Hearthstone is a free to play collectible card game which has been created and developed by Blizzard Entertainment and was officially released in March 2014. It is based on the characters and items which were present in World of Warcraft. The game revolves around four main types of cards: weapon cards, spell cards, minion cards and hero cards. With each card a player can do a specific action in the game.
In an eSports Hearthstone tournament matches are played between two players who play against each other. They can choose one of nine Warcraft classes, and then use their cards to cast spells, use weapons, and summon minions. If they reduce the enemy hero's health to zero, they win. What makes the game so interesting though is the strategic use of cards.
Cards themselves can be obtained in many different ways including expansions, levelling heroes, defeating bosses, Tavern Brawls, completing quests and adventures, and so on. Currently there are 1324 cards which are available for players to collect. In addition to these, there are also many cards which cannot be collected and are limited to boss encounters or Tavern Brawls. These cards appear in the game, but cannot be used by players.
Let’s explain the four main types of cards in Hearthstone and the roles they play in order to better understand how the game works. We’ll start with the minion cards. Minions are permanent creatures which will always fight for their hero on the battlefield. They can be summoned to attack the opponent’s minions or to protect their hero with melee attacks until the minion is destroyed. They are the most often encountered card and are responsible for most of the damage in the game.
Next in number are the spell cards, and as their name implies, they are used to put into motion an ability or an action which is described on the card such as a Cobra Shot, Feral Spirit, Mortal Coil, Pyroblast or something else.
Third in terms of number are hero cards. When they are played they replace the player’s hero and in doing so they also replace the previous hero’s power with a new one, specific for the new hero. The player also gains a small amount of armour, but keeps the current health.
The last card in Hearthstone is the weapon card. Each hero can only actively use one weapon card at a time. The list of weapon cards includes cards such as Trusilver Champion, Cursed Blade, Glaivezooka, Death’s Bite, Doomhammer and so on.
As with any other sport event, Hearthstone matches and tournaments are always an enticing option for betting enthusiasts. The most popular bets are usually the match winner ones, but punters are also given the chance to bet on futures or outright bets as well as betting specials.
The match winner betting market is fairly simple. For example, let’s say that Pavel is playing DrHippi in the Hearthstone World Championship final. You, as a punter, have an option to choose from one of the two players. If you think that Pavel is the better player you can place your money on the ‘Pavel to win’ market and wait for the final outcome of the match. If Pavel wins, you will win too.
It is common practice to back the favourite in this market as he will come with a higher chance of making you profitable. However, please take into consideration that not always the favourite wins the match, and that sometimes an underdog can spring a surprise or two in a tournament.
In fact, the example that we just used above, actually happened, and was from Hearthstone's biggest tournament at BlizzCon. Pavel was one of the underdogs of the tournament and no one expected him to even record a victory, let alone win the tournament. However, to everyone’s astonishment, he did just that. He was an underdog which defeated everyone who came his way and managed to do it in style.
In addition to the match winner market, Hearthstone punters also have the option to bet on the futures or outright winner markets. For example, if you think that DrHippi is going to get to the final of the Hearthstone World Championship, then you can back him in the ‘To Get to the Final’ futures market. If you feel that he also has a chance to win the tournament this year, then you can also back him in another futures market and that is ‘To Win the Hearthstone World Championship’. These futures or outright markets are particularly interesting for punters in the build up to a major tournament, because they increase the anticipation and excitement for the event.
When you are betting and wagering, the goal is not just to have fun, but also to win some money. To do so, you need to adhere to several specific strategies which you are going to follow even when the going gets tough and when you start to go on a losing run. Having a strategy in place is always helpful as it will take your mind of the fact that you are either going to win or lose your money and instead help you focus on the analytical and tactical sides of betting.
Betting on Hearthstone is a little trickier than betting on other eSports games as it requires knowledge not just of the game itself, but also of the styles of play of the players you are betting on or against. This means that understanding how the game is played is a must for any aspiring Hearthstone punter. You must know what effect certain cards will have on a specific situation and what to expect in future hands as well. This is because Hearthstone is more of a strategy game than a game of luck and you should spend some time playing the game yourself so that you can understand not just the basics, but also the ins and outs of many different game situations. The time that you invest in playing the game will definitely pay off in the future when you try to make some profit by wagering on it.
After you have understood all the nuts and bolts of Hearthstone, you can proceed to analyzing how a certain player acts in a certain situation. A good example of the importance of this tactic is analyzing Pavel’s game at the Hearthstone World Championship. After the tournament has run its course people started comparing how lucky each of the players was. It turned out that Pavel got actually less lucky than most of the other players, but that he managed to capitalize on his lucky events to such an extent that they made him a Hearthstone World Champion. Through this type of analysis you can see whether a player will use a lucky hand when he gets it or will he fail to make something of it. Knowing how a player will act in a certain situation is often the difference between winning and losing a bet.
The first Hearthstone World Championship took place at BlizzCon in 2014, and it had a prize pot of $250 thousand. The Hearthstone World Championship quickly gathered a mass following and became the largest Hearthstone tournament in the world. In it the 16 best players from around the world battle for a share of the $1 million prize pool, and the prestigious title of being a World Champion.
There are also other Hearthstone tournaments around the world which are not branded as official Blizzard events. These include events which are hosted and organized by Major League Gaming, StarLadder and ESL. All Hearthstone tournaments are very exciting and very often lesser known player can defeat a favourite, thus making the tournament more interesting and giving punters the chance to make an instant profit.
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