I got quite a few interesting comments on my constructed Hearthstone post both here and on Facebook which have been running through my mind for the last couple days. One of them from Sthenno basically pointed out that if you just play enough games you'll get to legend. His number was 1700 games, which is a lot of games to get done in a month. If games take 5 minutes then it's over 140 hours to get there, and my games take longer than 5 minutes. That would actually be an advantage to playing the most mindless deck possible. I've fought a few people playing a hunter deck that can pretty much be described as mindless. It's just a bunch of cheap dudes and charge dudes. Win fast or lose and get into another game fast. I tend to be drawn to more controlly decks that have lots of decisions but even if I had all the cards for one of those decks would it even make sense to play it? How much higher would my win percentage need to be to make up for games taking 2 or 3 times as long to play?
I decided to write a spreadsheet simulation that would randomly pick a win percentage and then play up to 50000 games, stopping if it ever earned 96 stars to break into legend rank. 50000 games is actually way too many games since there are only ~45000 minutes in a month and I need to sleep and actually resolve games! But I figured it would make sure to show if a given win percentage really had a chance or not. I ran 100000 simulations with the following results...
Some of the people winning in the 44%-46% range wouldn't hit legend in 50000 games, but some of them would. But I'm not sure the number of games it would take those people make a lot of sense. Realistically if you could expect to average 5 minutes per game, and could expect to play 14 hours per day, then you'd be more like 5000 as an upper bound, not 50000. The lowest win percentage of a player who got legend in fewer than 5000 games was actually 42.7% win rate, who managed to do it in 3262 games. This is possible because there is a win streak feature in the lower ranks and anyone can clump all their losses together at the start and then wins at the end to get to legend. Any one 'can' do it, but most people won't!
Every single person who averaged a rounded 42% win rate or worse failed to hit legend in 5000 games. Every single person who averaged a rounded 50% win rate or better was guaranteed to hit legend in 5000 games. 96% of the people at 49% pulled it off, 69% of the people at 48% pulled it off, but only 32% of the people at 47% pulled it off.
Ok, fine, but I'm not actually going to play 5000 games even if I built the face hunter deck. I want to play a variety of games in a given month. Even my Hearthstone time is going to be split between drafts and constructed. So more realistically I might be able to play 7 hours a day, 20 days per month. That's still almost 1700 games! How does that shake up?
Now 45% and below are entirely failures. 52% and above are entirely successes. 71% of the 50% winners get to legend though. But realistically if I spend 1700 games and don't get to legend I'd be really unhappy, so I wouldn't be happy with a 50% deck under these odds.
What if I'm spending more time per game? What do the odds look like for 850 games? 567 games? Only caring about the full guarantee of legend I'd be looking at 54% at 850 games and 56% at 567 games. It sure feels like finding a deck I enjoy would be the big thing since it only has to be a little better to make up a huge increase in time spent in a game.
My current cheap mech mage deck is fun enough, but I'm not sure it's actually going to better than 50% once I start playing exclusively top notch decks. I have noticed that I keep losing the mirror match because other people have both Archmage Antonidus and Dr Boom while I only have one of them. Our early games are so similar that we always just trade off until we hit late game and their having two (or more) late game legendaries means they have a big advantage.
So really I need to find a faster deck, or I need to get more late game cards. Or I need to keep track of my win rate as it is and then just put in the time if I'm winning even 54% of the time.