Midgame Moves: Am I Dead?
Midgame Week marches on! Every turn in a game of Hearthstone is a complex series of questions, and the question today is a doozy: After you’ve determined that you don’t have lethal, it’s time to ask whether you can survive your opponent’s next turn.
To figure out whether your opponent is about to end the game is tricky. You have to evaluate the current board state, your opponent’s hand, what (if anything) you can do to prevent them from winning, and how that will impact your own game plan. For such a challenge, we asked the inimitable Edwin “HotMEOWTH” Cook—winner of the 2016 Americas Summer Championship—for help.
Evaluating these variables is difficult, but sometimes your opponent will give you information. “It’s important to know when your opponent is showing signs of aggression or making riskier plays that might be setting up lethal,” HotMEOWTH says. “In a scenario where you are suspicious of your opponent setting up lethal the following turn, it’s important to track the cards they have left in their hand, cards left in their deck, and how much mana they will have available to figure out how much damage they can possibly do.”
“One trick to find out if your opponent can kill you next turn is to track their hand and see if there are cards they have held for more than a few turns,” HotMEOWTH says. “If so, they might be holding onto dangerous burn spells or combo pieces.” (Hand-tracking is a skill unto itself, and the focus of tomorrow’s Midgame Week entry—so check back for that!)
Mana considerations are hugely important as well. “Oftentimes, your opponent could have more than enough damage to win the game, but not enough mana to utilize all of those cards. Keep in mind whether you have to make the safest play—even if your opponent has held a few cards for a long time,” HotMEOWTH says. That’s especially great advice for facing off against aggressive decks.
“If your opponent isn’t holding any specific cards, it’s still important to keep track of what’s left in their deck,” HotMEOWTH says. “What are the odds of them drawing a card that would allow them to win? Ask yourself whether you can afford to play safe and prevent it or not.” (We’ll also talk more about the strategy of playing to your outs later in Midgame Week.)
Finally, your own Health is a crucial consideration. “When you’re facing opponents that are playing decks that can burst you down from a high Health total, it’s important to count the maximum damage they can do with their combos,” HotMEOWTH says. “For example, Druids can unleash large chunks of damage using Savage Roar with just a few minions on the board." If facing off against such a deck, he suggests playing minions with Taunt and making trades accordingly.
Two pivotal items on the midgame checklist successfully navigated! But if you don’t have lethal, and neither does your opponent, what’s the play? Join us again tomorrow to discuss keeping track of what’s in your opponent’s hand to inform your decisions. There’s more in store as Midgame Week continues!