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Introducere (ENG version)

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Va las aici un link YT pentru a intelege mai bine detaliile despre acest joc , degeaba o sa il traduc in romana ca tot la youtube o sa se ajunga :))

 

Hearthstone: A Game of Information

 

    Hearthstone, at its core, is all about information. Unlike a purely athletic competition where one’s strength and training is the primary contributor to success, much of what makes a Hearthstone player successful comes down to how well they handle in-game information.

 

    Those who play poker and other strategy card games are very familiar with the concept of “tells” - things a player may do to signal that they have an exceptional card (either good or bad), or a signal for how they are feeling about the situation. Many make the assumption that this does not exist in Hearthstone due to the vast majority of Hearthstone games being played online, after all how can you read body language if you cannot physically see your opponent? This is actually false. If you can recognize that your opponent has "virtual" tells, while they do not, it can give you a huge advantage.

 

    Players who do not look for these virtual tells are not using every bit of information available to them, while you are, which will lead to better decision making. Players should recognize how to look for hidden clues from their opponents, how to avoid feeding extra information to their opponents, and most importantly, how to decipher the meaning behind the information they have available to them.


Digital Cards are Still Cards

 

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    Though we as players may never be able to literally rip open a card pack or riffle shuffle our decks before a match, Hearthstone is still a card game. The cards themselves can offer a lot of information depending on how an opponent uses his or her cursor. This is one reason I recommend playing Hearthstone on tablets and computers that can handle the graphics; laggy graphics or skipped frames may unfortunately cause you to miss out on what would otherwise be free information.

 

    The first thing to take into account is the cursor, or finger if someone is using a touchscreen device like an iPad. Whenever your opponent hovers over a potential action, Hearthstone will let you know of this. If he or she is hovering over a card, it will come slightly to the forefront, and if he is pointing at a potential attack or targeting something with a spell, there will be an arrow. Many players make the mistake of using the cursor too much when deciding between potential plays, and it can give you a lot of insight into their cards or thought process. For example, if you have a minion on board and you see your Druid opponent pointing at it with something in his or her hand, you can assume that he or she has one of their few targeted removal options like Wrath or Swipe. If your opponent decides not to make the play, they just gave you something to play around; though there was only a chance that the card in question was Swipe, making sure your board doesn’t become weak to the card in the future could give you a definitive edge.

 

    Even simply hovering over cards in one’s hand is dangerous. If a player does this too often when thinking of what to play, it could alert the opponent to different things the card could be. If a player makes a couple plays and uses most of their mana, but then hovers over a certain card some before ending his turn, it is a reasonably safe bet he was considering playing it. Using this information along with the amount of mana the player had left, the opponent can then make a mental note of all the possible cards it could have been, given the specific deck and class in question, playing around them where appropriate if possible.

 

    Another aspect of the cards themselves to take into account are the golden versions. Personally, I have never been one to use golden cards much, and I definitely never put out the money to get a full golden collection like some players, but I can see the how pulling a cool-looking version of a playable card makes a lot of players want to immediately throw it in a deck. Though not a bad thing or an information giveaway in itself, problems can arise when a player uses a golden and non-golden version of the same card in a deck. If two copies of the same card don’t match, there could be opportunities for an opponent to learn there are two copies as opposed to one before that information would otherwise be available. This could happen with Thoughtsteal, where a golden card is stolen and the opponent later plays a non-golden copy of the same card. In other situations, a golden minion may be returned to its owner’s hand, and that player then has to be careful not to play the non-golden copy first. These may seem like small bits of information, but any time a player can get a free glimpse into his or her opponent’s hand, the game could be changed.


 

Where Hearthstone Differs

 

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    While Hearthstone is still a card game, certain aspects of it being digital affect gameplay in a big way. One of the most obvious is the ways in which a player can move his or her cards. In real life, players are generally allowed a lot of interaction with their cards, being free to move them around or shuffle their hand as long as it doesn’t affect the game state. In Hearthstone, you can basically only move a card when it is being played. This allows a player to lock onto a certain card in his or her opponent’s hand and track it throughout the game without them ever having the option to shuffle it around to “hide” it. This can translate into usable information when a player notices a certain card has been sitting in his or her opponent’s hand for a while, meaning it could be something situational like a Big Game Hunter.

 

    Another way Hearthstone differs from other trading card games is that it often gives information to you itself. Notable examples of this are with cards like Webspinner, Nefarian, and Thoughtsteal, where the cards acquired will say, “Created by X” when they are played. This isn’t always relevant, as there are situations where it will be fairly obvious what the stolen cards are; however, there are times when this free information does matter quite a bit. In the Control Warrior mirror match, a Nefarian is going to generate two random Warrior spells for its controller, but what happens when it generates a copy of a card the player already runs, such as Execute? The opponent is already likely going to be playing around two copies of Execute, but if he or she sees “Created by Nefarian,” when an Execute comes down to kill a minion, he or she should realize that there are now three Executes to play around. With this in mind, it is usually much better to play the copy of the card NOT created by Nefarian (or a similar card) if the option is available to play the one already in your hand. This does not allow the opponent to know they should play around extra copies until it is too late, and it also keeps them guessing as to which cards have been generated, a very important advantage since it is never possible to play around every possible outcome. If you happen to be unlucky the next time your Webspinner dies on turn two and you get a Captain’s Parrot, consider holding it instead of running it out as soon as possible. It will definitely keep your opponent guessing until it finds a use, such as a guaranteed enabler for Kill Command or Houndmaster.


Tournament Implications

 

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    In addition to everything mentioned thus far, there are additional factors in tournaments when you have to play against the same opponent for multiple games on end. The most important, I’ve found, is learning which cards are in the opponent’s deck. In Conquest format, where a player has to win a game with each of his or her classes to win the match, the losing player has a disadvantage, as he or she will have to play additional games with a deck the opponent has already seen. Card choices that may have caught the opponent off guard in game one will be expected and played around should they not allow the deck to win its first game.

 

    The best thing to do to avoid giving excess information is to consider when playing a card is necessary. This can even be relevant in ladder games, where a player may have the option to finish off his or her opponent in a fancy way if it is possible to attack for lethal with minions already on board, doing that is preferable to revealing additional cards in your hand, as your opponent will know that much more about the options available to you should you get re-queued. In tournaments using Conquest format, it mostly matters when you happen to be on the losing side. Simply hitting concede is often the smart play when compared to throwing out every card in your hand to show your opponent how dead they were. There is no reason to effectively hand your opponent a good portion of your deck list.


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