Published on August 27th, 2014 | by Gregg Miller2
Curse of Naxxramas: Frostwyrm Lair
Gregg Explains: Hearthstone
The fifth and final wing came out, and now the Naxxramas Hearthstone expansion is complete. This was the smaller wing, but I think at least the second boss fight was interesting and difficult enough to challenge people for completing all the challenges.
The first boss is Sapphiron, the undead blue dragon. Their Hero Power states, “Destroy all enemy minions that aren’t Frozen”, with the cost being zero mana. This seems intimidating at a glance, but you get to start play with a 2/10 Frozen Champion that states, “Permanently Frozen. Adjacent minions are Immune to Frost Breath”. Effectively, you can comfortably have two minions out to swing at Sapphiron, while blasting them with weapons and spells.
Kel’Thuzad is the final boss of the set, and works like a two phase boss. Starting out, Kel’Thuzad has thirty health, and ten armor, and a Hero Power that costs zero mana, freezes the enemy hero, and deals two damage to them. Effectively, any Hero that can gain Attack from spells or weapons won’t be able to swing at the boss. As soon as Kel’Thuzad loses all ten of his armor, he yells out that your turn is over (and it really is, the end turn button is automatically “hit” for you) and that it is his turn now. He brings in a pair of 3/3 Taunt minions for free, and his Hero Power changes. The new Hero Power is called Chains, and for eight mana, it randomly gains control of an enemy minion for the turn. Now you’re on the clock, where your strongest swinging minions could be turned against you, as you’re trying to kill this final boss.
Some interesting things happened while I was trying to figure out how best to defeat Kel’Thuzad, and I think it adds both an interesting tweak to the play experience, and an infuriating nerf to a class facing off against him. All the heroes have a battle cry when the match starts. However, depending on which hero you use, Kel’Thuzad will directly respond with something snide that’s specific to what the hero facing him said. With a Hunter deck, the Animal Companion card generates a new, fourth possible Beast. Instead of the usual three, Kel’Thuzad’s pet cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, was summoned. This 1/1 Beast is rather useless with what happened next.
On the following turn, I resolved to use my Hound Master to give +2/+2 and Taunt to a beast, trying to salvage something out of the terrible minion inflicted on me. However, it seems that all the enemy minions were able to ignore the Taunt on Mr. Bigglesworth. When at last I killed my own minion from doing some much needed trading, Kel’Thuzad cried out the same words that were shouted in the Naxxramas raid, when his pet cat is killed by the raid team.
The list of new cards added is small. Two bosses, and only one class challenge, but this seems to balance out from the over abundance from the previous week. Echoing Ooze is the offensive buffing minion. For two mana, this 1/2 minion has the following Battlecry: “Summon an exact copy of this minion at the end of the turn.” Instead of the normal logic of waiting to see if your opponent is going to throw down some early removal, before buffing a minion after their “summoning sickness” is over, you now want to invest in the power of this minion, so you can reap an impressive reward. An easy combo would be any Druid deck that casts Mark of the Wild on the Ooze, so that you now have a pair of 3/4 Taunt minions, for the cost of four mana!
The next card, Shade of Naxxramas, is the “mini Gruul”. For three mana, this 2/2 minion has the following text printed: Stealth. At the start of your turn, gain +1/+1. As long as you can keep it alive, you’ll have a minion that can spiral out of control, ramping up more and more damage against your opponent. The final card you earn from doing the Normal mode campaign is Kel’Thuzad himself. This eight mana, 6/8 Legendary minion returns all friendly minions who died that turn back from the dead. This is another card that will be good in general, but shines better in a Deathrattle deck, letting you keep getting more uses out of those minions.
The class challenge is for the paladin, giving them their card, Avenge. For one mana, this Secret spell card gives +3/+2 to a friendly minion, when one of your own minions dies. The key important mechanic, is Secret cards can’t trigger on your own turn. You can’t throw a weak minion away, to hopefully buff a larger minion. However, this can be a handy method to bounce back, after losing any minion, and recouping, or even coming out ahead, depending on what died. This class challenge is against Kel’Thuzad, and is a rather beastly encounter.
That’s it! No more wings left to release for this first expansion, and all thirty cards are relatively easily unlocked for everyone who’s bought or unlocked this expansion. I expect the meta to shift quite a bit, and hopefully there will be more variety for a while, until things settle once more into one or two top decks. If you have no interest in competative play, this expansion is definately the answer to new and fun content, as you play against non-player opponents.