A few months into playing the game and joining the big gamers’ community of Hearthstone: Heros of Warcraft, I was curious. Apparently, the top players all manage to grind in Ranked Mode to the legend rank, every season without fail. And as hard as I try, the only thing that didn’t fail was I never failed to fail miserably in my quest to the legend rank. So when I came across the incredible question and answer site Quora, where you can basically ask anything－be it physics, mathematics, Kindle, or Hearthstone－ and expect a decent, if not excellent answer from an “insider”, I didn’t think much before asking my long-wondered question:
And the question looks like this:
What qualities does a top-tier Hearthstone player possess?
By top-tier, I think there ought to be some standards:
1. being able to reach the legend rank every season given the time.
2. being able to sustain, theoretically, playing arena completely free.
You are welcome to add others you can think of 🙂
And Eddie Chou, a 6 times Legend Rank player, and the top Most Viewed Writer in Hearthstone on Quora(16 Dec 2015, as the title changes daily) gave the following awesome answer: (You can read the original question and answers here.)
The qualities listed in the description are more what a top-tier Hearthstone player can achieve, and not what I would consider qualities. I agree a top player could make Legend each season given the time as well as play Arena infinitely, although a great ranked player isn’t necessarily a great Arena player and vice versa. Additionally, achieving Legend given the time is very broad. You can make Legend with a 55% win rate or a 65% win rate, but there’s a world of difference between the two.
Instead of focusing on achievements, I’d first break down qualities of a top player by Ranked and Arena.
Key qualities include:
- Thoroughly understanding the meta. This includes knowing not only what decks are popular, but also what decks are effective, meaning they match-up well with the meta. Great players should know that deck A is favored against B, equal against C, and unfavored against D. Bonus points for players that understand the shift in meta as the season goes on, as well as how servers differ (i.e. APAC is more aggressive than EU).
- Playing a set of decks exceptionally well. This covers the mulligan, win conditions for the match-up, combos, and what to watch for . I don’t think that players need to know how to play every popular deck, but they should be excellent at a few decks on their own, and understand how to use those decks against others.
- Making intelligent, data-driven tech choices. It’s not good enough to say there are a lot of Weapon classes out, therefore run Harrison. Instead, you need to ask, will including Harrison to beat out those decks where he has value outweigh the worse match-ups you’ll have against decks where he doesn’t? In some cases, you’re so favored against a class anyway that tech’ing against it is simply overkill.
As an aside, I don’t believe that great Hearthstone players need to be able to construct decks; however, it’s a nice bonus skill.
Key qualities include:
- Understanding the meta. While not as fixed as Ranked where 90+% of the decks you’ll face and cards within those decks are predictable, it is really important to understand the Arena meta. What classes are prevalent, what do they threaten to play on each turn, how do they win, how do they come back, and so on. For example, my records show that Paladin (24%) is currently the most popular class followed by Mage (20%) and then Rogue (18%). Against Paladins, 2/3s tend to have more value because Shielded Minibots are so powerful and nearly insta-picks for Paladin Arena players.
- Drafting effectively. There are tools out there that can help with this, such as Heartharena.com, but a great Arena player should be able to draft effective decks even with the poorest of choices. They need to understand how to build a curve, combo mechanics, and ideally a strategy to win (beatdown, control, midrange, etc.).
- During gameplay, when to shift between value, tempo, and face. This is one of the most challenging aspects of the Arena game in my opinion.
For both Ranked and Arena, great players are also great at getting a read on what cards the opponent is holding or eliminating possibilities for what the opponent isn’t holding. For example, the opponent kept 2 cards in the mulligan and only played 1 of them by turn 3. The other is likely something really important for the deck or a swing card. Is it Emperor Thaurissan, Truesilver Champion, or Death’s Bite, or possibly Harrison Jones against a weapon class?
Alternatively, last turn would’ve been a fantastic Consecration/Flamestrike turn but instead opponent played cards that traded poorly. They probably don’t have it.
Finally, opponent is trading as much as possible to keep your board clear. Perhaps you can take every attempt to go face since he’s trading for you.
So there is a lot of learning huh? You bet.