Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a massively popular collectible card game (CCG) by Blizzard Entertainment set in the familiar Warcraft universe. Released in March 2014, the game is completely free-to-play and available on both PC and mobile devices. Hearthstone has achieved huge success to date, with reports showing that it currently maintains around $20 million in monthly income.
Widely known as a game that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master, becoming a pro at Hearthstone may feel like a pipe dream for most. Enter Team Abyssus, a Singapore-based competitive Hearthstone team boasting fantastic tournament and ladder performances, for whom success involves much more than simply throwing down and praying (really hard) to RNGesus. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve quickly or a more hardcore player set on scaling the ladder and breaking into the local scene, here’s some advice from the top.
Want To Get Good At Hearthstone? Abyssus Says:
- Start by copying other people’s decks.
If you’re relatively new to the game, you can learn a lot about deck building and matchups by trying out popular decklists. Use more experienced players’ decks (popular choices to check out right now are SuperJJ’s Freeze Mage and Mid-range paladin) to understand how they work within the game and only test out your own ideas and deck themes after you’ve gained more advanced knowledge. This really is for your own sanity’s sake.
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- Play – a lot.
Nothing will make you a better player than, well, actual play. Doing all the research in the world won’t help you gain decision-making experience or maintain emotional control during a tough game. Put in the practise and time and review and analyse your games consistently, whether you win or lose – the improvement in performance will follow.
- Recognize and understand the concept of variance.
Also referred to as RNG or pure blind luck, Hearthstone is a game that incorporates a lot of it. Whether it involves the occasionally dubious matchup system, straight up RNG cards like Ragnaros or hellish deck matchups, many of your losses are going to be unavoidable. The sooner you accept that you will never have a 100% win rate, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on what matters: playing more games and learning from your mistakes.
- Learn to deal with tilt.
Going on tilt: a term originating from poker that describes entering a state of emotional frustration after experiencing a losing streak, with the general result being a vicious cycle of poor play that leads to even more losses. Learn to recognise when this happens and take a break to calm down and put things into perspective.
- Learn basic statistics and probability.
Hearthstone is a game based on math. Understanding the numbers behind the cards will give you the confidence to strategise your plays, knowing the probability of drawing the right card at the right time Yu-Gi-Oh style.
Just think: on turn 1, you have a 13.3% chance of drawing your Sylvanas Windrunner. On turn 7? 33.3%.
- Have a game plan instead of playing turn by turn.
Study your deck type and matchup in order to know your win condition and work towards achieving it every game. Wasting cards and turns on hesitant, aimless play will get you nowhere. Commit to your game plan even before playing your first card – mulliganing away your Hunter trap because you have a couple of Mad Scientists in your deck is a simple example.
- Be up-to-date with the meta.
As with any game, understanding the current meta is crucial in order to take full advantage of it – or at the very least, not be hit over the head by the flavour-of-the-month facedeck. Do your homework and find out what’s popular so you can make the appropriate tweaks to counter it.
Tech pro tip: You might want to look into tech-ing in a Kezan Mystic and/or Loatheb after getting the smackdown from Freeze Mage thrice in a row, for example.
- Watch streamers and read guides.
Research, research, research. Catch some pros on Twitch and learn from them; study their plays and take in every bit of insight and advice available – then incorporate them into your own game. Popular Hearthstone streamers with a focus on explaining their plays are Trump and Strifecro. Reading guides online will go a long way in helping you learn as well (Abyssus has some great ones.)
- Get coaching.
While paid coaching can be expensive (anywhere from $20 up to $125 an hour), lots of players experience a huge jump in their skill level after receiving great coaching. Consider forking out if you’ve hit a wall in your play that you can’t seem to overcome on your own.
And that’s that. In Part 2 of the How To Be A Pro At Hearthstone series, we’ll find out what makes Hearthstone the game of choice for Team Abyssus, as well as discuss getting started with competitive play. Watch your backs!