If you are reading this, then you have probably at least heard of an email that I received and read on the Episode 120 of Hero Power. From the moment I finished reading the email in a local restaurant until I began writing this post I have been through a gauntlet of emotions, but not the same gauntlet I feared I would run almost two weeks ago. After the show aired, support began flooding in from virtually every major Hearthstone linked network in which I take part, and even some in which I haven’t yet been invited. Please don’t be offended when I say that I was shocked. I intentionally kept the details of the email from Avanties and Zerotio so that I would get their honest and raw reactions, and I knew I would have their support, but the support the community brought forth was amazing and humbling. Discord, Twitter, Facebook, BNet, and even as far as airtime on multiple podcasts, you all came forward fiercely and publicly to show your support for me. For that, I cannot express enough gratitude. You lifted me up and stood with me as a community, and while I didn’t want to be at the center, the amount of positive reinforcement this community leveled at the negativity surrounding the situation was inspiring. With all that being said, and me being me, I felt like I should respond to the email. I didn’t want to read it on air, but I wanted to be transparent and bring what I hope is closure to the situation. Below is my response.

Hello NMG,

Thank you for writing to me with your critique. Out of respect for your signing you correspondence with your full name, I have kept your name private. I apologize for the delay in my response, as I was surprised by your email and I wanted time to respond appropriately. I would like to respond to your criticism by first saying that I am truly sorry that you do not enjoy my contribution to Hero Power. I wanted to start with this first because I want you to believe that if I, my co-hosts, or the community ever felt like it would benefit the show if I left, then I would. I would hate to do it, but I love the show, and I love this community, so I would. With that being said, I hope you listened to Episode 120. Due to the intensely negative tone of your email, and your personal attacks on me throughout, I only read the parts relevent to your actually criticisms. Avanties and Zerotio responded on the show, and the community responded afterwards. At this time, I do not feel like enough people share your view on my contribution, so I will continue to participate unless it were to change.

Your second critique was my “incessant attack on all things aggro” and I wanted to speak on that next. I have said, on multiple occasions, that I think Hearthstone needs a healthy balance of control, midrange, and aggro. In my opinion, it seems aggro suffers from balance issues more often than the other two playstyles, but that is just my opinion. If yours differs, then that is more than okay. There is more than enough room for people to have their own opinions about the state of the game, and I will try to do a better job of delivering my opinion from an objective point of view.

Next I believe you talked about my “complaining about Ranked Play” and I am going to go ahead and lump in the not respecting Legend as proof of expert play. It’s true that I don’t find the current rewards of ranked play to be worthy of the time committment to achieve them, but Blizzard has made changes, and I am certain they will continue to make changes so this isn’t a belief set in stone. As for Legend, it goes back to the current ranked system. It takes a lot of games at a professional win % to get to Legend in one month. That number of games instantly cuts the number of players that have a legitimate shot at the rank by a great margin. The new system will allow a player to progress upwards until they reach Legend at their own pace. To me, this will allow players to make it to Legend based more on skill than number of games played in a single month, thus making Legend more about skill than time now. So that’s a good thing.

On to my “disdain for proven and successful meta decks”. I would like to state that, while it is a complicated relationship depending on the meta, my general attitude towards meta decks is not disdain. Have you ever seen the movie “Quigley Down Under”? There’s a line in the movie where the main character states “Said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn’t know how to use one.” I use this example in trying to say that I don’t use meta decks when I am playing for me because I don’t want to use them, not because I don’t like them or because I look down on people who do. It’s simply a preference.

Lastly, I want to talk about United Hearthstone League. I entered the league as the least accomplished player having never truly competed in anything but an online cup on a whim. I had never tried to compete on this level before and my co-hosts thought it would be good to get my name out there because I am the shy one of the bunch. I haven’t done any other podcasts or tournaments, so people only really saw me if they watched the show. I went into the league making only one promise, that I would play my way and try to entertain the people watching, and my fellow competitors, all in which I hold in the highest regard. While I attempted to win every match, winning was never my focus. You can pull up any Hearthstone channel on Twitch and see meta decks being played, and I wanted my matches to be different. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but I wanted that “What was that?” moment to come up in each of my matches. The players in UHL and FairstBiscuit deserve your respect because they are great players in their own right, plus they have other jobs AND put out tons of Hearthstone content every week yet still find time to play in a league in an effort to grow the community of Hearthstone. As far as looking up #TeamVirsica? I don’t need to. The important # for UHL was #UnitedWeCan and #UHL, and those numbers looked pretty good to me. I am not embarrassed at getting beaten by my fellow content creators, I was honored to have played them.

You never mentioned your skill level, and I do admire that, so I will end with this offer. If you ever want hop on a stream and play a best of 3, 5, or 17 and/or compare Hearthstone theories and strategies in an open and respectful forum, you can find me at this email and at Virsica#1364. I will be more than happy to show you how I like to play Hearthstone. Who knows, you might just like it.

Thanks,
Alex Franklin – Virsica

If you love Hearthstone then you already know there are guides available for every aspect of the game. Luckily for you, this isn’t one of them. This is more of a checklist to help you navigate each turn. I originally had a fancy, wordy intro but I realized that wasn’t my style. I like to keep things simple, so let’s jump right in.

 

  • First off remember, slow…. down. You don’t have to rope every turn but try to be calm and patient.
  • Always be counting…EVERYTHING. Count, hand size, deck size, minions, and damage for you as well as your opponent. The other player could be trying to mill your cards, MCT one of your minions, or set up for a blood lust turn. Or You might walk right into a board clear, miss lethal, or miss count mana for a combo. Remember count, count, count.
  • Once the mulligan phase is underway you need to watch what cards are kept and where the coin is for at least 4 turns. This can provide you with valuable information. Watching what cards the opponent hovers over on different turns and seeing what cards they seem to be saving gives you an idea of what to play (or not play).
  • What’s my plan? That’s the first question I ask myself. Based on what you see and the meta, you need to determine what deck your opponent is playing and if it is aggro, mid, or control. Then you can formulate a plan that gets you to your win condition. This plan can change throughout the game. Example Vs aggro: survive until turn 5>take back board>set up lethal.
  • What are ALL my options? Take your time to double check all your plays and combos. Make sure you count the mana correctly. You could end up one mana short and lose the game on the spot. Evaluate all your options!
  • Once you think you have the play ask yourself on last question. If I do “x” what’s the worst that my opponent calls do the next turn, and will I survive. If the answer is yes, then Your golden. End your turn and start counting..EVERYTHING….AGAIN!
  • At this point you start with the first question, what’s my plan. Repeat question 2, and 3 as well. That’s really it. I am constantly learning new things and working them into my turn by turn play as should you. I hope this helps everyone as much as it did me.

At this point you start over with the first question, “what’s my plan?”. Repeat questions 2 and 3 as well. That’s really it.

Simply put,

  • Sow down
  • Always Be Counting Everything (ABCE)
  • Mulligan phase, first four turns + coin
  1. What is my plan?
  2. What are ALL my options?
  3. If I pick “X” what is the worst that can happen, and will I survive it?

I am constantly learning new things and working them into my turn by turn checklist as should you. I hope this helps everyone as much as it did me. If you have and questions or additional steps I would love to hear what you came up with. Good luck out there!

-Scott aka StrayDog

DreamHack… The largest digital festival in the world.  When we first heard that DreamHack would be coming to Atlanta we at Hero Power got really excited about the prospects of getting to see some of the best Hearthstone action in the world LIVE right in our backyard.  Zerotio, Virsica, and myself started planning almost immediately, how could we make this trip a reality and what can we do to bring exclusive coverage to you, our fans.

We set out this weekend with cameras and recorders in hand and have taken some great shots and some awesome videos that we are going to share with you over the next few days and on this coming weeks episode of Hero Power.  To tide you over I am including a few of those pictures below:

Let us know in the comments what kind of content you would like to see, and stay tuned for more from DreamHack.

-Avanties

I know, I know, the title of the article is far from original, but I like it just the same. One of the things we love to do here at Hero Power is to see the decks you are playing. We REALLY LOVE it when you send them to us and ask us to look over them! The deck below was submitted by one of our listeners.

The Decklist
cme-priest

As per my usual, I spent some time playing it “as is” in both Read More →

(The opinions in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire cast of HeroPower)

From DreamHack Winter meta disaster to Mean Streets of Gadgetzan scatter, the meta has changed so quickly and violently that you may be experiencing Hearthstone’s own version of whiplash. I don’t know about how everyone else feels, but I love it. I feel like I can play just about any class, or any style of play, and have a chance to win. So, does that mean that the folks at Blizzard finally found the secret mixture to put out a balanced expansion? Only time will tell, but for now at least, it’s looking good so far.

I was working on an article after watching the DreamHack Winter tournament a couple of weekends ago in which Read More →