Saturday, June 7, 2014

Asynchronous Drafting in Hearthstone

This will be my last Hearthstone post for a while, I promise!

As someone who has a fair amount of interest in the Limited format from Magic the Gathering, I was intrigued to see just how the Arena worked in Hearthstone. It's pretty similar, at least conceptually. You draft cards from among several choices each pick, then once your deck is complete, you play out matches against opponent's with a similar record.

In practice, there are some pretty big differences between Limited Magic and Hearthstone Arena:
  • In Hearthstone, there are no packs. Instead, each pick is made from only three possibilities. Further, for each pick you make, the three choices are all of the same rarity.
  • In Hearthstone, there is no deckbuilding. You draft exactly 30 cards, and play all of them in your deck. In some ways, this makes drafting a bit more stressful, since it's much harder to make adjustments mid-draft.
  • In Hearthstone, you continue to be pairing against an opponent with a similar record until you've accumulated either 12 wins or 3 losses.
  • Finally, prizes are determined by the number of wins you accumulate, and you don't get to keep any of the cards you draft.
But the most significant difference between them is the fact that Hearthstone Arena is asynchronous. There are no time limits at all during any point in the draft. You could literally stop at any point in the process and come back whenever you want and continue. You can even play other game modes in Hearthstone while the draft is ongoing. Furthermore, even once your draft is complete, there is no limit as to how long it takes you to play out your matches. You could space them out over any length of time you wish, as long as you stay within the time restrictions of each game.

As someone whose biggest obstacle to Limited play is having large blocks of time available, this time flexibility is by far my favorite part. Obviously, with the way that drafting works, this sort of asynchronous play is impossible. But wouldn't it be a great option?


  1. I got so wrecked, lost 2 in a row then won 1... decided to retire with the 1 win just to see what I'd get... got 50 gold & a pack, so pretty cool actually since that equals the entry cost of the arena :D will be drafting again soon!

  2. Glad you're enjoying it! The Arena does seem to be pretty good value, when you compare it to simply buying more packs of cards.