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February 2, 2017

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Reaching Legendary: Five Habits You’ll Have To Overcome

Hi there, Octocat here! Hearthstone fanatic since Closed Beta. Today I’d like to share a little Hearthstone guide about what it takes to become Legendary!

Reaching Legendary: Five Habits You’ll Have To Overcome

So you’re not a new player. In fact, you’ve played Hearthstone for a while now and you consider yourself to be fairly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the game – so why can’t you reach legendary? Where are you going wrong?

I think that we can look to human psychology to answer this question, in particular, I’m going to outline five common habits and thought processes that you’ll need to overcome in order to succeed at Hearthstone and reach LEGENDARY!

Self-Protection


It seems entirely logical to aim to protect your own health; especially in a game where running out of health is the losing condition. However, this can cause players to go to extreme measures to protect their own health, causing sub-optimal plays and less than ideal minion trades. You have a few resources in Hearthstone. Mana is the most obvious, but minions, cards, and health are all resources too.

Imagine you’re a warrior and it’s turn 5. You have an Arcanite Reaper equipped and a Reckless Rocketeer in hand whilst your opponent has a Booty Bay Bodyguard on the board. You have two choices that will both destroy your opponent’s taunt, so which do you choose? You can wait until next turn to take out the taunt with your minion, or you can take five damage to your hero on this turn to remove it. In most cases, your minions are going to be more valuable to you than health; minions win you the game. Five damage to your hero seems like a lot, but in most cases you’re going to take that damage when the minion attacks you anyway! Weapons are most useful as minion-removal tools, allowing you to save your minions from trading in order to gain board control or continue momentum – depending on the type of deck you are playing.

Other common mistakes regarding health-saving include wasting taunts (that could otherwise be used to protect valuable minions) to protect early-game health, or using heals on your hero (when you are not within range of fatal damage) when you have damaged minions on the board.

Remember: Health is a resource and sometimes it’s better to lose health than a minion.

Arrogance


Success in Hearthstone requires in-depth analysis of each and every game. You need to be assessing who has card advantage; who is ahead and by how many turns; potential opponent play style; whether you and your minions are within range of fatal damage – the list goes on. When you’re keeping such a close eye on the game it’s easy for you to judge whether or not it’s going in your favour, but you cannot let the current state of the game affect the way you continue to play!

Imagine you’re playing against a priest with significantly less health than you. It’s turn 10. You have a lot of minions in your hand, and you decide to drop them all on the board since you’re fairly sure you’re going to win anyway. Most of them are above the 2 health threshold for Holy Nova, and even if he does use it, you’ll have enough minions and attack power left to do fatal damage. You’re fairly confident that you’re going to win, so you don’t mind that you’ve dropped your entire hand. Next turn, the priest double Holy Nova’s you: you have no minions, no cards, and you’re now relying on random card draw to pull out a finisher, in which time the priest has time to heal and regain board control. If you hadn’t assumed you’d win, you would have only played the minions necessary to do fatal damage. You should never abandon logical plays just because it seems like the game is going in your favour.

It’s also worth mentioning that this works both ways! Just because it seems like the game isn’t going in your favour, it does not mean that you should panic and make bad plays! At every stage in the game, whether it’s in your favour or not, be sure that you’re making the absolute best play you can in that turn.

Remember – if you have advantage, it’s for a reason. Don’t make bad plays through the assumption that you’ve won.

The “Ooh, Shiny!” Distraction


In Hearthstone, cards come in various qualities – Free, Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. Some cards are also golden, which is a purely aesthetic change that gives the card a golden frame and an animated version of the standard illustration. Naturally, the higher quality/rarity your card, the “better” it is at face value – a Ragnaros the Firelord is obviously preferable to an Argent Squire – but there is more to Hearthstone than simply face value, and getting distracted by high value cards can be extremely detrimental. This particular issue doesn’t only affect gameplay either – it’s also a common issue in deck-building.

If you’ve played for a while, you probably have quite a lot of rare/epic cards, and probably even a legendary or two. Assuming you’re going to keep whatever legendary cards you get, you’re going to want to use them – but it’s important to recognise when (and when not!) to include it in your deck. An extremely common mistake in deck-building is putting a legendary in a deck it doesn’t belong in, simply because it’s of epic/legendary value. It may be disappointing to have such a powerful card sat in your collection doing nothing, but it’s a lot better than trying to make Ysera work in a rush deck, for example.

Another common deck-building error (especially amongst new players) is building an entire deck around a single card. An example would be flooding a deck with divine shield cards in the hope that you’ll draw a Blood Knight. In most cases you’re not going to be in the ideal situation to play the exact cards you want, causing you to make sub-optimal plays and probably lose the game before you get to throw out the combo.

Your best option in these situations is to research decks that currently contain the cards you want to use and work from there. However, even this can be detrimental if you’re playing a control deck around Ysera when you are much more suited to aggro/rush decks. Sometimes you’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll be doing better without it than with it – It’s just a coloured gem after all.

Getting distracted by high value cards is a problem in gameplay too. I can’t even count the amount of times people have rushed to kill my legendary/epic minions without noticing that they could have done fatal damage. Playing high value cards in non-optimal situations is another example – just because you have Ragnaros the Firelord in hand and it’s turn 8, it does not mean that it’s time to drop him! Assess the game – is the opponent’s side of the board clear? Play Ragnaros. Are there only high-health/ high-threat minions that you want to instantly remove on the opponent’s side? Play Ragnaros. Ask yourself if you’re thinking of playing these cards because they’re good, or because they’re going to give you advantage. If it’s not the latter, don’t do it.

Remember: A card is only as valuable as you make it! A coloured gem is just a coloured gem.

Impatience


Climbing the ranked ladder to Legendary is a long, boring drag; for most players it’s going to be a journey of at least 100 games. With every game and every rank getting progressively harder, it can quickly become tiresome to put in 100% focus and attention. Nevertheless, there’s no avoiding this! Every single game poses a new challenge that you can’t face by simply trusting your first instinct and playing whatever comes to mind first.

So many lost games could have been won with a little more time and thought. Imagine a Mage with The Coin, Mana Wyrm and Mirror Image in hand. You know that you want to drop these three on your first turn – in fact, you’ve decided this before your opponent has even finished their turn. Your turn comes, and without much thought (because you already thought it through, right?) you play The Coin so that you have two mana available, pull out your Mana Wyrm and… Oops. You’ve lost the +1 attack buff from The Coin being a spell because you didn’t think about it enough.

Play order isn’t the only thing affected by impatience; in a lot of cases people are just trying to get through each game as quickly as possible to climb the ladder as fast as possible and don’t think through each play properly – attempting to use The Coin to play a Mountain Giant is a good example of this. Your first idea isn’t always the best one! In fact, some of the best moves are ones that take a bit more thought and aren’t instantly noticeable.

There is no real way around this as every game requires patience and focus. If you’re tired of climbing the ladder to the point that you’re trying to rush through it, you’re going to end up going backwards and making a harder job for yourself later – perhaps play a few casual games or take a break and then attempt it again. Try to assess each play twice before you actually make the move; double-check your calculations! Impatience will lose you games and make it near impossible to reach Legendary.

Remember: Take your time! Consider all options before you make your move.

Hating to waste


If you find the following point relatable, you’ve probably found the answer to why you’re struggling to reach legendary rank in Hearthstone. Arguably the most common problem amongst struggling Hearthstone players is playing as many cards as possible, every single turn, in an attempt to use up all of their mana. It may feel wrong to “waste” that usable mana left after you’ve made your necessary plays, but I promise you, it isn’t!

Mana should be viewed as nothing more than a limit. Your other resources – cards and health – are much more valuable to you than mana; the fewer cards you play now, the more you will have at your expense later! Not only does this make you more susceptible to board clearing spells that leave you with an empty hand and board, but it causes you to waste cards that you specifically put in your deck for another purpose, thus ruining any pre-planned deck synergy.

Try to ask yourself before every single play “What will I achieve by playing this? How is this play advantageous to me?” If you’re not achieving anything, if it’s not advantageous, if you can recognise that you’re playing a card just because you can – don’t!

Remember: Just because it glows green, it doesn’t mean you have to play it.

Conclusion


Reaching legendary is a very difficult task – it’s going to take you a lot of time, effort and it’s going to be frustrating! Don’t be disheartened though – take your time, enjoy the game, and if you try to keep the above points in mind I have no doubt that you too can climb the ladder to legendary!

Please comment and let me know what else you think should be on this list and perhaps there’ll be a part 2 to this!

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20 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. Steven says:

    This helped tremendously. I have been playing for a year and now striving to be the first legend among my friends :3. Will update if I ever reach it.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks for somewhat going against what seems to have been propagated it seems since the beginning of this game which is the idea that if you’re not using all of your mana in a turn than that is a bad thing. I disagree entirely as I see you do too. It’s really nice to finally see something in print stating otherwise…lol. Thanks for sharing your common sense and all of the best to you! =^..^=

  3. jusezz says:

    nice guide! really helpful, thanks a lot! Cheers, Octocat!

  4. TrainerDusk says:

    Hi Octocat! Nice guide. If you do make a part 2, I think you should mention how almost all legend decks have a clearly defined strategy that they use to kill your opponent, like the Rogue’s Leeroy + Shadowstep and the Druid’s Force of Nature + Savage Roar.

    • Mats says:

      I’d say it’s more complicated than that. You kind of need to asses what your strategy is within each match up. For example, Burn Hunter is mostly the blind aggressor vs decks like rogue, needs to play the control deck vs zoo and has to maximise damage in the long term to have a chance vs warrior (hero power, bow…).

  5. Good read, thanks for sharing!

  6. cardclasher says:

    Perfect! I will try all of them. It is really helpful :) :) :)

    • Octocat says:

      I’m glad you find this helpful! I’d love to know if it helps at all :)

  7. Cap'n says:

    This actually is really helpful! Especially that last point, I do that all the time 😛

    • Octocat says:

      I think we’ve all been guilty of it in the beginning 😛 Thank you! :)

  8. Archspirit says:

    Thanks

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great article! Many useful tips. I have slowly been learning to not protect my health as much and send my minions to the opponents face more often. This has really helped my win rate. One other thing that I’m starting to learn is that I often will hang on to a card like Blood Knight to get the most value out it that I can. However, sometimes I think back and realize that if I had just played it to gain early board control it might have given me the advantage that I needed. Same goes for some of my cards with battle cries. This is just another aspect of “Hating to waste”.

    • Octocat says:

      Thank you! Blood Knight is definitely a tricky card – it’s best to realise that even if it only destroys one divine shield, you’re getting a 6/6 minion for 3 mana, so it isn’t a waste either way :)

      • Doombringer says:

        Well if it still doesnt destroy a divine shield at all its a 3/3 for 3 so it matches the vanilla test perfectly. But we all know its not fun to do that way XD

  10. Brain says:

    Awesome! Super helpful thank you.

  11. Andi says:

    Thank you, that’s going to help me a lot!!!