Welcome to the great big Hearthstone screenshot adventure! We will witness the new Tavern Brawl mode and all the madness that it brings. We will also spend the last week of the season climbing up the Ladder, finding time to test unusual deck builds, and challenge a friend to a Deathrattle battle. If you stick around for long enough, you may just see one of the Heroes turn golden. Oh, that 500th win…
My first match of Tavern Brawl ends with a 20/18 Minion and 2 Baron Geddons on my side of the board. The entire match was epic from the beginning till the end, as were the following matches. Tavern Brawl offers a free deck every week and a new playground for finishing quests.
After I finish with Tavern Brawl, I begin climbing the Ladder, starting at rank 14. My first game ends with the usual Druid combo – Force of Nature followed by Savage Roar. It’s a good start, ladies and gentlemen.
I get to meet one of the new Heroes for the first time. I can’t stop myself from wondering whether a pretty face and a new card back is really worth $10. Needless to say, even Unleash the Hounds won’t save this guy!
This is the moment when I remember that around rank 15 I shouldn’t expect people to play the usual deck archetypes – I play against this guy as if he was playing a standard Zoo deck, but then he catches me off guard with Kel’Thuzad and Baron Rivendare. Surprise, followed by defeat. Well played. Let’s move on.
Time to go for a different deck. Let’s take Dragon Priest for a spin! This time I am playing against a standard archetype – a Zoo/Demon hybrid. This is a good match-up for me – I steal an Imp Gang Boss with Cabal Shadow Priest and control the board until Ysera comes out. I seal the deal using Nightmare (a 5/5 buff) that I get off Ysera. Moving on.
Win streaks are the rungs of the Ladder, making a tedious climb much more palatable. As I climb higher, I begin to need more stars, so I get bit frustrated with each win streak that gets broken by a loss. The further I go, the longer it takes to go higher…
I test a new deck in Casual mode and find out the hard way why there aren’t any Control Shamans on the Ladder. You got it right — I get my ass kicked. A lot. But then again, I find out that Al’Akir the Windlord can get a restart using Reincarnate (Charge, remember?). Add in a Flametongue Totem for 20 points of damage in one turn. I feel that brief burst of joy at finding a new combo!
It’s Face Hunter time. I won’t be getting a lot of love from other players. This player surprises me with a Kezan Mystic, stealing my Explosive Trap (a few more games and I realize that with the meta being what it is, Tempo Mages now frequently run this card) but my opponent overextends at the end and I finish him/her with the Hounds. I am not a jerk so I won’t emote a ‘Sorry’ to him/her. I don’t enjoy demeaning other players that way.
One rank further and even good old Leeroy Jenkins won’t save me from defeat. Perhaps it’s time to switch to a deck that I can play better…
Entering the fray again with my Control Slowadin deck. Few people play Bolvar Fordragon, but it wins me games fairly consistently. It sure won me this one!
Muster for Battle followed by Quartermaster also wins games. I even play this combo in Dragon Paladin. People expect it even less than they do the Spanish Inquisition.
These days I am more surprised by people emoting ‘Well Played’ at the end of the match than by people being offensive. I consider myself a Hearthstone gentleman so I always throw in a ‘Well Played’ when appropriate.
With the coin, a turn 4 Quartermaster can win games early. Sometimes people concede straight away. People used to expect the combo back around GvG times when everyone was playing Paladin. These days, I catch people unaware more often.
In this match I purposefully left Harrison Jones in my hand until my Handlock opponent played Lord Jaraxxus. That’s 8 cards drawn in one turn followed by a quick victory. Handlock is a very favourable matchup for my Slowadin deck.
I am greatly surprised by the Blood Knight played by my opponent. A 9/9 on turn 4 is not a small problem, by any means. Who plays a Divine Shield Paladin nowadays, anyway? Luckily, I have a Big Game Hunter in my hand and serious card advantage. Rank 6 here I come?
Even such mulligans can happen.
Instead of making it to rank 6 I fall back to rank 9. I am tempted to blame it all on bad cards. Obviously, it must be bad cards and worse luck – it can’t be me playing badly, can it? Another big surprise is that a lot of the decks I play against are pretty original – we are getting close to the end of the season and most players are as far as they’ll get – things would look differently a week ago. By this I mean I would primarily be running against the usual faster archetypes in these ranks.
This season I have been thinking a lot about Piloted Sky Golems. The Dunemaul Shaman that I get from the Sky Golem‘s Deathrattle wins me this game (I love Windfury) but in most games I don’t feel that I get that much from the card. Is it time to reintroduce Cairne Bloodhoof, or think of a better replacement?
My buddy Gordon here introduced me to Hearthstone in the first place, and here he is kicking my ass in a challenge of my own making. I challenged him to a game of Deathrattle – at least half of our decks have to be made up of Deathrattle cards. Gordon is a master of gimmicky decks and original, often weird synergies. He picks a class I would have never considered to play for this challenge. First he destroys my Shaman…
…Then my Hunter. What the hell is that Hobgoblin doing there? And what am I supposed to do about that Deathlord? Aaaargh!!!
Time for the second Tavern Brawl challenge – this one featuring bananas. I love bananas. I also love it when a Jallraxxus comes out of an Unstable Portal.
One more Tavern Brawl with Aggro Paladin (“Eboladin” for the ones in the know). I find out that King Mukla not only loves to gift your opponent bananas, he also loves to eat them.
One last attempt at climbing the Ladder before I go on holiday to the Czech wilderness – a land of latrines, rain and no electricity. A world devoid of Hearthstone. I meet another build that completely throws me off – I play this guy as if he was running Handlock, only to die at the hands of a buffed up Arcane Golem and a Faceless Manipulator. Well played, sir, well played. Friend request sent!
I come back from holiday to a finished season. Oh well, it’s back to rank 18.
…But I get to play the next Tavern Brawl, which is even more random than the previous one. I get 2 King Krushes in this game and seal the deal using the second one. I find out that I prefer less randomness in my Hearthstone.
I also finally win my 500th game in Ranked mode with Paladin and get to see what he looks like golden! Of all the different characters, Paladin shines the most.
And that’s the end of the great big screenshot adventure! I hope you enjoyed the ride. I have tremendously enjoyed being in the driver’s seat. The Tavern Brawl mode is turning out to be a nice new addition to the game. I love that it gives you an extra pack of cards to open each week, as well as being a game mode that’s random enough to add a little bit of spice to the game. Usefully, it also counts as an extra means of finishing quests!
Climbing up the Ladder still takes a lot of effort and time – a week of playing only gets me so far before I run into a hitch, and I struggle to gain momentum again.
And the meta? Well, it keeps on shifting like desert sand, picking up speed as players try to create decks that will make the climb go faster. Let’s at least celebrate the fact that there are less Face Hunters making life hell for everyone else, now that Hybrid Hunter is on the scene. Not that it’s much more fun to play against!
Well, folks, see you on the next big adventure. What did you make of this one? Did you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments below!
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