Wot I Think: Hearthstone – Goblins Vs Gnomes

Everyone loves Hearthstone, don’t they? Yes OK Mr Internet Commenter, I know that YOU consider the rigid turns an unacceptable oversimplification of CCG mechanics and blah blah blah, but every player I know just can’t enough of Blizzard’s card juice. Goblins vs. Gnomes is the game’s second expansion, following hot on the heels of the singleplayer adventure Naxrammas, and it adds 120 cards with one new minion class and a bunch of new effects. So is it all gravy, or a case of too many cooks?

There are several aspects to GvG – the new mech minions, some powerful standalones, and a bunch of cards designed to make pre-existing deck archetypes stronger. Some of these can be crazy in the right situation, like the Druid’s new ‘Tree of Life’ card, which costs nine mana but heals all characters including heroes to full health. I dropped this at 5 health with a wounded Ironbark Protector on the board, and my opponent instantly quit.

My previous Paladin deck (‘Palabuff’ thangew) was basically suffering from a lack of punch, which two cards in GvG absolutely solve. Muster for Battle summons three Silver Hand Recruits (lowly 1/1 minions) and gives you a 1/4 weapon for three mana, which is decent enough earlygame, but then in the lategame can be comboed with the five mana Quartermaster, which gives Silver Hand Recruits a 2/2 buff. If you’re on ten mana this can get you four 3/3s (including the hero power) and a 2/5 in one turn. Beautiful. Combo this with The Clash’s ‘I fought the law’ for one of 2015’s greatest gaming experiences.

The real joy of the GvG cards, however, lies in the simple trait of ‘mech.’ There are tonnes of new minions that are mechs, and a large number that combo with this trait, most of which are at the lower end of the cost range. This makes building a mech deck extremely flexible, because there are so many possible synergies between these cards and, if you get the balance right, you’re always going to be able to exploit them somehow.

An example of this is how an old favourite, the Mage legendary Archmage Antonidas, is rejuvenated in a Mage Mech deck. Antonidas is a theoretically amazing card that gives you a Fireball card every time you play another spell – usually a guaranteed win if you can trigger this three or four times. Problem is that before GvG I’d rarely have many low-cost spells left by the time he arrives and it costs seven mana to put him down – so he’s often killed before you can use the ability.

One of the side-effects of a decent mech deck is obtaining ‘spare parts’ cards through battlecries and deathrattles. These are one-mana spells that provide a minor buff to a minion, or other effects. So with a Mage deck you can build through the midgame with a beefy mech army and plan to follow into a turn-ten Antonidas followed by three spare parts, giving you a serious minion and three Fireballs in a single turn. Bonus points if the last spare part is the ‘Time Rewinder’ that returns Antonidas to your hand.

Discovering new combos like this is amazing, and the sheer number of potential strategies instantly catapults the mechs ahead of other minion factions. Cards like Antique Healbot single-handedly open up new types of strategies across classes – it’s a healing card that also provides a 3/3 mech on the board (most other heal cards are passive spells, or don’t heal for as much), allowing you to soak damage while still building a presence on the board.

Other minion factions are bolstered by a few new cards in GvG, but it’s hard to see underused types like Pirates being revolutionised by Salty Dog (a top-heavy five-mana 7/4) or even Ship’s Cannon (two-mana 2/3 that fires when Pirates are summoned). Much more interesting is the Rogue-specific card One-Eyed Cheat (two-mana 4/1 that cloaks when another Pirate is summoned), which in the right rushdown deck would be a nightmare to deal with.

There are also new cards that have proved so useful they’re common on the ladder. Dr Boom is widely considered to be one of GvG’s few missteps, a legendary goblin resembling the Fantastic Four’s nemesis that comes with two Boom Bots which explode on death to deal 1-4 damage to a random enemy. The card does do a crazy amount of damage, but the random element also means you occasionally face him down and live to tell the tale. And perhaps this quality of Dr Boom is the underlying issue.

Cards like Dr Boom and Goblin Blastmage tend to be where a lot of ‘OP!’ anger is directed, because the effect can be game-winningly random – if you have a mech when you drop Goblin Blastmage, it deals four damage to random enemies. At any point, depending on chance, the effect can be devastating and you also get a beefy minion on the board. The catch-all term for this is RNG (‘Random Number Generation’), as in “I pray to RNGesus.”

This is a core theme for Goblins vs. Gnomes – an emphasis on cards with random effects. Such things have always been a part of Hearthstone but now there are many more, including a deathrattle summoning a random minion, random damage distribution, random portals, and so on.

For some players this is Hearthstone’s glass ceiling, a mechanic that often trumps skill. I wouldn’t argue against the basic truth of this, but it rests on an assumption about what kind of game Hearthstone is. The line of thinking goes that the more a competitive game depends on pure skill over random chance, the better it is as a competitive game. Games built on such principles include Starcraft, Counter-Strike, Dota 2 – take your pick.

Hearthstone is a competitive game, and popular as an eSport, but for the majority of its audience, the emphasis is on ‘game’ rather than ‘competitive.’ The community discourse around Hearthstone congregates around the meta-game and will confidently make statements such “there are only 12 viable decks” while bemoaning RNG. Whatever their merits, these positions are irrelevant to 99% of Hearthstone players.

The reason Blizzard’s designers not only included RNG but have focused on it for this expansion is because it’s enormous fun, and as the effects layer and clash against each other, this becomes even more true. The random summons in GvG once turned me up a Nat Pagle (50% chance of an extra card each turn) that my enemy couldn’t kill, and which I then buffed up to ludicrous levels while it pulled an extra card for four turns in a row. I’ve had a Warlock hit me with an Imp-plosion for four damage, producing four 1/1 imps, and then drop an Enhance-o-Mechano giving the full board a random buff. Next turn he dropped two Power Overwhelmings to create two 5/5 imps with windfury that battered down my door.

Watching this stuff play out and discovering unexpected combinations is the lifeblood of Hearthstone. It’s why it still remains on regular rotation over a year after I started playing it and it’s this element of the unexpected that GvG ramps up. I’ve never hit legendary rank, don’t plan on it, and don’t play meta-sanctioned decks. I just like playing Hearthstone, and love it when that extra little bit of luck takes me over the edge in a tight game. Luck works against me too, of course, but you can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

Goblins vs Gnomes doesn’t turn Hearthstone upside-down, as the very best kinds of CCG expansion can do. For the game to truly have legs, that will need to happen at some future point. But the 120 cards GvG introduces – particularly the mechs, which work across classes while linking to class-specific mechs – emphasise chance and synergy, which are two of the most fun things about playing a card game. Finding new solutions to old problems and a new use for an old toy is what GvG delivers, its additions freshening up the overall game in a way that Naxrammas never quite managed. It doesn’t quite make Hearthstone feel new again. But it does make it feel a lot less old.

53 Comments

  1. RanDomino says:

    RNG for scalar effects isn’t fun; RNG for what options the game gives you is. For example I like the spare parts mechanic, but Dr. Boom not so much. The difference is that one is “roll a die to see if you won” and the other is “here’s some wacky crap, make it work”.

    • Chrysomore says:

      I like the way this guy thinks.

    • Arathain says:

      A lot of the complaints over RNG cards are misplaced. They don’t reduce the good judgement you need to play the game well, but it means many situations require a different kind of judgement. A player who can consistently calculate the odds of a play succeeding, or the likely distribution of effects, will make good calls more often than a player who finds that difficult. Over multiple games that ability will see you win more games than you lose.

      • Koozer says:

        “Over multiple games that ability will see you win more games than you lose.”

        That may be true, but having an enemy Dr. Boom’s bots deal perfect lethal damage to your face when you have 5 minions on board still feels horrendous. It’s like they took Ragnaros as the model card for this expansion. I’m not a statistician or a game theorist, but there’s a difference between this kind of highly variable, high impact randomness and that of, say, the order of cards in your deck.

        • Arathain says:

          I think there’s a consensus over Dr Boom being problematic, and I’m not arguing. It’s in every deck that owns it, and that seems to be Blizzard’s core criteria for pulling out the nerf bat.

          That said, losing to a couple of lucky dice rolls always feels bad. No getting around that. If that isn’t countered by how good you feel when you’re on the other side then perhaps this isn’t the right game.

          • Chirez says:

            But… EVERYBODY loves Hearthstone, don’t they?
            Certainly everybody Rich knows, which is what counts.

      • Derpa says:

        The RNG in hearthstone is on another level of terrible and just keep pushing players away…..along with luck being an even bigger factor or win/lose

  2. Chrysomore says:

    Hearthstone’s development over the past year has been pretty impressive, between the expansions and some judicious use of the nerf bat (you can eat a buffet of dicks LeeRoy!) Naxx was a bit hesitant about what it wanted to do, but it at least brought synergy into the foreground, as well as deathrattles and secrets, which went a long way toward addressing the issue of static, discrete turns. I think GvG’s most promising development is that it incorporates more mechanics that would be impractical on the tabletop, something Hearth hasn’t really capitalized on until now. If they can heed reviewers like Stanton, and keep the fun aspect foremost in their minds, HS ought to be my go-to “casual” ccg for a good, long time.

  3. Evil Pancakes says:

    Hearthstone never really appealed to me. Don’t know whether it is because I just am not interested in the Warcraft IP in any way, or because by appearances Herthstone just seems a bit too simple/straightforward for my taste.
    I used to love Magic: the gathering back when I was in highschool. Up to the point where I found out I had to invest several hundred euros if I ever wanted to scramble my own quality deck together.
    On that note, is there anything available a.t.m. that is kind of like a digital magic but with a lower associated cost to play properly? Hex seems interesting, but I’m not too sure about their business model. I suppose I could just buy one of the Planeswalker games otherwise.

    • bravekarma says:

      I would recommend the DotP games; 2015 if you like real deck building and don’t really mind grinding, 2014 if you don’t mind limited deck building and want a shorter, more focused game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Zamn10210 says:

      In all likelihood the game you’re looking for is actually Hearthstone. Give it a go, it’s not nearly as simple as you might think.

      • Derpa says:

        He has a point, if you come from a heavy MTG background the game plays very simple.

        • RanDomino says:

          Coming from a Magic background, I appreciate how Hearthstone removes every obstacle to what’s really the core of the game: Figuring out what’s in your opponent’s hand so you can play around it, while bluffing them about the contents of your own hand. For example if you have two mass removal spells and you don’t think they’ve committed to the table, make it look like you’re trying to get maximum value out of your first one, but then oh no whoops you fail, so they think they got you to play it too early, and then you bring the second one down and clobber them. Or maybe you think they know that’s your plan, but you only have one mass removal card, so you play it at the time that they’re expecting, and then they never commit to the table since they expect you to have the second one, but you’re really next-leveling them right back. Somewhat counterintuitively, that kind of high-level gameplay can actually be facilitated by an established metagame where everyone knows everyone else’s deck and normal plays, since variance from those normal plays can send signals about contents of hands, whereas more random formats may be more about brute-force value. On the other hand, if you don’t know what exact cards they have, you might not know what specific card they might have in hand, but you might be able to guess that they have a kill spell that costs 3-4 or something.

      • ramirezfm says:

        If you want simplistic and random MTG then go for HS. I come from heavy MTG background and HS required so little skill that I gave up early. Supposedly it becomes better when you have all the cards, but I never got there.

        You might want to try MM: Duel of Champions, it will require some investments though as you can’t do much with free decks. The game is pretty solid though. My card game of choice is Infinity Wars though, due to rotating test decks you can play a solid game without buying any cards. Also if you want to build something, I was able to build a few solid decks after spending 15 euro on boosters.

    • Rwlyra says:

      MM: Duel of Champions?

  4. J-Force says:

    I cannot, whatever I try, get into this genre, but even I am impressed with Blizzard in how they have crafted this game. Well done I suppose.

  5. aeromorte says:

    I dont have the money to buy xxx packs to get the cards (or not get them depending on rng). And i dont have the time to farm gold via daily quests. Nihao. So ill pass on this one.

    • Arathain says:

      I don’t spend money on packs in Hearthstone. I don’t have a whole lot of free time, so my play sessions are short and can be infrequent. For me it’s the perfect game. The less you play, the more Arena you can play, and I love me some Arena.

      Do your daily quests (take your time, no rush) until you get 150 gold. Try to pick your Arena class to allow you to progress on another quest. Play out your Arena run- take days if you need to, accumulating another daily or three. With a bit of luck you can spend the majority of your time playing Arena. The better you get, the easier it gets.

      • mouton says:

        It is cool if you find it fun, bot for me doing daily quests is grind. Especially when I do them in the play mode, were it is painfully obvious that I lack many essential cards – and I am not even talking about legendaries.

        • Walsh says:

          When you run Play mode are you playing Casual or Ranked?

          I used to get stomped every time I played Casual but when I switched to Ranked I started to win a lot more.

          • Jannn says:

            In ranked I assume I will stay at level 20 (i.e. the lowest) and as a result am never disappointed. I think the level system is great to ensure fair matches. The lack of cards I experience also applies to my opponent. Still enough diversity. Arena for me is a really fun bonus, and I am pleasantly surprised if I end up winning more than two matches (until you loose three matches total). If you really ache for more arena, I suppose the price for a single entry is too high, should give you two or three for that price. Even I, an admittedly bad player (blame a brain disease), don’t have to grind a lot, and those feel like practice matches.

          • AngoraFish says:

            The number of gold players and high-value legendary decks I see at level 20 never cease to amaze. It seems absolutely clear to me that a great many high-end players deliberately sit at level 20 for the first 2-3 weeks of the month for quick kills. In practice, I find that if I do eventually push through to levels 18-15, opponents become a hell of a lot less hardcore.

          • Fnord73 says:

            My expereience is the opposite. When I play casual, I sometimes manage to win a few games. On ranked, its just silly how many legendary decks are on the lower levels.

            I think Hearthstones greatest failure is that grinding requires winning, if you loose you get nothing. So the ones already at high level (or those with cash to burn) can grind comfortably, while those of us who are casual players are left behind in the dust. If more of the quests were “Deal x number of damage with class y” instead of “Win x number of matches with class Y” then I might slog along and do the grind. As it is now I get eviscerated most of the time, the wins are when Im lucky enough to meet someone with a deck on the same level as mine.

            A shame, because its a good casual game.

      • RanDomino says:

        My sister’s ex-roommate’s cousin made over 659 gold per hour doing arena runs just 3 per hour in HEarthstone !!! seriously I couldn’t believe it >>>click here<<<

  6. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    It’s not really the randomness that makes Dr Boom unpopular at the moment, it’s the fact that he spawns 3 incongruous bodies on the board, making him costly to deal with, card value-wise. You can kill the 7/7 with single removal, and the 1/1:s with a board wipe spell, but few cards can deal with them all at the same time (the priest’s Light Bomb is one of the few clean ways to do it). This card-effectiveness is what makes people include him in almost every deck. Which in turn makes everyone include one or even two big game hunters in their decks.

    The fact that he’s considered mandatory in almost every deck is a clear sign that Blizzard will want to nerf him, since that has been their modus operandi so far: It doesn’t matter if the card is strictly overpowered per se, but they want to see a variety in the types of decks played. This is why they in the past have nerfed novice engineer, leeroy, unleash the hounds, and nat pagle. They were not the most powerful cards in the game, but they were generically good enough to see use in a majority of decks.

  7. Ivan says:

    Every time I see something about Hearthstone, my brain is like this:

    “Oh, hey, Hearthstone. I should play that again.”
    *1 second later*
    “Wait, remember when you had to grind a bunch to make the deck you wanted to make, and you couldn’t even grind against the computer to do it?*
    *1 second after that*
    “But Arena was so freakin’ sweet!!!”
    *1 second later*
    “Wait, remember when you also had to grind to play Arena, and couldn’t just play Arena in perpetuity?”
    *1 second after that*
    “I’m gonna go play something else.”

    I like what they’re trying to do with Hearthstone, but the whole content-gating-via-grinding/daily quests is awful and just makes me feel bad. Which is not what a game should do. If you’ve created something fun like Arena, it should be open perpetually. I also dislike the forced multiplayer-esque aspect of daily quests, though they may have changed that.

    • Skull says:

      I think the game would be much better if they only asked for real money for decks but let you grind solo to complete the quests. This gold can then be spent on playing arena. Even if they nerfed arena rewards (and they are pretty generous) I would still be playing my favourite part of the game much more.

      Hearthstone is a fun game and even if you have no cash at all it is not a bad pick to load up. I imagine having it on Android would be a complete time killer. I just don’t want to ever play ranked again.

    • mouton says:

      “Remember how Arena, while funl, is heavily random and can easily deal you a horrible deck?”

      • Jannn says:

        “Remember” how that holds true for your opponents as well and the matchmaking in arena mode ties you to a player with the same number of wins and losses as you every round.

        I love the fact that in Arena as well as in ranked, you know you’re equal, otherwise one of you would rise or lower in rank. Claims of always loosing or winning are thus false.

        • Derpa says:

          I love “limited” formats in CCGs but arena is a pretty jacked one, before you even select your cards someone gets an advantage…..its far from equal

  8. Nim says:

    I cannot recommend the game in it’s current form to any new users. The amount of grinding currently is enormous. As a new player you only possess basic cards, which have not been rebalanced follow the arrival of newer more powerful cards which everyone else already got. To earn money you will have to play against human opponents. You have to WIN to earn any gold and get progress on most of the daily quests. Losers get nothing and you will lose. You will lose over and over and over against as soon as you meet any other players. They have a greater selection of cards at their disposal and more experience and they will defeat you. A single daily quest can sometimes take hours to accomplish simply because you are relying on luck to get those wins. Additionally your earnings are capped at 100g per day to dissuade bot farmers. A single pack containing 5 cards costs 100 gold and the cards you most often get are just trash. You cannot trade your cards with other people, you have to destroy extras to get a tiny amount of currency which you can use to craft new cards.

    The matchmaker is dysfunctional, focusing simply on finding you a opponent as quickly as possible and not an opponent of your skill level and card collection. As a new player, you can end up facing people with full collections straight of the bat.

    Because you only earn money when you win, everyone optimizes their decks to be ultra-efficient. This means that they just copy a deck of the net put together by a Pro and play that. Want to try building a unoptimal but very fun deck to play? Sucks to be you, everyone you are going to face are using ultra-efficient netdecks and they will defeat you, preventing you from earning rewards. Ranked is essentially nothing but super-aggressive decks that are designed to kill you as quickly as possible so that they can rank up fast. Casual is where everyone practices their netdecks before hitting ranked. You will face exactly the same decks here and guess what, lose.

    Arena is the most fun, but costs you gold to enter. The cost is one pack + 50 gold but you always get one pack even if you get kicked out. But guess what, you’re new, you don’t know what is good and what is bad, you will get stomped and after you’re out you’ll gain the new goblins vs gnomes pack instead of the old ones, not the basic pack which contain the class staple cards you really need.

    Avoid Hearthstone, don’t even think about it in its current form. Avoid, avoid, avoid!
    Unless you got tons of free time or a large amount of money to spend.

    • tormos says:

      this is so far divorced from the reality of my experience of playing hearthstone for the past few months that I barely know where to start.

      • mouton says:

        Obviously, you are not a new player.

        • tormos says:

          I literally started playing about 3 months ago because I needed something to do in 5 minute spurts while studying. The thing that seems to separate me from a lot of the posters in this thread is that I genuinely enjoy pretty much all of my games. I play to play, I get to try out different decks to fullfill quests, and sessions rarely go by without me feeling like I’ve improved or learned something significant that will help in the future, and I have been able to chart my progress with improving performances in the monthly rankings. Admittedly there are times when I feel like I lost solely because of a legendary, but I’ve also been able to put together the gold to buy almost all of the Naxrammas expansion in that time and am starting to get into arena (where, unlike constructed play, your collection doesn’t matter because you draft out of a list of all the cards in the game). Obviously if you hate the basic mechanics of playing the game and getting better you will have a bad time. And if you want to become a serious hearthstone player in a limited amount of time without spending any money you are out of luck. But if you want a fun game to play in your spare time where you can feel yourself getting better a lot faster than eg DOTA then Hearthstone might be your choice.

      • horsemedic says:

        He summed up my experience perfectly.

        I actually liked it as a newbie, for a couple months. Ranked matches were tedious for the reasons OP describe, but I only endured them as much as I needed to complete quests or grind gold for fun arena games. But even with a reasonable win rate in arena (and therefore fewer ranked games) I could only take it for so long. Ranked becomes an infinite chore after you realize you’re 1000s of wins (or hundreds of dollars) away from collecting the legendary cards that you need to be competitive.

        All that aside, the gameplay was simply bland. Yeah, if you play the absurd amount of matches you need to advance, the RNG gods will toss some epic drama your way now and then. But 90 percent of your games will be a slog of predictable, repetitive cause and effect dressed up with particle effects and cartoons. It’s a shame this sucked all the oxygen out of the CCG market, turning games that pushed the format like Scrolls or the brilliant Faeria into graveyards.

        • Jannn says:

          If professional advancement is more important to you than having fun, you certainly have a point. While competitiveness often is part of the fun, does only the number one player enjoy the game?

          • horsemedic says:

            Well i certainly wasn’t in it for professional advancement. I wasn’t in it for ranked advancement either. Like I said, arena was fun (though still suffered from HS’s mostly uninspired design). The ranked matches I had to play to feed my arena habit were torturous.

            With the exception of OP cheese like Zoo, nearly every deck build in HS revolves around finisher cards—high damage dealers you pull out to win the match. And the best finishers are ALWAYS legendary cards. So there’s only so much you can do with a low-tier deck, whether it’s your own design or someone else’s. Halfway up the rank ladder (and weirdly in most casual games), you’ll face players who pull out what amount to trump cards and negate whatever fun you were having.

            And if you want to build up your card collection, god help you. HS is so stingy with gold payouts that you have two ways to deck build: pay craptons of cash, or farm daily quests while burning cards you don’t want for dust.

            The latter option is a broken system that punishes experimentation, since you’re dusting every high value card that doesn’t fit into your intended deck design. And worse, you’ll end up with nothing but basic cards for most classes–which you are then forced to play if you want to complete the daily quests. So gameplay becomes almost like the work week. You have a few games of fun in arena or ranked with the deck you’re trying to build, paid for by long slogs in which you play classes you have no good cards for until you get lucky enough to scrape up enough gold for another pack.

          • Gitsi says:

            I created an account just to say thank you, you perfectly described my issues with Blizzards ftp games as I have the same issue with HotS. The implementation of daily quests as the only way to get anything approaching a reasonable sum of gold and the limited playtime afforded by an adult schedule means I have to choose between fun and progress….which typically results in my closing the game and opening either, a non-competitive game so progress doesn’t matter, or firing up LoL where I can play whatever the fuck I want and get the same IP gain.

    • Rwlyra says:

      2800-3500 gold for Naxxramas cards (700 per wing/you usually get 50-70 a day) + at least twice that amount on booster packs from both of the sets to make a deck that can have a chance against people it matches you against. Also – arena runs (which were previously deemed the most value per gold) now reward you with expansion booster, while the classic set has some “must have” cards.

      And “casual” matchmaking putting you against people with 500+ ranked wins with just 1 hero and complete legendary sets (while you have about 10 ranked wins or so).

    • Walsh says:

      Or you could you know treat it like the CCG it is and buy the goddamn card packs.

    • drinniol says:

      That’s basically my experience. Compared to DotP, my only other computer CCG, coming in to this game is immensely frustrating. The Ranked play is reset every so often so you get people playing legendary cards at the bottom levels, and it’s almost impossible to get a full set of character cards without serious dosh.

      My experience normally goes like this;
      ‘Oh, I’ll give hearthstone another go.’
      ‘Hah, he’s down to 15 health to 25’
      ‘Oh, well played that dude.’
      ‘…’
      ‘What the fuck card was that.’
      ‘And what the FUCK CARD WAS THAT’
      ‘AND WHAT THE FUCK CARD WAS THAT ARGHAGduAFjdskfis’
      /ragequit (though I always concede first! I’m not rude.)

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’ve already said this above, but the comment is more relevant to this thread.

      The number of gold players and high-value legendary decks I see at level 20 never cease to amaze. It seems absolutely clear to me that a great many high-end players deliberately sit at level 20 for the first 2-3 weeks of the month for quick kills. In practice, I find that if I do eventually push through to levels 18-15, opponents become a hell of a lot less hardcore.

  9. saynothingetal says:

    Hearthstone is just a bad game when compared to every other CCG, plain and simple. I’m not even sure where to begin:

    -ludicrously high time caps per turn. The fact that an opponent can troll you by simply using his entire turn length is ridiculous. Considering the game is not very complex at all (particularly when compared to, say, Magic) it’s an affront to my intelligence to have to sit there while somebody performs basic arithmetic for a minute and a half before doing anything.

    -Impossible to succeed without legendaries, which require extensive grinding. This has been touched upon often and by many people, so I won’t dwell on it.

    -Repetitive decks. You WILL see the same 5 decks over and over and over and over again. These decks can be netdecked and take virtually no skill whatsoever to play. You can get to legendary simply by making a Hunter deck that includes alpha wolf, unleash the hounds, and starving buzzards. The worst part is that even if you design your deck to counter a rush Hunter or Warlock deck, you will still lose to them 40% of the time. The quickest way to get to legendary is to play an idiotic rush deck that requires no skill.

    -No complex interactions. MTG is such a great game (and sorry to keep comparing it, but it’s highly relevant to this discussion) because you have the ability to combo cards and interact with your opponent during their turn. None of that exists in hearthstone.

    Overall it’s a sad sad imitation of MTG and you’re really better served playing just about anything else.

    • Walsh says:

      That out of turn interaction slows the game down to absurd lengths in MTG. I tried the computer versions recently and I could probably get 3 or 4 hearthstone games in the time it takes to play a MTG game.

      There are plenty of decks that win without Legendaries. One of the top players just lost to a starter deck

      • Derpa says:

        Agreed MTG games can go on FOREVER.

        But that video is a flat out fallacy

    • Improper says:

      I think the time cap is fine as it is. Although I’m sure someone like you could deduce that other players may not be focused on the game 100% of the time (checking mail, news etc.). Or that there could be connection problems. Or they just could have a personal reason for being slow, and it’s not really meant as an insult to your intelligence or your time that you have to wait a while longer than you’d like.

      MTG has always intrigued me but a big problem with it is it’s never really been that accessible. I can count on one hand all the people I’ve met who play MTG in real life. Online it seems popular enough but it also still feels more or less just the same as it’s physical counterpart, whereas Hearthstone looks and feels more like an actual PC game with it’s presentation. I guess that might be a “shallow” reason to favor HS but I dunno.

  10. Ostymandias says:

    I had some troubles with this one in regards to the beginner card pool, but after a few (six or so) rounds of arena I have been consistently stomping in casual mode with a warlock zerg rush deck for the past few hours
    my strategy is to play extremely cheesy games that end on turn 6 or so. I win maybe 90% of my games, which means I accumulate gold through the 3 wins = 10 gold permanent quest
    the ones I lose I usually also lose very fast, which means no time spent on games that generate no dosh
    It is also a great game to alt-tab back and forth to when reading internet. hot tip: play in windowed mode

    yes i am an asshole and so forth

    • Jannn says:

      Noooo! Don’t alt-tab! 15/01/2015 at 01:32 saynothingetal may think you’re doing basic arithmetic!

  11. eeguest says:

    At this moment Blizzard really needs to ramp up number of custom decks. Before GvG I could settle on 18 custom decks, after that I want at least 27.

  12. Eery Petrol says:

    Maybe the competitive scene would say that games should not be random, but card games in general center around managing odds. Their random elements are very clearly defined, so that exploiting or eliminating these become a part of the game. That means statistics are made into a crucial mechanic even before involving player psychology. It’s something I really enjoy.

  13. Gothnak says:

    Why does anyone play Ranked and not just play Arena?

    I don’t need decent cards, everyone is balanced, and i get to try out new cards all the time. I jump out of it now and then to play Ranked to finish some quests, but that’s all.

    I did try to see how high i could get in ranked one time and reached rank 11, but then realised just how many blooming games i had to play, and i don’t have enough time. Also, why play ranked, it gives you nothing.. So i went back to Arena and enjoyed it again. Also, a good run of 8 wins is enough for another free run combined with quests means i can usually have 3-4 Arena runs a week for free and only playing a few games a day, that’s enough for me.

  14. d32 says:

    One critique of Heartstone can be said for sure: It is not a good singleplayer game. At all. In fact, it is multiplayer only* and that’s why I don’t like it.

    * if you want new cards.

  15. BlueTemplar says:

    I ‘m going to predict that Hearthstone is going to be a HUGE success because of smartphones. I tried it on my Nexus 5 and the difficulty seems just right and the user interface just big enough on the gaining in popularity 5 inches screen form factor.