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Rating  74

Contributed by

Sheng

Guide Type

Dust Cost

Last Updated

July 25, 2016

Table of Contents

Brian's 12 Win Deck
Class Cards (11)
Cold Blood 1
Deadly Poison 1
2
Eviscerate 2
Shiv 2
2
Defias Ringleader 2
Perdition’s Blade 3
Assassin’s Blade 5
Assassinate 5
Sprint 7
Neutral Cards (19)
Acidic Swamp Ooze 2
Bloodsail Raider 2
Earthen Ring Farseer 3
2
Injured Blademaster 3
Jungle Panther 3
Questing Adventurer 3
Chillwind Yeti 4
Dark Iron Dwarf 4
Gnomish Inventor 4
2
Ogre Magi 4
Spellbreaker 4
Faceless Manipulator 5
Frostwolf Warlord 5
Spiteful Smith 5
2
Boulderfist Ogre 6
Molten Giant 20

Mana Curve

0 0
2 1
7 2
6 3
6 4
5 5
2 6
2 7

Attack Curve

7 0
0 1
6 2
4 3
10 4
0 5
2 6
1 7

Health Curve

7 0
0 1
6 2
4 3
6 4
1 5
1 6
5 7

Advanced Arena Guide: Achieving the Dream

Introduction


Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

The Best Draft Ever


It was a Friday night, and I was walking back to my dorm. Tiffany, that cute brunette girl in my general education class that I thought was giving me all the right signals, just turned me down for a date. It didn’t help that when I went to approach her, I accidentally spilled coffee all over my pants, ending any possibility of a normal conversation. After a brisk walk, and a shower of shame, I decide to take my mind off things with a little Hearthstone.

Whoa! My night improves alot after I’m offered a draft full of Rares, Epics, and Legendaries.

Tonight is the night. It’s the night I finally get that sweet 12 win icon.

Thoughts of a Lightforge key flash before my eyes. My incredibly drafted deck steamrolls its first 5 opponents. I feel invincible.

After a quick bathroom break, I go back for another game. Another 7 wins in a row doesn’t seem out of reach. Not with this deck.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned, and my next three opponents seemingly topdeck into every answer, ending my run at 5-3.

This was the deck. Why couldn’t I go further?

Learning From Defeat


Did I really draft the best deck ever, or did that Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord mask the deficiencies I had in the rest of my deck? Did my opponents really topdeck every answer, or did they wisely hold on to their board clear until it could do the maximum amount of damage?

While I was short-sighted, I was fortunate enough to keep records of my draft and my games to analyze, and quickly realized that my deck lost all 3 games because none of the awesome cards I drafted ever got into play. I ignored my early game, focusing purely on card value, and drafted an entire deck filled with late game win conditions. Unfortunately, all three of my opponents, a Warlock, a Hunter, and a Rogue were able to dispatch me before I got to late game. It didn’t help that the Rogue ended my run constantly spamming Sorry. The pleasure is mine. Well, the pleasure certainly wasn’t mine.

How Much Gold Do You Earn?


Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and infinite arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where we’re dedicated to helping players improve to achieve their Hearthstone goals.

This is the start of a series on the topic of advanced arena. It’s for good players who’ve hit a plateau in their game, and want to overcome the hump from 4 to 7 wins.

Aside from achieving 12 wins in a single run, the dream of most arena players is to be able to earn enough gold from each run to play indefinitely. So why is 7 wins so important? Well it’s the threshhold you’ll need to hit to be able to play arena indefinitely off your winnings. It’s also what is known to many advanced players as going infinite.

Alright, enough with the lame anecdotes. This is a guide about advanced arena right? Show me the money!

 


Average Gold Per Win from ArenaMastery.com


On average, there’s a 57% increase in the amount of gold you’ll get  jumping from 6 wins to 7. Statistically, this is the most significant increase in gold from one win to another in arena. Being able to hit this threshhold consistently is one of the most difficult things to do.

How rare is this phenomenon, and how do you get there?

Where Do You Stand?


A few months ago, Reddit user mlibbrecht calculated the probability of a player being able to hit 12 wins. From his data, I mapped out the expected number of wins for a player at differing skill levels.

25th Percentile: 1.4 Wins
50th Percentile: 2.6 Wins
75th Percentile: 4.3 Wins
90th Percentile: 5.9 Wins
99.9th Percentile: 7.4 Wins

For reference, Trump averages about 7.7 wins per run in arena, putting him well within the top 0.1% of all arena players, with 12 wins as his most common result. If you want to learn from someone, I’d highly recommend watching his stream or following fellow writer ADWCTA whose results are in the same ballpark.

My Personal Record


Keeping track of my arena stats from day one was probably the smartest thing I ever did in Hearthstone. By mapping my progression over time, I was able to see my strengths and weaknesses, which has helped me become a better player. While my book-keeping was simple in the beginning, nowadays, I track my entire draft from start to finish and record my match records.


I started playing Hearthstone towards the end of season 1. With a very casual background in drafting from another card game called Magic the Gathering (playing with a few friends after work over beers once every few months), I started off slightly higher than the 75th percentile of all players. For most, this would be considered pretty good, but as my goal was to become an infinite player, this wasn’t nearly good enough.


By the end of my second season, having familiarized myself with most of the cards in the game, my rating jumped to around the 90th percentile of all players. Unfortunately, my average gold didn’t increase that much, even having improved my game. It goes to show how large the gap between 6 and 7 wins is in terms of gold.

To Infinity And Beyond!


By June, I had barely become an “infinite” player, earning exactly 150 gold per run. Since then, my numbers have steadily increased, but let’s focus on my progression during the first two months. How did I go from a good player to an infinite one?


For those of you who haven’t reached the 5 win average threshold, I’d highly recommend you read my Beginner’s Arena series. Using these as reference, you should be able to get there.

  1. Beginner’s Arena Guide: Choosing a Class and Drafting a Deck
  2. Beginner’s Arena Guide: Winning Games
  3. Beginner’s Arena Guide: The Importance of Board Clear

My start to becoming an infinite player started after my first 12 win run with my friend Brian. This was back when I was a 5 win player, having just finished my first full season of Hearthstone.

Achieving The Dream


It was a Saturday night, and we both had one too many beers. Brian had just started playing Hearthstone, and never did an arena. Being the more experienced player, he wanted me to show him the ropes. We went through a Rogue draft together, carefully consulting a tier list, and argued over picks that were maybes. It was 2 AM, and having drafted something we both deemed reasonable, we called it a night, and agreed to go back to it in the morning when he woke up.

The deck we drafted didn’t look very overpowered. It had a decent mana curve, and some cute removal spells, but none of those Epic or Legendary cards you see when people post their decks on Reddit. I had fairly low expectations, and said we’d probably get 5 wins. Improbably, this deck went on to win 12, on Brian’s free arena ticket.

Analyzing Brian’s Deck


While I don’t remember exactly what we argued over, there were many instances during our draft together where we disagreed over which card to choose. Often this discussion forced us to look over the rest of our deck to consider if there was any synergy we’d missed by choosing one card over the other. Thus, cards like Sprint made the cut after we realized that our deck was early to mid-game focused and lacked sufficient card draw.

Two Brians Better Than One?


Because only one of us could control the mouse at a time (thankfully the suggestion of connecting two USB mice into his laptop never came across our heads), we had to discuss out loud what the play was going to be on each turn. This forced us to count each and every individual mana crystal. Having a second person double check simple math turned out to be surprisingly helpful, as there were times where I would forget to include our hero power, which at one point gave us lethal.

Perhaps the best call of the entire run was when we were at 12 health on game 10 against a Druid. I proposed to Brian that we should use our Assassin's Blade to clear a minion, bringing us down to 8 health. He was worried that it’d bring our life total down to lethal range, so I reconsidered, played a taunt and attacked the Druid’s face instead. Right after that turn, our opponent Swiped twice on our hero for 8, and then conceded the game.

Thankfully we weren’t two clones of each other, because being forced to question each other at all times turned both of us from decent players into an arena wrecking crew.

For those who are interested, here’s our loot from the run. To make things sweeter, this was around the time that Unleash the Hounds was nerfed :)

What Did I Learn?


So what exactly did I learn from that run, that kick-started my progression to becoming an infinite arena player? Well, I realized several things:

1. I didn’t plan out my entire turn ahead of time.

  • Often I’d make the first play that comes to mind. Because I’m a more conservative player, this generally means finding some way of clearing the board with my minions, causing me to miss lethal.

2.I didn’t consider the answers my opponent had for my plays.

  • Being obsessed with spending every last mana crystal, I’d often play into board clears that would blow away any advantage I’d earn in early game. This was especially painful against Mages.

3. I didn’t take into account card synergy after drafting half of my cards.

  • Before, I’d look at each card in a vacuum against the two other cards I was offered. Doing this meant that I basically ignored mana curve and card synergy when choosing which cards to place in my deck.

4. I didn’t make the plays that enabled me to win games when I was behind, but instead made what looked like the best play for that turn.

  • There were often times during our 12 win run together when Brian would ask me “so how are we going to win this?” Often I’d be too caught up in figuring out how to clear the board to think ahead.
  • Also, there were instances where we’d be ahead in terms of minion count, but basically run out of gas towards the end of games due to our low mana curve deck. Brian pointed this out a few times during our games and suggested we attack our opponent instead of trying to gain board control. This proved to be crucial in our last game against Mage, where we top-decked an Ogre Magi that allowed our Eviscerates to deal 10 damage to our opponent’s face, ending the game.

Conclusion… For Now


The first step to becoming a better player is understanding where your weaknesses lie. Without this knowledge, you’ll never be able to improve in a meaningful way.


Here’s an anecdote from when I used to play Table Tennis obsessively:

My first coach was a very good player from China. He trained in a state system, where each student was generally molded into the same type of player. In this system, coaches emphasized drills and fitness more than anything else.

After spending several months with this coach, I learned the basics, and improved a lot. I was also in great shape as well, going from being unable to do multiple push-ups at a time, to over 50 at once. My standards were basically the same as any military infantryman in the US Army at my age, and I had that chart pinned against my wall during the entire time I practiced with this coach.

Later, I moved, and found another coach. This coach was also extremely qualified in his own right, having played in Europe semi-professionally in the 80s. I expected my first session to be like the ones with my previous coach–an entire hour of looping balls back and forth at breakneck pace.

Instead, I was surprised to find that most of the practice was focused on tactics, strategy, and discovering holes in my game. While I was in great shape, I had an extremely difficult time recovering from my shots. My old coach mentioned that this was because I wasn’t fast enough, but my new coach noticed that my feet weren’t set properly between shots, making me a half-second slow in recovery.

I improved tremendously, and took my game to another level.

So how does this story relate to Hearthstone? Well, basically, if you can’t analyze your own mistakes (I certainly couldn’t), and can’t find a great coach to point them out, then you should play with a friend and be critical of each other’s plays. You might just find holes in each other’s game that you never discovered before.


In the next few guides I’ll take a deeper look at each of the weaknesses I discovered from that run with Brian, and break down the things I did to fill in those gaps, becoming an infinite player along the way.

As always, questions about this article and comments are always welcome. I’m here to help! –Sheng

Coaching Lessons


If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

Want to Become Better at Other Games?


I also run RankOneCoaching.com, where our top coaches will develop a personal plan for you to achieve your dreams in other games. Personal lessons are an in-depth experience and most students improve significantly after just one full session!

Enjoyed this article?



Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students reach the same goals.

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15 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. wesolyfoton says:

    First of all I wanna say that you are my favorite writer here. I read almost all of your articles (about arena and deck building), some of them more then once. I still can’t achieve 4+ per run :C I create account on arenamastery.com ( http://www.arenamastery.com/stats.php?shared=hs5419dd7c50e7f ) and I figured out the problem is the rogue 😀 I choose her often couse on first article you wirte it’s best class. I watched a lot of Trump videos and notice that he use often weapon to clear the board. Maybe I miss something, but in my run I get low of health really quickly and it’s propably the reason why I lose so much. Can you give me some advice? Or can you write article about how to play each class on arena?

    Thank you for your articles and sorry for my poor language 😉

    • wesolyfoton says:

      Also: One of my last arena I played with friend. We get 3-3 which I think isn’t that bad. In last match matchmaking system match me with someone with legendary card back….. I do what I can, but I lost anyway…

    • Sheng says:

      Hey Wesoly, thank you! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my guides, and I’m flattered that I’m your favorite writer here. With the release of the Naxxramas expansion, Rogue has gotten a bit weaker. This is because the inclusion of cards like Haunted Creeper and Spectral Knight make it difficult for Rogue to establish the same kind of early to mid-game dominance she had before, and new cards like Webspinner and Mad Scientist have made Hunter stronger (a matchup that is hard for Rogue due to his hero power).

      Rogue’s primary strength is her ability to control the board through cheap tempo plays early in the game (either through her weapon, or cheap spells like Backstab). She basically sacrifices her life total as a resource, making it fairly common for her to be at lower health levels by late game. If she doesn’t have board control by then, it’s very hard for her to win.

      I also offer coaching if you’d like me to work with you one-on-one to see what your mistakes are.

  2. Fenris says:

    “alot”?

  3. danimal197 says:

    Just wanted to leave you a thank you overall for you arena guides. I had a pretty strong background in drafting from MTG, but was consistently only winning 3-5 games when I started playing HS in July. I read your other guide series and my average wins per run for August 6.8

    I really like the idea of drafting with a friend to compare choices. Thanks again!

    • Sheng says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your success. I’m really surprised by how significantly people have improved after reading my guides. It always brings a smile to my face when I read something like this. :)

      I’ll try to share my knowledge with you guys whenever I learn something new, so stay tuned!

  4. jacktshipper says:

    not to be a nitpicker, but I think this should read brain.

    “Two Brians Better Than One?”

    • jacktshipper says:

      I don’t know any brians at all so its gonna be hard for me to get 12 wins otherwise :)

    • Sheng says:

      That was just wordplay on my friend’s name, haha. I know it’s usually “Two Brains Better Than One”. I was trying to convey that having two copies of Brian wasn’t as good as Sheng and Brian because our arguments helped us make better decisions overall.

      • jacktshipper says:

        Ahhh, I re-read and that makes a ton of sense actually, haha sorry!

  5. paradox says:

    Hey Sheng great articles. I’ve read them all in the past week and have gone from averaging 3-4 wins to 6-7 wins. My best run is currently 9-3, but I feel that will change soon. I believe my biggest difficulty is knowing when to take a card that’s individually weaker but has better synergy. For example my mage draft I had to choose between a loot horder or a 3rd flamestrike I desperately needed card draw and early game so i took the loot horder was this the right move? Also determining the value of the new naxxramas cards. Currently death lord and sludge Belcher are the only two I pick because of personal experience. Thanks for all the guides.

    • Sheng says:

      Hey Paradox, that’s incredible. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing so well in arena now. You’ll always want to evaluate your card choices in the context of the cards you’ve already drafted. Being able to choose cards based on synergy is probably the most difficult skill in drafting.

      In general, how you choose your cards during mid/late draft, where it’s not based on pure value depends on several things. I may be missing a few components, but this is definitely something I want to spend an entire guide discussing.

      * Your mana curve: Look at your deck, and find out where your gaps are at. Tempo is the most important thing in arena, so you need to make sure that you have enough early game so that you don’t get steamrolled before your win conditions can come out. Card advantage is useless if you’re dead before you can play the cards you’ve held onto.

      * Removal: Take a look at your deck and count how much removal you have. Do you have weak removal? (Spells like Arcane Shot, LIghtning Bolt, Wrath, Charge Minions) Do you have strong removal? (Hex, Polymorph, Assassinate) Do you have any way to clear your opponent’s board efficiently? (Swipe, Flamestrike, Consecration, Holy Nova) If you’re missing any of these in your deck, value these higher.

      * Card Draw: Do you have an extremely fast deck that just runs out of steam late game? Do you have the means to keep the tempo up when it’s turn 7 or 8? If you’re late in the draft, value card draw more, so you don’t put yourself in this position.

      * Win Conditions: How is your deck going to win games? Do you have bruisers you can bring out late game that your opponent HAS to deal with? What about reach? If you’re playing a very fast deck, this is important, as being able to unexpectedly hose your opponent with a spell when he’s not expecting it can be very key. Typical reach cards are burn spells (Flamestrike, Holy Fire, Starfire), and charge minions (Argent Commander, Doomguard).

      In the situation you’ve outlined, it’s not wrong at all to choose the Loot Hoarder over the Flamestrike. You have to envision the worst possible scenario (having 2 or 3 Flamestrikes sitting in your hand early in the game). Every additional Flamestrike (because it’s so expensive), is worth less, while cards like Frostbolt/Swipe, you can take more of due to its lower casting cost.

      As for the new Naxx cards, personally I haven’t had too much time to playtest all of them. I do know that AntiGravity has updated his tier lists to include them, so I’d take a look there. While my personal card value rankings align more with Trump, AntiGravity is an incredible player and has good judgment.

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AifXEOqTcGcLdFVvWk1GRjVJTHJUaTVLcGViR1RRTFE&gid=20

      Thanks again for sharing your success, and thank you for being a subscriber! It helps a lot to keep our site up and running. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I’d be happy to answer them.

      –Sheng