spark-deckbuilding

Introduction

Hello everyone!

I’m Spark, a Legend player from France. I’m mostly known for my deck creations and today I’m sharing with you my deckbuilding process!

Building decks with a lot of synergies and interesting interactions is what attract me the most in hearthstone because they generally lead to a very interesting playstyle and can create some really amazing situations. However, building those decks while keeping them consistent in the long run requires a good experience and knowledge of the game.

As many of my readers are requesting it for some time now, I decided to go for it. The aim of this article is to present the process that I run through in order to build synergistic decks that are both fun and efficient. As it’s mostly a matter of feeling for me, describing it very precisely is not an easy task but I’ll try to be as specific as possible and will use 2 recent decks as examples tu support the article :

Snake Bite : Full Beast Hunter

Demonic Void : Midrange Demonlock

The aim of this article is not to prove them the best deck out there or anything! They are simply here to support the article with examples and, since I hit Legend with them (respectively in S11 and S12), they are perfect examples of highly synergistic and creative decks that can be viable on the ladder (if piloted properly, as always). ��

Core Idea

The first step is obviously to find your initial idea. The real difficulty here is to avoid common mistakes : picking funny cards that don’t really work on their own.

For example, Divine Spirit

+ Inner Fire
combo may seem powerful at first glance but then you realize those 2 cards have no impact when taken separately.

The key here is to think about cards that have some great interactions with the class you’re picking and that are already somewhat decent individually.

For example :

  • Scavenging Hyena
    is a small Beast body for 2 mana that can grow very rapidly considering Hunter’s ability to flood the board with weaker Beasts.
  • Voidcaller
    is a decent body for its cost that can allow you to spawn some awesome Demons from your hand when it dies.
  • Grim Patron
    can benefits from Warrior’s board damage and Warsong Commander
    to pull off some insane combos.
  • Dragon Consort
    has a great body and justifies running a Dragon oriented build with Paladin.
  • Flamewaker
    synergizes with the great amount of Mage spells to build a fast tempo deck.

So, during this first step of the process you’re going to focus your build on 10 to 15 cards that work particularly well together while being decent in the first place.

You can find examples of my Full Beast Hunter and Demonlock builds below.

The initial idea here is to make use of the great snowballing potential of Scavenging Hyena
with a lot of token producers and standard Beasts to escort it.
The initial idea here is to make use of Voidcaller
ability to summon badass Demons by controlling its death through the use of Power Overwhelming
, Void Terror
or Shadowflame
.
Snake Bite - Core Idea
Class Cards (12)
1160
2
Webspinner
1
2
Scavenging Hyena
2
2
Snake Trap
2
2
Unleash the Hounds
3
2
Animal Companion
3
2
Savannah Highmane
6
Neutral Cards (2)
2
Haunted Creeper
2
View Deck
Demonic Void - Core Idea
Class Cards (12)
3880
2
Power Overwhelming
1
2
Mistress of Pain
2
2
Void Terror
3
2
Voidcaller
4
Shadowflame
4
Doomguard
5
Mal’Ganis
9
Lord Jaraxxus
9
Neutral Cards (2)
2
Nerubian Egg
2
View Deck

Consolidating the build

At this point, you should have a good idea of the playstyle of your deck. This is where you shouldn’t be greedy and keep adding situational cards but rather go for some staple cards that are well-known for fitting particular playstyles. Don’t re-invent the wheel! ��

For example, Sludge Belcher

is well-known for slowing down aggression in Midrange / Control Decks, Mad Scientist
is an obvious choice for classes that are running traps while having an aggressive playstyle, and so on …

Generally, you’ll fill the Deck with another set of 10 to 15 cards that are staples for the class you picked, like Truesilver Champion

and Consecration
for Paladin, or simply solid neutral cards that respect your playstyle.

During this step, you’ll also pay attention to your mana-curve, you want to keep an equilibrium that respect the strategy of your deck. There is no point running a lot of late game cards if you can’t make it to that point, or running an insane amount of early game aggression if you’re always going to run out of steam!

You can find examples of my Full Beast Hunter and Demonlock builds below.

Snake Bite - Consolidation
Class Cards (8)
400
2
Hunter’s Mark
0
2
Eaglehorn Bow
3
2
Kill Command
3
2
Houndmaster
4
Neutral Cards (4)
2
Knife Juggler
2
2
Mad Scientist
2
View Deck
Demonic Void - Consolidation
Class Cards (6)
3760
2
Voidwalker
1
2
Darkbomb
2
Hellfire
4
Demonheart
5
Neutral Cards (6)
2
Abusive Sergeant
1
2
Sludge Belcher
5
Sylvanas Windrunner
6
Dr. Boom
7
View Deck

Tech Cards

After those steps, you should have a solid basis of about 25 cards that makes your Deck solid in the long run and respect an overall strategy.

Now, you’re going to add some very specific cards that work well with the rest of the build but remain situational. This is where people tend to make a lot of mistakes because they often want to play 2 copies of a card that should be played as a tech card.

For example, a card like Cult Master

isn’t going to work as a 2-of because you’re gonna draw it very often but not necessarily find the perfect spot to use it properly. Therefore, you made your build less consistent by choosing to run 2 copies of it.

Identifying those cards is really important because excluding them will deprive you from a great interaction that can win you some games, but running 2 copies will make your decks vulnerable to the variance of drawing.

This is also where you add some anti-meta cards like Big Game Hunter

in a somewhat slower deck because Dr. Boom
exists, Kezan Mystic
if you’re facing a lot of secrets or The Black Knight
in a meta filled with taunts.

You can find examples of my Full Beast Hunter and Demonlock builds below.

Snake Bite - Tech Cards
Class Cards (3)
140
Timber Wolf
1
Tundra Rhino
5
King of Beasts
5
Neutral Cards (1)
Cult Master
4
View Deck
Demonic Void - Tech Cards
Class Cards (2)
600
Imp-losion
4
Dread Infernal
6
Neutral Cards (2)
Big Game Hunter
3
Defender of Argus
4
View Deck

Timber Wolf

works perfectly with your loads of small Beasts to find lethal or board clear efficiently but running 2 would make you run out of steam too quickly and you can’t always find a use for it.

Tundra Rhino

can win some games by giving charge to Savannah Highmane
or Scavenging Hyena
but the card is not strong enough on its own to justify running 2 copies.

Defender of Argus

works well to prevent aggression and tend to synergizes with your weaker minions but you can’t ensure to always have targets for it so running 2 would be too risky.

Dread Infernal

can either be summoned by Voidcaller
for its great body or help you controlling the board with its effect but running 2 would make your curve too expensive.

Playtesting

Playtesting is a very important step that people tend to overlook or not use properly. It is fine to lose a lot of games before getting your deck to work and it is fine to try to swap a few cards to see if it can make the build more consistent.

First of all, you should always begin in casual games for several reasons :

  • You’re not necessarily used to your deck yet so you need to practice it while testing it to begin having success with it!
  • Casual games allow you to face both meta decks (that you would face in Ranked) and some more gimmicky decks that are also very interesting to play against and see how your deck works against a wide variety of decks.

Then you should always keep in mind the following points :

Snake Bite
Class Cards (22)
1640
2
Hunter’s Mark
0
2
Webspinner
1
Timber Wolf
1
2
Scavenging Hyena
2
2
Snake Trap
2
Explosive Trap
2
2
Eaglehorn Bow
3
2
Animal Companion
3
2
Unleash the Hounds
3
2
Kill Command
3
Houndmaster
4
Tundra Rhino
5
2
Savannah Highmane
6
Neutral Cards (8)
2
Haunted Creeper
2
2
Knife Juggler
2
2
Mad Scientist
2
Cult Master
4
Loatheb
5
View Deck
  • Let your deck the time to express itself! What I mean is that you don’t necessarily want to remove a card right after losing a game because of it.
  • Don’t be stubborn! If a card is obviously not really working for your deck, you should try with something else. Sometimes you think a card deserves being played as a 2-of but it end up being a tech card. Sometimes you chose a tech card, but it end up being too gimmicky so you can swap it for something more consistent.

It’s something very hard to do but you should learn to recognize what’s wrong with your deck and how to adjust it to make it more efficient. Spot the weaknesses and strengths of your deck and try to refine it as best as you can to respect its playstyle and overall strategy. Also, remember that it is fine to have bad match ups! You can’t necessarily beat them all so make sure you’re not trying too hard to make the deck work against everything (although I would say that the best laddering decks are generally the most versatile).

Using my Full Beast Hunter as an example for this section, I realized Aggro Decks had the tendency to play around Snake Trap

, so I decided to add in an Explosive Trap
. I chose to exclude a Houndmaster
for it as it was still a bit situational, sometimes you simply don’t have a target for it and it’s always painful to play it as a 4/3 for 4.

Finally, I liked the King of Beasts

tech but found it a bit too reliant on Snake Trap
working and sticking on the board so I decided to swap it for Loatheb
allowing me to lock the board for a turn, which is particularly important in this build to make use of your small bodies afterwards, or prevent finishing combos from my opponent.

In the end, I realized the initial build was a bit too reliant on Snake Trap

but as you can see, the solution was not necessarily to exclude Snake Trap
itself but rather to adjust what’s working around the card. So don’t be too hasty on your judgement and think deeply about how to optimize your strategy. ��

Updating

Demonic Void
Class Cards (20)
7900
2
Voidwalker
1
2
Power Overwhelming
1
2
Mistress of Pain
2
Darkbomb
2
2
Imp Gang Boss
3
Void Terror
3
Demonwrath
3
2
Voidcaller
4
Shadowflame
4
Hellfire
4
Doomguard
5
Demonheart
5
Dread Infernal
6
Mal’Ganis
9
Lord Jaraxxus
9
Neutral Cards (10)
2
Abusive Sergeant
1
2
Nerubian Egg
2
Big Game Hunter
3
2
Sludge Belcher
5
Sylvanas Windrunner
6
Emperor Thaurissan
6
Dr. Boom
7
View Deck

Sometimes Blizzard release a new expansion, or your deck simply needs some adjustments to fight better the meta you’re facing. So you need to update your deck properly.

This step is a bit similar to the previous section, except you generally have a clear idea of what you want to include but need to find which cards are the most expandable. This mostly comes from your experience with the deck honestly.

For my part, I had to include Imp Gang Boss

in my Demonlock after BRM release because the card is just so strong and synergizes perfectly with the build while fitting the 3 mana slot! Excluding a Void Terror
was the obvious choice because I often felt like it was more of a tech card than a 2-of (but I was doing so because the deck lacked 3-drops anyway). Then I chose to exclude Imp-losion
because the card was often not really necessary from my experience with the Deck and adding some more early power would make it even less mandatory.

Emperor Thaurissan

made a lot of sense to me in this build because of the combo-y nature of the deck and Warlock’s hero power that generally lead you to still have some cards in hand at this stage of the game. Defender of Argus
didn’t really felt necessary anymore because the deck gained more early game power with Imp Gang Boss
so Sludge Belcher
felt fine on their own as mid game taunts to slow down aggression.

Finally, Demonwrath

got released and I had to test it. As the purpose of the card is really to stop early aggression, excluding a Darkbomb
for it felt perfectly fine, especially considering that I often found the second copy not particularly needed. The card complements perfectly the set of board clears with various amount damage and makes up for the exclusion of Defender of Argus
that was supposed to help against aggressive decks.

Bonus : Dragon Paladin

Dragon Paladin is the perfect example of a safe and synergistic deck to build with the release of BRM because Dragon Consort

is such a powerful cards and Blackwing Technician
is really powerful when escorted with enough Dragons!

In this video you can see me building my own and playing some games with it afterward. Sorry for the lack of comments (I’m keeping very basic content on my Youtube channel) and for the music in the background in case you don’t like it.

Note that I have switched step 1 and step 2 while building the deck (but I already knew the cards that I was going to run anyway), this still gives you an idea of how I proceed �� On a side note as well, I switched an Azure Drake

for a Blackwing Corruptor
after the last wing got released.

Closing

That’s it for the guide guys, I hope it will help you building your own decks to climb the ladder while having a great amount of fun! Don’t forget to rate the article if you liked it and don’t hesitate to discuss or ask questions in the comment section below. ��

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