Table of Contents
What this is and how it works
Time to make your picks
What our Arena Writers came up with
Introduction by Hayl_Storm, decks and comments by Elanshin and Merano.
The First Mock Arena Thread
Hello everyone and welcome to the first Mock Arena article. Although Arena is an important element of Hearthstone, it is quite hard to write about. Unlike in Constructed, we can't just offer a decklist to copy so we are going to go through a draft and explain the picks along the way. In order to do this, we gave the same series of choices to two of our Arena writers -- Elanshin and Merano -- to see what they would come up with. Despite their reluctance to brag, both of these guys have solid Arena win rates and have written Arena content such as the The Beauty of Tempo Decks article and Arena Alchemy. As they are quite knowledgeable, when the rest of us have Arena troubles we turn to them to help us. In the final section, we have also recruited a secret guest who will provide us with his valuable insight.
We also have screenshots of each set of picks and a Google doc set up to record your choices. Once your deck is made, you can find it on the spreadsheet and easily copy-paste it into the thread and view everyone else's choices as well. Once in the spreadsheet, you can view the charts off this link or find them under "Form" into "Show summary of responses".
So without further ado, let's see preliminary comments from our writers and draft a deck!
Elanshin:"The key to victory for any warrior deck lies in the amount of weapons you draft. With that being said, there is a limit - roughly 5 weapons - where afterwards you stop and lower the value of the weapon picks."
Merano:"When drafting Warrior I usually aim for Tempo decks with a lot of weapons. Fiery War Axe is one of the best Tempo card available. The Charge creatures help to get through the last points of damage after the opponent stabilized the board."
- Click #1 to begin
- Pick Number Thirty
- Pick Number Twenty-Nine
- Pick Number Twenty-Eight
- Pick Number Twenty-Seven
- Pick Number Twenty-Six
- Pick Number Twenty-Five
- Pick Number Twenty-Four
- Pick Number Twenty-Three
- Pick Number Twenty-Two
- Pick Number Twenty-One
- Pick Number Twenty
- Pick Number Nineteen
- Pick Number Eighteen
- Pick Number Seventeen
- Pick Number Sixteen
- Pick Number Fifteen
- Pick Number Fourteen
- Pick Number Thirteen
- Pick Number Twelve
- Pick Number Eleven
- Pick Number Ten
- Pick Number Nine
- Pick Number Eight
- Pick Number Seven
- Pick Number Six
- Pick Number Five
- Pick Number Four
- Pick Number Three
- Pick Number Two
- Pick Number One
Throughout their drafts, Elanshin and Merano differed on a number of picks and we asked our writers to talk through these decisions. We have their comments as well as decklists but have spoilered them to avoid giving away any hints during your own drafting.
+ Show Spoiler [Elanshin's Picks] +
Elven Archer vs Inner Rage vs Stormwind Knight
Stormwind Knight, an average card, is holding up a four mana slot which contains great cards. Early on, I tend to avoid mediocre 4 drops given other options. Furthermore, the first pick was a Twilight Drake so it made more sense to choose between the other two. When we consider Elven Archer vs Inner Rage, I personally find Inner Rage to be more useful and flexible. The ability to do 1 damage to remove a minion is the same, but Inner Rage has the flexibility to allow your minion to trade up in a pinch. It trades card advantage for tempo, a sacrifice I am willing to make early on in the draft.
Shield Block vs Abusive Sergeant vs Oasis Snapjaw
As I explained about the previous choice, the draft is still early and I would like to find better four mana cards. Personally, I have a dislike for one mana minions in general and while it is true that Abusive Sergeant is actually one of the few one mana minions I would consider, I personally would prefer the card draw - since I don't have any yet - and armor.
Sea Giant vs Shield Slam vs Big Game Hunter
The choice here is actually quite simple. We are late into the draft and there is a distinct lack of a big late minion. Sea Giant is already a top tier neutral epic and despite picking Shield Block earlier, picking another removal can only help if I had the late game power to back said removal up.
Ancient Mage vs Pint-Sized Summoner vs Mortal Strike
As this is the last pick, the mana curve is of great importance and there are fewer two mana minions picked than I would normally have liked. Pint Sized Summoner fails the vanilla 2/3 or 3/2 test, but brings a scary ability with it. It can often bait out a quick removal from your opponent or force them to trade their 3/2 minion into your Pint-Sized Summoner, both of which are acceptable results. Mortal Strike is quite underwhelming as a spell. It does mediocre damage normally and is a Fireball when conditions are met. As a result, I personally do not like Mortal Strike unless I have drafted a beat down deck and need the direct damage to go for the kill.
The deck overall has fewer weapons than those that I would consider top Warrior drafts. It does, however, have a decent mana curve and quite a decent number of strong minions, allowing you to hopefully gain good board control. I can see this deck achieving 7 wins for a complete refund although anything beyond 7 would require good hands and strong play.
+ Show Spoiler [Merano's Picks] +
Stormwind Knight, Elven Archer, Inner Rage
I have two 3-drops and a 4-drop but nothing outstanding so far. Don’t want a Stormwind Knight this early, as there might still be better 4-drops later in the draft. So the decision was between Elven Archer and Inner Rage; for either card you want probably only 1 for the deck. Inner Rage is great with Raging Worgen and sometimes is a removal, but it's hard to guess if a Worgen will show up later. Elven Archer is about the same quality as removal for 1 more mana, but it is also a small body on the battlefield. Since I thought it is slightly more likely to get a Common Cult Master or a Shattered Sun Cleric than a Rare Auctioneer for the deck, I went for the creature. Close decision -- though I would have taken a Cruel Taskmaster over the Elven Archer.
Shield Block or Abusive Sergeant
7th pick and still no spells or weapons available. Shield Block is more for Control than for Tempo decks. The picks so far do not invite me to deviate from the Tempo strategy, so Abusive Sergeant is my pick. It has okay synergy with the Scarlet Crusader or the Razorfen Hunter already in the deck.
Sea Giant, Big Game Hunter or Shield Slam
Sea Giant is an amazing creature for the deck. Besides playing solid minions that can build board presence, 3 of the cards we already picked give 2 minions for 1 card. Even though we lack removal this late in the draft, Big Game Hunter's Battlecry is too situational and a vanilla 4/2 does not make the cut. Shield Slam is okay removal, but there is no way for my deck to get a decent amount of armor. I also already passed on the Shield Blocks I was offered, so the big creature is definitely my choice here.
Pint-Sized Summoner or Mortal Strike
Both these cards are lacking a little bit of stats for their cost, as you want more than a 2/2 for two mana and more than four damage for four mana.
The deck has a good curve but no good spells so far. Astonishingly, there are nine 3-drops but only four 4-drops in the deck, which makes the Pint-Sized Summoner weaker. If I go first, there is probably no need/possibility to accelerate from 2-drop to 4-drop on turn three. In the late game, the spell is a much better card to draw and can help tremendously with that final bit of burst damage. Therefore, Mortal Strike was my choice here.
Mortal Strike Anecdote:
A Warrior opponent brought me down to 6 Health till I could take control of the board. Suddenly he refused to play any of his 4 cards in his hand and plenty of mana available. Getting suspicious, I attacked him down to exactly 13 Health, although I could have done more damage than that. On his next turn he conceded.
Overall, the draft ran really short on weapons and card quality in general. I am quite glad about the little bit of synergy and Tempo I could squeeze out of this mediocre card pool. At least I have some Charge creatures and direct damage as a potential finisher; there are decent early creatures to abuse the Cult Master as well. Were this to be a real deck, I would to get a quick 7-3 than forget about it and start another draft immediately.
+ Show Spoiler [Trump's Picks] +
Surprise! We got Mayor Trump to draft a deck for us. He's been busy running around the world for tournaments but we still have some interesting picks to break down. On the whole, Trump's deck looks fairly close to those of our writers but he hedges more towards the control end of the spectrum as a couple of his picks reflect:
Slam vs Arcanite Reaper vs Shattered Sun Cleric
This pick initially seems confusing. On the one hand, Arcanite Reaper seems to fit well into a control strategy as it will often trade 2-for-1; conversely, by turn five life totals may begin to matter more. The answer appears, however, to lie in the curve. By the time this pick came up, Trump's curve was low enough to be able to benefit fully from the Clerics buff and maintain board control going later.
Shield Block vs Inner Rage vs Lord of the Arena
This is a later pick which occurred when Trump was more committed to sitting back and grinding value. While Inner Rage provides more explosive potential, Shield Block will provide more consistency.
Southsea Deckhand vs. Wolfrider vs. Execute
This was a middle pick and can probably go either way. Both cards are removal spells, what this pick comes down to is power-level. You always know what you are going to get with Wolfrider but Execute allows you to deal with bigger threats.
Venture Co. Mercenary vs. Gnomish Inventor vs. Execute
This pick was based on Trump being more control oriented where Elanshin and Merano were more tempo based. Venture Co certainly gives more bang for your buck and is a big tempo play. Gnomish Inventor, on the other hand, is lower impact on your deck and just helps slow the board and keep your hand/game plan moving forward.
Big Game Hunter vs. Shield Slam vs. Sea Giant
Shield Slam over Sea Giant: Shield Slam is an efficient removal spell and will keep you from getting over run. Sea Giant may come down and be under-costed -- much like Venture Co -- but when your plan is to go late he gets more and more marginal. Trump's plan was to win in the late game with superior card advantage and Shield Slam is more inline with that goal.
So there it is, the first Mock Arena in the books. We look forward to seeing which decks you came up with and hearing your thoughts on how some of the picks broke down. Finally, since this is the first of these articles we're looking for feedback.