Hearthstone and the Importance of Psychology

Techniques to Increase Your Mental Traits Through Practice

In a sport like sprinting you can easily understand what separates the good players from the average. They are bigger, faster and stronger and this is obvious. However, in sports, work and even in games played with friends, the psychology of our decision making plays a decisive role. For example, in a multi-hour Hearthstone tournament, staying focused is very critical to winning. Even the methodology you follow for decision-making causes brain-fatigue that constantly tests your mental stamina. Many of these skills are abilities we develop and practice with the assistance of a coach. In Hearthstone a coach can help us develop the techniques to maintain a clear view during games and long tournaments. A coach can help the player with the following skills: drive to achieve, self-control, productive thinking and self-esteem. We need to understand that in e-sports as in sports, improving mental abilities in combination with practice clearly produces much better results than simply learning to how play. Understanding basic psychology can be used to help develop our mental abilities such as relaxation, goal definition, goal mapping, performance evaluation, and self-encouragement.

Applying Psychology to Hearthstone

Many professional players use coaches to help them learn the ‘’secrets’’ of the game and succeed. Mental abilities grow in a beautiful way through discipline, as all people use their minds to decide how they can achieve what they want. You might want to learn how to play just one deck or to learn to play all the decks. However, most likely you have the same goal, for example, to get Legend. The key to success is not that you played Murloc Paladin instead of CubeLock, but good psychological conditioning in cooperation with your knowledge of the game and the consistent time spending. E-Sports and surely Hearthstone require a high frequency of mental practice. You may not need the reflexes required to play League of Legends or Halo, but the intensive self-focus to play the right cards in a minute and a half is a must. Moreover, imagery and clear view are needed, so you can read the game correctly to lead you to victory.

One misplay, or even a defeat, can be enough to cause intense anxiety and anger however, with methods of relaxation and self-talking, you will be able to come back. Of course, every coach has their own method in order to help the player no matter the possible outcome, but it’s difficult to declare one procedure or method as ‘’the correct one’’. We should not overlook the fact that in talking about Esports, we are talking about a new field. The teams and situations are still in the growth stages in terms of organization. Teams and professionals play the game looking for ways to achieve their goals as quickly as possible and coaches are simply veterans of the game who have a supporting role. The recipe to success hasn’t changed, it comes through practice.

Having the Right Mentality

Personally, I think that when you play Hearthstone, you shouldn’t play against a computer but against someone else. This kind of practice and especially in the context of tournaments with hundreds of people will affect your thinking and your performance. So, I believe that even if many argue against it, player psychology must be taken seriously. For example, Once I had a student, and it was time to play his first Tavern Hero. Despite all the preparation we made together, this time he would go to play alone among other people. He used to tell me that he would be stressed and would forget everything we practiced. I advised him to go and enjoy the event, meet some people and just play cards. I also said that if he was anxious what he should play first, he could play Jade Druid, where you usually mulligan for ramp versus every match-up.  

Questions to Ask Yourself

Ask yourselves, how many times do you lose a game and immediately lose the motivation to play more? Are you sure that reaching legend is what you really want? How many times have you been scared to play a card instead of another? What is your reaction to losing? Does it affect your performance in the next match you play?  How often do you call yourself unlucky because of a bad hand without asking if you played it well? I am sure that even the best players ask themselves these questions.

The main thing is that all these questions have nothing to do with your personal knowledge, they have nothing to do with the cards you have, they have nothing to do with your rank but have everything to do with psychology and your state of mind. Firstly, you need to think what is your ambition in the game and how many things can you sacrifice to achieve that. An average player plays exactly the same game as a more experienced one. Both of them feel the same excitement when they win and the same disappointment when they lose and at the end of the day both of them are playing a game. Don’t try to get Legend, try to get better. This is the correct way of thinking.

Methods You Can Follow

I’m no professional psychologist; however, I have invested time studying basic psychology to help me and my students practice the right mentality while playing Hearthstone. I don’t sit students down for concentration tests, instead, I always measure consistency. You don’t have to play a lot but your downtime has to be more involved with the game. You may practice six hours a day, not play the next and practice at a different time on the following. This is really inconsistent and you can’t reliably track your performance. In order to become a consistent player, you don’t need to spend hours playing Hearthstone. You can watch streams, you can watch replays from deck tracker or play with friends. If your sport was lifting weights, you would never be able to lift weights 10 hours a day, but you need to be consistent in your workout hours, diet and many other related things.

The questions I mentioned earlier are ones that all Hearthstone players ask themselves. The problem is that many of them are afraid to ask for fear of people doubting their skill. Some never ask themselves ‘’What shall I do in order to become better’’ because they think they are skilled enough. Sometimes even when we ask ourselves these questions we cannot find an answer. I am sure that many people believe that psychology has nothing to do with Hearthstone because it is just a card game. A more experienced player or coach understands the importance of psychology in developing the right mindset for succeeding and will be able to highlight your shortcomings and assist you in improving them.

Why Basic Understanding of Psychology is Important

Psychology and the understanding of your own mind is important in everything we do, this goes double for gaming. Just imagine playing Hearthstone for several hours only to end in a bad mood after several losses. Often times people will become demoralized by a few losses and no longer wish to play. It’s important to train yourself to not feel this way. You can always become better through study and practice. At the end of the day win or lose, you must enjoy the game. You can be a coach, streamer, player, caster or anything in between but remember, the only thing it matters is your personal enjoyment. To accomplish that; understanding psychology and training yourself to approach the game with the right set of mind is the most important part of playing the game.