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Well the last blog I made was the recap for May, and now it is June. I guess I didn’t blog at all in June.

It wasn’t all that busy, but I didn’t do anything noteworthy like travel though (so no chance to watch movies or anything). I did play some Hearthstone so is it surprising that I didn’t blog about it this month? Maybe I got stuck on a boss and couldn’t blog my progress? Nah, it was because I wasn’t playing PvE at all. Blizzard changed its rules and you can now finish quests against “friends” so I basically spent time to complete all my quests. I’m glad there’s a new way to accumulate gold but it’s still very difficult to get Epics and Legendaries.

June saw the wrap up of existing extra curricular programs and the school year. We started transitioning to summer schedule and new programs. My mom was in Vancouver for a family reunion for two weeks and we started skating again (once summer started??). We also started planning for a couple of vacations in the summer and later this year.

There was a lot of rain in June, which was unexpected and not normal. Lots of summer thunderstorms and just general overcast and cloudy weather. The temperature was warm enough for shorts for a couple of days, but it was back to long sleeves and long pants by the end of the month!


After a few easy battles, Chromaggus took awhile longer. He has a solid dragon-based deck, but that in itself is not OP. He also starts with 60 health, which is a bit unfair, but there seems to be a bug where he always plays Alexstrasza when you are below 15 and actually heals you! What’s unfair is that every turn he adds a card into your hand that benefits him, either his spells/minions cost 3 less, or heals him for 6, or deals you 3 damage, or gives him double of each card he draws. These cards take 3 mana to get rid of so in essence you are always 3 mana behind against a strong deck.

It took me many battles (~50) but I finally beat him with a mill deck. It is by no means better than Chromaggus so it requires some luck to play into the right conditions to win. Here’s the decklist:

  • Earthen Scales
  • Jade Idol
  • 2x Mistress of Mixtures
  • 2x Naturalize
  • 2x Zombie Chow
  • 2x Stubborn Gastropod
  • 2x Youthful Brewmaster
  • Brann Bronzebeard
  • 2x Coldlight Oracle
  • 2x Dancing Swords
  • 2x Deathlord
  • 2x Emperor Cobra
  • 2x Feral Rage
  • 2x Goblin Sapper
  • 2x Grove Tender
  • 2x Poison Seeds
  • Deathwing

In the early game, play the Zombie Chows, Mistresses, and Gastropods to take out the low level minions. Then start milling. Earthen Scales (with Goblin Sapper) and the Feral Rages are to heal 25 (plus whatever you get from Alex). Poison Seeds and Deathwing are the only board clears, and I found I needed all of them because I couldn’t catch up to the strong dragon board. The timing of Deathwing is also important as it allows you to get rid of all of his hero power cards in one go. In my winning game, I got it at the end (he was in fatigue) and I had been holding several double/healing cards since his hand was stuck at 10 cards – it ended up killing Alex and Ysera (Onyxia was done in by poison seeds). Finally, the one Jade Idol is to help you grow your deck and prevent milling yourself.

If you can survive his deck, then it’s an easy win!


This was another fun matchup that I beat without much difficulty. In this battle, you’re basically fighting against a super-mill deck, except the boss has an advantage where his mana ramps up at double your pace. He makes you draw 4 cards per round, so you need to dump as many cards out of your hand as possible. This made combo Rogue a natural opponent. Here’s my deck:

  • 2x Backstab
  • 2x Counterfeit Coin
  • 2x Shadowstep
  • 2x Target Dummy
  • 2x Arcane Anomaly
  • 2x Pit Snake
  • 2x Zombie Chow
  • 2x Defias Ringleader
  • 2x Gang Up
  • 2x Jade Shuriken
  • 2x Jade Swarmer
  • 2x Sap
  • Beneath the Grounds
  • 2x Assassinate
  • 2x Vanish
  • Clockwork Giant

I beat him in my first or second attempt, so the deck is not optimized at all!


This boss was fun and not like the previous one that took me many months. Razorgore the Untamed has a bunch of 0/3 eggs and a free hero power that gives every egg one more health while spawning a new egg. If any egg reaches 5 health, it’ll turn into a 7/7 minion. The key to this match is not let those egg hatch!

This match was easy due to the poisonous mechanic, which meant that I could kill any egg with a single hit. The swap health/attack mechanic is also useful. I made two different decks for this, both with poisonous minions. The first was a Paladin deck with silver hand synergy, and the second was a Mill Rogue. I ended up playing the Mill Rogue because I never really play that hero. Here’s my deck:

  • 2x Shadowstep
  • 2x Pit Snake
  • 2x Zombie Chow
  • 2x Crazed Alchemist
  • 2x Gang Up
  • 2x Sap
  • 2x Stubborn Gastropod
  • 2x Coldlight Oracle
  • 2x Emperor Cobra
  • 2x Giant Wasp
  • 2x Kooky Chemist
  • 2x Assassinate
  • 2x Dark Iron Skulker
  • 2x Shadowcaster
  • 2x Vanish

I beat the boss with this deck on the first couple of tries. I didn’t really have to hit face much, and even used some of the poisonous minions on the larger enemy minions. I didn’t mill Razorgore to death, but he did use up his entire deck by the end of the match. I hope more bosses are like this – strong, but beatable without luck.


I was stuck on this heroic battle for many months before finally beating him recently. It took so long, that Blizzard released three expansions during that time (OiNK, MSG, JtU)! I found this challenging because the opponent deck was well balanced. He had a hero power that pumped out several decent (2 or 3 2/2) or one strong (5/4 or 8/8) minion per turn. He played a dragon deck that had strong synergies, utilizing dragon cards from multiple classes. And he also had strong direct damage spells.

I tried a variety of approaches – control warrior, mill rogue, beast/taunt druid, patron – but didn’t make any headway. I had the modest success with a modified freeze mage that could last 10+ turns through AOE board clears (spells, exploding sheep, abominations). The win condition in that deck was Alexstrasza, but unfortunately Rend has a kill legendary card. I tried to counter that with the Duplicate mage secret, but I never got to a point where I pulled off the combo successfully.

Finally I got fed up and looked on the Internet to see how others were approaching this battle. There seemed to be 2 approaches. The first was to use Hunter’s exploding trap to clear the early board, and then go face. I didn’t see how this deck would be successful since Rend would just through up more taunts and strong minions. The second was to use Deathlord and then double his health. I thought this might be easier, so tried the deck out.

After about 20 tries, I finally got into the right sequence to win the battle. Here’s my decklist:

  • 2x Binding Heal
  • 2x Inner Fire
  • 2x Light of the Naaru
  • 2x Mistress of Mixtures
  • 2x Northshire Cleric
  • 2x Power Word: Glory
  • 2x Power Word: Shield
  • 2x Zombie Chow
  • 2x Divine Spirit
  • 2x Lightwell
  • 2x Deathlord
  • 2x Shadow Word: Death
  • Velen’s Chosen
  • Cyclopian Horror
  • 2x Excavated Evil
  • 2x Holy Nova
  • Entomb

The key to this deck is to play the taunts around turn 5 or 6 so that you can play at least one Divine Spirit (and hopefully Power Word: Shield or Inner Fire). In order to be successful, you have to clear/trade the first wave so Zombie Chow, Mistress of Mixtures and Cleric are very important.

In my winning game, I ended up beefing up my Cyclopian Horror with 2x Divine Spirit, Velen’s Chosen and an Inner Fire – so he was around a 10/40. At the same time, I had a Light of the Naaru going so it was an easy win once I was able to snowball the Horror.

I think I was lucky and the battle is still severely weighted towards the boss. But at least now I can move on to the next challenge!


Drakkisath’s hero power is to make every card cost 1 mana, and to cap your mana at 1 and his at 2. That means, he can play 2 cards every turn, and you can play one. I experimented with a variety of ways to increase my mana or decrease the cost of cards past 1, but they don’t work. Basically, you just try and throw down the most and biggest (legendary) minions you have. Here’s my Druid deck (for the taunts):

  • Poison Seeds
  • Big Game Hunter x 2
  • Psych-o-Tron x 2
  • Sludge Belcher x 2
  • Cairne Bloodhoof
  • Dark Arakkoa x 2
  • Illidan Stormrage
  • Moonglade Portal x 2
  • Reno Jackson
  • Sylvanas Windrunner
  • Chromaggus
  • Ironbark Protector x 2
  • Kel’Thuzad
  • Ragnaros the Firelord
  • Sneed’s Old Shredder
  • Alexstrasza
  • Arch-Tief Rafaam
  • North Sea Kraken x 2
  • Volcanic Lumberer x 2
  • C’Thun
  • Deathwing
  • N’Zoth, the Corruptor

I don’t think there is another way to win this match, it’s a bit of sheer luck. In my winning game:

  • He used Twisting Nether on a single minion on turn one (I forgot who it was, but it wasn’t a useful one)
  • He returned my Deathwing to my hand so I was able to cast it twice
  • I got a Sylvanas from my Moonglade Portal near the beginning of the game
  • He had a couple of turns where he only played a single card (spell). I guess he had multiple flame strikes or something?
  • Was able to keep my health up so I didn’t have to deal with the 9/9s

I think this boss is really about how many Legendaries you have.


Omokk’s hero power is the ability to destroy one of your minions for 0 mana each turn. The effect is random so I thought there were a couple of ways to win:

  • Summon many minions every turn – this is difficult to do
  • Play with no minions – this is doable, but there isn’t enough damage to kill minions and knock off 45 health (plus he gains a bunch of armor through his cards
  • Gain a lot of value through Deathrattles

I tried building a deck using deathrattles but couldn’t find enough minions that had enough value. Instead, I relied on a combined strategy: Warlock damage to destroy minions, health gain, and Rivendare+N’Zoth+Dreadsteed win condition. Basically, stall long enough so that I could amass a board of Dreadsteeds. Here’s the deck list:

  • Forbidden Ritual
  • Sacrificial Pact
  • Bloodsail Corsair x 2
  • Corruption x 2
  • Power Overwhelming x 2
  • Curse of Rafaam x 2
  • Darkbomb x 2
  • Nerubian Egg x 2
  • Demonwrath
  • Drain Life x 2
  • Shadow Bolt x 2
  • Baron Rivendare
  • Dreadsteed x 2
  • Hellfire x 2
  • Antique Healbot x 2
  • Doomguard
  • Siphon Soul
  • N’Zoth, the Corruptor

I defeated Omokk on my second try with this deck. It was close, and I didn’t get my win condition out until Omokk had very few cards in his deck. I was holding onto Rivendare and 1 Dreadsteed for a long time, but couldn’t find the right time to multiply them. Once I did, I was able to play N’Zoth to fill my board. I didn’t draw my second Dreadsteed until the second last card (every card in the deck ended up being useful), but by then Omokk was out of cards and was clearly going to succumb to fatigue.


Back from a hiatus of more than half a year, I faced off against Ragnaros again. I stopped previously because I couldn’t think of a good strategy to defeat this boss as he had 2 forms. The first form (Majordomo) summoned a 3/3 each turn (along with some fire-themed minions and spells) – which was manageable. The second form (Ragnaros) played the remainder of the deck/board but his hero power did 8 damage to two targets each turn! I couldn’t figure out how to handle his hero power.

I didn’t have a fresh idea on how to tackle the boss, but just wanted to play some PvE. I took one of my existing decks, which turned out to be the “Shields Up!” recipe, and tried it. It actually worked really well and I got to Ragnaros on my first try. I tweaked it a bit for the boss and won with it on my 3rd or 4th try. Here’s the deck list:

  • Argent Squire x 2
  • Hand of Protection
  • Selfless Hero x 2
  • Argent Protector x 2
  • Equality x 2
  • Huge Toad x 2
  • Loot Hoarder x 2
  • Twisted Worgen x 2
  • Argent Horserider
  • Scarlet Crusader x 2
  • Seal of Champions x 2
  • Steward of Darkshire
  • Blessing of Kings x 2
  • Consecration
  • Dragonkin Sorcerer
  • Blessed Champion
  • Stand Against Darkness
  • Ivory Knight
  • Ragnaros the Firelord (fighting himself)
  • Tirion Fordring

There is a single win condition in this deck – buff up Tirion so that he can kill Ragnaros in one or two turns. In the game I won, I had a 32/5 Tirion. I tried adding a second win condition in Dragonkin Sorcerer in the event that Tirion died, but he wasn’t effective (and in hindsight, it’s not worth it to split resources across two minions).

Divine Shields are also useful in the early game to kill the 3/3 minions and to protect Tirion against larger minions and Ragnaros. Silver Knight recruits are useful in absorbing damage; and Stand Against Darkness was added specifically for this purpose.

In my final game, I was a bit lucky (as always). I finally gained control of the board, had Tirion out, and got Majordomo down to 1HP. On the boss’ turn, he threw out 5 8/8 Molten Giants!

I had Equality in hand and luckily top decked Consecration. That saved the game for me!


This week’s Hearthstone Tavern Brawl is “Miniature Warfare” which means that all minions are 1/1 and cost only 1 mana. This isn’t the first time this brawl has occurred, but I put together a deck to satisfy some quests and it turned out to be pretty fun (and decently successful). Here’s the Shaman deck list:

  • Runic Egg
  • Spirit Claws
  • Tentacle of N’Zoth
  • Loot Hoarder
  • Maelstrom Portal x 2
  • Unstable Ghoul x 2
  • Hex
  • Ironbeak Owl
  • Lightning Storm x 2
  • Mana Tide Totem
  • Cult Master
  • Elise Starseeker
  • Bloodlust
  • Loatheb
  • Prince Malchezaar
  • Psych-o-Tron
  • Sludge Belcher
  • Stormpike Commando x 2
  • Illidan Stormrage
  • Sylvanas Windrunner
  • Stormwind Champion
  • Chromaggus
  • Kel’Thuzad
  • Ragnaros the Firelord
  • Alexstrasza
  • N’Zoth, the Corruptor

I think this deck works because it has a little bit of everything. Card draw, defense (AOE, Loatheb, taunts, removals like Hex and Ironbeak, and one-offs like Stormpike Commando and Sylvanas), snowballing win conditions (Illidan, Bloodlust), and lots of high value cards (legendaries + Prince Malchezaar).

Too bad I have to get rid of this deck and build a Warrior+Battlecry deck for some new quests.


April was a non-typical month in many ways. First, I spent half of it away from home on two trips. The first was a multiple-family trip to Orlando to visit Disney World. We had 3 families and 6 kids in total under 4 so there was a lot of running around and crying at various points of the trip. We were there for a little over a week and visited all 4 of the Disney theme parks. Immediately the day after I came back, I was on another plan to Korea for a work trip. This one was short, only 4 nights, but I still had to spend a lot of time on the plane doing the cross-Pacific travel. Luckily, I had some buffer room at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month to be at home and have some normalcy.

The second reason that April was weird was that it was actually very cold. Unless it snows a lot in May, April will be the snowiest month this winter! The temperatures were under seasonal every day except the week that I was in Korea – there were even days, when we were in Orlando, where the high was below zero (thankfully, we were in +30°C…maybe that’s too hot though)!

I continued playing Star Trek Timelines this month and have a nice crew of max level characters now. I’m actually running out of things to do every day in that game because in building up my crew, I have a big stash of unused equipment so future characters don’t require too much grinding (until they are high level). This month also saw the release of Hearthstone’s Whispers of The Old Gods expansion and standard format. I opened about 25 packs so far and only have 1 legendary (+ the free C’Thun). C’Thun decks are pretty fun at the moment, but that might be a novelty factor.


I have mixed feelings about this battle because it was both hard and easy. It was easy in the sense that Baron Geddon was not overpowered and cheap – you could play around it. But it was hard because you had to play strategically in order to win. There were 4 things working against you:

  1. He had 100 hp (50 health, 50 armor) compared to your 30.
  2. If you don’t use up all your mana each turn, then he will do 10 damage to you
  3. He summoned reasonable but many minions, so you needed board presence and to trade effectively
  4. He has a spell which will do 10 damage to all your minions and your hero if the targeted minion doesn’t die before his next turn. The spell is always on your own minion. Oh, and he has more than 2 copies in his deck.

The last one was most annoying because sometimes you didn’t have any enemies to trade into, so I based my deck around countering that spell (silences and returning minions to hand). The remainder of the deck was built on cheap cards & drawing cards so that I would have cards to play (and would not take 10 damage). Here’s my Shaman deck:

  • Earth Shock x 2
  • Clockwork Gnome x 2
  • Dust Devil x 2
  • Zombie Chow
  • Ancestral Knowledge x 2
  • Ironbeak Owl x 2
  • Totem Golem x 2
  • Vitality Totem
  • Whirling Zap-o-matic x 2
  • Youthful Brewmaster x 2
  • Feral Spirit
  • Hex
  • Lightning Storm
  • Harvest Golem x 2
  • Mana Tide Totem
  • Ancient Brewmaster x 2
  • Spellbreaker x 2
  • Bloodlust
  • Chromaggus

I had to play a couple of games (~10?) before I won, but it was challenging and fun. In my winning game, I had to do some weird stuff: I had to use Bloodlust to clear his board, had to Hex my own minion to prevent my board from being cleared, and played roulette with my Brewmasters. That eventually allowed me to win because at that point I had board control and was able to do 10+ damage a turn. I had to keep rotating my Brewmasters because the AI would target it with the 10 dmg spell (at 5 attack, it was the most dangerous minion), and because I ended up with too many 0/x totems on the board (although I had Vitality Totem out for a long time, which almost healed me to full health), so I couldn’t do damage fast enough. I had to swap those into my hand for Windfury minions.

The AI also spent a couple of turns doing nothing, which I later found out was because he had 2 Molten Giants in his hand but his health was too high. In the end, I played to fatigue and won a fulfilling match.


This duel was pretty easy because Garr’s hero power basically triggers Grim Patron. The twist is that Garr has minions that you have to kill across different turns otherwise it will do a lot of damage to you. Here’s my Warrior deck:

  • Inner Rage x 2
  • Execute x 2
  • Warbot
  • Zombie Chow x 2
  • Fiery War Axe
  • Battle Rage
  • Slam
  • Armorsmith x 2
  • Crazed Alchemist x 2
  • Cruel Taskmaster x 2
  • Nerubian Egg x 2
  • Bash x 2
  • Acolyte of Pain x 2
  • Deathlord x 2
  • Frothing Berserker x 2
  • Raging Worgen
  • Axe Flinger
  • Grim Patron
  • Shieldmaiden

Grim Patron wasn’t actually needed but the win condition is definitely pumping up Frothing Berserker. In the early game, you need some direct damage and cheap minions to stage out the kills. I also needed both Armorsmiths and both Bashes to get enough health to survive until I won. This matchup is actually fun because it requires strategy to kill the enemy minions at the right time, and the opponent is not overpowered.


I had a lot of trouble with the Dark Iron Arena because I couldn’t think of a good way to tackle this boss. His ability is to summon a (free) 1/1 taunt, but he also starts with 3 extra mana and has a deck that consists only of legendary minions. Basically you have to contend with at least 2 new minions per round (one taunt and one legendary).

My first attempt was with a secret Hunter but I quickly switched away from that. My next try was an Animated Armor Freeze Mage, which had moderate success. I basically had to draw/play Animated Armor on turn 4 and then slowly chip away. I could never do enough damage to win though. Finally I switched over to Rogue (I guess Oil Rogue) because I could reliably remove the taunt with my weapon. Here’s my deck:

  • Cold Blood x 2
  • Deadly Poison x 2
  • Buccaneer x 2
  • Pit Snake x 2
  • Betrayal x 2
  • Blade Flurry x 2
  • Eviscerate x 2
  • Sap x 2
  • Beneath the Grounds
  • Fan of Knives x 2
  • Emperor Cobra x 2
  • Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil x 2
  • Assassinate x 2
  • Antique Healbot x 2
  • Vanish x 2
  • Sprint

It still took many tries (under 15) but I was lucky on my winning game. The AI played Millhouse Manastorm and I was able to play a bunch of cards (Sprint, Beneath the Grounds) and buff my Buccaneer. Then I was lucky that the AI drew 2 Nerubians in a row to give me a strong board presence. I was able to remove board presence with Pit Snake/Emperor Cobra, and had their Tinkmaster Overspark heal my last remaining Nerubian into a 5/5 (which was then buffed by Tinker’s Oil). Alexstrasza healed me for a couple of HP and I was able to achieve lethal with my Oil’d weapon + 2 Deadly Poisons and a Vanish.


When Hearthstone formats were announced, I went ahead and spent all my gold on GvG packs. I’m sure that a lot of people will think that that is a bad idea, but I’m a collector so I wanted to roll the RNG dice and get as many epic and legendary cards as I could using gold. I’ve done that for a few weeks and TBH, the results are a bit underwhelming. I’ve only opened 1 legendary (Sneed’s) and a 3 Epics (I did fill out my collection a bit more so I have 2 copies of each common and 78% of rares).

Now that Whispers of the Old Gods has been announced, and I’m starting to read about the upcoming cards, it’s becoming very difficult to spend my gold on GvG packs. I will probably just save gold for a month and then buy a bunch of packs from the new expansion.

But this puts TGT in a weird spot. I’m not going to spend gold on it for the next few months (since I’ll concentrate on the new set) and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. My stats are actually not that far away from GvG (I have 58% of TGT vs 61% of GvG); mostly because I stopped farming for gold at some point in GvG’s release cycle (before TGT came out) and only played enough to get the monthly card back. Maybe I’ll buy a few more cards for TGT (although it’s going to be deprecated like GvG not too far in the future) when I start getting a lot of repeats in Whispers of the Old Gods packs.


I got stuck on Dark Iron Arena so I skipped over that and tried Emperor Thaurissan first. His hero power is pretty tame, it just does 30 damage to a target of his choosing – i.e., instant death. Lucky for us, his wife is there to prevent him from using his hero power. The tradeoff is that his wife is 3/1 and will attack you every turn (along with whatever other minions the Emperor plays).

My first approach to this deck was to use a face hunter deck to try and do as much damage as quick as possible. I handled the wife with a Crazed Alchemist and Abusive Sergeant if available (thereby turning her into a 1/5). However after playing this a couple of times, it didn’t work out – I typically was only able to get rid of his armor before I died.

Next I switched over to Priest. Along with the Alchemist trick, I could heal her, give her more health, and use Power Word: Glory to offset the damage. Here’s my deck:

  • Circle of Healing
  • Silence x 2
  • Light of the Naaru
  • Power Word: Glory x 2
  • Power Word: Shield x 2
  • Abusive Sergeant
  • Northshire Cleric
  • Divine Spirit x 2
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze x 2
  • Crazed Alchemist x 2
  • Ironbeak Owl x 2
  • Museum Curator x 2
  • Velen’s Chosen x 2
  • Eydis Darkbane
  • Dragonkin Sorcerer x 2
  • Holy Champion
  • Lightspawn x 2
  • Holy Fire x 2

I ended up winning on the first try, and it wasn’t difficult at all. Moira was a 1/5 Power Word Glory’d, healing me for 3 health each turn. I also had my Holy Champion out which achieved was 31/3 at lethal (I killed Moira too for good measure).


Now that the Naxxramas heroes are done, it’s on to the Blackrock Mountain heroes! The Grim Guzzler is the first duel and his hero power is to summon 2 of his minions (and one of yours) onto the battlefield for free. It ends up being a slugfest because powerful minions are on the board from the firs turn – you just have to make sure that yours are better than his.

I went with Druid because I needed a lot of taunts (seeing as he gets 2x the minions). I put a bunch of hefty minions and then a bunch of spells (hoping that I would draw spells and my minions would get randomly pulled onto the battlefield). Here’s my deck:

  • Innervate x 2
  • Naturalize x 2
  • Mark of the Wild x 2
  • Wild Growth x 2
  • Annoy-o-Tron
  • Anodized Robo Cub x 2
  • Healing Touch x 2
  • Mark of Nature x 2
  • Poison Seeds x 2
  • Abomination x 2
  • Sludge Belcher x 2
  • Cairne Bloodhoof x 2
  • Force-Tank MAX x 2
  • Ironbark Protector x 2
  • Kel’Thuzad
  • Volcanic Lumberer x 2
  • Deathwing

You’re at the mercy of RNG on this one, but I beat him within 5 tries (I was a close a couple of times). Nothing noteworthy (or overly lucky) about this match; just glad that it didn’t take me too many tries.


I’m kind of disillusioned by Hearthstone because while I enjoy collecting and making fun decks; high level (ranked) play ends up being the same decks over and over again. Even if you don’t get to higher ranks (which I am surely not), a lot of people look for deck lists on the internet and just copy those “optimized” versions. That takes a lot of fun out of the game because the duel is so structured.

I’ve thought how championship play must be kind of straightforward because everyone knows what decks everyone is bringing; and what’s in the deck. But I guess the difference between professional and amateur is that the professionals are able to play out the entire game in their head before they actually run the play (kind of what you would do in chess). It just feels constrained when there is no randomness or surprise within a deck, but again it’s not like a chessboard has secret pieces that your opponent doesn’t know about.

In any case, I just play for fun and having every opponent use some sort of optimized hero archetype is frustrating. That’s why I’m happy to see the Hearthstone formats change. There was a ton of knee-jerk complaining about the change, but I think it makes the game much more healthier. If you play Standard, you’ll have to rethink all the archetypes and build new decks and card synergies to make up for retired cards. No doubt, the meta will devolve back into netdecks, but at least there’s going to be a period where people are just trying stuff out.

Wild will also be … Wild! I’m a collector so I’m spending all my F2P gold on GvG packs now before they go “out-of-print”. I’m a bit bummed that I won’t be able to get cards to complete my collection without crafting them (which given my Epic and Legendary pull rate, might not be that much harder to do) but I’m excited about how crazy that format will be in a couple of years. It’ll be like Tavern Brawl every day.

Also, if it’s not obvious, I’m a Johnny player type, although I need to win in order to fuel my collecting (so Spike by necessity).


Kel’Thuzad is the last boss in Naxxramas and he’s quite difficult. He doesn’t have a gimmick, although his deck is not really optimized (mostly contains minions from this adventure). However his hero power is strong (3 damage to your hero, every turn) and on turn 10 (or when his armor is gone) he gets 2 free 5/5 Taunt minions and a new hero power to steal any one of your minions.

The 3-damage-per-turn hero power really takes your HP down, so I had to use a Priest deck. I ended up using a Inner Fire/Dragon Priest. Here’s my deck:

  • Inner Fire x 2
  • Light of the Naaru
  • Power Word: Glory x 2
  • Power Word: Shield x 2
  • Divine Spirit x 2
  • Mind Blast
  • Shadow Word: Pain x 2
  • Sunfury Protector
  • Unstable Ghoul
  • Wyrmrest Agent
  • Shadow Word: Death x 2
  • Velen’s Chosen x 2
  • Eydis Darkbane
  • Dragonkin Sorcerer x 2
  • Holy Champion
  • Tournament Medic
  • Holy Nova x 2
  • Sludge Belcher
  • Holy Fire x 2
  • Majordomo Executus

I can handle the first phase of KT by buffing my minions but didn’t have a balanced board to handle the second phase (i.e., only having one minion with a humongous attack). After awhile, I decided to switch my strategy and force KT to become Ragnaros. I would cast Majordomo Executus on turn 9 (I was able to get him by turn 9 most of the time), kill my other minions, and then figure out what to do after that. In my winning game, I used Power Word: Glory, Tournament Medic and my hero power to keep me at full health until KT stole Majordomo Executus. I used Shadow Word: Death to transform KT into Ragnaros, and then Holy Fire over two turns to win. I had just enough health (and another Power Word: Glory) to take the damage from his board.

So that’s it – all the Naxxramas heroic heroes are done! The only tough one (many replays) was Razuvious now that I have access to more sets. This effort also generated a ton of blog posts, in fact, my blog ended up being a Hearthstone blog for 3 months!


Sapphiron was another duel where I couldn’t think of a good counter for his hero power. His heroic power basically clears your board every turn, while he builds up his board with minions that can’t be affected by spells and hero powers. He also has 2 spells that deal 8 damage to your hero each, so you really need to keep your health up.

Initially I started with a control warrior deck, but I didn’t get very far. I would do damage with weapons and charge minions, but I couldn’t do enough damage to Sapphiron and to his minions. I ended up switching to a Dreadsteed deck which was a winning and fun strategy. Here’s my deck:

  • Sacrifical Pact x 2
  • Corruption x 2
  • Mortal Coil x 2
  • Dark Bomb x 2
  • Demonfire
  • Explosive Sheep x 2
  • Nerubian Egg x 2
  • Demonwrath x 2
  • Drain Life x 2
  • Shadow Bolt x2
  • Wolfrider x 2
  • Hellfire x 2
  • Baron Rivendare
  • Dreadsteed x 2
  • Antique Healbot
  • Siphon Soul
  • Reckless Rocketeer
  • Majordomo Executus

The key to this deck was to summon a Dreadsteed on turn 4. The rest of my cards were damage spells to destroy minions or to hit the hero. Often times my Dreadsteed died 3 times in a single turn (Sapphiron hero power, attack, AOE)! In my winning game, I pulled off the Baron Rivendare + Sacrifical Pact combo to have four Dreadsteeds on the board at one time (could have had more if I was able to attack something). I also won as Ragnaros for fun. Dreadsteed is a fun deck but the animation gets a bit boring after watching them die 50 times in a game.


Thaddius’ hero power swaps every minion’s health and attack, which is fairly innocuous for a heroic hero power. He also starts with Stalagg and Feugen on turn 2, which actually isn’t much of a problem. I aggressively mulligan’d for Equality in my Paladin deck and they were defeated easily (they don’t summon Thaddius again). After that it’s a normal duel. Here’s my deck:

  • Humility x 2
  • Goldshire Footman
  • Equality x 2
  • Holy Light x 2
  • Annoy-o-Tron
  • Explosive Sheep
  • Nerubian Egg x 2
  • Shielded Minibot x 2
  • Unstable Ghoul x 2
  • Muster for Battle
  • Gnomeregan Infantry
  • Consecration x 2
  • Hammer of Wrath x 2
  • Piloted Shredder x 2
  • Bolvar Fordragon
  • Feugen
  • Sludge Belcher x 2
  • Stalagg
  • Avenging Wrath
  • Emperor Thaurissan

In my winning game, I had the Emperor Thaurissan out from Turn 6 for maybe 5 turns, a 2 mana 14/7 Bolvar Fordragon in my hand, and my own Stalagg and Feugen. Obviously it was a very easy win once I was able to control the board.


While it didn’t take me long to beat Gluth (< 5 tries), I didn’t have a good strategy so I think I was a bit lucky. His hero power is to change all of your minion’s health to be 1, and at the same time he has some decent minions including Unstable Ghouls that will wipe out your board. He also has a weapon which is 3/5 but gains +2 for each deathrattle death.

Initially I thought this would be a RNG battle and I aggressively mulligan’d for Acidic Swamp Ooze, although it turns out that in my winning game, he didn’t get his weapon until later (and it didn’t matter). I assumed that my minions wouldn’t stay around for more than one round so I included cheap minions with the highest attack. Here’s my Mage deck:

  • Flamecannon x 2
  • Frostbolt x 2
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze x 2
  • Annoy-o-Tron
  • Forgotten Torch x 2
  • Ice Barrier x 2
  • Emperor Cobra x 2
  • Ice Rager x 2
  • Jungle Panther x 2
  • Magma Rager x 2
  • Scarlet Crusader x 2
  • Wolfrider x 2
  • Polymorph
  • Evil Heckler x 2
  • Piloted Shredder x 2
  • Blizzard
  • Flamestrike

In my winning game, I lucked out by getting Nat Pagle out of my Piloted Shredder, so I was able to top deck faster than Gluth. In a previous game I was one draw away from winning (needed any direct damage > 2). Looking back, I still think this duel is up to RNG and I can’t think of a deck which would give me an advantage.


Grobbulus was unlike the previous few heroes because it was not quickly evident what sort of deck I should use to defeat him. His hero power is to deal 2 dmg to all enemies, and a 2/2 slime is summoned for each enemy that was killed. Luckily for us, he always uses his hero ability at the beginning of the turn; otherwise he would be a lot tougher to defeat.

I eventually settled on a Grim Patron deck and it was pretty fun after you get the combo going. Here’s my deck:

  • Execute x 2
  • Whirlwind x 2
  • Cleave x 2
  • Revenge x 2
  • Armorsmith x 2
  • Unstalbe Ghoul x 2
  • Bash x 2
  • Earthen Ring Farseer
  • Frothing Berserker x 2
  • Death’s Bite x 2
  • Axe Flinger x 2
  • Maiden of the Lake x 2
  • Mogu’shan Warden x 2
  • Tournament Medic
  • Antique Healbot x 2
  • Grim Patron x 2

In my winning game, I played a Patron at turn 5 and another at turn 7. Along with an Armorsmith, it was pretty easy to win after that. Looking at my deck now, there are a lot of cards that were not necessary/helpful, but I didn’t play enough times to optimize it.

I’m sure these heroic heroes were much tougher after Naxxaramas came out, but the power creep makes it much more doable now.


Patchwerk has no deck or minions and a 4 dmg windfury, respawning weapon. It seemed obvious to use a freeze deck against him. Here’s my deck:

  • Ice Lance x 2
  • Mirror Image x 2
  • Bloodsail Corsair
  • Tournament Attendee x 2
  • Frostbolt x 2
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze x2
  • Annoy-o-tron
  • Nerubian Egg x 2
  • Snowchugger x 2
  • Duplicate x 2
  • Forgotten Torch
  • Ice Barrier x 2
  • Ice Block
  • Arcane Nullifier X-21 x 2
  • Armored Warhorse x 2
  • Water Elemental x 2
  • Sludge Belcher x 2

I beat him on my first try, although I got a great draw. First turn was coin+Acidic Swamp Ooze (although that just prevent his use of weapon for one turn). Second turn: Snowchugger. Third turn: Second Snowchugger (+ taunt). Fourth turn: Water Elemental. Fifth turn: Duplicate, which ended up getting triggered on a Snowchugger. I was able to freeze him out for the entire match and slowly picked him off with small minions. Maybe I was just lucky, but that’s another hero down!


Once I saw The Four Horsemen’s hero power (draw two cards), I used my Gothik deck to see how the duel would turn out. I didn’t win, but did fairly well after Naturalizing one of the horsemen. I thought the main strategy would be the same (mill out opponent) but needed to tweak some of the cards as they didn’t apply (like Recombobulator for some Weapon destruction cards).

After playing a couple of times, I realized that wouldn’t work even though it was fun to Poison Seeds all the horsemen (still hitting you for 3 x 2 hp a turn though). I tried a Paladin deck next, with lots of taunts and jousts (no minions in opponent deck). Here’s my unrefined decklist:

  • Humility x 2 (I read this wrong and thought it changed health to 1hp)
  • Equality x 2
  • Holy Light x 2
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze x 2
  • Annoy-o-Tron
  • Shielded Minibot x 2
  • Unstable Ghoul x 2
  • Divine Favor
  • Muster for Battle
  • Deathlord x 2
  • Consecration x 2
  • Arcane Nullifier X-21 x 2
  • Armored Warhorse x 2
  • Kezan Mystic
  • Bolvar Fordragon
  • Sludge Belcher x 2
  • Tuskarr Jouster
  • Master Jouster
  • Guardian of Kings

This battle was pretty easy, kind of like a duel against an expert computer (with a crippled deck). I ended up slowly winning with a lot of 1/1 Silver Hand Recruits since my beefier minions kept getting killed by spells.


Gothik’s hero ability is to draw a card and gain an extra mana crystal – meaning he’s able to ramp up really quickly. His minions also have a deathrattle that creates a 0-attack minion on your side, which damages you each turn. I had some difficult figuring out how to defeat him but decided to try a Control Warrior/Grim Patron build to start. I also added some cards like Charge to help kill my 0-attack minions.

This approach didn’t work so well after a few tries. I tried a different approach after I noticed that he would approach fatigue by the time he beat me. I tried to mill his deck out and hopefully have board control by then. Here’s my deck:

  • Nauturalize x 2
  • Mark of the Wild x 2
  • Crazed Alchemist x 2
  • Explosive Sheep x 2
  • Recombobulator x 2
  • Unstable Ghoul x 2
  • Healing Touch x 2
  • Mark of Nature x 2
  • Dancing Swords x 2
  • Deathlord x 2
  • Grove Tender x 2
  • Poison Seeds x 2
  • Swipe x 2
  • Jeeves
  • Abomination x 2
  • Antique Healbot

I had to play a few times before getting cards in the right sequence to win (and conveniently, the AI pulled out 3! Crazed Alchemists on the same turn to get rid of my souls – although I would have won even if that didn’t happen). This was actually pretty fun duel as it wasn’t a mindless wait for RNG to spin in your favour – there was actually some strategy to play cards and turns in the right order to win. All the cards in the deck were useful and important, even Jeeves. I achieved lethal when Jeeves made the AI lose 7+8+9 hp on the last turn!

I’m also glad I was able to play something other than Freeze Mage or Control Priest.