Introduction


Hey, guys! I’m Chriseroi, a relatively new hearthstone player who started in June of 2015 and has been playing and enjoying it ever since as a high school student! Don’t write me off just yet, though; I love hearthstone just as much as you guys and have been working my way up ever since I started. Thus, the full title isn’t actually “Hearthstone Journal,” but rather, “High School Journal.” While I heavily enjoy reading a lot of these guides on hearthstone Players from various parts of the community, each of these guys seem to have some sort of luxury that I can’t afford, unfortunately, whether it be time, money, or both. I wanted to contribute to the community by giving you a peek inside my own little amusing journey, whether it’s climbing up the ladder, getting better at Arena, or even just me building up my collection. I really hope you enjoy reading these little journals every week as much as I enjoyed writing them!

This is part three of a weekly series. Be sure to read part one and part two!

Interlude: Realization


The best starting hand a Mage could ask for.

A few months ago, I shied away from Arena due to how cutthroat it was. Because the Arena system means someone has to go 0-3 in order for someone to go 12-0 and everything else in between, it’s not as profitable unless you can go at least three wins a game, and even if you can, it’s certainly not worth it if you don’t have fun doing it. I recently got back into Arena about a month ago, but this week, it turns out that I’m having a bit of what you might call an Arena slump.

During the last weekend, my first two arena runs ended with 3-3 and a 1-3 respectively, and I was pretty frustrated at how badly I did. After that, I returned to constructed and wondered how far I could get with my Renolock, which wasn’t very. I couldn’t break Rank 14, and after a couple of losses, I gave in and decided to spend my remaining 700 gold buying GvG packs instead.

Busting Open Card Packs!!

Boy oh boy, was that the best decision of my life.

Classic: 2 Packs  |  GvG: 8 Packs  |  TGT: 1 Packs |  Total: 11 Packs

23 out of 55 cards were useful. (Any cards that I don’t have two copies of are considered useful.)

Show Spoiler

1x Cobra Shot

1x Soot Spewer

1x Seal of Light

, 1x Cobalt Guardian

1x Shadowbomber

, 1x Shadowboxer

1x Darkbomb

, 1x Floating Watcher
, 1x Fearsome Doomguard

1x Arathi Weaponsmith

2x Clockwork Gnome

, 1x Young Priestess
, 1x Flame Juggler
, 1x Stonesplinter Trogg
, 1x Mana Addict
, 1x Gnomish Experimenter
, 1x Saboteur
, 1x Mechanical Yeti
, 1x Fel Reaver
, 1x Gadgetzan Auctioneer
, 1x Piloted Sky Golem
, 1x Toshley

I was ecstatic. With a Toshley

in hand, I decided to go ahead and see if I could craft a couple cards to build a Mech Mage deck with him, and craft I did. (A big shout-out goes to Caissa for persuading me!) With two copies of Unstable Portal
, one Goblin Blastmage
, and a Mechwarper
, I created a tempo-oriented mech deck which focuses on using Mechwarper
in the early game to extract immense value out of some key cards such as Goblin Blastmage
and
. After pressuring him early, I would close the game with big threats such as Toshley
, Piloted Sky Golem
, and Dr. Boom
.

Tempo Mech Mage
Class Cards (14)
6080
2
Frostbolt
2
2
Unstable Portal
2
2
Snowchugger
2
Arcane Intellect
3
2
Fireball
4
2
Goblin Blastmage
4
Water Elemental
4
Flamestrike
7
Archmage Antonidas
7
Neutral Cards (16)
Clockwork Gnome
1
2
Annoy-o-Tron
2
2
Mechwarper
2
2
Spider Tank
3
Tinkertown Technician
3
2
Gorillabot A-3
4
2
Piloted Shredder
4
Loatheb
5
Piloted Sky Golem
6
Toshley
6
Dr. Boom
7
View Deck

Of course, after all of that was crafted, I now had 1640 dust left. Which begs the question: should I craft Archmage Antonidas

?

With credit to StormLXXIV from Reddit, here’s a good strategy for crafting legendaries, which is a series of questions that generally goes something like this:

  • Can this card be replaced by something currently in my collection?
  • Will this card give me a new archetype to play (that I really want to play)?
  • Will this card be useful in a slower/faster/control/aggro/midrange meta?
  • Is this the best way my dust can be spent to improve my collection?
  • And, most importantly, will I have fun playing this card?

So as I reviewed those guidelines as I considered crafting Archmage Antonidas

, I figured out that:

  • Generating an endless stream of fireballs cannot be replaced by anything.
  • It won’t give me a new archetype, but it’ll certainly improve upon preexisting ones.
  • Just like Tirion Fordring
    , this guy has remained viable since beta, and probably will be until the end of time.
  • While I could spent my 1600 dust crafting rares and epics I need, it will certainly bolster my Tempo Mage deck significantly so, and I really, really want to play Tempo Mage.
  • I’M GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN WITH THIS CARD YOU HAVE NO IDEA

And with those questions answered, I crafted Archmage Antonidas

.

Constructed


It turns out that despite the end of the season being imminent, there was still quite a bit of aggro on the ladder right now, so the meta was pretty fast. As a result, I decided to speed up the deck by adding more one and two-drops; namely, Clockwork Gnome

, Cogmaster
, and Mana Wyrm
. My results improved dramatically! Not only was I demolishing any aggro deck I encountered, I did very well against slower decks as well and climbed rapidly to Rank 10 in only a day and a half. Unfortunately, I ran into some walls after that, as my neither one of my mech decks were strong enough to defeat my opponents. I ended up being pushed back to Rank 11, and although I wanted to keep going, I figured I was probably done for the day.

Tempo Mage
Class Cards (23)
5600
Arcane Missiles
1
2
Mirror Image
1
2
Mana Wyrm
1
2
Frostbolt
2
2
Unstable Portal
2
2
Sorcerer’s Apprentice
2
Arcane Intellect
3
Counterspell
3
Mirror Entity
3
2
Flamewaker
3
2
Fireball
4
2
Water Elemental
4
2
Ethereal Conjurer
5
Archmage Antonidas
7
Neutral Cards (7)
2
Mad Scientist
2
Mind Control Tech
3
2
Azure Drake
5
Nexus-Champion Saraad
5
Dr. Boom
7
View Deck

The next day, after I got a pack from a “Watch and Learn” quest, I opened it up to find all duplicates, giving me 40 dust. With a total of 80 dust exactly, I decided to go ahead and craft two copies of Sorcerer's Apprentice

and create a Tempo Mage deck to keep climbing!

The deck I made isn’t an exact copy of any list on the internet right now; instead, consider it a composite of multiple lists I found over the past few weeks. Let me explain some tech choices I made, and I know some of them might be a little suspect, but bear with me.

Running one copy of Arcane Intellect

instead of two might be silly, but I feel that we don’t need too much card draw until the late game because our goal is to always be efficient with our mana and push the tempo for our opponent, and playing Arcane Intellect
too early does the exact opposite of that.

One copy of Counterspell

and one copy of Mirror Entity
is essential in today’s meta, where Muster for Battle
, Swipe
, and Lightbomb
can completely swing the tempo of the game around in an instant. Of course, there are times where we want to bring another minion on the board as well, so these two should be staples in every Tempo Mage deck.

A copy of Mind Control Tech

seemed strange at first when I saw it, but now that I’ve used it, I can completely assure you that this will turn the tides totally in your favor even if you only manage to snag a measly 1/1. Think about it this way: if you can activate it, you’re throwing two bodies on the board. If you can’t, it’s a 3/3 body for 3 mana, which is still efficient. You’ll most likely activate this against Paladin, Druid, or Warlock, and I can say that because those are the times when I was able to activate it, so save it if you have other plays in hand.

Like I said, Mind Control Tech

can certainly swing a whole game around. Also, a Mage with armor? How’d that happen?

Two copies of Water Elemental

instead of two copies of Piloted Shredder
is still a point of debate, but here’s my argument as to why I believe Water Elemental
works more right now. (Story time!)

Kryron, a friend, spectated me on a constructed game against a Warrior. I had a Water Elemental

and a Sorcerer's Apprentice
on the field, and I was about to trade my 3/6 into my opponent’s 2/3 minion to protect my Sorcerer's Apprentice
when suddenly he goes “No! Don’t do that!”

I was confused. “Wait, what? What do you mean?”

“Always use your Water Elemental

against face if it’s a Warrior,” he told me. “No matter what.”

As I did as he said, it suddenly dawned on me as I watched the next turn unfold that his little piece of advice was a brilliant move.

My opponent couldn’t use any of his weapons.

It was amazing. He tried to summon Death's Bite

, but I never let him use it as I traded my other minions to protect my Water Elemental
. The game ended in the next few turns as I kept pressuring him until he couldn’t keep up with my constant flood of minions before he was defeated.

So, if Kryron’s ever taught me anything that everyone should keep in mind (and trust me, he’s taught me a lot of valuable advice!), it’s to always use your Water Elemental

against face if it’s a Warrior. And I’ve won a lot of games because of that. Thank you, Kryron!

Okay, back to tech analysis! Two copies of Ethereal Conjurer

are equally as essential as two copies of Azure Drake
, in my opinion. Since our deck is a spell based deck, there were plenty of times where I needed a cheap spell to activate a Flamewaker
or a huge damage spell to burst down the opponent, and Ethereal Conjurer
never disappoints. Okay, well, it might disappoint one or two times, but most of the time it’s amazing! One game, I got Acidmaw
from Unstable Portal, and guess what spell I got from Ethereal Conjurer
?

Ah, remember Nexus-Champion Saraad

from last week? Game-winning potential, here. While it’s not ideal to drop him on turn five, it’s amazing in the late game when you ping a good amount of times and are looking for spell fodder to activate Archmage Antonidas
. There was this one game that really sold him as a permanent addition to my deck, though. It was against a Secret Paladin where we both were on very low health, and Nexus-Champion Saraad
gave me Bloodlust
earlier in the game. I had gotten Lorewalker Cho
from an Unstable Portal
(ugh, right?), and I placed him down and ended my turn, since I didn’t have any better moves to make. If I couldn’t do anything the next turn, it was pretty much over for me.

Without any more moves to make, my opponent played an Avenge

and a Noble Sacrifice
before playing Divine Favor
, and then placed a Shielded Minibot
before ending the turn. However, since Lorewalker Cho
gave me a copy of each spell he played, I figured out that I needed to use Bloodlust
to let Lorewalker Cho
take the hit from Get Down! and let my Dr. Boom
hit face leaving him with one health. Which I, of course, pinged because I’m not a fan of BM.

Thank you very much, Lorewalker Cho

. I know I’m never going to disenchant you if I unpack you one day. Still not going to craft you, though.

And that’s it for tech analysis. Time to take this deck to ranked!

I didn’t do well, at first, which wasn’t very surprising at first. It always takes a while for me to get used to playing a new archetype, which is normal. However, once I started getting the hang of it, I was unstoppable on the ladder. With only two losses, I got all the way from Rank 11 to Rank 5 in one day. I couldn’t believe myself. How can one deck have so much power?! Am I that good?? Or did I just get lucky…?

I probably just got lucky.

Tavern Brawl


This week’s Tavern Brawl was yet another repeat of one that made its debut during the rollout of the League of Explorers: Captain Blackheart’s Treasure!

“The Captain left treasure for EVERYONE, but mostly for you! Each turn, open a chest of three random cards and choose one to put in your hand!”

I liked this one when it first came out, mostly due to how crazy it was. Essentially, you start off with a deck full of 2/3 Pirates with any class (although some spells are thrown in on occasion). The trick is, though, that you get to choose a new card to add to your hand every turn, ranging from common to legendary of all different mana costs.

While you might be tempted to just choose the most game-changing legendary card out of the three, I found it much more helpful to choose lower-cost cards, even if they were subpar compared to the other ones offered – if you can’t survive until the late game, what’s the point of having that Ragnaros the Firelord

in your hand, anyway?

Still, it’s a neat Brawl, albeit one that we’ve seen before, and it’ll be fun getting that free card pack if you haven’t yet already.

What’s Next?


Now that I’ve gotten to Rank 5, the grind begins to get to legend – I mean, that’s what I would say if I wanted to get to legend. But that’s at least 25 more games, and without winstreak bonuses, that’s a lot of time. Considering my standard game lasts about 15 minutes, that’s just about 375 minutes of playtime, or six hours. And that’s if I don’t lose any games, which is highly doubtful. But I’m still really excited about that Rank 5 chest, though! I’m guaranteed to get one golden epic and two golden commons, if I recall correctly.

The many key epics that I need include 2x Force of Nature

, Ancient of Lore
, Ancient of War
, 2x Arcane Blast
, Quartermaster
, Lay on Hands
, 2x Lightbomb
, Cabal Shadow Priest
, 2x Preparation
, Doomhammer
, 1x Brawl
, 1x Gorehowl
, and 1x Murloc Warleader
. If I get any one of the 75 (more or less) other epics that I don’t really need, then I suppose they’ll be disenchanted for fodder as I craft some key rares for my Renolock deck.

“That’s strange,” you might remark. “Why would you need to make your Renolock deck better if your Tempo Mage deck is already solid?”

Oh! I forgot to mention this, actually, but I’m actually enrolled in an HSL hearthstone tournament for my school.

HSL, or High School Starleague, as it’s otherwise known as, is “the premier eSports organization for high schools across North America and is widely recognized as the most professional organization in its field.” HSL is most widely known for organizing tournaments pitting high school against high school for cash prizes and glory. Recently, HSL has inducted hearthstone as its latest game to hit the competitive scne among high school students, despite how new it is.

I know I’m probably going to regret this in like a week.

Of course, I was never bent on the whole “tournament scene” thing until my friend convinced me to try HSL out, for one major reason.

SCHOLARSHIP MONEY.

If you might take the time to recall a couple things about me:

  • I’m a broke high school student
  • I’m going to college soon in which I’ll be broke
  • I’m going to be in debt once I go to college, leaving me less than broke
  • I’ll need money to sustain myself as a human being because I’m broke
  • did I mention I’m broke yet

So once he mentioned that to me, I kinda just threw myself at the registration website as hard as I could.

But, here’s the thing: the HSL tournament is played in Bo5 Conquest format. For those who don’t know what the Conquest format is, it’s basically this.

  • all matches are best-of-five, and the first player to win three games within the match wins
  • each player must submit decklists from three unique classes before each stage of the event
  • a player must win with each of his three decks to win the match
  • when a player wins a game with a certain deck, that deck cannot be used again for the rest of that match
  • the losing player can switch or keep using their previous deck
  • while players will be told what classes their opponent has, they won’t know which is picked until both players have picked

You see the problem I have? I only have one class I’m pretty good with, and then one more I’m decent with – where’s my third class?

Considering that HSL starts in a couple weeks (it’s undetermined how many weeks exactly), I most likely won’t have time to craft any legendaries right now. Therefore, I need some advice from you guys, the readers: which decks should I be looking at building right now, with my limited collection? I’m very close to having enough cards for a Midrange Hunter deck (I even have two copies of Savannah Highmane

!), but I’m also pretty close to finishing a Zoolock and Renolock deck (albeit without Lord Jaraxxus
). Any thoughts on this front?

As for the last week of the season, however, I plan to simply stock up on gold and head back into the Arena – I simply don’t have the time to break Legend this season, and it’s much more efficient to try to build up my collection again.

A Really Cool Thing That Happened


I had drawn both Millhouse Manastorm

and Bolf Ramshield
from Unstable Portal a couple turns ago. Now, I lucked out when I threw down Millhouse Manastorm
because the only spell my opponent turned out to have at that point was Power Word: Shield
(but let’s face it, if he had any other spell in his hand, he probably would have been able to play it regardless of its cost), but the real MVP of the game had to be Bolf Ramshield
. With two copies of Holy Nova
in hand the next turn, he chucked them both at me, but because I had Bolf Ramshield
, he took all the damage and I was left at seven health. My opponent entered into fatigue the turn before I did myself, but gradually, my Water Elemental
and my beautiful hero power were able to overwhelm him as he lost from fatigue, and I was left with one health point. One. Health. Point.

Right before he used Holy Nova

, I realized that Unstable Portal
is officially the best card I have ever crafted, ever, in the history of Hearthstone.

Closing


This is a new area for me in the hearthstone ladder. I’ve probably peaked in terms of how far I can get in constructed for a while to come, but that’s okay! If you guys even read this far, thank you so much for reading! I really hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings, and I’ll try my best to write a new one every week! If you guys want to ask questions, give constructive criticism, or even yell at me for the stuff I said here, feel free to comment below! If you want to add me, my Battletag is Chriseroi#1902, and I hope to see you all in a game of hearthstone sometime soon!

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