Hi! I'm Asmodeus, Hearthstone coach and content creator. Today I'm going to share with you my 8 tips for successful deckbuilding. The advantages to building your own decks are plentiful. There is the satisfaction of reaching a high rank with your own creation, and validation that comes with it. You also gain immediate insight into the deck and how it should be played to win the game (something that will normally take some time to figure out when picking a premade deck).
Building your own decks will also teach you a lot about the game because you'll discover the right and wrong approach to the game (mostly the wrong one, naturally). Here are the recommended methods and rules for building good decks in Hearthstone.
1. Netdecking and Copying
Copying successful decks is good. Top tier decks are successful for a reason – they've been tested by a lot of people and they've been proven to work in current metagame. My first successful attempts at building a top tier deck came from copying Hyped's Hunter list from a tournament, long time ago, and then adjusting it for the ladder. By copying an already working deck, I was able to see what was effective and after changing about 6 cards I managed to reach legend with it.
The important thing when copying a deck is paying attention to the advice, which the author of the deck provided. Sometimes the strength of a deck lies not only in the cards, but in the way it is played. Always try to learn why and how the deck works. Keep in mind that tournament decks are often not well suited for ladder, so make sure to copy decks which are made and tested in the ladder environment.
After learning to tweak and improve decks based on someone else's ideas, you'll be much more comfortable moving on to building your own decks from scratch.
Synergy between cards is often the initial premise behind any deck you'll create, but it's also often overvalued. If you want to build a deck around a certain combo, remember that the more cards required for the combo, the harder it is to pull off. The best combo decks usually have lots of synergies (e.g. Patron Warrior, Malygos Druid), so that you can use any of the combinations within the deck. Alternatively decks draw nearly all of their cards, to guarantee getting the essential combo pieces (e.g Miracle Rogue, Worgen Warrior).
Using multiple cards that synergize with the core of the deck is usually a better way to build it, than having super powerful combos that can be rarely pulled off. Regardless of how cool and strong you think the synergy is, the basic rules of the game still need to be obeyed. Your enemies won't care about your great ideas, they're out to beat you, and they will try to do it in the most efficient manner available to them. Every deck needs some tools to handle that. Strong and borderline overpowered cards will often outperform strong synergies; Menagerie Warden is a great example of that, despite providing crazy synergy, it's still not enough to justify playing anything other than powerful, spell based druid decks.
3. Win Condition
Every deck also has to have a win condition. Sometimes it's not anything obvious, it might be simply having more value in your cards than the enemy, thus, if you survive to draw most of your deck, your cards will simply beat the entire deck of your enemy. In more aggressive decks, the victory is achieved by dealing enough damage to the enemy before they can take control of the board and finishing them off with burst damage from burn spells like Kill Command or Fireball. Always make sure you understand the win condition of your deck, so that you know the correct playstyle in each matchup.
Some win conditions will also change depending on the class you're facing. When playing a control warrior mirror matchup, suddenly you can realistically expect to win or lose, based on the fatigue and how many cards you drew.
Try to include more cards that support your win condition and stack your deck in one direction, rather than spreading it into multiple branches. A Dragon/Tempo/Pirate/Taunt/Mech Warrior may sound cool, but it won't be as good as a Dragon Warrior - a deck focused on a single approach.
4. Scaling Draw to the Tempo
Faster decks will require more draw power, while slower decks trade it for more valuable cards. Your mana curve should be a good indicator of how much draw you need. Decks like Zoo can afford to have very low mana curve, because of warlock hero power which compensates for spending cards very fast. On the other hand, if your mana curve peaks later and shows many late game cards, you'll need less draw. This is a hard balance to find and that's where testing and adjusting comes in. Play some games with your deck and pay attention to your hand size. Are you running out of steam too fast? Do you have an abundance of cards in your hand at all times?
If you're convinced that the idea of your deck is good but you just end up with unlucky draws or clunky cards in your hand, it's probably a sign that you need to get more card draw for a wider selection of cards in your hand.
5. Steal Tested Recipes
When building a new deck, see if there are any similar decks already established and borrow ideas from them. If your idea is just to use 5 cool cards that have great synergy, you can attach them to the core of another deck which already works well. Some ideas are universal and will work in many decks - for example: The Curator + Azure Drake + Sir Finley Mrrgglton + best beast available for the class you're playing.
Be inspired by other decks and take the best ideas from them. For a very long time, warrior decks were not utilizing Wild Pyromancer but few months ago, suddenly it appeared in many lists and worked wonders. The card was originally used mostly in priest but draw heavy warrior decks adopted it with great success. Always pay attention to what other people are playing and be open minded.
6. Test and Adjust
Testing is perhaps the most important part of deckbuilding. This is where you try the deck against the reality of the game. Every time you're playing a new deck, try to take a note of how you win and lose - especially how you lose the games.
- Were you stuck with expensive or situational cards from the start of the game?
- Did you run out of cards before you could close the game out?
- Did you lack an answer to a common card which you expect to see frequently in this metagame?
- Was a tall board or a wide board problematic for you?
- What's the common element between the decks that beat you?
Whatever it is, try to find out which scenario happens most often and adjust for that first. Always try to keep in mind your win condition and make changes that support it.
Testing your deck is very important because of how complex the game can be. Something that seems like a good idea on paper - may never work out in real game. When I first started to play Hearthstone, I thought I'll be able to just out heal everyone with my defensive priest deck and win the game by fatigue, but I didn't have the right idea about just how much damage other decks can deal and my plan couldn't work. I had to change my deck and make it work against what actually happens on ladder.
7. Countering the Metagame
Adding or taking out 1 card can make an immense difference in your win rate if you understand the current metagame. You'll want to adjust your deck, but this time it's not about how your deck works, but how the decks that you face work. Cards like Harrison Jones or Eater of Secrets can completely switch a bad matchup on it's head. There are always specific counters that can be used to give you additional edge over popular decks at the moment, but make sure that what you're including is actually worth it. Many times, a tech card will be only relevant in a small percentage of games, while polluting your deck and lowering your win rate against other decks. I like to keep my tech cards to the bare minimum, unless I'm playing something like a Reno Jackson deck or the mechanic I want to counter is popular across many popular decks.
In order to accurately judge the actual metagame you need to use some kind of tracking software, which will monitor the statistics for each of your decks and matchups. Use something like Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Deck Tracker and later check your statistics to know what your deck is weak against, then consider adding cards that will help you overcome it.
8. Sharing your Deck with Others
It is important and helpful to share your deck, so that other players can review it. There is a reason why pro Hearthstone players practice and build decks in teams. It is always valuable to have your deck reviewed by other people. Maybe they'll notice something obvious that you missed by accident, or maybe they'll find a way to beat the deck that gave you the most trouble. Share your deck and listen to the input from other players. They may be right or wrong, but its always worth showing your decks to others, just to get second opinion and push its development forward.
Remember that nobody gets it right the first time. Deckbuilding takes a lot of experience and to gain it, you will need to explore new ways of playing the game and make a lot of mistakes. Failing, however, is simply finding what doesn't work and the more you do it, the more you learn. More feedback and experience will naturally steer your in the right direction so don't be afraid to experiment.
Share your opinions or questions in the comments below, I'm always happy to answer them. You can follow me on social media linked below:
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