Published on August 4th, 2014 | by Gregg Miller1
Curse of Naxxramas: Plague Quarter
Gregg Explains Hearthstone
Naxxramas is a large palace fortress, and as such is divided into “wings”, as section of manors are sometimes known. On July 30th the second wing of the Naxxramas expansion to Hearthstone was released. As the previous wing, there are three bosses and defeating each one in Normal mode unlocks two copies of a new Neutral Minion to your collection. In addition you get a Legendary copy of the final boss of the wing, Loatheb.
Like a Raid Boss
Noth the Plaguebringer is the first boss of the wing, and he’s also our first NPC hero with a passive Hero Power. Whenever an enemy dies, he gets to raise a 1/1 skeleton. Effectively, it’s best to have a deck that can self heal, or has Minions that are large and strong enough to take on many attacks. Learning to “trade” minions effectively for board control is important.
Heigan the Unclean isn’t as tricky as his MMO version, though his Hero Power gives you a prime opportunity to take advantage of any card with the Deathrattle trait. For one mana, Heigan deals two damage to the left-most enemy minion. An important note, if you use a deck with the Nerubian Egg from the previous wing, you can effectively force a 4/4 minion onto your board by your following turn.
Loatheb is a bit tricky with his seventy-five health, and a Hero Power that lets him deal three damage only to the opposing Hero, for two mana. Pretty much, a mightier Hunter. While his health seemed intimidating at first, those who are savy and recall their raiding days may also remember the mechanic used for defeating this health-inflated boss. There are a pair of spells this hero has that can kill enemy Minions, but in exchange leave a 0/1 Minion on Loatheb’s board with the ability “Deathrattle: Give all enemy Minions +8 attack.” Effectively, you want a Zoo deck that can get minions out to restock your board, and benefit from the deathrattle effect.
Heroic modes change Noth to generate a 5/5 skeleton for his Hero Power, Noth dealing three damage at the cost of zero mana to the left-most enemy Minion, and Loatheb to deal three damage directly to the enemy Hero at a cost of zero mana.
There’s six cards to be gained, after completing the new Mage and Hunter class challenges that face off against Heigan and Loatheb respectively. I think this time around, the pre-built decks are set up to show off the new cards more than the previous two class challenge decks. Duplicate lets you double up the return on some Battlecry or Deathrattle Minions you lose. Webspinner is a cheap wild card that can pretty much go into every Hunter deck. It brings in any Beast type card, even those not in your deck, or owned in your collection.
The Neutral Minions start off with Stoneskin Gargoyle which will be great in buff decks, forcing your opponent to throw a large hitting Minion to finally drop this self-healing Minion. Unstable Ghoul is the poor man’s Abomination. Instead of a five mana 4/4 Taunt creature with a Deathrattle of one damage to all characters, it’s a three mana 1/3 Taunt that deals one damage to all characters. Sludge Belcher might be the new super Taunt Minion of the game, at five mana it has 3/5, Taunt, and “Deathrattle: Summon a 1/2 Slime with Taunt.”
The crown jewel of this set, is Loatheb, since it seems to be a direct counter to the current meta’s strongest deck, “Miracle Rogue”. For five mana, you get a well costed 5/5 Minion with a “Battlecry: Enemy Spells cost (5) mana more next turn.” Many people will want this card in their deck to hold onto, and play after a Rogue player brings in a Gadgetzan Auctioneer, to shut the entire deck down for a full turn.
This Wing had an incredibly rocky release, in my opinion. First, while many players were expecting a release date of July 29th, there was a delay that effectively made it so many players either had to wait one more day to start into the next chapter of this new content, or stay up late, depending on their time zone. In addition, there were billing issues that others reported. This mostly took the form of being charged twice for the single wing, or in my case, errors that lasted until late into the evening that prevented the transaction from even going through once. This was a rocky release day but the quality of the content was still the quality people come to expect from Blizzard.