Hey everyone, itzBolt here with another article about the tournament setting. Instead of talking about deck preparation and specific game play, we’ll be busting out the good ol’ pen and paper.
Taking good notes in school usually translates to higher grades. In the case of Hearthstone, good notes will lead to better chances of winning by allowing you to gain more information than you think you have access to. If you’ve watched a lot of tournament streams, you’ll usually find pro players with a huge stack of papers and this is why.
You must be wondering why we’re using such primitive methods to track the opponent’s cards. The answer here is that the technology just isn’t here to this for us yet (hah, just kidding!). While you may be able to use programs that track your opponent’s cards for you in the comfort of your own home while you ladder, it’s typically a grey area for tournaments. Online tournaments may allow players to use these trackers, which technically aren’t against any rules. At offline events these trackers are not used; this benefits the players who do the tracking manually, as they are more used to doing it themselves, rather than letting a program do it for them. The information you get from card tracking is really important and helps you make calculated risks.
What are we tracking?
It varies slightly from person to person, but I make an effort to keep track of all the cards played. It’s important in the Swiss format because you might make it out of the group stages and play the same person again, but, the second time around, you actually have most of their deck already figured out. It’s still quite relevant in other formats because of the nature of Conquest, where you have to win with all three of decks.
Other players that I’ve talked to only write down key removal, such as executes from a control warrior or notable cards in the opponent’s deck like a second BGH. This is the very minimum you should be doing. I usually have enough time to plan out my turn and execute it. This way, I typically have the time to write out most of my opponent’s cards, so I prefer to go the extra mile and write everything. Some people might find this creates too much clutter and they want to keep it simple; it’s really up to the person.
The next thing may be a struggle for some players, but keeping track of their hand is something you should do. I know a lot of us, when we play at home, will have another tab running, such as Reddit, a popular stream, or a YouTube video. We typically don’t focus on the other person’s hand, especially if they play slow and rope almost every turn. At an offline event you usually don’t have the chance to do that so you are more likely to be putting all your focus on your matches.
- # - the turn the card was drawn (0 = obtained from mulligan, T = turns 10+)
- K - cards kept
- C - coin
- -> - cards that produce other cards (Scientists, Thoughsteals, Webspinners etc.)
- Strikethrough - used card
What’s the point?
What are the benefits of doing all this work? Is it really that helpful?
Writing down key cards and removals allows you to remember and figure out how many threats or removal they have left in the game you are playing. You can also try to figure out the remaining cards in their deck if you have a general knowledge of what they’re playing. After the game, depending on whether you won or not, you will have most of the list figured out for when you play against the deck again.
Tracking cards in your opponent’s hand may gives you tips on what they have. For example, if you know a Druid has been holding on card for a very long time, it typically can be assumed that it is a combo piece (Force of Nature or Savage Roar). Another example would be a Hunter who has excess mana but will not play their cards; this could indicate an Owl or some sort of burst (Kill Command). Taking calculated risks based on the information given to you in this way may allow you to win using a different playstyle, such as being more aggressive.
Emperor Thaurissan has made keeping track of cards pretty difficult, because you also have to track mana reductions on a a lot of cards. I typically will write how many cards got a mana reduction and keep track of it every turn, whenever one of them is played I will note what the card was.
“8 Cards -1 mana”
“6 Cards -1 mana”
I hope this article gives you some confidence with taking notes in the tournament setting. These tips can obviously be applied to the ladder as well. However, while most people do not have the patience to do this on ladder, it can drastically help you plan out your games better and increase your winrate.
Alright class, time is up! I’ll see you next week!