With how powerful many of the cards in Hearthstone can be, it can be very easy to lose a game to no fault of your own. Additionally, it can be very easy to jump off of a deck and find a new flavor of the week. When everyone and their mother is high on Midrange Shaman, and you can’t seem to beat it, it can be easy to go with the untested brew. But then maybe you don’t look hard enough to find Secret Hunter, for example.

Metagame shifts are so incredibly hard to predict because it’s a skill that many players either don’t have or don’t put the time into learning. This can be for a number of reasons; Not having the funds to just switch decks on the fly, not caring enough, caring too much about the deck they’re playing now, or even sugar-coating their own performance or ability. There are multiple ways to tackle this; having a range of decks to choose from that you’re adept with, continue grinding it out and adjust cards accordingly, and changing the way certain match-ups are played, to name a few.

When put into the context of climbing the ladder, it’s important to look at the different aspects of what makes a deck worth climbing with, as opposed to a deck you would bring to a tournament.

If your goal is to get to Legend then one of the most common characteristics of deck selection is to choose a fast deck, or, at least, a deck that isn’t designed to drag a game out as long as possible. I love me some Control Warrior, but unless the deck has a much higher win rate against the other top decks in the format than it does now, then I can’t seriously consider it if time is a factor. As a matter of fact, it’s likely much more beneficial for you to pick a deck that’s considerably worse than the best deck if the best deck is a much slower deck, mostly because you get many, many more games per hour in than the other. Now, as of this writing, this isn’t a major concern, as many of the top decks have a reasonable pace, but this definitely doesn’t always happen.

Another important aspect is to choose a deck that has a great curve. Zoo is well known for having ridiculously busted starts, even though it isn’t the best deck out there. Secret/Midrange Hunter is also a tough deck to make a comeback from because of how much pressure its Hero Power can put on an opponent. Many Druid decks can ramp into some powerful threat, or an absurd [Fandral Staghelm] chain. You want to look for decks that have multiple instances of, “Man, it’s really hard to beat me when this happens.” With that said, it’s also important to not fall into the trap of picking a deck that only really has a chance when its best-case scenario is happening. Beast Druid is one of those decks that falls into this trap, as are a lot of [Malygos] decks that don’t have a decent plan B.

Lastly, you want to choose a deck that is established. Yes, it’s very easy to want to brew up that Yogg-Malygos-[Lock and Load] Hunter deck, but the goal here is to climb, not to brew. It’s totally fine to tech against certain decks and match-ups, but make those decisions, as well as any other decisions when it comes to seriously making an effort to hit Legend, sparingly, and only when you’re well informed on your deck, the field, and even what rank you are on the Ladder. The higher up the Ladder you go, the tighter the metagame gets, so while you’ll occasionally lose to the infrequent brew, that doesn’t mean making drastic changes is the solution. Grind it out, know your deck or deck(s) inside and out, and make sure your decisions are as informed as possible.

This is a very broad layout for when you start making your climb up to the higher ranks. Concision and no-compromise power are the primary characteristics for the strong ladder deck. Metagaming isn’t as important as the aforementioned qualities because there’s such a wide variety of decks you can play over the course of a climb. But, don’t be afraid of making minor changes for when something isn’t performing the way it’s supposed to. Most importantly, keep at it. The ladder is a long, long climb, and you aren’t going to get there in one sitting. Be persistent!

Anthony has been competing in games for the better part of his adult life and is dedicated to improving his game, improving his community, improving himself as a person, and most importantly having fun and enjoying himself while doing so. You can check out his stream to find out which video game is the latest to catch his attention.

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