Hearthstone has a brand new adventure for players to enjoy!  It’s called Curse of Naxxramas. The adventure is slowly being opened up, week by week.  At the time I am making this blog, players can check out the first week of the adventure – Arachnid Quarter.  You fight against new bosses who have decks with cards that have never been in Heartstone before.  Unlock the three bosses of the week, and you gain access to more parts of the adventure.

In this blog, I am going to focus on the first portion of the Arachnid Quarter.  I found it to be challenging but not so difficult that I felt the need to “rage quit” the game. The screenshots you see in this blog were taken on July 24, 2014.

To access the Curse of Naxxramas Hearthstone adventure, you need to click the box that says “Naxxramas”  You start in “Normal” (and can unlock more later on).  The description of the adventure says:

The Lich Kel’Thuzad awaits within, along with 14 other deadly bosses to challenge your skills.  Defeat the bosses to earn unique Naxxramas cards!

The video that goes with the Naxxramas adventure really sets the mood.  I like how creepy it is. Something about it reminds me of Nightmare Before Christmas.  Specifically, it brought to mind the “This is Halloween” song and the part where the monsters are identifying themselves.  “I am the one hiding under your bed…teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red!”  Or, maybe its just me who sees that connection.

Lich Kel’Thuzad starts yelling at you right from the start.  His opening line is “My preparations cannot be stopped.  You are too late!”  He continues to try and discourage the player as you fight against his minions.  It makes things that much more fun when you beat them.

When you open the Necropolis for the first time, Lich Kel’Thuzad yells at you, again.  “WHAT?!  How did you gain entrance to Naxxramas?!”  

Access Granted!  Here we go!

The glowing skeleton key unlocks the Arachnid Quarter.  As you can see, there are other areas of content that will be unlocked later on.  So, you can burn through the content in the Arachnid Quarter really quickly, or take you time with it this week.  Either way, you have to wait until next week to unlock the next section of content.

There are three bosses to beat in the Arachnid Quarter.  The first one is Anub’Rekhan.  His description reads: Anub’Rekhan is one of the finest Spider Lords of the ancient spider kingdom: Azjol’Nerub.

Lich Kel’Thuzad says: Anub’Rekhan is one of my finest Spider Lords.  Good luck, interloper!  I don’t think I’ve ever had a video game character call me an “interloper” before.  Lich Kel’Thuzad obviously knows how to use a thesaurus.

I’m using the “regular” decks at the moment.  Eventually, I’ll find time to craft together an awesome deck.  I learned that it is possible to defeat the bosses in the Arachnid Quarter using nothing more than the default decks. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to spend money on cards in order to try the Naxxramus content. That being said, I did lose a lot of matches before I managed to win.

I tried both the Mage deck, personified by Jaina Proudmoore, and the Hunter deck, personified by Rexxar, against Anub’Rekhan.   Ultimately, it seemed like the Mage deck worked better.

Anub’Rekhan: Welcome to my parlor.

It brings to mind a fable called The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt. It starts with “Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;”  In this situation in Hearthstone – the player is the fly.

I’m going to point out a few of the things to watch out for when fighting against Anub’Rekhan. The first one is the Deathcharger.

It can charge – which means it doesn’t have a “cool down” when it is first placed on the board.  It also has Deathrattle: Deal 3 damage to your hero.  The card can be used to attack other cards, as usual.  In my experience, if you see this card played – expect that your hero will lose 3 points right away.

The Nerub’ar Warlord card is also problematic. The text says: Minions with Battlecry cost (2) more.  Take a look at the cards in Jaina’s hand. Two of them have had their mana costs increased (look for the red numbers).  It now will cost me extra mana to be able to play those cards – and I will have to wait longer than usual before I gain enough mana to use them.

Shade of Naxxramas has Stealth. The text reads: At the start of your turn, gain +1/+1.  Players should try to destroy this card as quickly as possible.  It will grow a little bit bigger every turn. Wait too long, and it becomes a huge monster.

To me, the hardest thing about fighting Anub’Rekhan was a particular combination of cards that, once used, makes things incredibly difficult.  It starts when he plays the Deathlord card.  The text reads: Taunt. Deathrattle: Your opponent puts a minion from their deck into the battlefield”.

So, he plays the Deathlord card, and then gets to put a second card on the board – in one turn.

The card he selects is the Haunted Creeper: Deathrattle: Summon two 1/1 Spectral Spiders.  So, one card spawns a second card – that second card spawns two more cards. (But, they don’t immediately appear).

On his next turn, he uses Abomination.   Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 2 damage to ALL characters.

Now, why would he use a card that causes damage to both her opponent and himself?  The answer is simple.  The Haunted Creeper can’t spawn two Spectral Spider cards until after it is killed.  It has 2 health points.  Abomination kills Haunted Creeper – two Spectral Spider cards appear.

Anub’Rekhan: Closer now, tasty morsel.

Look at the board in the screenshot above, and you can see the two Spectral Spider cards.  Next, he uses his Hero Power: Skitter.  Summon a 3/1 Nerubian.   It only costs 2 mana, and he can use it every turn (if he chooses to).

Some of his cards have a small Skull and Crossbones at the bottom of them.  This indicates that the card does something unusual when it is killed.  For example, if you kill the Abomination card – it causes 2 damage to everything on the board.

After several attempts, I finally was able to defeat Anub’Rakhan.  Victory!

Lich Kel’Thuzad: NOOO!!!  I mean… Irrelevant. You’ll never defeat the Grand Widow.

The reward for defeating Anub’Rakhan is two Haunted Creeper cards.

The second boss in the Arachnid Quarter is Grand Widow Faerlina.  Her description reads: The Grand Widow oversees the Arachnid Quarter, and teaches Acolytes to worship the master.

Lich Kel’Thuzad: Faerlina is training acolytes to worship me.  Her job is VERY IMPORTANT; do not disturb her!

 Grand Widow Faerlina: My acolytes serve me without question!

The thing to watch out for with Grand Widow Faerlina is her Hero Power.  Rain of Fire costs 2 mana.  Fire a missile for each card in your opponent’s hand.

In the screenshot above, you can see that I had five cards in my hand.  That means that Grand Widow Faerlina got to throw five fireballs at me.  She can throw them at either my hero or the cards I have on the board. (I’ve no idea what factors make the fireballs choose their targets). When you are fighting Grand Widow Faerlina, the trick is to get rid of as many of your cards as possible – as often as you can.

After failing several times with the Mage deck, I switched over and tried the Hunter deck.  It worked a little better, but I still ended up losing.  The “bright side” of Hearthstone is that you actually do earn some experience points when you lose.  As a result, my Hunter deck is now Level 2, and I got a reward of two Animal Companion cards.

What worked out the best for me was my Rogue deck.  Again, I’m just using the basic “default” decks.  I did not win against Grand Widow Faerlina with my first attempt.  Even so, I ended up getting my Rogue deck to Level 2. This earned me the reward of 2 Assassin’s Blade cards.

When you defeat Grand Widow Faerlina, she says: The Master will avenge me!

I think what worked with the Rogue deck was that I had a lot of cards that didn’t require much mana in order to use.  That let me put them on the board very quickly.  Doing so limited the power of Grand Widow Faerlina’s Rain of Fire.  Less cards = less fireballs.

Another useful tool was the Rogue deck Hero Power – Dagger Mastery.  It enables the Rogue Hero to equip a 1/2 dagger – that can be used to directly stab the opposing hero.  It goes right over all the cards.  Combine the Hero Power with a Deadly Poison – Give your weapon +2 attack.  The effects of that card lasts for more than one turn and gives the weapon and additional +2 damage.

VICTORY!

The above screenshot has multiple things happening.  It shows that I had a Victory over Grand Widow Faerlina. Doing so caused my Rogue deck to hit Level 4. I seem to have forgotten to take a screenshot of when this deck reached Level 3.

Defeating Grand Widow Faerlina also caused Lich Kel’Thuzad to return and yell at me.  He said: Faerlina means nothing.  The Spider Queen will dispatch you EASILY.

The reward for getting a Rogue deck to Level 4 is two Fan of Knives cards.

The reward for defeating Grand Widow Faerlina is two Nerub’ar Weblord cards.

On to the final boss in the Arachnid Quarter!  Next up is Maexxna.  Her description is: The massive Spider Queen births endless spiderlings to feed on the corpses of interlopers.  Now I get why Lich Kel’Thuzad called me an “interloper” earlier in the game!

Lich Kel’Thuzad: Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER!  MUAHAHAHA

I decided to stick with my Rogue deck, which is personified by Valeera Sanguinar.  Things were going well.

Maexxna doesn’t say anything at the start of the game.  Instead, you “hear” *skittering*.

Lich Kel’Thuzad: Her poison will make your death *mostly* painless.

Maexxna’s Hero Power is called Web Wrap.  It  involves throwing a web at her opponent’s minions.

Perplexingly, Maexxna, a giant spider, has a Sea Giant – Costs (1) less for each other minion on the battlefield. What is a giant spider doing with a Sea Giant?  Lich Kel’Thuzad doesn’t seem to know, either.

Lich Kel’Thuzad: Sea Giant?? Maexxna, that is not on my approved card list!

Maexxna’s Hero Power – Web Wrap –Return a random enemy minion to your opponent’s hand.  In the screenshot below, you can see that she used Web Wrap to put one of my minions back in my hand. (It appears over Valeera’s picture.)

Lich Kel’Thuzad starts to feel overconfident and makes a joke.

Lich Kel’Thuzad: What do you call a player who just had his minion webbed?  DOOMED!

Defeat Maexxna, and you will “hear” *hissing*.

VICTORY!

Lich Kel’Thuzad: Impossible!  This is not over, PUNY MORTAL!

The reward for defeating Maexxna is two Nerubian Egg cards

I have now defeated all three of the bosses in the Arachnid Quarter of the Naxxramus Adventure.

The reward for “Arachnid Quarter Defeated” is one Maexxna card.

Lich Kel’Thuzad: You think that card will help you?  You are sorely mistaken.

What’s next?  I’ve unlocked Class Challenges for Druid and Rogue.  Look closely at the bottom of the screenshot above. It says: You can also attempt the insanely difficult Heroic Arachnid Quarter!

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