The lights are on
Better call John Goodman, because players may experience a wave of arachnophobia as they take on the challenges in Hearthstone’s first free wing of the Curse of Naxxramas Adventure. While the standard-difficulty encounters and class challenges are fairly simple and designed to streamline new card acquisition, the heroic-level encounters can be quite difficult. Let’s take a look at what you’ll receive in this wing, and some of the best ways to approach the heroic bosses.
The best thing about the Naxxramas encounters is that card unlocks only require taking on normal difficulty encounters and class challenges. Heroic difficulty is reserved for a grand card back unlock, making it completely optional for players who want to go the extra mile.
Cards You Will Unlock In This Wing:
Anu’bar Ambusher (Rogue): A 5/5 for 4 is really great on the power scale and trumps the staple Chillwind Yeti. While the deathrattle may seem like a negative at first, Rogue decks will actually benefit from this by comboing out with smaller battlecry creatures on top of this titanic critter.
Poison Seeds (Druid): A strange sort of board-clearing effect. I’m not sure where it’s place will be in the constructed landscape, but anything with global potency is worth looking at.
Haunted Creeper: If Harvest Golem and other minions that spawn other minions on death have taught us anything, this economical creature is perfect for surviving low-impact area-of-effect wipes and creating cheap fodder for deathrattle triggers.
Maexxna: A large, beastly body that gives players a recurring removal option. The casting cost is a bit high for a critter that can’t really get big damage in, but with healing abilities or protection bubbles this can continually gobble up opposing forces and trade for massive card advantage.
Nerub’ar Weblord: Leeroy Jenkins and decks that rely on battlecry have a counter-card to watch out for here. Many extremely popular options in the constructed game right now rely on battlecry effects to churn out guaranteed value, so this may become a metagame icer.
Nerubian Egg: There are many ways to get value out of this innocuous two drop, from giving it a smidgen of attack power and attacking into superior forces or just running it with the already popular Sunfury Protector or Defender of Argus package.
Handling the Heroics:
Anub’Rekhan: The steady stream of 4/4’s created by Anub’Rekhan’s heroic power can get overwhelming fast, so it’s important to be able to stabilize in the mid-game with some board clear and finish things with some heavy hitters. I used a standard Druid ramp deck to best Anub, but there are plenty of ways to take him on, being one of the easier Heroic encounters available thus far.
Grand Widow Faerlina: This encounter can be a lot trickier than Anub, as holding onto cards can be your downfall against Faerlina’s hero power. She also comes out of the gate extremely fast and her acolytes can cause huge problems, especially in multiples. Minions with high life and taunt are excellent for taking on her fast and aggressive playstyle that will punish you for holding onto cards. I completed this encounter with a ramp Druid deck, aggressively mulliganing for those Innervates.
Maexxna: Definitely the hardest Heroic encounter thus far, if only because you’ll need to construct a deck designed to play around (or with!) this spider’s game-changing hero power. Maexxna will always begin her turn by sending two of your minions back to your hand, so you can exploit this by using cheap, potent battlecry effects like Voodoo Doctor or Elven Archer and minions like Argent Commander for repeatable divine shielded assaults.
Maexxna will currently always use the ability before taking any other action, so you’re able to abuse battlecry safely knowing the cards will be returned before being killed in combat. Alternatively, some players may choose decks that don’t rely on minions at all such as weapon-based Warrior. While there are plenty of ways to win, one method for an easy victory is to assemble a traditional Mage spell-based deck with Alexstrasza as the key card to bring Maexxna’s health down to nuke level. I completed this encounter with a trap-oriented Hunter deck that used Unleash the Hounds on Maexxna’s often loaded board and King Krush to get in for heavy damage, but I feel that victory was definitely more of a fluke than anything.
Check out our Curse of Naxxramas Test Chamber!
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