Merry Christmas everyone! Hope that you’ve had a great holiday season and a happy New Year, and that you’ve getting some restful (or gaming, or both!) time in.

In a recent Hearthstone Half Hour video, we discussed some basic principles of deck building with regards to copying another player’s deck list and trying to learn it through playing it. We promised a longer follow up article, so here it is!

A Common Scene – You’ve played a hero a lot, you’ve got it to 20, perhaps got all the basic cards and some advanced/expert cards, and now you want to take your deck to the next level! You’ve got a deck list you want to try make – what next?

If you’re a new card game or Hearthstone player, you’ll inevitably see some “winning” / cool decklist ideas that you want to try at some point – and that’s perfectly ok! People do this quite frequently in card games when they are learning – once you’ve got more advanced knowledge, you then can (and to a a degree, should, if you want to be competitive) test your own deck ideas and card combinations.

What any player using a decklist has to be careful of is not copying blindly, or copying a deck without understanding at least some of how it works. Understanding is as key as the cards you have!

Below are our top 5 tips on how to go about copying a decklist, and learning how to play the deck list you’ve found online and decide you want to try out!

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TOP TIPS ON HOW TO COPY AND TRY USING A DECK LIST AS SAFELY AS POSSIBLE:

Remember – a deck list is a list of cards, nothing more. Some decks may be very strong in the right hands – that can make them slightly dangerous to new players or gung ho ones!

If you’re copying a deck list from a forum, popular website or in any fashion – understanding is as key as having the “right cards” 😉

1) Understand the basics of the Hero you wish to get a deck list for:

Know your class basics. Play the hero in practice mode against the simple or expert Hearthstone AI, play unranked games as the hero against other players…stick the time in a bit to get to know your basic deck’s core, strengths and challenges – particularly in match-ups! You need to know your class 🙂

2) Get your chosen hero to level 20 if you haven’t already:

This gives you all basic cards for your deck! Very important – the vast majority of deck lists you’ll find contain expert cards, crafted from dust or boosters. The basics are often the core mechanical cards that show you how a deck works in a simple fashion. You need to know that “solid spine” first – the basic cards and principles the deck works with, and the special tools/toys in Class Specific Cards that the hero and deck has.

We’ve said that you can just about get away with playing a bit of fun arena without level 20’ing a class – really, for making or copying a deck list, you have to have 20’d a class or have all basic cards. The reason why will become apparent further down our list…

3) Examine the Deck List to understand the DECK’S THEME and CORE GOALS:

You’ve played a hero a lot, you’ve got it to 20, perhaps got all the basic cards and some advanced/expert cards, and now you want to take your deck to the next level! You’ve got a deck list you want to try make – what next?

All decks (outside of the hero’s particular skills) have a goal or some kind of theme in mind – for example, “play lots of minions early game”, “nuke the hero down with spell abilities”, “keep my opponent from having any minions on the table” or similar.

When copying a deck list, take a look at the deck to understand what the deck’s simple theme (or perhaps two main themes/goals) are – this will really help you hit the ground running, as you can then examine it in some more depth.

That theme may be simple – so don’t over-complicate your analysis. Simply, take a look at the cards, and try to work out how you’d try play with the deck. Once you get practicising, this gives you an initial set of goals, and idea of what you’ll be doing with which card.

Here are some examples.

*”swarm with low cost minions early in the game”

*”stall my opponent until I can Pyro for 10+ damage twice and end the game”

*”stop my opponent putting any minions down”

*”get lots of big minions late game”

*”MURLOCS!?” or “PIRATES??!” (think Pirates of the Carribean quotes here).

4) If you want to copy the list, copy it as Completely as Possible!:

**Very** important.

Simply put, card games like Hearthstone are a numbers game as much as anything else. In a 30 card deck, every card should have a purpose – every number of a card is either a chance for it to be drawn, not drawn, or something else to be drawn in its place.

This is why understanding the deck to some degree is important before copying or trying to use it.

If you don’t copy 100% of cards in a deck list and start to remove random cards, chances are you’ll miss either the central theme/workings of the deck, or some key elements of it if you don’t understand it properly. Every card you remove or switch in a well built 30 card deck could do something to the balance of how you play.

So – if possible – copy a deck list as completely as possible, and understand it before making alterations!

5) Hit up Practice Mode, and don’t be afraid to lose!

Play against the AI, play against other players in unranked, or just *play* with the deck…play as much as you can.

Playing games (against the computer or humans, but especially against humans) will really help you get under the skin of the deck – what it does, what techniques, combinations and synergy it has and similar.

Practice does make perfect, gets you to know your new deck list, and most importantly – once you’re familiar with it, you can then start tweaking to make it your own, or make it something else entirely…

Good luck! 🙂

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