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I ran into a typical Hearthstone strategy problem which is quite common, whether to kill an enemy minion with hero ability or my own unit. The problem is especially tricky because the enemy has a secret. Here is the situation:

Hearthstone stategy problem

So, here we have the situation:

Board:
   Mage vs Mage, 3 mana
   White has 1-3 (Mana Wyrm, +1 to damage on spell use)
   Black has 2-1, 4-3 and a Secret
White's hand:
   Coin
   2-2-2 Kobold Geomancer (spell buff)
   3-1-4 Dalaran Mage (spell buff)
   4-3-6 Water Elemental (tank)
   6-6-6 Phoros (legendary)
   4---- Cone of Cold (freezes + damage)
   4---- Polymorph (removal)

I am playing White, what should I do? At the time I considered that I had two options:

  1. Use Coin, kill the 2-1 with the Mana Wyrm, and play the Water Elemental.

  2. Use Coin, Kill the 2-1 with the Hero Ability, sacrifice Mana Wyrm to reduce 4-3 to 4-2, Play Kobold Geomancer.

I opted for #1, however, when I played the Coin it turned out to be Counterspell, so the Coin was lost. Therefore, I changed my plan, and killed the 2-1 with the Mana Wyrm, and played the Dalaran Mage. Black used a Cone of Cold, got board domination and went on to win. Did I screw up here?

There are couple of key questions:

  1. Is it better to kill with Hero Ability or a minion?

  2. Is playing the Coin against a potential Counterspell correct, or should a different spell be used?

In retrospect, I think the best move should have been:

  1. use Coin
  2. kill 2-1 with Hero Ability
  3. drop 4-3 to 4-2 by sacrificing 1-3

This leaves the Dalaran Mage in my hand, but reduces the 4-3, so I can kill it later with a Cone of Cold / Hero combination later.

  • 2
    We still don't use meta tags. – Frank Jul 26 '17 at 15:37
  • No you didn't screw up. The only thing you could have done differently in this situation was use the coin first to test for counterspell because you could have reacted differently had that been the case. – FoxMcCloud Jul 26 '17 at 17:21
  • Are you playing standard or wild format? If this is Wild, you have to take into account that the secret might trigger upon Black losing a unit. – freekvd Jul 28 '17 at 12:28
  • @freekvd This is standard. – Tyler Durden Jul 28 '17 at 12:29
7

It's rarely ever optimal to sacrifice your units unless you're removing something from your opponent's side of the board. They can bounce their minion back to their hand, buff it, or heal it and your plan would be ruined. So with that in mind, we remove attacking the 4/3 from the equation.

None of your plays on 3 mana are very good (the 1/4 dies easily to the 4/3), so it's a good time to use the coin. However, the secret might be Mirror Image, so you don't want to play a strong minion into it. Of course, you need to take into account that it might be counterspell and have a backup plan.

  • If the coin works you could choose to test for Mirror Image by playing the Kobold Geomancer. If it gets duplicated, you can kill it with the Mana Wyrm (buffed from the coin) and you can use the 2 floating mana to fireblast the 2/1.
  • Alternatively, you could play Cone of Cold and attack the Wyrm into the 4/2. The spell buffs will allow your 1-mana minon to kill the 3-mana Kirin Tor Mage and leave a clear board.
  • If your spell gets countered, you can have a 1/1 and a 2/2 by attacking the Wyrm into the 2/1 and playing Geomancer or you can just have a 1/3 by fireblasting the 2/1. The 1/3 is weak against the 4/3 (if it attacks, you can't finish it off with fireblast), so I would opt for playing the Geomancer.
  • I am having a little trouble understanding your answer because it confuses multiple-turn strategy with what to do in the current turn. In general, everybody seems to think using the coin is correct, I guess because it is better to lose the coin than to lose Cone of Cold or some other higher cost spell. What is the mana value of the coin? Is it like a 2-mana spell or a 3-mana spell? – Tyler Durden Jul 26 '17 at 19:45
  • @TylerDurden This isn't a multi-turn strategy - this suggestion only applies to this turn. You have different options at your disposal and there isn't necessarily a "right" answer, but you have to think ahead and analyze your opponent's response options to make the "best" decision. You also have to have plans for the different situations that arise based on which secret your opponent used. – Chase Sandmann Jul 26 '17 at 19:58
  • There is no way to play Cone of Cold because White only has 3 mana and a Counterspell will prevent the Coin. – Tyler Durden Jul 26 '17 at 20:26
  • You don't know when planning the turn that the secret will be Counterspell. The Cone of Cold play is better than a play that only uses 3 mana, so you try to make the best play with the knowledge that you have a backup option if it doesn't work. – Chase Sandmann Jul 26 '17 at 20:41
  • Okay, well I played the coin, which was apparently the right move. I killed the 2-1 with the minion, which you also agree with. So, you think using the hero ability would have been the wrong move. I moved out the Dalaran Mage, but you would have moved out the Geomancer and wasted a mana. What is your thinking there? The Geomancer is more expendable? If you are planning to get the minion killed, why not just keep it in hand? If we keep it in hand and use the Hero Ability, then we can take a point off of Black with the Wyrm, PLUS the Wyrm stays at full health. – Tyler Durden Jul 27 '17 at 0:04

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