LOTI 002 : Deck Building Strategies

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#002 – Legend of the Innkeeper – “Deck Building Strategy”

Intro:  Welcome to the Legend of the Innkeeper.  I’m Vastidious and I’m Ariannwyn.  We’re glad you could join us again for our second episode.

– Talk about who we are.  Jobs, interests, hobbies.  Random fact.


What did you do this week?

We mentioned working with a Hunter deck last week.  How did that go?


1. Curse of Naxxramas Screenshots Leaked

Someone released images last week of what appears to be how Curse of Naxxramas will look.  There were several images shown with each wing separated out with a boss at the end.  They also revealed a card, Kel’Thuzad.  (8 mana 6/8 – Text: He returns all friendly minions to the battlefield that died that turn).  Blizzard asked all the sites to remove the links to the images.

2. Release Date Announced Then Unannounced

Aratil from Blizzard said this week,

“Just wanted to give everyone a head’s up that we are currently targeting to release Curse of Naxxramas during the month of July. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of implementing and bug fixing to get through, so please stay tuned! 

With that said, we are also targeting to reveal pricing details regarding Curse of Naxxramas next week on July 1st, so please keep an eye out for that.”


Then a few hours later he updated this.  Now it’s not going to come out on the 1st.

“I know everyone is really excited for any and all information regarding Naxxramas. We’re doing our best to get it into your hands as soon as possible. However, it turns out we’re actually not going to be quite ready to announce Naxxramas pricing on July 1st as I previously mentioned—we do still want to announce more Naxxramas information soon, but I’m afraid it won’t happen on July 1st. We’ll get the details to you as soon as we have finalized information to share.”


3. Season 3 Ended – New Card Back Revealed

So season 3 ended.  How did you do?

The new card back is a Naxxramas card back.  It’s mildly cursed according to the post.  http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/14642095/hearthstone%E2%84%A2-ranked-play-season-4-the-dread-necropolis-7-1-2014

4. Hearthstone Calendar

This week I was looking through a bunch of information about tournaments and competitions and came across this calendar that has most of them listed on it.

Calendar of HearthStone events – https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=d1q45i96sa1djr4c7inpqc1ft0%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/New_York

5. Dreamhack Releases Numbers

DreamHack numbers released – 550,000 unique viewers throughout the tournament and during the finals, peaked at 55,000 simultaneous viewers.


6. Naxxramas Primer

In preparation for the upcoming expansion, Simplexity88 posted a summary of all the bosses in Naxx from World of Warcraft and their special abilities.  http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/29hsn2/naxxramas_boss_overview/


Deckbuilding – types of decks

There are three types of decks in Hearthstone.  Control, Rush, and Balance/Combination.  You need to know how to play with and against all three types.


The essence of a Control deck is about controlling the pace of the game early on, until you get to a point where you can stomp on your opponent in the late game. They generally focus on mass removal and control spells that either kill of your opponents minions, slow them down, transform them, or take control of them. They also look for minions with taunt to slow the enemy from being able to damage you personally.



The essence of a Rush deck is about beating down your opponent so fast they never get a chance to setup their own deck and strategy. Rush style decks exist in almost all card games, and they are generally called Rush or Aggro (short for aggression) decks. These decks go hard at the opponent right from the start and aim to win before the late game. In fact they generally try to win by about turn 5 or 6. If the game goes past that point in time, most Rush decks will run out of steam and have not real way to win in the late game.



Balanced decks are exactly what they sound like.  They aim for a balanced approach to the game.  Balanced decks look to be able to handle all other decks in some way, while still applying their own pressure from the early game through the late game.  While not specifically focused on an early game rush or a late game win, these decks want to apply pressure throughout and win by being able to answer every threat.  They do this by focusing on cost effective cards.


Deciding what cards to include:

Obviously, this stage constitutes the bulk of the deck-building process. It is here that you will need to make the most interesting and difficult decisions.

This process is tricky, and most new players will rush to add as many “great” cards they can do their deck. This is a mistake, because in Hearthstone, the 30-card deck limit is very restrictive. Even with a limited card collection, you are likely to have vastly more “great” cards than you can fit in a deck.  Often, inexperienced players will make incorrect evaluations of cards, thinking that some mediocre cards are great, and some excellent cards are mediocre.

So, you will need to very carefully evaluate the theme and purpose of your deck. Just because a certain card has worked well for you in the past, or because it has very good stats for its cost, or so on, is not reason enough to automatically include it in your new deck.


Start by adding core cards

You should start by very conservatively identifying the core cards of your new deck (the cards that you absolutely need to have in order for the deck to work).

For instance, if you wanted to create a Rogue deck that relies on doing massive burst damage through combinations of Leeroy Jenkins, Cold Blood, and/or Shadowstep, then these three cards are absolutely essential to your deck, and you should start by including them.

Some decks will have more core cards than others, but unless your deck is very combo-heavy, your core cards, in their strictest sense, will probably not exceed 10.

The next step is to include the most suitable situational class-specific cards.

Not all class-specific cards are suited for all types of decks. Some cards will be excellent if you are playing a control deck, while others are much better for a burst-damage combination, and so on. Including all of them will dilute the theme of your deck.

To fill out the deck, you will continue by adding the best (appropriate) neutral minions available to you

If you can finish off your deck by filling it up with such minions (again, while being quite ruthless, and always analysing whether each minion belongs in this specific deck), then that is great, and the first version of your new deck is complete.

Then off to test play!


Mind set:

Many players go into certain matchups thinking that they are unwinnable. While there exist extremely lopsided matchups (Frost Mage sans giants versus Control Warrior comes to mind), many disadvantageous matchups still give you over a 30 percent chance to win. Entering the game with your mouse hovered over the “Concede” button will only cloud your judgment and prevent you from searching out the road to victory. Belief can go a long way in helping you think clearly and give you the best chance of winning.


That about does it for this episode.  You can email the show at info@legendoftheinnkeeper.com.  You can also visit our website at legendoftheinnkeeper.com where we will post the show notes with the episode that has links to all the information we discussed.

You can follow the show on Twitter @LOTIpodcast

Be sure to subscribe and rate us on iTunes!

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About Author

Vastidious is a long time gamer, father to Ariannwyn and doesn't read the text on the cards.


  1. Phew, that is a lot of info this time! So, I got around to seeing Colma playing some different matches- it was really impressive, a lot of the time he plays it LOOKS like he’s down, but there’s a good chance that he’s drawing a lot of the cards that he wants and the plays that he makes end up coming back in a pretty big way sometimes.

    I questioned the place of Thalnos and the Azure Drakes in his deck- it’s only for the Cleaves & Slams really- although I know how it’s actually pretty convenient (the chance of drawing them together is kind of low, but the removal is usually pretty good on its own and the Spell Power generally replaces itself) – I though that Bloodsail Raiders would be a good substitutes there with a card like Illidan Stormrage in place of Thalnos, because the Warrior carries some really good cheap Activators like Inner Rage, while the Tempo Warrior specifically carries cheap 1 drops like Argent Squires that lose a lot of their effect on the later turns.

    I myself just drew an Illidan after picking up a 40 card pack- Id been looking for him for quite while now and decided to pray to RNGesus ( sincerely, I hold a belief in an entity that a lot of other people do, like Kripparian – although I’m not entirely sure of his beliefs, I think they coincide very closely with mine ) , I had a general idea of how I wanted to pray to him, and I was also praying for Blizzard – but I kept reminding myself, I need to find the time to pray to RNGesus, and after awhile I remembered and it felt good, so I clicked the purchase button.

    I had made sure of this earlier, on the forums, where I asked if cards are generated when they’re purchased or opened, and the community said there was a blue post about that, so, when I prayed I basically asked for some fairness- there’s a lot of randomness in opening 40 packs if what you’re looking for are Epic or Legendary cards in general- if you have many of the cards those 40 packs will generally yield enough dust to bring some dust that you’ve saved up to the point of crafting a Legendary.

    Well, I happened to open a Velen very early on, so I took this as a sign of RNGesus recognizing my sincerity – then on the 7th pack, I opened Illidan. And he’s a card I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. He’s a 7/5 for 6, so he has the general value of a 7 drop, but he’s a Legendary so he’s a little bit harder to draw than cards where there are two of- in addition to that though, which would be fair, he’s got an incredible Combo Ability built in to him as well, which contrasts greatly against his value, because while you want to play it, you might want to save it.

    After that I had the dust leftover for something that I knew in my heart that I really wanted to craft: Captain Greenskin. Not only does it unlock an achievement and two unique cards, but he’s a pretty sweet value with a Rogue and some other cards that I picked up, like the Kidnapper, in general. The deck I’m thinking about getting serious with involves ~3 very high 6 cost minions; you generally want to draw all of them with some other cards, except Greenskin who is useful in general.

    I’m putting two Spiteful Smiths in there too, so my turn 10 gets a little questionable, but I’m usually not trying to think about that.

    Anyhow- I know what’s coming with the release of Naxx, so next month I’m planning on putting in a big investment and definitely crafting Sylvanas and Cairne- after that I’m thinking about working on some Golden Legends, like Ragnaros, and maybe trading in some of my cards like Illidan and Malygos for Golds.

    I don’t think I’m really serious about being competitive yet, since I watch a lot of shows like ESGN’s Fight Night series involving Hearthstone, as well as OGN Hearthstone- that was a Korean tournament (could use some editing to highlight its best parts) and as much as I think it’d be cool to appear on shows like that I don’t really like flying on planes- but let’s say I made it to top 16 and was invited to official Blizzard tournament some time, I think I would accept that offer.

    I’m from Delaware, but somehow I’ve moved out all the way to Oregon from there since my childhood. Yeah- definitely add me, I figured out you can use your email or there’s a Battle.net user number and mine is #1628, so my user name is Azihayya#1628 if you’d like to add me.

    I just recently made a friend on the forums named Jet who is super interested in playing very gimmicky decks–I was surprised by the power of his all Druid deck.

    A project I’ve been thinking about working on is coming up with ‘Theme Decks’ for a League mode where players can compete on a fair basis using a controlled series of cards. Hopefully this is very good for new players as well as older players who might have collected some of the rarer cards that some of the Higher Tier/Level Decks require to play.

    Oh, I’ve got to mention, a play that really surprised me recently that absolutely blew my mind because I was wondering why nobody had thought of it earlier, but it was Ancestral Healing in the Shaman combo’d with the Injured Blademaster. As a turn 3 play, that just seemed scary to me.

    • I was messing around with the Hogger I have in a Pirate Rogue deck as well, and it felt really neat to be a Rogue defended by some Taunt minions.

  2. Ah, gees- the embarrassment is real! By 7th pack, I actually meanth 33rd pack. That’s not really killin’ me inside, but I would like to express my interest in a edit function- actually, I can live without it as I’ve become more accustomed to editing things before I print them.

    Anyhow, the real point to this message is I’ve noticed you’ve made some changes to the page since last time- after I submitted my message I noticed it took me away from the page, and last time I was here the player didn’t have that neat feature of being able to backtrack/forwardtrack.

    • Uh, wuh, ah Gosh. That All Druid, Druid deck- no, I’m so sorry, I meant All Taunt Druid Deck – I didn’t even know the cards were there to make that possible. “Certainly you have to be carrying a Swipe, right?” Nope!

      Okay, that typos might be killing me a little bit.

    • Oh gosh, that All Druid deck- no, I’m sorry, I meant All Taunt Druid Deck. I was surprised the cards were there for it, “You must surely be carrying a Swipe right now.” Nope!

      Okay, those typos might be killing me a little bit.

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