God of the Arena – one RNGeesus to rule them all!

by Neco | Sep 9, 2015 | Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft | Release Version: Patch 3.0.0.9786

Our Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft series continue with the most challenging mode the game has to offer: the Arena.

It is a paid mode with unforgiving rules: 3 defeats and your bid for glory comes to an end. One can muster maximum 12 victories but 7 is the magic number: any victory above the seventh would return the initial investment with some interest. Given that this investment was made with in-game gold, that is.

Starting an Arena costs 150 game gold and reaching 7 pay back more than that. Regardless of how many victories one achieves it is certain that at least one deck of 5 card will be awarded, so even the most abysmal Arena runs do not leave the players completely empty-handed.

What truly makes the Arena really tough is not the price, though – it is the high variation and unpredictability. Here is why:

Arena Rules

Upon purchase, the player is given a choice. 3 classes are presented at random, one has to be chosen. Once the class is selected, the deck building begins and this is where many people struggle. Unlike Constructed play, where one can choose any card s/he has collected, in the Arena each of the 30 card slots can be filled with any card in the game, regardless of whether the player actually possesses it or not.

However, for each of the 30 card slots the player is presented with 3 cards and has to pick one among them. Selecting the right cards is obviously crucial for the fate of the Arena run. Choosing consistently the best card out of the 3 in presented is by no means guaranteed to be the best choice in reality, because one has to considers things like mana curve and internal deck synergy.

Arena Deck Building

Generally speaking, the Arena decks are much more minion-heavy than their Constructed counterparts. Reason being, in Constructed spells and special minions are often used to create strong combos, which can swing the game with ease, whereas in Arena it is very probable that the second part of the combo would simply appear as a choice. Statistically speaking, it is an unjustified risk to pick up a combo card hoping that the second part would come along.

Taking calculated risk in the right moment often is appreciated by RNGeesus Himself.

Taking calculated risk in the right moment often is appreciated by RNGeesus Himself.

One wants to have minions on the board, because it is the minions who carry the game. There are much fewer spells to influence the board, so one has to choose wisely a strategy that would help him control the board with sufficient consistency.

One of the most important things in any Arena deck is the mana curve, for it determines how many viable plays one would have on each turn. Arguably, the first 4 or 5 turns are the most crucial ones. Given the general lack of spells that can really swing the board, establishing strong presence early on often gives the necessary edge and can be enough to bring home victory. Missing a play on turn 1 is OK, missing turns 2 or 3 is often fatal.

Trading

It is hard to stress how important proper trading of minions is. Of course, with Hearthstone being a trading-card game, this is the bedrock of success, but in Arena it is much more crucial than in Constructed. Overall, Arena decks are weaker than those in Constructed because one cannot choose all the cards s/he’d like, which leaves virtually all strong combos out of game. That is why one must do with what s/he is presented in the best way possible.

Falling behind on board presence often ends up badly.

Falling behind on board presence often ends up badly.

An entire article can be dedicated on the art of trading in Arena but the best way to understand – without actually paying up for Arena games before being sufficiently prepared – is watching streams. Players like Hafu, Ratsmah, SimCopter, and Kripparian play almost exclusively Arena (with the latter, being the sell-out he is, opting sometimes for Constructed).

Other than that, play as many Arena games as possible. They would give you a much deeper understanding of the game as a whole and would enrich your card collection sufficiently. In turn, this would allow you to make mostly all daily quests in Constructed.

Arena is really fun and much more difficult to master than Constructed play thanks to its immense variety and unpredictability. This way it stays always fresh and lacks the grind, which is so intrinsic to any prolonged climbing in Ranks. Lastly, winning in Arena secures a lot of riches.

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