Hearthstone Guide: Defeating The Crone

The opera house has plenty of unique new challenges for the One Night in Karazhan adventure with its grand finale being a battle with the Wizard of Oz homage, The Crone.  Much like the fight with Emperor Thaurissan in Blackrock Mountain, The Crone’s hero power can kill you in one shot and the only thing stopping it is the survival of a specific minion.  In this case, it’s Dorothee who will stand on your side of the board and offer buffs to your minions.  All minions to the left of Dorothee will gain charge and all to her right will gain taunt.  These effects will immediately make almost any deck incredibly powerful and this will be one of the easier bosses on normal difficulty.

One quick route to victory is to simply build a deck of all your best taunt minions, place them all to the left of Dorothee, and just go for the face.  Only trade when it’s absolutely necessary to protect Dorothee and be sure to have a range of minions rather than simply going for a zoo deck as that can leave you vulnerable to the Abominations that The Crone has.  Keep in mind that The Crone has plenty of buffs like Blessing of Kings and Power of the Wild, so be prepared for those types of bursts.  Also, remember to change your deck for the encounter to Wild as all cards are legal against the bosses.

On heroic difficulty, things get a lot trickier as The Crone not only has 50 health, but is also putting you on an eight-turn timer.  On turn eight, The Crone is guaranteed to draw Twisting Nether and will use it for a  guaranteed kill on Dorothee and, by extension, you.  I played several matches to test it and she topdecked the card every time without fail.  It’s possible to buy yourself an extra turn with Loatheb or Counterspell, but the fact remains that you need to be able to bring The Crone down fast.

One of your best bets for bringing down the wicked witch is to build a Warlock deck with a focus on strong stat lines for low costs.  Cards like Duskboar and Ancient Watcher are generally what you’re going to want to focus on.  What makes Warlock particularly potent is that it has minions like Flame Imp, Wrathguard, and Pit Lord that trade your health for powerful stats.  Since the crone is going to focus exclusively on attacking Dorothee, so your own health is irrelevant.  Warlock also has plenty of sticky minions like Imp Master and Possessed Villager that provide plenty of protection.

Another potent tactic is to play Priest and cast Inner Fire on Dorothee.  You’ll still need plenty of minions with strong stats to keep her safe, such as the neutral ones mentioned earlier.  You’ll also want card draw as your strategy will be built entirely around this one spell and you’ll struggle without it.  However, you do have unlimited attempts at the boss, so just keep trying until you get lucky.

Hearthstone Screenshot 08-18-16 20.49.29

There are all the tactics you’ll need to turn The Crone into a green puddle.  Maybe you’ll catch her in a charitable mood and she’ll spend her buffs on your minions.  Seriously, the above image is just one of three separate occasions where she just gave me the match for no real reason.  Hearthstone A.I. is just the best.

Controversial Hearthstone Card Not Appearing in Arena

One of the new cards being added to Hearthstone with the upcoming One Night in Karazhan expansion has been creating a negative stir.  Purify is a new card for the Priest class, which is currently the weakest class in the game, and has received a great deal of criticism from several noteworthy players for possibly being the worst card to have been introduced to the game yet.

Most notably, Kripparrian posted an extensive rant against the card on his Youtube channel that mainly focused on how the card will effect the Arena game mode. Arena has players drafting a deck of random cards and seeing how far they can go playing against people working under the same conditions, so introducing a bad card is always going to have an impact in that mode.  However, the development team has issued a surprising statement in regards to Purify and how they are responding to the criticism.

Ben Brode, the lead designer on Hearthstone and the face of the game, released a Designer Insights video on the official Hearthstone Youtube channel speaking specifically on Purify.  He explains that the design team’s thought process on designing the card was to support the niche archetype of Silence Priest that, while not a competitive-level deck, still has viable strategies and can take people by surprise.

However, they do understand the importance of Arena balance and have been working on a new algorithm for the frequency of specific cards that appear in Arena in order to even out the various classes.  While this isn’t expected to be ready any time soon, the developers are taking action to prevent Purify from skewing Arena balance by keeping it out of the game mode entirely.  This isn’t the first time that a card has been made undraftable in Arena as all of the C’Thun-based cards introduced in Whispers of the Old Gods were given the same treatment.

Brode closes his video with the following statement: “We’re going to disagree sometimes on decisions that we make, and we’re going to make mistakes, too, but hopefully we can learn together and make the game better overtime.”  What are your thoughts on Brode’s feedback to the community?  What do you feel still needs to be done to sort out Arena balance?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone: One Night in Karazhan Cards Preview #2

Hearthstone

Things weren’t off to the best start with some of the first cards we saw being added with One Night in Karazhan, but the full list is now available and we can make some definitive statements on what we can expect in Hearthstone‘s near future. Hearthstone Let’s see if this update saved its best for last and how it will shape the game.

The developers are really pushing for Discard Warlock to be an archetype and this one card could be what makes it a reality.  The biggest drawback to discarding has always been that, even with a hero power that draws cards, it quickly drains your resources and you simply can’t regain momentum.

MalchezaarsImp

Malchezaar’s Imp allows you to maintain momentum even while discarding several cards and has a strong stat line to keep it alive long enough for a considerable effect.  The one caveat is that the deck would have to be aggressive in nature if you’re discarding that many cards as you can’t risk losing anything too valuable.

VioletIllusionist

Given how powerful aggro decks have been for so long, I welcome something like Violet Illusionist into the game with open arms.  Granted, she won’t be enough to counter aggressive decks on the same level as Antique Healbot on her own, but she’ll offer more survivability across the board without being overpowered.

Zoobot

Hey, neutral beast-synergy that isn’t junk.  It also works with dragons and murlocs, but only one for each.  It’s a bit of a strange concept, but you really only need it to hit one of your minions for this to be good.  Even if you have to play it on it’s own, it still has a decent stat line on its own.  It’s less so now that 3/4 minions are becoming more and more common, but it still looks like a decent card.  It’s just strange to think of where it will find its place in constructed with how sporadic its effect is, but just remember that you don’t always have to get maximum value out of card for it to be good.

MedivhGuardian

The final prize at the adventure’s end, Medivh, is interesting for a couple reasons.  For one, it shows that characters who are already playable heroes can also be cards, which could have some interesting results in the future.  Second, he gives you a neutral weapon that spends its durability whenever you cast a spell to summon a random minion matching the spell’s cost.  We’ve already seen this effect with Summoning Stone, but the Atiesh weapon has greater potential as your opponent won’t have an easy way of removing it.  Cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze can counter it, but it’s not something that is going to drive cards like that up in the meta on its own.  The high cost and unpredictability will probably make Medivh too niche for most competitive decks, but he will definitely find his place in certain control decks.

Purify

♫The rich get richer♫

♫And the poor get poorer♫

♫And Ben Brode lauuughs at your pain♫

I certainly hope that the bosses in this next adventure are at least fun, because One Night in Karazhan is undoubtedly the weakest Hearthstone expansion in terms of a meta shift.  Between Firelands Portal making Mage stronger and Purify making Priest weaker, this expansion is not only maintaining the status quo, but actively cementing it.  There are a few new archetypes that can emerge from some of the new cards, but most of it merely supplements what is already dominant in the game.  All signs point to Medivh throwing a lame party and I already feel like I have a remorseful hangover.

What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan?  Do you have more optimism for what it can offer Hearthstone than I do?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone: One Night In Karazhan Cards Preview #1

One Night in Karazhan is bringing some of the most fondly-remembered boss fights from World of Warcraft into Hearthstone and, while they’re always fun challenge, it’s the cards they award that make a lasting impact on the game.  While adventures introduce significantly less cards than card packs, just one or two especially good cards can turn the entire game on its head (e.g. Undertaker, Grim Patron, Tunnel Trogg).

Let’s go over some of the new cards that have been revealed and see where the game may be going with this update.  Be sure to also check out the announcement article which briefly discusses three more new cards that won’t be examined here.

Firelands_Portal

One of the themes for new cards being introduced with this expansion are the portals.  There will be five different portal cards, each for a different class and each with a different effect, and the Firelands Portal will be the first one you get as one of three cards rewarded from the free prologue mission.  For constructed play, this portal probably won’t see play as a simple Fireball is much more reliable in most situations.

In Arena, however, this takes Mage from being incredibly strong to outright broken.  Having strong removal and a strong summon combined into a single card is incredibly powerful in Arena’s playstyle, even for 7 mana, and the fact that this is a common card is bound to make Arena Mage’s almost impossible to beat.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it had just been made a Rare card, and Arena is the only place where rarity of adventure cards has any impact.  It’s just another friendly reminder that the Hearthstone developers don’t play their own game.

Moroes

To play Moroes, you’re first going to need a meta-shift where everyone stops playing board control cards.  Once people stop putting cards like Flamestrike, Ravaging Ghoul, Lightning Storm, Explosive Trap, and Consecration, then Moroes can finally find a spot in your deck as a worse Imp Master.  Granted, there are cards like Steward of Darkshire and Hobgoblin (at least in Wild) that Moroes can synergize with and we may get another card along the same lines in this expansion, but there’s no chance Moroes will ever see competitive-level play.

Protect_the_King

This is an interesting inclusion, although its viability is a tough call.  It’s essentially a defensive version of Unleash the Hounds and that could be a potent play.  It’s a card that demands your opponent’s attention and could turn the pace of the game in your favor.  However, it’s highly vulnerable to AoE effects like the ones I mentioned under Moroes and that alone could render it unplayable.  It’s usefulness is going to rely heavily on the current meta, but it should be able to find its niche.  It should at least be a handy Arena card with how much room it gives you to turn the tide.

Prince_Malchezaar

This is easily the coolest new card being added to the game and the best part is that he’s free to everyone with the prologue mission.  That’s very important as his biggest benefit is that he’ll allow new players and those playing on a budget to play around with legendaries they haven’t collected yet.  He’s also a neutral demon with a lot of viability, so we may actually see Sacrificial Pact enter the meta.  Finally, he has a new type of effect that automatically triggers at the start of the game just from having him in your deck.  That’s a fascinating ability and there’s plenty of potential for more cards that work along the same line.

Pompous_Thespian

Hey, have you heard of this new game called Chronicle: Runescape Legends?  It’s a really cool digital card game with great production values and a unique premise.  Instead of summoning monsters to fight for you, you battle your own creatures and create your own mini-adventure with the goal of growing stronger than your opponent for a final battle at the end.  It’s free-to-play and you can check it out for yourself here.  Maybe it will have the decency not to sell playable versions of underpowered cards.

Okay, so One Night in Karazhan isn’t exactly getting off on the right foot with some of it’s early reveals, but there are some really good cards mixed in.  Sadly, aside from a couple of really cool legendaries, this is looking to be the weakest adventure yet in terms of meta-shift.  There are still plenty more cards left to reveal and we may see something grand emerge down the line, but I’ve never wanted to switch to a different card game more than after seeing some of the terribly designed cards featured above.  At least the boss fights should be fun.

What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan?  Which of the new cards is your favorite?  Which one most needs to be thrown on a bonfire?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

New Hearthstone Adventure, One Night in Karazhan, Revealed

During a special event held at ChinaJoy expo and streamed through the official Hearthstone Twitch channel, Blizzard revealed the next expansion for their popular digital card game.  The new expansion, One Night in Karazhan, will be an adventure based around the home of the Guardian Medivh back in its glory days.  Medivh is setting up for the greatest party in the history of Azeroth and he’s going to need help getting the place in order before the festivities begin.

Like previous adventures, it will have players take on a number of single-player boss battles to win new cards for their collections.  The journey will be spread across four wings with three bosses each.  The first step is the dining hall where you’ll have to take on a golem made of dinnerware and play a Hearthstone-version of chess.  Next is the opera house with plays based on Romeo & Juliet, The Big Bad Wolf, and The Wizard of Oz.  The menagerie comes third with a stampede of beasts running wild and fiends like the satyr Terestian Illhoof leading the charge.  Your final stop is Medivh’s private quarters where mythical opponents like the dragon Netherspite and the terrifying Shade of Aran will put you to the ultimate test.  Before any of that, however, all players will be given a single, free prologue mission the will award them with two new cards.

New cards that have been revealed for the expansion include the Ivory Knight, a Paladin minion that discovers a spell, Kindly Grandmother, a Hunter minion that summons the Big Bad Wolf upon death, and the legendary Curator that draws a beast, dragon, and murloc from your deck.  More cards will be revealed over time as we draw closer to release.

One Night in Karazhan is set to release its first wing on August 11th.  Are you looking forward to this funky interpretation of the famous tower?  What new decks are you planning to build with these new cards?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.