Friday, July 31, 2015

Hearthstone Video - Card Origins #14 \ Kel'Thuzad [Disguised Toast]

Aside from turning thousands of people into zombies, Kel'Thuzad is actually a pretty nice guy...

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Heroes of the Storm Guide - An in-depth guide on The 3 types of Warriors [by GetEquipped]

NOTE: This is not a tier list. This is an explanation of the strengths of warriors and how they best work in comps or to counter your opponents picks. While I think tier lists are useful, it's better to learn what works well and how to tell them apart. I may also be mentioning currently underpowered Heroes as examples. Keep in mind, a Hero can fall from oppressive and King to the bottom of the list in one patch (Sorry Stitches.)

That being said, you are now entering the World of the Warrior!

Now, I keep hearing a lot of talk about warriors being tanks, and some warriors not being good enough because they can't tank. And while I have also been guilty of trying to put them all under one label, I've come to accept that each has a role they fit on your team.

And this is where I came up with this analogy; Shield, spear, and mace.

A shield is focused on heavy defense, a mighty aegis for your team, the immovable stone wall. What they lack in offense or mobility, they make up with it in tenacity, resolve, and the ability to protect their team.

A Spear is all about engage potential. They thrust themselves into combat, at times accurately plunging themselves into a vital area of the team, disabling it. However, due to their aggressiveness, they may lack defensive or protective options.

Finally, the Mace. A mace was a weapon designed to combat plate armor. If you could not piece or cut through, you smash and apply such force that it would warp and cave in. This is a very middle ground, but specializes in taking out other fortified heroes.

Each warrior as all three aspects to some extent, or can be talented into it, A primarily "Shield" hero can go full offensive, and the same goes for a "Mace" focusing on defense, so in my example section, I may list a Hero as both a Shield and a Spear (ETC for example) But I will tell you where the talents are different so they can fit that role.

There also isn't a clear cut Rock>Paper>Scissors design where victory is guaranteed, but seeing their strong points will make it easier to see how they fit your team, how to play with them, and how to play around them

Shield Heroes: Sadly Captain America isn't one of them.

When you read "We need a tank" in the draft screen this is what people default to without thinking.

These are primarily the walls of meat and CC. They specialize in protecting the back line, they stay huddled to a high value unit, pinning down and punishing anyone who dares go near them. But as I mentioned before, they lack mobility, they can't re position fast enough if their protectee wanders off because they saw a flower. (in other words they can't save you if you get caught out.)

When to Pick a Shield:

Even though it seems as if you can never go wrong, there are instances when you do and don't want to pick them:

  • Small maps or maps with a lot of choke points. Their abilities work best in tight areas where there is limited room for the opposing team to maneuver. (Spider Queen, Haunted Mines, Cursed Hallow due to the Curse spawns)
  • If you have Long Range, High Damaging, low mobility units that will die if someone sneezes on them. (Kael, Hammer, Zagara. )
  • You have no idea what you're doing. If you're forced to tank for your team and you have little if any experience, you really can't go wrong by just picking someone with a ton of health that needs to hug the squishies.
  • Enemy team has a lot of mobility. You're not going to catch the Zera or sylv, just stop embarrassing yourself
  • The enemy team has Long range sustained damage. Again with the lack of mobility, you're going to eat a lot of damage before you close the gap. And even if you do, you leave your entire back line exposed for a Zeratul or a half decent Nova.
  • Big wide open maps. Do you see a pattern here. The more options they have to run to, the less effective your skills are.
Examples of Shields:
  • Johanna - Definitely the best at this role, with Condemn and Punish, she can easily lock down nearly anyone who dares run past you.
  • Muradin: With Avatar, Reverb, and Stone Form. Again, just a massive wall of health and CC. doesn't have the same lockdown potential, but with Dwarf leap he can reposition a lot easier than most.
  • ETC: Loud Speakers, Face Smelt, Encore. ETC is a very versatile hero. He can reposition quickly if need be (At the cost of using his stun as mobility or Heroic) and can provide peel for days. The massive knockback and 60% Slow from Face Smelt will make sure whoever touches your backstage honey will leave in a body bag.
  • Stitches: Tenderizer, Gorge, Pulverize. The terror of darkshire lived up to his reputation when he entered the Nexus, but Stitches play too rough and no one wants to play with Stitches. He's someone I think is undertuned, but is still pretty good. Even if you can't land a hook to save your life (Bronze mechanics over here), you can easily be a bodyguard. Tenderizer is a perma-on hit slow, Pulverize is still a great AOE "root" and Gorge isolates one person dumb enough to over extend.


Spear Heroes: For when "Just the tip" isn't enough

This is when you go all in, thrusting yourself into the heat of battle, Representing the Spirit of Longinus as you impale the teams only hope, forcing yourself upon some unfortunate soul with your throbbing hot justice... penis.

These Warriors specialize in diving in, the ones that start the fight. Usually by singling out one person, or just CCing the entire team. They often have the highest mobility. Many have ways not only to get in a fight, but also survive and bail out if need be.

When to pick a Spear:

If someone says "We need HARD engage." OK, It's out of my system, I swear. But

  • When you need to get on the back line as soon as possible to minimize the damage that can be done to your team
  • You need to cover ground quickly. Either due to objectives or to chase high mobility assassins
  • You just want to YOLO in, because real Warriors overextend... and then blame their support ("WTF TEAM!")
  • Opposing team has a lot of burst healing or immunity. Seriously, if your target can be full healed from 1%, it may not be the best idea. Or if they have Zeratul with Void Prison, as they can ensure no one on your team will follow up. (Not like they were going to anyway!)
  • They have an extreme amount of burst in a very short time. If your target can kill you in one rotation, they will do it. Like Jaina, Water Ele, into CoC, into, Blizz, into frostbolt, and you'll be dead before you can blame the BW for not TPing with you.
  • Your target has more mobility than you. This is more of a guideline But I say this because if you do engage, and they juke your follow up, or even the actual ability. you'll be in a very bad spot.
Examples of Spears:
  • Tyrael - Best one, hands down. Judgement not only is a massive gap closer and stun, but it also knocks everyone around the target away, absolutely decimating their positioning and formation.
  • ETC: Rolling like a stone, Double Neck Guitar, Most Pit, Show Stopper This is all about getting a good Powerslide in and Ulting the enemy team. You can also go Stage Dive if the target outranges your slide (Hammer for instance, if she ever comes back into the meta)
  • Sonya Shot of Fury, Composite Spear, Leap, Nerves of Steal I love Sonya, just going out there and saying it, she is very undervalued. With Leap she has an AOE stun, and can follow up with a secondary stun on her spear. She also has a suprising amount of burst even if she isn't talented for it. With Mystical spear, she can also get a lot of mobility, even going through terrain to chase. The issue is her low health pool, so if you go in, you better be sure you kill their main source of damage before the CC wears off.
  • Anubarak: Underking, Urticating Spikes, Locust Swarm, Burning Rage I always tell new Anub players, "your E is not an engage" but I should say "It's not an engage, unless you have your heroic is up." Much like Sonya, he has a long range AOE stun, with a follow up stun, and a tiny health pool. The difference is He can't get stunned out of his regen. He also does a fair bit of AOE damage and his beetles can protect you by blocking some of those skill shot abilities they use as a counter attack.


Mace Heroes: Mace: Not just for protesting hippies

The tank busters, often refered to as brusiers. When they see a heavily armored opponent, clad in the strongest steel, they aren't deterred, they just see a casket you put yourself in.

These Heroes will outduel, outtrade, outsustain and even use their opponents strengths against them. They may not provide the control of battle that may be desired, but you know what they say. Death is the best CC.

I will say, these are my favorite type of Warriors. They get a lot of flack and brushed off by saying "They can't solo tank!" Yeah they can, they can very easily take the hits just as well as the rest. What they can't do is bail people out of their own stupidity, like the Valla who uses vault as an engage, or the Illidan who Hunts into the enemy team. How is that my fault to begin with? I didn't know I had to babysit you and peel when you decide to get caught out. I bet you're just fucking dying to make some snarky remark on how I made the bad pick, if you had no fucking faith in me, then you shouldn't have instalo- Oh wait, right, back to the guide.

When to pick a Mace:

While these are often seen more fringe, they are just as effective in achieving your goals, may not be the cleanest victory though.

  • If they have a low damage frontline. You can make quick work of those that invest heavily in defense.
  • Your damage dealers can take care of themselves. If you have a really competent assassin, or just one that isn't going to die in a global cooldown, It may not be a bad idea to go for the extra damage
  • PvE Maps: Due to their nature, the Maces don't mitage damage as much as they just sustain or heal themselves back up. This means they can easily solo objectives if need be, such as Garden Terror, Sky Temple, and Haunted Mines.
  • You wanted to play an assassin, but you don't want to learn, positioning, and mechanics, and safety.
  • You have a weak healer. Due to your lack of mitigation options, you going to take a lot of hits to the face. You do have ways to heal yourself up, but they are CD dependent.
  • They have a lot of Hard CC. A lot of Maces need to be attacking or using abilities to keep themselves topped off. A poly, into a stun, into a second stun, into a LiLi blind, will make sure you won't get an edge in
  • Your team lacks peel. I fucking hate assassin mains. They could be a naked orange and still bitch about not getting peeled. Seriously, learn to position and how to dodge a skill shot, not hard, red circle=bad!
Examples of Maces
  • Leoric - Drain Hope into Crushing Hope is the best tank killing ability in the game. Spectral leech just further cements him as this. He can also punish "Shields" with his two Heroics. Lack of Mobility means they ain't going nowhere!
  • Sonya Warpaint, Ferocious Healing/Follow Through, Wrath of the Berserker/Leap(Only with Crater at 20), Imposing Presence/Nerves of steel. Sonya is again, a very undervalued Hero. She puts out a lot of damage, which means a lot of healing. Her fury resource (not mana) and regen talents means she will never stop attacking unless you manage to kill her. With her Crater talent, you can also isolate and pin down a low mobility tank (Don't aim for the assassin if you have this talent, they're just going to blink out of it, and you're going to look like an idiot.) She also never has to B back, meaning after a teamfight, she can just start pushing lanes, backdooring, soloing boss, soloing core. Seriously, she's amazing, try her out.
  • Arthas Eternal Hunger, Rune Tap, Immortal Coil Arthas used to be the King, woke up, still King. OK, not so much anymore, but he's still very good. He has some lockdown in a root, the AOE slow, and very nice damage. While he still has to worry about mana, and has low mobility. His kit makes sure any opposition can't move either. He does work best with a heavy engage, but he can also work in those tight corners and choke points "Shields" love to fight in. And as the winter sets in, as they grow numb from the cold, their blood chills, and with their last visible icy breath, they will whisper "Arthas"... Until Uther divine shields them. Fuck you Uther!
  • Diablo Essence of the Slain/Demonic Strength, Life Leech, Continuous Overpower, Lord of terror Yeah, this guy is still in the game, and despite many people considering him a joke , he's still really strong. He has the ability to charge in and isolate a target. Pulling them from safety and knocking them back into his team. (Again, I point to the "Shields" I mentioned earlier as good targets) He has a very good amount of CC as well to follow up on the back line if he chooses to, or he can scrap with the tank, the Life Leech talent means he'll probably never lose a 1v1, and Lord of terror can be used as clutch heal.
In Conclusion: Yes! I'm finally done!
I hope this guide helped you guys out to better recognize strengths and weaknesses to having certain warrior types. This will hopefully aid you in making better decisions in draft mode, either to compliment your allies or counter your opponents.

I do want to reiterate, that the warriors are incredibly flexible in their talent selection and can be tailored to fit a role that the team might need.
Now go out there, and be the Ultimate Warrior!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

New WoW expansion to be announced at Gamescom

Heroes of the Storm Guide - My $0.02 to climbing ranks in Hero League and other things [by Srey]

Quick intro: My name is Srey. I've played Heroes of the Storm since December 2014 and before that I played League of Legends for 4 years. I'm currently the #1 player in Quick Match and #8 player in Hero League. I currently write Hero guides for's Hero section. If you haven't heard of them, they provide top quality guides for Blizzard games, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo 3, and Heroes of the Storm, so I suggest you check them out if you're interested in any of those games.

With over 1,000 games played, I've played Hero League quite a bit. In fact, it's basically all that I play these days. I almost never play Quick Match or Team League anymore. I find that in Quick Match, the team comps are horribly composed and both teams lack a support 80% of the time. Team League doesn't suffer from poor team comps, but the queues are regularly 10 minutes, the games are a stomp (one way or the other), and it requires you to always queue with 4 other people. Hero League takes the best elements of both queues. The queue times are never longer than 6 minutes, you almost always have a decent team comp (3 DPS, 1 Tank, 1 Sup), and the games are the least stompy out of the 3 queues. However, Hero League isn't without it's own problems. By far, my biggest complaint (like many of you) is that Hero League allows for premade parties of all sizes, including 5 people. There is absolutely no legitimacy to Ranked play if you can match up against a full, 5 man team (in VoIP) when you are playing alone or with a friend. Blizzard has tweaked its matchmaking, but this still happens all of the time, especially at higher levels of play. Hero League should limit party sizes to a maximum of 2 players. When Blizzard releases the Grandmaster rank in the coming months, its reception will largely rest on how the Ranked queue is handled.

Now, on to Hero League. As I mentioned, I have over 1,000 games played in this mode, but I also have nearly a 70% win rate (706/311, W/L). More importantly, I almost never play with a premade of 4 or 5 people. Below are the steps I take to maximize my chance to win. In order, they are:
  • Play with 1 or 2 good players/friends
The ideal party size is 3. This will give you the largest impact over the game, while limiting your chance of encountering premades of 4 or 5 people on the enemy team. Between the 3 of you, you are able to cover all 3 roles, DPS, Tank, and Support, guaranteeing that your team will, at the very least, have a solid team comp. Additionally, the players not in your party are much more inclined to listen to your groups calls since they are the minority, significantly increasing your coordination without even having to do anything. Playing in a duo is fine as well, you will most likely run into an enemy team composed of 2-2-1 or 1-1-1-2 groups, rather than 3-2 that will be the norm when you are in a party of 3. Being able to rely on just a single ally not only makes the game easier, but it also increases your morale, something that is extremely undervalued in regards to winning.

Once you begin playing in a group of 4, you have a MUCH higher chance of running into a premade group of 5. What's the problem with that? 5 stacks (and 4 stacks to a lesser extent) are likely to be much more coordinated than any other sized party, due to them likely being in voice chat and listening to each other's calls in game. If you are playing in a group of 5, you are putting yourself at a significant disadvantage to the enemy team if you aren't in comms and communicating.
Playing solo is by far the worst way to play in my opinion. Heroes of the Storm is not League of Legends, and it is built on teamwork, far more than any other MoBA. You cannot carry the game by yourself (most of the time...), nor can you even guarantee that all the roles on your team will be filled.
  • Draft OP "meta" Heroes and/or synergies
There is likely to be push-back to this point, but picking Heroes that are considered strong will increase your win rate. Not only does it give your team an advantage, it prevents the OTHER team from picking them and gaining the advantage. If you (somehow) manage to draft Kael'thas, Jaina, and Zeratul, your chance to win is already over 55%, and you haven't even entered the game! Yes, I know that you really love Sonya, but she just doesn't fit in with the 3 melee Heroes that we already have. YES. I know that you want to play Illidan really badly, but is that really the best idea when we don't even have a Healer?! I get it, Tank isn't your best role, but we kind of need one for Haunted Mi--WHY WOULD YOU LOCK IN NOVA.

But you get my point, right? Team comps are extremely important, filling in the 3 roles with the best Heroes that are available to you goes a long way to winning the game. Jaina & Zeratul are the best DPS, Leoric & Johanna are the best Tanks, and Malfurion and Uther (sometimes Rehgar) are the best Supports. You should also try running synergistic Heroes, like Leoric & Abathur, Johanna & Azmodan, Butcher & Tyrande, and Rehgar & Illidan.

Playing Heroes that aren't considered meta isn't "wrong" but you are decreasing your chance to win. Of course, this is relative. If you have Thrall level 10 and Zeratul level 4, you should definitely play Thrall. Meta Heroes being "better" only applies if you assume an equal level of skill between 2 Heroes. This is why tier lists are generally much more applicable at high levels of play than lower levels, high level players (usually) play all Heroes at the same level, so weak Heroes become apparent.
  • Communicate with your team and use pings
This one is obvious, yet few players seem to actually understand what it means to communicate. Communicating with your team doesn't mean getting along with them, it doesn't mean use smileys, and it sure as hell doesn't mean having a positive attitude. Yes, all of those are helpful, but none of those things are actually about COMMUNICATING. It's about things like deciding what lane everyone should be in, when to take mercenaries, needing to heal at base, ganking other lanes, and more. It's about being on the same page as your allies with the same objectives.

How do you do that? Take charge; be a leader. Tell people where to lane, tell people if you should back off of objectives, tell your team when you should do boss. Don't be afraid of being wrong and DO NOT being a dick. You are not in charge of these people, you are simply guiding them along the right path. However, the BEST thing you can do is use pings. Why pings aren't more prevalent, I have no idea. Ganking a lane? Ping it. You're being flanked by Nova/Zeratul? Ping. It. Is now the perfect time to do Boss? PING THAT SHIT! Don't just wander to Boss and start attacking it, that is how games are thrown.

Additionally, if you are low on mana/health or your abilities (specifically your Heroic) are on cooldown, let your team know. If you're playing Zeratul, just give a quick "vp 25s" or "wait for ult." It takes only a fraction of a second to communicate a massive amount of information to your team. Understand that the entire point of communicating is to increase your teams coordination. You don't have to like your allies, but you do need to cooperate with them, at least if you want to win.

But whatever you do, do not rage at your allies. Even I'm guilty of this sometimes, but it does not help. All it does is makes that person AND YOU tilt. They will play worse, you will play worse. It is a fact that shit-talking your team will decrease your chances of winning of the game. If you need a break after a game, take a break. Know when you are tilting so that you can fix it.
  • Avoid dying and learn when to give up objectives
"Avoid dying? That sounds like something that a noob would say." Maybe, but the noob wouldn't be wrong. Understand that when you die, the experience that you give the enemy is not the only thing that you are giving them. You are giving up lane/map pressure, mercenary camps, map objectives, and your structures. Dying gives up far more than it would seem at first.

Similarly, don't try to force a map objective when you are at a severe disadvantage, such as being down players, levels, or talents. Sometimes you can't salvage a team fight and it's just a sunk cost. Committing to it any more will only put you and your team further in the hole. I'm sure there are times when you are dead that you think, "Damn, why didn't I just leave the Temple and instead push the bottom lane?" Learn when an objective is a lost cause and when to let go (i cri evertim ;__;).

Also, make sure that you understand that the only point of map objectives is to siege the enemies' base, so if you can trade a Fort for a Temple on Sky Temple, it's usually worth it, especially if your team isn't positioned to contest it in time.

This is getting a little too long, so I'm going to list some additional tips below that are on my mind.
  • Don't over-chase
  • Don't overextend, especially when you are playing a low mobility Hero, like Kael'thas or Malfurion. Pretend that every bush has an angry Kerrigan and Jaina in it
  • Map awareness. Always be aware of who is alive and who is dead, and who is in what lane
  • If you are laning against a Hero that you suck versus, ask for a lane swap
  • Be critical of your own play - don't lie to yourself if something was your fault. Conversely, don't beat yourself up over every mistake
  • Not ending the game can sometimes be more risky than letting it progress, especially if the other team has better late game Heroes
  • When playing a Tank, know when it is your job to peel for your squishies and when you need to dive the enemy team's backline. Same goes for melee Assassins
  • When playing an Assassin, understand when you need to kill the Tank and when you need to go for the backline
  • If the enemy team uses abilities that last for a duration, like Tranquility and Bloodlust, it's often best to disengage (if possible) and let the effect go to waste, and then re-engage
  • A game CANNOT be lost only a few minutes into the game. Always try to win right up until the game is over. You CAN win games if you are 4 levels down and without any keeps, even if that chance is small
  • Do NOT play cocky when ahead. Do not die needlessly, as you give bonus XP if you are up in levels. You can lose a 3 level advantage if your team is wiped before a major objective
  • When ahead, do not play too safely. Take advantage of your strength without overcommitting, keep up the pressure
  • Mercenaries are mostly used to keep pressure on lanes, especially when a map objective is active and the enemy team has to fight for it
  • Try to avoid fighting when at a talent disadvantage, especially if the other team is level 10 and you aren't
This didn't really fit in anywhere, but I think Leoric is extremely good. In my opinion, he is currently the best Solo Q Hero in the game. I think that Tanks with good waveclear are the single best way of carrying games.

If you made it this far, I really hope it was worth your time and you learned something.

I stream! Check me out here Be sure to check out my guides at Icy-Veins! For business inquiries, please contact me via this reddit account.

Here is a list of all of the Hero guides that I've written thus far:
Li Li
The Butcher

Disclaimer: I understand that Hotslogs isn't the most precise source, nor is it the most reliable, and that the leaderboards are not necessarily a direct representation of skill.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heroes of the Storm Video - This is why I pick Pyroblast [by Joshua Cordova]

Diablo 3 - Kanai's Cube Preparation Guide Per Class (RoS Patch 2.3) [JHow Gaming]

Diablo 3 Patch 2.3 brings Kanai's Cube, a new Horadric Cache-type item. Legendary item affixes can be used as essentially passive abilities, with one Weapon, Armor, and Jewelry slot. Obtaining the crafting materials requires you to do Act 1-5 to get the crafting materials to break down a legendary item to obtain its power. Since this may take some time for some people, this D3 guide is to help identify some of the best legendary items for the Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard.

Kanai's Cube Complete Guide:

Tweet me @JHowGaming or watch me live on Twitch!

StarCraft 2 Video - Team Liquid Training House Tour with TLO! [Dario Wünsch]

Short tour of the new Team Liquid training house, currently housing Snute, Ret, Bunny, Harstem and me.

- Filmed with HTC M9

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hearthstone Guide - From Rank 4 to Legend w/ Aggro Paladin in 3 Hours [by Dorgan]

Deck Discussion, Stats & Educational Gameplay Videos


Introduction / Story

Hi guys, Dorgan here again. :)
So, this month was a busy one for me. I had a lot of things on my desk, some family stuff to do and I was on a short vacation. Therefore, I didn't really get into a flow of a consecutive session and mostly played games in shorter sessions with a lot of different decks, a lot of them with a lack of focus and some other distractions just for the fun of playing.

However, last Wednesday, I finally had some time to spare and felt good, so I took a look at the meta and realized that almost no Patrons were around, at least at rank 4. Instead, I met a lot of Midrange Hunters and Handlocks. There was also a rise of Control Warriors which made Face Hunter a somewhat odd choice. I realized that all of the mentioned decks had problem with a combination of early sticky minions and very aggressive decks. I therefore wanted to try Aggro Paladin again, which was a decent success. :)

I ended up running from rank 4 to 2 in two hours on Wednesday before I started to play the new Tavern Brawl. I then took a break until Saturday, where I climbed from rank 2 to legend in about an hour, making the whole run from rank 4 to legend around 3 hours long.

Video Resources & Proof

You can find a consecutive video with all* games here on YouTube. As always it includes educational commentary and explanations of my thought proccess.

Deck Discussion & Stats

I tried Aggro Paladin at the beginning of the season running this version that I saw floating around, but didn't like it too much. Running a lot of situational cards like Kings x2, Consecration x2, Divine Favor x2, Hammer of Wrath etc. didn't feel too consistent. I also wanted to go for more stickyness and early aggression to counter the beforementioned decks, so I tried a slightly different approach this time.
*I played 3 games off stream where I forgot to put on the tracker: 1 Malylock loss, 1 Handlock win, 1 Tempo Mage win; total record: 26W-6L, 81% winrate.

Why is there ... in the deck?

  • Argent Squire x2, Argent Protector x2: Like I said earlier, I wanted to include as much stickyness as possible since I found Divine Shields to be one of the most important mechanics to run, therefore, both cards were pretty much auto includes.
  • Blessing of Might x2: With so many Divine Shields in the early game, Blessing of Might becomes a really powerful card, can make for good trades (Squire into Misha, still a 4/1 to deal with), provides instant reach and helps to dump the hand for a valuable Divine Favor.
  • Piloted Shredder x2: Shredder is simply a powerful aggressive minion that also provides stickyness and helps with having buff targets around.
  • Ironbeak Owl x2: Owl is great in most matchups and with this deck, I really want to run two of them. Bypassing taunts, silencing Mad Scientists, getting rid of slow-down effects like Sylvanas and almost killing Twilight Drakes are already nice examples that makes it worth running two copies.
  • Southsea Deckhand x2: I'm still not sure if I want two Leper Gnomes or two Deckhands. Gnomes are obviously better in the early game (turn 1 in particular) while Deckhands provide some flexibility and reach later on.

Why is ... not in the deck?

  • King Mukla: I really wanted to include him again. However, now that I think of it, against decks like Control Warrior or Handlock, it might actually help my opponent to find a BGH target with bananas and to develop their board. Even though it has some obvious synergy with Divine Favor and is an aggressive card, I couldn't find another card to cut for it. Worked out well without, so I guess it's fine. :D
  • Consecration, Equality, second Kings, Hammer of Wrath, ...: Even though these cards obviously have some merits, I didn't like the situationalness of the cards. BoK is quite powerful, so I kept one, but the second you fall behind, you definitely don't want two of them in your deck. Consecration would've been nice in the mirror, but overall, I find the aggressive consistency to be more important.
  • Arcane Golem: Leeroy is already a situational charge minion that serves as a finisher. While there are definitely situations where I would prefer Arcane Golem over (at least) one Wolfrider, I found the drawback too problematic in the early game.

Mulligans & General Strategy

Goind first, you definitely want to mulligan hard for 1-drops. This deck includes a lot of them for a reason: To get pressure going right from the start. Southsea Deckhand and Abusive Seargeant are obviously not your favored turn 1 plays, but don't hesitate to drop them anyways. Shielded Minibot and Owl against Hunter and Warlock are pretty much the only non 1-drops that you want to keep.
Going second, you can be a little bit more moderate with your cards, also keeping strong 2-drops of the specific matchup. Knife Juggler can be a bad start if you suspect your opponent to open with a 2/1 or 3/2.
In general, you want to curve out as well as possible, fight efficiently for board control and protect your minions from possible clears/AoE. From there, the gameplan can vary quite a bit. At some point, you usually want to stop going for board control, hitting your opponents hard by simultaniously making sure that you have answers to possible taunts and enough reach. However, this point can sometimes be sooner, sometimes later, depending on how the games develop and whether or not you get the opportunity of a good Divine Favor. Don't hesitate to take some risks against Control decks since they usually want to buy time to stabilize.


If you're interested in my other educational videos (constructed, arena, post commentary, deck discussions, ...), feel free to check them out. I still try to establish the channels, so I appreciate every following/subscription. :-)
You can find the rest of my stuff here:


Heroes of the Storm Video - Stop Overvaluing Certain Objectives [EnvyHotS]

Too many games are lost to overvalued objectives :C

Hearthstone Video - This Week In Hearthstone \ Episode 2 [Tempo Storm]

Monday, July 27, 2015

Heroes of the Storm - Free Hero Rotation Week of Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week of Tuesday, July 28, 2015:

Tyrande (Available after you reach player level 12)
Illidan (Available after you reach player level 15)


Starcraft 2 Video - Five Years of StarCraft II [SC2HL]

Preorder Starcraft 2: Legacy of the void and support SC2HL!
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Song used: John Dreamer - True Strength - Found in the YouTube audio library

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

StarCraft II - Groups for Intel Extreme Masters


Group A
Group B
Open Bracket Player  
  Open Bracket Player

Group C
Group D
Open Bracket Player  
  Open Bracket Player

Open Brackets

Open Bracket I
Patience - InZaNe
Rail - Bly
Marine - Tarrantius
BlackCat - MaNa
Open Bracket II
Jade - PtitDrogo
uThermal - GoOdy
Ziggy - ret 

Diablo 3 - Demon Hunter Tier 64 solo (13:33) - Season 3 [by wudijo]

Tier 64 solo (13:33)

Hi everyone,

I came back after basically a ~4-week break, this is the result after a mere 14 tries: An incredibly disgusting rift featuring Cave of the Betrayer, Unburieds, one single elite pack, and obviously Stonesinger (Casualbuff multiplied by Streamerbuff).

Over the last couple of weeks I've been doing trials here and there and somehow managed to farm up 246 tier 64 keys and about 100 tier 65 keys. Should have done it the other way around :)

I didn't really expect to clear tier 64, at least not that quickly, but somehow I did. Unburied + Goatmen rifts are about 1 in 40, so with those keys I could have expected to get 5-7 rifts with this combination, and sometimes they turn out to be really bad density or elite wise. The next goal is obviously going to be tier 65, but I will probably not push beyond, with my (comparably) lowish paragon and dps in general my hopes are very low for anything after that.

Enjoy the run!

Setup: Fire RoV, 48.68 CDR (~56 with Gogok), Balefire with CDR + RCR, Pauldrons of the Skeleton King.

Passives: Cull the Weak, Ambush, Steady Aim, Single Out, Awareness

Profile | Clan (EU) | Livestream


Heroes of the Storm Video - The Gazlowe Experience [MYHEARTISUNDEAD.]

Friday, July 24, 2015

Diablo 3 Video - PTR 2.3 Wizard - Archon Conclusions [MeatHead Mikhail]

Hey guys, today I give you my conclusions on the Archon build coming in 2.3 after a decent amount of testing. It's going to be a very strong build but it's definitely not a lazy playstyle. There's a lot of rotation babysitting - Chantodo stacks, Archon stacks/double stacks, what packs to engage for maximum AP on crit & cooldown reset, fitting in Convention of Elements rotation so it's not wasted (if you're not going double Unity), and more. I discuss all of this, the general gearing strategy, and playstyle.

Please note this was recorded right before the first PTR reset where the belt and 4 piece Vyr's got swapped. Nothing changes though - the belt is still mandatory (50% armor, resists, and attack speed at all times in a single slot). This marks the conclusion of my Archon exploration on the PTR - I'm very excited about rolling this as one of my classes/specs in Season 4, as it's a lot of fun for those who enjoy engaging playstyles. Enjoy & discuss!

Wizard Playlist:

Patch: PTR 2.3


Thanks for watching and Thumbs Up if you like the video! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below and be sure to check out:



Heroes of the Storm Guide - Picks & Bans Statistics of HCOT Tournament Korea [by r_gg]

I compiled the pick & ban data of the Heroes Community Open Tournament (HCOT) in Korea, which is one of the qualifiers for the OGN tournament to decide Korea's Blizzcon representative.
The data is taken for Round of 8 and up, as the Butcher patch hit right after the group stage. The matches were mostly Best of 5s, with the finals being Best of 7, giving us total of 26 matches to look at. Only six heroes were not played at all in this tournament. (Chen, Diablo, Nova, TLV, Murky, Gazlowe)

Most Involved (Pick & Ban)

  1. Zeratul - 18 Ban, 8 Picked. (63% Win Rate)
  2. Uther - 13 Ban, 13 Picked. (54% Win Rate)
  3. Jaina - 9 Ban, 17 Picked. (53% Win Rate)
  4. Johanna - 4 Ban, 22 Picked. (64% Win Rate)
  5. Tyrael - 4 Ban, 21 Picked. (38% Win Rate)
  6. Muradin - 2 Ban, 23 Picked. (43% Win Rate)

Most Banned

  1. Zeratul - 18 Bans (63% Win Rate)
  2. Uther - 13 Bans (54% Win Rate)
  3. The Butcher - 12 Bans (50% Win Rate)
  4. Kael'thas - 9 Bans (67% Win Rate)
  5. Malfurion - 9 Bans (56% Win Rate)
  6. Jaina - 9 Bans (53% Win Rate)

Top Assassins (Ban/Win/Loss)

  1. Kael'thas - 9B 6W 3L (67%)
  2. Zeratul - 18B 5W 3L (63%)
  3. Jaina - 9B 9W 8L (53%)
  4. The Butcher - 12B 3W 3L (50%)
  5. Illidan - 0B 1W 1L (50%)
  6. Valla - 4B 8W 9L (47%)
  7. Tychus - 0B 0W 4L (0%)
  8. Falstad - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
  9. Kerrigan - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
  10. Raynor - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
  11. Thrall - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
Not played - Nova

Top Warriors (Ban/Win/Loss)

  1. Johanna - 4B 14W 8L (64%)
  2. Arthas - 2B 8W 6L (57%)
  3. ETC - 1B 3W 3L (50%)
  4. Sonya - 0B 3W 3L (50%)
  5. Muradin - 2B 10W 13L (43%)
  6. Tyrael - 4B 8W 13L (38%)
  7. Anub'arak - 1B 4W 9L (31%)
  8. Stitches - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
Not played - Chen, Diablo

Top Supports (Ban/Win/Loss)

  1. Tyrande - 0B 4W 1L (80%)
  2. Rehgar - 7B 10W 7L (59%)
  3. Malfurion - 9B 5W 4L (56%)
  4. Uther - 13B 7W 6L (54%)
  5. Lili - 0B 4W 5L (44%)
  6. Tassadar - 0B 1W 2L (33%)
  7. Brightwing - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
Not Played - none.

Top Specialists (Ban/Win/Loss)

  1. Sgt. Hammer - 0B 1W 0L (100%)
  2. Zagara - 9B 7W 1L (88%)
  3. Azmodan - 3B 2W 1L (67%)
  4. Abathur - 3B 4W 3L (57%)
  5. Sylvanas - 3B 3W 7L (30%)
  6. Nazeebo - 0B 0W 1L (0%)
Not Played - Gazlowe, Murky, TLV

Fun facts:
  • Sgt. Hammer appearance involved the BFG at the finals
  • Most Tyraels pick Sanctification over Judgement. Sanctification (7W9L) vs Judgement (1W4L)
  • And no, none of the Zeratul plays involved the bug AFAIK.
  • Team SioN that made it to Round of 8 was a team of high schoolers with one middle schooler. (Got eliminated by the champion, MVP Black though) They yolo'd a no-support comp for their last match in Haunted Mines.

Heroes of the Storm Video - The Butcher great escape [Jacob Rodriguez]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Starcraft 2 - DreamHack Open Valencia: Replay Pack

After feedback from the StarCraft fans we've decided to once again release the replays from our tournaments, we've gathered 356 replays for you to study, analyse or cast them, enjoy in any way possible. All you need to do is follow this link to download the pack to your computer.
Download: Replay Pack

DreamHack Open Valencia VOD section: Click here
DreamHack Open on Twitter


Diablo 3 Video - 2.3 PTR changes on a video [Bluddshed]

Changes you might have missed in Season 4 [Patch 2.3]

In this video I cover some popular to lesser know changes in Diablo 3 Season 4 / Patch 2.3, sit back and enjoy!
I go over topics such as Goblin Vault spawning with Puzzle Rings, the Not a Cow level, new Adventure Mode Farming, Witch Doctor Wall of Death/Zombie change, Wizard Unstable Anomaly Change, Greater Rift Keystones drop off Normal Rifts, Skill of Nilfur change, Torment X rewards and changes, Crusader Falling Sword Animation and Much more!

Hearthstone Video - The Grand Tournament Trailer

Mount up and make your way to the most fun festival in all of Hearthstone! Champions, noble steeds, pirates, and more await you in Hearthstone’s second expansion: The Grand Tournament!

Get started at


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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hearthstone Guide - Chinese player Fuoliver (温酒斩华佗) brings new account to legend with a 1200 dust (no Naxx/BRM) deck [czhihong]

Chinese player Fuoliver (温酒斩华佗) had notably done 4 f2p series on 4 different servers (with 4 different classes; they were pure runs with $0 spent and no extra arenas), the latest completed in mid-November just before GvG. He’s also one of the most respected and popular players/streamers in the Chinese scene, known for his knowledgeable and informative streams.

His goal for this attempt was to build a relatively straightforward deck by opening a reasonable number of packs (to an extent) and show new players how a journey to legend can be achieved realistically. The original plan was to use either warlock or mage, but he settled on mage after opening a few packs.

He stated clearly from the beginning that he did not want to simulate a completely f2p experience this time, which might be difficult for new players to replicate due to difficulty in piloting the decks created (they are usually far more punishing on mistakes).

This was seen in his last f2p deck (otk warrior on NA, as linked above), where he mentioned that it was a very difficult deck to play properly and does not recommend new players to use it. He also stated that he wanted a more non-destructive approach to dusting for this run, so after the first few packs he will not dust playable cards (that are usable in other decks but useless to his deck) to better simulate the new player experience.

Key points for journey to legend
  • Proof
  • Server: Asia
  • Date: 10th to 15th July 2015
  • Decklist (This has been anglicised by me, due to requests. original list here): It's a poor man's mech mage; 1200-1300 dust, no Naxx/BRM - Just about the whole run was done with slight variations of it, this exact one was what he was using at the end of the first day. He subsequently tweaked often with the mech yeti and sorcerer's apprentice spot, mostly subbing in either water elemental, stranglethorn tiger or second Azure Drake.
  • Packs opened: 20+. I understand that he bought the 7-pack bundle twice on the first day and stopped opening packs after he was happy with the deck. He did not disenchant decent, playable cards (that can be used in other decks) after the first 10 packs.
  • Games played: 300+ (Reference for number of games to legend based on different win rates.)
Note: It’s a little difficult for me to verify exact packs and games since I have a lot of problems viewing the VODs, but the numbers are definitely in the ball park.

Some notable comments from the Chinese community

Q: It’s not a f2p run, he bought packs
Yes, he did. He opened 20+ packs in the first few days, the key point was that the run was done 99% with a 1200-1300 dust, no adventures deck.

Q: The run was done on Asia, which is easier than the China server.
Possible, maybe even likely, but there are no hard stats supporting that. Even assuming that was true, he would probably have made it there on any of the servers anyway.

Q: The environment seems much more difficult than last year for f2p players
He agrees (as you can read from his last entry below), he thinks standard of play has risen significantly across the board compared to when he did his previous f2p runs towards the end of last year.

Q: He is much more skilled than the regular player, and has much more time on his hands, normal people will never be able to do this.

Most definitely, getting a new account (with this amount of money spent) to legend in 6 days is unfathomable for new players, no one is advising that! He just wants to show that with the right deck and learning, even new players have a good chance to beat net-decks stacked with legendaries and adventures cards.

Stream and VODS
His entire run was streamed on zhanqi at his huatuo channel. VODS for the run can be found on his youku channel here. Please note that they are frequently extremely laggy (and spammy) when accessing from the West, youku is essentially unwatchable for me, zhanqi is sometimes ok when it's in a good mood.

Translation for his reports (posted in a thread on the NGA forums) starts after the break, if anyone wants to read through them. Most of them were posted before, I added his final write-up.

It’s been more than half a year since the last “Solo-queue from Zero” series [Note: this is a direct translation of 从零单排, which is I presume a loan term from MOBA games. I translated it as "Starting from Scratch" previously]. Since moving over to Zhanqi (streaming site), I’ve been swamped with tournaments, events and real life/family matters. I’ve been practising less and become more distant with viewers and fans. My standard of play has dipped, and 
I’ve lost some of my passion for Hearthstone.

This was not what I had in mind when I quit my (civil servant) job and committed to Hearthstone full-time. The reason why I committed to Hearthstone was to 1) give my dream a proper shot: to become World Champion and, 2) to get more people to play and love card games.

I’ve decided that this [slump] cannot continue and I need to make some changes. Therefore, I’m starting the new account series again, partly to dig deep and push myself in a different way, and partly to provide guidance and confidence to the many beginners who have a limited collection.

I’m starting the new account on Asia for this attempt. The current plan is to open 7 packs (or 1 adventure wing) every 4 hours of play, I think this way of playing is more relevant to a beginner, and is a better simulation of a new player’s experience. [NOTE: He has since stopped opening packs, since he does not see a need to. As far as I know, he has opened 14 paid packs to date, and is not using any of the legendaries that he opened].

I invite and welcome everyone to watch my stream on Zhanqi, come cheer me on! This will also be where I record my daily progress.

10th July – Day 1 - Playtime: 8 hours
I’ve decided to adopt a non-destructive approach to opening packs this time; besides the first few packs (free ones + first 7), I will not disenchant the cards that are of decent value (i.e. playable). This is, again, to better simulate a beginner’s experience.

I used more than 2 hours to clear up the tutorial, basic AI and the free arena. I unpacked some mechs and mech mage cards, and actually opened a Toshley [NOTE: which he is not using in his deck, as you will see from the decklist below], so I decided to attempt the climb with mage.

I hit Rank 15 after the 1st 4 hours, and my wife opened the new packs for me, unpacking a Leeroy, which was useless to me. After quickly hitting Rank 10, I met a barrage of warriors which proved to be very challenging, and I ended the stream at Rank 9: 4 stars today. I will probably make some tech changes to adapt against weapon classes tomorrow.
Current decklist

11th July – Day 2 - Playtime: 5 hours
Had to go to the movies with the missus today, so I only streamed 5 hours. There are no big changes to the decklist, the tech cards have been going in and out, currently playing water elemental to counter weapon classes. I have not disenchanted the ladder-usable cards that I’ve opened, and I do not intend to open new packs at the moment. The current decklist costs 1200 dust with no adventure cards, I feel it’s pretty strong, currently at Rank 5.

I invite friends to try the deck on CN, I think it’s viable to climb the ladder well with it. This series is for beginners, that was partly why I chose mech mage as it’s a simple deck; I believe my road to legend can be replicated. Also, I will be hosting a giveaway when I hit Rank 1, the prize is this Asia account after I hit legend. Once again, I invite and welcome you to watch my stream.

12-13th July 2015 - Days 3 and 4
Sorry I was too tired yesterday so I did not update, here's a summary of the last two days. It was pretty smooth sailing from Rank 12 to rank 5 [I think this was referring to the 2nd day], but I misplayed quite a bit on the 3rd day due to fatigue, and had a few unlucky moments, so I was knocked back to Rank 5 - 0 stars by the end of Day 3. After a good night's rest, this afternoon I rode a streak to Rank 2, and spent the day oscillating between Ranks 3 and 2, eventually ending up at Rank 3 - 2 stars. I will try my best and strive to hit legend tomorrow. The decklist has not changed much, except I took out a water elemental for a Stranglethorn Tiger. It has worked very well, and helped secured a few wins.
Decklist: As above, -1 Water Elemental, +1 Stranglethorn Tiger

[The final update was posted on tieba instead of nga.]
15th July 2015 – End of Day 6
This has been the most tiring “solo-queue” attempt yet, it’s clear that the overall standard of play of Hearthstone players has risen significantly in the past 6 months, it’s pretty challenging if you’re completely new. However, I firmly believe that a new player can get to the higher rungs of the ladder with appropriately chosen decks; the final push to legend will depend on one’s ability to adapt, and some luck.

I chose mage for this attempt and thought it should be fairly straightforward initially. It was smooth sailing before Rank 5, but I was struggling from Rank 5 to Rank 2. After countless tweaks to the deck, I finally made it in 205 wins [His previous attempts took 108, 98, 120 and 168 wins respectively]. Dr Boom and Sylvanas are this deck’s greatest enemies/challenges. After endless yo-yoing through the ranks, I finally made it! 6 days and 300+ games of mech mage is no doubt tiring, but I’m really happy to hit legend. This was the decklist used for the last few games.

I hope this can provide some encouragement and confidence for both new players and others who aspire to hit legend, and I welcome everyone to watch the VODs of my climb. I believe watching the VODs will raise your standard of play and be of some benefit.
Here’s to everyone making legend!

tl;dr- Chinese player fuoliver brings a poor man’s mech mage deck (~1300 dust, no adventures) in 6 days to legend on Asia. He opened 20+ packs throughout his run and hit legend in 205 wins. He hopes his run can encourage new players to keep learning and overcome the perceived difficulties they’re facing.
恭喜佗爷! 佗爷威武!