Touchstone Tavern #18 – Your Weekly ‘Hearthstone’ News Roundup

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After having so many news the week before this one, the week that has just passed wasn’t as crazy, probably because everyone is starting to think and talk BlizzCon rather than talk much about nerfs, expansions, new modes, or anything along those lines. That’s not to say that we didn’t have plenty going on in the world of Hearthstone (Free) this week, but it definitely wasn’t like last Monday’s Touchstone Tavern where I had to be careful not to give you guys an article that ran 3000 words. This week we had a few tournaments wrapping up, some BlizzCon news, and more evidence of Hearthstone‘s growing popularity. In general, the Hearthstone world is looking to BlizzCon at the moment, so we are in a bit of a stasis. Ok, let’s dive in and get things going.


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Blizzard Announces BlizzCon 2015 In-Game Items

As you all know, BlizzCon is coming soon, and Blizzard has intensified its promotion of the event. A few days ago, we got to see the Blizzard 2015 Card Back that you will be able to use after BlizzCon begins. In order to get this cool (literally, it’s blizzard-themed) card back, you’ll have to purchase a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket or, of course, attend the event in person. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet but want to, here’s the link.



A Pro Match Somehow Ended in a Draw

We don’t often see draws in Hearthstone, let alone in pro matches. And yet, in the South East Asia finals for the Hearthstone World Championship, neilyo’s Druid somehow managed to get a draw against Zaldivar’s Hunter. According to the DailyDot story, neilyo spotted a route for lethal and used a Swipe to put the Hunter to exactly zero. However, in doing so he also killed his opponent’s Leper Gnome, which brought his own hero down to zero. We aren’t sure whether he knew what would happen, but he had to use the Swipe or die the next turn anyway.


The Best Hearthstone Deck Resource Sites

Tim Clark over at PC Gamer has a very useful list of resources for those who enjoy their netdecking. After declaring that there’s no shame in netdecking since climbing the ladder usually requires already-proven decks, the article lists various sites that make netdecking easier. The sites the writer was looking for had to be comprehensive (including all classes and playstyles), contemporary (so they are in-tune with the current meta), and trustworthy (providing proof of the skill of those proposing decks). The first site listed is Hearthstone Top Decks because it’s simple, reliable, and draw from pros and popular streamers. The second is the competitivehs subreddit, which might be on reddit but is actually strictly moderated and the posts include detailed explanations of card choices and strategy advice. The third is Tempo Storm (which I use for the meta report) because it has one of the best builder tools on the web and, of course, the great meta snapshot.


Hearthpwn is the next on the list. Being the most popular of the netdecking sites, it often influences the meta because everyone is using it and sees the same kind of info on the current state of the game. Hearthstone Players is also a good one, but some of the best content is hidden behind a subscription wall, which makes it less useful if you aren’t willing to pay the $2.95 a month. Lastly, Hearthstone Top Deck is another good site that focuses on recent lists played in competitive tournaments. The PC Gamer story goes into more depth on each of the sites and also provides other resource sites, so go take a look at it.


Kingdom Hearthstone

Sometimes a mashup deserves its own story rather than adding it to the videos at the end of the article. As the title says, this video is a mash up of Kingdom Hearts and Hearthstone. There’s even a Patron Warrior thing; even cartoons can’t escape that deck. Enjoy.


Savjs on RNG, and Mistakes of Ladder Players

Savjz gave a very interesting interview over at PC Gamer and, like Amnesiac last week, talked about mistakes Ladder players make. Team Liquid’s star said that the most common mistake is Ladder players not reacting properly to what they play against. You need to know which cards to save for later and which to play early depending on the class and playstyle of the opponent. As for most hated card, he said he would delete Warsong Commander (perfectly agree there) because it’s simply an unfun card. While some classes have the tools to deal with minions like Warsong, not all classes do so if you happen to play a Shaman and Priest, you’ll do badly against that card.

As for RNG, Savjs said that the RNG moments are the most memorable ones, so he thinks that RNG makes watching Hearthstone more fun. On the other hand, just being good at the game isn’t enough to make a name for yourself because you need luck. Perhaps RNG should be toned down a bit, but it should be a part of the game. He believes that Kolento is the most impressive deck builder in the game, and as for avoiding tilt (getting losing streaks due to bad plays or frustration), Savjs says he takes a break or switch strategies. Now enjoy him getting the perfect draw and doing the Astral Communion dream and get 10 mana in turn 2.


Thijs Reaches #1 in the GosuRankings After Doing Great in EU Regionals

With 77% win-rate this month and great consistency, Thijs has hit Rank #1 and is close to hitting the 1,300 points mark. Thijs didn’t start 2015 well and had a hard time adjusting to the change from conquest to last hero standing format. However, these last few months have been very good for him. He won the ATLC, finishing the tournament with a 64% win-rate. He also made many top-8 finishes and will be making his second appearance at the BlizzCon EU regionals, helped by his undefeated run through the 40-man online qualifier. Not surprising, then, that he has ascended to the top of the GosuRankings.



September’s Loot Crate Had Some Hearthstone Items

Hearthstone continues to slide into every geeky context out there, with the latest one being the popular geek-swag dispenser, Loot Crate. The theme for this month was Summon, so Hearthstone stuff fit perfectly along with a Pikachu Beanie. The Crate included a Hearthstone stress squeeze, for those moments when the gods of RNG kick you in the teeth, a Cardboard Case with the Coin, and a free Card Pack. This Hearthstone game, it’s everywhere.



Hearthstone‘s Little Things

“Jordude" over at Complexity Gaming wrote a very useful little guide to Hearthstone‘s little things that can really make a difference and raise an average player to a top tier player. When it comes to playing the game, Bluffing is very important in Hearthstone. You can for example trick your opponent into thinking you’ve played a different secret from the one you’ve played. You can also pick up cards but not play them to make him think you have more options than you actually have, or hover a Crackle over your Face to make him think you have a Rockbiter Weapon, and so on. Check out the video below (skip to 3:24) for an example of a well-played bluff.

Another mind game you can play is to change playstyles mid-game, going for instance from Combo to Aggro briefly to confuse the opponent. You should also always look at the opponent’s Mulligan phase to see how many cards they mulligan; that gives you an idea of how good their early game will be. The writer gives some more information and pieces of advice including how to approach tournament play, so go take a look at the whole article.


Mind Battles in Hearthstone

A recent Eurogamer article fit perfectly with the article I just discussed as John Bedford talks about how many players will delay their play as much as possible not because they are thinking their next move but because they want to frustrate you. That frustration tactic is not simply trolling; the more time you have to think about the game, the more you often think about the mistakes you’ve made, the threats you are under, all your shortcomings, etc. In other words, you can enhance your opponent’s tilt simply by making him or her wait every single turn. We all get frustrated when we have to wait more than a minute for each play, especially when we are in a hurry, so we’ll often make suboptimal plays. This story very cleverly twines snooker with Hearthstone in a very insightful analysis, so I suggest you go take a look at it.


Hearthstone Effects in Slow Motion are Hypnotic

Kotaku put up a very interesting video where the speed of in-game animations is lowered, revealing how cool and how detailed those animations actually are. Besides the cool factor, this video might point to one of the reasons why Blizzard refuses to speed up animations more; the company obviously put a lot of effort and money into that part of the game, so I don’t think it wants to lessen the animations’ impact on the game’s aesthetic.

Zetalot Takes Rank 1 With Priest

Zetalot ravaged the EU Ladder recently, taking his Priest deck to Rank 1. This Control Priest deck didn’t go with the more popular Dragon cards but, instead, ran the Holy Champion card (one of the most underrated cards of TGT according to Zetalot), that when dropped on the deck forces the opponent to play defensively. The other TGT card he uses is Justicar Trueheart, another card that turned out to be stronger than expected according to Zetalot. In his Ladder play, he found that the deck worked well against pretty much every deck (including Handlock). Go here to check the whole deck if you want.

This Week’s Tavern Brawl Was All About the Underdogs

Finally, a new Brawl! This week we had the Glory to the Underdog as the game helped whichever player was losing by 3 or more health on every turn. If you were on the losing side, you got a random minion on the board. Now, this one was a tricky one because having a less health in Hearthstone doesn’t always mean you are losing. This Brawl saw many Warlocks, of course, but at least we got to see a new idea this week. As I said in the story I wrote when the Brawl came out, I enjoy watching Blizzard explore new design spaces, so this one was an interesting choice. Did you enjoy it?


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Decks from the HWC Regionals

Gosugamers put up a list of the decklists used by the players who are on their way to the regionals. Go check the decks by Vlps, JAB, Hotform, Maverick, Hoej, and Neirea. Unsurprisingly, 4 of the contestants brought a Patron Warrior along. The more surprising element was that 4 brought Midrange Druid. Go here to check out the full decks.


Get Ready for the Hearthstone European Championship

After some great battles in the Hearthstone European Championship Qualifiers, we have the final 8 that will battle it out in the main event in Prague next week. After many action-packed (and RNG-packed) series, the ones who prevailed are Thijs, Lifecoach, Ostkaka, Hoej, Neirea, Gera89, Pavel, and Maverick. If you want to see more information on the matches played and the results, go here. The HEC will take place in Prague’s O2 Arena on October 3 and 4, and will be livestreamed on Twitch.



Asia Teams Up To Prepare China’s BlizzCon Players

The four players that will represent China at Blizzcon – LoveCX, NoTomorrow, Zoro, and Zihao – are looking for ways to prepare for the tournament since they are missing international tournament experience. So, between October 1-7 Blizzard China is organizing a tournament between the four BlizzCon players and the best that China and Korea has to offer. A total of 28 matches will be played, and the tournament will have a small prize pool of $4,500. I think this is a smart idea to help Chinese players who are very good but definitely don’t have the tournament experience their opponents will have.


Meta Snapshot

Tempostorm’s snapshot talks about how with the current closing coming to a close in a few days, everyone is bringing Patron Warrior out to play to get as high as possible on the ladder. Many have gotten tired of the Secret Paladin as its shine has gone, and while it’s still popular, there’s definitely less of them played. Mid-Range Druid and Demon Handlock are very powerful on ladder since they match up well against Patron Warrior. Dragon Priest continues to be very strong, but as Control Priest is emerging again and with a shift toward a slower meta, Dragon Priest isn’t doing that well because it suffers against slow decks.


Tempo Mage is still popular on the lader, but the increase in Demon Handlocks has pushed Tempo Mage down a bit. Control Warrior and Control Priest have done pretty well this season so far, reaching Rank 1 Legend in several servers. Overall, we don’t see much TGT experimentation currently with Dragon Shaman being the only new addition to the meta this week.

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As always, we have some good resources on the site for you in case you are new to the game or simply want to sharpen up your game. There’s never such a thing as too much help in Hearthstone.

Hearthstone Beginners’ Guide

Hearthstone Deck-building Guide

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