Overcoming Tilt and Ladder Anxiety

Wed 16th Mar 2016 - 7:25pm Gaming

People often ask in my stream how I remain calm all the time while playing Hearthstone and how I often seem to be unaffected by the crazy RNG and loss streaks that occur occasionally while playing the game. Anyone that has watched my stream knows how relaxed I am while playing the game and hopefully I can share insight to that so more people can embrace this style of playing. It is a mindset more than anything, and not something that everyone will be able to reach depending on how our brains are wired, but I hope I can share a thing or two about how I have got past most of my tilt and ladder anxiety in Hearthstone.

Step 1: Learning to take fault for your losses

Crazy RNG does exist in this game, and many of our losses feel like we couldn’t have done anything to win. However, a large number of our losses could have been avoided had we played a little better. This is less true for the top % of the player base, but still true nonetheless. Sometimes players don’t take much time to realize they made a mistake and just start auto piloting through their games. This leads to even more frustration. The top % of pro players don’t help with our perception that there actually is a lot of opportunity to misplay and that the games are not 100% decided on card draw RNG or random effects because it’s very easy to just shift the blame on everything but yourself. I am not innocent in this regard myself. I have lost ladder and tournament matches and said “Never Lucky” or “My opponent drew perfectly, there’s nothing I could do”, but the majority of the time I just think about what I could have done better to win.

Step 2: Less can be more

Even though I’m a professional player, I don’t spend all day every day grinding out Hearthstone games like you may think. Instead, I prefer to make my time playing short and efficient, about 4-5 hours per day and really look to maximize that time by focusing in on perfecting my play. I make sure to take regular breaks between games if I start feeling bad about losses. When I’m pushing for high ranks on ladder, I sometimes even take breaks between wins as it lessens the feeling of anxiety about whether my win streak will continue and clears my head going into the next game.

Step 3: Games don’t matter whether you win or lose

This is probably the most confusing concept for people to grasp that I like to teach. This is mostly how I got over the really bad ladder anxiety I had when I initially started playing Hearthstone. It’s the fact that you are basically playing for nothing, and on the climb to legend all you get for winning or losing is a star. In the grand scheme of things that one star is not that important. Just play ladder like it’s a casual game and don’t pay much attention to what your rank says. Focus on just playing the game and enjoying it and if you hit rank 1 legend or your goal for the season then awesome, if you don’t then don’t sweat it, just keep going for it! Many players get thoughts in their head that they just can’t do it, well of course you can’t do it without hard work and dedication, you just have to sit down and try, grind the games out! There’s always a bigger picture, and you can’t let individual games drag you down. In cards games really dumb things happen: crazy RNG swings, terrible draws, and bad luck. It happens to everyone, it’s just about how we handle those situations mentally so we can move forward to the next game with a clear mind and try to make as few mistakes as we can to minimize the effect of that RNG.

Step 4: Keep a clear mind

This can be as simple as taking a couple minutes break after a loss if you need it. Other things that can help with this are listening to your favorite music or watching a TV show in the background (works well if you have 2 monitors). Personally I like to watch other streamers while I’m playing the game myself. Just don’t let the losses get too much in your head. If you find yourself starting to get frustrated and tilt, find a distraction or take a short break before diving back into the grind. You aren’t going to play as well as you normally would if you’re in a bad state of mind, so try not to play as many games when you’re feeling frustrated or it’s likely that your rank is just going to drop.

In conclusion, there are a lot of other things you can do to avoid being tilted in Hearthstone. You may even find your own way outside of what I have listed above. The biggest thing to remember is that it’s a game and your biggest motivator to play should just be to have fun and enjoy yourself. If you’re not having fun, you should take a step back and evaluate why you are actually playing the game or what steps you should take so you can start enjoying the game again. This could come down to something as simple as deck choice. Feel free to share your own ways of dealing with tilt and ladder anxiety in the comments below.



Alec Howard

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