza cheaply (as well as various other annoying big minions) while giving you a minion on the board.  If you have Big Game Hunter in your deck, resist the urge to play it before it has a target to kill; particularly against a Mage, it will usually end up dying to AoE anyway, and countering the Alexstrasza drop is extremely important.  Beyond that, with Alexstrasza killed, you’re now simply continuing the same game you’ve been playing up to this point, except that she cannot be dropped again.

    The methods to counter the ITB mage’s cards can be broken into 3 primary categories:

    1. Healing
    2. Hyper-aggro
    3. Charge/weapons

    Note that you do not need all 3 of these to win; even one can be sufficient.  Of course, the more of these types of cards you stack in your deck, the better you will in general do against ITB mages.

     Countering the Mage Cards: Healing


    The standard curve for healing spells in Hearthstone follows healing = 2*(cost+1), which is twice that of damaging spells.  While Pyroblast and Fireball are more mana-efficient than the standard curve, they’re still nowhere near as efficient as healing abilities.  A common misconception amongst some players is that, because you can’t stop Pyroblast from being cast, you can’t counter it.  That’s not true however.  For example, there is no practical different between getting hit for 10 damage by Pyroblast, then healing yourself for 10 damage (or, if your health is low enough to be killed, healing the 10 damage before being hit by the Pyroblast).  The standard mage deck has 38 total direct damage worth the spells in it: Frostbolt does 3 damage, Fireball does 6 damage, and Pyroblast does 10 damage, and the mage will run 2 of each spell.  There are a few additional spells that may occasionally be run, such as Arcane Missiles and Ice Lance, but these are either less common or not guaranteed to damage the enemy hero on a whim.  As a result, when you factor in the mage’s hero power, the Mage can’t do much more than 40 total damage to the enemy hero without using minions.  Using spells as a source of direct damage is both a tempo loss and a card advantage loss for the Mage, so a Mage relying on these spells all else equal should not be able to maintain board control over their opponent.  Also, keep in mind that some of these spells, especially Frostbolt, often end up being used to kill off enemy minions as well, so the total damage might be lower.

    What does all this mean?  It means that a little bit of healing in a deck can go a long way against a mage.  Healing yourself a few times can quickly mean that the mage literally does not have the direct damage at his disposal to finish you off.  Compare, for example, the three cards shown below.  Healing Touch, often considered a relatively lackluster healing spell, can remove all but 2 of the damage of Pyroblast for 5 less mana.  Whereas the mage will need to spend almost his entire turn casting a Pyroblast, it’s only a small fraction of the turn for the Druid, allowing him to build tempo and act as if the Pyroblast never happened.  Lay on Hands costs the same amount as Pyroblast, but whereas the mage loses a card for casting Pyroblast, the Paladin actually gains 2 cards.  This should demonstrate the vast difference in strength between damage cards and healing cards, which allows easy countering of the Mage’s direct damage.  You will need to control the board to win, but this removes the risk of direct damage.  Note that if you were to make a full-blown Mage counter-deck, you’d probably load up almost every single healing ability you could get your hands on, but for more well-rounded decks, you’ll want to utilize healing cards that are useful against other classes.  The next section will discuss this a bit on a class-by-class basis.


     Countering the Mage Cards: Hyper-Aggro


    Hyper-aggro refers to a deck-type where the player runs extremely low-cost minions, and many of the cards are designed to buff cards on the table.  This leads to a more immediate effect of damage.  An example of this is Dark Iron Dwarf vs. Chillwind Yeti.  As long as you have a minion on the table already, Dark Iron Dwarf allows for two immediate damage on the turn it’s played.  A deck filled with these cards can lead to a very quick game, as the damage to the enemy hero ramps up quickly. 

    With a hyper-aggro deck, mages can be looking at near-fatal levels of damage by turn 3 or 4.  The speed with which the minions are played vastly exceeds a mage’s ability to remove them.  For example, in the early game, Frostbolt can be used to remove enemy minions, but if three minions are dropped in one turn, a Mage’s single Frostbolt cannot handle this.  Furthermore, the Mage hero power is often stretched to the limit; hyper-aggro decks generally have methods of buffing the health of their minions, putting them out of the mage hero power.  As a result, the Mage hero power may be used to kill a damage enemy minion, but in doing so, the Mage often does not have the mana to play their own mid-game minion.  This quickly leads to the Mage getting over-run in board position and quickly killed.

    The Mage will attempt to counter this in a few ways.  First, the Mage will use his freeze cards to slow the game down, which will work for several turns.  However, hyper-aggro decks can use this time to build up increasingly large boards and to buff up the health of their minions.  The result of this is that the mage can freeze the minions on the board but cannot kill them, and quickly they find themselves facing an enemy with 20+ damage on the board.  Once the Mage runs out of freezes, they are dead.  Normally, a Mage will attempt to draw into their freezes more quickly through cycling mechanics, but by forcing them to freeze on early turns, the Mage both lacks the mana required to perform this cycling, and they tend to run out of their freeze cards sooner.  Recognize that if the Mage gets lucky and draws into every freeze card quickly without cycling, there’s a good chance they will win; but this is simply a lucky abnormality for them.  The mage can attempt to survive a few more turns with Ice Block as a last ditch effort, but this can be mitigated through the methods mentioned earlier to deal with Ice Block.

    There are two key points that the hyper-aggro deck needs to worry about.  Starting on turn 7, the Mage can Flamestrike.  While Blizzard generally will not do enough damage to kill most of the minions (since their health will be buffed), Flamestrike is likely to kill anything without a Divine Shield.  As a result, the hyper-aggro deck needs to have the Mage on the verge of death before Flamestrike occurs.  If they succeed at this, then a killing blow can be done with a charge minion or direct damage spell; another option is to seed a few Divine Shield minions on the board (such as Argent Commander and Argent Squire), since the Mage cannot both ping with their hero power and Flamestrike on the same turn on turn 7.  This leaves the hyper-aggro deck with a few minions to do the final blow.  If the hyper-aggro deck fails to get in substantial damage before the Flamestrike occurs, then their chances of winning are substantially reduced.

    The second key point is turn 9 when Alexstrasza can be dropped.  There is no guarantee that Alexstrasza will have been drawn by this point, especially if the hyper-aggro pressure prevents good cycling.  However, if Alexstrasza is dropped, it will generally pull the Mage back from the brink of death, and it will be substantially harder for the hyper-aggro deck to regain board position.

    Thus, in summary, when playing a hyper-aggro deck, there are two important key-points: the Mage must be nearly dead before Flamestrike on turn 7, and the Mage must be dead before they can drop Alexstraza on turn 9 to heal themselves.  Both of these breakpoints lead to playing very aggressively against a mage and exploiting their lack of strong aoe’s before turn 6.  Doing this removes the risk of Pyroblast as the game is over before the Mage can cast it.  Or, even if Pyroblast is cast, the enemy hero will be at rather high health.  The constant pressure forces the mage to spend all of his mana staying alive, and gives the mage neither time to build up board position themselves to deal damage, or to cast direct damage spells on the enemy hero in the mid-game (due to the pressure, spending mana on either of these things would result in the Mage dying).  Freezes are not prevented, but the constant need to freeze every turn simply to stay alive causes the mage to run out of freezes.


    Countering the Mage Cards: Charge / Weapons


    The final tactic for countering the Mage’s ITB tactic is to make use of charge minions and weapons.  This tactic is a bit more straight-forward.  Charge minions do not need to worry about freeze mechanics on the turn they’re played, which leads to a constant stream of damage into the Mage.  As mages need to survive into the late game to become dangerous, this constant stream of damage can kill the mage before they even have a chance to use things like Pyroblast.  When using charge minions, almost all damage should go straight into the Mage hero, with the enemy forcing the Mage to waste their attacks and spells killing the charge minions afterwards.  Essentially, you can think of the charge minions as direct damage spells on the enemy hero, though unlike actual spells, the Mage will often be forced to trade 1:1 card-wise with the charge minion.

    Weapons follow a concept similar to that of charge minions, but beyond that, most of the common Mage freezing mechanics are designed to aoe freeze minions, not the hero.  As such, the hero is generally left free to swing with their weapon every turn, which can quickly add into a lot of damage.  Note that there are some methods by which the Mage can freeze the enemy hero, most commonly Frostbolt.  The most dangerous method is Water Elemental. This card is not a staple in Mage decks but does see occasional play.  A single Water Elemental can keep your hero’s weapon locked down all game, so if you plan to use weapons, it should become your #1 kill priority the moment you see it.  Note that if you are using an armor class, Water Elemental only freezes if it deals damage to the enemy hero’s health; if armor soaks up the damage, the hero will not be frozen.  This can sometimes but exploited to create a temporary reprieve to the freezing, even if the Water Elemental itself can’t be dealt with.

    Read on to Part 2!




    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Common Situations With the Three Resources by Sar (Part 3)
    Quote from Zero_PS »

    Really interesting read.

    After recently finding out that there's a very low chance of us seeing another wipe, I've started playing some Hearthstone again.

    I've searched for the other 2 parts of this article in the forums. Part 2 was easy to find. Is this Part 1? Sorry if it's a dumb question, I really couldn't find it (neither through google or the forum search).

    Also, just a thought, maybe the previous parts could also be linked in the thread/post (at the end), I think it would make it somewhat easier for future readers.

    You can find it here.



    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Common Situations With the Three Resources by Sar (Part 2)
    Quote from Exileinguyville »

    I found a possibly typo in the spell damage chart. It currently says that if you use a spell for direct damage on the hero that Hero Life will be "no change". Obviously there would be a change. The change could be extremely small or extremely large in varying cases. Pyroblast will remove a third of the opponent's HP. :D <3 great article. I learned a lot.

    Use a spell for direct damage on the enemy hero



    No change

    Thank you, this is a typo; it appears that this was copied incorrectly from the paper draft to the posted form.  I'll get that corrected as soon as possible.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 1

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

    So it's not that your own life total is a resource, but your opponents is?   

    It's both your own and your enemies.  The most prominent way that you can sacrifice life is through use of weapons.  In doing so, you generally knock out minions with a combined higher cost than the weapon (when you account for the durability) as well as getting multiple cards destroyed for it, gaining you both tempo and card advantage.  But in the process, your hero takes damage.  So a mechanic like this can lead to you sacrificing your own life to gain tempo and card advantage.  But in the relative sense of how is your life doing compared to your opponent's, you can gain a net advantage by either increasing your own life or removing your opponent's.


    Quote from badinthelatn »
    Quote from HS_Sar »

     As for board position vs. tempo, one could argue (at least with the definition of tempo used in this article) that they're the same thing. 

    That's exactly what I was worried about.

    The give and take relationship of card advantage and tempo in garfeildian systems is a fascinating and tremendously important subject especially this early in the life cycle of a game. An article simply stating that having more cards in hand leads to more minions in play...not so much.

    If you're referring to the figure, the point for new players is to explain why card advantage matters.  Without cards in your hand, you can't generate further tempo, so your tempo begins to fizzle out.  If you want to get more technical,a "bigger" card advantage both does and doesn't lead to more tempo.  On the one hand, if you have one card in hand on turn 10, you're going to fall behind on tempo if your opponent isn't in the same situation.  Simply put, unless you're top-decking an 8+ drop every turn, you're not going to be spending all your mana every turn unless you have the mana to back it up.  On the other hand, it's arguable that if you have 9 cards in your hand, getting a 10th isn't going to allow you to maintain your tempo much better.  Of course, the same argument could be made about hero life; whereas the difference between being at 1 and 4 health is substantial, the difference between being at 27 and 30 is far less substantial. 


    Ontop of that, more cards in hand can lead you to maintaining tempo more efficiently.  To give a simple example, imagine having two Boulderfist Ogres in your hand at once.  You can't spend your full 10 mana that turn now, which is potentially a tempo loss, even though you have over 10 mana of cards of your hand; you simply don't have the combination of cards to spend it all in one turn.  On the other hand, if you have 10 cards in your hand, you obviously can't spend it all in one turn, but you're probably going to be able to combo it in such a way as to pretty much spend your full mana that turn in an efficient way.


    So I do agree with your point that you don't want to take the argument TOO far that more cards = more tempo.  But this is an article for beginners to lead into later more advanced articles, and the underlying point that's trying to be driven home is that you need card advantage to build tempo; if you run out of cards, your tempo generation stops.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 1

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

    Hey everyone, thanks for the input, and realize I am reading them.

    There's a few questions that have come to mind that I feel I should address, since several people have brought them up.


    1) The definition of tempo.  Some people have been a little concerned with this definition.  For example, many players will define tempo as being the speed at which the game ends, which is a perfectly fine definition.  The problem in the context of my articles is that in doing so, it becomes very difficult to differentiate between the board and the hero's life; in other words, playing an 8/8 minion or doing 8 damage to the enemy hero through direct damage would both be big "tempo" swings; in this article, I want to differentiate between the two.  As for board position vs. tempo, one could argue (at least with the definition of tempo used in this article) that they're the same thing.  However, the main issue I ran into is that when I talk to people about board position, they often get confused with cards that provide little control to the board in exchange for some other good effect (for example, Summoning Portal).  To try and avoid this ambiguity, I used the word tempo to attempt to stress that you're pushing on the opponent, so to speak.  The concerns some people have raised are justified, but recognize at the moment that the full article has not been published; I think it will become a little more clear later on why this definition was chosen.


    2) Hero life.  I've heard some people ask how hero life can be a resource in this game except for a few niche mechanics.  Later in the article, we'll go onto that, but let me give a simple example.  If you have a large minion on the board and the opponent has a small minion, you could choose to attack the enemy hero.  This gives you an advantage in hero life (not because you're gaining your own life, but because you're reducing the opponent's).  However,  you lose the ability to reduce the opponent's tempo and card advantage.  There are other methods as well, but this is an example as to how hero life can play in as a resource in Hearthstone.

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Change the Flavor Text! - Fireside Chat Episode 4 User Challenge

    Dire Wolf Alpha


    Flavor text: Ben Brode remembers him.

    Posted in: Card Discussion
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    posted a message on Change the Flavor Text! - Fireside Chat Episode 4 User Challenge

    Ysera Awakens (as a reminder, this card does 5 damage to all cards other than Ysera).


    Flavor text: She tends to be kind of cranky in the morning.

    Posted in: Card Discussion
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