Every regular Hearthstone player knows these kinds of situations. Luck is an essential part of all card games, and Hearthstone is not excluded. These exact circumstances are bound to happen at some point, and they can often times start something that all players of all games fear and hate: Tilting.
The terminology behind “tilting” was introduced by the Poker community; however, the word itself has origins in the game of Pinball, where the Pinball machine will freeze the flipper arms if you try to physically influence the ways of the ball. In today’s use, the term describes the feeling of frustration and loss of control and strategy while on a bad streak. The second characteristic, in particular, drives players into the down-spiraling abyss of losing star after star just because they want to end the inevitable losing streak, without recognizing that they're actually playing worse and worse.
This leads to many players being afraid to rank up in competitive play. The changes to rank thresholds at Rank 20, 15, 10 and 5 made things more bearable, but it is still very frustrating to lose a lot in Blizzard’s very binary ranking system.
In general, a proper tilt can influence many different aspects of Hearthstone in a negative way. But how can you identify and fix these negative aspects in your gameplay?
Trust the Numbers
When looking at single events, luck can do terrible damage to your mindset. The isolated probability behind a devastating draw only adds insult to injury. A one in sixteen chance for you opponent to draw the right card? Ridiculous. But keep in mind, statistically, the other fifteen times the lucky draw will not hit and you will win the game. Of course it is hard to keep that viewpoint after an emotional loss; however, it will let you focus on the upcoming games.
Know the Matchups
Matchup knowledge is just as important as composure regarding bad luck. Every single deck in Hearthstone has both good and bad matchups. It is easy to get tilted over a loss, regardless of matchup.
Think about Control Mage versus Quest Rogue. The common conception about the Quest Rogue archetype is that it beats every control deck. Taking a closer look at the matchup, however, Control Mage has all the tools to stretch out the game with Freeze effects and Ice Blocks. During that time it will normally draw enough burn to finish off the Rogue. In reality, a lot of games between these two decks may look incredibly close, because the Mage often seems to pull out that magical last burn card. However, it is vital information for the Quest Rogue player that this scenario can and will happen quite often, and being prepared for these devastating top decks can save you from a bad tilt.
Also, a swift look on the statistics of these particular matchups can help to ease the pain as well and will get you right back on track. In that regard, tracking software like Hearthstone Deck Tracker can completely change your view on the game as a whole.
Stick With Decks
A lot of players tend to make the deck they are playing accountable for a loss. While it is important to read the daily meta and adjust to it by changing decks from time to time, it is just as important to keep on going with a deck that seems to be losing nonstop. There are always exceptions to the rule, but overcoming a losing streak with a particular deck means so much more than randomly winning a bunch of games with many different decks.
After many wins and losses with a deck, the learning curve gets more and more opaque. However, experience in special scenarios like a losing streak is highly valuable; it lets you identify your mistakes better and faster in the long run. A great example in that regard is any type of Freeze Mage deck. During countless games against aggro decks like Pirate Warrior or Zoo Warlock, Freeze Mage players only learn by losing to these aggro decks how and when to make the “winning” and not the “not losing” play such as using burn for face damage instead of board clear.
Analyze the Match
Most of the times it is very convenient to tell yourself that this one unlucky draw decided the match you just lost. But was it really the only reason? Did you play perfectly throughout the whole game to that point? Replays are not only a great way of answering these questions and analyzing your play but also to stop the tilt in its beginnings.
Of course, you can’t take a break between every game to reconsider each and every decision if you want to grind out a proper ladder session. What you can do though is to ask yourself the same few key questions over and over again:
How did my mulligan affect the game?
Did I try to play for my win condition?
Did I try to play against the opponent’s win condition?
The answers to these questions will most likely result in you learning something from the game, may it be win or loss, and it also gives you the opportunity to be rightfully mad! Not because of a random top deck or card effect, but rather because of your own misplays. And that is totally fine since you can and will fix these mistakes in the long run.
Take a Break
But in the end, whether you keep asking the right questions or not, there will come the time when you tilt eventually. At that time you need to take a break. But you don’t even have to stop playing Hearthstone; get into your old Arena run or test out your Alarm-o-Bot deck in Wild.
Just try to get your mind onto something else for a couple of minutes. From a psychological aspect that is all you need to recover from this condition. If you follow our tips and identify the bad signs of an incoming tilt early enough, no bad draw and no devastating RNG will stop your climb up the ladder!