Hearthstone Season 43 Overview
Hearthstone Season 43 is done! And, given how busy I was this month, I could not be more relieved.
Much of the season was spent working on the Hearthstone Top Decks F2P BTW Challenge, which I thoroughly enjoyed but consumed a great deal of my time. During the challenge, I worked to not only ascend the Standard Ladder on a brand new account but create informative guides targeted at new, free-to-play accounts.
As a result of my time spent on the challenge, both Wild and Arena were a lower priority than usual. In Wild, however, this did not prevent me from achieving a fairly high rank by the end of the season. Despite a somewhat slow and frustrating Legend push, I was able to skyrocket out of the dumpster ranks and into the Top 20 on the back of Aggro Token Druid. At present, Egg variants of this deck seem especially potent.
Arena, especially, was sent to the back burner this month. This was a bit unfortunate as I would have liked to put more time into the dual-class arena even towards the end of the month. I did, however, get a handful of runs in during the event and maintained a reasonable average reward for October, despite accumulating fewer wins than usual.
Hearthstone Season 43 Standard Ladder Stats
My time on the Standard Ladder this season was entirely spent on an alt account for the aforementioned F2P BTW Challenge. Because of such limited resources, only two (suboptimal) decks were assembled. Despite this, I was able to maintain a reasonable win rate with but Hunter and Druid.
After three weeks of playing exclusively Hybrid Hunter, my patience with the class began to diminish. The abundance of Rogues on the ladder only exacerbated this issue. As a result, I needed a non-Hunter deck to pilot, even though I was still accumulating wins with Rexxar.
Aggro Druid came to the rescue in the last week of the season and, with a few budget considerations, was able to take me to the peak of the pre-Legend ladder. Unfortunately, I failed multiple times to cross the threshold and did not earn the coveted title of Legend on the alt account.
Season 43 Standard Win Rates
- Season 43 Standard Win Rate: 54%
- Standard Legend Win Rate: —%
- Highest Standard Rank Achieved: Rank 1 (sigh…)
- End of Season Standard Rank Achieved: Rank 3
- Best Standard Deck: Hybrid Hunter
Season 43 Standard Class Breakdown
- Most Played Class: Hunter
- Class Faced Most: Rogue
- Class Faced Least: Warrior
After seeing frequent posts about the rising cost of Hearthstone, it seemed it was an appropriate time to take a close look at the free-to-play Experience in Hearthstone. While I haven’t spent a dime of my own money on the game in years, and remain reasonably competitive, I have the benefit of having played since closed beta. As a result, my F2P experience on my main account is far from typical.
With this in mind, I wanted to get a better understanding of the new player experience in Hearthstone (and, in turn, write better content for new players). To do so, I created a fresh account at the beginning of October 2017 to see how far I could go without dripping any cash.
The result was the Hearthstone Top Decks F2P BTW Challenge. During the month I provided Weekly recaps documenting my experiences and compiled How-to Guides for new players looking to maximize their in-game resources.
- First and foremost, no money, gift cards, or game keys were used to purchase packs or arena runs. Cards were only accumulated through in-game rewards.
- Only Legendary Cards on the Safe to Disenchant list were dusted*. Moreover, any card that is played in any of the Top Standard Ladder Decks was not disenchanted. Asking a new player to part with powerful cards that could be used in the future is unreasonable, so I avoided doing so myself.
- Arena, which is typically leveraged by free-to-play accounts, was limited to the free run granted from leveling up and the ticket from the recent event. As an above-average player, I could have easily used Arena runs to earn additional packs this month. However, the learning curve for the format makes it intimidating for new players. Instead, I relied solely on quest rewards to earn packs on my new account.
- Time played was monitored to ensure that a fairly realistic game-life balance is considered. Like many, I have a life outside of Hearthstone (including a full-time job) so this wasn’t terribly difficult to replicate.
*I made 2 exceptions here (after I had met the initial goal of Rank 5) in Arfus and Baron Geddon. Both, in my opinion, are reasonable to dust. All other Legendaries were kept despite not fitting into either of my decks.
Originally the goal was to finish the season above Rank 5, but I managed to blow past that by the beginning of the Week 3. From there, I set my sights on Legend only to come up just short, peaking at Rank 1, 5 stars (yes, really) and failing to overcome the Final Boss four times. Thanks, in part, to the self-pity that followed my failure to cross the Legend threshold multiple times, I quickly spiraled back down the ladder, finishing at a disappoint Rank 3.
Now, obviously, my years of experience playing Hearthstone gives me a massive advantage over the typical new account, but the point wasn’t to showcase my Hearthstone prowess anyway. Instead, the purpose was to gain insight into the F2P Experience, especially for those just starting out, and, overall, I feel it was time well spent.
After wrapping up the challenge, I put together my thoughts together in an article taking a look at some of the difficulties F2P BTW accounts face, potential improvements that can be made for the reward structures, and tips for navigating the often stormy free-to-play seas.
In general, it’s certainly possible to be competitive without spending money, but limited resources result in limited options. In my challenge, for example, the monotony of playing the same deck game after game eventually wore on me. Changing decks midway through the month was frustrating due to a limited card pool.
While seasonal events are becoming more commonplace, more can be done to enable players to earn more rewards in game. The burden is especially heavy for new accounts trying to catch up, so introducing new means of accumulating cards would help ease the pain of constantly feeling behind.
Even if nothing gets changed (which is truly hope is not the case), players can still find ways to enjoy (competitively or otherwise) Hearthstone without spending money. In some cases, it does require making sacrifices or adjusting expectations, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Hearthstone Season 43 Wild Ladder Stats
With most of my focus on the Standard Ladder, I didn’t get nearly as many games in the Wild Format as usual. Still, after retiring my F2P BTW account, I was able to make a reasonable push at the end of the season.
Most of my Wild climb was done with Demo Zoo Warlock, but, after stalling out deep into my climb Aggro Token Druid was able to take me the rest of the way. On the final two days of the season, I piloted an Egg variant of the deck to high Legend with a 74% win rate through 31 games.
The most recent Vicious Syndicate meta report puts Aggro Druid, this month’s deck spotlight, as a Tier 1 deck and I’m included to agree.
Season 43 Wild Win Rates
- Season 43 Wild Win Rate: 58%
- Wild Legend Win Rate: 72%
- Highest Wild Rank Achieved: Rank 15 Legend
- End of Season Wild Rank Achieved: Rank 20 Legend
- Best Wild Deck: Aggro Token Druid
Season 43 Wild Class Breakdown
- Most Played Class: Warlock
- Class Faced Most: Priest
- Class Faced Least: Hunter
Hearthstone Season 43 Wild Deck Spotlight
Once again, Aggro Token Druid shines in the Wild Meta. Thanks to numerous minion buffs, the deck is capable of explosive turns and massive swings. This season, with many high-level players promoting the Demon Zoo Warlock that I, too, played for much of the season, Token Druid is in an especially good position.
In particular, Egg variants seem to be quite potent. The additional board resilience makes the Priest matchups feel a little less hopeless. Likewise, the extra token generation provides the tools in the mirror to maintain a favorable board position. In fact, during my Legend climb, I did not lose a single mirror match.
If you’re looking for a deck to climb the Wild ladder in Season 44, Aggro Token Druid should be at the top of your list.
- Season 43 Win Rate: 74%
- Legend Win Rate: 74%
- Highest Rank Achieved: Rank 15 Legend
Wild Aggro Token Druid Class Breakdown
- Class Faced Most: Warlock
- Class Faced Least: Shaman/Mage
- Best Match Up: Druid
- Worst Match Up: Priest
Hearthstone Season 43 Arena Stats
With so much time on the Standard and Wild Ladders, Arena once again to the backseat. Despite this, I was able to squeeze in 11 runs for the month of October. Many of these runs were during the Dual Class Arena event, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The combination of the absurd deck power-level possible from pulling from two class pools and the unique nature of the event made for a great experience. Some particularly absurd moments included a heavy ramp Druid/Mage hybrid with copies of Ultimate Infestation and Pyroblast as well as Preparation into Ultimate Infestation in Druid/Rogue.
Dual Class Arenas, in general, really rekindled my love of the game mode. In coming months, you may find me spending more time drafting and playing Arena decks.
Season 43 Arena Results
- Number of Runs: 11
- Average Wins: 5.5
- Win Rate: 73%
- Best Run: 11-3 (Druid/Warlock)
- Best Matchup: Druid (91%)
- Worst Matchup: Paladin (53%)
Season 43 Arena Class Breakdown
- Most Played Class: Rogue
- Class Faced Most: Priest
- Class Faced Least: Shaman
Season 43 Arena Average Rewards
- Gold: 122.27
- Dust: 11.82
- Packs: 1
- Cards: 0.36
- Golden Cards: 0.09
Hearthstone Season 44 Goals
Since I’ll be getting married in November, time spent playing Hearthstone will likely be quite limited. As such, I’ll probably cut the Standard Ladder from my goals. Instead, I’ll look to efficiently climb the Wild Ladder and generate some additional resources via Arena rewards.
With limited time, a Legend push may be out of the question. As a married man, I’ll settle for the far less time-intensive goal of #DadLegend. Given my string of reasonably high finishes, my ego may take a bit of a hit here, but I need to be realistic (as well as make sacrifices) in transitioning to my new lifestyle.
As a soon-to-be Hearthstone casual, Arena provides the perfect outlet for me to grind some games and earn a few rewards. In November, Arena will likely be at the forefront of my priorities having had such a great time during the recent event. For November 2017, I’d like to push my average wins above 6 for a minimum of 20 runs.