Deck Types in Hearthstone
Hello once again, I am Spinalogaman team coach and player for Razor’s Edge Gaming. As a new article writer (this is my second one), I want to focus in the educational part of the game.
This time I will talk about the general strategies of the game and separate almost every existing play-style in categories. Also, I am going to emphasize on how complex they can be to play them. As far as separation is concerned the criteria for a deck I am going to use are:
- How we build them.
- How we play them.
- What our win condition is.
(examples: Control Warrior, Control Priest, Reno-Warlock)
The concept of ”Control ” does not only exist in Hearthstone but in almost every card game of this style. The general idea here is to clear the board almost every turn, while we keep our life as high as possible in numbers. Finally, in the late game, we play our heavy minions so it is impossible for our opponent to keep up, OR we end the game with a high-burst combo that was gathered in our hand throughout the game. In summary, we include:
- Single and Multi target removals.
- Draw Tools.
- High-Burst Combos, Heavy Minions or Both.
In my opinion when you are playing a control deck versus an opponent that pressures you, your strategy is pretty clear. You keep clearing everything, trying to find a good spot to turn the tides with your heavy threats. Having played some games, you will not struggle to find the right play for each turn.
However, playing control versus control needs a lot of skill, experience and time. Since this article’s point isn’t to explain all the details about this situation, I will try to point out the most crucial parts. First of all, you have to manage your draw, because most of these games end up to fatigue. Being a little bit greedy or conservative than you should be, could cause you to draw more, therefore eventually cause you to take more damage, or fall behind respectively. Mastering the balance of the draw is an aspect that needs a lot of training. Furthermore, using your removal resources correctly requires a COMPLETE AWARENESS of your opponent’s deck because you have to decide which are the most menacing cards that you don’t want to face are. At last, you need tons of patience since most of these games last longer than 20 minutes.
(Examples: face hunter, aggro shaman)
Even as one of the most popular playstyles in the game, the true meaning of the word ”aggro” is misunderstood by a large portion of the players for two reasons:
- They don’t know what it truly means.
- They think that aggro decks are easy to play.
So, what is the correct explanation of ”aggro‘‘?
This strategy is supported by low curve decks with low-cost minions that help us push damage to the face without this meaning that we don’t make trades as well. Keep this in mind, we will need it later on. Everything until now is known to the majority of the players, however, a few of them understand that aggro decks aim to finish the game with damage from hand or a powerful combo (Kill command, Leeroy + P.O + Faceless etc.) That’s why I can’t include a classic zoo warlock deck (no Leeroy) in the pure aggro category since our win condition isn’t just a high-burst combo, but our early board dominance combined with our reloading ability that makes it impossible for our opponent to keep up.
Why are aggro decks hard to play?
Firstly, I have to be fair and say that they are ”easy to learn but hard to master ”. Just because of their ability to end the game before reaching ten mana, people imagine them as auto-pilot decks.
We can easily prove this wrong with many arguments:
- Even from turn one, we have more than one card to play due to our low-cost build. This means our decisions are not one-way but each of our plays combined can create many different paths. But which one leads to victory?
- We have to be VERY careful with our early trades, since we only choose the most efficient and necessary ones, in order to protect a board with higher damage potential. I will give a simple example.
Our opponent has a 2/2 Dark Peddler on the board and we have a 4/4 and a 3/3. It’s our turn and we decide to trade the 2/2 Peddler, so we can avoid a possible abusive sergeant buff and losing our 4/4. Therefore, we trade the 3/3 (then it is 3/1) and go face with the 4/4. WRONG!!!!! There is a high chance that peddler discovered a mortal coil, which means we could lose our 3/1. All I want to say is that it’s not always so simple and ‘‘auto-pilot’’ to just trade with the lowest attack minion and go face with the higher one. We maybe did 1 more damage, but we lose three in our next turn……Yes aggro decks need more brain than you think!!
You will notice many times that losing one damage on turn four for example, might lead you being 1 damage off lethal and losing the game. A single mistake with an aggro deck will cost you the game.
(Examples: Tempo Mage, Classic Zoo, Dragon Warrior)
I find tempo decks really easy to play since the main strategy is to spend most of our mana crystals each turn play minions and clear the opposing ones. However, for the same reasons just like aggro they are hard to master. Building a tempo decks is pretty easy. Include:
- Cards with almost every possible mana cost, so you can play one on curve each turn. We need to keep the balance.
- Low cost removals so we can do tempo swing turns (remove opponent’s minion plus playing ours)
- Having cards that allow us to play on curve each turn, tempo decks are really strong due to their ability to make power plays more often than other decks. However, having a tempo gap in a crucial turn might cost you the game.
(Freeze mage, OTK warrior R.I.P)
There aren’t many popular decks in this category others than these 2 that i pronounced. Despite that, I can’t place them in the previous categories since their strategy is pretty unique. Our main strategy is to ” stall ” every turn surviving and drawing until we have our SUPER combo in hand and win in one or two turns.
The good thing is that our win condition is non-interactive and most of the times, our opponent can’t play around it, still decks that pressure us might not leave us gather our “Exodia” in hand. Building a deck like this we need:
- Our killer combo.
- A lot of Draw Mechanics.
- Single and multi-target removals.
Hard to play, insane to master. That’s all I can say.
To summarize, these are the four Big Deck Families-Strategies that I find in Hearthstone. You will notice that I didn’t mention words like Mid-Range, Hybrid or anything else. The reasoning is that they are a combination of the basic strategies I analyzed above.
Thanks to everyone for reading this, I hope you find it helpful and educating. In the next article sequel, I will analyze all the favored-unfavored match ups for each category. See you next time!