Reaching legend rank

GuideOpinion

So you're not really a great Hearthstone player and you don't have a full Hearthstone collection but you still want to reach legend?
Well, that makes two of us: Hearthstone is my first collectible card game and I'm also playing on a budget.
I reached legend by playing a rather unorthodox deck and I decided to write a guide to help others like me: average Joes that don't have all the cards in the game.

TL;DR:
  1. Hearthstone is P2W. Pay for the core cards or be prepared to play hundreds and hundreds of hours to be on par with other players.
  2. Keep an eye on your win rate. Either use tracking software or do it old school style, but do it.
  3. Stop playing when you're tilting. If you're on a loss streak, just do something else. It's only going to get worse.
  4. Play to win. Risk more in match ups which do not favor you.
  5. Go for the surprise factor. A strange deck or a strange tech card can help you win games.
  6. Be patient. It will probably take hundreds of games to reach legend.

Keep reading if you want more details :wink:

Pay to win

Hearthstone is P2W

Ok, let’s face the hard truth: Hearthstone is a P2W (pay-to-win) game. You either pay with your time or with cash. And paying with time is very inefficient. So if you really like the game and can spare $40-$60 per year, do it. It will save you hundreds of hours of grinding.

Saying that Hearthstone is P2W is the quite controversial statement so I’ll explain: no, you cannot actually pay to win a game in Hearthstone. But you can pay for shortcuts by buying great cards through adventures or tons of card packs.

Let’s say that Joe and Mike are about as good at Hearthstone. If they play 100 games, they should each win about 50. However, if Joe doesn’t have key cards to counter Mike then Joe’s never going to win 50. He’ll win maybe 40 if he’s lucky.

Of course, skill is a factor. At different skill levels nothing can save you from having a sub-50% win rate against a better player. But skill levels equalize as you climb: players are better and better and you can’t just weasel your way out of a bad situation through sheer luck and brainpower.

If you want the legend climb to be fun, get at least 1 competitive deck that is not completely countered by the current meta. You will probably have to tech in cards.

You might even be forced to switch decks to another competitive deck. Or maybe even to a third one. So you need at least 2-3-4 competitive decks and their corresponding tech cards.

In my case I decided that I’d buy all the adventures with cash and get the rest of the cards through buying packs with gold. I sometimes feel that I would have enjoyed the game more if I had actually bought the adventures with cash as well as the pre-order packs (50 packs) for each expansion.

Keep an eye on your win rate

And now we get to win rate… Win rate is the thing that will either take you to legend or won’t. You will lose games. You will be annoyed by losses. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re still climbing and therefore winning more games than you are losing.

If you have a higher win rate, you’ll climb a lot faster.

Win rate Games from rank 20 to rank 5 Games from rank 5 to legend
45% 2743 111416 (!)
50% 444 929
51% 372 617
55% 223 227
60% 147 120
66% 101 76
70% 83 62
75% 67 49

If you’re playing on a PC you should probably use a deck tracker. If you’re playing on a phone or tablet… you’re out of luck. I’m playing on a tablet so I had to keep track of things the old fashioned way. When I reached legend I actually used a very simple system. I started at rank 3 and 0 starts with Raptor Rogue and I had 0 wins with Rogue on ladder. I needed 16 wins to get to legend. So I set myself a limit of 30 wins to get to legend. This meant that I had to sustain quite a high win rate since at 50% I’d just be back where I started.

Related to this: don’t get really angry when you lose. Win rate = rate at which you’re winning. This means that you’re also losing from time to time, it’s normal. Just make sure to notice when you’re losing more than you’re winning.

Tilt alert

Stop playing when you’re tilting

You need to be very focused. As I said, the opponents are at least as good you are at Hearthstone. If you’re tilting, you’re turning into a worse player. This means that you’re giving your opponents an advantage over you.

As a simple rule of thumb, I stopped playing after 3 consecutive losses, no matter what. In your case it might be 2 losses or 5 losses, depending on how easily you tilt. Still, stop playing ladder at least if you’re tilting.

You want to make life for your opponents harder, not easier, when they’re facing you :smile:

Play to win

There will be match ups where you’re not the favorite. If you’re Freeze Mage against Control Warrior, you’re most likely going to lose. So if you’re playing it safely, you’re going to lose. Your only real shot against a competent opponent is going all in. Where “all in” depends on how desperate the match up is.

This might mean doing things which seem silly in most match ups, like keeping a 5 or 6 drop during the mulligan phase, because being guaranteed to play it on turn 5 or 6 and having it left unanswered is one of the few ways to win the match up.

Of course, if at some point you notice that you’re encountering only unfavorable match ups, it’s probably time to switch decks. This is a judgment call, I generally did it when I noticed I wasn’t climbing after a higher number of games played (15-20).

Acidic Swamp Ooze

Go for the surprise factor

Almost all the good players I’ve seen at some point or another try a strange deck or add a strange tech card in their deck. This is because the surprise factor is important in multiplayer games. Predictability is good for your own actions (this is why Ogre Brute is a bad card, because you can’t guarantee what it’s going to attack) but it is not good when your opponent can reliably predict your actions. Of course, in most games you win you’re just going to use your deck’s main win condition.

But especially above rank 5, if your deck is popular enough, opponents will find or make decks that will counter that a main win condition. So it doesn’t hurt to have a plan B.

In my case I just took advantage of the surprise factor of the deck I was playing: Raptor Rogue. Most opponents facing a Rogue would be mulliganing for Oil Rogue (the most popular Rogue variety) and would often not have the required tools to react to a Rogue that plays more like Zoolock.

If using or creating a brand new deck is not possible (and usually it isn’t) then surprising tech cards can work as well. Acidic Swamp Ooze has destroyed many Doomhammer dreams over the years :smile:

Be patient

The last but most important point. Reaching legend, even if you’re on a hot win streak, will still take at least 100 games. Probably 200 or 300. When you go above rank 5 each win starts mattering more and more.

So you have to be patient and remember that you have to play a lot of Hearthstone games to reach legend. You also have to be patient during the actual games and take the time to think through your moves 1, 2 or even 3 turns in advance.

In the end you may ask yourself, is it worth it? I don’t know. It was probably worth it for me as I generally like achievements in game and this is probably the greatest achievement a non-pro player can get.

Reaching legend.

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