#1 - Sept. 24, 2021, 5 p.m.
Blizzard Post

It takes luck, skill, and an absurd amount of willpower to accomplish some of Hearthstone’s tougher achievements. Flawless Duel-It-All and Flawless Azeroth Gladiator are two of the toughest achievements of all! Those achievements are obtained by getting 12-0 finishes with each of the 10 classes in Duels and in Arena, respectively. They are the two rarest achievements in all of Hearthstone. Only the most talented and devoted players have claimed either achievement, and we spoke to the world’s first for each! So take a look at what it takes to claim these elusive crowns.

The Fastest Achievement Hunters Alive

Aleksey “ShtanUdachi” Barsukov is a long-time professional player and streamer from Russia. He played in the 2017 Hearthstone World Championships and many other major tournaments before shifting his focus to his Russian-language stream, where he currently has nearly 100,000 followers.

“Earlier on in my career, I played a lot of constructed and tournaments. I had something like thirteen Top-100 Legend ladder finishes in a row, and some good tournament results, but I started to feel a lot of pressure to succeed and I wanted to take a break,” says ShtanUdachi. “I had always played a lot of Arena; even while I was playing all that constructed, I would play Arena when I wasn’t practicing. Years ago, I hit both 10,000 wins in Play Mode and Arena at the same time. But for the past couple years, I have focused mostly on Arena and Battlegrounds.” He says that he’s drawn to the randomness inherent in those Modes, which keeps things fresh for him even after he plays thousands upon thousands of games, “but, at the same time, there is still a metagame that you can learn to get an edge.”

ShtanUdachi says he made a concerted effort to be first in the world to get the Flawless Azeroth Gladiator starting around last December.

Matthew “UOtterKnow” Taylor is a player based in the United States. He is not a professional player or streamer; he’s just a guy who loves the game. He plays a lot, and he’s good at it, too, but he never thought he’d be the first in the world to complete the Flawless Duel-It-All Achievement. In fact, he did not even begin chasing the achievement until around March, after the Darkmoon Races Mini-Set had been added to the pool of cards and each class had unlocked its third Hero Power:

“I think it’s hilarious [that I was the first in the world]. With the pandemic, it has been a good time to stay at home and play video games, and I’m living in Minnesota now, so I’d been really hunkered down for the winter, too. But even with that, I did not see it coming that I would be the world first.”

Despite these different backgrounds and expectations, however, both players had similar methods for achieving their goals.

Setting Benchmarks

“At first, I thought the 12-0 thing was never going to happen,” Matthew says, “I play a lot of Arena and I have limped onto the leaderboard a few times—I’m at the level where I’m pretty decent, but not one of the best. I knew that in that mode I could hit 12 wins fairly frequently, but that I had very few 12-0 runs.” Matthew wondered how well he could transfer those Arena skills over to Duels.

Wild Pyromancer
Matthew “UOtterKnow” Taylor is a Hearthstone player living in Minnesota.

Matthew’s strategy was to first test the feasibility of the achievement, and then start pushing for it, “I made it my goal to get to 12 wins, period, without specifically going for 12-0, just to see if it was possible. And in that process, I got my 12-0 with Druid and Rogue, so that made me think the challenge was more attainable than I first thought. And the deeper you go in runs, the better you prepare yourself for future runs, because you learn about how to play your class better and you also see what other people are doing when they make their deep runs.”

Conversely, ShtanUdachi went into the challenge with the confidence of someone who had already won tens of thousands of Arena games. But that experience also taught him that this would be no walk in the park. “I started off by just playing the best class offered to me each time, until I got a 12-0 with it. I would play about 2 decks per day… The first 6 heroes came fairly quickly: within a month or two. But once you only have a few left, it’s not just that you didn’t get to them. You start to wonder if maybe you’re not good enough, or if it’s just impossible with that class. That part took the most time. It took me almost as long to get my last class as it did to get those first 6.”

Taking Risks

In Duels, there are classes and deckbuilding choices that can help you get consistently positive results, but which are harder to push to that top level. “One of the funny things about getting 12-0 with every class is that the last class I did it with was Warlock, even though I considered it one of the strongest classes at the time I was doing this. I played Heroic Duels until I had the full set and, in that period, I was consistently taking Warlock to around 7-3, but getting it to 12-0 took a long time.”

Part of the problem, Matthew decided, both with Warlock and with his deck construction as a whole, was focusing too much on disrupting what his opponents were doing, instead of working towards his own proactive gameplan.

Matthew decided to make the push for 12-0 with each class by taking risks with his deckbuilding choices, “I decided to make a few tweaks to some of the classes to make them more highrolly. If you’re going for 12-0, build your deck in such a way that if that highroll does happen, and you get the right passives and the right buckets, you can really take advantage of it.”

Arena, likewise, required taking some risks, though sometimes the decision on when you have to do so is a bit out of your control. ShtanUdachi says that if he drafted what felt like a bad deck, he would just take very aggressive mulligans and risky lines with it. “Half of those 12-0 decks did not look very good when I drafted them.” He also suggests patience for other people trying for this accomplishment, “This will hardly be quick. If you are in no hurry, you can just monitor every new meta for power-level shifts and always just try for the 3-4 best classes in a given meta.” In other words, ShtanUdachi suggests you let the metagame, and the specific decks you draft, guide your process.

Putting in the Work

The number of runs that it took to get the Duel-It-All Achievement varied a lot by the class. There were some classes that Matthew got very quickly, whereas there were others that took him several tries; he says a medium effort was about 10 attempts. For the more difficult classes, he suggests attempting them in Casual Duels, so that you can reset if you don’t get the offerings you need early.

“To me, what ShtanUdachi did seems impossible,” says Matthew, “because in Duels you can just reset and try again in Casual if you don’t get what you need. But in Arena, you have to play out your suboptimal or failed runs, unless you have endless Gold to just keep retiring, and that takes a really long time.”

That’s pretty much how it went, according to ShtanUdachi. He would still try to win with decks he was not particularly confident in, so as to not just throw away an arena entry. However, once he got a few 12-0 finishes, he would sometimes begin an Arena run with an offering of three heroes he had already succeeded with, so he would just retire those runs right away to re-roll for the heroes he still needed. In the end, it took him about 4-5 months total to complete his quest.

Reaping the Rewards

For Matthew, the achievement—and the fact that he was the first in the world to get it—is reward enough. He will leave this challenge as he started it: as just a fan who loves Hearthstone, plays a lot, and is good at it. But now, he has the knowledge that he has made a permanent mark on the game, even without becoming a professional.

ShtanUdachi shared his accomplishment with his community, and with Reddit, but he was not sure if he was the world’s first until a while after the fact. “After the Reddit post, no one showed up to say they also had it, so I figured that nobody else had played as much Arena as me to get it. Then it was confirmed that I was the only one in the world at that time.” Once ShtanUdachi got that confirmation, he said it was a very cool feeling, and that he felt it was comparable with his other top-level Hearthstone accomplishments.

Both players look forward to the next set of challenges and achievements the game has to offer.

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