Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas First Impressions

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If you’ve been playing the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft card game from Blizzard, you’ve no doubt been anticipating the Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas expansion. The expansion is now available, having launched on July 22nd, and we sat down and took the new content for a spin.
Naxxramas will feature five wings – Arachnid Quarter, Plague Quarter, Military Quarter, Construct Quarter, and Frostwyrm Lair – which will launch one per week. As mentioned above, the Arachnid Quarter will be free for those who play within the first month; the remaining wings will need to be unlocked using in-game gold or money. Completing wings will add new cards to player’s collections and will also unlock a Heroic Mode which will unlock a special card back for players who have defeated all of the bosses in this mode. The pricing for the remaining wings is as follows:

  • Individual wings cost $6.99USD or 700 gold each
  • All five wings (if you miss the launch event) are available for $24.99
  • If you own the first wing, the remaining four will cost $19.99
  • If you own the first two wings, the remaining three will cost $14.99
  • If you own the first three wings, the remaining two will cost $9.99

The wings should be unlocked easily with in game gold by completing the daily challenges and participating in an arena or two. While you can purchase the wings in bundles, you will only be able to access the new wings as they become available following the weekly launch schedule.

Overview

Launching Hearthstone for the first time after the update invites you to take on Naxxramas.

Curse of Naxxramas Launch Screen

Curse of Naxxramas Launch Screen

The menu items have changed as well, with Practice mode and access to the Curse of Naxxramas accessible under the Solo Adventures menu item.

Updated Hearthstone Menu Screen

Updated Hearthstone Menu Screen

Selecting Naxxramas shows the available modes – Normal, Class Challenges, and Heroic. The Class Challenges and Heroic modes can only be accessed after defeating the wing on Normal mode.

Naxxramas Selection Screen

Naxxramas Selection Screen

Normal Mode

Now on to the bosses. The Arachnid Quarter features three bosses – Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and Maexxna. Each boss has a unique hero power which can be quite a challenge depending what deck you use, especially considering the low cost of each. I was using a Warlock murloc rush deck and had no problems defeating each boss on my first attempt.

Anub’Rekhan

Anub’Rekhan’s Normal Hero Power

Thank goodness the summoned Nerubian’s only have 1 health point. Still, with 3 attack power it can get a bit hairy at times trying to keep the board clear of these.

Grand Widow Faerlinas Normal Hero Power

Grand Widow Faerlina’s Normal Hero Power

This was one of the most frustrating hero powers to deal with in my opinion. The first few rounds, Faerlina would fire this off constantly, making it tough to keep minions on the board. Using the Warlock murloc deck though, after about round 4 I rarely had cards in my hand which effectively negated this power.

Maexxna

Maexxna’s Normal Hero Power

Maexxna’s hero power actually helped in a lot of cases. More than once a badly injured minion or minion with special powers was returned to my hand allowing me to replay it and gain the bonus effect multiple times. The first time fighting one of these bosses was quite fun as they utilize some of the new cards that you haven’t encountered before. More on these during the Class Challenge overview in a bit. After defeating each boss, a pair of new cards are unlocked for you to add into your existing decks.

Anub

Anub’Rekhan Reward Card

Grand Widow Faerlina Reward Card

Grand Widow Faerlina Reward Card

Maexxna Reward Card

Maexxna Reward Card

After defeating the third boss, you’ve completed the quarter and are presented with another card – Maexxna.

Arachnid Quarter Reward Card

Arachnid Quarter Reward Card

As well, the Class Challenges and Heroic modes are unlocked.

Class Challenges Unlocked Screenshot

Class Challenges Unlocked Screenshot

Class Challenges

For the Arachnid Quarter, the two class challenges unlocked are the Druid and Rogue classes. Both these challenges pit you against a boss with a pre-selected deck containing some of the newer cards.

Druid Class Challenge Screen

Druid Class Challenge Screen

Rogue Class Challenge Screen

Rogue Class Challenge Screen

The new cards are definitely fun and a few of my favourites are the Poison Seeds, Echoing Ooze and Stoneskin Gargoyle cards. When played right, they can really effect the outcome of a game.

Posion Seeds Card

Posion Seeds Card

Poison Seeds is a great card for negating a large number of strong or specialized minions. The bonus to this card is any minion with a death rattle will utilize that skill before being transformed which can result in extra cards or effects.

Echoing Ooze Card

Echoing Ooze Card

Played correctly, you can get a great extra minion out of Echoing Ooze by playing this card and buffing it up before the end of your turn.

Stoneskin Gargoyle Card

Stoneskin Gargoyle Card

Wow. The Stoneskin Gargoyle is restored to full health at the start of your turn – every time. Buff this right with increased health and/or taunt as you go and this can be a very powerful card.

Buffing Stoneskin Gargoyle Card with Taunt

Buffing Stoneskin Gargoyle Card with Taunt

Completing the class challenges also rewards you with a new card for each class. The Poison Seeds cards went straight into my existing Druid deck.

Druid Challenge Reward Card

Druid Challenge Reward Card

Rogue Challenge Reward Card

Rogue Challenge Reward Card

Heroic mode

Blizzard definitely wants to let you know how hard it is right from the beginning – and they aren’t kidding around here.

Heroic Mode Warning Screen

Heroic Mode Warning Screen

My first foray into Heroic Mode was a brutal demolishing. Not only do the bosses have 45 health points (over 30 in normal mode), but their hero powers are on steroids.

Anub

Anub’Rekhan’s Heroic Power

Good luck trying to keep the board clear of a 4/4 minion summoned practically every turn.

Grand Widow Faerlina

Grand Widow Faerlina’s Heroic Power

Same spell as normal mode here – but only 1 mana cost. Again, playing decks which utilize minimal card play each turn will be your downfall here.

Maexxna

Maexxna’s Heroic Power

While useful at times in Normal mode, I’m sure Web Wrap will be very frustrating in Heroic mode with a 0 mana cost. Be prepared to have your last turn undone almost every time. I tried the various bosses, my best attempt was to get Grand Widow Faerlina down to 23 health using a Mage with a lot of spells and mass freezing. If the Arachnid Quarter is any indication, Heroic Mode is definitely going to be the major challenge in the expansion. Check out my first attempt with the same Warlock murloc deck I used successfully through Normal mode.

Overall Impressions

Overall, I am impressed with the new cards appearing in the expansion. However, I did find the Normal mode a tad easy, and I feel there could have been more than just three bosses in a wing. It seems like Blizzard wanted to make a subset of the new cards very easy to unlock while holding out on some of the higher powered ones in the extremely difficult Heroic mode. My only real complaint with the expansion however is that the Naxxramas bosses can have more than 2 of any specific card in their hand – essentially breaking Hearthstone’s own rules of allowing a maximum of 2 cards of any type in each hand.

Grand Widow Faerlina with three Worshippers - not fair Blizzard!

Grand Widow Faerlina with three Worshippers – not fair Blizzard!

Needless to say, I’ve already been playing around with new deck builds based on the cards I’ve already unlocked, and I’ll be grinding away in Heroic mode while awaiting the new wings!

New Card Gallery

Here’s a gallery of all the new cards that will be appearing in the Curse of Naxxramas. There are some interesting cards coming out in this expansion. INSERT HEARTHSTONE CARD NEXTGEN GALLERY HERE Let us know your thoughts and whether or not you are enjoying the Hearthstone expansion. If you’re a fan of card based games, there is no reason not to pick up this free to play offering from Blizzard – and if you hurry, the first wing of the Curse of Naxxramas expansion is free for the next month or so. Hearthstone and Curse of Naxxramas are definitely worth the price of admission.

Source: Blizzard

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