Article Written by: LBYS
Mentality in Hearthstone might arguably be more important than playing at the highest skill level. Hoej, a player from Na’Vi, wrote an article (found here) on his thoughts on “RNG” and how skill impacts games in the short/long run. He is a player considered to have mastered the mental game, while the rest of the “professional” players are still trying to get to the highest skill level. I am going to go over a few scenarios where you can change without touching the game itself. I used to make these mistakes myself, and could really feel the huge improvement when I pushed to correct them.
In a Tournament Setting
Specifically in a tournament setting, it can be extremely important to stay focused and on the specific game at hand. Personally, I write down my own and opponent’s classes on paper
beside me so I don’t have to go back and check mid series. It lets me just play the game without much interruption. Being up 2-0 or down 0-2 in a best of five series is pretty different, but depending on the lineups, you could still be favored to win the entire series even if down 0-2. This is where it becomes vital to stay concentrated and only on the current game. Don’t fall into the mentality of “well this game is a loss; what deck should I play next?” while still in the current game. Normally, I have a music playlist running that helps me concentrate and get me where I want to be during tournaments. Also, take your time during tournaments. If the play is fairly straightforward, think about it for another five seconds and ask yourself is there any reason that this is the incorrect play before moving forward. Playing “on autopilot” is an important skill for ladder, but you can’t do that in a tournament.
After a Tournament
After the tournament is over, going back and trying to see where you possibly made mistakes, or how you can improve your lineup (deck-wise or specific card-wise) can yield a lot of improvement. I see a lot of pretty toxic mentalities of sharing how unlucky you were or lucky your opponent was and that is the reason you ended up losing the game. All of a sudden you convince yourself that was the only reason you lost and the mechanical play was perfect. Very rarely do I ever see someone say they made a mistake and lost because of it. Hearthstone games can be decided by a choice on turn 1-5 but the game can still last to the “lucky topdeck” on turn 16 or so. While it may be completely true that you played perfectly, it is an objective term and a lot healthier to play with the understanding that this game takes a lot more skill than usually portrayed. The more you whine about being unlucky, you are:
- Ignoring the games YOU got lucky (believe me it does happen sometimes)
- Not giving yourself respect for getting as far as you did in the tournament
- Making it seem like you don’t need to practice/look back at your games because you simply got unlucky
This is something I had some trouble with about a year ago. I would always chalk down my losses as being unlucky and my wins as how I played well. You can see how this is very negative to growth and a way to give yourself a false perception of how “good” you actually are. Hearthstone is a game where the most consistent players are the best. Playing under pressure is also important if you make it far in a tournament or a high rank on ladder. These are the most crucial times to make sure you are prepared for. Every player has something they can improve on and it doesn’t make any sense to ignore it. I used to only play decks in tournaments if I could get to top 100 on ladder with the deck. Now that isn’t the best way, but it was a confidence builder. There is a reason one player consistently finishes high on ladder and in tournaments while another may have won one tournament but doesn’t have many other accomplishments.
You Will Lose
The most important thing for myself in Hearthstone is taking the mentality that I deserve losses, because it gives me the drive to practice said matchups or learning the deck I lost to. Once you remove the things that harm your growth and mental state, it will help you arguably get better results than being at the highest skill level. You may be the best player in the world, but if you tilt during tournament series or on ladder and whine on social media about the reasons you lost, that:
- Makes you look like you don’t respect the game
- Hinders your future growth
- May cause you to ignore the real areas that need practice and improvement
If you lose round one of a tournament and make it to the top 4 in another, why did that happen? After all, how can you ever think you are a top level player if you never practice, try different decks/cards, or respect the level of skill Hearthstone really requires?
I go by “LBYS” in game and I love playing Hearthstone, pushing myself to play the best I can. These were just a few things I saw the majority of the community doing wrong. There are still tons of things I have to improve on and that I do not do perfectly. I am very active on twitter if you want to shoot me a question or comment about this article. Understand that this is entirely subjective and I look forward to your thoughts. As for streaming, I’ll be more active after the NA Preliminaries on the 20th.