LOTI 046 : Arena Guide

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Arena Guide


Welcome to the Legend of the Innkeeper.  I’m Vastidious, I’m Ariannwyn and I’m Espo.  We’re glad you could join us for our 46th episode.

This week we are talking about…


What did you do this week?

Top 3 of the week – Card sounds

Vastidious – Leeroy Jenkins, ‘“Aha!”,

Ariannwyn – Goblin sapper, Wild pyromancer, Hobgoblin

Espo –  Jaraxxus, Millhouse Manastorm, Illidan (Hello, Brother)


1. Hearthstone going 64-bit


Blizzard added support for 64-bit devices (anything better than the iPad Air 1 and iPhone 5S). They also added the ability to purchase multiple packs at a time with gold on tablets. And they added the Ninja card back, which you get for the May card back.

2. Hearthstone-themed Wedding Invitation


The text reads: “Battlecry: We invite all the minions who received an invitation to the wedding”

3. Blizzard bans over 100,000 accounts for 6 months for using third-party programs that automate gameplay


4. Blizzard is celebrating Diablo III’s 3rd birthday with a special event until May 21st.


In honor of it’s third birthday, Blizzard has introduced an Elite cow enemy named Herald of the Queen to the game. If you kill the enemy, you will get to go into a portal that transports you into a location known as Not The Cow Level.

Getting Better

Deck vs Deck comparison – http://www.hearthstonetopdecks.com/deck-vs-deck/?dt=midrange_paladin&dt2=ramp_druid


Jarraxxus – Repentance Secret – Hero down to 1 health

The Arena

The interesting thing about Hearthstone is that there are really 2 different challenges that are included with the game. Actually you might even say three now that we have the adventure modes to play with too. You have Constructed (Ladder) and The Arena.

Most of the time, on this show we are talking about the Constructed side of the game. About fine crafting decks to help you get further and further up on the ladder, with the desire to eventually hit Legend.

However, there are many, many players out there that do nothing but play in the Arena and can’t stand Constructed. I really love the idea behind the Arena and I really enjoy it but I’m not very good at it. I will assume then that there are MANY other casual players that feel the same. And there are probably MANY more who don’t like the Arena at all.

In this discussion, it is our goal that you will leave here with a renewed excitement about trying the Arena again if you are in the first group or be willing to give it a second chance if you are in the latter. Either way, we want to show you how you can have FUN while playing in the Arena. Of course winning never hurts to increase your fun factor.

We did discuss the Arena back early on in the show, before Espo came around, so we have another great resource to tap into and glean information from. If you want to check out the previous episodes on the Arena, you can find those on Episodes # 10, 11 and 12. We will do our best not to cover the same content here and a lot of that information is still valid. What I want to do at this point, is take a fresh look at the Arena and give you some tips and guidance on how to survive the Arena today, after Naxx, GvG and BRM.

In the Arena there are really two major phases of the game that you have to look at carefully in order to have success in the Arena. They are the draft (choosing your cards for your deck) and careful gameplay. I know that sounds fairly obvious but I want to notice that I didn’t actually include picking your class. Let’s address that first.


Are some classes better than others overall in the Arena? The obvious answer is Yes. But is that an accurate answer? I would argue, no it isn’t. Yes there are numerous ranking lists on the internet that show conclusively that Mage is the best and that Hunter is the worst (or some other class). But keep in mind that those charts are capturing data from thousands of players who are using their software to capture statistics. Of those thousands of players, how many of those are just not any good playing in the Arena? How reliable can those numbers be when a large number of those players would fail to win 2-3 games in the Arena even when playing Mage?

I don’t know the answer for sure, but I think we have to argue that even the weakest class  according to these charts, in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing can win consistently in the Arena.

If we tried a different approach and say, looked at 100 Arena games with each class played by a single pro player, I would wager that our win percentages would be much closer than you would think. But since we can’t exactly do that, we just have to agree to disagree.

So class choices are not as important based on win/loss rates overall. What is important is that you know the class well and that you are comfortable playing them. If you don’t have a good understanding about the class, it might be a good idea to choose something else. This is going to be a personal decision.


Ok, drafting your cards is probably the most important phase of playing in the Arena. If you pick bad cards you are going to have a bad experience.

#1 Don’t Draft Combos!

This question came from our Facebook group: Is it worth picking combo cards when you might not get the second part of the combo? – Johan Perkins

One of the most important tips you can put to use here is remember that it’s not Constructed. You don’t have the ability to create combos that you can rely on. In the Arena you might never see the second card you need for a specific combo. However, if you do end up picking one part of the combo based on the value of the card itself and happen to get the second part, then it is a good option. But don’t pick a card because you ‘think’ you might get the second half that makes it work. You probably won’t.

#2 Good Mana Curve

Next, mana curve is actually really important in the Arena. Mana curve is how many options you have available to you at each mana cost. You will hear us refer to it as 1-drop, 2-drop and 3-drop cards, etc. It’s important to have enough cards at each mana cost so that you have something you can play on turn 1, turn 2, …. Turn 5, turn 8, etc. If you have something you can play on each turn you keep up what is known as Tempo. You don’t want to end up with a turn where you have nothing to play. That interrupts your Tempo and allows your opponent to get a Tempo advantage.

#3 Arena is Board Control  

Arena is all about board control. On the Ladder you can get away with decks that are designed to attack your opponents face every turn (aka, Face Hunter), but in the Arena, it doesn’t work that way. At least not frequently. If you manage to control the board, removing your opponent’s minions while being able to keep yours alive, you will have a great chance at winning. So anything you can do to maintain board control is valuable.

#4 Minions over Spells

It’s better to choose minions with abilities over spells. Again board control is everything and unless the spell is a must have spell like, Hex, Consecration, Flamestrike, Polymorph, etc., it’s almost always better to choose a minion with a decent battlecry or deathrattle.

#5 Weapons for Removal

If your class has weapons, chose a few. They are useful for gaining board control and are hard to remove. Yes you might take some damage using them against minions but you are going to end up in a better place potentially.

#6 Big Minions for Late Game

Make sure you have a late game in your deck. You really need at least 3, preferably more, big minions to close out the late game. You also don’t want a bunch of small minions. Remember the curve where the most of your cards fall in the 4-6 mana cost range.

#7 Save AOE for Value

If you have AOE spells, save them for when you get the most value out of them. Obviously don’t hold on to them too long. But try and save it for the big minions. Don’t use Flamestrike on 2 – 1 hp 1 atk minions.

#8 Most Common Mistake

The most common mistakes people make in the Arena is trying to sneak damage in to the Hero when they should be making a favorable or even trade. You can always do face damage when you own the board. A good rule of thumb is “When in doubt, simplify the board”.

#9 Draft for Value

When drafting cards, look for cards that your opponent will likely need to use two cards to remove, like the Harvest Golem, Chillwind Yeti and Piloted Golem. Two for one trades are in your favor.

I know this is a lot of information to take in, but it’s all in the show notes and you can go back and read it later. And this isn’t every possible tip available out there for drafting. But these will get you moving in the right direction.

One last thing about drafting before we move on. Use resources to help you determine which card options are the better choice. There are two great interactive websites that can help.



Hearth Arena is a new site that is still in beta form so you might have to get approved before you can use it. In the meantime use Arena Value instead.

Another great resource are the Arena Draft Tier spreadsheets that are available online. I’ve linked to two below that are exceptional. Although keep in mind that some of the newer cards are not on these sheets quite yet. The websites above are updated and current.

Trump’s Tier List – http://www.liquidhearth.com/guides/arena-tier-list

AntiGrav1ty’s Arena Draft Tiers – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AifXEOqTcGcLdFVvWk1GRjVJTHJUaTVLcGViR1RRTFE&gid=15

With the tips above and the resources we listed, you should be able to end up with some decent decks for the Arena.

Arena Gameplay

Now the other area we need to discuss in the Arena is game play. There are a few stages in the game that you need to be focused on when playing in the Arena. The first is the Mulligan.


The mulligan, the time when you get presented 3-4 cards to choose from to start the game, is one of the more vital things in getting a good start to your game. If you are the 1st player, you get to choose 3 cards. It’s idea if you can pick cards that have costs of 2-3-4. If you are the 2nd player, you get to choose 4 cards and it’s better to have cards that have values of 2-2-3-4. Also in both cases, don’t worry about putting back cards that have dependency on gaining board control, like the Argent Protector. He’s a great card that requires another minion on the board. Send him back and get a card you can use right away and get value.

Remember the ultimate goal is to establish and maintain board control right away from the beginning. And then you need to keep up your tempo, which is why we want 3-4 cost minions for turns 3 and 4.

Early Rounds

Also, I know this may be questionable to some, but in the Arena is often better to NOT hold a card and play nothing than it is to hold on it because it’s going to help you later on. That interrupts your tempo and that little mistake can cost you the game. A good example of this is say the only 2 drop you have on turn 2 is the Sunfury Protector. It’s better to play her on turn 2 than it is to save her for later. I know it’s contrary to everything you’ve done up until now but if you fall behind too far you’ll never catch up.

Going to Face versus Trading

As we’ve already mentioned, in the Arena, making smart trades can be more valuable than going to the face. Here is why. When you trade, you get to choose the best possible trade for you. And over the course of the game, this will add up. Trades like a 3/2 into a 4/3, can make a world of difference down the road. If you choose not to trade, your opponent gets to make the ‘worst’ possible trade for you. The future is in your hands until you give that option to your opponent.

If you don’t trade, you risk the chance that your opponent will buff up the minions and get an even better trade or damage than you thought was possible.

And you run the risk of having your opponent wipe your side of the board leaving only his minions on the board with Swipe or another AOE spell.

Now, let me stress that there always comes a point when you need to stop clearing the board and start going after your opponents face. If you have a lot of board presence it makes it easier to apply the pressure.

Board Clears

The last thing we need to talk about is board clearing spells. As you progress through the match you will need to remember and consider AOE spells. When you are playing against a Mage, remember he will likely have Flamestrike and be able to use it on turn 7 (turn 6 if he has the coin still). The same goes for other classes (Turn 4 for Paladin, 5 for Priest)

My recommendation is that you always try to limit how many minions you have on the board to no more than 3 until you can really be sure you have the game or that they don’t have a board clearing spell. By keeping it below 3, you avoid Mind Control Tech, and you limit how many minions you could potentially lose to a board sweep.

The best strategy is to make sure your opponent gets at most a 2 for 1 from their board clear. However sometimes you have to commit just enough on the board to force them to use the AOE. If they don’t bite and clear the board it might be an indication that they don’t have the ability to do so.

Also, when you are buffing minions, it’s best to spread the buffs around. Don’t just buff up a single minion hoping to pull off a massive attack. Silence is very popular in the Arena and it makes that minion a huge target. But a bunch of strong minions are much harder to deal with.

Additional Resources: http://ihearthu.com/vivafringes-guide-to-arena/#manacurve



HTC Invitational

prize pool of $5,000

Single-elimination 16 player bracket.

Bo5 Conquest

Sjow, Savjz, RDU, Hyped, Kolento, Neirea, Firebat, Forsen, Ek0p, StrifeCro, ThijsNL, Dog, TidesofTime, Trump, Zalae, Chakki

ESL Legendary Series

The second season of the ESL Legendary Series tournament started in March and for the past two months players have been qualifying through the Legendary match days, held every two weeks.

4 players from Legendary Series: Lifecoach, Kolento, Kabi, Reynad

4 players from Redemption Tournament: Played

8 players from Last Chance Open

The grand finals itself will be held June 5-8th at the ESL studio in Burbank, California. Format details are still unclear but what we know already is the prize pool – $25,000 and 230 HWC points in total.

Reviews and Emails

iTunes Reviews:

KingEnigma – Fun > Everything

I listen to several different Hearthstone podcasts, and this is by far my favorite. The hosts are full of enthusiasm and I love how family-friendly they keep the show. This is absolutely the best casual Hearhstone podcast available. P.S: Vastidious has ridiculously good luck, Ariannwyn does not, and Espo is easily distracted. Kappa


Here’s a copy of my review from the Canadian iTunes store:

Best Hearthstone podcast – 5 Stars

by mikeha (aka Ironcladmerc) – Apr 13, 2015

This is without a doubt the best Hearthstone podcast out there. I have learned so much from this podcast, I am listening to every episode and looking at all the amazing helpful show notes. I can’t wait until the next episode is released every week.

I have signed up for their Patreon, this show deserves to be supported. I recommend all who like this podcast to donate $5 a month to their Patreon.


Leroy Todd – Let’s Be Friends

I have been listening to the podcast just recently found it so I’m getting caught up on all the episodes so far but I love what I have been listening so far and would enjoy playing with you both sometime.

Twitter: 243

Helmut Mishu‏@Bleeker84

@LotiPodcast @XcMtbGamer @AriannwynHS another great ep! #funguaranteed only 8 episodes left and I will have listened to them all!

Facebook Shoutout:

Our Mumble group!

Ariannwyn: “Hanging out in mumble with Nightfall watching Zerotio and Tanoio play some fun games. Hearthstone just got that much better!”


That 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.

Our YouTube channel is www.legendoftheinnkeeper.com/YouTube

You can follow the show on Twitter @LOTIpodcast.  However since I never check this twitter, Follow Ariannwyn (@AriannwynHS) and Espo (@Xcmbtgamer) on twitter also!

You can support the show through Patreon at :  www.patreon.com/Legendoftheinnkeeper

Be sure to subscribe and rate us on iTunes!

Until next show, Happy gaming!


Music by James Marantettehttps://soundcloud.com/james-marantette

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About Author

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

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