Aside: Sprinting to lethal made me feel so smart.

In the light of the revelation that I have finally become what I despise—one of those people who buy skins for free games because they look pretty—I know that my refusal to spend money on Hearthstone doesn’t really add up in the grand scheme of things… but I don’t ever want to spend money on Hearthstone. I know how the pack system works and I just don’t want to feel compelled into buying packs in bulk for the chance for better cards.

That said, I did drop a few hours of time into it last night while catching up on a few podcasts and YouTube subscriptions and I actually won games. Two with basic decks. One with a custom Rogue deck. The significance of these wins? They’re the first wins I’ve been able to pull off in Hearthstone in over a month or so.

One of these moments stand out.

After clearing my entire board, my opponent proceeds to hit me for 11. My life is down to 5. He runs out of damage to apply, throws out a 2-health taunt just to screw with me, then ends his turn.

At this point, I’m thinking “how can I ever win here” while looking at my hand and the 3/1 weapon equipped on my character. I have nine mana, a couple of 4-mana minions without charge, a two-mana two-damage-battlecry, and a Sprint.

I think about and double-check my mana count. Playing all the cards that I had, I couldn’t make the eight damage I needed. I had to play Sprint and hope that I get at least three damage and that backstabbing the opponent’s two-health wouldn’t trigger that one secret above his icon. I dragged the card out and four cards sweep from the deck into my hand.

I start doing the math and I realize it’s lethal. I tap the playing field a few times, wave the card around and then proceed to play everything I needed to finish my opponent off. I don’t think I have to tell you how smart you feel after doing the simplest of math based on how lucky you were to draw the exact card(s) that you need to finish a game of Hearthstone. You feel like a genius when you connect everything together.

I think card games like these can offer some of the most rewarding yet simple logic puzzles in gaming today that give you such a boost in confidence and that draw you into that particular game. I have never run in any Magic The Gathering circles before because the cost to get into those games seemed high–especially when I was younger and decided my disposable income would be better spent on gas and random junk food. If I was able to commit to showing up to a game store every so often to play with other people, sure. But Hearthstone takes care of all of that—and it’s free, to boot.

Maybe that’s not the top reason that Blizzard would rather I have to play their game, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to get me to pay for something eventually. Like a skin. Or something.

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