View Full Version : [Blog] Draft is pretty scary! Or is it?

06-05-2014, 03:55 PM
Hey Hex fans,

It is nearly 11pm in Ireland and I'm sitting here watching Pentachill's Hex stream, competitive draft. Again. I have spent a lot of time watching someone draft in this game I proudly backed a long, long time ago. I have also watched other guys, Hacky, Neo, Fishmom, Kolokee, Havoc, Errant, Ehlysium... the list goes on and on. I probably spent 100 hours watching other people play the game I'm actually interested in playing myself.

So how much did I play myself you may ask? Less than 5 hours. I played some AI in early Alpha, I opened 7 packs in Beta, I played a friend three times and I did two games over the online match finder. Quite sad isn't it?

In real life I'm a learning and development specialist, my job is to train people, to find out the "why" and assist with the "how" and spark the "more". A huge part of every learning intervention is trial and error, go in there, do mistakes, figure out why those were mistakes, then improve, rinse and repeat until you hit a wall. For some reason though this step feels really hard to do in Hex. I'm in an competitive mindset before I even started.

Every day I deal with people who don't dare going the next step and for the first time in my life, I'm one of them. I find this to be very, very interesting :) I want to tackle it and I'm using an open Forum to do so for two reasons:

1) To experience trial and error
2) Because there are others out there who want but don't dare

Let's start with a self-analysis.

Step 1 - Identify a Need

Every learning intervention starts here. We want something. Do I want to play Hex? Yes I think so, the game looks fun and I had fun playing the few times I did. The community seems nice for the most part and the Witcher 3 won't come out before February 2015.

Fun is a weak reason. Not because it can't be powerful and I'd argue it is essential to achieve true greatness in anything, but because you can argue with fun. "Yes it is fun, but XY is more fun at the moment". I'm not invested in this game too much to rely on fun alone. I'm not a card player, I don't have experience with those games, I backed for shits and giggles and there is little to nothing yet to appeal to people like me.

Fun won't do for me alone. So why bother?


I was very competitive in Sports and Starcraft 2. I have to be in my current job and I love winning. There are not a lot challenges out there at the moment that peak my interest. I need something new and maybe Hex is it. My personal need will be the success of winning a draft. That's it. Nothing more at the moment. 1 Draft Win and then another evaluation. I found my reason and set myself a goal. Important is that you goal needs to fit your needs and that it needs to be achievable in a reasonable amount of time. Stating "I want to be the best" is not a goal but a mission. Goals are short, measurable and project-able.

So anyone who is struggling at getting started, sit down and ponder why you want to play the game, what do YOU want to get out of it. When you know it, set yourself a goal.

Step 2 - Gather Information / Design your approach

I know there is a need and I know I have a goal. How do I reach said goal? First we start by investigating our tools. Let's see.

- 100 hours of stream watching
- A few games vs AI and 2 people

By all rights I don't know anything about this game. I know that I should probably pick a murder and I heard of "BREAD" picks but I only know why streamer X would pick murder, not why it's useful to draft, when to draft it and what to do with it. I could ask but would I really understand? It's not how I work. I'm a pragmatist, I need to get my hands dirty, let theory be for the theorists.

Information level: 0.5

With this information level it would be luck, not knowledge to win a draft, so I need to break down my goal. I need to know draft tools. In order to do that I need to know the cards.

New goal: Learn Cards.

This is too vague, it needs to be measurable. "Learn Ruby cards" sounds more achievable for someone with a tight schedule.

New goal: Learn all ruby cards and create a ranking list of your thoughts about them. Complete it within 2 weeks. (Normally too long but I'm 8 days on holidays starting next Sunday).

Let's summarise.

Overall Goal - Win 1 Draft
Subgoal - Learn Ruby cards and create ranking list
Timeframe: 2 Weeks or earlier.

Looks like I'm set for the first step. I will be back after I can say that I learned Ruby and that I created a list. Step 2 in the making. Wish me luck.

Kind regards,

06-05-2014, 04:02 PM
In case you haven't come across this, here is a good place to start for what you are trying to do:


play the podcast and don't forget to open the spreadsheet.

Go here while you listen and pull up any card you don't know.


For me it is a lot easier to memorize the cards visually than by card names.

P.S. Start with swiss draft. Less prize but guaranteed 3 matches.

06-05-2014, 04:22 PM
Definitely consider swiss, guaranteed 3 matches = good experience :)

06-05-2014, 05:07 PM
I appreciate the post. I am very much in the same mode having not played many TCGs in the past. Wish you the best of luck

06-06-2014, 01:06 PM
When I started playing drafts I thought my results would be disastrous, being new to the game and not an expert in any other TCG. However, I said to myself, I know quite a few cards, I've watched a few streams and videos, let's try!

It has not been that bad! and the more you play, if you identify & learn from your mistakes, the better you'll get.

06-06-2014, 01:08 PM
I only started drafting in alpha (never drafted a TCG before that). Since then I have made huge strides, coming away with several draft wins overall. The best way is to learn the cards, play some constructed to see how people use cards together (hunt for synergy!) and watch others draft.

Then just jump in, because everyone needs a trial by fire! :D

06-06-2014, 01:53 PM
Its the sensation that is Twitch.tv and Youtube and Shoutcasting. A lot of people get the same satisfaction living their life through others. You can feel a false sense of achievement watching your favorite streamer accomplish something live.

There is also the adrenaline phase that can be considered tiring. Where you, the player, jump into the hot seat and have to make decisions that 100% effect whether you win or lose. Witnessing someone else make these decisions can still provide you with a slight adrenaline rush, and takes you out of the picture and...

...Eliminates personal liability. You do not need to put yourself at risk. You are not the one gambling, and you are completely entitled to pause/take-a-break/walk-away/go to sleep. Your engagement is 100% your control when you are not actually playing.

Community - You can share the experiences of streamers with others. You can chat, you can post about it on reddit - There is a feeling of having their achievements shared, that make those achievements more satisfying than your own.

I think we have a luxury now, that is turning us into reality TV junkies, and not allowing us to jump in and create our own experiences. It's a disconnect on a microcosmic level. We escape reality by playing video games... And now we escape the reality of risk in competitive video games, by letting others take them for us.

Get your feet wet, and don't look for validation or inspiration. Create your own.

06-06-2014, 04:17 PM
I have the same background as you Ksbanez. I love our twitch streamers and have easily watched over 100 hours of streams since Alpha began. Yet, I played very very little HEX myself while alpha was going on. I wasn't really interested in playing the game in the state that it was in; half finished, unstable, and buggy.

When beta finally rolled out I was a bit slow in getting my feet wet. Unlike you, I'm not a very competitive person. It was the PvE / MMORPG aspect that really drew me to become a backer. I doubted I would be very good in tournaments.

I have played probably close to 20 tournaments now and finally won my first one last night. Prior to that it seemed like I placed second often but could not break on through to the end. I have come to really like the tournaments and admit that I am slightly addicted to playing them now! Drafting is really fun.

I seriously doubt I would ever have the brains and ability to compete in something like competitive constructed level but I can now see myself as being a decent draft player. I've learned a lot from streamers and still enjoy watching them. Every time I lose a game I try to think about the misplays I made and what my opponent did well and I think I learn from that too.

I am glad I took that big step into the competitive play arena! I bet you will be glad too!

Have fun my friend, I look forward to hearing of your adventures!