A Short Guide to Reaching Legend
I am Matteo Ghisoni, I have reached Legend numerous times before, I thought it would be interesting to share my tips with players attempting the climb for the first time. This guide is supposed to give you a general mind set for how to approach the game, it doesn’t teach you to play any singular deck. Hope this helps and enjoy the read!
Fight the Tilt
The 9th of August I was rank 1, the day after I was rank 5, the tilt can really hurt. After this I kept going between rank 4 and 5 feeling hopeless and generally not enjoying my time playing Hearthstone, this is exactly what you shouldn’t do.
Hearthstone can sometimes be a very stressful game, on nearly every Legend run I had up to date (11 I believe) at a certain point I always had the feeling of hopelessness. I will admit I am a very emotional player. This feeling can be the worst thing that happens to you as you start heavily misplaying, playing too fast, and generally losing games you should have won. Even if you try rationalizing that losing to a RNG flips happens, our emotional side isn’t rational, it will take over and make you feel almost always worse.
The best solution for this is setting some sort of guidelines on how to behave in tilting situations and follow them. Yes, following them is definitely the hardest part! If you want some inspiration my general guideline is the following: if you lose 3 games in a row mandatory 10 minutes break. This though is not the complete rule as there are some conditionals. Firstly if you are playing too fast and your head feels fuzzy, even if you are not losing, you should stop. Tiredness can severely affect your performance in Hearthstone. Additionally some heavy losses warrant 10 minutes breaks just because of how bad they can be. For me losing to Yogg’Saron RNG is one of the worst feeling in the game, after crazy Yogg’s I always let myself breathe for a bit.
In general to play the game to the maximum of your capacities you should always try to be in the best possible mental state, like for any mental activity the less lucid you are the worst you will perform. My main suggestion is to try make you gaming session as clean as possible, music without words and absolutely no streams open, they will just distract you from your games.
Take General Stats
Knowing the general field you are facing against will enable you to mulligan correctly as well as guiding your deck choice. For example, if there is 60% Control Warrior around you might not want to play Freeze Mage. If on the other hand there is a lot of Zoolock it might be correct to Freeze and burn the enemies to death!
In order to take stats there are two different ways, you can either use a program or do it old style like I do: by hand. I personally prefer writing down statistics because I can put small comments beside the statistics. For example, it might be I heavily misplayed a match-up and thus I should regard the statistics as unreliable, by hand I can note this down. In general there is a lot of information that might be important when analysing the statistics; from techs the opponent might have used to the style of play you decided to take. Additionally I suggest to go back and look at how you did every 20 games, this is in order to understand what happened and what to can expect from the metagame.
Overall I don’t think it is required to write in depth analysis of all the match-ups to reach legend, but at least knowing what the metagame you are playing in is should help you get there faster. Additionally with stats you can optimize your deck choices and techs better, for example a lot of Shaman might warrant you putting Doomsayer in your Hunter deck. Lastly consider that if there is a strange statistics, like losing 90% of games against Freeze Mage as Control Warrior, this might help you identify mistakes you are making in favourable match-ups.
Stick with One or Two Decks
Sometimes you will feel your deck is not working numerous games in a row, this will tempt you to switch decks. There are two problems with this. Firstly a few games is not enough of a statistical basis to really understand how effective a deck is, bad RNG can affect anyone. Secondly every deck needs to be played differently in different match-ups, meaning that if you continue switching decks, you will never gain enough expertise with one deck to fully understand how to play against the popular meta decks.
In general you will see that the more you play with a deck the more your win-percentage will increase. The reasons why players such as Dawid “Zetalot” Skalski manage to hit legend consistently with tier 3/4 decks (Priest) is that they have so much experience with the deck that they know exactly how to build it and play it.
So in general my suggestion is to find one or two decks you really enjoy playing and master them!
Think About the Game
I am not talking about going full Lifecoach and analyzing every game as deeply as he does, but at least thinking a bit about how you could have played differently. How good you are at a card game is solely determined by which decision you make, there is no flashy mechanical skill you can practice. I personally think it is important go back and think about different plays you could have made after each game, even if just for a few seconds. The screenshot feature in Hearthstone is especially useful for this as you can just press Prt Sc and have the image saved to the desktop.
Thinking about the game also involves taking your time with turns and trying to calculate what would put you in the best position in order to win. Sometimes it might be better to sacrifice life for board control other times the opposite will be true. Also, taking your time should enable you to give you more time to spot hard lethals! I like keeping my hands off the mouse until I have made a decision, this enables me to really think through all my options without being rash and making avoidable mistakes.
Thinking about how a specific match-up works is also part of this sub-section. In some match-ups it is essential to save resources in order to deal with certain threats, in others going face is your only win-condition. If you are having a hard time in a particular match-up, a suggestion is to go in casual and keep playing as the deck you are losing the most against, this should enable you to understand the weakness of the deck. Alternatively if there is a particular match-up you really cannot seem to win you could ask someone from your friend list to play with you the match-up with you playing as the class which always beats you. Getting the opposed perspective of the match-up should help you understand it better. Overall take your time with you decision, nobody is chasing you and this will probably save you time in the long run.
Identify your Win-Condition
This part is a subsection of thinking about the game but I thought it would be important to emphasize it, I see too many players making this mistake against me. Every turn the first thing you should ask yourself is: “how am I winning this game?” This is essential as different situations will warrant you to act in different ways.
For example, the other day I was playing Aggro Shaman and was facing against a N’Zoth Paladin. He had 18 health and only 5 cards remaining in the deck. I knew he had no more heals but I didn’t see any weapon removal, he had two turn clock on me. My hand was composed of Doomhammer, Rockbiter Weapon, Lightning bolt and a couple other minions. I had 8 cards in my deck and still had another Rockbiter Weapon in it. I decided that my only win condition was to wait on equipping the Doomhammer and hoping to find the Rockbiter, I decided that my 1/8 to win from hand was more probable than him having his weapon removal in the last 5 cards of the deck. I got rewarded for this play and won. Obviously I don’t know if he actually had the Ooze or Harrison in hand, overall though I felt my only win condition was bursting him from my hand.
Some games of Hearthstone will be straight forward in how you win, others will require you to find the correct way in the middle of the decision paths. Overall the games which really matter for your win-rate are not the ones you blow out or get blown out, are the ones where the correct line of play is hard to identify. So I repeat, every turn stop and ask yourself: “how am I winning this game?”
Learn from the Pro’s
The reason these people can make money out of the game is that they spent an incredible amount of hours perfecting their skills and improving as players. When you see people such as: Thijs “Thisj” Molendijk, Cedric “Senfglas” Sander, Cong “Strifecro” Shu etc. playing the game you see that their decision making is on point, they know what they are doing and rarely make mistakes. Obviously everybody will lose because of a draw, but consistency is all that matters in a game of probability (and no nobody is never lucky). If you watch Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk beware he will tell you the secret to become Legendary is visiting tempostorm.com! Visiting the site might help but is certainly not enough to get your game perfectly on point!
What I like to do when watching a stream is to try guess the line of play before the streamer makes the final decision, this should really help your analytical skills. If you manage to guess the line of play consistently it should mean your game is on point. Additionally the streamers which I talked about above usually talk about their decision making so you can compare yours and see where you have gone wrong, I assume it is correct to say most of the time the pro’s will have made the correct decision.
Overall actively engaging in viewing these people and understanding their deck choices and thought process should help you become a better player in the long run, obviously there is no substitute for practice.
I believe that anyone who really puts their head to it and really tries to step up their game will eventually reach Legend, the important thing is to not get demoralized by the loss-streaks that statistically will happen. All that is left for me to say is: “may the RNG God’s be with you” and good luck in your Hearthstone endeavors!
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