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

Advertisements

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image
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!

Blackrock Mountain Progress

With the new expansion for Hearthstone announced, what progress have I made in defeating the Blackrock Mountain Heroic bosses?

I’ve beaten two more since I posted about beating Grim Guzzler, Thaurissan, and Drakkisath.

I didn’t record my victories this time, but I did keep track of my decks.

First up, I defeated the Dark Iron Arena using a Freeze Mage deck. Here’s the deck list:

Dark Iron Arena Deck

If you’ve seen other Freeze Mage decks, the idea is pretty simple. Prevent your opponent from killing you until Antonidas is on the board. Then use Antonidas’ endless supply of Fireballs to destroy your opponent.

The deck works best if the computer drops Millhouse Manastorm the turn before you play Antonidas. That didn’t happen during my game, but the deck was still strong enough to get me a victory in one try. Just destroy threats as they come up and use Antonidas as a finisher.

The deck is expensive to craft, but it gets the job done in constructed and in Heroic mode.

The other Heroic boss I took down was Garr, the guy with all the exploding Firesworn.

Here’s my deck list:

image

This deck is also pretty simple.

On Heroic mode, Garr’s Firesworn deal three damage per death and he starts with seven. That means if all seven blow up at the same time you take 49 damage.

Killing them off earlier helps, but you still take some damage.

So what’s the easiest way of preventing the Firesworn from activating? Silencing them!

Mass Dispel is the reason this deck works. And there’s tons of healing to save your butt too.

I won on my first try without even using the Inner Fire combo.

I kept my creatures alive by healing and adding health to them against Garr’s onslaught.

Once he ran out of threats I slowly took him out.

I also included Mind Control Techs and a Cabal Shadow Priest to steal the Firesworn. This turned out to not be that great. I’d replace them with either Circles of Healing or Gurubashi Berserkers if I was playing again.

Good luck against the Heroic bosses! I’ll post more guides as I best the challenges myself.

-GoCorral

Blackrock Mountain Wrapup

I haven’t posted anything about Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure since it came out and I think it’s about time I got around to that.

The adventure was a lot of fun. The bosses had their own little quirks that you had to work around to win, but none of them were too hard.

The Mage class challenge was awesome and I have replayed it a bunch of times. The deck you get is a solid 30 Unstable Portals!

Unstable_Portal

I’ve tried my hand at a few of the Heroic bosses and beaten three of them. My decklists and a glimpse of how the decks work are available on YouTube at these links: Grim Guzzler, Emperor Thaurissan, and General Drakkisath.

Now that the adventure is over and I’ve collected all the cards, which ones are the best and most fun?

Hungry_Dragon

Hungry Dragon stays a favorite for me. You get a good creature and your opponent gets something useless or something that completely messes you up. Shieldbearer is one of my least favorite minions to pop for my opponent even though its usually trash.

Volcanic_Drake

Volcanic Drake is pretty good in Arena and might make mid-range Hunter much more viable. The Drake combines well with Unleash the Hounds. Drop the Hounds, wipe your opponent’s board, and then play the Drake for free.

Blackwing_Corruptor

Blackwing Corruptor is pretty much an auto-include if you’re building a dragon tribe deck. The Battlecry effect is just so strong. Get a decent sized minion and probably eliminate one of your opponent’s minions as well. Awesome card.

Drakonid_Crusher

Drakonid Crusher is another winner for Arena. 6 mana for a 6/6 isn’t bad. It’s only got 1 worse health than Boulderfist Ogre. And Drakonid is a dragon so it can activate the Battlecries of Blackwing Corruptor and other similar cards. Best part is that if you’re already winning and you drop Drakonid, you get a 9/9. Even bigger than a giant! Solid draft in Arena. Not so good in constructed because you usually need things other than huge creatures in constructed.

Dragonkin_Sorcerer

Dragonkin Sorcerer is terrifying when a Paladin plays it. It’s stats are average for its cost, but if the Paladin drops a buff spell on it, look out. And its a dragon for that dragon synergy as well.

Emperor_Thaurissan

Emperor Thaurissan made a lot of combo decks much more viable. Specifically Freeze Mage and Combo Druid. If the cards necessary for lethal are all 1 mana cheaper then the combo can be pulled of in one turn instead of two if needed or at an earlier turn thatn previously possible. Thaurissan is a great card.

NefarianMajordomo_Executus

Nefarian and Majordomo Exectus both underperformed my expectations to be honest. Nefarian often gets you spells that are completely useless in your current situation. Exectus is often a liability because becoming Ragnaros reduces your health to 8. In what situation would you want your health to go that low? Usually if its already that low. And if it is that low, then your opponent will just deal damage to you instead of Exectus.

Resurrect

Resurrect is one card that I’m excited to see more of. I’ve heard that it combos well with Injured Blademaster because it comes back at 4/7 instead of 4/3. I’d like to see if slightly modifying a Preist deck could make this card awesome, but I don’t play that much Priest anymore. I’ll give a try sometime! Maybe for the Heroic bosses.

Imp_Gang_Boss

Imp Gang Boss is a really nice Warlock card. Demons are getting better and better as Blizzard releases more of them. Imp Gang Boss is chock full of demons and quite difficult for your opponent to fully remove. Pretty much a solid card in any situation.

Lava_ShockFireguard_Destroyer

Lava Shock and Fireguard Destroyer are the two new Shaman class cards. Lava Shock is definitely cool. There are a few Shaman decks I’ve wanted to try out in the past, but Overloading too much stopped those decks from working. Lava Shock could fix that. And Fireguard is just a good card for its cost. It will almost always be worth the Overload cost you pay for it, just like Crackle.

Druid_of_the_Flame

Druid of the Flame is a good Druid card and it counts as a Beast to combo with Druid of the Fang. I once had Druid of the Fang, Druid of the Claw, and Druid of the Flame all out at the same time and I felt very naturey. You’ll almost always play the Druid of the Flame in 2/5 form just like Ancient of War, but its a good card regardless of the false choice.

Quick_Shot

Quick Shot is the latest upgrade to the Face Hunter deck. Out of cards? Why not deal damage and draw more cards! Plus it allows for more burst from the hand to surprise your opponent with lethal when they thought they were safe. Good card.

That’s all the new cards that stuck out to me. I’ll be posting more YouTube guides to beating the Heroic bosses as I manage to do it!

-GoCorral

GVG Meta Shifts

The meta has been shifting in Hearthstone which is predictable after the release of a new set. GVG is shaking things up just like Blizzard wanted.

So what are some of the biggest new decks? Well, Mech Mage is one of them.

The expansion came with plenty of new minions to flood the board early such as Clockwork Gnome, Mechwarper, Micro Machine, and Snowchugger for Mages.

Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!
Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!

For the mid game there’s Piloted Shredder, Madder Bomber, Bomb Lobber, and Goblin Blastmage. Each of them brings a decent body of their own along with an ability that will usually trade with an opponent’s minion while still leaving your minion alive, either through a damaging battlecry or the Shredder‘s deathrattle.

What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!
What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!

Add in the normal strong spells of a Mage and the deck is quite solid. What makes it devastating is the new Spare Parts cards. They’re cheap and the deck has Clockwork Gnome, Tinkertown Technician, and Mechanical Yeti to create them.

Flip-flop! Now my deck's on top!
Flip-flop! Now my deck’s on top!

The cheapness is wonderful. They can activate Mana Wyrm to pump it up. They can activate Gadgetzan to draw cards. They can activate Antonidas to create three Fireballs on the turn you drop him. They also work with the new legendary, Gazlowe, to create tons of mechs for you to play.

Mage also got a new toy with the epic spell, Echo of Medivh. The spell is used in the old Freeze Mage Giant deck which focused on freezing out their opponent and drawing cards until they could play giants and Duplicate them. Well now you can duplicate them another way!

I don't really know who or what Medivh is.
I don’t really know who or what Medivh is.

Say you’re at 10 life. You feel safe because you’ve got two Molten Giants that you gave taunt to on the board and you have an Ice Block secret. Now throw in Echo of Medivh and suddenly you have two spares of one of the most powerful minions in the game! Day9 has a video where he fills his board with 6 Molten Giants in one turn using this trick.

The deathrattle aggro decks that Warlock, Priest, and Hunter run all got some improvements with Clockwork Gnome and the Piloted cards. Mechwarper and Micro Machine also help out with mech aggro decks.

Ramp Druid got some new tools. Grove Tender helps them ramp up faster while also providing a body. Tree of Life allows a full reset of life when you’re facing an aggro deck.

Handlock got Mal’Ganis, so now your opponents can’t even rush you down if you drop that. Fortunately, some cards were added to counter Handlock and any other oppressive control matchup. Goblin Sapper and Clockwork Giant are perfect against decks that like to stock up on lots of cards.

There are tons of other cool cards that have slightly altered existing deck. Shrinkmeister and Voljin for Priest. Muster for Battle, Quartermaster, and Bolvar Fordragon for Paladin. Gahz’rilla for Hunter. A slight Murloc focus for Shaman along with Crackle for burst based decks. Rogue got some awesome new mech cards along with the means to possibly create a viable pirate deck. I haven’t seen one yet, but I’ll bet its coming.

So lots of new cards to try out! I’ve only just now finished spending out all my gold on Arena runs to learn the new cards in that mode. Now I have to see how what I have works in Ranked. I just got a Mal’Ganis for a Demonlock deck in my last Arena run. Maybe I’ll give that a try!

-Mister Ed

Fake New Year’s Eve

Every year my D&D group has a tradition of gathering together for New Year’s Eve and playing games all night long until we fall asleep when the sun comes up on the New Year.

As we got older it became a little inconvenient to hold this event on New Year’s Eve itself as many of us had other parties that we wanted to go to on the coveted night of December 31st.

So we changed when we held our party to whatever was most convenient for us! This year it was on December 27th to 28th. We were unfortunately forced to choose between one of our friends from San Diego and one from San Jose in who could attend as they had opposite schedules of availability. We ended up choosing the San Diego friend as we see him less often with an additional gathering at the San Jose friend’s house on January 3rd.

After greeting each other with hugs we started the night off with a game of Pirateer where we collect treasure and booty. We moved on to a game of Brittania that lasted… 6 hours. Quite long for a game that is supposed to last 2 hours. Brittania is a Risk-like game that simulates all the invasions of Britain from the Romans to the Normans. It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes it takes FOREVER.

After that we got some pasta for dinner (at 11:30PM) and played a few fast games of Tsuro. This was a new one for me. It’s kind of like the old video game Snake where you don’t want you guy to go off the edge. You have tiles that you lay down in front of your token as you move around a 6-6 map. The tiles decide where you go and also where any of the other players go once they touch that tile. You try to get your opponents to crash off the edge of the map while keeping room for you to continue playing tiles until the board is full.

Next up was a drinking version of Liar’s Dice. That’s the game they play in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie where they bet on how many dice are underneath each person’s cup. In the movie they only play one round, but in our version we play several rounds. If you lose one round, you take a die out from your cup and roll with one less die. You lose the game if you lose all your dice. You can probably guess how we added in a drinking game aspect to Liar’s Dice. Whenever you lose a round, take a drink. When you lose all your dice, finish your drink.

We played Resistance which is a Mafia-like game. The game’s complexity isn’t in the roles like in Town of Salem, but more in how information is gathered. We had five people playing and with five people there are three Resistance members and two Spies. The Resistance wants to complete three out of five missions. I was one of the two Spies and our goal was to sabotage three out of five missions.

If a Spy goes on a mission they can choose to sabotage it or not. Everyone votes on proposed teams for each mission and the Resistance attempts to figure out who the Spies are by seeing which missions failed and who was on the missions that failed. Meanwhile, the Spies sow strife and discord amongst the Resistance by spreading misinformation and lies. I’m quite good at that so my Spy partner and I won.

At some point we played a little bit of Hearthstone and unlocked the Fireside Gathering card back. It’s awesome and I love it, even though I lost all three matches I played to get it.

We went to sleep around 4:30. I woke up at 8:30 and everyone else was up again around 10. We ate some hot breakfast and moved on to the last game of Fake New Year’s, Zombies.

Zombies attempts to simulate most zombie movies. The hordes are coming and you and your friends either have to eliminate the zombie threat or make it to a helicopter and get out of town. We play with a lot of house rules that usually result in everyone dying to the zombie hordes. This time only I died early on in the game. Four other people would have made it to the helicopter, but my Spy partner from before tripped someone to stall the zombies. The tripped person valiantly fought off the horde against his will and bought time for the other three to escape.

We ended the game extravaganza and headed back home. A great night of fun for everyone (except the San Jose friend who couldn’t make it)!

-Mister Ed