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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.

Introduction
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!

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