Hearthstone: The Grand Tournament Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hearthstone: The Grand Tournament RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 5 Ways Twitch Has Transformed Gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/fhjfi/5-ways-twitch-has-transformed-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/fhjfi/5-ways-twitch-has-transformed-gaming Wed, 07 Sep 2016 05:56:27 -0400 kitkatzen93

With 45 million unique viewers per day and over 1.5 million broadcasters, Twitch.tv has come to play a pivotal role in the gaming community. As of 2014, the mega streaming channel has become the fourth largest source of internet traffic in the US.

In an age where gaming has become a spectators’ sport, developers are now integrating Twitch directly into their games, and are specifically optimizing them for large-scale competitions. Is Twitch a driving force behind, or merely a byproduct of, the eSports phenomenon? And how else has the mega streaming service changed the way we play video games?

From Regular Gamer to Superstar

Much like YouTube has allowed ordinary video bloggers to become online sensations, Twitch enables talented gamers to go from relative obscurity to international stardom. In these terms, ‘talented’ does not merely refer to a gamer’s skill and strategy, but sometimes to comedic ability and commentary. The more amusing the channel, the bigger the audience. In essence, it means that anyone has a shot of making a mark on the growing trend that is game streaming -- all they need is a webcam, mic, internet connection, and an appealing personality.

The real chance of entering into the spotlight is no doubt appealing to players who dream big of becoming gaming superstars - and many of them have succeeded. Whilst the most famous streamer of them all, Sweden’s Felix ‘Pewdiepie’ Kjellberg, rose to stardom through YouTube, others are finding Twitch an equally -- if not better -- means of finding gaming fame.

Some have become so liked for their personalities and channels that they end up forming a loyal fanbase and even receive donations from the most avid of their fans. Such is the case for Twitch user ‘ItsHafu’, whose live reactions upon receiving large donations has become something of meme. A mere five years ago, obsessive gamers were ridiculed for thinking they could build a career out of their video game passion. Nowadays, having a popular Twitch channel is helping more gamers go professional than ever before.

Sharing Techniques and Strategy

Unlike games of the past, where storylines were linear and there was only one correct way to play, modern era developers create games that are a more interactive medium of entertainment -- by incorporating variables for a more personalized and unpredictable user experience, and for the possibility for multiple playthroughs with alternative outcomes. The ability to employ different techniques and strategies is part of what has allowed Twitch to become so successful.

People are looking up alternative styles with which to play their favorite character in multiplayer games, or are searching for hints and tricks on how to undercover easter eggs. Watching expert players live stream their games has become something of an educational experience; a means of improving your own playing style.

This is true not just of mainstream video games, but in more traditional strategy games the likes of poker, where pros such as Jason Somerville and Maria Ho host popular channels where they stream and comment on their technique in online poker.

The opportunity to see experts in action has never been easier, and is particularly helpful for newbies looking to gain tips from experienced gamers. What’s more, live-streaming one’s own gaming has become something of a habit amongst players, professional or not. In a Reddit thread about how Twitch has changed people’s gaming approach, one user says:

I play poker on my stream. I don't enjoy Poker without it. I've played a few times without the stream, and I feel like I play worse! Because I take the time to discuss my thought process with the audience, I actually make better decisions for myself. Beforehand, I acted too impulsively. So now that I know Twitch has actually helped improve my game, I'm less motivated to just play on my own.

In short, one could argue that Twitch has made us more careful gamers - more conscious of our technique, and more skilled as a result.

Introducing new games

Besides seeking alternative ways to play the games we already love, Twitch brings to our attention new releases, or even older games which might not have otherwise had a revival in exposure. This is particularly good news for indie studios, should their games get picked up by high profile streamers. In the process, gamers may feel like they are making more informed purchases, as they get a better perceptive of the game play. Just like Instagram models are paid to showcase fashion products, Twitch celebrities are often compensated to live stream and effectively review games -- either by receiving free copies of the titles, or (in the case of the most popular streamers) by getting paid extortionate amounts of money for favorable reviews. Of course, failure to disclose these affiliations has led to some controversy…

Twitch has come to play a huge role in determining which games warrant attention, which puts the streaming service in a great position of power.

Besides the issue of undisclosed advertisement, Twitch has been the subject of legal disputes with regards to perceived copyright infringement. The ‘fair use and distribution’ rules are a grey area in relation to video games for numerous reasons, and there are developers concerned with the possibility that gamers might choose to not purchase a game if they feel they watching it being streamed has practically been the equivalent to playing it themselves.

Creating Discussion and Partnerships

Twitch has allowed gamers to find and build friendship with like-minded people from all around the world. Whilst the focus is perhaps less on friendship and more on ‘networking’, the streaming platform helps facilitate collaborations between streamers. Hosting another streamer on your channel or simply joining in on their multi-player games can be a great way to bring exposure to yourself. The chat option during live streams also allows for live commentary between viewers, as if you were watching the game with friends. In summary, Twitch has contributed toward the social aspects of gaming.

Establishing eSports Popularity

To what extent can the growing eSports phenomena be attributed to the success of Twitch? First, let’s consider exactly how popular eSports has become. IGN writes:

eSports has blown up in popularity in the United States over the past few years. With thousands of gamers competing and millions watching, the phenomenon has come a long way in a very short period of time. Now more than ever, players are considering pro-gaming as a valid career, especially in the U.S.” 

Currently the most popular eSports games are League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Hearthstone -- the main tournaments of which are all hosted by, and primarily viewed on, Twitch. Not only does Twitch enable access to, and enjoyment of, tournaments such as ESL, The International, and League of Legends World Championship -- it also allows professional teams to establish a presence and promote themselves.

Though streaming competitors have of course emerged over the past few years, Twitch dominates the industry as the number one choice for live eSports streaming -- and its popularity will not fade anytime soon.

Twitch not only remains...

...the most convenient and efficient streaming service within gaming. The revolutionary platform has helped redefine gaming and paved the way for eSports to find global popularity. And for that, Twitch will always be known.

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Hearthstone: League of Explorers takes a one-week break, try these new LoE decks while you wait https://www.gameskinny.com/9t1cq/hearthstone-league-of-explorers-takes-a-one-week-break-try-these-new-loe-decks-while-you-wait https://www.gameskinny.com/9t1cq/hearthstone-league-of-explorers-takes-a-one-week-break-try-these-new-loe-decks-while-you-wait Wed, 25 Nov 2015 04:10:45 -0500 Joe DeClara

In observance of Thanksgiving, the third wing of Hearthstone's adventure expansion, League of Explorers, will not be launching this Thursday, but will be made available next week. In the meantime, Blizzard has already released eighteen new cards throughout the first two weeks of the expansion, and Hearthstone's dedicated community of deck builders have already slammed some new brews for players to try out.

Trogg Shaman

Shaman has been something of a dormant class in Hearthstone's otherwise dynamic meta. In spite of Blizzard's attempts to offer cards for viable Shaman decks (the recent collection of Totem cards from The Grand Tournament stands out especially), the class's Overload feature continues to hold it back from reaching Legend status.

With the latest slew of cards, however, came the Tunnel Trogg. This minion's low cost and positive reaction to Overload seems to have been the last missing piece to a powerful, well-balanced Shaman deck. Hearthpwn.com user DarkClaw20 makes use of this new one-drop minion, as well as the new Jeweled Scarab, in this incredible Overload deck.

Raptor Rogue

Unlike Shaman, the Rogue class is notorious for featuring multiple overpowered archetypes since Hearthstone's release. This has lead to numerous nerfs in the past, leaving Rogue virtually unplayable more than once.

Fortunately, the League of Explorers has brought us the Unearthed Raptor. This prehistoric critter copies the Deathrattle effect of any friendly boarded minion of your choosing. Not a day out from the raptor's release, RDIFB crafted an exceptional deck around this minion. Featuring cards like Loot Hoarder, Piloted Shredder, and Dr. Boom, there's plenty in this brew for the Unearthed Raptor to work with.

Aggro Druid

Despite this deck not featuring any cards from League of Explorers, it's making a killing in the current meta. The mana curve is a bit heavy for an aggro deck, but it makes up for this with cards like Innervate and Druid of the Saber (the latter coming from The Grand Tournament). This allows for creatures like Piloted Shredder and Fel Reaver to get an early drop. And of course, like any contemporary Druid deck, Savage Roar and Force of Nature both make an appearance for a deadly combo.

What decks have you been playing since League of Explorers launched? Have any new brews of your own you'd like to share? Sound off in the comments below!

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How to play, detect, and counter Hearthstone secrets - Guide and cheat sheet https://www.gameskinny.com/sqlf7/how-to-play-detect-and-counter-hearthstone-secrets-guide-and-cheat-sheet https://www.gameskinny.com/sqlf7/how-to-play-detect-and-counter-hearthstone-secrets-guide-and-cheat-sheet Wed, 21 Oct 2015 04:47:52 -0400 Sergey_3847

Hearthstone has much in common with other card games, such as Magic: the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh. The similarities are mostly in the combat systems, in the creatures and spells, but Hearthstone has a unique type of cards - secrets. Unlike traps inYu-Gi-Oh or instant cards in Magic: the Gathering, Hearthstone secrets are triggered automatically when certain events occur. Currently, only three of the nine classes of heroes can use secrets in their decks - Mage, Paladin, and Hunter. Some of the secrets have always played an integral part of the top decks for all these classes. So, if you want to become really good at Hearthstone it is necessary to know how to play, detect and remove secrets.

Learning Hearthstone Meta

It is extremely important to know what is currently happening in the Hearthstone meta, especially for active players on the ladder. Various decklists posted online include many decks with secrets as their either main focus, such as Secrets Paladin (probably the strongest secrets deck in the whole Meta today), or an auxiliary focus. On top of that, Blizzard regularly expands the pool of cards with each new DLC, and for now there are 20 secret cards distributed among the three classes mentioned above. Thus, you need to know how to determine which secrets are being played and how to counter them effectively.

First of all, you need to gain knowledge on secrets that are popular and playable at this very moment. For example, the Hunter class has six secrets, but only two of them are suitable for continuous play: Explosive Trap and Freezing Trap. Other cards, such as Bear Trap, have the potential, but they aren’t played as often. Snake Trap is another good example of an effective, but not-so-popular secret.

Anyway, for now we have the list of current playable secrets and we can start making certain decisions. Thus, if a Hunter plays a secret at the very beginning or very early in the match, you can assume that it will be either a Freezing Trap or an Explosive Trap. That is simply how people play these secrets in the current meta, and thinking that way will help you react.

The next important step is gaining the knowledge of all possible decks for classes that use secrets and which cards you can use to counter them. By playing a card like Mad Scientist secrets may appear very early on in the match, so it is important to watch out for each card that your opponent is playing and to figure out the potential list of cards in your opponent’s deck and hand.

If Hunter begins the game with the Worgen Infiltrator, it would be correct to assume that he has two copies of Explosive Trap in his deck.

Again, let’s take the Hunter for example: Freezing Trap is commonly used in Midrange Hunter decks, and Explosive Trap is the only secret in the Face Hunter’s deck. If a Hunter begins the game with Worgen Infiltrator, it would be correct to assume that he has two copies of Explosive Trap in his deck. On the other hand, if the first card on the battlefield is Webspinner, typical for Midrange Hunter decks, then you will have to deal with two copies of Freezing Trap.

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, as the meta changes frequently. Plus there are individual preferences for each player. New types of packs appear in the ladder all the time, and they can be effective due to the element of surprise alone. A couple of months ago, the ladder was filled with new hybrid Hunters who were a mix of Face Hunter and Midrange Hunter, with different distributions of Freezing and Explosive Traps.

So stay in touch with the meta by checking all the available decklists online and playing them. If you don’t have the resources to try all the trendy decks yourself, then watch as many streams as possible from people like Trump, Purple, Kolento and others. Watch and play!

How to play around Hearthstone secrets

The only thing left is to learn how to play the secrets in your own decks and get around those of your opponents. Of course, there is no single method when it comes to secrets, as each and every approach works differently.

Decks within the same class may be composed of very different secrets. Freeze Mage is a great example. The players in this case usually have two copies of Ice Barrier and Ice Block - both are very important for these types of decks and allow them to be especially effective. There are also aggressive types of Mages, such as Tempo Mage and Mech Mage. These decks usually use Mirror Entity and Counterspell – two of the most effective Mage secret cards. Some other decks may use both styles, and this is where knowledge of the current meta makes it easy to identify what you're facing in the early stages of the game.

Some secrets can have weaker effects when facing certain decks. For example, Counterspell loses its effect when your opponent plays a second turn and gets the coin. Vice versa, if you know that you’re playing against Tempo Mage who has just played a secret, you don’t want to play other spells before checking that secret. First, you need to check if it’s a Mirror Entity by playing the weakest minion in your hand. If you realize it's not, then make sure that the secret is a Counterspell by using a coin. In this way, you can avoid a lot of trouble.

First, you need to check if it’s a Mirrored Entity by playing the weakest minion in your hand. Then, make sure that the secret is a Counterspell by using a coin.

If you play Oil Rogue, then put at least one copy of Bloodmage Thalnos or a Pirate in your deck, specifically for facing Mirror Entity. Other cards worth considering are Zombie Chow, Ancient Watcher, Nerubian Egg and some others that will be of no special benefit to a Mage. Mirror Entity is an excellent example of why it is so important to have a game plan beforehand.

However, when you play your own secrets, be careful with Freezing Trap and don’t just throw it out, as your opponent can have an Antique Healbot or similar cards that heal or give other huge benefits to their owners. If that's the case, and your Freezing Trap works on a minion, you will basically be playing against yourself and letting your opponent gain twice as much health or other buffs.

Sometimes it’s impossible to completely counter the negative effect of all secrets. In such cases, you just need to minimize the damage. There is always a chance that you are playing against a person using unpopular secrets, such as Snipe or Spellbender. If there are ways to play against these secrets without compromising your tactics, then that's one more reason to learn them. If you are unable to attack or check for an Explosive Trap or Freezing Trap, then the easiest way to spend your five mana is to play Piloted Shredder and Webspinner. These tactics are important for the arena, where people tend to use lots of unpopular secrets.

There are several alternative ways to detect and counter secrets in Hearthstone. Flare, a Hunter’s spell, has been popular for some time, but today people tend to use Kezan Mystic against decks with secrets.

There are even whole decklists, such as certain types of Aggro Mage, specifically designed to deal with other strong secret classes, such as Secrets Paladin. This Paladin deck is so strong that you need equally strong attacks and removal techniques. First, you need to push forward strong 1 and 2-cost minions, such as Haunted Creeper and Abusive Sergeant by using your coin. Then, continue managing the pressure with Sorcerer’s Apprentice and/or Knife Juggler, if you have a spell to protect the battlefield.

Additionally, you can use some excellent free tools for enhancing your Hearthstone gameplay, which are covered in the Hearthstone addons, trackers, and arena helpers article. Anyway, no matter which kind of approach you choose, it’s always good to remember all the available secrets in the game. For this reason, we present you the full list of all current Hearthstone secrets in the special cheat sheet below.

Hunter secrets

Mage secrets

Paladin secrets

Hopefully that's helpful. Stay tuned for more guides and tips to help you dominate the Hearthstone battlefield.

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"EVERYONE, GET OUT OF HERE!" Hearthstone's "Patron Warrior" deck receives a brutal nerf https://www.gameskinny.com/nslia/everyone-get-out-of-here-hearthstones-patron-warrior-deck-receives-a-brutal-nerf https://www.gameskinny.com/nslia/everyone-get-out-of-here-hearthstones-patron-warrior-deck-receives-a-brutal-nerf Thu, 15 Oct 2015 06:58:34 -0400 John Adamczyk

We all saw it coming, but here it is: the inevitable nerf to the infamous "Patron Warrior" deck. However, it's the card that Blizzard decided to nerf that has some players a little confused:

Yes, the star of the deck, Warsong Commander, which has always focused on giving charge to dangerous minions, is getting beaten by the nerfbat once again. The card was used with devastating effect in the "Patron Warrior" deck by exploiting minions like Grim Patron, which can rapidly multiply through the warrior spell Whirlwind, along with Frothing Berserker, which can become absolutely massive on the right board.

Blizzard's CM Zeriyah posted the following announcement on the Hearthstone forums yesterday: 

“Warsong Commander now reads: Your charge minions have +1 attack.”

This isn’t the first time warriors have had to face a nerf to their beloved charge engine, as the card originally granted every minion you played charge, including Molten Giants, which could make for extremely sudden, deadly finishers.

Now, however, it seems Blizzard is throwing in the towel with Warsong Commander, and has decided that there is no way to balance it in its current state. This isn't the first charge card Blizzard has totally reworked, and it's a pretty safe bet that it won't be the last. Looking back, one might remember Unleash the Hounds, being totally reworked from what it once was.

                     Before                                                       After 

             

Now, without an easy way to give Grim Patron and Frothing Berserker haste, it seems that the Patron Warrior is going the way of the Miracle Rogue, the other infamous combo deck that players bemoaned for months on end.

Of course, like all top-tier decks, Patron Warrior had its diehard fans and its detractors, who are now celebrating its death. But no matter what side of the camp you were on, let’s all just remember that iconic shout that spelled "Good Game" when you heard it:

"EVERYONE, GET IN HERE!"

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Hearthstone Basic Decks: A Beginner's Guide to the Warrior https://www.gameskinny.com/m5t79/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-warrior https://www.gameskinny.com/m5t79/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-warrior Mon, 12 Oct 2015 07:33:34 -0400 Emily Speight

We're just passing the halfway point on our series of Hearthstone basic deck guides! Right now, the Warrior is an extremely popular class to play due to the powerful Patron Warrior deck making the rounds. If you've never played Warrior before, or you're new to Hearthstone in general, this basic warrior deck will help you get familiar with how the class plays!

Unlike our previous decklists, this basic deck doesn't come from a famous player. Rather, it's a variation on the typical basic warrior deck seen around Icy Veins, et al., coming from user Lukieman.

This deck assumes that you've reached at least level 10 as a warrior -- which can be done by practicing against the innkeeper (AI), or playing matches against human opponents -- best done through the Casual play option before setting foot in Ranked.

The warrior's focus on weapons makes it an excellent class for control decks. 

Wait, you never told me how weapons work!

Weapons allow your hero to directly attack minions and other heroes, but the attacking hero will be damaged if aiming at anything with an attack value. They are a special sort of card available to the warrior, paladin, rogue, shaman, and hunter. All other classes can make use of them in various ways, but do not natively have the ability to equip them. Weapons are equipped to the left of your hero's portrait, and have Durability in place of Health. Each use of a weapon decreases its durability by one.

The Decklist

Today's deck has a variety of fast cards -- minions with Charge that can attack immediately, but tend to have low health -- and some combinations to allow a limited amount of low-cost removal. Your goal is to seize the early game by playing fast cards and making use of your weapon, so that you can blot out your opponent by playing bigger cards and pumping out consistent damage.

Minions

You won't see the Elven Archer played often in ranked matches. It's a 1/1 that does 1 damage to an enemy when played. Playing this card in the early game is a waste, but it has great synergy with Execute, a spell we'll get to a little later. Bluegill Warrior allows you to come out of the gate swinging, but if you're facing a mage be aware that it will be picked off very quickly -- so try to avoid playing it for the sake of getting a body down, in that case. Instead, since mages do not use weapons, the Acidic Swamp Ooze is a strong choice.

Novice Engineer gives you some much-needed card draw in exchange for a smaller body on the field. It's a decent target for a Shattered Sun Cleric, and also does well when played while the Stormwind Champion is on the field. The Gurubashi Berserker is at home in a basic warrior deck, as it gains +3 attack each time it is damaged. You'll need to hit it twice to see value from the card, which can often be done at no cost to you -- use it against a paladin's Silver Hand Recruit, for example, to efficiently add value to the card. Be aware that the card's ability to spiral out of control makes it a priority target for removal or silencing.

New faces in this basic deck include the Kor'kron Elite and Stormwind Knight -- not to be confused with the Stormwind Champion above. The Kor'kron Elite is great for building your momentum, and can be held back to seal your opponent's fate. Drop it behind a Sen'jin Shieldmasta to help it survive a little longer. If you have no need to urgently do damage, or you suspect a Swipe or Flamestrike is coming, play Chillwind Yeti instead.

The Stormwind Knight serves as an inversion of the typical charge card, with high health and low attack. It's great for removing troublesome low-cost cards like Knife Juggler and has enough health to make multiple trades. 

Spells

Your highest priority during the mulligan phase of the game -- when you can choose to shuffle your initial cards back into your deck and draw new ones -- is to get your hands on the Fiery War Axe. It gives the paladin's Truesilver Champion, which was the subject of rapturous praise in the corresponding guide, a real run for its money. At just 2 mana, it allows you to equip a 3/2 weapon. Anything important your opponent plays in the first few turns of the game will usually fall to the 3 attack; often, just the threat of this weapon is enough. Hold onto it, and never use it to swing at your opponent's face in the early game.

If you're unable to find it early on, Shield Block can be used to draw another card. It also adds 5 armor, which is separate to health and must be depleted first. Armor effectively allows you to have over 30 health at a time, given the right circumstances. This spell can help you to outlast aggro decks, especially when combined with use of Armor Up!, the warrior's hero power. It works great in combination with some other cards we'll be discussing as upgrades for this basic warrior deck.

Speaking of combinations, Execute can be played from a variety of other cheap cards. It allows you to destroy any minion that has taken damage, even if it's only 1 point -- justifying Elven Archer alone. If there are two or less enemy minions on the board, Cleave can be used to hit both and followed with Execute to destroy the minion of your choice. Whirlwind, dealing 1 damage to all minions (including your own). It's great for popping Divine Shields and plays well with your Gurubashi Berserker, plus its utility makes it an extremely popular card in warrior decks of all stripes.

Upgrades

Patron Warrior plays similarly, at its outset, to the basic warrior deck we've been discussing. It builds towards one explosive turn where unprepared opponents can be brought from 30 health to "well played." Two of its key cards, Emperor Thaurissan and the Grim Patron itself can be found in the first wing of the Blackrock Mountain solo adventure, costing 700 gold or $5.99 to access.

Arcanite Reaper, from the basic set, is a potential substitution for your Stormwind Knight. It costs one mana more, but it is much more likely to stick around to use both of its charges. When played, a Wild Pyromancer can provide two (or more, if buffed) turns of Whirlwind conditions. Use it on a filled board with a Frothing Berserker for a massive scaling of attack. It also activates the Acolyte of Pain, giving you the potential for plenty of card draw.

Sea Reaver is a neat, if unpredictable addition from the Grand Tournament that synergizes nicely with warrior decks -- many rely on friendly minions taking damage to trigger various effects. Bash and Orgrimmar Aspirant are great choices for a more aggressive deck, and Bash is able to shoot down a Warsong Commander or Grim Patron before things get too out of hand.

Conclusion

The warrior has some of the strongest basic cards of any class due to their massive potential for devastating combinations. This basic warrior deck will help you with early game control and, in the hands of a master, it can be upgraded into something truly devastating!

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Hearthstone Basic Decks: A Beginner's Guide to the Druid https://www.gameskinny.com/tbe86/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-druid https://www.gameskinny.com/tbe86/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-druid Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:14:22 -0400 Emily Speight

Playing a druid is good, straightforward fun. If you've played Magic: the Gathering before -- and hold on to that thought, because we'll be discussing another concept from there soon -- the druid class is fairly similar to playing Green. It focuses on big creatures, has a natural affinity for beast cards, and also includes several options for plenty of card draw -- meaning that it's possible to build a druid milling deck later on.

If you're just getting started in Hearthstone or would like to see what the druid class has to offer before spending your precious dust crafting cards for it, this basic druid deck is a solid choice! Like the basic mage deck we've previously written a guide for, this decklist comes from notable player Sheng. As ever, our guide assumes that you've levelled the class to 10 and thus have the full set of basic cards available. This can be done pretty painlessly by playing the AI or dipping your toes into casual play.

The fun part about this basic druid deck is that with a little patience and a little luck, you can completely blow your opponents out of the water fairly early into the match. Your mana ramping will stretch control decks to their limit trying to shut you down early on, and aggressive decks will have trouble keeping up with your higher mana pool.

First, what's ramping?

Ramping is a term that has made its way to Hearthstone from Magic: The Gathering. It refers to 'ramping up' what you can do and play each term by increasing the amount of mana you have -- at a rate that beats your opponent's mana gain. The more options you have during each turn, the better, after all!

The Decklist

There are a couple of huge hitters in this deck. Ordinarily, that might be a bit of a worry, but the mana ramping present in this deck ensures that they can be played in a timely manner. If you aren't lucky enough to draw your key cards early on, then there are plenty of smaller creatures included too! Of course, more and earlier mana means that you'll be able to play more minions each turn, making it difficult for other decks to keep up. In saying that, it's always wise to keep something in reserve -- your opponent's removal cards can change the tide of the game in their direction if you over-commit.

Shapeshift is a nifty hero power with a lot of utility value. Each use gives you 1 attack (think of it as a 1/1 weapon) that lasts until the end of the turn, and 1 armor which stays until used. This allows you to pick off weaker minions. On the surface it sounds like a better version of the mage's hero power, but Shapeshift involves your hero directly. This means that you'll take damage from the minions you attack -- mitigated to varying degrees by your armor.

Minions

Some stalwarts of the basic set are back: the Acidic Swamp Ooze, the Bloodfen Raptor, and the Chillwind Yeti. The Ironfur Grizzly and Sen'jin Shieldmasta are also included, giving you plenty of chances to use Taunt. Of the two, the Sen'jin Shieldmasta's 5 life makes it the preferable option, as it is able to survive a Flamestrike and other forms of group removal.

Kobold Geomancer makes the cut because of its synergy with Swipe. As he's a fairly lacklustre 2/2, it's best to save him right up until it's time to use Swipe. If you need to put him down early, his survivability can be increased by tucking him away behind an Ironfur Grizzly or buffing him with Mark of the Wild -- though this might make him too tempting a target for your opponent. Outside of that, its use is fairly situational, which is why there's only one in this deck.

The high burn rate of cards that this deck encourages means that some drawing options are vital. In terms of minions, the Gnomish Inventor serves as this. Her 4 health allows her to make multiple trades with weaker minions, which can help shut down a late game comeback from your opponent.

Your biggest, baddest minion is the Ironbark Protector. At 8 mana, he's an 8/8 that also comes with taunt, meaning that it will most likely cost your opponent several minions to remove. It's best played once you're confident that cards like HexPolymorph, and Shadow Word: Death are out of play. Otherwise, it's a magnet for these. 

Spells

Innervate is a souped-up answer to The Coin. For 0 mana, it gives you 2 mana crystals for a single turn. Ordinarily, 0 mana cards provide too little value to merit inclusion in a deck. Innervate is possibly that rule's best exception -- with it in hand, you could have a Chillwind Yeti out on turn 2 or a Boulderfist Ogre on turn 4. There aren't many decks that can deal with a threat like them so early on.

Wild Growth operates in a similar vein, and is best played during the earliest turns of a game. Its absolute best condition is being played in conjunction with a Coin on your first turn. It can be played later in the game to generate a card called Excess Mana, which will allow you to draw a card, meaning that it has use beyond the early game. Starfire is great for direct damage, so it can be used to take out a stronger minion or deal game-winning damage. Its card draw, very much needed for this deck, makes it comparable to the paladin's Hammer of Wrath.

Claw is another direct damage card that can be used to complement use of your hero power, and should only be played to remove a minion or when it is vital for lethal damage. It should never be used on turn 1 to simply scratch at your opponent's face. Combined with the inexpensive Mark of the Wild on a minion, you can add 4 extra damage to your turn -- enough to make a serious difference in the late part of the game.

Upgrades

There are plenty of juicy cards outside the basic set for the druid to make use of. For this basic druid deck, Azure Drake is perhaps your first and highest priority. It replaces your Kobold Geomancer as well as a Gnomish Inventor and provides both spell damage and card draw, all in a 4/4 package.

The Bloodfen Raptor can be swapped out in favor of the Anodized Robo Cub. It's a great little card that you can adapt to the board by choosing whether it is a 2/3 or a 3/2. Faerie Dragon is also a removal-resistant upgrade.

Nourish is a versatile card that allows you to either gain mana crystals or draw cards. If you're fond of gambling, it could be run in a deck with Astral Communion for a swift recovery from this risky move.

If you have any big, bad, legendaries, they're perfect for replacing your Boulderfist Ogre and Ironbark Protector. In particular, Aviana stands out here -- while she is on the board, all of your minions only cost 1 mana. More budget-friendly alternatives include the Mech-Bear-Cat and SunwalkerAncient of Lore and Ancient of War are epic -- in reference to both their rarity and their value -- choices that are exclusive to the druid class.

The Darnassus Aspirant and Savage Combatant are two of the strongest cards the druid has received through The Grand Tournament. The former sets you ahead an extra mana crystal while alive, and the latter gives you a temporary +2 attack when inspired, meaning that your hero power will effectively give you +3 attack when used. Combined with Claw, your druid can do some serious removal without sacrificing board presence.



Conclusion

Of the classes covered so far, the basic druid decks offers perhaps the most straightforward playstyle -- play big creatures before your opponent can react to them. Their ability to ramp up their mana gives them plenty of options for upset victories. Their only drawback is that the big hits and exciting matches the druid seems to attract can make other Hearthstone classes seem dull by comparison!

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Hearthstone Basic Decks: A Beginner's Guide to the Paladin https://www.gameskinny.com/nzue4/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-paladin https://www.gameskinny.com/nzue4/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-paladin Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:23:38 -0400 Emily Speight

One of the biggest winners from The Grand Tournament has been the paladin, whose secrets-focused deck is currently wildly popular. If you've never given much thought to playing the paladin before or you're new to Hearthstone, it's a great time to get into the class and explore it through this basic paladin deck.

The decklist this week comes from Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player. As usual, it assumes that you've reached level 10 as a paladin. This deck's a bit of a different beast to the two we've seen so far, as it includes a weapon, Truesilver Champion -- one of the best-value cards in the basic set. 

What do you mean by value?

As a concept, value is related to trading -- that is, how many of your opponent's cards can you exchange for your own. Value itself refers to how a card's stat distribution and abilities compare against its mana cost. The easiest way to assess this is through the "vanilla" test: is the ratio of stats to mana more or less than 2:1? This deck, like most, relies on getting a value advantage early and keeping it until you eventually overwhelm the opponent.

The Decklist

The basic paladin deck heavily preferences creatures over spells. Reinforce, the paladin's hero power, works with this to make a deck that seeks to stay in the game until mid-to-late game, when a number of big hitters can be put into play. Its class cards mainly focus on efficient removal at lower levels.

Your goal is to lay down as many minions as possible in your early turns, as one of the win conditions of this deck is playing a buffed Frostwolf Warlord -- which we'll discuss in a little more detail later. You have a number of tools at your disposal when it comes to preserving your minions even though they're not as ludicrously effective as a mage's Flamestrike or Polymorph.

Minions

There are a few big guys for you to play with here, more so than the previous decks we've covered. Guardian of Kings is a paladin card that's best played late in the game. His ability to restore 6 health to your hero can be enough to turn the tide in the late game, -- it will let you survive a Kill Command or Fireball and fight another turn, while still playing a decently powerful minion. As well as this, the Stormwind Champion has great synergy with the goal of this deck: it buffs all your other minions with +1/+1, helping the weaker ones survive removal spells like Arcane Explosion.

While the Frostwolf Warlord has below average stats for its mana cost, it comes with an excellent battlecry: for each friendly minion on the board, it gains +1/+1. You'll need a minimum of two minions present to make him an efficient play, but with one or no minions on the board, he still makes a better play than doing nothing.

 

At the lower end of the mana curve lurk a couple of minions who can summon other minions: the Murloc Tidehunter and Razorfen Hunter. Their minions are both 1/1 and are warm bodies, so to speak, but little else. A Shattered Sun Cleric can give one of them a little survivability, but they're best kept out of trades until you can play the Frostwolf Warlord. The River Crocolisk is a 2/3 that can be boosted to have the same stats as a Bloodfist Ogre, but on turn four instead of turn six, by buffing it with a Blessing of Kings. It's the marginally sturdier cousin of the Bloodfen Raptor.

Spells

There's a great set of goodies waiting for you in this basic paladin deck. Hammer of Wrath does direct damage and lets you draw a card. It's great in the mid-to-late game when you have the mana crystals free to potentially play what you've drawn, but also has its uses eliminating a threatening enemy who is otherwise protected by a Taunt. 

Truesilver Champion, as mentioned earlier, also provides fantastic value. It restores 2 Health to you right before you attack with it, and the 4 damage per swing is the sweet spot for removing most minions under 4 mana -- excluding outliers like the Oasis Snapjaw, Chillwind Yeti, and Sen'jin Shieldmasta. When you (inevitably) come up against a Warrior deck running cards like Grim Patron and Frothing Berserker, your Truesilver Champion is invaluable.

Insofar as board-clearing goes, you have Consecration. For 4 mana, it will do 2 damage to all enemies -- the enemy hero included -- and is great for dealing with other decks who rely on flooding the board. You'll want to be on guard for it yourself, if you're facing another paladin. As this deck has two included, don't be afraid to play Consecration aggressively to remove a few small minions if you suspect that the other player is planning to drop something like a Frostwolf Warlord or BloodlustBlessing of Kings allows you to buff a minion with +4/+4. Your hero power, reinforce, provides you with a steady supply of 1/1s to play it on, even if your board is looking sparse. This gives you the opportunity to remove a stronger minion or perhaps even swing for lethal damage.

Upgrades

By no means is this a bad deck, but since paladins were the big winners of The Grand Tournament, there's now plenty of ways to go when upgrading our basic paladin deck. Many of them make use of the newly introduced Inspire mechanic.

If you enjoy using the Frostwolf Warlord, then consider swapping out one or both of your Chillwind Yeti for a Dragonling Mechanic. For the same cost, it spreads 4/5 of stats across two cards -- since the latter is a 2/1, this isn't usually desirable outside of a deck centred around this card.

Once again, the Knife Juggler is a great outright upgrade to the Bloodfen Raptor. It has great synergy with both the paladin's hero power and the amount of minion summoning inherent to this deck. Muster for Battle is an excellent card to use in tandem with your juggler, as it immediately summons three 1/1 recruits and hands you a weapon. Quartermaster is a rightfully popular card to play on the turn after it, turning your recruits into 3/3 minions. Also, you can't go wrong with a Shielded Minibot.

Silver Hand Regent is a must-have for this deck, and builds upon the combo outlined in the previous paragraph. When inspired, it summons another 1/1 for you, keeping your damage output consistent. For this reason, however, you'll find your opponents targeting this card frequently. Hogger is an interesting Legendary to run in this deck, with his ability to summon a 2/2 minion with taunt each turn. That very same mechanic makes him a high priority for silencing or outright removal, so you'll rarely get full value from this card. If you're saving your dust to craft a legendary, however, Tirion Fordring is hands down the best choice for a paladin.

In terms of augmenting your Hero Power, both the Fencing Coach and the Maiden of the Lake are excellent choices. The latter sets the cost of using your hero power to 1 outright, and therefore can't be played multiple times to make your hero power free. 

These are only a few ideas! There's enough fantastic TGT cards that the shorter list would be cards not to consider including in this deck. Mysterious Challenger also opens the doors for a different type of deck: the secret paladin mentioned at the start of this guide.

Conclusion

The basic paladin deck is packed with cards that deliver and distribute value in interesting ways. Through experience, you'll get a feel for when to play your summoning minions and when to hold back on them. While this deck won't stand up to experienced players, it's great for climbing the first few rungs of Hearthstone's ranked ladder, and stands a chance against one of the most popular decks making the rounds right now -- the dreaded Patron Warrior!

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Hearthstone Basic Decks: A Beginner's Guide to the Hunter https://www.gameskinny.com/k1jcz/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-hunter https://www.gameskinny.com/k1jcz/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-hunter Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:30:48 -0400 Emily Speight

With Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion in full swing, it's a great time to get into the game. Whether you're a beginner or somebody who hasn't played since beta, this guide will take you through the basics of playing an aggressive hunter, complete with a decklist drawn from Hearthstone's basic card set!

This hunter decklist comes from notable Hearthstone player Trump. Where our mage guide focused on control, this hunter guide is going to explore the opposite side of the coin -- aggression. 

The deck assumes that you've reached at least level 10 as a hunter -- which can be done by playing against the innkeeper (AI), or playing matches against human opponents -- best done through the Casual play option before setting foot in Ranked.

Aggression? Is that what "face" refers to?

Absolutely! Aggressive play tactics preference striking your opponent's hero, or their "face", directly. This is often done by flooding your board with lower cost minions to build and maintain pressure, and only reacting to major threats from your opponent's side. The hunter's Hero Power, Steady Shot, supports this kind of play -- it does two damage and can only target the enemy hero. Your goal when playing aggressively is to deal as much direct damage as possible and end the match quickly.

The Decklist

Right away, you'll notice that nothing in this list costs more than four mana. The low cost of the cards means that you'll be able to consistently use Steady Shot to apply pressure, while still playing one or more creatures each turn.

As touched on above, it's important to end the match quickly. This deck simply cannot keep up in the later parts of any game, when your opponent will have the mana to bring out some of their heavy-hitters or taunters. That said, it's important to make smart trades between yours and the enemy's minions. Consider things from your opponent's point of view: what are they most likely to do with their minions next? Is there anything dangerous of yours that can be taken out in a single hit? Can you defeat a minion without losing one of your own? Going through these scenarios on the fly is something you'll develop through practice and experience. Remember that this deck's goal is aggression, so play boldly!

Minions

Unsurprisingly, this deck's balance is weighted heavily in favor of creatures -- twenty creatures total are included, with ten spells supporting them. A lot of these creatures will become pretty familiar to you as you make your way through these guides -- they're cost-efficient cards that fill their niches well. These sturdy, familiar cards all make an appearance in this basic hunter deck: Bloodfen Raptor, Shattered Sun Cleric, and Chilldwind Yeti.

Now, on to the new kids.

This basic hunter deck includes a couple of cards with the Charge trait, as well as the potential to summon one with the Animal Companion spell. Bluegill Warrior is a two mana 2/1 that can make some nice momentum-halting trades after first swinging at your opponent's face. Wolfrider, at 3/1, is perfect for getting rid of an early taunt from an Ironfur Grizzly or stopping a Priest's Shadowboxer, whose ability allows it to deal damage to your minions whenever something is healed.

The Murloc Tidehunter and Razorfen Hunter each summon a 1/1 minion of their own when played. The Razorfen Hunter's summoned is especially important, as it's classified as a beast. Minions can either be neutral or fall into one of six types, labelled at the bottom of their card -- beast, demon, mech, murloc, pirate, or totem. Cards classified as beasts can be buffed by the Houndmaster, one of the hunter's basic class cards. Playing it the turn after your Razorfen Hunter means that you take advantage of the +2/+2 buff and attack immediately with the boar for a small burst of damage. Alternatively, the Houndmaster synergizes well withOasis Snapjaw, whose already beefy health makes it a great candidate for a taunt.

Spells

The aggressive nature of this hunter deck means that there's not much room for crowd control spells or removal, unlike the mage deck. Still, there's a couple of options available for both mitigating threats and piling on damage.

Multi-shot only targets enemy minions, and deals 3 damage to two of them, chosen at random. It's best used early on, when only two minions are on the board, for obvious reasons. Arcane Shot, causing 2 damage for one mana, can be played aggressively to help get you over the line near the end of the game. Aggressive use of spells like this is normally a mortal sin, but the hunter aggro deck is so hyper-focused on damage that it's viable. It can also be used in conjunction with Hunter's Mark to remove a taunting or threatening minion, as Hunter's Mark reduces a minion's health to 1.

Your win condition with this deck is aiming to play Kill Command optimally. Optimal in this case means with its bonus damage intact. With a beast on your board, Kill Command deals 5 damage to a target (otherwise, it deals 2 damage). If you haven't got a beast, playing Animal Companion will summon one of three beasts at random for you: Misha, a 4/4 bear with taunt; Leokk, a 2/4 hawk who will buff all your minions with +1/+1; or Huffer, a 4/2 boar with charge. All three are mana-efficient and capable of influencing the game in your favor.

Upgrades

Once you've spent some time playing and learning from this basic hunter deck, you'll no doubt be itching to upgrade it. Before you get started, take a quick look over our Beginner's Deck Building Guide for some tips. The most important part is to always keep trying and refining your deck through play. A string of losses can be frustrating, but it's also a good sign that you may need to slow things down and consider your plays a little more carefully before altering your deck. 

The Grand Tournament has introduced a number of excellent cards for the hunter -- both neutral and class-specific. Power Shot, which trades a point of damage from Multi-shot for wider coverage and a reduced cost, is a personal favorite. Due to the Hunter's frequent use of its Hero Power, the Kvaldir Raider is also a solid choice for an aggressive deck. 

Quick Shot is a great addition to an aggro deck like this, replacing an Arcane Shot and perhaps a Murloc Tidehunter. It gives you a little card draw on an empty hand -- and as this deck tends to burn through your cards quickly, you'll be needing it. Unleash the Hounds summons a set of 1/1 beasts with Charge, and has excellent synergy with Mukla's Champion -- a 5 mana minion whose Inspire will buff your minions with +1/+1.

Keep your River Crocolisks, as they make great targets for the Houndmaster's buff. Your Bloodfen Raptors and Bluegill Warriors can potentially be replaced by the Haunted Creeper and Harvest Golem -- two excellent, low-cost cards whose Deathrattles summon additional minions.

The Hunter class also has a number of secrets available to use. Secrets are low-cost cards that once played, will only activate when certain conditions are met. The inclusion of secrets in this deck would pull it more towards a control-themed deck, but that lies outside the scope of this guide. Try them out, and see what works for you!

Conclusion

The aggressive playstyle of this Hunter deck is a great place to start honing your judgment when it comes to trading minions and swinging for direct damage. Excellent cards and an easy to learn, hard to master playstyle cement it as one of the most popular classes in Hearthstone.

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Hearthstone Basic Decks: A Beginner's Guide to the Mage https://www.gameskinny.com/lycq5/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-mage https://www.gameskinny.com/lycq5/hearthstone-basic-decks-a-beginners-guide-to-the-mage Sat, 26 Sep 2015 11:20:55 -0400 Emily Speight

We've been offering great Hearthstone content to you since the game was in beta. With the release of the Grand Tournament, the third expansion of this hit collectible card game, it's a great time to get into playing -- or back into, for lapsed players!

This mage decklist comes from notable Hearthstone player Sheng. It's focused on control, which is one of the most important aspects of any Hearthstone match. It assumes that you've reached at least level 10 as a mage -- which can be done by playing against the innkeeper (AI), or playing matches against human opponents -- best done through the Casual play option before setting foot into Ranked.

But first... what's control?

In short, control refers to holding an advantage over your opponent. If you end a turn with minions on your board and no minions on your opponent's side, you've got control. If you don't have control of the board, you'll want it back as quickly as possible -- and the mage's focus on spells is very helpful in achieving this.

Control decks focus on destroying the other player's minions and making favorable 'trades' -- using something that costs less mana to remove a card that costs more or has a number of buffs applied to it -- where possible. The mage is particularly well-suited to this because of its phenomonal Hero Power. Fireblast allows you to deal one damage to any target. On its own, that sounds underwhelming -- but one damage allows you to activate enrage effects on your own minions, remove weakened enemies, and bypass minions with Taunt. A well-timed Fireblast can make all the difference!

The Decklist

There's a pretty even mix between class-exclusive cards and neutral minions here. This basic deck focuses on the lower to middle range of the mana curve, so you'll almost always have something to play with right from the outset. An important aspect of maintaining control of the board is being able to keep up the pressure on your opponent, and this can be achieved in part through always having something ready to play on your turn.

Minions

A great starting hand for this deck would be a Bloodfen Raptor, a Shattered Sun Cleric, and a Chillwind Yeti. The Shattered Sun Cleric's ability to make the Raptor into a 4/3 creature on turn 3, alongside her modest stats of 3/2, allow you to handily answer any early challenge from your opponent.

Of course, it's not often that things go so neatly. Laying down an Ironfur Grizzly is a great way to save injured minions early on in the game and allow you to choose the trades you make. The Acidic Swamp Ooze has identical stats to the Bloodfen Raptor, with the added advantage of destroying any weapons your opponent has. If you're fighting a class that does not commonly use weapons or you've got nothing else early in the game and you need a creature down now, play it. Otherwise keep it in reserve. Destroying your opponent's weapon could save a minion or otherwise turn the tide of a game in its later stages.

It might be tempting to play the Gnomish Inventor earlier in the match, but hold out if possible and save her for when you've got access to all ten mana crystals. With this deck, the best case scenario is that her battlecry allows you to draw and play either the Boulderfist Ogre or a removal spell that you need. If you've got the Coin, it's possible to play her, draw Flamestrike, then use the Coin to get that vital extra mana crystal and possibly clear out your opponent's board.

The Boulderfist Ogre, at 6/7, is one of the more impressive cards in the basic set. Its stats aren't lessened by silence and it is big and bad enough to smash through most creatures with taunt in one go. Playing this card -- and keeping it alive and with other minions -- puts you on a path towards a likely victory. This is known as a deck's 'win condition'.

Be careful playing it against a Priest, however -- Shadow Word: Death costs only 3 mana and can destroy a creature with 5 or more attack.

Spells

You're playing as a mage, so it stands to reason that you have access to some amazing spells! Within the Basic set lie some of the best spells in Hearthstone, period. Whether you're worried about a Hunter in your face, a Paladin (and all his buddies), or a Priest's single-target buffs, this deck has an answer!

Costing just one mana, Arcane Missiles is a great early game option for shutting down weaker minions and gaining an early advantage. You might be tempted to swap it out for Arcane Explosion, which strikes all minions for 1 Health, but the ability of Arcane Missiles to hit the same enemy multiple times is crucial.

If it's just a single minion giving you grief, Frostbolt is an excellent choice -- early in the game, it's enough to take care of enemy Bloodfen Raptors and other 2/3 minions. In mid and late game, Frostbolt's freezing ability really comes into its own, allowing you to delay a stronger minion or enemy weapon long enough to prepare a reply. Its low cost allows it to be played alongside stronger spells.

As the game goes on and more mana crystals come into play, you'll find larger and more formidable minions being played by your opponent. Against a mage, this is always a risky move, because you have a number of tools at your disposal for dealing with them.

Fireball won't set the pond on fire when it comes to originality -- everything else, however, is fair game. At 4 mana, it deals 6 damage to any single target, and its cost leaves room for it to be played in combination with other spells in your deck. Fireball and Fireblast together, at 6 mana total, are enough to take down cards like the Boulderfist Ogre and Gurubashi Berserker. Fireblast can also be used first to break a minion's Divine Shield, before finishing them with Fireball.

If you're lucky enough to have two Fireballs in your hand, you have the chance to achieve a surprise victory. Combining them with Fireblast allows you to defeat any Hero at 13 Health or below.

An opponent conscious of Fireball's power may instead try to fill their board with cheaper, weaker minions and overwhelm you. As touched on earlier, Flamestrike is an excellent counter for this, as it deals 4 damage to all enemy minions. Chillwind Yetis and Sen'jin Shieldmasters will survive this with their 5 Health, but can be picked off with your Hero Power or Arcane Missiles.

Upgrades

This deck is a great way to learn about control and plays to the mage's strengths nicely. As you play Hearthstone, you'll find yourself accruing more and rarer cards. Upgrading and customizing decks is a big part of enjoying a game like this, so let's take a look at some complementary options!

Before considering your options, it's a great idea to first read our Beginner's Deck Building Guide. It's vital to retain a good balance between spells and minions, and to have a decent distribution of mana -- though as you refine your strategy and become more experienced, you'll be able to make very specific decks that ignore these guidelines.

The Bloodfen Raptor is a good target for replacement. There are several two mana cards that are 3/2s and have an additional effect. Knife Juggler is a popular choice from the neutral set, and you'll see him in many decks. From the latest expansion, Fallen Hero is a fantastic upgrade, allowing you to do two damage with your Hero Power instead of one. Sorcerer's Apprentice is also a great outright upgrade that will reduce the cost of your Arcane Missile to 0.

 

Other targets for straightforward replacement include the Sen'jin Shieldmaster, Gnomish Inventor, and Boulderfist Ogre. The former for Sludge Belcher, and the latter two for heavy hitters, or cards with additional effects like the Stormwind Champion. It's the perfect place to bring out that Legendary card you picked up and have been dying to try!

Conclusion

Most of all, this basic deck is about practice and experimentation. Get a feel for when to carefully pick off minions and when it's better to just go for it. Look at what others do in reaction to your deck. Play, tinker, and play again as you learn, and let us know in the comments how you do with this deck!

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Best Hearthstone addons, trackers, and arena helpers https://www.gameskinny.com/9zka9/best-hearthstone-addons-trackers-and-arena-helpers https://www.gameskinny.com/9zka9/best-hearthstone-addons-trackers-and-arena-helpers Wed, 16 Sep 2015 06:55:47 -0400 Sergey_3847

Today almost any card game is accompanied by a handful of really useful additional software that can help its players do a little bit more progress towards the victory. Hearthstone is not the exception, and in this guide we will provide you with a few really useful addons and tools. All of them can be safely used and don’t break the rules of the game, but help organize your thinking and strategic process.

Of course, any other software that cheats the level system and gold earnings is prohibited, so we don’t recommend using any other additional software that is not on this list, unless you are absolutely sure.

In order to clarify any issues that might occur in the future here’s an official stance on such Hearthstone addons like Hearthstone Tracker and Hearthstone Deck Tracker, featured in this article, from Ben Brode, a senior game designer on Hearthstone.

So, this means that any kind of software that does not intervene directly into the process of the game, but simply gathers data and analyzes it separately can be applied without you being afraid to get banned. Hopefully, this is clear enough, so let’s continue with what’s really interesting.

Hearthstone Tracker Addon

Hearthstone Tracker allows you to monitor the statistics of the game. For example, which deck has a greater win rate. It also helps choose the best deck within the current meta.

But most of all, it tracks your progress in the game, recording the following information about each match:

  • Your current hero
  • Your opponent’s hero
  • Current match mode
  • Duration of the match
  • Results (wins and losses)
  • Your current deck
  • Your starting point (first or second)
  • Number of moves within a match
  • The server you currently play on

By having all this data after each game, you can take notes, analyzing what went wrong or learn from the opponent’s deck, archetype, and style.

Your data can be graphically visualized in the form of charts, which are extremely helpful for understanding your progress in the game.

At the end of every match, you are invited to correct the data compiled by the software, as well as leave a note or a few in order to conduct a more thorough analysis.


Statistics can be viewed for a particular period of time, different game modes, grouped by your own hero or by your opponent’s hero, etc. You can combine and learn different types of decks, for example, a certain deck win rate against a particular class, and all this can be done in just a couple of clicks.

Hearthstone Tracker is very easy to use and requires no additional configuration - just install, play the game and watch the data coming in. You can download the addon on the Hearthstone Tracker website.

Hearthstone Deck Tracker Addon

Hearthstone Deck Tracker displays the state of your current deck. It also shows how much time is left until the end of the match and if there are any secrets to be revealed. It’s a very useful addon for beginners, but may be just as important for the old dogs.

When you run the software it will be visible in the form of an overlay on top of your Hearthstone match screen containing 5 key components:

  • Your deck. Showing which cards are left in your deck, the number of cards in your hand, how many cards remain in the deck and a chance to draw the next card that has one or two copies left.
  • Your opponent’s deck. Displays which cards have been already used, how many cards are left in the hand and in the deck, and if there’s any chance to pull in the right card.

  • Your opponent’s hand. Here, each card is signed by a number denoting the match during which a specific card has been taken. The labeling is as follows:
    • [M] - your opponent’s cards.
    • [C] - coin.
    • [S] - cards obtained by playing " Thoughtsteal," " Mind Vision ", "Webspinner", as well as cards such as “Dream”, “Bananas”, and spells from the “Lorewalker Cho.”
    • [R] - cards that returned into the hand of the opponent, by playing "Shadowstep", "Sap", "Dream", "Vanish" and " Kidnapper."
  • Timer. Tells you how much time is left until the end of the turn and the total time of your own moves and those of your opponent.
  • Secrets. Shows secrets that are available for a given class.

In order to add a deck, choose «New» in the top menu, then select the class and it will lead you to the menu for creating and editing the deck and a map that you can choose either from the list or simply by searching.

In the central part of the window you will see your current deck. If you want to add the second copy of the card - click the right mouse button, if you want to remove it – click the left one. Then, choose «Save» and now the software is fully configured.

You can download Hearthstone Deck Tracker addon on Github.

Arena Mastery Webtool

Arena Mastery is a tracker for those who want to gather statistics of their Hearthstone Arena matches. The data includes an in-depth analysis of your current situation against a certain class, as well as your record with and without a coin.

This online utility is great to use with either your mobile phone or a tablet as you play. For example, you can play an Arena match on your PC or laptop and at the same time watch your statistics on your separate mobile device and adjust your gaming style accordingly.

  • Class-specific statistics. Get separate data sheet on each of your classes and their individual progress. Highlights are based on a comparison to the overall average number of wins and losses per Arena.
  • Overall record against each class. The same as above, but now the comparison is made against each class of your opponents.
  • Average number of rewards for each level. This segment allows you to gather all your awards earned during all of the Arena matches and compares them by significance.
  • Arena history. Just a simple stat giving you a historical overview of all your matches.

You can use Arena Mastery tools by registering on the website.

Hearth Arena Webtool

Hearth Arena is another great tool for Hearthstone, but this time it’s all about helping you draft the best arena deck. The developers have released a new version specifically designed for the latest TGT expansion. Now you can easily get hold of all the necessary data in order to gather the best and most effective deck for Arena matches.

There are certain tabs that will help you out. Here they are:

  • Deck coverage. In this tab you can evaluate the reach of your deck. You can compare different decks and see their highlights, from board clears to survivability.

  • Synergies. Here, you can decide which combos will fit the best for your decks. This will significantly change your results if you do this before entering a match.

  • Archetype. In this tab, you will get access to the special algorithm that can help you understand your specific arena deck's game style better, helping you play to the deck's strengths.
  • Stats-tracking. Just a simple stat tracker of your progress. This is where you learn from your own mistakes.
  • Dynamic card values. Another great algorithm that can help you identify and adapt certain cards that will push you forward to another victory.

In addition to all this, you can get an expert drafting advice from ADWCTA and Merps.

You can register for Hearth Arena online.

]]>
The 15 Best Hearthstone Legendaries: Grand Tournament Update https://www.gameskinny.com/e77ru/the-15-best-hearthstone-legendaries-grand-tournament-update https://www.gameskinny.com/e77ru/the-15-best-hearthstone-legendaries-grand-tournament-update Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:43:47 -0400 Danielle Marie

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Prophet Velen

\n
Priest
\n

A favorite in almost every control Priest deck in the scene, Prophet Velen is hard to deny. Doubling the damage or healing of all of your cards means you can close close games aggressively or gain control back by healing back to a comfortable health. 

\n

Prophet Velen fits into any situation and therefore shouldn't be going anywhere any time soon. 

\n

The Grand Tournament introduction, with the push for tempo and control decks, will make other classes hard to top a Priest deck containing Prophet Velen.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/8/8/1889484781a131766ea786e7e1947260.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/8/8/tiny_1889484781a131766ea786e7e1947260.png","type":"slide","id":"81646","description":"

Archmage Antonidas

\n
Mage
\n

Another Mage card to make the list, Archmage Antonidas fits right into the spell-heavy decks that have surfaced in the past few weeks. 

\n

Archmage Antonidas and Rhonin together will mean devastating damage for your opponents, and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. 

\n

Bringing up the spell power Mage deck yet again, the Archmage is the another great option to this deck. You can bet it will dominate the Grand Tournament meta and more decks will have this card included.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/e/c/deceeada6487c40f8c1d0c1815c102ae.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/e/c/tiny_deceeada6487c40f8c1d0c1815c102ae.png","type":"slide","id":"81643","description":"

Loatheb

\n
Neutral
\n

In a spell-heavy meta that focuses a lot on controlling the board, Loatheb can prevent your opponent from gaining control in almost any situation. 

\n

Often times Hearthstone players will think about plays a few turns in advance, and Loatheb is here to completely ruin that and make everyone re-think the direction they have to take.

\n

I previously mentioned all the spells that have been added with the Grand Tournament expansion, and the addition of the Spell Power Mage deck. Loatheb is the perfect counter to this, and will shine in this expansion because of it.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/9/1/291aef586f5ccd37ac145655e389114e.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/9/1/tiny_291aef586f5ccd37ac145655e389114e.png","type":"slide","id":"81641","description":"

Dr. Boom

\n
Neutral
\n

Played in almost every deck in the current meta, Dr. Boom has some of the most value of any card in the entire game of Hearthstone

\n

A 7 for a 7/7 that automatically spawns 2 more minions gives players board control that they wouldn't have had previously. The 2 1/1 Boom Bots that spawn with Dr. Boom will also explode for 1-4 damage when they die. That's already 9 damage from the bombs themselves, which isn't even including the 7 damage from Boom himself. 

\n

Dr. Boom's value has even increased since the expansion, since the addition of many new cards that promote control. Dr. Boom is the ultimate control card, wince you get 2 free minions which can take out multiple enemies. He fits right in!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/a/c/3aced9df7c786e7f3757ee9a36e88da0.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/a/c/tiny_3aced9df7c786e7f3757ee9a36e88da0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81639","description":"

Rhonin

\n
Mage
\n

Besides being incredibly fun to say, Rhonin is another new card making its way to the top 15 for many different reasons. Such a massive minion is already powerful, but his Deathrattle will automatically give you 9 damage, which is basically a free Avenging Wrath.

\n

Not only that, but if you're playing any spell power cards, which many Mage decks are now doing, then this card's value starts increasing even more. 

\n

Rhonin is especially good with the Grand Tournament update because of all the spells it brought with it. Spell power Mage decks were already seen a few times during the constructed ladder climb, but with all the new Mage cards, spell power is all the rage. Rhonin adds a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this with 3 free Arcane Missiles. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/2/4/6245cbed1cbe2e4e7c5b7fd6b8d6ee2e.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/2/4/tiny_6245cbed1cbe2e4e7c5b7fd6b8d6ee2e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81638","description":"

Justicar Trueheart

\n
Neutral
\n

Another Grand Tournament card that is going to be played in many different decks, Justicar Trueheart will double the hero power of whatever class you're playing as. 

\n

For example, if you're playing as a Mage, your hero power will do 2 damage instead of 1 and if you're a Priest, your healing will be 4 instead of 2. This is an amazing legendary card because it's only 6 mana, meaning that you can get instant gratification with it from turn 8 on. 

\n

Another reason this card is so good is because with the Grand Tournament we saw a shift from a flood of aggressive decks to more control-dominated ranked play. With Justicar Trueheart, we can make better plays for 2 mana, giving us more opportunities to take control.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/8/828b6ac8197389f4fcc8f0627a8127c0.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/2/8/tiny_828b6ac8197389f4fcc8f0627a8127c0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81637","description":"

Confessor Paletress

\n
Priest
\n

Confessor Paletress is yet another new card to make it to this list, and it's easy to see why. While other legendary cards have a single deathrattle effect that will spawn another legendary minion, this one can be triggered by inspire multiple times.

\n

This means that, if kept alive multiple turns, you can continue to crank out a board of legendary minions. Paired with all the Priest buff cards like Velen's Chosen and Power Word: Shield, Confessor Paletress will absolutely see a lot of play in both constructed and arena. 

\n

This card also works with the rest of the expansion in a positive way. With all the new, amazing legendary cards, the chances you'll hit a legendary worth playing is much higher.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/b/a/cba6a74734a9f304b6237b5ed7441352.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/b/a/tiny_cba6a74734a9f304b6237b5ed7441352.png","type":"slide","id":"81642","description":"

Ragnaros the Firelord

\n
Neutral
\n

Like Sylvanas, Ragnaros is a time-old card that will likely never leave the meta as one of the greatest card to have in any tempo or control deck. There's always a place for a free 8 damage, no matter who it hits. 

\n

The Grand Tournament will only make Ragnaros more powerful because  majority of the monsters introduced have 8 or less health, increasing the chances he'll be a lethal threat to your opponent.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/e/4/9e490f4200ec36f2120a1e29fd9658a2.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/e/4/tiny_9e490f4200ec36f2120a1e29fd9658a2.png","type":"slide","id":"81636","description":"

Chillmaw

\n
Neutral
\n

Chillmaw compliments the new dragon decks that have been popping up by adding yet another big creature with insane abilities. Various classes can play dragon decks, and Chillmaw can fit into every one. 

\n

A 6/6 creature is difficult to get rid of, but if you have another dragon in your deck (which any constructed deck will) you have another free AoE option. You can use this to gain control against the annoying aggro decks that plague ranked play. 

\n

Dragon decks were scare and few between before the Grand Tournament expansion; however, with the addition of many more, we'll be seeing many different dragon decks and Chillmaw is a must have.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/3/0/530356093151e15c052487c58268df65.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/3/0/tiny_530356093151e15c052487c58268df65.png","type":"slide","id":"81644","description":"

Tirion Fordring

\n
Paladin
\n

It's likely you've either played or played against this insane legendary Paladin card. It's not just a thorn in your side, it's a way to gain comeplete advantage using only 1 card.

\n

Before the Grand Tournament expansion, just a silence would put Tirion away, but now that all the Paladin secrets are available, you can bet this guy is going to see a lot more play. The Paladin secret deck is already climbing the lists of the best constructed decks in play and including Tirion is only going to increase the deck's mortality. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/c/0/3c01c251346936fb323c95db0dfb3a90.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/c/0/tiny_3c01c251346936fb323c95db0dfb3a90.png","type":"slide","id":"81635","description":"

Varian Wrynn

\n
Warrior
\n

Varian Wrynn is arguably the best card in the Grand Tournament expansion, and can instantly turn the tides of either a constructed or an arena deck. 

\n

There's not many other times players will be able to play a 7/7 minion, draw 3 cards, and probably put even more minions on the board in one turn. 

\n

With all the huge new monsters in the new expansion, the chances of getting harmonious value out of this card increases even more. Basically, now there are even more op minions to put on the board for free.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/f/5/ff565e027c56d8644268d03badc07461.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/f/5/tiny_ff565e027c56d8644268d03badc07461.png","type":"slide","id":"81647","description":"

Mal'Ganis

\n
Warlock
\n

Any warlock veteran will be familiar with Mal'Ganis, which is an incredibly powerful card that powers up your other demons and makes your hero immune to damage.

\n

Being able to use your warlock hero power without damaging yourself is very broken, and a 9/7 minion isn't exactly easy to get rid of. The demon lock deck is one of the most popular warlock decks right now, and you can't play it without Mal'Ganis.

\n

Mal'Ganis actually got even better with the Grand Tournament because now there are even more demons to use in the infamous demon deck.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/f/d/5fd374466eebd19a48f3f06c6c30e308.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/f/d/tiny_5fd374466eebd19a48f3f06c6c30e308.png","type":"slide","id":"81634","description":"

Nexus-Champion Saraas

\n
Neutral
\n

A new card to hit the scene, the Nexus-Champion Saraad fits perfectly into the current tempo meta.

\n

There's a great possibility to hit a great value spell off this card, which is incredibly important for card advantage and gaining control of the game. Not to mention that the Inspire can be triggered more than once, this card is definitely one of the best from the expansion. 

\n

Not only that, but there are many more over powered spells available now that Grand Tournament has been released, which means more of an opportunity to get something great.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/4/5/d45974c488a653dcc5c5697ffb884475.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/4/5/tiny_d45974c488a653dcc5c5697ffb884475.png","type":"slide","id":"81640","description":"

Sylvanas Windrunner

\n
Neutral
\n

Sylvanas always has and always will be one of the best legendaries in Hearthstone. It's always been impactful because it's hard ignore a 5/5 minion, no matter what it is.

\n

The Deathrattle effect is what makes it one of the best, "Take control of an enemy minion." This either forces your opponent to make an unfavorable play to counter it or you can capitalize on it and trade and/or take control of your opponent's minion. 

\n

The reason that Sylvanas remains one of the best cards in the Grand Tournament is because now there are even more amazing cards to steal for your own. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/b/1/1b191fb20689823be2fad9470cf27a9d.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/1/b/1/tiny_1b191fb20689823be2fad9470cf27a9d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81656","description":"

The popular online card game, Hearthstone, received a new expansion. With a new expansion comes a brand new meta.

\n

The Grand Tournament update added over 100 cards to the game, meaning a lot of new legendaries to play in arena and constructed decks. 

\n

Combining both the previous expansions and the Grand Tournament, here are our favorite 15 legendary cards.

"}]]]>
Hearthstone: Best Grand Tournament Legendaries https://www.gameskinny.com/kt8fh/hearthstone-best-grand-tournament-legendaries https://www.gameskinny.com/kt8fh/hearthstone-best-grand-tournament-legendaries Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:21:54 -0400 Danielle Marie

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Varian Wrynn

\n
Warrior
\n

Even though this legendary costs 10 mana, which means any decks that play it will have to last for 10 turns minimum, the Battlecry effect makes Varian Wrynn one of (if not the best) legendary of the entire Grand Tournament.

\n

It accelerates late game scalability with amazing card advantage and the potential to combo with huge minions like Ysera or Grommash Hellscream.

\n

There you have it. Do you agree with our picks? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/1/0/c10202f564a7f34fc1a04e17d26e0c50.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/1/0/tiny_c10202f564a7f34fc1a04e17d26e0c50.png","type":"slide","id":"81613","description":"

The Mistcaller

\n
Shaman
\n

Not everyone feels that the Mistcaller is one of the best legendary cards, but a permanent +1/+1 to every minion in your hand and your deck is incredibly hard to pass up.

\n

A permanent buff to your minion pool for only 6 mana is definitely worth playing. While the Mistcaller may not be one of the top legendaries in the game, it definitely makes the list for the best legendaries of the Grand Tournament expansion. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/a/9/8a9d14a4af21f4f1fb7472d53430c21f.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/8/a/9/tiny_8a9d14a4af21f4f1fb7472d53430c21f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81609","description":"

Confessor Paletress

\n
Priest
\n

Confessor Paletress takes any Priest deck and catapults it to the next level, creates massive card advantage, control, and has an "invisible taunt". 

\n

You can already capitalize on the Inspire effect during turn 9 and 10 (and 8 if you still have the Coin). The "invisible taunt" refers to a minion that's played that needs to be taken care of immediately so your opponent shifts his/her focus to kill it before anything else.

\n

With all the buff cards that priests have in their position, including Power Word Shield and Velen's Chosen, it make this card an unstoppable force that could possibly win you the game.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/e/9/4e966470401b1adb40f2b9c7d448d48a.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/e/9/tiny_4e966470401b1adb40f2b9c7d448d48a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81612","description":"

Rhonin

\n
Mage
\n

Rhonin is one of my favorite legendary cards from the entire Grand Tournament expansion ,and is a fantastic edition to every Mage deck played in the current meta. 

\n

Not only will you profit from card advantage alone, but you'll be receiving a (basically) free Avenging Wrath. This means that you'll be turning the late game easily in your favor by dropping Rhonin, because of his beefy stats and the removal that follows.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/b/0/3b03a44fbabd6f465590f7eaa581de08.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/b/0/tiny_3b03a44fbabd6f465590f7eaa581de08.png","type":"slide","id":"81610","description":"

Aviana

\n
Druid
\n

Druid decks haven't fallen out of style in a very long and time, and Aviana will only promote the popular control decks. 

\n

Even though at first glance it seems like a 9 mana cost is way too much, every Druid deck plays Innervate. You'll be able to use Aviana's ability at least once the turn she is played, but paired with Innervate, you'll be able to play 3. At that point, the value has been more than taken advantage of. 

\n

Another card that pairs well with Aviana is Emperor Thaurissan, who makes every card in your hand cost 1 less. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/f/d/6fd7eebbb5c8b2fc15c157d7266f4889.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/f/d/tiny_6fd7eebbb5c8b2fc15c157d7266f4889.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81611","description":"

Justicar Trueheart

\n
Neutral 
\n

There's no bad option when it comes to playing Justicar Trueheart, since it's a neutral minion that will buff any class you want to play. 

\n

His battlecry, "replace your starting Hero Power with a better one," will upgrade the hero power of whatever class you're playing. For example, Paladins will summon 2 1/1 Squires instead of 1, Hunters will do 4 damage to the enemy hero, etc. 

\n

Justicar Trueheart is by far one of the best legendaries of the expansion because of the immediate return you see with any class. He's very overpowered in any style deck.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/1/6/316898bc26090235a0512375662b3750.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/3/1/6/tiny_316898bc26090235a0512375662b3750.png","type":"slide","id":"81604","description":"

Nexus-Champion Saraad

\n
Neutral 
\n

In a meta where the Mage Flamewaker deck (and any general tempo deck) is a great option in ranked play, the Nexus Champion Saraad is a fantastic neutral minion legendary to add to your deck. 

\n

There really isn't a way to not get value from this card, especially since it's only 5 mana.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/0/a/f0aecefe79ebd8bd60a1f17c6711ba04.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/0/a/tiny_f0aecefe79ebd8bd60a1f17c6711ba04.png","type":"slide","id":"81603","description":"

Chillmaw

\n
Neutral Dragon
\n

Dragon decks are seeing an upswing recently, and Chillmaw may have sealed the deal. This legendary card capitalizes on the popular dragon decks and makes the overpowered play-style even more dominant.

\n

Many dragon cards are now "best in slot" for their mana cost, so having Chillmaw in your deck will only increase your chances of dominating your opponent. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/e/2/7e2bc196964b517060b03f0d85688146.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/e/2/tiny_7e2bc196964b517060b03f0d85688146.jpg","type":"slide","id":"81602","description":"

Hearthstone players got a much-needed expansion recently, stirring up interest and reigniting the desire to play the virtual card game. 

\n

The expansion, cleverly titled the Grand Tournament, features over 100 fresh neutral and class-specific cards to enhance the game for players around the world. 

\n

With brand new cards come contemporary strategies, theory crafting, and modern deck lists. None of these are complete, however, without shiny, new legendary cards. Get familiar with some of our favorites here:

"}]]]>
Hearthstone Arena Tier List: Grand Tournament update https://www.gameskinny.com/cr0iw/hearthstone-arena-tier-list-grand-tournament-update https://www.gameskinny.com/cr0iw/hearthstone-arena-tier-list-grand-tournament-update Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:28:46 -0400 Robert Guthrie

Hearthstone's newest expansion is finally here, bringing with it over 120 new cards and several new mechanics, including several that relate to your hero power. While it's definitely going to take a while to figure out the overall impact of this deck on the meta as a whole, and constructed will probably be in a state of flux for a while, it's definitely safe to say that The Grand Tournament has shaken up the arena game more than a little.

The Inspire mechanic, while of questionable usefulness in constructed, has the potential to seriously impact the arena, and the addition of several higher health Commons has reduced the impact of certain removal spells and previously high-value cards. Check out our detailed Tier List and class explanations to find out exactly how the game has changed.

Get Inspired

The key mechanic of The Grand Tournament is called Inspire, and it's pretty simple -- certain cards will give benefits when you use your hero power. Some give your cards buffs, others boost your power, and some even summon more minions. In constructed play, this is a difficult mechanic to take full advantage of because of how slow it is, and you need to build a deck specifically around it, but in the arena, even with a really well drafted deck, your hero power is going to get used, making this potentially very useful.

There is also the Joust mechanic -- when you play or draw certain cards, you reveal a card and compare its cost to your opponent's revealed card. If yours costs more, you get an extra benefit. This is less useful than in constructed, but it can help players who want to build arena decks with a higher curve or who get lucky with big minions.

Some classes have come out better than others with these changes. Here are the big winners and losers.

Tier One

There have been some interesting changes in the top tier of the arena. The higher number of overall cards means that the Mage is no longer guaranteed to draw their high-powered removal and other classes, notably the Rogue, have gotten buffs that bring them in line with the previous kings of the arena.

Mage

Mages are still at the top of the rankings, if for no other reason than their hero power keeps them there. Flamestrikes are harder to come by and there are a lot more minions that can survive them, making a Mage's most powerful arena tool a lot less potent. It might be that the Mage gets overtaken by the Paladin or the Rogue, but Flamestrike is still one of the best arena class cards in the game.

None of the mage's new commons are terribly useful in arena, but Fallen Hero and Polymorph: Boar have the potential to be very powerful if you're lucky enough to draft them. Coldarra Drake is very powerful with the right inspire cards, but you shouldn't bank on being able to draw an epic. The best thing the mage has going for it in terms of The Grand Tournament cards are neutral cards like Mukla's Champion, Fencing Coach, and Silver Hand Regent.

Paladin

Nothing can ever really match the incredible power boost that the paladin got from Shielded Minibot, and The Grand Tournament delivers another excellent common: Murloc Knight has the potential for incredible value. It's slow, but if it survives long enough for you to use your hero power just once, it can swing the entire board in your favor. It can even summon another Murloc Knight, leading to an insane snowball situation.

The increased value and availability of Silver Hand Recruits also increases the value of Quartermaster and the new Warhorse Trainer -- you shouldn't count on being able to pull off a combo, necessarily, but you can feel comfortable drafting cards that work with your recruits.

Rogue

In a surprising change of pace, the Rogue has become incredibly viable in arena, and may even be the new top class once the stats shake out. Almost every single one of the new Rogue commons and rares is incredible in the arena -- Buccaneer is a huge turn one play, and playing Cutpurse makes setting up combos incredibly easy. Shado-Pan Rider is incredible value, and Undercity Valiant is a mini SI:3 that can take out a lot of popular one drops.

The Rogue is currently tearing up the arena rankings -- it could be that people are still learning how to deal with the new cards, but it might be that we have a new arena champion. Only time will tell.

Tier Two

Just like Tier One, Tier Two has seen some interesting shifts, though the general power level of the classes hasn't changed immensely. Druids and Shamans both got some hefty minions to help their arena woes and have seen their fortunes improve as a consequence.

Druid

Druids have always been a strong arena class, but have been hurt a little by not being able to count on their combo potential. The cards Druids got from The Grand Tournament don't change anything drastically, but they provide some very powerful early-game drops that can help them survive long enough to drop the large, sticky minions that Druids are famous for.

In terms of commons, while conditional, Wildwalker offers incredible value, and the new Druid of the Saber adds another potentially incredible 2-drop that can trade favorably with a whole range of cards. Living Roots is the real winner here -- having the option of a cheap nuke or buffable tokens can be very powerful. Rares are even better -- Savage Combatant makes your hero power beastly, and Darnassus Aspirant allows you to easily ramp your power up, especially if you can keep it on the board for a turn or two.

These new cards have boosted the Druid to the top of Tier Two and it may even be pushing Tier One -- either way, there's no doubt that this class is way more viable in the arena than it was before.

Shaman

Shamans have always struggled in the arena, even with powerful drops like Fireguard Destroyer and Fire Elemental, in large part because of their relatively weak early game. Nothing can fully rescue the class from the randomness of its hero power, but some of The Grand Tournament's cards go a long way toward helping the Shaman survive long enough to get their power rolling.

Tuskar Totemic and Totem Golem are both high-value commons that can help Shamans seize control of the board early and that synergize extremely well with Thunder Bluff Valiant and Draenei Totemcarver. It's a legendary card, so you can't count on it, but if you are lucky enough to draft The Mistcaller then you are almost certainly looking at a 7+ arena run.

Shamans are still a little too reliant on rares for board control to be consistent in arena, but The Grand Tournament cards go a long way toward plugging some obvious holes and improving their overall position among the classes.

Warlock

The Warlock has managed to maintain its position in the middle of Tier Two largely because The Grand Tournament hasn't changed its position very much. The new commons and rares available to the Warlock are interesting, but not game changing, and in some cases a little risky -- Demonfuse and Wrathguard are both potentially powerful, but come with significant drawbacks.

Fist of Jaraxxus and Tiny Knight of Evil are good, but depend on circumstances you might not be able to control in the arena. Wilfred Fizzlebang, if you manage to draft him, is incredible value.

The biggest boon to Warlocks is that the Inspire mechanic greatly improves their hero power -- the biggest problem with Life Tap is that it doesn't affect the board, but depending on which minions you have out, it now can make a difference. It's not enough to bost Warlocks to high Tier Two, but it's enough to keep them where they are.

Tier Three

For the most part, the bottom tier of the arena has remained the same. Warriors had high hopes for moving up, but the cards just weren't there, and while there are some great additions from The Grand Tournament for Hunters and Priests, they aren't terribly viable in the arena.

Hunter

The Hunter actually received some powerful cards that are a great boost to any arena deck -- King's Elekk and Bear Trap are both excellent value for their cost, and Ram Wrangler has serious potential if played correctly.

Unfortunately for the hunter, their biggest strength in both arena and constructed -- fast damage and aggression -- is harder than ever to take advantage of. The Grand Tournament has added a lot of high-health cards, powerful taunts, and heals, making it more difficult than ever for Hunters to finish games before their opponents get their value-machines rolling.

Priest

Priests received some really powerful cards with The Grand Tournament, some of which have the potential to be incredibly valuable, but none of which fix the underlying problems with the class that keep it from being a serious arena contender.

Power Word: Glory and Holy Champion are both strong cards in the right conditions, and Convert is a really great way to play off your opponent's strengths. Unfortunately, the Priest is still a little too slow and combo-dependent to be reliable pick.

That being said, if you DO manage to draft a lot of dragons, Twilight Whelp and Wyrmrest Agent are pretty much the best value you can get for their cost -- a Priest arena run with the right dragon draws could be devastating.

Warrior

Unfortunately, Warriors are exactly where they've always been in terms of the arena. The class is still too dependent on combos and weapon draws to be effective; none of the new cards in The Grand Tournament are enough to fix these flaws. Sparring Partner and Bolster, notably, are really strong cards, but rely on the Warrior having enough minions and taunts to make them valuable.

It is more than possible to get a lot of arena wins with the Warrior, but you're still working against the design of the class unless you get very lucky with draws.

Closing Thoughts

It's still a little early to say anything for certain about arena rankings, but it is clear to see that there are some winners and some losers. It will take players a while to figure out how to best use the Inspire mechanic, so we may yet see some changes as Hearthstone adjusts to the addition of this new consideration. Keep up your arena attempts, keep experimenting, and good luck! 

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The Grand Tournament: why I hate loving Hearthstone https://www.gameskinny.com/z3b4e/the-grand-tournament-why-i-hate-loving-hearthstone https://www.gameskinny.com/z3b4e/the-grand-tournament-why-i-hate-loving-hearthstone Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:35:33 -0400 Alemary

It's out and my fears have been realized, The Grand Tournament has killed HearthStone for the casual player. I know this statement sounds extremist at first glance, but let me explain my position.

In the past, when HearthStone first came out, the card base everyone used was manageable in numbers and everyone could be competitive. It was possible to counter the cards you didn't have with the ones you did. It didn't matter that you didn't have all the cards

The Adventure Begins

Over time as the single player adventure Naxxramas was released, more cards with unique abilities arrived on scene. Even though these cards had new abilities, they balanced nicely with the other cards and the game wasn't flooded with new cards because Naxxramas added only 30 cards. It was still possible to create winning strategies against these new cards with the older cards.

Let's Get Bigger

On December 8th 2014, five months after the release of Naxxramas, the first expansion to Hearthstone is announced; Goblins vs. Gnomes. This new expansion adds 125 cards to the game. 

"New content feels like it's only purpose is to push sales."

The game has been out long enough that the players, who refuse to pay for the game like myself, have had plenty of time to collect many of the original cards and get most of the way through the Naxxramas adventures. So most players have enough cards in their arsenal to deal with this new onslaught of cards. However, with the release of Blackrock Mountain shortly after, the pace at which cards are being added is starting to feel rushed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping a game feeling fresh and new. There does come a point, however, when new content feels like it's only purpose is to push sales. 

"Using dust to make new cards is a loosing proposition because the trade-in value is so poor."

Now before you pounce on me for "Not grasping the basics of F2P," let me point out that up to this point, Blizzard has kept the model balanced relatively well compared to other such games.  And I don't mind the Free to Play model. So long as those who choose to spend their time as currency instead of money feel like the time spent has an appropriate value assigned to their time.

However, with the release of 31 Blackrock Mountain cards and the Grand Tournament's 132 cards, I just can't keep up. I'm still collecting Goblins vs. Gnomes and Blackrock Mountain cards.  Because of this I don't have the cards necessary to counter many of the new buffed cards.  And destroying cards for dust to make new cards is a loosing proposition because the trade in value is so poor.

My Judgement

Blizzard have now left players feeling forced to buy the cards with money or sit seething with frustration because they can't keep up. This in turn has devalued a player's time. 

Up to this new expansion, I loved to play Hearthstone. However, because Blizzard has devalued my time, I now hate the futility of the game. I think the only parts of the game left worth playing is the Tavern Brawl and playing against my real life friends.

Thank you Blizzard for killing a great game.

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The Grand Tournament is now live! https://www.gameskinny.com/7ghav/the-grand-tournament-is-now-live https://www.gameskinny.com/7ghav/the-grand-tournament-is-now-live Mon, 24 Aug 2015 09:32:06 -0400 Marshall Jenkins

As the Lord of the Arena himself would say in all his taunting glory, "The gates are open." After a hard hit and subsequent rebound of Activision stock this morning, the company has released Hearthstone's second card injection expansion The Grand Tournament. 

Players who took advantage of the pre-order sale are currently crushing Blizzard's servers as they open their card packs like hyper-anxious children on Christmas day. On Twitch.TV, over 285,000 spectators are currently watching popular players open their own packs hoping for insight into which of the new cards can earn you victory most effectively. 

Did you take advantage of this deal?

So, what is new about this expansion? It seems when the game begins to have an aura of staleness especially with the dominance certain decks, Blizzard turns the scales of balance on their heads. With the introduction of the Inspire and Joust mechanics, the game's top brass are going to be in a feeding frenzy to see what deck concoctions will come out on top. 

Let us know in the comments what cards you got. Check back after the crafting dust has settled to see what deck archetypes are dominating the ladder. 

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Hearthstone The Grand Tournament Release Date Announced https://www.gameskinny.com/noxar/hearthstone-the-grand-tournament-release-date-announced https://www.gameskinny.com/noxar/hearthstone-the-grand-tournament-release-date-announced Thu, 20 Aug 2015 06:52:11 -0400 C Miguel

Blizzard finally announced the release date of the highly anticipated Hearthstone "The Grand Tournament".

The Grand Tournament will be available for all August 24th. With stunning 132 cards featuring the Azeroth’s knights. There will be also an all-new game mechanic "Inspire".

Many critics had share their two cents on The Grand Tournament and the new meta. Our very own correspondent Ainyan summarize the details for the upcoming Grand Tournament here.

For Americas and Europe regions, The Grand Tournament card packs will be available via the in-game shop on August 24. While Asian regions will be available to purchase on August 25. Pre-purchased card bundles can be opened on the official release of The Grand Tournament.  Make sure to have your pre-order done beforehand if you want to get some nice discount.

Here is the official trailer of Hearthstone The Grand Tournament:

See you all at The Grand Tournament!

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Blizzard @ Gamescom 2015: new mechanic, new rewards for Hearthstone https://www.gameskinny.com/y279p/blizzard-gamescom-2015-new-mechanic-new-rewards-for-hearthstone https://www.gameskinny.com/y279p/blizzard-gamescom-2015-new-mechanic-new-rewards-for-hearthstone Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:44:49 -0400 Ainyan

Although the Grand Tournament is scheduled to release later this month, Blizzard didn’t neglect Hearthstone in its volley of announcements this morning at Gamescom.

In addition to a slew of new cards, executive producer Hamilton Chu and senior game designer Mike Donais announced a second new mechanic for Hearthstone and a new reward system for Ranked Play.

Joust!

A familiar mode of battle in any Grand Tournament, the Joust mechanic adds some gaming to your game. Minions and spells with the Joust mechanic get a little meta in your meta, creating a small contest of wills within the larger battle.

When a Joust is triggered - usually via a battlecry mechanic, but occasionally through deathrattle -  one random minion from each deck is revealed. If the Jouster’s revealed minion has the higher mana cost, then the Joust is successful and the stated effect is applied.

Highest Rank Bonus to Address Ladder Concerns

Currently, Ranked Play only offers two rewards - a card back at level 20, and a card back for reaching Legendary. A longstanding complaint among the Hearthstone community is that the reward is not equal to the risk, meaning many players only play long enough to get their level 20 card back or until they’ve reached the edge of their comfort zone, then refuse to take another step.

Blizzard is addressing that by adding the Highest Rank Bonus to Hearthstone’s ladder play.

 

Beginning this month, the highest rank attained by a player will be saved and displayed in the player’s Quest Log, recognizing their accomplishment, even if they happen to lose that rank. In addition to this acknowledgement, the end of season rewards will now include golden cards and dust, as well as the card back, appropriate to the highest rank earned. The higher the rank, the better quality - and quantity - of the golden cards.

Reward for Rank 17                                                           Reward for Rank 5
 

It seems the Joust mechanic will encourage the use of higher cost minions to offset the chance of one’s opponent winning the Joust. And the Highest Rank Bonus may well encourage more and more players to continue working their way up the ladder, allowing in turn for a greater pool of players to compete against. These are just two more examples of how The Grand Tournament is poised to take the current state of the game and flip-turn it upside down.

The Grand Tournament is Hearthstone’s second major expansion. It’s due out later this month.

Do you think Joust will provide an answer to low-cost minion decks like Face Hunter and Zoolock? Will the Highest Rank Bonus encourage you to play the ladder beyond your comfort zone? Tell us what you think of these latest announcements in the comments below!

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Pre-purchase bundle for Hearthstone's Grand Tournament available now https://www.gameskinny.com/29rxp/pre-purchase-bundle-for-hearthstones-grand-tournament-available-now https://www.gameskinny.com/29rxp/pre-purchase-bundle-for-hearthstones-grand-tournament-available-now Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:20:43 -0400 Ainyan

Prepare for the release of The Grand Tournament expansion for Hearthstone by pre-purchasing a special 50 deck bundle for $49.99 USD on PC - this is 10 more packs than the normal $49.99 USD bundle offered for Classic and Gnomes vs. Goblins packs.

Included with the purchase of the bundle is the Grand Tournament card back. 

Card packs purchased via the pre-purchase bundle will not be available in-game until the release of the expansion, however, the card back will be useable from the moment of purchase. Be advised that players may only purchase one bundle per account.

Hearthstone's second major expansion, The Grand Tournament, was announced on July 22nd, 2015. It is due to be released sometime in August - current speculation seems to favor either August 12th or August 18th for the release date. This Argent Tournament-themed expansion includes 132 new cards, a new mechanic (Hero Power upgrades), a new keyword (Inspire), and a new game board.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play game with in-game purchases from Blizzard Entertainment. It is available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

For more information, visit the official Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft website.

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New Grand Tournament expansion announced for Hearthstone, Inspire mechanic introduced https://www.gameskinny.com/st2cu/new-grand-tournament-expansion-announced-for-hearthstone-inspire-mechanic-introduced https://www.gameskinny.com/st2cu/new-grand-tournament-expansion-announced-for-hearthstone-inspire-mechanic-introduced Thu, 23 Jul 2015 05:16:03 -0400 Ainyan

Although the Lich King and his undead Scourge have been defeated, the Argent Tournament lives on. Rebranded the Grand Tournament by its ambitious proprietors, the competition has made its way from the icy shores of Northrend to the Hearthstone tables of inns across the world, still host to the Heroes of Warcraft.

Perhaps a bit more playful than its previous incarnation, the Grand Tournament is still a place where would-be champions will compete to prove their honor, their worth…

And their sense of humor.

Scheduled for release in August 2015, The Grand Tournament is a full expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Bringing 132 brand-new cards to the table, The Grand Tournament is the largest expansion for Blizzard’s card game to date. In addition tons of new minions and all-new class spells, the Tourney will also introduce a new mechanic to the game Inspire, where some cards will now be able to modify hero powers. 

What’s a new mechanic without a new keyword to help better identify and refine it? In addition to the new hero power modification mechanic, Blizzard is adding the keyword Inspire. Inspire indicates that whenever the player uses their Hero Power, the Inspire power of any minion in play will activate. For instance, the Lowly Squire, a 1 cost, 1/2 minion, gains +1 attack anytime the player uses their hero power. 

Blizzard has already introduced several of the new cards: for instance, a new hunter spell, Lock and Load, four cost card that causes any spell you cast during the turn to place a random hunter card in your hand. Looks like Face Hunter might be getting a new meta.

In addition to class cards, there will also be new minions ranging from common cards to brand-new legendaries, like Nexus-Champion Saraad, a five-cost, 4/5 Ethereal riding an energy camel who adds a random spell from any class to your hand when you use your hero power.

 

New cards, a new board, new mechanics and a new keyword, The Grand Tournament offers it all. While the expansion is not available until August, the new card packs will be available for pre-order next week. Players will be able to order the packs in bulk at a discounted price - earning a new card back for doing so - with those packs to be opened as soon as the expansion goes live.

It looks like The Grand Tournament will bring some much-needed vitality to the current meta. With a new mechanic and new class spells and new minions, it is very likely we’ll see crazy new types of decks making their way up the ladder.

What classes do you hope might see some revitalization from this expansion? Any old deck types you hope might make a comeback?

I think it would be awfully nice to play a priest again...

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Blizzard's Hearthstone Announcement: The Grand Tournament https://www.gameskinny.com/uxobd/blizzards-hearthstone-announcement-the-grand-tournament https://www.gameskinny.com/uxobd/blizzards-hearthstone-announcement-the-grand-tournament Wed, 22 Jul 2015 20:10:21 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Today from San Francisco, Blizzard hosted a Fireside gathering through Twitch, making a live-feed for announcing their new addition to their large digital card game, Hearthstone. This new addition The Grand Tournament will add over 130 new cards, plenty of new mechanics, and much more.

The Grand Tournament Details

Some new characters will be appearing for The Grand Tournament, and adding a new board for them to do battle on. Using the fantastic artists at Blizzard, they made a great map for these new unique characters to play on with the new mechanics. One of the new characters for example is called Skycapn' Kragg, who is a pirate captain riding a giant parrot. 

The main theme behind this addition is that heroes are a big deal. They've included new cards that will affect how a player's hero skill works. For example, a new mage card called "Coldarra Drake" featuring a dragon, lets the player use the hero power any number of times. There's also "Maiden of the Lake" which reduces the hero cost to only one. Another new "Frost Giant" is being added, which allows the gamer to use the hero power a ton of times but at a cheaper amount during that specific game. 

A major new addition is the adding of a keyword or trait for characters, called "Inspire", which activates a power every time you use your hero skill. 

When can we see this Grand Tournament add-on?

The Grand Tournament will be releasing next month, with 130 new cards that will come in the same packs, and also for the same price which can be bought with either in-game gold or real money. For those that want to get ahead in this add-on, there's a pre-purchase next week where you can get 50 packs at a discounted price, giving you a slight advantage.

What are you looking forward to most in this add-on to the digital card game, Hearthstone?

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