I Am Ready to Learn: A Guide to Self-Improvement

By: TheDacianWolf

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:

1. Muster for Battle
2. Coghammer
3.  Aldor Peacekeeper
4.  2 drop
5. 2 drop + 1 drop
6. 3 1 drops
7. Hero power
8. Hero power + 1 drop

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

Example 2 turn 1

We are Playing Midrange Druid. Our opponent is a warlock who mulliganed 2 cards. It is turn 1 and our opponent passed.

Our Hand: Darnassus Aspirant, Wrath, Wild Growth, Keeper of the Grove, Coin, Druid of the Claw

So let’s go through our options

  1.       Coin +  Darnassus Aspirant
  2.       Pass
  3.       Coin + Wild Growth
  4.       Coin + Hero Power
  5.       Coin

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.

Our Hand: Darnassus Aspirant, Wild Growth, Druid of the Claw, Wrath, Coin, Keeper of the Grove, Force of Nature

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!

Example 3

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.

Opponent: Renolock

Important Notes:

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.

Personal Plug 🙂

I am hoping to get my Twitch stream up and running soon, but have come across some technical difficulties, I would appreciate a follow so you can get up to date on all of my future articles and streams! Thanks!

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/thedacianwolf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dacian_hs

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Have a great day!

18 thoughts on “I Am Ready to Learn: A Guide to Self-Improvement

  1. Thanks for the article! Well written.

    I’m a rather new Oil Rogue player, so I may be missing some tricks that you can pull off in the last scenario. Here’s my solution:

    I’m not going to play around multiple Taunts, because he’s played multiple common Taunt cards and we can’t beat that anyway. This turn, we Hero Power, double Poison, Oil and pass. We plan to play Deckhand next turn, followed by Oil, Eviscerate, and Blade Flurry for 31 damage. It may be worthwhile to Sap Brann because we won’t use it next turn, and it’s important not to attack this turn because he has Reno.

  2. Hey DacianWolf, thanks very much for these articles! I am a terrible Hearthstone player, but trying to improve. I honestly don’t know how I would play this, I think I would definitely lose, but my instinct would be to try to clear the board this turn. As such, I would dagger, Violet Teacher, Poison, Poison, hit face then flurry.

    Am I dead? I’m probably dead.

    1. Thank you for the comment, I am glad you enjoyed the article!

      The problem with this play is that not that you are dead but that you no longer have enough damage to kill him. If you made this line he would play reno, maybe a board clear as well and you would lose. With this in mind what do you do?

      1. I see what you mean. Reading other comments about the play, I see that you need to hold until you can OTK next turn, makes perfect sense now that I know. I need to learn to see these things for myself. I’ve had this problem in games where I’ve managed to stay alive well into fatigue but am too short-sighted in my plays, just trying to stay alive turn to turn, rather than looking for the way to win. That’s why I love reading stuff like this and seeing how other people think the problem through. I hope I can improve my play. Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate the feedback 🙂

  3. I guess I suck balls, on the first example I wouldn’t have saved the backstab (which is bad, I know) but I understand the reasoning behind attacking and saving it to perhaps combo next turn or setup a better clear.

    But on the second example… I would’ve never done that, I would’ve probably passed first turn but most certainly played darnassus aspirant on 2 :/. And of course keeping the coin wouldn’t have had a clever reasoning like “I won’t want to play keeper on curve” which is completely right, but it would’ve been more like: “I don’t accelerate any play next turn so I keep coin to accelerate a future play”, but if I had a shade I’m sure as hell I’d have coined aspirant and my dreams would’ve been shattered after my opponent darkbombs.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      This line of thinking just leads me to believe you are a high risk high reward player, but you have to evaluate at this stage in the game is that kind of play worth it right now, which I don’t believe it is.

    2. A rule of thumb is that Wild Growth is generally better on turn two than Aspirant. This is because Wild Growth is pretty weak if not play on turn two or for cycle, while Aspirant can still be pretty strong at 5 or 6 mana.

  4. Dacian, great post as usual! Keep up the good work my man. I’m sure the community is eagerly awaiting your stream!

  5. Great article! It is very well written! ?
    I am a beginner and would be interested in learning more plays.
    I will be looking forward to you posting more information, tips and tricks.
    Can’t wait to try these out in my next game! ?

  6. Hello,
    i liked the article but i have to disagree with the second example. You argument for keeping the coin is that you want to play Druid of the claw on turn 4. If you use the coin to play Wild Growth you will have also 5 mana on turn4 , so you can do the excact same play. The difference is that if you use Wild Growth on turn 1 you trade your coin for basically having a coin in the following 8 turns. I think this play would give you way more options in the following turns.

  7. Read all your articles tonight. Played for a few months last year and am currently getting back into the game, trying to learn Zoo. This is a good way to let off the tilt! Curious about the moves regarding the first and second example:

    1) Why not Coin + SI:7 Agent? Paladin Musters and trades into SI, your answer is FoK, and you’re still at full health vs 4 or 6 health down depending on the line of play. Or he Cogs, kills the SI. You Dagger + DP. This leaves you the ability to Violet/Backstab and clear a Shredder on turn 4 with your last charge of weapon.

    2) Essentially by not coining the Darnassus, you assume Handlock over Zoo, right? Keeping a single card doesn’t seem like a strong enough giveaway, and your hand seems SO strong against Zoo it seems the right move is to play efficiently against that. Is it because you hedge the bet and assuming Handlock rather than Zoo because you have tools to recovery (Wrath + Keeper) if it is just a Zoo with a bad start?

    1. Thanks for the support!

      1) Using the dagger this turn lets you answer a wider range of things next turn. You can kill a secret keeper + 2 secrets, another minibot, knife juggler + secret and so on. You don’t need to spend so many resources on a turn 2 minibot

      2) In a way yes, but the point still stands: coin aspirant turn 1 with no 3 drop is awkward. Are you fishing for a shade? It screws with your curve. If they play a threat to your aspirant turn 2 its better to wild growth and play a 4/5 drop on turn 3.

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