Hearthstone’s first official ranked play season begins tomorrow. Something about it being the first official season has brought me back to the idea of grinding the ladder in pursuit of becoming a HEARTHSTONE LEGEND. I’d sort of avoided ranked play in the last couple of seasons because it just felt like the top ranks were populated by two to three ‘top tier’ decks circulating sites like our own. The promise of untold glory however has convinced me to give it another go, but as always, on my terms. That means, of course, building my own deck.
Building a deck that can win out a majority of the time is difficult, and for me, incredibly stressful. I don’t just want to take recycled parts and mash them together to create a nearly identical clone of other existing decks. I personally want to innovate and make my own unique deck. The problem is twofold. I am not nearly as good a player as the folks who spend their time ceaselessly theorycrafting. Moreover, there are just some hard truths when it comes to the worth of cards. Defender of Argus is an absurd card, when it comes to value. Harvest Golem, again, crazy value. Cairne Bloodhoof is like supersized value. These cards are run almost universally because they are so powerful. Trying to simply ignore them because they’re ‘popular cards’ is a recipe for disaster.
The opposite is also true. Trying to grab a card and make it work because it’s ‘underground’ is also not an intelligent decision, at least if you want to grind the ladder. Malygos is just an all around awesome card. His art is amazing. His flavor text is amazing. His stats are great. However, he also costs nine mana and if you don’t have any spells in your hand that cost one mana, there’s a very real chance that you’ll get nothing for your troubles. If you’ve had to exhaust most of your spells to get to that point, you’re also probably going to have trouble making much use of him. There will be situations where Malygos will win you the game, but you’d probably win a lot more if you ran Ysera or Alexstrasza. Their requirements for success are far less rigid.
I’ve found simplicity to be the best approach when it comes to creating my own deck. What decks are most common these days? At present, I see a lot of Control Warrior, UTH Hunter and Value Mage with cameos by Aggro Warlock and Druid Midrange. Yes, there are other decks, but I don’t run into them nearly enough to factor them in. So, what all do these decks have in common? Each feature a good number of sub three attack creatures such as Frothing Berserker, Harvest Golem, Mana Wyrm and more. This leaves opportunities for control creatures such Cabal Shadow Priest and Stampeding Kodo to feast, if used correctly.
As only Priest has access to Cabal Shadow Priest, it seemed worth looking into the set and seeing how it hangs with familiar enemies. Power Word: Shield and Holy Smite are both quick triggers for Wild Pyromancer’s AoE damage ability, making them great spells when dealing with aggro, or simply when looking to remove a bunch of hounds from the board. Priest passes the early game test, features a lot of board clear potential and also has a problematic late game, making it a solid selection at all phases against most current decks. This would not be the case if Midrange became more popular again. Druid of the Claw, Argent Commanders and Chillwind Yetis all give Priests fits. Thankfully, we’re not seeing a lot of them right now.
Analysis complete. I’ll begin the first official Hearthstone season playing Priest and watch how the meta progresses. It’s very much possible that within a week I’ll be needing to build another tool to have at my disposal. For now, however, it looks like Anduin will suffice.
If you’re also out there building your own deck for the season, what problems have you come across? What were the solutions, if any? While we obviously love comments, I’d just enjoy the chance to brainstorm with others who refuse to netdeck!