Last week, I had a fair amount of success in the Hearthstone Arena playing the Mage, and it seemed interesting and fun, so I thought I’d give Hearthstone another go-round. Still, I wanted to play a different class to get a better feel for the game overall, and to step a little farther away from my comfort zone.
How was Hearthstone’s Mage in my comfort zone? Well, the play style of the Mage reminds me of an old Magic archetype that doesn’t really exist anymore because of the way modern Magic sets are designed. That is, Blue had excellent card drawing and countermagic, and almost all the creatures really, really sucked. Decks like Draw-Go and Counter-Burn were awesome at removing all the crappy dudes people played while keeping their hand stocked. Eventually, they would win with whatever they happened to have once the opponent was out of gas. Playing the Mage felt alot like piloting those decks – I just killed everything they played, and won with whatever spare resources I had lying about.
I tried playing a few Arenas off camera, but found I wasn’t really ready to showcase what the Rogue or Druid could do yet. I didn’t have a clear handle on what their cards were really trying to do. Mostly my problems stemmed from having to use my character to directly attack stuff, something I didn’t do at all as a Mage because I didn’t have any weapons. The trade off of life and mana spent on weapons for board control is a very interesting dynamic, and we’ll explore it in detail once I have more experience with it.
After those two debacles, I was given the option of Warlock, which was something close to the Mage but not the same either. The Warlock has far fewer options when it comes to unconditional removal. Their ‘kill anything’ spell costs six mana while Polymorph only costs four for the Mage. The strength of the Warlock comes from it’s Hero Power. Drawing a card in exchange for two mana and two life seems steep when you look at the ability through the Magic: The Gathering lens, but remember, there are no bricks in your deck, so every card drawn will do something.
Here’s how things went down:
I kept avoiding Soulfire and Succubus because discarding cards at random seems horrible. Additionally, not looking at the 4/3 Succubus through the MTG lens lets us realize that damage stays on creatures in this game, and a 4/3 for two will quickly either die to removal, leaving us down a card, or trade for two small guys that we would have just killed anyway. Sure, the Hero Power can make up for that, but it’s a huge risk, and a terrible draw late in the game when you are sitting on a single important card.
That game that made me realize that Windfury is powerful. The Worgen dude is pretty awesome, and especially so in a deck that can deal a point or two to it at low cost. Druid, Mage, and Warlock can all easily and cheaply deal damage, so they are likely best in those decks.
If I could replay the ending, I would have to think about whether to copy the Infernal or just play the Blood Knight. I wanted to have two creatures on the board to threaten lethal in case he killed one somehow. Still, he had just drawn an extra card from his Loot Hoarder, so maybe just playing all three was correct anyway in case he played a taunter and a removal spell. Even after all that, I was still 75% to win, although why he didn’t play his dude before playing Brawl is completely beyond me (it would reduce my win rate to 60%). Maybe I missed a point earlier in the game, so feel free to comment on it.
Got topdecked, but I’m not sure if I should have chosen that line of play anyway. It’s tough to say since I’m not great at analyzing these board states yet. Not knowing the exact range of cards my opponents could have hurts my ability to find the right line as well. Still, we did pretty well, and broke at least even since I got to seven wins. Next week, I’m probably posting a Shaman video since I’ve already got an Arena in progress.