This is the thirteenth part of the Free to Play Journeyman hearthstone Guide Series. Be sure to check out the other articles in the series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9,Part 10, Part 11 and Part 12.
I didn’t have to wait until December because Christmas came early this year. Wrapping paper, plastic trees, meaningless and overpriced cards, socks I didn’t need and everyone singing about snow in the middle of summer is this year’s official second Christmas. (I live in the Southern Hemisphere, by the way) C’Thunmas is what it’s all about.
To recap the position of my US FTP account collection, I had a broad base of cards from the classic set, a smattering of Goblins vs Gnomes (GvG) cards [mostly crafted], even fewer The Grand Tournament (TGT) cards [9 packs opened], 4 wings of The Shade of Naxxramas (Naxx), 2 wings of Blackrock Mountain (BRM), and all 4 wings of League of Explorers (LoE). I had saved 1315 dust and got a 3 wins with Mage quest on the final day to push my to 1705 gold in the bank. What else could I do to position myself better for the new environment?
I discovered that Old Murk-Eye
C’Thun came to eat cookies and drink milk
the server came online.
I grabbed my free C'Thun
2 Possessed Villager
Mark of Y'Shaarj
Ugh. 6 Duskboar and 5 Usher of Souls and yet so many commons unseen.
Nothing really stood out for me, but I did get 2 Flamewreathed Faceless
I threw together a deck packing all my new shaman class cards: 2 Flamewrathed Faceless, Hammer of Twilight, Thing from Below, and added 2 Nerubian Prophet
I got the first new quest for 2 games in Standard for 5 more packs so I hit the ranked play room in Standard at rank 13. First up I beat a CThunlock and then lost to a very much superior Shaman deck running an Evolve engine (he’d clearly bought at least the pre-release special), even though he Evolve
Open 5 new packs from reward (plusses indicate dust gained from more excess of commons):
Mark of Y'Shaarj
A second Thing from Below as well as a Master of Evolution
At this point though I knew my deck was terribly underpowered and I wasn’t going to get anywhere towards that 7 win quest for the next 5 packs. It was time to craft.
With the dust gained from all those excess commons I began with 1380 dust. I disenchanted all the cards I owned in Naxx (+2330 dust), GvG (+1155 dust) and many of the cards that were nerfed (2 Blade Flurry
Final dust total: 6705.
The plan was to craft all the vital Epics and Rares on my list presented last week, and up to 2 legendary minions from the classic set. But as I looked at the lists I knew that crafting the legendaries would be premature. I also decided that Twisting Nether
Dust remaining: 3005.
Back to Shaman
I had just crafted 5 rares that could go into any Shaman deck so it was time for a rebuild, the result being the list on the right (only using 3 of the new rares, with Azure Drake deemed too slow on second consideration). This deck is significantly different from what I had built before. The inclusion of Feral Spirit, the extra Lightning Storm, and Hex being the standouts. I rather liked the way Bilefin Tidehunter interacted with the deck in the 2 previous games and decided to keep it. Nerubian Prophet and Thing from Below were absolute hits, and Lava Shock
First up I lost very easily to Cthun Warrior to a guy who had the whole 9 yards and had spent money on the alternate hero. Then I won 6 in a row to climb to rank 11, beating 3 Cthun decks, a golden hunter, control priest and an aggro Shaman mirror.
I cannot overstate how good Bilefin Tidehunter is in the deck. The 1/1 Taunt is unbelievably good, and it fits the curve. I don’t own Totem Golem
With this deck I always kept Nerubian Prophet in my opening hand – a 4/4 on turn 3 without Arcane Golem’s drawback? All day! Thing From Below wasn’t always an early play, by the way, as I rarely made totems prior to turn 5 unless I had a bad hand or had abused overload and left myself nothing else to do. It *was* however a very good follow up for 3 mana in the midgame once my opponent had dealt with Tidefin and Feral Spirit, and it generally protected the creatures I planned to ride to the win. Hammer of Twilight wasn’t amazing, but it certainly was good enough to retain. A “typical” start was Tunnel Trogg, Tidefin, Feral Spirit, Totem+Bolt, (Totem+Thing From Below) or (Flamewreathed), but it should be noted that much of the decision tree involved carefully planning which turn I wanted to have all my crystals – eg if I had Fire Elemental I would use my overload on turn 4 not turn 5 (eg plan for Flamewreathed on 4 rather than Feral on 3 and Flamewreathed on 5).
It’s perfectly possible that I won more due to the untested nature of the environment than any skilful play or deck building on my part, but 6 consecutive wins up to rank 11 against many opponents who opened 50 or more packs (judging by their duplicates) is still a big deal in my world. For 2000 dust in total, that’s not bad. Interestingly, despite the number of C’Thun decks I faced I only lost to the legendary minion once – the cash warrior game. It only saw play on one other occasion against me, as an 8/8 that couldn’t stop my lethal damage on the board position. I did lose to other C’Thun decks, yes, but not to C’Thun itself; clearly there is work to be done on the strategy.
That run completed the second new quest of 7 wins in Standard and I opened 5 more packs:
Getting a Spreading Madness in that last pack has me looking at Warlock for the next deck. Finally a legendary minion arrived in pack 27. How did your “opening day” do? Tell me all about it and your first impressions of the set below.