My brother came over for supper a week or so ago and in the course of conversation let me know that Blizzard apparently added minor prizes to the constructed system. The higher up the ladder you get, the more free stuff they throw at you. The free stuff really isn't very much, but it's more than the absolutely nothing you used to go. (You get one golden common at rank 20, with increments of 5 extra dust per rank most of the time, with sometimes extra cards thrown in instead.) The biggest jump is at rank 5 where you go from getting 2 golden commons and a golden rare to getting 2 golden commons and a golden epic. Not a huge deal, but it is a bunch of free cards and since they're all golden they're worth more if you want to blow them up for dust in order to help put together other decks.
I haven't played constructed in an awfully long time, since I grinded up to Legend a couple of times at the start of the year. But I figured I like free stuff, and I wanted to stream more Hearthstone anyway, so I played for a few hours on the 21st and then a little bit yesterday and today. I was learning patron when I last played and the newest set didn't seem to change anything for that deck so it seemed like the thing to try out as I went to scoop up some free stuff.
When I last hit Legend it took me 148 games to go from 25 stars to 71 stars, which is where rank 5 kicks in. This month it took me 47 games to go from 1 star to 71 stars. That's a whole heck of a lot faster! I was winning around 52-54% of my games back then. This time I won a little over 87% of my games. There are likely a few reasons for this difference. Patron warrior is a much better deck than mech mage used to be. I started much later in the month, so the people I played against at each rank rated to be a fair bit worse this time around. Perhaps most importantly the metagame shifted and a new paladin has emerged that is terribly positioned against patron warrior. I don't know if it beats other things, but it sure can't beat me!
I'm still not sure I really know how to play the deck well. I am getting a better feel for things just through practice, and it definitely makes me think I'd need to invest a lot of time into constructed to actually have a shot at doing well in tournaments. And that would also require way more cards than I currently have... Which means more drafting?