Hearthstone: The more dice the better

I’ve posted my overall thoughts about Hearthstone in the past, but the TL:DR is that its less a card game and more of a graphical dice simulator. It looks like a M:TG clone, but the gameplay is a lot more like Candyland, where it’s less about the decisions you make and more about just watching things happen based on luck/dice.

That said, as a ‘TV goes to commercial, let’s kill 5 minutes and CoC/BB/FO:Shelter don’t need to be checked’ option, you could do worse. The most recent addition, the Tavern Brawl, plays to this strength, as it’s a completely randomized clusterfuck.

Basically every week a new Tavern Brawl starts, and each one has unique rules. Last week it was spells-focused; every time you cast a spell, the game would summon a random monster of your spells cost for you. The week before that, every time a creature was killed, you gained a random card that could boost troops or harm others. Before that it was a deck full of spiders, with said spiders giving you a random creature when they died. Before that it was two pre-made decks of silly, broken OP cards.

In other words, winning or losing in Tavern Brawl isn’t the normal 90% luck that a typical game of HS is, it’s 99%, and the deck building aspect drop from the usual 10% to 1%. And its great fun in very short bursts (one or two games a week, just enough to get the free card pack), because you can’t possibly take the games seriously or care if you win/lose. Just make your clicks, watch the explosions, and return to whatever you were watching on TV when the commercial break is over.

Hopefully Blizzard continues down this path with HS, just embracing the fact that it’s not so much a game as it is a WoW-themed dice simulator, and continues giving us more stuff like Tavern Brawl in 6 months when the next game update happens.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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28 Responses to Hearthstone: The more dice the better

  1. Azuriel says:

    You haven’t heard the announcement of an announcement yet? About a week from now they’re going to be revealing something, possibly an Argent Tournament setting expansion. It’s possible that the announcement is something less, like a tournament mode or more character skins or something, but all other evidence points to an expansion. Which, if the past is any indication, will come out a month later.

  2. carson63000 says:

    “it’s less about the decisions you make and more about just watching things happen based on luck/dice”

    A very common opinion – at least, very common amongst people who aren’t very good at the game.

    • SynCaine says:

      I’m rather amused people believe skill is a major factor in something like tavern brawl, but then I’m sure someone out there believe they are amazing at slot machines too.

      • Dobablo says:

        Luck is very important. Two of the 4 tavern modes have been almost entirely luck based (spiders and spells – both generating random minions, although you could lose the spells game with a poorly built deck).

        The game is driven by luck, but there is skill involved in employing risk management strategies, deciding which cards to mulligan, and which play to use when (based on what you might be facing and what you might draw).

        My ball tossing is random, that doesn’t mean the batter has no control on the outcome.

        • SynCaine says:

          That’s why I say HS is 90% luck. That 10% does matter, but not a whole lot. Over the course of a thousand games, that 10% becomes more significant/noticeable, but in a tournament you don’t play a thousand games, like you play thousands of hands of poker in a tournament.

          Then there are a lot of cards that are both very powerful and 100% random (portal, shredder), which further reinforces or even increases that 90% luck portion.

  3. Matt says:

    Card games are inherently random, as you don’t start with your whole deck in your hand. Tavern brawl is pretty fun though, it gave some much needed variety, and for free.

    • SynCaine says:

      The amount of randomness is the key though. Poker is a card game with randomness, but ultimately the better player wins over time at a fairly consistent rate, because long-term the randomness can be managed. In HS not so much, especially in something like tavern brawl.

  4. solidd says:

    “its less a card game and more of a graphical dice simulator”


    Some expert gamers (including from MtG background) beg to differ.

    Also, do let us know when you manage to hit legend rank, since HS is such a trivial and shallow game, I’m sure you will have no trouble :)

    That said, almost no one takes brawl seriously. It’s a fun little feature that is meant for exactly what you said – a few short games to get a free deck, then go back to what you were doing. The increased randomness is I’m sure both meant to increase the fun factor and give us filthy casuals a better chance to more quickly get our free pack. About the most negative thing about brawl is that it isn’t the highly anticipated tournament mode that many people were hoping for.

    • SynCaine says:

      Oh wow a current HS player that is hoping its his new gravy train is saying something positive about the game, shocking. That interview just shows how far someone will bend over for a payday, nothing more. MtG vs HS complexity is as much a conversation as the color white is darker than the color black.

      Getting to legend is a joke as a test of skill btw. How hard is it to ‘play’ face hunter? Do you honestly find such decks challenging? The only ‘challenge’ is staying awake playing against the same 4-5 meta decks and grind out enough game to make it up, but literally anyone with more than two brain cells could do it.

      • solidd says:

        “That interview just shows how far someone will bend over for a payday, nothing more”

        Maybe. Most people seem to agree HS is a simpler game, still many seem to enjoy it as is so it can’t be the complete joke you claim it is. See for example http://www.hearthpwn.com/forums/hearthstone-general/general-discussion/12214-mtg-players-or-former-your-thoughts-on-hearthstone?page=3#c48

        “Getting to legend is a joke as a test of skill btw… literally anyone with more than two brain cells could do it.”

        I think it is really hard and as proof I submit than many people (who have tried) have never reached legend. I have a friend who certainly has more than 2 brain cells, has every card in HS yet has never hit legend. I assume you have also never hit legend?

        “The only ‘challenge’ is staying awake playing against the same 4-5 meta decks ”

        As an example Warlock class alone has like 3 viable decks currently that I know of (handlock, zoo, demon) so your comment about only 5 meta decks is factually incorrect. In addition currently face hunter is countered by so many decks (since it was so powerful for a while) that no matter how much you grind you’ll never get anywhere if you play only face hunter. Most serious hunter players have long since switched to mid-range hunter, face can be used up to middle ranks but once you start running into serious control decks they will eat you alive.

        Yes there is some RNG in HS but if you think it is “simple” try to play and reach higher ranks, even at rank 15 you will start having some tough games. True some decks are simple in concept (face-agro) but even there you have to make some decisions about what to clear and what card to play at what time. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and blog about your experience – if you actually invest some effort you might be surprised at some of the nuances of the game.

        Personally, I’m guessing you will not and keep blindly bashing the game, I think that’s your loss – as a gamer, if not as a blogger.

        • SynCaine says:

          My highest rank so far was 14-15, something like that, and that was still playing the way I play (during commercials, often closing a game if commercials end or I need to do something else). And like I said, even at that level it was the same decks, over and over, which just makes an already fairly boring game painfully more so. Back then I did copy/paste a meta deck just to see, and yup, it was easy and it worked. It was also mind-numbingly boring, and as I said ‘ranking up’ in HS is more a negative than a positive.

          I don’t follow the meta, so if face hunter isn’t a thing anymore, so be it. It was when this topic last came up, and it worked. The point stands however; you don’t need to play all the meta decks to get up in rank, just one, over and over and over again, and with HS being as simple as it is, that isn’t difficult. A first-day player can look at face hunter and clearly see it’s a very simple deck to play and do well with; there just aren’t many (any?) difficult decisions to make with it, and yet it works.

  5. Pingback: Tavern Brawl | In An Age

  6. solidd says:

    Can’t reply directly to your last reply (WP limitation?) so replying down here.

    “My highest rank so far was 14-15, something like that”

    Same here.

    “often closing a game”

    That must have made your opponent very happy :)

    “And like I said, even at that level it was the same decks, over and over”

    Have you played at all since GvG and BRM were released? My experience is that deck types have exploded, especially since BRM (Dragon Paladin woot :)) and especially at the lower ranks we play at – in higher ranks the competition is harder and fewer deck types are viable.

    “which just makes an already fairly boring game painfully more so”

    It’s not exactly super exciting but then this isn’t an action game. I don’t play much myself but when I do a close match against a good opponent can get pretty intense. One game I won when my knife juggler managed the 50% and his knife hit the opponent instead of the single minion he had (I myself was on 2 health and he was a hunter, so I would have lost next round). RNG I hear you say? Well yes but I was clever and put my 3/3 that destroys the nearby minions next to an egg so I actually had 2 knives thrown. Only the 2nd knife hit…

    “as I said ‘ranking up’ in HS is more a negative than a positive.”

    If you don’t enjoy the game of course not. But that doesn’t mean it is trivial/easy to rank up, just because you personally find the process boring.

    “you don’t need to play all the meta decks to get up in rank, just one, over and over and over agaim”

    You could not be more wrong. A single deck will get you so far and then the meta will shift and you will be stuck or even go down ranks. What pros ladder, they shift decks all the time.

    “A first-day player can look at face hunter and clearly see it’s a very simple deck to play and do well with; there just aren’t many (any?) difficult decisions to make with it, and yet it works.”

    I think you are wrong. It’s really easy to get to middle ranks because most good players are at higher ranks, but play agro (any deck not just face hunter) against good control players and they pretty much have a free win unless you get a god draw (there’s a bit of rng for you :)).

    • SynCaine says:

      Can only nest 3 replies, set it that way because it gets too hard to follow the format.

      My point about making legend is that you can pick one strong but simple meta deck, and if you grind enough, you will make legend that month. Getting to legend isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming, and you don’t get anything for it (other than playing at a rank where deck variety is way down and what deck you can play is highly limited, especially if you don’t have access to every card).

      I play a few games a week, have all of BWL and Nax. The more cards they add the more decks become somewhat viable (not strong, but not worthless), which is indeed fun. When GvG came out I had an issue with so many of the cards being so random, but if Blizz is taking HS down the totally random direction (ala Brawl), that’s fun too, just moves it further away from a game of skill.

  7. Alleji says:

    I also dislike ranked ladder in HS, but I have to disagree about legend being “easy”.

    If you only got to rank 15, you are absolutely in no position to judge how easy or hard it is. That’s like claiming that getting to 60, raiding and getting high warlord in WoW is “easy” and “only a grind”, when you yourself only played till level 25.

    The ladder grind in HS doesn’t even begin until rank 5, when you lose win streak bonuses. At that point the grind IS the primary barrier and at least a third of your games will be straight-up unwinnable based on draws, but in order to even get to that point, you need to play quite well, know the meta, be able to identify your opponent’s deck correctly and know what cards are in it, and so on.

    It’s actually pretty close to the idea of playing a thousand hands in poker.

    TL;DR: Ladder sucks, but it’s by no means easy.

    • SynCaine says:

      Someone at 25 can see why raiding would be difficult (reaching high warlard in vanilla was 100% grind, 0% skill). Someone who understands the very basics of HS can look up a face hunter deck (or could, back then), build it (after buying the needed cards), and after 2-3 games see why its an easy but effective deck, and if it wins you more games than it losses (it did), getting to Legend is 100% grind at that point, because being in Legend isn’t hard or impressive.

      • Trego says:

        Your ability to have a winrate over 50% against the badz at rank fifteen with face hunter does not prove that you could do the same at rank five against real opponents. this same wrong argument , repeated three hundred times, does not become more convincing. I’m guessing that if you actually did the legend grind you would decide that hs has more strategy than you thought, but until you do that including your guesses about the nature of the difficulty level which you haven’t achieved only weakens your arguments.

        • SynCaine says:

          Please explain how the old version of face hunter got more difficult to play from 15 to 5?

        • Trego says:

          why would I explain something I don’t believe to be true?

        • Trego says:

          The deck isn’t any more difficult to play perfectly , but the opponents are more difficult to beat, as the opponents at rank fifteen make more mistakes. Your prior post is talking about winrate, which at rank fifteen has more to do with avoiding obvious mistakes than the slightly more subtle choices that usually determine higher ranked games

        • SynCaine says:

          Ok, so what subtle choices were you making with face hunter at 5? Were you making enough ‘mistakes’ to drop that deck below 50% winrate at rank 5?

        • Trego says:

          My winrate with face hunter is significantly lower at rank five than at rank fifteen. The exact percentage varies with the current meta. You always go face with face hunter, except when you don’t. Figuring out when to temporarily go for board control is the most basic strategic choice with fh, guessing or deducing which secrets your opponent played, and how much to extend vs a possible board clear are the next two more subtle choices. When I err, I often go for board control instead of just going face, I’m a more natural control player. It’s not a complex deck, but since no one is perfect at any of the above three things there’s always room to improve, even with the simplest deck in hs

        • SynCaine says:

          I didn’t say your winrate wouldn’t drop from 15 to 5, I said facehunter is still effective at 5, and that facehunter itself is very easy to play well-enough in order to advance. Even at a 51% winrate, you will make Legend eventually, which disproves the notion that Legend is any measure of HS skill.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your conclusion does not follow from your premises. If you maintain a 51% winrate in chess consistently, despite your rise in Elo level, and while only playing opponents with your current Elo rating, then you will eventually become the highest rated Elo chess player in the world, which would mean you would be generally accepted as the best chess player in the world. Likewise, if you consistently maintain a 51% winrate against opponents in HS, despite the consistently rising Elo rating of your opponents, then you will eventually maintain a top 100 legend rank, and perhaps even higher, and be recognized as not just a legend player, but a top worldwide legend player.

        • Trego says:

          that anon was me, forgot to logon on a new comp. Anyway, obviously a consistent 51% winrate regardless of opponent doesn’t make sense. If you can win at a 51% clip against top 20 legend players, then you’d win at a 55% clip against an average Legend player, and at a 60% clip against the average rank 5 player. If you want to write about these differences meaningfully, it would behoove you to attempt to get to not just Legend, but to a high ranking legend finish. If you don’t think HS is worth playing enough to try to get to Legend, then why is it worth writing about so frequently? It’s quite a conundrum.

        • SynCaine says:

          You aren’t following. Facehunter won’t win at 51% forever, but forever wasn’t the point. Getting to Legend was. Facehunter will accomplish that with enough games played.

  8. solidd says:

    “Getting to legend isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming”

    I was all set to blast you and then I remembered back in the day Shaman bots made it to legend. So yeah, I guess if you play enough and win consistently enough you’ll get to legend. Most humans can’t play 24/7 or as consistently as a bot though.

    You’re still wrong about HS being simple, or just luck-based. I’ve seen enough games by Trump, StrifeCro or Kolento to know I will never be in their league. Even if I played like a bot :)

    • SynCaine says:

      You don’t need to be in their league, you just need to copy/paste a meta deck, know the basics, and 49% of the time you will beat them against another random meta deck. Just like a bot.

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