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I Haven’t Been Blogging Because I’ve Been Playing Hearthstone

March 25, 2014

hearthCollectible card games are the devil. Seriously. Evil shit. I usually do my best to avoid playing the things. They tap into some deep-rooted facet of my reptilian brain that is best left in its deep, dark, hellish hole. But every now and then one manages to worm its way into my mind, almost every other silly pop culture thing gets shunted off to the side, and my world becomes some silly obsessive compulsive children’s card game.

That’s what happened when I caved in and tried out Hearthstone, that online card game made by the peeps who do World of Warcraft. I fucking hate it. I play it every night when I get home from work. I hate myself. I can’t stop. Help me.

The game’s almost disgustingly simple. You have a deck of 30 cards. You can have up to 2 copies of any given card in your deck, unless it’s one of those ridiculous game-breaking Legendary cards. You can only have one copy of any given Legendary card in your deck. You have minion cards that attack and might have a special power. You have spell cards that are one time use cards that do stuff. You have a couple of other types of cards that do other stuff, but for the most part it’s a simplified version of Magic: throw around monsters and cast spells until one dude runs out of Health.

It’s gimmick is in its deck building. You pick one of the nine classes from World of Warcraft. That gives you access to a small specialized pool of cards tailored for said class. You use those cards and the cards from the neutral pool to put together your 30 card deck. The class you choose also gives you a special power you can use each turn, which is usually some variation of healing, dealing damage, summoning a minor minion, or drawing cards. So if you play a Priest like I do, you have a special power that lets you heal 2 health, and most of your class-specific cards deal with manipulating health and stealing cards from the other player. If you pick a Mage, your power lets you deal 1 damage, and most of their cards deal spell damage and freeze minions so they can’t attack for a turn.

So yeah, the class you pick is kinda like the colors in Magic, but they don’t completely define your deck. You’ll have several cards that are specific to your class, but you’ll likely fill in holes with cards that any deck can use. If you wanna play a Murloc deck, you can play that out of any class, since all of the Murloc cards are neutral. Of course, some classes do it better. Shamans and Warlocks seem to do it best.

That’s part of the problem with the game. That pool of neutral cards has a bunch of these Legendary cards that anyone can use. You get said Legendary cards through booster packs. Buy a pack, get 5 cards. At least one of those cards will be a Rare card. There’s also Epic cards that are harder to get than Rare cards, and then there are Legendary cards, which are harder to get than Epic cards. That’s just how these games function, and that in and of itself doesn’t really bother me. You can use in-game currency that you earn through winning games and completing daily quests, so you never have to spend real money. I’ve yet to spend a cent on the game and have a decent selection of cards.

Save for Legendary cards. I’ve acquired a couple, but nothing that fits my play style. The thing is, quite a few of these cards are totally utilitarian. Yeah, each class has its own special Legendary card, and there are a few specialized ones, but most of them can easily be tossed into any deck and be equally effective. A dude that deals 8 damage at the end of each turn? Yeah, anyone would want that? A dude that returns to the field when killed? Everyone wants it. A dude that gives you a 50% chance to draw an extra card at the end of your turn? Hell yes. And your deck gets even better when you have two these cards in your deck. Or three. Or four. Or five. Or, yeah, you can see where that’s going.

Despite the appearance of differing play styles between the classes, so many of the cards in each deck are the same. Everyone who can packs several super-duper ultra dragons and all that shit.

And that’s exactly why I keep playing.

When it comes to these card games, my compulsion is to deliberately act against the prevailing metagame bullshit. If everyone is trying to play the game in a particular manner, my gut reaction is to try to build a deck that bucks said trend. When I played Legend of the Five Rings back in the day, I played the Crane clan. Their main strategy at the time was heavy on control and keep-away tactics. You sat at home playing cards that kept dudes from ever attacking you. It was all passive aggressive and shit. So I played a very aggressive “I cut you down” deck that dueled dudes and killed dudes while attacking.

Now that I’ve been playing Hearthstone, I’ve been stubbornly playing a Priest deck that avoids a lot of the stuff all of the popular decks use. I lose as much as I win, and my rankings aren’t all that, but that’s how I have fun in these games. I play the sort of deck want to play until I get frustrated or find something else to obsess over.

Yeah man, avoid this shit. Hearthstone sucks. I’ll play it in your stead. Over and over and over again.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    April 10, 2014 9:41 AM

    You’re the last person I would ever expect to pick up hearthstone.

    That said, can I add you on battle net so we can duel and shit?

    • Landon permalink
      April 11, 2014 2:56 PM

      Landon #1588 is my battlenet thing

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