In the past I have seen many articles on this topic, and for good reason. Every player wants to improve so they can reach their own personal goal, whether that is rank 10, rank 5 or legend. There are many great ways to improve such as watching streams and talking with friends. However I feel there is one tip that a lot of people tend to forget about. You are your own teacher. The only person who will truly make you a better player is yourself. Your friends, the streams you watch, and the coach you hire won’t always be there to guide you to the right play. The only way you will ever get better at Hearthstone is if you are able to come up with the correct play by yourself.
The harsh reality is most of us, including myself, don’t make the right play every turn. A few months ago I was struggling to make it to legend every season, now I am capable of making it to legend on NA and EU in the first half of the season and I can easily maintain a Top 500 spot. And yet, I am still misplaying quite frequently, which holds me back from those top 100 spots.
So how do you go about being your own teacher? All of the following examples will try and showcase my thought process to arriving to the correct play. When being your own teacher you must clearly identify and pros and cons to each of your options in order to determine the best play. Let’s start simple.
Many of you may know from my previous articles that I am a rogue main. When I first started playing rogue I could never beat Paladins (yes, that is quite embarrassing to admit). So this first example will be probably one of the most common scenarios in that match up.
So Many Options…
It is turn 2, and your opponent, just played a Shielded Minibot.
What is the play?
Option 1: Dagger up and Pass
Option 2: Coin + SI:7 Agent the Shielded Minibot
Option 3: Dagger to poke off the shield + Backstab
Option 4: Dagger poke off the shield
Option 5: Coin + SI:7 Agent + Backstab the Shielded Minibot
Option 6: Coin + Fan of Knives
Option 7: Pass (do not use any mana)
Option 8: Dagger, coin Deadly Poison
As you can see, it’s only turn 2 yet our hand gives us 8 options. Obviously some of these options are clearly bad plays, but if are new to playing rogue, there is no excuse for you not to thoroughly think out all of these plays. You need to be able to understand why some of these plays are strictly incorrect and why only 1 of these plays is acceptable.
In order to understand the correct play we need to think about what our opponent will do and what our response will be.
Possible Plays from Opponent:
I will not explain each and every one of these plays, instead I will just explain the correct one, and you can figure out why the other plays are incorrect.
Option 4: Dagger and poke off the shield
So why are we poking of the shield? Knocking off the divine shield plays around buffs and sets up the deal with it in future turns. Saving the Backstab is important as we can use it in future turns with Violet Teacher, SI:7 Agent and Azure Drake. Coghammer is the only card which punishes this play, however since we have SI:7 Agent and Backstab it isn’t that punishing. It is important to note that even if I didn’t have SI:7 Agent I would still make this play as it setups up better for a majority of my opponents responses.
Option 4 allows me to hit the Shielded Minibot on turn 3 and play fan of knives if my opponent plays Muster for Battle. It also sets up for a full clear with Backstab + SI:7 Agent if my opponent plays a minion with 3 health or less, or Knife Juggler + Noble Sacrifice/ Redemption.
I Can Taste The Mana
We are Playing Midrange Druid. Our opponent is a warlock who mulliganed 2 cards. It is turn 1 and our opponent passed.
So let’s go through our options
In this example I will clearly state all the of things I am thinking about in no particular order. Think of it as me randomly blurting out facts:
- Wasting the coin for hero power or wasting mana is awful.
- My opponent has mulliganed 2 cards, which leads me to believe he is Zoo, but he didn’t play a 1 drop so maybe he is a control Warlock variant (Malygos, combolock, renolock, Handlock)
- Coining Darnassus Aspirant seems good against zoo because it contests his turn 2 play, but bad vs his on curve Darkbomb. Playing Darnassus Aspirant next turn also contests his 2 drop.
- Coining Wild Growth doesn’t allow me to play anything on curve next turn unless I top deck a 3 drop.
- Saving coin for coining a Druid of the Claw seems good because I will likely not want to play keeper of the grove on curve.
Using this rationale I decide to pass.
Let’s take this example one step further and play out turn 2. Our opponent tapped so we can rule out the possibility of him being Zoo because they kept 1 card and had no plays on turn 1 or 2. Our next draw is Force of Nature.
- So now we have to decide whether or not to play Wild Growth or Darnassus Aspirant. If we play Darnassus Aspirant his only answer is Darkbomb, which would be off curve.
- He kept 1 card. What does warlock keep vs druid? Darkbomb, Imp Gang Boss, 4 drops, maybe Hellfire.
- Since we want to play a five drop next turn it is super bad if our Darnassus Aspirant gets Darkbombed, so I am inclined to Wild Growth.
Therefore I would pass turn 1 and play Wild Growth on turn 2.
Think we can all agree these first 2 examples were simple turns, yet even they had very complex lines of thinking as to why one play is correct.
Pay Attention Class!
This is a real example which happened to me at legend ranks, I lost this game because I made the wrong play. I will not tell you what you what the correct play is, instead I want you the comment what you think the play is and how you came to that decision. Remember that sometimes you have to play to your outs.
- He has 6 cards left in his deck, he has used one Acidic Swamp Ooze, Defender of Argus, Sludge Belcher and Loatheb.
- Earlier in the game he played Reno Jackson and Youthful Brewmastered it.
- If he runs the Leeroy Jenkins combo we lose.
How do you win this game? Some of you will spot this right away and others will not. That is fine. Like I said earlier I lost due to misplaying on this turn.
Thank you for reading my article! I hope you learned how important it is to be able to teach yourself why the play you are making is the correct play. Coaches, streamers and friends will only help so much, the rest is up to you.
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Have a great day!