Hearthstone is Officially Naxxed Out
We did it, you guys. We killed all of the bosses in the Naxxramas solo adventure. We out-dpsed Patchwerk, charged through Thaddius and cooled off the Frostwyrm Lair. Now that Kel'Thuzad has been put down and all of the cards are in play it's time to review the last two sets we have earned. This is the moment we were all waiting for as now all of the exciting new combinations and decks are possible. The last weekend of tournaments and ladder play were a great example of the life that 30 new cards have breathed into the meta game.
Winning decks featured plenty of s, s and s. The tournament scene is no longer being overrun with Zoo Warlocks and Miracle Rogues, although Hunters have stepped up to replace them. It is an exciting new era and now that this first major content expansion has completed we can start delving into specific decks again next week. For now let's look at the rest of the Naxx set and grade each card individually.
The Construct Quarter
With the huge amount of deathrattle cards added throughout the Naxxramas adventure this card has immense value. It is such a threat when played on turn 1 that often it will draw out or other removal and when your 1-drop can get that kind of value that early often the game will go your way. A lot of decks can make use of this card which is not something most Naxx cards can boast so I consider this to be one of the best cards in the entire set.
Play it on turn 1, follow with a , win the game.
You will need to have picked some deathrattle cards already before you can reliably pick this guy but there are so many commons with deathrattle these days that it is likely that you will have some. Still, this card is slightly less valuable in arena.
This a card that makes secrets viable again. Most secrets are just not very good but if you can play them for free they are actually amazing. Go figure! A 2/2 body is nothing special but basically this card works as card draw and a tempo swing and a buffer for your Undertaker. Any class with secrets can make use of this card but so far the best use has been in the Hunter deck. Getting free secrets out in a Hunter deck makes even better and frees up mana in the early turns to cast it with a secret already in play. This card has also brought back in a big way which is another buff to Hunters.
I only give it a minus because it isn't a beast but this card is awesome and belongs in a lot of fun and playable decks. It has essentially created a couple of new archetypes as well as improved some existing decks so all in all you have to give it credit for the amount of impact to the meta game this card has created.
Average at best in arena. You will have to have picked a secret already and that is somewhat unlikely as they aren't good if you don't have this card. You see the problem.
The moment everyone saw this card the first reaction was, "I can make an OTK Priest deck with , and !" The issue with this, however, is that while it is the dream, it will happen so infrequently and you will lose a lot of games just trying to set it up. What it does excel at though is give Priests and other classes that were lacking early game answers to aggro a way to keep pace until the big stuff comes out in the late game. A good card for control decks but the downside is terrible when top decked in the late game.
Even though it does shore up an issue for a lot of control decks this card is still average in my book. It does have a place though and is a card that I will be keeping an eye on.
Worse in arena but only by a bit. It will always be good when in your opening hand but top decking this card at the end of a game will be terrible.
Look at that. A counter to those annoying Freeze Mages. Just in time for them to have all but disappeared. There are some cards with some bad deathrattles and of course silencing an is great but the issue here is that the card will be tough to get out on the board with more than one other minion in constructed so while in theory there can be a lot of cool decks that can use this cards unique effect, in practice, these decks won't work very well in the long run. For 4 mana you would be better off just playing a or a .
I'm sure someone out there has made a really fun deck with a bunch of bad cards that are suddenly good when you play this but I doubt that person is reaching legendary anytime soon. Sorry, made-up guy.
There are some pretty bad rares that this could go against where the 3/5 stats could look appealing but I would stay away in arena.
I'm putting these guys together because they belong together. There are a lot of crazy combos that can get you more than one . However, the decks that can reliably pull this off game after game are going to be slow, control decks. These decks will be quite scary though as the amount of stats you can ultimately get for 10 mana is pretty ridiculous. I have heard some people complain about the deathrattle effect when both die at the same time but just for clarities sake: they both die at the same time, THEN the deathrattles go off in the order they were played, since each one has died both deathrattles proc a Thaddius, you get two Thaddius's. I love cards like this. Whether they turn out to be good in the long run they are interesting mechanics and add a lot of flavor to the game.
Some games will just become unwinnable against this combo but I don't think it is consistent enough to merit higher than a B-. After a few weeks of play this still isn't very common to run into on the ladder but I believe in tournaments there will be some very cool decks that can utilize these guys to their full potential.
If you get lucky enough to pick a single legendary in arena it's going to be rare to have either of these be the best of the three choices.
Control Warrior go a huge buff when this car hit. It's a on its first swing and an on it's second. It also fit right into the deck replacing a and a so no tough decisions really needed to be made. In a Warrior deck the whirlwind effect is incredibly useful for giving card draw, armor or enabling . I believe out of all of the class specific cards this is the one that stands alone as the best of the bunch and it's not even close.
It's really good. Trust me. It's just really friggin' good.
It's really good. Why don't you believe me? Just pick it already!
Priest has been seeing quite a revival lately as a lot of the Naxx cards have given the class the ability to keep up with early tempo and get into the late game, which is where Priest shines. This card is a big part of that but in reality the Priest wasn't really missing 3-drops. and were both fine 3 drops and since is a Priest staple the 3-slot can get a little crowded with the addition of this card. On the other hand, most Priest decks run only 1 actual 2-drop in and it is preferred to play that card the same turn as some spells to act as AoE removal. I do believe this card is fantastic but I would have loved to see it be a 2/3 that gives 2 health as the deathrattle. That said, I'll take it as is and put it into every Priest deck.
While the effect can be played around the fact that this card changes the way the opponent plays against you is always going to be a positive. I've yet to see a Priest deck that doesn't include this card.
I believe that this is pretty close to an auto-pick in arena since there are very few truly good 3-drops and this might be one of the best.
The Frostwyrm Lair
This is a very interesting card and one that can be devastating if buffed the turn it is played. However, the downside is that playing the card without any buffs leaves you with two weak bodies that won't impact the game very much. There are a lot of decks that already run a lot of buffing cards so this will work great in decks like Zoo Warlock and Token Druid but hoping to have the in your hand when you draw this is relying on RNG and that makes this card somewhat inconsistent.
I do believe it is slightly above average but most decks will not be able to take full advantage of this card's potential.
Slightly worse in arena since you cannot pick the buff cards reliably. In most cases there will be a better pick presented.
Brian Kibler, who is a hall of fame Magic player, recently finished 2nd in the Sunshine Open and played a Druid deck that used the Shade in a very cool way. Innervating it out on turn 1, he was able to leave it stealthed until it was a big enough threat and swing in for a lot of damage. I believe that if the card can be played in this fashion it can be devastating but if you attack with it the turn after you play it it is simply a 3/3 that needs to die quickly. It is an intriguing card to be sure, but one that needs a deck that can protect it or continue to build board presence while leaving it in stealth. In a way it is similar to playing since you trade tempo the turn it is played for strength in the ensuing turns.
Decks with some taunters or other threats that can be played soon after will make the best use of this card but it can be a very aggressive play.
While you cannot build a deck to best utilize the Shade, it is still above average compared to the other 3-drops. Also, it is an epic so it is likely to come up very infrequently.
This is a card that will be hard to justify including in most decks. While it could potentially restore a depleted board in constructed games there will often not be enough creatures on board to fully realize the Kel'Thuzad dream. Also, you could consider it a "win more" card since you are likely already ahead if your board has 2-3 minions on it on turn 8. I do like that the stats mean it cannot be killed by but that doesn't mean it should take the spot of cards like or in late game control decks. It is similar to a in that can be great if you are allowed to freely trade minions as you like but those types of situations are just too rare in constructed Hearthstone.
Sure, I just told you that it sucks but really what I mean is it's average. Why would you put an average card in a constructed deck though? You can put in the good ones!
Similar to the Cult Master, which doesn't work in constructed because the pace of the games is quicker, in arena you will actually find yourself minion trading more often. In those situations this card can be awesome.
The vanilla test would lead you to believe that Avenge is the greatest card ever. 3/2 for 1 with no drawback? There is a drawback though. You must have a few creatures in play and the buff is random. So far I've found this card to be fine in an aggro Paladin deck but the more popular control Paladin will have trouble justifying its inclusion. Also, with Mad Scientist this card can cost no mana which obviously raises the value so while it only really goes into one deck currently it's actually just fine in that deck so the card is okay.
There really isn't much more to say about this card. It fits in aggro Paladin which isn't a very good deck in the current meta but when that deck comes back this card will see play.
If it is up against bad cards I think it is an okay pick but I would stay away from this card in most situations. The unreliability of secrets makes this card below average in arena.
Naxxramas as a whole has to be looked at as a success now that all of the cards are in play. The heroic boss fights were challenging enough to reward the players who enjoy playing against the AI while the much needed new cards have revitalized the stale constructed meta game. Even us arena players got a little love since a lot of the common cards have made arena drafting and play even more varied and interesting. The next expansion is said to be a straight release of a larger set of new cards with no adventure mode to go along with it. However, the stage is definitely set for future raid content and with the massive World of Warcraft to pull pull from there will never be a shortage of fun new bosses to fight.
Currently, Hunters stand at the top of the heap after getting the surprisingly strong and of course the addition of to counter the Miracle Rogue. The fun surprise of Naxx has been the resurgence of Paladin and Priest, however. Suddenly, Priest isn't way behind in the early game and Paladin also has some great early game drops to catch up with the faster decks and push into the mid to late game. Whoever finishes at the top of the ladder this month should be very proud of the accomplishment as the meta shifted every week and this has been one of the most exciting seasons of Hearthstone since the game launched. Next week I will start highlighting some of the most innovative and effective decks since the Naxx cards have hit and we will start discussing them in-depth. Leave me comments with your thoughts on the cards from the last two wings below and make sure to check out my
to see me experiment with these decks live.
Until next time, job’s done!
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