Skip to main content

Hearthstone guide: tips for climbing the ladder

Taking the pain out of powering up the ranks.

Play Hearthstone's Ranked mode for long enough and you're bound to hit a very particular kind of wall at some point or another. Perhaps it happens when you reach a Rank you've never achieved before, one you're rightly proud of achieving, and you're worried about dropping down again. Maybe you've had a particularly bad run of games and you've suddenly lost your bottle to find another match.

When this happens, you'll often find yourself facing no small amount of anxiety about getting back on with the job of climbing all the way up to Legend. Here are some tips that we've found useful when it comes to continuing that long climb through each of Hearthstone's Seasons.

Don't fall victim to tilt

You are going to have runs of bad luck and they are going to be infuriating, but understand there will be periods of losses and things will change. No you haven't got worse at Hearthstone. No everyone isn't better than you. Yes, you were probably are still as good as you were last week. Maybe it wasn't the RNG that screwed you, and you simply made a bad call earlier on in the match.

If you let externalised, negative thinking enter your mind, you'll fall victim to something known as "tilt". In this state of mind you play emotionally rather than logically. You stop treating each game as an isolated moment, and see it as a chance for "payback" against a type of Hero or deck. When this happens you will make more misplays, more often, and increase the number of games you lose. This then simply reinforces the circle of negative feedback.

There are many ways to deal with tilt. Some like to call it a day, while others go for a walk instead. Some people recommend playing until you get a single win, then knocking it on the head for the evening - that way you finish on some kind of positive.

However you choose to deal with tilt, recognise when it's happening, know it for what it is, and do whatever it takes to remove it from your mindset when you're in Ranked play.

Commit to sticking with one deck

If you're serious about climbing the ladder each month, you shouldn't switch out to another deck after a single bad run of luck, simply because you feel the one you've been using is somehow suddenly weak to every other.

The metagame shifts, it's true, and we cover that element of the game to a huge degree, but a well-crafted deck in the most experienced hands will always be capable of climbing to the very highest levels of Ranked play - regardless of the latest and greatest decks to hit the metagame. By all means swap in cards to deal with recurring problems, however

If you're consistently struggling to beat a certain kind of deck, grab a decklist of whatever's bothering you and jump into Casual play. You don't want to waste too much time experimenting here, but commit to playing a dozen games with this bothersome deck type to improve your understanding of it. Combine that with the experience you have with your own deck, and you'll be in a much better position to handle future opponents.

Have a blast in Arena

Variety is the spice of life, and we've found that taking a break from Constructed play, even for a single evening, is a great way of dealing with both ladder anxiety and the dangers of tilt. Just getting away from the gimmicks of the ladder and returning to the basics of value play will do wonders for your outlook - and your skill levels when you finally return to the ranks. We find this actually goes both ways, and is a great way of improving your overall discipline at the game.

Make sure you're as good as you can be

Take an evening to absorb yourself in your deck of choice completely. Search YouTube for your deck type, along with the names of good educational streamers like Trump or Kripparian. Read all of the guides you can find, and make sure you're making vital early decisions like your Mulligans appropriately. You might just learn something you'd never even considered before, even after playing dozens or hundreds of matches with the deck.

Read this next