League of Explorers Card Highlights

What is League of Explorers bringing to the Hearthstone table?

“The Discover mechanic!” is the easy answer. As the Zinaar boss already showed us in a not so subtle way, Discover lets you pick between three different cards and add one of them to your hand, just like an Arena draft. Discover isn’t going to take over the game, but its a new way to gain card advantage. You play a card that has a Battlecry: Discover effect and then it trades with something. You traded card for card, but you also got a bonus card through the Battlecry.

With that said here’s a few of the cards that look the best to me in the League of Explorers adventure for Hearthstone.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Super useful if you’re building a deck for a class, but don’t plan on using that classes hero power very much. A Rogue Inspire deck for example. And if you wanted to have more Murloc stuff Sir Finley Mrrgglton can be included in a deck with these two beauties: Everyfin is Awesome and Anyfin Can Happen

Brann BronzebeardRumbling Elemental

Both of these cards will make Battlecry decks way more popular and viable. I’d wager that this will be on the level of the rise of Deathrattle decks after the release of Naxxramas.

Reno Jackson

He was released in the first wing and already has a few highlights on YouTube. Good in any control deck. Reno’s Battlecry will trigger based off the cards in your deck at the time he is played, so if you are using a deck that runs two of everything, but you’ve drawn or played one copy of each of those cards then his effect will trigger.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:

Mirror of DoomLantern of PowerTimepiece of Horror

Rafaam has the advantage of giving you whatever tool you need to take control of the game. His disadvantage is that you won’t be able to take advantage of that tool until the turn after you play Rafaam. Also, imagine a combination of Rafaam and Brann. Two super cards! They remain super expensive though.

Animated Armor

I saw a lot of buzz about this card being good and how it will make Mages even more untouchable. I gotta say that’s not true. Most of the time this will act as a 4/4 taunt. Just a slightly different stat allocation that Sen’jin Shieldmasta.

Keeper of Uldaman

This one functions a lot like Aldor Peacekeeper but it has an alternative use, buffing a Silver Hand Recruit up! When use that way it comes with a grand total of 5/6 stats making it one of the best 4 mana cards out there.

Unearthed Raptor

I routinely compete in a Hearthstone card creation contest on Order of the Stick’s Forums and cards like this have been suggested many times in the past. I’m glad that Blizzard has introduced the card. It’s got good stats and it should reliably have a good Deathrattle effect. Or it could be used to make Mill Rogue stronger by copying Deathlord or Dancing Swords Deathrattle.

Explorer's Hat

I don’t think this card will be particularly good, but I’m excited that it was released. Hearthstone is based off of Magic the Gathering and there are obvious similarities between the two games. Hearthstone has spells that buff creatures, and Magic has enchant creature spells. Enchant creature spells hang around as a card that is actively affecting it’s creature while Hearthstone cleans up that mess by having the effects of the spell visually appear on the card’s stats.

But what if you want to separate the buff/enchant creature from the creature after you’ve played it? that was easy enough in Magic, if you have a card that lets you do that, you move the enchant creature to a different creature. Wizards of the Coast made that process even easier with the release of equipment cards. In Hearthstone… There’s no easy way to do that and have it integrated with the game’s current mechanics.

So instead we get this janky mess! It hearkens back to the early days before Magic’s equipments were released. When Rancor and Angelic Destiny were the staple for reapplying enchant creatures. I understand Explorer’s Hat perfectly well, but it’s going to be a confusing card for novice players.

There’s a lot more cards but none that wowed me like these ones did. If you want to look at the others they are all posted here.

-GoCorral

Hearthstone Adventures: The Old and The New

League of Explorers Banner

Blizzard had released the next Hearthstone adventure and I still haven’t finished the Heroic versions of all the Blackrock Mountain bosses.

When the adventure was announced I rushed to do a few of them. Here are the decks I came up with.

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A lot of double taunt creatures in this deck help with Direbrew’s nonstop aggression. Then there’s some high attack minions to deal him damage. The Windfury card is what really pulls it together. Drop it on something like a Core Hound to deal a bunch of damage to Direbrew at once.

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Thaurissan’s challenge remains the same, you have to keep his wife alive. Only now instead of being a 1/3 she’s a 3/1. So you’re taking more damage from her each turn and she dies from just one stray point of damage. The solution? Flip-flop her attack and health with Crazed Alchemist, buff her health and heal her when Thaurissan gets all “wife-beaty,” and win in the end with the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo.

In this deck I also included a few cards to try and steal Moira. I never got the chance to use them, so I’m not sure what happens if you succeed. Let me know if you do! Either way, the minion theft cards are unnecessary to clear Heroic Thaurissan.

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For finishing off Executus and Ragnaros I give you the traditional Divine Spirit/Inner Fire deck. This one works a little differently. The idea is to kill Executus and Ragnaros in the same turn so Ragnaros doesn’t get to use his double strength hero power. The deck also has some Light Warden/Holy Champion heal combos to try and get some more minions with super high attack while sustaining yourself. Executus has 30 Health and 15 Armor while Ragnaros has 30 Health and 30 Armor. Coming up with 60+ damage in one turn might seem difficult, but this deck manages it well.

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Omokk kills a minion every turn. To get around that, we have to give him a lot of weak targets. Imp Master spawns a few and the Paladin’s hero power pumps out one every turn. Couple that with the Inspire spawning power of Silver Hand Regent and Murloc Knight and by the midgame you should be ending every turn with a board of 7 minions. The deck has a little difficulty starting because often you can’t play anything until turn 3 or 4 because Omokk will kill any minion you play by itself. If you stabilize after getting to the point where you can play some cards and hero power every turn, then you should win.

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Drakkisath has a nice thing going because he can play two cards every turn while you only get one card. So what do we do? Try to trade two for one as much as we can! Not much else to say about this deck. Getting Alexstrasza and Ragnaros are probably the most important parts to beating Drakkisath and you need them to get you a big advantage before he plays Twisting Nether. Winning this takes some luck and as you can see, a lot of legendaries.

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Defeating Razorgore means never letting his eggs hatch. They turn into 7/7 drakes once they reach 5 health. The deck has a lot of low cost minions so you can start keeping the eggs under control right away. Razorgore will build a little bit of an advantage while you concentrate on his eggs. You’ll take a lot of damage from his attacks, so the Tournament Medic is in the deck to help stabilize. Once you have enough minions the egg count will start reducing and you can slowly push back against Razorgore and win the game.

Now on to League of Explorers. The first wing is out, the second releases on Thursday, with a third and fourth wing coming after Thanksgiving.

League of Explorers has an Indiana Jones theme to it. Delving into ancient ruins to uncover forbidden treasure, trading witty insults back and forth with your trusted teammates, and battling Azerothian Nazis or something like that. All of these things and more are part of the League of Explorers.

Obviously there’s some new cards. I’ll be covering those and my opinions on them in a post later this week. For now I’d like to give some guides to beating all the Heroic bosses of League of Explorers first wing, the Temple of Orsis.

Zinaar Deck

Zinaar’s whole thing is that he has more cards and mana than you, but at the cost of giving you free stuff, specifically, a bunch of spells that cost 0 mana. To take advantage of that we make a deck that has Mana Addicts, Mana Wyrms, and Questing Adventurers in it (Flamewakers would also work). These get buffed every time you cast one of the wishes. You attack Zinaar with your buffed minions while freezing his hordes out with typical Mage freeze stuff. Easy win!

Phaerix Deck

Phaerix’s staff only makes him immune for Heroic and is a 3/8 for Phaerix while only being a 0/5 for you. A 3/8 is still killable with a Shadow Word: Pain spell though. Then proceed to do the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire nonsense. I had a perfect draw with this one where I got all three of the necessary cards in my starting hand. Phaerix had no answer for it and lost quickly.

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Not sure if Duplicate and Lorewalker Cho do anything in this deck…

This boss was a lot of fun! Instead of trying to defeat the Temple, you are trying to get out as fast as you can. You need to survive ten turns while the temple’s guardians and traps attack you. Since you don’t need to (and can’t) attack your enemy, all you need to do is survive. Freeze Mage is perfect at surviving a long time and now the deck doesn’t even need a win condition like Antonidas! There is a specific sequence event for each turn as follows.
1. Summons a 6/7. You get to draw a card or gain a mana crystal.
2. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You get to take 5 damage or flip a coin to take 0 or 10 damage.
3. Summons 2 8/8 minions with Divine Shield. A Rolling Boulder is summoned to the far right side of your board that destroys one minion to its left every turn.
4. Summons a 10/10. You draw 2 cards or gain 10 Health.
5. All minions are destroyed on both sides.
6. Summons 2 6/15 minions.
7. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You can do nothing or reduce the turn counter by 1 and let the temple summon an additional 7/7.
8. Summons a 5/9 that deals 5 damage to you and all your stuff at the end of every turn (skipped if you summoned the 7/7).
9. Summons 3 10/6 minions.
10. Survive this turn and you win!

I hope all of this helps you beat a few more of the Heroic Hearthstone bosses!

Satronwook

Satronwook

Satronwook is the party capital of the world. It’s like a festival there every day of the month. Pigs, goats, sheep, and sometimes other people are torn apart by the citizens in Bacchanal rites and eaten. If you ever wanted to reckless fun without a thought for tomorrow this is the place.

Even with such a wild reputation Satronwook isn’t without a police force, albeit an untraditional one. Instead of a trained militia of humans the town is policed by a large pack of blink dogs that take their orders directly from Panda Traks. The dogs make their living through the confiscation of criminal property and either selling or using it. They were brought along with Dionysus’ entourage when Pan founded the city and were abandoned when the drunken pair left. Satronwook has no army or police force besides the dogs making them an integral and needed part of the city.

Satronwook has a population of about 34,000 and is inhabited mostly by Wild Elves, Humans, and Halflings. Most of the other races have moral codes that prohibit the kind of behavior that goes on in the city. Fey also walk openly here making up a significant minority of the population.

The star attraction of Satronwook is the fountain in the center of the city. It was built by Dionysus’s good buddy, Pan, when he first came to Satronwook. The fountain spurts out alcohol of some kind, but the specific substance coming out changes randomly each day. It can be anything from wine coolers to rubbing alcohol, but whatever it is there’s always somebody drinking it. The alcohol disappears if it is put into any container, so if one wants to get some of it you must do so directly from the source.

The Inn of Lost Souls is the biggest tavern in the whole city. It’s front door is right outside of the fountain and the alcohol of the day is entirely free. The annual drinking contest, Baradera, is held there. The spirits in the inn are sold at a reduced cost compared to the rest of the city because, Edgar, the owner, also owns his own vineyard, winery, barley fields, and brewery.

The leadership of Satronwook has been using the same system since Pan blessed the city. The goat-footed god started the Baradera at the Inn of Lost Souls. The winner is named ruler and Panda of the city, for Pan and for the animal which lives nearby. The Panda wears the Crown of the Panda which gives them the skills and knowledge of how to work the government system and make profitable agreements with other cities and countries if necessary. The crown also gives the wearer the form of a panda and lets him speak the animal’s language. The crown is worn for a year and then falls off. Any past Pandas retain their new form and a golden band of fur is still seen around their foreheads where the crown was placed. The golden band is seen as a sign of honor, but any past Pandas may no longer participate in the Baradera. Some go back to their old lives while some live in the Panda Garden inside the city with animal pandas and past Pandas.

The Panda also gets an administrative power that they use once during their inauguration. They can add or subtract one law from the city’s legal code. The most often law to flip-flop is prostitution, but some things such as littering and eating lotus plants have also changed frequently. The cardinal laws such as stealing, murder, and rape have stayed the same since their creation. Alcohol was only outlawed once, but it was assumed to be a joke even by the Panda who did so. The current Panda of Satronwook is Panda Traks. His story is typical of past Pandas, a Dwarven Drunken Master who won through his skill and fortitude. His rule change was to disallow prostitution again. The blink dogs enforce his decrees just as they have done for all of the Pandas in the past.

The city does export commodities, but the government of it does not. Given how the leadership of Satronwook is acquired and the culture of freedom, the government stays out of the affairs of the citizens with the exception of foreign affairs and controlling crime. The city exports are the many varieties of fruits grown there and the huge amount of booze. The city imports animals, animal products, metals, and stone.

-GoCorral

Restnor’s Point

I talk a little bit about distilled beverages in this entry as if they are a secret that no one knows about. While that’s not true now, it was for when my campaign is set! The events in Cimmeria take place 400BCE and the first alcoholic beverage wasn’t distilled (in reality) until 1200CE, 1600 years later.

Restnor's Point

Restnor’s Point is a small mining town with a population of about 11,000 people. Restnor’s Point is named after its original founder Restnor the Third. He was a schizophrenic ranger who enjoyed exploring the northern wilderness along the Terror Mountains. In his travels he found a waterfall with a gold mine behind it. He returned to his hometown of Dalleer and made a large bet that there was a large treasure behind the waterfall. The man he made the bet with accepted thinking that Restnor had imagined the gold deposit during a schizophrenic episode. The man lost the bet and Restnor used the wager to set up a mining operation by the waterfall for people with socially devastating disabilities like his own. Thus, Restnor’s Point has become a place where the majority of the population have physical or mental disabilities.

Hephaestus has risen to a place above Zeus in the pantheon of Restnor’s Point. His lame leg and status as the god of mining make him at fitting patron deity for the city. Hephaestus has blessed the town and given them astoundingly high and thick walls made of adamantite. The walls are 32 feet high and 10 feet thick. No known weapon has been able to get through the town’s gates when they are closed except a dragon’s breath or a disintegrate spell, and even then only after repeated attempts.

West of Talon’s Waterfall is a large alcove bored out of the mountain wall. This alcove is used for Restnor’s Point’s temple. It is devoted largely to Hephaestus, the town’s patron god, but also to Apollo, for he is the god of healing, and to Hades, for his dominion over wealth. These three are the only who have statues in the temple, but the largest altar is still reserved for Zeus and the rest of the pantheon. The High Priestess of the temple, Titandra the blind seer, is the spiritual leader as well as the actual leader of Restnor’s Point, although she spends most of her time in Bradel Fields aiding the Alliance’s efforts against the Xorians. The only tax in the city is a tithe, but it is also considerably larger than most tithes. This tithe is used for all typical religious practices and for secular secular services that the town needs, such as paying for food and textiles from downriver.

The town exports the products from their divinely blessed mine for their economic livelihood. They sell stone, jewels, iron, bronze, copper, tin, mithral, and adamantite. They also produce cold iron, alchemical silver, normal silver, and gold. The town has grown to a position of wealth, but not arrogance. It has no standing army and has not increased prices even though they have a virtual monopoly on some metals.

The town does have a few barley and potato farms, along with a banana orchard that is magically enchanted to survive the freezing temperatures during the winter. These crops are not used for food except in the most dire of circumstances. They are more frequently used to make beer and an exotic banana wine. Dwarven alchemists in Restnor’s Point have also perfected a process where the alcohol of many different beverages is combined to make the hardest liquor anyone has ever laid eyes on. This, “vodka,” as they have named it, is exported throughout the known world and the secret to its making is guarded vehemently by the very few brewers who have access to it.

The mine of the town has its entrance behind the waterfall, known as Talon’s Waterfall, at the start of Talon’s Bed. Every morning the majority of the town’s adult populace gathers in the temple to the west of the waterfall for a blessing before going into the mine. Because the people of the town have worked for so long in the same place they have acquired many magical digging and appraising tools to help them in the excavation of ore. There are so many of these tools that they could be worth quite a  bit more than the metals, jewels, and stones they are used to mine, if one could find a buyer for them.

Restnor’s Point is also home to some of the best falconers in the entire world. They have bred normal birds of prey with other magical varieties to make a super hunting machine that still acts docile around humanoids. This new species has been dubbed the Asestaro. One of these creatures can be purchased at maturity for 20,000 gold pieces, at a young age for 15,000, and in the egg for 10,000. The bonding process between the new owner and the animal is amazingly only one week. At that point the Asestaro will do anything it has been trained to do for the owner.

In recent years Restnor’s Point has joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. The town cannot contribute much in the way of troops, but the wealth and resources produced by the town’s mine have proved useful for the Alliance. Additionally, Titandra receives prophetic visions of the future that have occasionally aided in the conflict with the Xorian Empire.

-GoCorral

NASA is Hiring

I am soooo jealous.
I am soooo jealous.

NASA made an interesting announcement, they’re looking for new astronauts!

This came as a surprise to me as I’d thought NASA had discontinued all manned missions.

As far as I know the halt on manned missions happened for two reasons, funding is tight and NASA is an obvious thing to cut and we already did the man on the moon thing so why go again?

As to the funding, I’m not sure what’s going on there. Regardless, the missions NASA is planning are scheduled ten years out so the funding situation could be entirely different then.

But what are the new missions?

Not going to Mars like Mark Watney in The Martian, but almost as good!

NASA will be landing an astronaut on an asteroid.

There are a group of asteroids called “near-Earth asteroids” that have orbits around the sun pretty similar to Earth’s orbit.

A couple of the near-Earth asteroids are as big two kilometers across (about a mile).

Before landing a person on an asteroid, NASA plans to land a rover like what they did with the Rosetta space probe on a comet. Then a manned mission will commence in 2025.

I don’t know which asteroid NASA will be landing an astronaut on, there are a whole bunch to choose from. Regardless, this appears to be the next step in manned space exploration.

NASA hopes this will be a stepping stone to manned missions on Mars.

In addition to the work on the asteroids, astronauts are spending longer amounts of time on the ISS. They’re doing this so we can see what precautions need to be taken when someone is in space for years at a time.

A mission to Mars would take a year or two, so we need to be prepared for how someone’s mind and body reacts to being in space for that long.

So enough about why NASA is hiring astronauts, how do I get the job?

If you’re like me, upon hearing the news that NASA is hiring you immediately looked up the qualifications they’re looking for.

They want someone with at least a Master’s degree in science or engineering. I’m working on that, so good so far.

The next big qualification is 1,000 hours of logged jet plane fight time.

If you’re paying for lessons and rental time on a plane that amount of logged time would cost upwards of $50,000. So you either have to be really serious about flying jets recreationally, a commercial flyer, or a member of the airforce.

There are a few other qualifications, but nothing as big as those two.

Obviously I don’t meet that requirement, but maybe some kid is reading this and is thinking, “If I get a Master’s in physics and learn to fly a jet then I’d be ready to apply to be an astronaut by the time NASA starts doing missions to Mars.”

That’s the word from the space world!

If you want to read more about the process for hiring astronauts check out these two links: NASA’s Info Site, NASA’s Hiring Site

-GoCorral

Phoenix

The original concept for this city was created by one of the players in my group. His internet pseudonym is Middle_Snu, so he should get some of the credit for making Phoenix what it is. I expanded on his ideas to write what you see below.

Phoenix

At the merging of the Curving Stream and Delain Tribute lies Phoenix, a city of some 120,000 inhabitants. Phoenix has always revolved around guilds. Every Phoenixian worth their salt belongs to one of the influential guilds of the city. Guilds are legally allowed to kill unlicensed professionals who fall under their jurisdiction if those individuals refuse a position within the guild. As a result, being blacklisted from a guild generally means a move to a new city or a change in profession. Strangely, even the thieves of Phoenix have an official guild. In actuality, “thieves” keep the streets clean acting as a police force, assuming that a sum of protection money is paid to them. Unlicensed thieves, in the meantime, are tortured for days upon being captured.

Phoenix is a major trade center between Western and Eastern Cimmeria. Many things can be bought in Phoenix, including people. The Slaver’s Guild is a major force, though there isn’t much traffic in newly captured slaves. Phoenix imports a lot of metal from Jord, and grain barges moving upriver for the Dwarves are not an uncommon sight.

Spellcasters have a special place in the guild system. Sorcerers and wizards must register for the Mage’s Guild in order to be able to cast spells legally (costs 50 gp), but clerics, even those of the Titans, may cast freely. Because full members of the Mage’s Guild are required to create a certain number of magical items for sale every year, Phoenix has a booming trade in magical items. Arcane scrolls, potions, and magical items can generally be bought here for as much as 10% below market price. On the other hand, selling magical items without being a member of the Mage’s Guild or a member of the local clergy is a capital crime.

The Mage’s Guild and the rights of clergy were recently upset by the Xorian takeover of Phoenix. All resident clerics of the Olympian pantheon were given a choice, convert to Dragoviniysm or face execution. Most of the clerics chose to die rather than betray their gods. The members of the Mage’s Guild were given a similar choice, but they accepted. The majority of the mage journeymen were turned into Dragovinians to become the new elite of Phoenix.

There was an Adventurer’s Guild in Phoenix prior to the Xorian invasion. The members were simple individuals for the most part who hired themselves out to the highest bidder. Groups of six or more adventurers could be hired for contracts, although prices were steep. There was a ill-defined barrier between the Mercenary’s Guild and the Adventurer’s Guild as to the proper jurisdictions of each. This disagreement had sparked street-fighting in the past, but the difference between the two guilds were set aside when the Xorians approached the city. During the Battle of Phoenix, the Adventurer’s Guild was wiped out. Many of the mercenaries fought on to the last while the guild leaders of Phoenix escaped. Those who surrendered were given the choice of turning to Dragovinians. Many accepted this offer. The two headmasters of the Mercenary’s Guild, Gradorian and Junai, escaped and are rebuilding a military force in Jipangu to combat the Xorians.

Prior to the Xorian invasion the Thief’s Guild oversaw the day to day business of the city and, with the assistance of the clerics, arbitrated any disputes between the guilds. The laws of the city fluctuated based on what guild a person belonged to. Nonmember visitors to the city fell under the Thief’s Guild jurisdiction leading to a high pickpocket rate in Phoenix for people without guild membership. Since the invasion, the militocracy of Phoenix has taken over. King Jevaninada II has made Phoenix into a base to quarter his troops for the coming winter. Blendegad has also moved his throne to the main temple of Phoenix. Blendegad and Jevaninada II personally oversee the activities of the city.

The city’s supplies were already stretched thin during the protracted siege, but now they are forced to provide for thousands of additional Xorian soldiers who were once the city’s enemies. The Xorian supply chains alleviate some of this problem, but those same supply chains are also under attack by the Rebels in Gazeara. Not wanting his own troops to suffer, King Jevaninada II has taken food, clothing, and homes from the people of Xoria and given them to his own soldiers. Thousands of Phoenix citizens are left on the streets with food or shelter. The execution of most of the clerics in Phoenix has only exacerbated this issue. Winter will come soon and many malnourished people will die once the temperature drops.

The Innkeeper’s Guild continues to maintain only one inn in Phoenix, the King’s Rest. Spanning some three blocks, the King’s Rest has everything from a hard floor and gruel to the most luxurious suites with gourmet foot on demand. Prices range from 1 cp-100 gp a night. Stables are an additional 1 silver per night per horse. The Innkeeper’s guildmaster is Bernarda, a Human. The King’s Rest was used to house hundreds of Alliance soldiers before the invasion and now it holds a complementary amount of Xorian troops. Bernarda has taking a liking to Dragoviniysm. She attends services every week and hopes that her actions as the Innkeeper’s guildmaster will earn her immortality as a Dragovinian.

-GoCorral