I think my mind is starting to fray around the edges.
- Introduction – 0/1000
- Week 1 – 118/1000
- Week 2 – 147/1000
- Week 3 – 208/1000
- Week 4 – 280/1000
- Week 5 – 388/1000
- Week 6 – 421/1000
- Week 7 – 529/1000
- Week 8 – 597/1000
- Week 9 – 640/1000
- Week 10 – 672/1000
- Week 11 – 704/1000
- Week 12 – 752/1000
Lowly Legends Everywhere
This must be what going mad feels like. It isn’t just the fact that I completely forgot the season would end in the middle of the week, though that certainly didn’t help things. I felt like I was getting into a good groove and was climbing fairly steadily, only to realize that the ladder was just about to reset in a day or two. Oops. The part that came after that is straight out of Edgar Allan Poe stories or gamer nightmares: the telltale face beating below the floorboards, a lack of decent sleep (for a multitude of other reasons), whispers of VENGEANCE everywhere, and perhaps the single most awful streak I had playing the game as long as I can recall.
I haven’t hit 300 wins but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying: in what was possibly the nadir of my entire Hearthstone “career” (not including the period of early-day F2P homebrew decks), I started the season with four losses in a row, a record which I then brought back to 4-5, only to lose my next nine consecutive games across two different play sessions. That awful streak pretty much tanked my winrate and caused a non-negligible setback in my win count chase as well – not to mention the damage done to my ego.
It’s a testament to the new ladder system that I still managed to hit Legend by Sunday thanks to the 11-star win streak awarded for “high” finishers in the previous month. It actually carries across the entire climb, awarding you two stars even in the high Diamond ranks as well. It certainly does get a Legend player back to where they were in an extremely swift fashion, so much so that I finished my ascent with a negative overall record (49% across 67 games).
By May 3 afternoon, there were already over 800 Legend players on EU. I entered at Legend 632. Turns out that’s the easiest way to hit top 1000! By the end of the week, I clawed my way back to a 50% record.
Now to figure out what led to this brutally and uncharacteristically poor streak. As it turns out, a tempo deck struggles when going second, especially when the build of your choice only runs two one-drops to get things started.
(Please Don’t) Toss a Coin to Your Demon Hunter
You probably also felt the struggle of fighting back as the second player in the Demon Hunter mirror. Most notably, the Raging Felscreamer/Priestess of Fury combo gut punch produce a particularly toxic kind of a mirror match where the player who goes second has to have pretty much the perfect blend of early pressure and strong follow-up if they want to have any chance contesting a turn 5 Priestess – not even your own will suffice as a good enough answer. Even in the other contentious matchups, like Eggro Warrior and Galakrond Rogue, a decent portion of your wins come from leveraging the damage done by your early-game minions. It’s rough, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I went back and checked my stats: this season, my winrate going first was 66% and 36% on the Coin. It was 63% and 46% in April. The mirror match feels basically just as bad as the old Midrange Hunter mirrors (or certain poorly tuned Arena metas). where going second was as close to a death sentence as you could get. It makes sense: you’re looking at a tempo deck after all.
However, I think this showed me that you can’t throw enough wrenches into the opponent’s gameplan in the mirror to counteract the tempo loss. I certainly didn’t help myself in that sense by running the Frescha build which completely cut Battlefiends. Though I was very happy with the later inclusion of Mana Burn for Spectral Sight and one Sightless Watcher as they helped a lot in non-mirror matchups (Mage becomes a literal free win if you can disrupt their turn six play, be it Blizzard or Reno the Relicologist), I’ll probably jump back on the Questing Adventurer hype train to try and produce more pressure early on. Those builds are actually pretty happy to have the Coin at their disposal, too – whether it’s too finicky to attempt it alongside the Priestess of Fury package remains to be seen. I’ll be sure to let you know. Maybe you can get away with cutting Kayn Sunfury if you want to target the mirror and Warrior: they made up over half of my games during the Legend climb, after all, where it has little to no utility.
All that said, I keep taking breaks writing this for the proverbial ‘just one more game’. I think that’s a good sign. With 270 wins in 26 days, I’m still on track with my overall goal of ten wins a day on average, even if I keep missing the more optimistic weekly ones.
Hey, it’s me from the future (ie. Monday): 23-14 in Legend so far. Now I can actually win games going second! Give it a spin if you’d like.
My Predictions, for What They’re Worth
- Questing Adventurer will cycle back into the meta in a big way
- A much more aggressive Demon Hunter build will be experimented with
- Highlander Hunter will grow in popularity
Yeah, my Demon Hunter winrate is still not even positive, but I did say that was more hope than prediction. At least I got the Eggro Warrior trend right – insert STONKS meme here. Based on my limited encounters with Highlander Hunter, I think that deck will also be able to claw out a niche for itself in the meta.
For this week, I’d like to leave you with this gem of a game. Super simple stuff. Who needs board presence when you have all the burn you need? Also, it marks one of the ultra-rare occasions where I felt like it was justified to cast Skull of Gul'dan without its Outcast effect so that I can fish for Mana Burn. Would love to know whether you agree with that decision based on the game state.