Balin’s Holt

It's hard being an anti-magic city in a high magic setting.
It’s hard being an anti-magic city in a high magic setting.

The little town of Balin’s Holt was originally a large city called Fangaroot. Fangaroot had high crop yields and was very prosperous due to the healthy silt of the Black Lake the city. A Green Dragon, Kenderax, desired all the wealth the people of Fangaroot had acquired. This Dragon organized all the Kobolds in the Kobold Lands to the north of Fangaroot. They attacked and in the process Fangaroot’s physical shell was destroyed. Kenderax was slain by the Dwarven paladin, Shalein, before the citizens of Fangaroot abandoned the city to the Kobolds and fled south to found Dalleer.

In 616 BC, 430 years after Fangaroot fell, a descendant of Shalein, named Balin, decided to reclaim the city for his family’s honor. He led a band of like minded people against the Kobolds and managed to defeat them with Balin’s magical abilities and a Halfling scouting brigade led by Terry, the accomplished rogue, who disarmed the Kobolds’ strategically placed traps.

Balin headed the council of the new city and named it after himself when the councilors rejected using Fangaroot as the name again. Balin ruled fairly for many years and he never had a serious opponent in the annual elections for head councilor. Balin developed a strong friendship with Terry; but, with Terry’s unfortunate death, Balin became a recluse. He no longer attends the council meetings and is the leader only in title. He is only seen for the hour of midnight in the Dragon’s Den pub on the south of town looking out over the lake. The pub is named Shaelin’s Glen after Balin’s ancestor. When he goes there many people ask him sage questions that only he knows the answer to. Balin is also he only person licensed to sell or buy magic items in the city, making midnight hour at the Dragon’s Den very popular for the right kind of person.

With Balin gone the council has begun to increase taxes for scientific pursuits. Arcane magic is not very well thought of in Balin’s Holt. The people there see it as only destructive. They instead hope to use nature’s normal laws instead of manipulating them to create fire or lightning. Magic is not outlawed in the city, but it is pretty close to it. Magicians are constantly watched by the Forsakers, a group of secret police who forsake magic of all kinds and in doing so gain some immunity to it. Detection spell are punished as trespassing in people’s minds. Any crime committed with magic is punished doubly than if done without magic.

In contrast, divine magic is generally accepted by the people in Balin’s Holt. It saved their ancestors from the dragon, Kenderax, and they have continued to trust completely in it. Detect spells are still not allowed by divine casters. It is believed that if evil is to be punished it must reveal itself in an obvious manner first. The temple in Balin’s Holt is large enough for two times the 6,000 people who live there and services are attended by almost everybody in the city on every holiday and full moon.

Balin’s Holt has a port on the Black Lake where trade is done with the other small towns to the north and with the large cities to the south. The lake is black because of the charcoal deposits created during the Titanomachy just upriver. This doesn’t taint the water, but instead acts as a filter for the water making it very clean. The people of Balin’s Holt are offended at the smell of most people in the rest of the world because they bath at least every three days. The charcoal also fertilizes the ground near the lake making Balin’s Holt’s crops larger and juicier than any other city’s. The specialties of the town are root vegetables and squash.

A thieves guild was formed in Balin’s Holt by Terry. It was sanctioned by the town as long as they did not steal from anybody poor, were seen while stealing, or if any tax money was taken. Since Terry’s death and Balin’s eventual departure from the council the thieves guild has become more of a scientists guild. They are no longer allowed to steal things in any way at all. The thieves now research new technologies that will benefit the public.

Many works of art are produced in Balin’s Holt. The city’s most famous piece is in the center plaza. It is a large painted marble miniature of the battle in which Kenderax was slain. The whole thing is fifty feet in diameter with each man in it being about a foot tall. Other masterpieces can be seen throughout the city and many people who wish to be artists for their trade come here to be indentured.

Heroic Kel’Thuzad

 

The ideal situation against the big bad lich boss.
The ideal situation against the big bad lich boss.

Beating Heroic Kel’Thuzad was a pain.

What are Kel’Thuzad’s advantages over you in Heroic? EVERYTHING!

He starts off with 20 armor and 45 health.

If you’ve played against him then you probably already know that he has two hero powers.

His first hero power is used for free very turn. It freezes you and deals you 3 damage.

His second hero power is unlocked when you remove Kel’Thuzad’s armor or when you finish your tenth turn, whichever comes first.

The second hero power costs 8 and allows Kel to steal a random minion from your side of the board. And when his hero power changes he also gets two 5/5 minions with taunt.

Plus he’s got some of the best cards in the game in his deck.

I tried so many decks against him. I tried Paladin, Shaman, and Mage before I landed on Divine Spirit/Inner Fire Priest once again.

The Paladin deck I tried was too slow to build a board presence against Kel’Thuzad. The 3 damage a turn from his hero power brought me down before I could get the buff train rolling on my minions.

My Shaman deck focused around dealing lots of early damage with Dust Devils, but Kel killed the Dust Devils every time with Frostbolt.

The Mage deck I created had some success. It could consistently survive to Kel’Thuzad’s second stage, but it faltered at that point.

The Mage deck was a Secret deck. Mad Scientist and Ethereal Arcanist featured heavily in it.

I usually broke through Kel’s armor with a buffed Arcanist.

Then Kel would transform, drop two huge taunt minions, and steal my Arcanist.

I couldn’t figure out a way to recover from that.

Sooo… Back to the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire Priest! Here’s the deck list:
Circle of Healing x2
Silence x2
Inner Fire x2
Power Word: Shield x2
Northshire Cleric x2
Divine Spirit x2
Lightwell x2
Loot Hoarder x2
Novice Engineer x2
Deathlord x2
Imp Master x2
Stoneskin Gargoyle x2
Shadow Madness x2
Lightspawn x2
Holy Nova x2

Just the usual jazz for Divine Spirit/Inner Fire, but with the addition of a bit more card draw to get the required pieces. The Loot Hoarder and Novice Engineer will hopefully take some of Kel’s removal spells with them as well.

The Silence is added to remove any taunts that Kel might get. Racing him was how I won and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Silence. Ironbeak Owl might work just as well though.

Getting a big beastie should be fine, but then Kel will transform and get his minion stealing power. What do we do then?

That’s why I put Imp Master in. Kel will steal a 1 attack creature more often than not, so he’ll just avoid using the ability entirely.

Shadow Madness is also quite useful against Kel’Thuzad because he runs Dark Cultist and Sludge Belcher. If they die on your side of the field then you get the deathrattle as well!

While the deck is pretty simple, the boss fight is still quite hard. I beat Kel’Thuzad on my tenth try after going into fatigue and being one turn from losing.

But I unlocked this baby!

Heroic Naxxramas

So good luck taking down the Heroic bosses of Naxxramas. My other Heroic boss guides can be found here: Maexxna, PatchwerkGlobbulus, GluthThaddiusSapphiron, Everyone else.

-Mister Ed

Heroic Globbulus

I've got him right where I want him.
I’ve got him right where I want him.

I took a crack at Heroic Grobbulus in the Construct Quarter of Hearthstone’s Naxxramas adventure and found out that an Inner Fire/Divine Spirit Priest deck works consistently.

Here is the specific deck list I used, although many variations could work:
Circle of Healing x2
Holy Smite x2
Inner Fire x2
Power Word: Shield x2
Divine Spirit x2
Shadow Word: Pain x2
Lightwell x2
Nerubian Egg x2
Shadow Word: Death x2
Dark Cultist x2
Deathlord x2
Stoneskin Gargoyle x2
Auchenai Soulpriest
Lightspawn x2
Holy Nova x2
Mind Control

The strategy is the same as any other Inner Fire/Divine Spirit deck. Create a minion too big for your opponent to deal with and then tear him down.

The problem is that when you face Grobbulus it isn’t clear whether you should be healing yourself or the big minion.

The fix for that issue is having the big minion be Stoneskin Gargoyle. It’ll heal itself and you can always heal yourself.

While the deck works, I felt unsure about some of the parts of it.

Often times when I played the Nerubian Egg, all the Nerubian would be capable of trading with would be the slime produced by Grobbulus’ hero power killing the egg.

Lightspawn felt a little bad because it gets weaker as it takes damage. It was an even tougher choice of whether I should heal it or myself.

Mind Control also felt a little odd, but I put it in there in case I needed to clear a taunt on Grobbulus’ side to secure lethal. I suppose a silence effect would’ve worked just as well.

I might substitute in a little more draw to get the Inner Fire combo faster.

Otherwise it was a simple strategy that got a simple victory. Enjoy!

-Mister Ed