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Vivafringe’s Guide to Arena

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I’ll make the intro short and sweet: this is a guide about arena drafting. My Stats over 1500 games.

Table of Contents

  1. General Principles
    1. Luck vs. Skill
    2. Mana Curve
    3. Early Game Decisions
    4. Going to the face vs. trading
    5. Sweepers
  2. Tier List
  3. Class Card Pick Orders
    1. Mage
    2. Rogue
    3. Priest
    4. Warlock
    5. Paladin
    6. Warrior
    7. Druid
    8. Shaman
    9. Hunter
  4. Conclusion and VODs

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Part I: General principles

Luck vs. Skill

I’ve said this elsewhere, but let me say this again: “arena RNG” is mostly an illusion. There is a deceptively large amount of skill to arena, and it took me watching weaker players to figure out where it was coming from.

I’ve been coaching several players over the last few weeks, and most of the time, they’re in the right ballpark about what to do. When they draft, they usually take the right card, and I’ll only disagree with about 5 picks. When they play, they’ll often make good calls… they just won’t be making the best calls.

To them, it looks like they are drafting ok (they are), playing ok (they are), and occasionally losing to really bad luck, like bad drafts or opposing legendaries (they are). They’re not making any absolutely horrible plays, and yet it seems they can’t break 6 wins. So what’s going on? Is it just RNG?

The problem is that they are making tons and tons of tiny mistakes that, added up, are having a huge subtle effect on their results. If you make a mistake in a game like Super Mario Bros, you end up IMMEDIATELY DEAD. It is super obvious that it was the bad jump that killed you. But if you make a mistake in Hearthstone, it goes largely unnoticed and it’s not at all clear that the reason you lost was because of that mistake.

I’ll give you an example. Suppose your opponent plays a reasonable sized creature. You can actually kill it with on-the-board damage, leaving your creatures still pretty healthy, but instead you decide to spend a premium removal in your hand. Okay, that’s not a large mistake, and it might not even affect your result. But if your opponent plays a huge Legendary 5 turns later, then using that removal spell might be the difference maker. And the scary thing is: you’ll never realize that spending that removal was a mistake, because it happened 5 turns ago and is only now affecting the game. It will *look* like you just got unlucky and your opponent topdecked a Legendary, but what *actually* happened is that a small mistake 5 turns ago cost you the game.

In my games, my opponent will often top-deck a legendary, and I’ll swear and moan… but I’ll have accrued such a large lead over the game that I’ll just barely win, rather than getting blown out by the single creature. I’ll have made so many good tiny decisions over the course of the game that I can weather through a patch of bad luck. Of course, this doesn’t always happen; sometimes I just lose!

Okay, so if you’re making tons of tiny mistakes that you aren’t noticing, what do you *do*? It’s not an easy question. Draft orders are easy to copy, but solid play is not. Watching streams is definitely helpful, but there are two kinds of “watching”: active and passive watching. Don’t just watch my stream or Trump’s stream or whatever to see what happens. Constantly ask yourself what you would do (you may even want to pause for complicated board states), and then see if the streamer does the same thing. You can hear hours and hours of spoken Japanese and still never actually learn the language; you only start to pick it up when your mind engages and starts trying to understand what is being said.

Alternatively, you could keep reading this guide.

Mana Curve

The first 3 turns are incredibly important, and often decide the game on their own. Missing a 2-drop and using your hero ability instead ranges from “bad” to “terrible disaster” depending on which class you’ve picked. As a result, you should always have at least 4 2-drop minions in your deck. Don’t count removal like Eviscerate as a 2-drop; you should have at least four minions that you actually expect to play on turn 2. Not every class has access to good 1-drops, but the ones that do should pick them insanely highly; they’re a huge tempo swing.

Not all 2-drops are equal. For instance, Ironbeak Owl is surprisingly crappy, because it dies to everything (including some hero innates)! Usually it’s too fragile to even want to play it turn 2. Right now 3/2s are the best stats you can get for 2 mana, since they often trade up into 3 toughness guys. Acidic Swamp Ooze (3/2 nuke a weapon) is a premium example – a 3/2 that has a chance at a strong effect. Second best are 2/3s like Amani Berserker. These kill opposing 2/1s and 2/2s, but those are pretty rare in this environment.

Besides having enough 2-drops (a necessity for EVERY deck), mana curve is tricky enough that it’s hard to nail down specific rules. Again, you need to be careful to differentiate between early drops and premium removal that you don’t really want to play turn 2. Eviscerate is great, but it’s not a 2 in the same way as River Crocolisk. There are also grey areas; Acidic Swamp Ooze is totally fine to play turn 2, but you’re even happier to play a different 2 first in case the other guy plays a weapon.

That said, if we simplify things a bit, there are two major types of viable curves:

  1. The Trump style bell curve that centers around 4. This is just a balanced curve that tries to slowly pull ahead with good trades. It’s more of a control deck.
  2. The “wall of 2s, with a descending slope at the higher CCs.” This is what you tend to get if you highly value early game aggression and curving out.

Most of the time you should stick with 1. It’s a nice stable gameplan. But certain aggressive classes can do well with the second type of curve. They are Warlock, Warrior, Rogue and Hunter.

Rogue in particular likes the second type of curve, because

  1. Many of her top commons are 1 or 2 mana.
  2. Sprint is an incredibly powerful card (4 cards!!!) but is pretty much trash unless you’re able to empty your hand before the game ends.
  3. As powerful as Rogue’s ability is at gaining early board control, it becomes more useless in the late game as her life dwindles and the creatures get bigger. So she has a big incentive to try to end the game quickly.

Early Game Decisions

As hinted above, it’s critical to mulligan aggressively into a nice curve. If you’re 1p, you ideally want a 2-3-4 curve. If you’re 2p, you want a 2-2-3-4 curve. 4-drops are usually a mistake to keep! Unless they’re amazing stuff like Consecration, sending them back is correct if you don’t have your earlier drops secured yet.

It can be correct to send back 2 and 3 drops that heavily depend on gaining board control. A great example is Argent Protector. This card is a total beating, but in order for him to work, you need to stick a different creature first. So he has a high chance of getting stranded in your hand if you don’t have an early drop, or if your early drop gets removed. Another example is Cult Master. As insane as this card is, keeping it in your hand is risky. It’s basically saying, “I’m certain that the early game will go well for me, because this card sucks otherwise.”

Some people like saving guys instead of playing them on turn 2, reasoning they’ll have a bigger effect later. THIS IS A MISTAKE. For instance, if Sunfury Protector is your only drop, go ahead and play her into an empty board! She will actually do more work for you than if you try to save her for when you have other guys. The same thing goes for Acidic Swamp Ooze; try to save it if you can, but if it’s turn 2 and you don’t have another play, you need to pull the trigger and play it even vs. weapon users. If you don’t, you’ll fall behind too far for the weapon they play to matter anyway.

Going to the Face vs. Trading

Even with the most aggressive decks possible, it’s usually correct to make smart trades rather than going to the face. The reason for this is four-fold:

  • You get to do the best possible trade for you. Over the course of the game, the incremental advantage from making trades like a 3/2 into a 4/3 really adds up.
  • If you decline to trade, your opponent gets to make the *worst* possible trade for you.
  • You run the risk of your opponent buffing the creature and getting an even better trade than you thought was possible. Power Word: Shield wins games, but not if you keep his board clear.
  • You also run the risk of your opponent playing a sweeper (mass removal spell), killing all your guys and leaving his guy on the board.

So it’s usually worth it to just keep the other guy’s board clear, and keep snowballing a bigger and bigger board. That said, if you are playing an aggressive gameplan, you should in general be less inclined to take poor trades. A Priest has no problem trading two 2/2s in for an opposing 4/4, but a Rogue should often avoid that same trade. Furthermore, even the most passive deck has a critical point at which it becomes correct to start swinging at his face. It depends on the sweepers your opponent could play and the cards in his hand, but usually this critical point happens when swinging into his face threatens lethal on his next turn. Having some extra “reach” in your hand (e.g. Arcanite Reaper, Pyroblast, Leeroy Jenkins) often speeds up this critical point by a turn or two.

Often, you’ll find that you can threaten lethal in the next few turns if he doesn’t have any particularly devastating plays, or you can play things safe and go for the long game. How, then, do you gauge when you’ve reached the “critical point” to start attacking their face? Well, it’s a basic risk vs. reward question. As such, I think it’s worth mentioning the golden rule of all risk vs. reward decisions:

When you’re ahead, try to minimize variance. When you’re behind, try to maximize it.

Note that “ahead” can mean a whole lot of things. It can mean you’re a better player than the other person (maybe they just played Angry Chicken turn 1). It can mean you have an amazing deck. It can mean you have more life and more cards. It’s a pretty complex subject that you’ll just have to use your best judgment on, but usually people have an okay idea of whether they’re ahead or behind in a given hand.

When you’re ahead, you want to reduce risk as much as possible. You should be willing to sandbag a few minions in your hand, in case he has that Flamestrike. You should be willing to conservatively trade down your minions, in case he has a surprise buff to pull back into the game. You should play like a scared baby, trying to reduce variance in as many places as possible.

The opposite is true when you’re behind. You want to dump your hand, because if he has that Flamestrike, you’re dead anyway. You want to attack his face, to give yourself a window to draw into a burn spell and kill him from a hopeless position. It’s #YOLO time.

So to answer the question in general terms, when deciding whether to go for the risky endgame play or not, the first thing you need to think about is how favored you are if you try to play for the safe, grindy long game. How many cards do both of you have? What’s your life total? What Legendaries are in your deck? How good is this player, anyway?

The second thing you need to consider is how likely going for the face is to actually work. This is too situation specific to talk about much, but a big factor is always how many cards he has in his hand. The fewer cards, the less likely he’ll be able to answer an all-in endgame threat effectively.

Sweepers

Playing around sweepers is probably the biggest decision point in the latter half of the game. It can be tough to decide how much you want to get wrecked by that Flamestrike. To rephrase the golden rule of thumb:

If you’re confident the only way you can win is if he doesn’t have board sweep, then act as if he doesn’t. Otherwise, play like a scared baby.

The default strategy is to make sure your opponent gets at most a 2 for 1 from his sweep. So against a Paladin, it’s probably better to save your 3rd 3/2 in your hand rather than play it and get wrecked by Consecration. The other important thing to do is to make sure to “trade down” right before your opponent hits mana for his common sweeper (4 for Paladin, 5 for Priest, 7 for Mage). Sweepers are okay if your opponent has an empty board with you, because you can play the first creature and maintain the tempo lead. On the other hand, if you get your board cleared while your opponent still has minions, the game is probably over.

But it’s actually more complicated than that. One thing to do with a large card lead is to commit *just* enough to the board to force a board sweep. Give them a nice 2 for 1, or maybe a bad 3 for 1. If they *don’t* play Flamestrike, often that’s a signal that it’s safe to commit more and take away the game.

It’s also somewhat important to take premium rare sweepers (Lightning Storm, Blizzard, Starfall) into consideration. Chances are if your opponent ever got a chance to draft those, he did. So they show up much more often than most rares. On the other hand, they’re still rare, so I don’t think you can afford to let them dictate your play too much. They should color your play; if you have two options, one of which is better against Blizzard, then play that one. But if you only see one really good play and it happens to fold to a Blizzard, go ahead and go for it.

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Tier list

I’m arbitrarily grouping these guys into 3 categories: A, B and C. A consists entirely of Mage, who in my mind is just clearly above the rest in power. B classes are also okay, but not quite as strong. C classes are a big drop, and I would avoid them if you are worried about gold.

Tier A Tier B Tier C
Mage Rogue Shaman
Priest Hunter
Warlock
Paladin
Warrior
Druid

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Part II: Class Card Pick Orders

I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so for common neutral pick orders, I’m just going to link you to Trump’s list. So far, I haven’t seen similar lists for the class specific cards, so I’ll list them here. For each card, I’ll list a neutral minion that’s about the same pick order. If the card is better than every neutral minion, I’ll call it “Premium.”

[su_spoiler title="Mage" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="magecommons"]

Mage

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually possible to do well as Mage with zero Flamestrikes. I used to think she lived and died by the number of Flamestrikes she had, but I’ve come to realize that a huge part of her power is actually her incredible hero ability, which lets her trade up with no life penalty.

Commons

1. Flamestrike

Pick Order: Premium

Do I really need to say anything here?

2. Fireball

Pick Order: Premium

Premium removal and a backup “oops I win” plan of going to the face. An excellent card.

3. Frostbolt

Pick Order: Premium

Often the other guy is spending more to play his creature than you are spending to remove it, which is the sign of premium removal. The freeze function is also nice when you have no way to deal with a big fatty.

4. Polymorph

Pick Order: Premium

Polymorph puts you behind on tempo, since you often want to stop and ping the 1/1 token. Remember, this isn’t really that much better than Fireball at dealing with divine shield, because Mage can just ping then Fireball anyway. Polymorph IS better if you’re up against an 8-toughness creature, but those are relegated to Epics and Legendaries. All that said, Polymorph is still great removal in the endgame.

5. Mana Wyrm

Pick Order: Premium

This little guy is great for gaining huge tempo early. Usually he either trades with a more expensive creature or a more expensive removal spell.

6. Water Elemental

Pick Order: Chillwind Yeti

Holy cow those are good stats! The ability is also nice for locking down weapon classes. Incidentally, Mage’s 4-slot tends to be crowded, so be careful about taking mediocre 4s.

7. Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Pick Order: Mad Bomber

3/2 for 2 is the gold standard, and her ability is sometimes relevant as well. A nice dork, but it’s not the end of the world if you pass her and pick up some other 3/2s later.

8. Cone of Cold

Pick Order: Jungle Panther

I used to like this card a lot more, but the nerf to Dalaran Mage (which made him nearly unplayable) indirectly hurts this card a lot. It’s much less common for you to actually “turn on” a Cone of Cold with spellpower these days, so mostly this is used as a stall tactic before you Flamestrike a big crowd.

9. Arcane Missiles

Pick Order: Fen Creeper

Kind of iffy removal, but it does okay in the early game. Nice to play with mana left for your hero ability as “insurance”.

10. Mirror Entity

Pick Order: Wolfrider

People are usually pretty good about playing around this, so don’t pick this very highly. Best played early: Later in the game, your opponent will have enough mana to play an irrelevant dork and then the big fatty that they actually want to play. Early, their options are more limited and they’ll often just have to play into it.

11. Arcane Intellect

Pick Order: Frost Elemental

Card advantage is card advantage, but this is pricey. The tempo cost is too expensive, so this often sits in your hand as a dead card for the first half of the game.

12. Arcane Explosion

Pick Order: Ironforge Rifleman

Doesn’t always do enough to justify the card, but can be randomly useful vs. token generation or with spellpower.

13. Mirror Image

Pick Order: Silverback Patriarch

When played early, this can sometimes be relevant. It’s particularly nice to hide a weak creature with a powerful recurring effect, like Demolisher or Cult Master. Later in the game, it does very little for you, and overall is mostly a crappy lifegain spell.

14. Ice Lance

Pick Order: Shieldbearer

Crappy lifegain spell. Can be okay if for some reason you have tons and tons of Cone of Colds.

15. Frost Nova

Pick Order: Shieldbearer

Crappy lifegain spell. Amusing (but bad) combo with Doomsayer.

16. Ice Barrier

Pick Order: Shieldbearer

REALLY crappy lifegain spell.

Rares

1. Blizzard

Pick Order: Premium

Ridiculous tempo swing that wounds and stalls at the same time. Following it up with a Flamestrike is a devastating 1-2 punch that usually just wins you the game right there. The good Mage decks have Flamestrike, but the truly insane ones have Blizzard as well.

2. Kirin Tor Mage

Pick Order: Twilight Drake

Secrets aren’t great to have in your deck, but this guy has perfectly good stats even with 0 secrets in your deck. With secrets, he can sometimes set up an incredible tempo swing.

3. Vaporize

Pick Order: Sunfury Protector

Too easy to play around, but can sometimes grab a large guy if you’re careful to kill all his smaller minions. For a secret, it’s not too bad.

4. Counterspell

Pick Order: Crazed Alchemist

Often counters a spell that cost less than what you paid to play it. Usually a bad deal.

5. Ethereal Arcanist

Pick Order: Bloodsail Corsair

I never actually pick enough secrets to support this. Even with a lot of secrets, it’s nearly impossible to get a secret to last more than a turn, so you have to wait until turn 7, where you can play him and a secret at the same time. At that point, he mostly just instantly dies. I’ve *never* seen his ability proc twice. Awful.

Neutrals to value higher

Acolyte of Pain and Enrage creatures are very nice to ping with your own hero ability, and can be huge threats when backed up with Mage’s amazing removal suite. Usually Mage doesn’t have a lot of creatures, so take big fat creatures like the 6/7 Ogre more highly.

Neutrals to value lower

Cult Master and Stormwind Commander both need large weenie armies to work. A spell-heavy Mage… doesn’t really have that, and instead relies on a few fat guys to finish the game. Take minions with the assumption that you’ll be playing them into an empty board.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Rogue" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="roguecommons"]

Rogue

In practice, Rogue plays similarly to Warrior, but with worse creatures and better removal. A premier example of a “tempo” class. Ends up trading a lot of life for board control, so it’s not uncommon to win games on very low life.

1. Eviscerate

Pick Order: Premium

In the good ol’ days of UberRogue, it was actually unclear what you would pick if you opened Backstab, Defias Ringleader, Eviscerate turn 1. With nerfs to the other 2 cards, it’s much clearer now: Eviscerate owns.

2. Assassinate

Pick Order: Premium

Super strong removal that shores up Rogue’s weakness against big taunt guys. Did you know: this card is even better than a card that says, “Do infinity damage to a minion,” since it ninjas through Divine Shield. When something is greater than infinity, you know it’s pretty good!

3. Backstab

Pick Order: Premium

Another ridiculous removal card that sets up combos and puts you way ahead on tempo. Awesome synergy with cards that care about spells, like Violet Teacher, Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Questing Adventurer.

4. Deadly Poison

Pick Order: Premium

Most of the time, it’s similar in function to Fiery War Axe, and just a hair more expensive. However, it also does a great job of setting up early combo plays, and heaven help your opponent if you buff an Assassin’s Blade with it.

5. Assassin’s Blade

Pick Order: Premium

The march of premium commons continues. As a note, you should pick the first of these pretty highly, but additional Blades after the first have huge diminishing returns. You get so many charges on a single Blade that drawing multiples is usually a dead draw.

6. Defias Ringleader

Pick Order: Premium

Yeah, this guy is still good. As a note, his 2/2 body makes him very vulnerable to Holy Nova and Consecration, so sometimes it’s good to hold onto him until they’ve played one of those. Still your favorite thing to Coin turn 1.

7. Sprint

Pick Order: It really, really depends.

Sprint is amazing if you’re able keep your curve low. Most opponents won’t be able to keep up with you emptying your hand, playing Sprint, then emptying your hand again. On the other hand, with a high curve that has lots of 5 and 6 drops, Sprint is just awful. It’s a big reason for why Trump really doesn’t like the card; his mana-curves don’t fit well with it. Just keep in mind that 2 Sprints requires an even tinier curve than 1, and if you’ve been picking up lots of high cost power-cards like Ogre or random Legendaries, it’s quite bad.

8. Betrayal

Pick Order: Razorfen Hunter

Unreliable removal that ranges from a blowout to useless. If the opponent has 2 creatures out, it tends to only kill the smaller one. If he has 3, then if he’s good he’ll probably try to play around any Betrayals you have by putting the low power creature in the middle. Still worth picking up a singleton copy, but multiples is usually a bad idea.

9. Sap

Pick Order: Silvermoon Guardian

Another good tempo card that generates tons of advantage when your opponent spends all his mana on a big Taunt creature. It *is* card disadvantage, and you can’t cast it on anything that has Battlecry. So it’s not exactly a powerhouse, but I usually like having a singleton copy in my deck.

10. Cold Blood

Pick Order: Wolfrider

This can be a sickeningly good aggro card if it manages to do 8 damage. I think it’s pretty easy to underrate, since it would be only *ok* in a different class. In Rogue, this fits into her aggressive gameplan. However, it can sometimes be tough to find an opportunity where the buffed minion won’t get removed next turn. In that case, you’re getting a Spellpowered Sinister Strike… a disappointment, if not an outright disaster.

11. Fan of Knives

Pick Order: Frost Elemental

Like Cone of Cold, this is just much much worse after the spellpower nerf to Dalaran Mage. Usually this doesn’t affect the board enough, especially since Rogue is already quite good at keeping the opponent’s board clear in the first few turns. It cycles, so it’s still *ok*, but usually it’s an underwhelming effect for the mana cost.

12. Shiv

Pick Order: Ironforge Rifleman

How the mighty have fallen! This used to be a premier spell, but nowadays is just way too redundant with Rogue’s hero ability, which does nearly the same thing. Not unplayable (and in fact it speaks to the depth of Rogue’s card pool that we still have playables 12 slots in), but pretty sad to have in the deck.

13. Shadowstep

Pick Order: Dalaran Mage

Too gimmicky most of the time to be worth it. Using it on a Defias Ringleader honestly isn’t much better than Wisp most of the time. Best when used on fat wounded Battlecry minions like Azure Drake.

14. Vanish

Pick Order: Argent Squire

As a MTG player this card looked really strong when I started, but holy hell it’s actually terrible. The biggest issue is that because you’re paying 6 mana, your opponent always gets to play his creatures first. So it actually does almost nothing for you tempowise and just stalls most of the time.

15. Conceal

Pick Order: Nightblade

Unlikely to actually do anything; you get to swing with your guys a second time, then your opponent uses the removal he couldn’t play for a turn anyway.

16. Sinister Strike

Pick Order: Wisp

In the uber days of Rogue I actually lost to people playing this card a lot, and it was thoroughly humiliating.

Rares

1. Perdition’s Blade

Pick Order: Premium

Insane equipment that sometimes kills 3 guys. Great to coin into.

2. SI:7 Agent

Pick Order: Premium

Not quite as versatile as Perdition’s Blade (which can nuke a 4 toughness creature down and be played for some effect without combo), but can be even stronger if you’ve already picked up lots of equipment.

3. Blade Flurry

Pick Order: It depends.

This needs lots of Deadly Poisons and/or Assassin’s Blades to work, but can be pretty powerful as a combo. Remember that Spellpower counterintuitively buffs this.

4. Master of Disguise

Pick Order: Sunfury Protector

Usually just a 4/4 for 4, but can sometimes go crazy if you cloak a Questing Adventurer. Just remember that you can’t cloak Ragnaros, Knife Juggler or Imp Master, because all have abilities that do damage.

5. Headcrack

Pick Order: Alarm-o-Bot

This card was marginal before, but has now been nerfed to be nerfed to be completely unplayable. It’s slow, clunky, and doesn’t affect the board – completely terrible.

Neutrals to value higher

Low cost creatures are good to keep your curve low. On the high end, normally lousy aggressive guys like Reckless Rocketeer give you a bit of extra reach. Nightblade is never *good*, but is probably the least embarrassing in an aggro Rogue deck. Lastly, cards that synergize with your free weapon rise *drastically* in value. Spiteful Smith and Bloodsail Raider are top picks, while Southsea Deckhand goes from unplayable to respectable.

Neutrals to value lower

High cost fatties like Boulderfist Ogre are normally quite strong, but don’t fit in too well with Rogue’s rushdown gameplan.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Priest" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="priestcommons"]

Priest

As long as you survive the initial rush, Priest dominates the board by running a dork into an enemy dork, then healing it. You do this over and over and the opponent can’t keep up. As a result, you want to maximize the chance that you stay alive in the early game, so you can crush them in the late game.

Commons:

1. Mind Control

Pick Order: Premium

Your opponent isn’t exactly itching to have his Ysera Mind Controlled, so most likely he’ll try to kill you with an army of mid-sized beaters first. I pick the first one very highly, but pick it lower after that. Drawing multiple Mind Controls early is usually so bad that you don’t want more than 3 floating around in your deck.

2. Shadow Word: Death

Pick Order: Premium

Whenever you kill a huge minion with it, you’re spending much less mana than the other guy paid to play the card in the first place. It’s a blowout every time.

3. Holy Nova

Pick Order: Premium

Underwhelming as a sweeper, but nice if you have one or two minions on your side that can be healed. This shouldn’t be treated as a “get out of jail free card” in the same way that Consecration and Flamestrike often are; just like all of Priest’s other stuff, you need board presence to maximize value.

4. Shadow Word: Pain

Pick Order: Premium

Most of the time you just kill an opposing 2-drop with it, in which case it’s a fine play to help you stall for the late-game. However, it occasionally makes it to the midgame and can get some huge value if you’re able to kill something like a Fen Creeper with it.

5. Temple Enforcer

Pick Order: Premium

Probably everyone knows this card is good, but not everyone realizes HOW GOOD it is. Priest loves getting lots of health for mana-cost, and this gives 9 toughness for 6 mana. Can’t beat that!

6. Power Word: Shield

Pick Order: Premium

Amazing card advantage play that often functions like Paladin’s Hand of Protection… except it also increases the minion’s max HP, and draws a card! Wowowow.

7. Northshire Cleric

Pick Order: Premium

A huge threat if you have board control, but a bit fragile otherwise. It’s risky to play this turn 1 without a way to protect it, since a 3/2 can kill it for free. Best to play it right before you heal one of your minions.

8. Holy Smite

Pick Order: Worgen Infiltrator

Notice the huge dropoff between 7 and 8 here. This is underwhelming, but functional. Ideally, it lets you kill their 3/2 drop, but in a pinch it can finish off a bigger monster later.

9. Lightspawn

Pick Order: Silvermoon Guardian

Strong if you play it into an empty board, but weak at what Priest actually wants, which is to stick a creature from a disadvantaged board position. Vulnerable to silence, and doesn’t trade particularly well against something like two 3/3s. Value this much lower than Chillwind Yeti.

10. Mind Vision

Pick Order: Frost Elemental

It’s a pretty swingy card, but on average its low mana cost makes it fine filler if you have nothing else to pick. It’s hard to be perfectly mana-efficient, so you’ll usually have a chance to play it without slowing down your curve. At that point, it becomes a random card and a bit of bonus info, which is fine. That said, you should always mulligan this, especially if you’re on the play. Due to class-specific synergy, you’d rather have a random card from your deck than theirs. Also, it’s pretty lousy to copy coin.

11. Thoughtsteal

Pick Order: Ironforge Rifleman

+1 Card Advantage isn’t great for Priest, who tends to have the lategame locked up anyway. It’s a bit worse than Arcane Intellect, since you have a chance of pulling counter-synergistic stuff like Deadly Poison or Starving Buzzard.

12. Divine Spirit

Pick Order: Tauren Warrior

It’s kind of like a conditional 2-mana Hand of Protection, which is… underwhelming, but not totally unplayable. Best to play on a big guy that’s about to trade. Instead of trading, your big guy lives.

13. Silence

Pick Order: Silverback Patriarch

Okay, now we’re into the ughhh commons. This almost never does enough to justify the cost of a card, since it leaves an often perfectly functional vanilla minion behind. There’s a reason Silence usually comes with a bonus creature attached.

14. Circle of Healing

Pick Order: Frostwolf Grunt

Not quite as bad as it looks. Can be okay when you clear your opponents board with your minions, then heal the survivors. An amusing combo with Auchenai Soulpriest or Northshire Cleric. Still not something you should pick highly, but if your other options are awful…

15. Inner Fire

Pick Order: Shieldbearer

Terrible. Using it offensively on a high toughness creature is often just win-more, since if you’ve stuck a high-toughness creature, you’re already winning anyway. Using it defensively makes a high power, low toughness minion less scary… but you could just trade a small creature into that minion instead.

16. Mind Blast

Pick Order: Young Dragonhawk

For a more aggressive class this could actually be reasonable, but in Priest it’s total trash.

Rares:

1. Auchenai Soulpriest

Pick Order: Premium

Great stats and a terrifying ability. Best played on turn 6, so you can immediately nuke an opposing creature.

2. Shadow Madness

Pick Order: Premium

An insane blow-out card that’s almost impossible to play around and usually generates a two for one. Completely crushes an early rush. Amusing combo with Youthful Brewmaster.

3. Holy Fire

Pick Order: Sunwalker

Expensive, but the life gain can make the difference when facing an aggressive deck.

4. Mass Dispel

Pick Order: Young Priestess

Even with the cantrip, this isn’t worth the huge tempo it costs to play a 4 mana spell that doesn’t actually kill anything.

5. Lightwell

Pick Order: Arcane Golem

Does surprisingly little, since your opponent just kills all your wounded guys before the heal procs. Eventually, he’ll just kill this, too, and not lose any minions as a result. Would be much stronger if it proced at the end of your turn instead. As is, it’s only useful if you’ve completely won the fight for board control. At that point, you’ve probably won anyway!

Neutrals to value higher

Anything with tons of health for its cost. You want to maximize the chance that it can attack a minion and not die, so you can heal it afterwards. Even though it’s a beast, Oasis Snapjaw is better here than it ever is in Hunter! As a result of drafting so many high-toughness minions that synergize with healing, it’s good to take even more healing minions like Darkscale Healer and Earthen Ring Farseer.

Neutrals to value lower

Cult Master isn’t too good here, since you have other ways to get massive card advantage, and as a Priest you’re less interested in having your minions die. Priest wants cards that prevent him from falling too far behind, and Cult Master doesn’t really help with that goal. For that matter, stay away from most low-toughness stuff.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Warlock" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="warlockcommons"]

Warlock

Warlock is the most conflicted class, and can wildly shift from pure control to facerush aggro depending on your draft. Compared to other classes, Warlock’s card pool is very weak. Your hero ability is your *real* strength! You won’t have better cards, but at least you’ll have more of them.

Commons:

1. Blood Imp

Pick Order: Premium

Most people have already caught on to how amazing this card is. Unchecked, it lets you do favorable trades for the entire game. It’s not even that bad against sweepers; Blood Imp can often save creatures that otherwise would have died to that Flamestrike.

2. Soulfire

Pick Order: Premium

Compare drawing Soulfire to drawing two Backstabs. The Soulfire can’t be used to kill two different units, but otherwise it’s a pretty close analogue. Also, it’s not uncommon for you to play this as the last card in your hand, negating the drawback. Even when you discard a card, random discard hurts Warlock less than other classes due to his hero ability.

3. Shadow Bolt

Pick Order: Premium

Pretty self-explanatory premium removal. Not much to say here.

4. Mortal Coil

Pick Order: Premium

It’s almost as good as Shiv was pre-nerf, and Shiv pre-nerf was amazing! Your hero ability can’t damage, so players will leave plenty of juicy 1-toughness targets.

5. Flame Imp

Pick Order: Premium

A premier 1-drop that trades with pretty much all 2-drops and 3 drops, and does tons of damage if your opponent stumbles in the early game. The drawback is significant, but worth the benefit.

6. Hellfire

Pick Order: It depends

Hellfire alternates between being completely insane to… doing nothing, because you had a quick draw of Flame Imps and Blood Imps and have no reason to wipe your own board. Depending on how my draft is going and whether my deck is more “aggro” or “control,” Hellfire alternates between premium and trash for me.

7. Demonfire

Pick Order: Worgen Infiltrator

Mediocre removal, but does its job of trading 1 for 1 with their early drop. Can occasionally be used on your demons to make a nice trade.

8. Summoning Portal

Pick Order: River Crocolisk

This card looks janktacular, but is a reasonable singleton pick. It’s a hugely threatening tempo-swing that synergizes very well with Warlock’s ability to draw a bunch of cards. I usually play it around turn 7 or so, where you can play it and a big guy in the same turn. At that stage, the Summoning Portal effectively only costs 2 (since it saved you mana on the big guy), and your opponent now has two scary threats to deal with.

9. Dread Infernal

Pick Order: Frost Elemental

A card that kills your Blood Imps. Great? He’s a liability, especially if your deck is rushdown oriented.

10. Drain Life

Pick Order: Thrallmar Farseer

Life gain is nice, but not worth an extra mana over the already inefficient Demonfire.

11. Succubus

Pick Order: Dragonling Mechanic

Looks strong, but isn’t worth the 2-for-1. It’s a disaster if their two-mana 3/2 trades with this.

12. Sense Demons

Pick Order: Silverback Patriarch

+1 Card advantage isn’t something Warlock values highly. He can do that for 2 mana any time he wants! Only really worth it if you have a stacked pool of Doomguards and Blood Imps that you actively want to search for. Also searches up Jaraxxus, if you’re lucky enough to get him.

13. Power Overwhelming

Pick Order: Tauren Warrior

Can randomly make a creature swing for lethal, or can sometimes function as a really bad Execute. Usually too conditional to make the cut.

14. Voidwalker

Pick Order: Argent Squire

1/3 stats aren’t good enough to be worth a card. Your opponent’s 2 drop kills it and survives.

15. Corruption

Pick Order: Stonetusk Boar

If you play it with minions on your side, they’ll just trade it in. To get this to “work,” you need to play it when you have an empty board. Even then, you have to face-tank another hit. Has the most utility in the very early game, when it’s less of a disaster to have an empty board.

16. Sacrificial Pact

Comparable to: Wisp

Good thing this got buffed to cost 0. It’s now twice as good as it was before!

Rares:

1. Siphon Soul

Pick Order: Premium

Siphon Soul fills a niche that both control and aggro versions of Warlock desperately want: a way to remove guys with toughness 4 or higher. Because of your hero ability, the life gain is significant as well, and well worth the extra mana over Assassinate.

2. Doomguard

Pick Order: Sunwalker

Better in Aggro-Lock, where there’s a higher chance you’ll be able to empty most of your hand before you play him. Overall, he’s below the top neutral rares, but only by a hair.

3. Shadowflame

Pick Order: Emperor Cobra

It’s possible to get massive value out of this, particularly if you have a high power creature lying around. But a lot of the time, it’s too clunky to work. Still worth taking, but don’t expect it to be great all the time.

4. Felguard

Pick Order: Arcane Golem

He’s a Senjin Shieldmasta that you can’t play early, because losing the mana crystal hurts too much. Around turn 8, his drawback becomes manageable, but by then a 3/5 taunt isn’t impressive.

5. Void Terror

Pick Order: Master Swordsmith

Okay, so this isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but it’s not *quite* as horrible as it looks. Your best uses are to play it as a 3/3 for 3 on turn 3, kill a 1 toughness guy that’s going to be pinged next turn, and consolidate your board against a suspected incoming Flamestrike. It’s still usually a bad idea to #YOLO and make a big guy that dies to 1 removal spell, but sometimes doing so can win the game if they don’t happen to have a silence or removal.

Neutral Minions to value higher

Life-gainers like Earthen Ring Farseer or even Priestess of Elune draw you “virtual” cards through your innate. Also, since your hero ability can’t hit minions, you like battlecry direct damage effects more. Pick Elvish Archer, Stormpike Commando and Ironforge Rifleman a bit higher than usual.

Neutral Minions to value lower

Warlock wants to be using his hero ability a lot, so value high casting cost minions less. Expensive value-town guys like Boulderfist Ogre still have a place, but can clog your hand when you’re drawing 2 cards a turn.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Paladin" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="paladincommons"]

Paladin

This class is defined by huge snowballs. Truesilver Champion and Consecration help him establish a board presence, while his innate and cards like Argent Protector let him pull even farther ahead from there. He also plays well against control classes like Priest by having a never-ending supply of tiny threats.

Commons

1. Truesilver Champion

Pick Order: Premium

An amazing card for recovering tempo. I recently started valuing these over even Consecration, and haven’t regretted it. Killing 2 midsized guys for 1 card is just massive value.

2. Consecration

Pick Order: Premium

This card isn’t as consistent as Truesilver Champion, but has a much higher upside. Even though it’s listed lower, aim for equal amounts of swords and brooms (sweeping is important).

3. Argent Protector

Pick Order: Premium

If you can start your turn with a guy on the board, Argent Protector is a 3-5 damage removal spell with a 2/2 body attached. That’s a good deal! He gets completely unreal when you bounce him with Youthful Brewmaster.

4. Hammer of Wrath

Pick Order: Premium

Early on this card is a bad tempo play, since usually you’re paying more mana to kill their guy than they paid to play it. However, as long as you mulligan this out of your opening hand, it’s a good card advantage play to draw late.

5. Blessing of Kings

Pick Order: Premium

Usually as good or better than a 4/4 haste for 4. Has unreal combos with Raging Worgen and Acolyte of Pain.

6. Blessing of Wisdom

Pick Order: Premium Cult Master

Strong card advantage play that can go crazy if unchecked. You haven’t lived until you’ve played this on a windfury guy! I see occasionally see people play it on their opponent’s creature as pseudo-removal, but this is usually wrong.

7. Noble Sacrifice

Pick Order: Worgen Infiltrator

The only trap worth taking. This screws up combat math and is in practice much stronger than a 2/1 taunt for 1 mana, since your opponent can’t remove it with a spell. Amazing to combo with Cult Master.

8. Light’s Justice

Pick Order: Ironfur Grizzly

Not exciting, usually, it lets you plink off a few guys. Fun to combo with Spiteful Smith, and great in the Paladin mirror.

9. Hand of Protection

Pick Order: Wolfrider

This isn’t bad, but it’s pretty redundant with the much stronger Argent Protector. Pick these up if you haven’t seen any Protectors.

10. Blessing of Might

Pick Order: Reckless Rocketeer

Somewhat iffy, but can be okay to cast on a guy behind a taunt creature, or on a token that wants to trade with a 4-toughness minion. Gets better in aggressive Pally decks with lots of low drops.

11. Redemption

Pick Order: Ironforge Rifleman

Most of the time this is a crappy version of Warrior’s Commanding Shout. However, it’s super sick if you have a lot of charge or divine shield minions. The best is when you have Argent Commander, who has BOTH. Just remember that this is not really a “trap” card, it’s something you play right before you make a trade. It’s usually a mistake to pass without proccing it your self, since they often just kill a 1/1 first.

12. Guardian of Kings

Similar in pick order to: Frostwolf Grunt

Barely playable, and can usually only be taken over trash. Has marginal utility versus very aggressive decks.

13. Repentance

Similar in pick order to: Nightblade

Pretty much unplayable stuff from here on out. People play 1-toughness shit into this too much for it to be worth a card. You can sometimes luck out and hit a big guy with this, so it’s not completely worthless.

14. Humility

Similar in pick order to: Shieldbearer

Awful pseudo removal. You’ll play it on a big guy, and then the big guy spends the rest of the game killing your 1/1 dorks. Always poor card advantage, since you’re never trading 1 for 1.

15. Holy Light

Similar in pick order to: Young Dragonhawk

If you have to pick this, try to heal one of your minions with it.

16. Eye for an Eye

Similar in pick order to: Grimscale Oracle

Too awful to play even on “Wacky Wednesday.”

Rares:

1. Aldor Peacekeeper

Pick Order: Premium

Humility is a weak effect that’s not worth a full card, but boy does it get strong when you slap it on to a perfectly serviceable 3/3. Great pseudo-removal.

2. Equality

Pick Order: Premium

Incredibly strong, since you can play this with a few 1/1 tokens out and clear their board.

3. Blessed Champion

Pick Order: Crazed Alchemist

Can be very strong, but needs to be comboed with Blessing of Kings. In the right deck, can let you swing for 20 damage almost out of nowhere. Paladin isn’t known for his reach, so people probably won’t play around it.

4. Holy Wrath

Pick Order: Ancient Mage

If you have to draft this, play it like an expensive Hammer of Wrath that sometimes fails when you draw a 2.

5. Divine Favor

Pick Order: Mana Wraith
Paladin decks are so great at getting card advantage that Divine Favor is mostly useless. I suppose if you somehow find yourself with a very aggressive Paladin deck, this can function similarly to a Sprint. Usually, though, it’s just an Arcane Intellect that’s dead at least half the time.

Neutrals to value higher

Cult Master is probably self explanatory; if you play it and plink a few tokens into their guys, you’re pulling so far ahead card-wise that probably you’ve won right there. Stormwind Champion is mediocre in a lot of classes, but it feels like a legendary in Paladin. You just always have so much *stuff* on the board that it’s easy to set up huge plays where you’re pumping 3 or 4 guys on a turn. Raging Worgen and Acolyte of Pain also get better because of potential combos with Blessing of Kings, while Ancient Brewmaster and Youthful Brewmaster go up because of incredible synergy with Argent Protector.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Warrior" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="warriorcommons"]

Warrior

An incredibly aggressive class with not much late-game to speak of. In the early game, he relies on weapons to set up a big advantage in board position. In the late game, he tries to close things out with charge minions and Arcanite Reaper.

Commons

1. Fiery War Axe

Pick Order: Premium

These first 3 picks are all close to each other. They basically do the same thing: kill 2 guys and generate massive card and board advantage. If you have to choose between these, the order here is usually not too important; just try to have even amounts of each of them.

2. Arcanite Reaper

Pick Order: Premium

Often used to just kill them. You know you’re in a good spot when your common compares favorably to an epic (Pyroblast).

3. Arathi Weaponsmith

Pick Order: Premium

So strong!

4. Kor’kron Elite

Pick Order: Premium

This guy looks amazing… and basically is. Whether you’re using this guy as 4 damage removal or to beat your opponent in the face, you’re never sad to have him in your hand.

5. Warsong Commander

Pick Order: Premium

Fragile for her cost, but sticking her usually wins you the game. Often, you have to wait until turn 8 or so, when you can play her and a big creature to swing in the same turn. You should often mulligan her early if your hand doesn’t have Fiery War Axe, because she loses in a straight fight against most 3-drops.

6. Heroic Strike

Pick Order: Premium

Not on the level of his top tier equipment, but still solid removal. Like equipment, it doubles as direct damage in the late game. Can be a bit awkward if you’ve picked up lots of equipment.

7. Slam

Pick Order: Chillwind Yeti

Pretty flexible removal. Don’t be afraid to kill a 2 toughness guy with it; drawing a card is nice, but early tempo is too important to get too greedy.

8. Cleave

Comparable in pick order to: Harvest Golem

Warrior usually has enough weapons to keep the other guy from getting 2 creatures on the board anyway. While this can be backbreaking, it’s surprisingly weak a lot of the time. A single 1/1 or 4/5 on the board often ruins your day.

9. Cruel Taskmaster

Pick Order: Flesheating Ghoul

Warrior’s common pool is deep! We’re on pick 9 and still on cards I consider very strong. Taskmaster is usually just a better Ironforge Rifleman, but sometimes he randomly sets up huge damage when you combo him with something like Raging Worgen.

10. Execute

Comparable in pick order to: Bloodfen Raptor

Conditional removal that often has inherent card disadvantage, but as long as you don’t have too many in your deck, you can usually get okay value. A nice combo with Slam and Cruel Taskmaster.

11. Battle Rage

Pick Order: Fen Creeper

Sometimes you’ll get two cards, but if things don’t work out for you, you can just cycle it for 1 card in the mid game. Not great (especially in multiples), but you’re never embarrassed to have it.

12. Rampage

Pick Order: Ogre Magi

Okay, now we’re finally getting to cards that aren’t that exciting. This card can be *okay* but often sits dead in your hand because you can’t stick a damaged creature. Ideally, you’ll play it on a damaged creature that hasn’t attacked this turn, but those are pretty rare.

13. Shield Block

Pick Order: Ironforge Rifleman

It doesn’t cost a card so it’s really not that bad, but it does run counter to your aggressive gameplan. You’re not happy to take this, but it can be fine if your other options really suck.

14. Inner Rage

Pick Order: Tauren Warrior

Not a big enough effect to be worth a card.

15. Whirlwind

Pick Order: Elven Archer

Ugh this card is bad. Super hard to get value out of.

16. Charge

Pick Order: Goldshire Footman

Not worth a card.

Rares

1. Frothing Berserker

Pick Order: Premium

In addition to having the best flavor text in the game, this is an incredibly strong card! It’s essentially a Flesheating Ghoul that is even easier to pump, and an extra toughness to boot! Extremely threatening.

2. Upgrade

Pick Order: Sunwalker

Power shifts based on how many weapons you have. With multiple Arcanite Reapers, it’s almost an autopick. With none, it’s an inferior Light’s Justice.

3. Mortal Strike

Pick Order: Imp Master

Uninspiring but perfectly functional 4 mana for 4 damage. “Turning on” the 6 damage is exciting but usually not too relevant.

4. Commanding Shout

Pick Order: Crazed Alchemist

Similar to Battle Rage; can be very powerful (great to combo with Raging Worgen!), but is usually only a minor effect. Often it’s completely useless, but in that case you can just cycle it.

5. Armorsmith

Pick Order: Mind Control Tech

1 power isn’t very exciting for an aggressive class, but she can be can be great if your opponent plays a 1 toughness minion. The life-gain can be important in aggro vs. aggro matchups, but is usually irrelevant

Neutrals to value higher

Your weakness is your awful hero ability, so you need to draft lots of 2 drops (2/3s or 3/2s) to ensure you win the early game. If you ever have to armor up turn 2 it’s a terrible disaster.

Neutrals to value lower

Weakish charge creatures like Bluegill Warrior are outclassed by Kor’kron Elite and made redundant by Warsong Commander. Warrior also doesn’t have much use for taunt guys, as most of the game that he cares about involves his opponent having 0 creatures on the board.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Druid" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="druidcommons"]

Druid

I underrated this class a bit at first; Druid doesn’t do anything particularly well, but has enough decent cards to make a reasonable deck most of the time. He has tools to both beat down and play for the late game, and is quintessential “mid range.” The main reason I underrated the class is that Druid has a lot of deceptively bad traps at common that end up in the decks of unsuspecting newbies.

1. Swipe

Pick Order: Premium

Come on, man, it’s Swipe. As a note, it’s definitely possible to have too many of these, since after a while you’ll just be using them to clear lone 4/4s.

2. Druid of the Claw

Pick Order: Premium

This guy is unreal good, and easy to underrate because he’s “just a minion.” Well, he’s a damn good minion! Both modes are useful and well above the power curve, and getting to pick between the two makes him even better.

3. Wild Growth

Pick Order: Premium

This is a cornerstone of a good Druid draft, and if I’d certainly take my first Wild Growth over my second Swipe or Druid. It would be very weak if you could not cycle this on turn 10, but since you can, it’s a great card. I’d recommend saving it to cycle if you haven’t played it by turn 6. Also, remember that it’s an incredible combo with Gadgetzan Auctioneer or Violet Teacher, since you play 2 spells when you play this on turn 10.

4. Wrath

Pick Order: Premium

Again, a wonderfully versatile card. Along with Swipe, this card makes Spellpower better in Druid than any other class. It’s *very* powerful to cycle this and do 2 damage.

5. Starfire

Pick Order: Chillwind Yeti

The upside is that it’s basically always going to be a nice 2 for 1. The downside is that it’s a bit slow, so you should be sure you have a low enough curve to usually be stable by the time you have the mana to play this.

6. Ironbark Protector

Pick Order: Amani Berserker

“Tree,” as he is affectionately called, can be a backbreaking 2 for 1 if you’ve managed to bait out all of their premium removal. He wasn’t great when Priest was super popular, but now that Mage is undoubtedly the new king, it goes back up in value. Again, be careful that you have the curve to support this guy, as he’s a big mana commitment.

7. Power of the Wild

Pick Order: Mad Bomber

A 3/2 for 2 is the gold standard, and every deck wants a lot of them. This has the added benefit of having an additional option if you happen to draw it late, so it’s a very nice pickup.

8. Claw

Pick Order: Worgen Infiltrator

It’s a Holy Smite, basically. Okay for early control, although not too exciting. It’s nice that you can combine it with your hero ability to do 3 damage instead.

9. Mark of the Wild

Pick Order: Dragonling Mechanic

Best when used on a creature that was going to trade. Instead, your creature lives, and has higher power as a bit of a bonus. Played this way, it’s kind of like a removal spell with a bit of upside. Usually the Taunt isn’t a big deal. It’s tempting to just play this on a big guy you just cast, but usually it’s not worth risking the 2 for 1.

10. Savage Roar

Pick Order: Ironfur Grizzly

This can be great if your deck is particularly aggressive, but usually Druid is too tempted to go for high curve stuff due to the presence of Wild Growth and Ironbark Protector. Still, it’s never awful, and depending on your deck, can be a very nice finisher.

11. Innervate

Pick Order: Kobold Geomancer

Deceptively bad. MTG players will remember how underwhelming Dark Ritual was in limited formats, and the same thing holds true here. Arena is a slower format that Play-Mode, and you don’t benefit enough from the tempo boost in arena to justify the use of a card.

12. Soul of the Forest

Pick Order: Dalaran Mage

Sometimes you can get okay value by playing a token generator like Razorfen Hunter, then immediately playing this card. However, for the most part, this is just way too conditional to be worth risking a pick. It’s dead in your hand way too often.

13. Mark of Nature

Pick Order: Priestess of Elune

Pretty terrible card that is difficult to ever really get enough value out of. Usually it’s just an invitation to get 2 for 1’d.

14. Naturalize

Pick Order: Elven Archer

I like to joke about games where I was about to lose, but then topdecked Naturalize off of the opponent’s deck. While it has a niche for scary cards like Ragnaros or Ironbark Protector, for the most part it’s not worth 3 for 1ing yourself to remove a creature.

15. Healing Touch

Pick Order: Voodoo Doctor

If you have to pick this, try to heal a minion instead of yourself.

16. Moonfire

Pick Order: Shieldbearer

I was going to write something about how it’s somewhat better when you have spell power, but then someone might actually pick it.

Rares

1. Starfall

Pick Order: Premium

Even though it’s “worse” than Blizzard, the fact that Druid is not known for its board sweep makes this a deceptively powerful play. People will play into this a lot more than if you were a Mage.

2. Keeper of the Grove

Pick Order: Premium

Usually just 2 damage on a 2/4 body, which is an amazing deal for the cost. The fact that you sometimes use it to silence a scary threat is added value.

3. Nourish

Pick Order: Sunwalker

While you might be too slow to take advantage of this sometimes, if your curve is anywhere close to reasonable, this is a great pickup. This lets you win pretty much any game that goes late.

4. Bite

Pick Order: Imp Master

It’s 4 mana for 4 damage. That’s okay, but pretty underwhelming.

5. Savagery

Pick Order: Coldlight Oracle

This can be marginally playable when you happen to have lots of Bites and Claws in your deck. For the most part, it’s just a crappy Moonfire.

Neutrals to value higher:

Spellpower minions go up due to the nice synergy with Swipe and Wrath (although, for the most part, they’re still bad). Otherwise, because Wild Growth is such a powerful card at your disposal, you should take big creatures like Boulderfist Ogre higher.

Neutrals to value lower:

You have 2 premium taunters in Druid of the Claw and Ironbark Protector, so you should pick taunt creatures a bit lower. Because you’re running a higher curve, you should value Cult Master a bit lower as well, since often you won’t have a lot of little guys to trade.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Shaman" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="shamancommons"]

Shaman

This class lives and dies by board control. If you’re ahead on the board, you crush your opponent under a deluge of angry bloodlusted totems. If you’re behind or get your board wiped, you can only impotently watch as your useless totems get killed every turn. Overall, he’s severely hurt by the lack of a good endgame and inability to make comebacks from a losing board position.

1. Fire Elemental

Pick Order: Premium

This guy is a huge beating every time he comes out. Unless you’ve totally lost by the time you hit 6, he’ll swing the game hugely in your favor.

2. Hex

Pick Order: Premium

You know a card is good when it compares super favorably to Polymorph. Can be a bit annoying if you don’t have a 1/1 out to kill it; sometimes you need to attack first, then Hex. As I’ve painfully found out, it *is* possible to end up with too many of these, because you can be really slowed down if you don’t have some creatures to cheaply kill the 0/1 tokens. I’m still quite happy when I can pick up 2 or 3 of these.

3. Stormforged Axe

Pick Order: Premium

2 damage isn’t the best damage, and you won’t be able to kill most minions in one shot. But it’s hard to argue with 3 charges and the low cost.

4. Lightning Bolt

Pick Order: Premium

Wow 3 damage! So good!

5. Rockbiter Weapon

Pick Order: Premium

Wow 3 damage! So good! You cast this on yourself most of the time, but it can be fun to play on Windfury guys.

6. Forked Lightning

Pick Order: Premium

Another card that got bumped down the pick order a bit by the nerf of Dalaran Mage. It’s still  good, though, and combos well with your Spell-damage totem.

7. Unbound Elemental

Pick Order: Premium

Even without Overload in your hand, this guy is super solid because of his unusual stats. I pick 3/2s a lot these days because they trade with nearly every 3-drop, but this guy is one of the only exceptions. With Overload, he is just tons of value for his cost. Usually you play him and he instantly draws premium removal.

8. Flametongue Totem

Pick Order: Boulderfist Ogre

If you can protect it with a taunt creature (or have total board control), this is just an utter beating. However, if your opponent has board advantage, this is pretty terrible.

9. Bloodlust

Pick Order: Dire Wolf Alpha

It’s incredible how far this has fallen in my pick order. I used to think the card was necessary for Shaman to even win, but these days see it as often just a win-more card. People have moved from attacking your face and ignoring your creatures to carefully clearing your board every turn, and so Bloodlust is *only* usually good if you have complete board control. That said, it can be pretty explosive and help to secure a contested game where you have a small-ish advantage.

10. Windspeaker

Pick Order: Silvermoon Guardian

Another somewhat win-more card that performs a similar function to Bloodlust. If you can’t stick a big creature, he’s stranded in your hand. If you *do* stick one, the other guy is probably dead. But maybe he would have been dead anyway? Goes up in value the more Fire Elementals you’ve managed to pick up.

11. Earth Shock

Pick Order: Archmage

Barely enough of an effect to be worth a card. Great for killing off Scarlet Crusaders and Twilight Drakes.

12. Frost Shock

Pick Order: Abusive Sergeant

Ugh it sucks to take these. Actually much worse than Earth Shock, despite their proximity in pick order.

13. Windfury

Pick Order: Leper Gnome

Too reliant on sticking a big guy to be reliably worth a card.

14. Ancestral Healing

Pick Order: Frostwolf Grunt

Terrible and conditional, but can randomly be useful if the stars align.

15. Dust Devil

Pick Order: Elven Archer

Another 1-toughness minion that does nothing vs. a third of the cast.

16. Totemic Might

Pick Order: Wisp

I played this card once and it was the most embarrassing Shaman run of my life. Almost completely dead in your hand.

Rares

1. Lightning Storm

Pick Order: Premium

Not sure anyone underrates this, but it’s worth noting that having this card in your deck should make you rate spellpower higher.

2. Feral Spirit

Pick Order: Premium

A ridiculous turn 3 tempo card that’s completely backbreaking if your opponent is trying to win with small guys. Great to protect your squishy totems. It’s less valuable as a topdeck, where your opponent will likely be able to deal with the 2/3s easier.

3. Lava Burst

Pick Order: Violet Teacher

It’s pretty inefficient removal, and the overload is no joke. It’s still a nice pick-up, but it looks a lot better than it is.

4. Mana Tide Totem

Pick Order: Injured Blademaster

This card has steadily risen in my estimation as I’ve come to realize the importance of card draw in Shaman. Shaman is often great at establishing early board control with cheap removal, but outside of Fire Elemental, it doesn’t have much of a late game to speak of. A little card draw goes a long way, and you have the tools to protect this.

5. Ancestral Spirit

Pick Order: Young Priestess

A bit too gimmicky to be worth it most of the time, but can have a devastating effect on the game if you combo it with a Divine Shield minion like Sunwalker or Argent Commander.

Neutral Minions to value higher

Anything that says “taunt” on it, pretty much, barring the completely unplayable stuff like Shieldbearer. The more health, the better! Flametongue Totem is amazing with even fugly Taunt creatures like Mogu’shan Warden. Taunt creatures also prevent your opponent from killing your squishy totems for free. Creatures that can buff your totems (Stormwind Champion, Dark Iron Dwarf, Shattered Sun Cleric, etc.) are also very high picks. Finally, Spellpower helps Shaman more than most due to Forked Lightning and Lightning Storm.

Neutral Minions to value lower

Like Paladin, 2-drops aren’t *quite* as essential as they are in other classes, since you always have a “kind of crappy” drop you can play on Turn 2. This is particularly true if you have lots of Lightning Storms and Forked Lightnings to catch up on turns 4-6.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title="Hunter" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle" anchor="huntercommons"]

Hunter

Hunter is the worst class primarily because the tribal beast synergy that makes it playable in play-mode is terrible here in arena. You just can’t count on getting the beasts necessary to make Hunter’s flagship cards *work*. Instead, you need to play aggressively, curve out, and hope to open some great rares.

1. Multi-shot

Pick Order: Premium

Great removal and pretty self-explanatory. It’s a little conditional, so be a bit careful about drafting too many multiples.

2. Deadly Shot

Pick Order: Premium

Amazing if you have board control, because your opponent will often try to play a single big guy and get hugely punished for it. If you’ve lost board control, then… well, as a Hunter, you’re probably not winning that game anyway.

3. Animal Companion

Pick Order: Premium

All 3 of the creatures you can summon are way above the curve for their cost; the only disadvantage is that you can’t count on which one you’ll get. As a result, sometimes you’ll swear a bit when you pull Leokk, even though in the abstract he is quite powerful.

4. Houndmaster

Pick Order: Premium

While you shouldn’t count on having beast synergy, this guy isn’t too bad if you don’t get it. On the other hand, he can be an amazing powered up version of Shattered Sun Cleric if you happen to get lucky and have a beast in play.

5. Kill Command

Pick Order: Chillwind Yeti

3 mana for 3 damage is okay, and usually you’ll have a beast at *some* point to turn on the 5 damage clause, where it’s quite efficient

6. Starving Buzzard

Pick Order: Loot Hoarder

I wouldn’t recommend grabbing this guy too highly, since he’s quite conditional on having beasts. However, when he “works,” he’s often quite strong. Usually you’ll wait to play this until turn 5 or so, when you can guarantee the card draw.

7. Tracking

Pick Order: Earthen Ring Farseer

Picking the strongest card out of 3 is usually well worth 1 mana. Don’t worry about the fact that you might discard powerful cards; you’re just as likely to cycle through bad ones! Since Hunter is primarily an early-game class, the fact that this reduces your deck size usually isn’t a problem either.

8. Arcane Shot

Pick Order: Worgen Infiltrator

1 mana, 2 damage. Like Holy Smite, it’s not exciting, but a fine way to get early board control.

9. Snipe

Pick Order: Frost Elemental

It’s the strongest Hunter secret, but like most secrets, that’s not saying much. In this case your opponent can play around it by either playing a very weak creature (Novice Engineer) or one that can survive the Snipe hit. Either way, you’re not really getting a card’s worth of value. Still, this is 1 for 1 removal often enough that it’s not *too* bad to pick up.

10. Tundra Rhino

Pick Order: Gurubashi Berserker

The stats are a bit underwhelming for the cost, but usually your opponent will have to respect its potential and get rid of it. It can go nuts if you follow it up with a Savannah Highmane.

11. Freezing Trap

Pick Order: Booty Bay Bodyguard

Like Sap, it’s a reasonable tempo play. As long as you make sure to leave a big creature behind, it can be difficult for your opponent to play around it. It’s considerably weaker if your opponent has some 1/1s randomly lying around, though, so be careful about taking it too highly.

12. Scavenging Hyena

Pick Order: Ogre Magi

Ideally you play this as a conditional Flesheating Ghoul: play the Hyena, trade away a Beast, and get a 4/3. But the fact that you need to get a beast to die usually means it’s much worse. Often it just dies before it even pumps once.

13. Explosive Trap

Pick Order: Mogushan Warden

Hunter’s traps are all well named, but I consider this the biggest trap of them all. It looks much, much better than it turns out to be in practice. The biggest issue is that Hunter needs to play incredibly aggressively to get any value out of his hero ability. Furthermore, good players know to trade their minions down when a Hunter plays a trap (Snake Trap is epic, and so is too unlikely to play around). As a result, Explosive Trap is only really playable if your side of the board is empty and your opponent’s side is somewhat full. If Hunter loses board control, he’s probably lost the game already!

14. Hunter’s Mark

Pick Order: Tauren Warrior

Usually a 2 for 1 in your opponent’s favor. It plays similarly to Execute… if you got the worst possible Execute every time.

15. Unleash the Hounds

Pick Order: Voodoo Doctor

You almost never have the beasts to actually support this.

16. Timber Wolf

Pick Order: Goldshire Footman

A 1/1 for 1 that pretty much instantly dies the moment you play it. Save it for your play-mode OTK decks.

Rares

1. Savannah Highmane

Pick Order: Premium

Hunter’s saving grace is that he has some truly savage rares. This is incredible to combo with pretty much any Hunter card that says “Beast” on it. It’s also amazing on its own.

2. Eaglehorn Bow

Pick Order: Premium

A 3-mana Fiery War Axe is still a pretty good card! In addition, this can just go crazy if you happen to have some Snipes and Freezing Traps in your deck.

3. Explosive Shot

Pick Order: Premium

This actually ends up being a bit better than it “deserves” to be; because it’s rare, your opponent will often forget to play around it. In any case, it’s an insane card, and I can’t believe I’m rating it 3rd.

4. Flare

Pick Order: Mind Control Tech

You know how sometimes you have to pick between 3 bad cards, and want to throw them all back and get a new card instead? Flare lets you do that. Unless you’re against Mage or another Hunter, you should use this the first time you have a spare mana left over.

5. Misdirection

Pick Order: Mana Addict

This usually does nothing, since good players will always attack with their lamest minion first to play around Freezing Trap.

Neutrals to value higher

Obviously beasts are more important! What’s less obvious, however, is that you really shouldn’t be taking beasts *much* higher than normal. Unless an amazing beast deck looks to be coming together, you should just take the higher value card most of the time. Additionally, you’ll be wanting to play aggressively, so pick in your face cards like Reckless Rocketeer more highly. Also, since your hero ability is bad early, make sure to pick up plenty of 2 and 3 drops.

Neutrals to value lower

Sadly, Hunter’s commons are so poor that you will find yourself dipping into the common neutral pool much more than usual. There really isn’t anything in particular you should be avoiding, other than low power cards like Mogu’shan Warden.[/su_spoiler]

Conclusion & VODs

If you’ve made it all the way here, thanks for reading! To conclude, here are some 9 win runs for each class:

[su_tabs]

[su_tab title="Mage"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3268116

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3239049

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3174900

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Rogue"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3338973

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3187042

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3158626

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Priest"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3248105

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3243745

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3100692

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Warlock"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3308703

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3284596

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3213834

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Paladin"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3126400

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3090843

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3158593 http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3158581

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Warrior"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3225656

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3198996 http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3199015

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3167255

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Druid"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3324129

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3209553

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3142104

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Shaman"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3280026 http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3280037

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3090858

[/su_tab]

[su_tab title="Hunter"]

http://www.twitch.tv/vivafringe/c/3204346

(sorry, I don’t play this class much :3 )

[/su_tab]

[/su_tabs]

discuss_guide

All comments below are Sync’d with the forum thread, so regardless if you post here or in the thread – it’s all the same!

48 COMMENTS

  1. An amazing guide filled with plenty of great nuggets. Honestly each of the card picks/VODs are worthy of a guide in and of themselves. This is the kind of stuff we need to be putting out (Crocolisk is OP, I’m looking at you) if we want to become one of the premier sites for strategy and discussion for Hearthstone.
     
    *I thought Crocolisk is OP was funny. Not hating on it too much :D

  2. Hmm, I’ve very surprised by your ranking as Shaman in the bottom tier. I think shaman has some of the best class cards (earth ele, fire ele, stormforged, and even strong aoe) and it’s reasonable to get at least 1 of those and many times more. Add on some strong neutrals and I think Shaman makes for a super strong choice.

  3. Been following viva’s thread on the blizz forums since day one. Super helpful, awesome guy! His stream is good too. Great stuff here.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, everyone!
     

    Hmm, I’ve very surprised by your ranking as Shaman in the bottom tier. I think shaman has some of the best class cards (earth ele, fire ele, stormforged, and even strong aoe) and it’s reasonable to get at least 1 of those and many times more. Add on some strong neutrals and I think Shaman makes for a super strong choice.

     
    Well, keep in mind that in arena epics like Earth Elemental don’t factor in much to the class’s overall strength. Any class can go deep if you open enough strong rares, but the really good classes can do well with just their core commons. That said, yeah, I agree that Shaman looks really strong on paper. In spite of this, he has really bad stats: my Shaman has the second lowest winrate of all the classes. It’s also the class I win the most against; a whopping 84%!
     
    I think his biggest weakness is that he is vulnerable to AOE, and doesn’t have great AOE except Lightning Storm (a rare). So a lot of the time Shaman will fall a bit behind in the early game and just never be able to catch up. OR: he’ll get an early lead, get board wiped, and not be able to bounce back. Shaman *needs* board control to do his thing; if your opponent has a 2/3 on the board that you can’t kill, suddenly your Hero ability is useless. So the lack of common sweepers really hurts here.
     
    Shaman used to have one of my highest winrates before the patch, but, subtly, got nerfed pretty hard. Dalaran Mage (who used to be a 2/4) was a staple card for him, since it synergized so well with Forked Lightning. Also, the healing ward used to heal him for 1 a turn, which was a big deal when the game ran late. You’d always always have to stop to kill that thing, which really slowed down aggro. Nowadays, you often just ignore Healing Ward because it doesn’t do anything when Shaman doesn’t have board control.

    • As for Shaman, take Flametongue Totem and Bloodrush whenever you see it. You want your enemy dead in 5-6 turns.

  5. Yeah, Shaman bottom tier suprised me too. I’ve always fared well with him and I’m miles from being a great player. Hunter is bad though. Much worse than Shaman imo.

  6. Did you leave out the Legendaries on purpose because they are auto picks? I would think Shaman legendary is way worse than Paladin legendary, but that’s just me. What about class-less legendaries/epics/rares?

    This website has a listing of his top picks per class for Arena as well as a different common/basic rank list.
    http://freethnkr.com/hearthstone-tips/

  7. Epics and Legendaries were left out of this article, but will probably be added in a later post. :) Since you don’t get them very often, the common and rare evaluations are much more important.

  8. I’ve just read this guide, hopped into arena and went 9-0 for the first time (playing over a month)!!! Thanks a lot Vivafringe, I’ve bookmarked it for the future use.

    BTW I’m running a Hearthstone fanpage made in Polish, could I post a translation of your guide with all proper credit & links to the original article?

  9. I have to agree with the others saying I am surprised with the Shaman being tier C. So far I have managed three 9/X runs and two of these was with the Shaman. As well as this I pretty reliably get 6 or more wins when I pick Shaman.

    The two major Shaman weaknesses are:

    A) Card-draw – a 3 cost, 3 health rare minion is not reliable card draw and card draw is not combined into other cards like many other classes. Card draw is only alleviated a little by the Shaman’s totems being a ‘body’ on the field but this is also problematic under many circumstances.

    B) Shaman really struggles if you don’t get some reasonable cards for the first 3 turns – Rockbiter Weapon, Stormforged Axe or decent minions (be cautious of using lightning bolt, forked lightning or flametongue as they leave your next turn extremely weak). When you are behind the Shaman struggles to sweep the snowball (as said above).

    However once you reach the later turns I find the Shaman is a powerhouse due to 2 reasons:

    A) Flame Elemental – get as many as possible with as many Argent Commanders as possible (being a common I find in most drafts I see 2 but have seen as many as 4 + an Argent). Also being a 6 cost for 6/5 means these minions are not ‘all or nothing’ like many other high cost cards (ironbark, legendaries). If they get sheeped it sucks but it doesn’t put you had such a massive disadvantage and you still get the first 3 damage.

    B) Low initial mana cost of spells (unlike other classes where a blizzard costs 5 mana or a Swipes Cost 4). This means that these spells can be played in the same turn as high cost minions (lightning storm + fire elemental anyone).

    Anyway just thought I would add in my 2 cents. Shaman is my auto pick in Arena but of course this can change for different players.

  10. Oh – just one more thing.

    Excellent work linking the class specific minion pick order to the neutral equivalents. I always thought this was missing in many other articles which talk about other class specific arena picks. (saying that all readers should create their own adaptions of pick order lists – don’t just follow the internet blindly)

    Well thought out article and very useful to beginners and more advanced players alike.

  11. Ridiculous (in a good way) article and thanks for taking all the time to put it together.  Most of the time, I was nodding in agreement or pleasantly surprised by something new I hadn’t thought of.  That said, I just thought I’d share my biggest disagreements:
     
    I agree with Acronysis that Shaman shouldn’t be in the bottom tier: if not in Tier 2, then by himself in Tier 3, with Hunter by itself in Tier 4.  This might be more of a statement about Hunter, which I feel is clearly worse than Shaman in Arena.
     
    I feel Paladin and Rogue should join Mage in Tier 1.  Paladin is so versatile, being able to either rush down an opponent or win in the late game (also, Truesilver is a common.  As they say on teh internetz, ’nuff said).  Rogue, on the other hand, can so reliably and efficiently rush down opponents that you don’t even need flamestrike.
     
    I would actually call Void Terror “good” rather than “not horrible,” for two reasons: 1) The fact that it’s potentially one-for-two is mitigated by the hero ability, and 2) It’s very good at salvaging a useless unit.  The example you used (combining with a 1 toughness unit) works very well, particularly after you’ve used that unit to trade.  What works even better is using it on a unit with decent health but borderline useless attack stats, eg Voidwalker, Gnomish Inventor, Novice Engineer, either half of a Dragonling Mechanic, a minion that’s been Peacekeeper’d, etc. to force your opponent to use premium removal on it.  It trades favorably with Spellbreaker/Owl/crappy priest silence, especially if you soaked up a crappy minion to begin with, and it can also just be a 3/3 for 3 if you don’t have anything on the board.  Finally, it has sneaky-good synergy with blood imp, because it gets double buffed: it gains the extra health the minion has, and further gets buffed by 1 while the blood imp is still on the board.  For example, if you take a Novice Engineer while a blood imp is on the field, the Void Terror becomes a 4/7 (because the Engineer was 1/3) and gets bumped to a 4/8 by the blood imp afterward.
     
    I would say Guardian of Kings is above average.  He’s one of the best cards in the game when both players are in top-deck mode; I’m usually satisfied with a Yeti in that situation, but a 5/6 that heals for 6 when both players are typically running low on health is fantastic.  Also, he plays into your “minimize variance” strategy: players that are behind will typically start going for the face, and when that happens, you can just shut them down by trading your units for his, throwing a fat 5/6 on the table, and healing yourself beyond any possible lethal damage.  Even if you’re behind, he can put you out of lethal range, and sometimes make your opponent trade 2-for-1 for him because they’re not confident they can get the kill in the next two turns.  Obviously you never want more than 2, and even more than 1 is iffy, but he can be a game changer/saver/at the very least a relatively fat minion that more than likely has to be dealt with. 
     
    Not a disagreement per se, but I feel like Heroic Strike actually goes up in value with more weapons.  You can do a surprise 9 damage with two cards (arcanite and strike) without even having minions on the board, and Warrior typically goes for the face in the late game anyway.

    • Hmm, yeah. While I’m happy with the ordering of the tiers, I’m not sure they’re well grouped. I’ll ask Sympatico if I can edit it to something else. It’s probably closer to:

      Tier A: Mage, Rogue
      Tier B: Priest, Paladin, Warlock, Warrior
      Tier C: Druid, Shaman
      Tier D: Hunter

      I disagree about Paladin in tier A, though. He’s *really* strong, but I think he has an incredibly ugly matchup vs. Mage. The combination of infinite board sweepers and the ping to counter his ability make the matchup pretty tough. Interesting fact: I have a 30-0 record as Mage vs. Paladin. I wish that meant I was the best player of all time, but my winrate is low for the other side of the matchup. And since Mage is the most popular class in arena right now, I just don’t think it’s wise to pick Paladin too highly.

      Anyways, thanks for the comment!

  12. nice guide. 
     
    I didnt realize rogue was that worth picking in arena. I dont play arena much, and it’s interesting to see how some cards that are good in constructed aren’t so amazing in arena and vice versa because Im not hip to that.

  13. Fantastic article, best arena guide so far by a country mile. A lot of other guides (not on ihearthu) regurgitate the same old commonly known herp-a-derp facts, but I actually learned a thing or three from this guide. Great work and thank you :)

  14. I’d love if you could add in Epics + Legendaries, as well as update Trump’s neutral listing to be more up-to-date and include Rares, Epic, and Legendaries as well.

  15. Shaman should be a lot higher, and you should value draw power higher than you do (especially Lose Control, it is still two cards for 3 mana and if the opponent is as good as you you will get crazy good stuff, and if they’re bad…you’re winning anyway?).

  16. Nice thread. Definitely going to read this over a few times :) I like how you’ve got expandable sections instead of one giant wall of text (referring to class-specific draft orders). Great guide, definitely took you a long time. Thanks for writing it!

  17. The only time that I think armoring on turn 2 is alright is if you go first and war axe is your only 2 and they did not play a turn 1 . I find if you don’t play the axe turn 2 they assume you don’t have it and it baits out ooze which allows you to keep both swings.

    This is a pretty unique situation but happens more than you would think in my experience. Overall I agree with the armoring on 2 to be disastrous though.

  18. It’s critical to stress the importance of how card values change based on both what you anticipate drafting and what you have already drafted. Example: you have 5 Chillwind Yeti – is Chillwind Yeti 6 or Acidic Swamp Ooze 1 more important? Extreme examples are used to illustrate points.

    Often times, ‘inferior’ card choices are necessary for the greater good, and I think that ranking lists work against that style of thinking, and I would instead like to see something that links card synergies instead.

    But overall, very strong work! Takes time to analyze that much data – definitely worth the read.

  19. I have detailed notes on Arena. There are very few players that still play arena and draft bad (no value) cards, I rarely so bad cards in my arena games (EU). My games lost to luck are around the 70-80% margin, so I’d say luck is a very very big factor in arena.

    Arena in a nutshell…[img]http://i.imgur.com/yQfNmky.png[/img]

    You can’t play around Legendaries, Epics or crazy double Arcane Golems and Dire Wolf…

  20. Hey viva, what are your thoughts about now that there were changes to arena and to some premium cards (ie. mind control costing 10 instead over 8 probably makes it only worthwhile on the super end game as it forces you to not play anything else for that turn)

    • Mind Control: Not a premium pick anymore, but still okay to pick up. I’d put its power around the really good neutral commons like Sen’jin Shieldmasta or Scarlet Crusader. As a whole this makes the class pretty weak for arena play.

      Shattered Sun Cleric: Still good, but noticeably weaker now. I’m still picking her over Fleshingeating Ghoul, but not Scarlet Crusader.

      Argent Commander: Still great, but again the worse toughness is a big deal. Before it was debatable whether you took him or Azure Drake, and overall he was probably the top common. Now it’s not particularly close. He’s about on the level of Sunwalker now, but still above Stampeding Kodo.

      Flame Imp: Still a premium common. I suppose I’m more likely to pick Hellfire over it, but in general it’s pretty close to where it was before; I’d say the change matters less than 1/10 games.

  21. […] am incercat si pally, dar nu prea am mare lucru in afara de basic cards. Nerf la Mage. Yay? Vivafringe’s Guide to Arena | iHearthU.com – Hearthstone News, Articles, Guides & Community Important e sa ai 2 si 3 drops pentru early game. Macar un silent (owl, spellbreaker sau class […]

  22. I kinda agree with you on that. Had to comment as most of the vods from everyone is from before last patch, still they are great to learn how to compare possible picks while paying attention to what you already have.

    Overall I feel that if you can grab 1 mind control is okay, but no more than one. And depending on what you already have, it’s completely dispensable.

    I never thought about how the Argent commander is right now, good insight. Now Flame Imp, i know nothing, I never play Warlock (maybe I should start, just to get a better idea about the class’ cards).

  23. Hey Lichbane, answering your question:

    Trading is a very broad term. Usually we refer to this term when we are talking about minions exchanging blows. A very simple example would be:

    Player1 has a 3-3 creature that costs 3 mana on the field.
    Player2 has a 3-2 creature that costs 2 mana on the field.

    If any player attacks the other player’s minion, both players lose their minions. For Player1 killing a 3-2 is not favorable, because he spent more mana to summon his minion. However, for Player2 this trade (a minion for a minion) was favorable, by the same reason, he spent less mana.

    Like I said before trades can occur in many forms. When someone has to use more than one card to remove a threat on the field, it’s a good trade to the threat’s owner.

    Now what vivafringe meant with pick order: the cards listed on pick order are neutral cards that are equivalent in value.

    Do note that the word ‘value’ is used in a different contest than ‘cost’. Value, as used by many CCG and TCG players, means what you get from playing that card. Be either a powerful ability, solid stats or anything else that can be translated into any kind of advantage.

    • Also, i forgot to say that none of what i said above is static. Different board states can make things different.

      For example, you play a Stormwind champion to buff your allies, and then the other player uses 2 cards to kill all of your minions (for the sake of the example, let’s say he used Flamestrike and Frostbolt).

      This could be considered a good or a bad trade depending on how many cards each player has on hand (and also, many other factors, like health, weapons and secrets). But since i’m sticking to simple examples:

      In this case, if the mage has more cards, he gets the advantage by clearing the field and making the stormwind champion irrelevant. If you have more cards, then you made him lose two critical spells and will probably get board advantage.

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