Hearthstone Decision Making Checklist



Hearthstone Decision Making Checklist by ghaskan

Hello everyone,

Today I was doing some house cleaning and came across a few notes I made during a climb to Legend I made in the past. Among them was a comprehensive list of questions I made that I would use occasionally as reference for learning purposes. Hopefully someone finds this to be an useful complement (or alternative) to other available checklists. Obviously, this is not useable in every single game, and you probably want to limit its usage to one game per day or so; I’d imagine it’s more useful for analyzing VODs (including your own replays) with the help of the pause function.


Start of the match

  1. What is my win condition? How can I win against the deck my opponent is most likely to be playing?If possible, observe your opponent’s mulligan first to gather more information. A simple but important bit of information that you can obtain from this step is how good their hand is. For example, against a Hunter who keeps their whole hand, you should brace yourself for an explosive and aggressive start.
  2. Do I need to win, or do I need not to lose? Which cards do I need to accomplish the role I assigned to myself?It is not always easy, but the earlier you can determine if you need to play to win (to be the aggressor) or play not to lose (to be the control player), the more likely you are to win. If you are playing Control Warrior versus Hunter, you will most likely want your early removal to survive their aggression. However, determining your role at the mulligan phase is rarely this easy; still, knowing what decks are popular at any given time will give you an upper hand.
  3. After the mulligan phase, and now that I know the cards that are in my starting hand, what is my initial game plan? What is my opponent’s possible game plan based on the information I inferred during the mulligan? How should I change my initial game plan in order to either counter or play around theirs?

During the match

General Considerations

  1. Check for lethal. Consider if the opponent might have lethal soon.
  2. What’s my best play during this turn?
  • What is the opponent’s game plan like during each turn? Are they being the control player or the aggressor?
  • Do I want to play for tempo or for value?
  • Can I (or do I want to) clear the board?
    • If yes, does that leave me in a good spot, or will I spend too many resources?
    • If no, how much can my opponent screw me over with their current board versus mine?
  • What cards do I need to play around considering how the board state will be next turn? Do I want to bait out those specific cards?For example, consider if your plan so far involves leaving a board full of 4 health minions versus a Mage’s turn 7, unless you can recover effectively from Flamestrike. In that case, maybe you are fine with giving the Mage a 3-for-1, especially if any of those minions already traded with another one to get one Flamestrike out of the way…
  • What can I do to disrupt my opponent’s turn?Continuing the turn 7 Flamestrike example, having minions with more than 4 HP will make the deal seem much worse for the Mage, or you could play Loatheb and deny most removal (and/or burst) outright.
  • Which minions/spells do I want to develop this turn after considering all of the above? After defining my play, in what order do I need to play my cards?You should give priority to RNG effects: if you are going to draw a card, do it right away; if your play depends on a juggle hit, get the effect off first of all; etc.

If you and your opponent are even…

  1. Take calculated risks, especially in unfavoured matchups or if you find yourself playing the role of aggressor.
  2. When you are the control player, do your best to stop the aggressor while keeping your health high enough (doubly important if they might have burn left in their deck), so that you can turn the game around when they run of steam.
  3. If you are the aggressor, consider how you can win before the opponent stops your aggression. You will want to take risks more often than when playing control, or else you might just lose.You want to keep the armor of that Control Warrior low, you certainly do not want to play into a Priest’s Circle of Healing + Auchenai combo, and it might be best to save removal for their big threats if possible to buy you time to dish in that last amount of damage and close the game. DENY DRAWS!! It’s always important, but doubly so in this case. Don’t let the control player find answers, unless you are very confident that you can close out the game soon.

If things go south…

  1. Can I survive next turn?Even if you cannot, avoid pressing the concede button. Perhaps your opponent will miss lethal.
  2. If yes, what are the outs that will help me turn the game around?It does not matter if it’s something that will buy you more time to slowly shift the situation like a heal or a taunt, or a combo piece that will win you the game outright.
  3. How can I play in order to maximize those outs?Prepare that 1/10 lethal. Trade as much as you can while preserving your health if you need to buy another turn or two. Even if the game looks lost, you never know if your opponent’s next draws will be much worse than yours!

If things are looking good…

  1. Play around chances that might turn the game around in your opponent’s favour.Don’t play into Mind Control Tech. Avoid board clears more aggressively even if your opponent would not usually have them (for example, Flamestrike in Mech Mage). If your opponent is topdecking, think about which cards they might draw and avoid the worst case scenario – if you can, taunt up to avoid that win-stealing Leeroy, use healing to keep yourself out of Pyroblast range, etc.
  2. With those considerations in mind, try to win ASAP.You don’t want to give your opponent enough time to turn the game around by topdecking Deathwing.

After the match

  1. Analyze replays. Focus on finding what you did well on, and what needs improving.
  • Which plays went well? Why did they go well? Were they the best play? Or were you just lucky that they were good plays in a particular case?
  • Which plays had poor results? What was the best play in that case? Was the best play a good play in the context of the match?
  • Which seemingly bad plays turned out to be good in this match, and why? Maybe those “bad” plays are actually good in the scenarios you performed them at!
  • Which seemingly good plays turned out to be bad in this match, and why? Maybe those “good” plays are actually bad in the scenarios you performed them at.
  1. If possible, try to have someone else look at the replays so that your decisions can be analyzed from a fresh perspective.

TL;DR

Presented as is, the above wall of text might not come across as a checklist. However, since its purpose was to aid me in thinking hard during a couple matches a day to improve my play, I thought it was important to explain everything as much as possible to myself. However, by taking only the bits I bolded, we obtain something much closer to a checklist, albeit still somewhat long…

Start of the match

  1. What is my win condition? How can I win against the deck my opponent is most likely to be playing?
  2. Do I need to win, or do I need not to lose? Which cards do I need to accomplish the role I assigned to myself?
  3. After the mulligan phase, and now that I know the cards that are in my starting hand, what is my initial game plan? What is my opponent’s possible game plan based on the information I inferred during the mulligan? How should I change my initial game plan in order to either counter or play around theirs?

During the match

General Considerations

  1. Check for lethal. Consider if the opponent might have lethal soon.
  2. What’s my best play during this turn?To consider: your current beatdown role; if you want to go for tempo or value; the state of the board before and after the turn; which cards to play around; how to potentially disrupt the opponent’s next turn; what you want to play; in what order your need to play your cards.

If you and your opponent are even…

  1. Take calculated risks, especially in unfavoured matchups or if you find yourself playing the role of aggressor.
  2. When you are the control player, do your best to stop the aggressor and turn the game around.
  3. If you are the aggressor, consider how you can win before the opponent stops your aggression.

If things go south…

  1. Can I survive next turn?
  2. If yes, what are the outs that will help me turn the game around?
  3. How can I play in order to maximize those outs?

If things are looking good…

  1. Play around chances that might turn the game around in your opponent’s favour.
  2. With those considerations in mind, try to win ASAP.

After the match

  1. Analyze replays. Focus on finding what you did well on, and what needs improving.Determine why certain plays went well and why others didn’t. Try to discover if a play you thought was bad might actually be good, and vice versa.
  2. If possible, try to have someone else look at the replays so that your decisions can be analyzed from a fresh perspective.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully I did not goof up the content and formatting too much! Feel free to call out anything in the comments, since the objective of this guide is to help fellow players improve.

Other Hearthstone Articles
Hearthstone How to Practice Effectively Guide
Hearthstone Pirate Warrior In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Old Gods Ultimate Control Warrior Guide
Hearthstone N’zoth Renolock Rank 1 Legend Deck Guide
Hearthstone Yogg Tempo Mage Legendary Deck Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior Ultimate Guide
Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Guide 2016
Hearthstone Face Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Malygos Freeze Mage Guide
Hearthstone Fatigue Warrior Guide
Hearthstone Mill Rogue In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Legend Illuminator Freeze Mage Deck
Hearthstone Legend Midrange Secret Paladin Deck
Hearthstone Arena Detailed Guide
Hearthstone Decision Making Checklist
Hearthstone Competitive Guide for Casual Players
Hearthstone How to Hit Legend Guide
Hearthstone Playing Around Secrets in Arena Guide
Hearthstone Crafting and Deck Guide for New Players
Hearthstone Attacking the Right Minion Guide
Hearthstone Arena In-Depth Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Building a Collection Guide
Hearthstone Gang Up Mill Rogue Guide
Hearthstone BRM Wing 1 Heroic Decklists
Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain New Cards
Hearthstone Legend Control Paladin Deck
Hearthstone Oil Rogue Guide
Hearthstone Beginner’s Legendary Crafting Guide
Hearthstone Combo Warlock Guide
Hearthstone GvG Arena Class Tier List
Hearthstone Fatigue Mage Deck
Hearthstone Legend Handlock Deck
Hearthstone Mill Druid Guide
Hearthstone Paladin Buffadin Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Druid Hobgoblin Token Deck
Hearthstone GvG Hand Demon Warlock Deck
Hearthstone Piloted Shredder Analysis
Hearthstone Priest Crazed Alchemist Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Deathrattle Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Rank 1 Legend Druid Deck
Hearthstone Recombobulator Probability Statistics
Hearthstone Getting Legend with Zoo Guide
Hearthstone Handlock Meta Analysis
Hearthstone Voodoo Miracle Rogue Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Naxx Watcher Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Duplicate Freeze Mage Guide
Hearthstone Arena Success Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior with Silence Deck
Hearthstone Freeze Mage Tips
Hearthstone Common Deck Types
Hearthstone Shaman Detailed Legendary Guide
Hearthstone Deathrattle Priest Legend Guide
Hearthstone No Leeory Zoolock Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Handlock Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Crafting and Disenchanting Guide
Hearthstone Deck Types Overview
Hearthstone Naxx Watcher Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Legend Zoo Anti Hunter Guide
Hearthstone Midrange Hunter Mirror Match Guide
Hearthstone Midrange Priest Anti Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Full Aggro Face Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Control Priest Legendary Guide
Hearthstone Naxx Control Warrior Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Senpai Shaman Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Deck Building Guide
Hearthstone Naxxramas Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Arena Basics Guide
Hearthstone Naxx Tempo Rogue Deck
Hearthstone Haunted Creeper Midrange Hunter Deck
Hearthstone No Combo Ramp Druid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Naxxramas Zoo Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Naxxramas Wing 1 Heroic Strategy
Hearthstone Naxxramas Arachnid Quarter Meta Guide
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo Strategy Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Wisp Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Fast Ramp Druid Guide
Hearthstone Aggro Freeze Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo in Arena Guide
Hearthstone Paladin F2P Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Becoming Legend Guide
Hearthstone Mage Budget Aggro Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Arena Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Tempo Warrior Top 50 Legend Deck
Hearthstone Basic Tempo Rogue Zero Dust Deck
Hearthstone Tempo Rogue Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Card Ideas
Hearthstone Beating Freeze Mages Guide
Hearthstone Druid Midrange Ramp Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Glossary of Terms
Hearthstone Life, Card Advantage and Tempo
Hearthstone Enable Play History and Logging
Hearthstone Automatic Deck Tracker
Hearthstone Control Paladin Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Terms and Concepts
Hearthstone Cards to Dust Immediately List
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Matchups Analysis
Hearthstone Mage Competitive Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Aggro Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Detailed Matchup Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Murlocs Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Power Overwhelming Rush Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Budget Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Top 10 Arena Mistakes
Hearthstone Rogue Aggro Mill Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Combo Deck
Hearthstone Improving Your Game Guide
Hearthstone Legendaries Crafting Guide
Hearthstone Warlock Aggro Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Deathwing Ramp Druid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Priest Hybrid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Druid Mill Miracle Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Weapons Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Druid Token Legendary Rank Cheap Deck
Hearthstone Paladin Rush Legendary Ranked Deck
Hearthstone Deck Strategies for Beginners
Hearthstone Rogue Malygos Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Tempo Shaman Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Legend Rank F2P Deck
Hearthstone Anti-Hunter Priest Deck
Hearthstone Aggro Mage Guide
Hearthstone Amaz Legendary Priest Deck Guide
Hearthstone Rush Priest Guide
Hearthstone Druid Ramp/Roar Deck Guide
Hearthstone Fireside Cardback Easy with Evolve or Tunngle
Hearthstone Gaara Dreamhack Druid Ramp Deck
Hearthstone Mid-Range Hunter Guide
Hearthstone Hunter Turn 7 Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Priest Blast Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Control Warrior Guide
Hearthstone Druid Legendary Rank No Taunt Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Rank 10 Easy Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Important Tips
Hearthstone Beginner’s Tips
Hearthstone Aggro Priority Targeting Strategy
Hearthstone Warrior Rank 4 Budget Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Enrage Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Rank 5 Budget Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Rank 5 No Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Rank 1 Control Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 10 No Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 3 Seven Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 5 Deck
Hearthstone Priest Rush Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Terms and Mechanics List
Hearthstone Warlock Masters Deck
Hearthstone Druid Masters Deck
Hearthstone Druid Legendary Ranked Deck
Hearthstone Mage Enrage AOE Deck
Hearthstone How to Win Guide
Hearthstone New Player’s Guide
Hearthstone All Achievements and Quests Guide
Hearthstone Priest Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Priority Guide
Hearthstone Merloc Rank 1 Warlock Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Basics Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 3 Aggro Deck
Hearthstone Starter’s First Steps Guide
Hearthstone Newbie Tips
Hearthstone Basic Cards Rating and Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 5 Deck Guide
Hearthstone Frost Giant Mage Deck
Hearthstone Arena Drafting Guide
Hearthstone Golden Soulbound Cards List
Hearthstone Mage Burn Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Bloodlust Summoner Deck
Hearthstone Free Player’s Guide
Hearthstone Arena Card Pick Guide
Hearthstone Druid Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Mage Master 3 Decklist
Hearthstone Budget Player’s Guide
Hearthstone Secrets List and Guide
Hearthstone Tips and Terminology
Hearthstone Starter’s Guide
Hearthstone Legendaries Guide
Hearthstone Suicide Warlock Competitive Deck
Hearthstone Quests and Daily Quests List
Hearthstone Official FAQ
Hearthstone General Guide to Card Games
Hearthstone F2P Guide
Hearthstone Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Playstyles Basic Guide
Hearthstone Thrall Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Card Advantage Guide
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Deck
Hearthstone Paladin One Shot Deck
Hearthstone Priest Control Two Star Master Deck
Hearthstone Basic Only Decks List
Hearthstone Paladin Control Masters Deck
Hearthstone Leveling System Rewards List
Hearthstone Beginner’s FAQ
Hearthstone Crafting Introduction
Hearthstone Game Modes Introduction
Hearthstone Class Tier List
Hearthstone Cards Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Warrior Useful Cards Guide
Hearthstone Basic Info Guide
Hearthstone Hero Tactics Guide
Hearthstone Warrior Basic Tips
Hearthstone Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Arena Guide


Leave a Reply