There are many tier lists and sites that help you choose which card or hero you should pick in Arena. Many also keep statistics for you.
My aim in this article is to try to help you get the maximum out of those sites
“Which Hero should I choose?”
This is probably the most asked question about Arena and is something I’ll be revisiting from a different angle in the future.
If you ask ten top players for their ordered list of heroes, you’ll get ten different answers. I know of top players who genuinely rate Mage fourth for instance. Many of you will disagree with that.
Something that newer players don’t factor in enough is their own skill level with each hero.
Arena can be thought of as nine separate games. Each hero has its own nuances, and different people have different skill sets.
The recurring theme of this article is to never forget that you are an individual. Tier lists can be a very good guide, but don’t lose sight of that word “guide”. You can’t ever be better than the person who teaches you something if all you do is copy them.
When picking your hero, try not to get too bogged down in statistics. It is likely that many of you have read that Mage has the highest win rate in Arena. That is almost certainly true as an average of every player ever.
This does not mean that Mage is the best class for you. Many, maybe even most, top players rate Paladin higher. So the stats are saying one thing and the players (who may have written the list you are using) say another. What causes this disparity, and what can you do about it?
The power level of a hero depends on too many things to sum up in a single list. The hero power and the strength and synergies of the class commons are reasonably obvious things to worry about but after that it becomes tricky.
Not only are cards of varying strengths individually, but the deck as a whole will require playing correctly. The averages you read about don’t sum up your own personal abilities, and the tier lists you read are ordered as played by the writers. You’re going to have to take these things on board but ultimately pick what YOU feel comfortable with.
Playing an average deck well in Arena will yield better results than playing a good deck badly.
You only have to watch the top streamers who pick random decks and still win several games to confirm this. If you’re playing the hero you’re most familiar with, you’re more likely to play it well. This is very important.
If you’re thinking long term then look to learn to play the heroes that tier lists suggest but if you want the best hero for this run, right now, pick the one you are most familiar with.
A note on Warrior: Warrior is almost universally accepted as the worst hero at the time of writing. I don’t know who to credit with saying it first, but the meme is basically correct. “Warrior doesn’t have a hero power”.
In Arena, board control is almost always very important. Armor Up does nothing to help this.
If Warrior is one of your better classes then you are genuinely putting yourself at a big disadvantage. This doesn’t apply significantly to the other classes if you’re good with them.
“Which card should I choose?”
Some Arena pick sites are now very advanced and will inform you of deck synergies and adjust their tier list for you as you go. If you’re averaging below 50% win rate, or find you’re very unsure of your picks, these places are a great place to help advise you on your deck building. If you’re a more solid player, they are still good for a check up from time to time and can alert you to cards that you routinely ignore or overrate without realising it.
Before you input the cards to the site, stop and have a think about which card you want to take. If the site recommends something significantly different, don’t just automatically pick that card but take a moment to try to work out why that card is better than the one you wanted to take. If you cannot see why, don’t assume the site is wrong. Use Google or ask a friend about the cards in question. Sites and tier lists do throw out some odd results occasionally, but if you don’t research the reasons then how will you learn which are odd results and which are gaps in your understanding?
However, as with the hero discussion above, just because it is recommended that one card is better than another, do not expect to instantly play that card well if it is not one you had completely understood. The chances are that you are missing some interactions, or playing the card inefficiently.
To maximize short term returns you should pick the card you felt was best, as long as your choice is reasonably close to the recommended pick – although you can get away with playing the more highly rated cards if you’ve established that your choice was the weaker card and if there’s a big difference.
To maximize longer term returns however, you should try new cards whenever your research above shows that you’ve misunderstood how powerful a card can be. The best way to learn new interactions is to try them out.
Which route you should take will depend on your personal levels of gold, patience and time. I cannot make that choice for you.
A note on learning in general
After the initial learning phase, you will hit a wall where your skill level maxes out and you don’t make further progress.
When you try to get better, you will be doing more advanced things that you are not used to and naturally they take some time to get the hang of.
This means that when you pick up a new concept you will almost certainly go backwards rather than forwards at first while you try to find the right and wrong situations to use that concept.
This is a natural part of the learning process and you should accept that it is going to happen before you start adding things into your game or you will most likely become incredibly frustrated. Focus on trying out the new things you are learning and not your win rate, and you’ll soon get back to where you were and wonder why that level was ever difficult.
Neil “L0rinda” Bond