Man, Hearthstone (Free) is getting awesome. I talked about this on our podcast, but I’ve got to say this is by far the cleverest way to release new cards that I’ve ever seen in a collectable card game. These boss (and class) encounters are a ton of fun, and if you liked the Arachnid Quarter, you’re going to love the Plague Quarter.
With that being said, spoilers of some sort are inevitable in these kind of guides so if you want to figure this out for yourself I’d stop reading.
Noth the Plaguebringer Strategy
Killing Noth the Plaguebringer, like most Naxxramas bosses, all comes down to dealing with his hero ability. In Noth’s case, any minion that dies on your side of the battlefield results in a 1/1 skeleton being spawned for Noth.
And, like the other non-heroic bosses we’ve seen so far, beating this dude is pretty easy if you work around those 1/1 skeletons. If you’re giving up minions every time one of yours dies, it seems like you’d want to play some big guys with lots of toughness so they stick around. Similarly, you want to be able to clear Noth’s board if he gets too many skeletons without wasting to much time. To me, that says playing as a Druid with lots of big minions and Swipe.
I used Gaara’s druid deck that he used at the Dreamhack Bucharest tournament this year. It’s a super fun deck to play in casual games, and it worked great here. If you don’t have the legendary cars from it, they’re really not key for this, and you can basically just swap in any similar casting cost beefy minions you might have. If you want a totally free to play variety, check out this deck which is the same idea and uses all the basic cards you get just by completing the tutorials.
Heigan the Unclean Strategy
The Heigan boss fight in World of Warcraft was notorious for the “Heigan Dance" you had to do. Basically, you had to drag the boss around the room avoiding the lava/slime/whatever spewing up from under his floor. There was always a safe place to stand, and if you weren’t standing there… Well, you’ll hear exactly how stupid you are in Ventrilo or raid chat. Here’s a video of the fight if you want to see what this looked like.
That same gimmick translates well to Hearthstone, and Heigan’s boss ability involves proper minion positioning on your side of the battlefield. When he uses his hero power, your left-most minion will take damage, so when you’re playing your minions, keep this in mind. Additionally, if you didn’t know this (and a surprising amount of new players don’t), when you play a minion before you release it from dragging it up to the battlefield you can position it on either side or even between existing minions.
So, knowing all this, the general strategy is to use a beefy minion on the left side to soak that damage up, or abuse his hero power by essentially “tanking" the inevitable damage with minions that have powerful death rattle abilities. The Nerubian Egg unlocked in the Arachnid Wing is great for this, as Heigan will turn your 0/2 in to a 4/4 for you for free. As far as what decks to use, I just used the same druid deck mentioned above as the big minions druids typically run are great at absorbing damage. Pay attention to what minion you have on the left, and otherwise it’s a normal game of Hearthstone
The other two bosses are pretty simple, but Loatheb is actually pretty tricky and involves a little bit of luck. The key to this fight is Loatheb playing Sporeburst, which for 1 mana deals 1 damage to all of your minions and summons a spore. Spores are 0/1 enemy minions that give your minions +8 attack when you kill them.
I say you’ll need a little bit of luck on this fight because sometimes Loatheb just won’t ever Sporeburst, or when he does, you won’t be able to utilize it effectively. Ideally, you want a board full of tiny minions, so when you buff them you’re getting maximum value out of the +8 attack. I used Trump’s Warlock Murloc zoo deck, but really any deck will work as long as the random number generator shines in your favor and you’ve got a good board state when Loatheb casts Sporeburst. The 75 health he starts with seems like a lot, but, it’s not that big of a deal when all of your 1/1’s turn in to 9/1’s.
It might take a couple tries, but, you’ll get there. Alternatively, if you want to cheese the fight, you can just stall until you can cast Alexstraza, dump Loatheb down to 15 health, and easily finish him off. Using the spore buff you can likely win way quicker than turn nine though.
Hunter Class Challenge Strategy
If you thought the normal Loatheb fight was a fight against the Hearthstone random number generator, this is that times two. You’re playing a Hunter deck which exclusively consists of Webspinner cards. You need to use their death rattle ability to get better beasts, play those beasts and hopefully win.
This is actually a lot of fun, even if it’s frustrating to get bad beasts. It reminds me a lot of playing Momir Basic on Magic Online in that you can totally steamroll Loatheb with good random cards, or just totally lose with bad random cards.
You can get any beast that exists in the card pool, which makes cards like the Scavenging Hyena a total bomb… And stuff like Captain’s Parrot a complete dud. Slam your head against Loatheb a few times for the RNG gods to shine favorably upon you following the similar pop the spore and do tons of damage strategy and you’ll win without much trouble.
Mage Class Challenge Strategy
Alright, so, in the strategy above where I mention using cards with good death rattle abilities to exploit Heigan’s hero power… Well, this Mage deck is almost entirely cards with crazy death rattle powers. There’s really nothing to this, just keep your best death rattle abilities on the left, wait for them to die, repeat.
There’s also loads of secret synergy in this deck, so don’t worry about getting too low as it seems like you’ll always have Ice Block or Ice Barrier up when you need it. If you manage to play Baron Rivendare, things get really crazy with your death rattles. Just have fun, as I’m really not sure you can lose unless you just end up getting a really bad shuffle.
Stay tuned for a guide on the Heroic side of things, which I hope to have done later today!