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Hearthstone slang part 5: Deckbuilding

Our exploration of Hearthstone terminology continues with a set of words often used while describing the deckbuilding process.

Archetype

Hearthstone has only nine playable classes, but that does not mean there are only nine decks that could be built with them. Your Archetype is the emphasis that is put in a particular aspect of the class and building an entire strategy around it. For example, an Odd Paladin is a deck utilising the power of Baku the Mooneater and relying on tons of Silverhand Recruits to overwhelm the opponent. A different archetype would be a Murloc Paladin – one that relies on the fishy creatures to buff each other and overpower the enemy minions.  

Mana curve

This one is thrown around a lot, especially when talking about the Arena mode. You Mana curve is the distribution of cards in the deck based on their mana cost. It is extremely important to have a good Mana curve, as you want to play cards every turn and always have options. If your Mana curve is too heavy, meaning you have tons of expensive cards, while packing lots of power, you will lose most games, because you won’t be able to keep up with your opponent in the early game. On the flip side, if you run nothing but 1-mana minions, you will do great during turns 1-3, but as soon as your opponent plays an AoE Removal spell, the game is over for you. Having variety is always key.  

X-Drop

Another term coming from Magic: The Gathering, this is just a fancy word for a card’s cost. A '2-drop' is a minion that costs 2 mana. Using words like ‘6-drop’ is useful while talking about Mana curves.

Even & Odd

People talk about this hot new mechanic a lot because it was introduced with the latest expansion, The Witchwood. Even and Odd refers to decks who only have Odd-cost or Even-cost cards. With the inclusion of either Baku the Mooneater, or Genn Greymane, an Even- or Odd-only deck receives a massive advantage and entire strategies revolve around this choice.

Reno

‘Reno’ decks utilise a very specific tactic – playing Reno Jackson and healing back to your starting health. This way your opponent has wasted most of their resources to deal huge amounts of damage and all their efforts are undone in a single turn. Reno decks were way more prominent back when the card was still in Standard, but the term caught on and is still used from time to time even while talking about other decks that achieve similar results or rely on similar strategy to win.

Zoo

Zoo is a specific type of aggressive deck archetype. They rely on building an army of cheap minions and then winning the game through sheer pressure and board control. A Zoo deck would take advantage of cards such as Knife Juggler, Defender of Argus and Sea Giant to outnumber and destroy the opponent.

Next time we'll be discussing the phases of Hearthstone games. Stay tuned!