Curse of Naxxramus is the new solo adventure content in Hearthstone.  I’ve finished the Normal Mode and the two class challenges in this section.  The next step is to try the Heroic Mode.

So far, I have been really unsuccessful with this part!  Try as I might, I cannot defeat Anub’Rekhan in Heroic.  Instead, I ended up using it as a way to level up some of my decks that still needed to unlock cards.  I also took this opportunity to experiment with building a customized deck (something I’d never tried before).

Some of the screenshots that you see in this blog were taken on August 2, 2014.  Others were taken within the next week or two.

In the above screenshot, you can see that I’ve completed the Normal Mode and the 2 class challenges.  The little red skull on the box that says “Heroic” indicates that there are more bosses for me to fight in that part.

The description box explains Heroic as: Nine Naxxramas Bosses have a special class challenge after you defeat them in normal mode.  Crush each one and earn a card!  

The next step was to click the box that said “Heroic” and get started on defeating the 3 Heroic bosses in the Arachnid Quarter.  There are other Heroic bosses for the other sections of Naxxramas.  For now, I just wanted to focus on the first batch.

The moment you open the Heroic difficult, a warning pops up.  Warning!  Be warned that Heroic Mode is VERY punishing and is not for the faint of heart.  Enter at your own risk!  They weren’t kidding about that!  This warning is not here to make the game feel more dramatic.  It is here to let people know that they should expect to lose many matches, in a row, as they attempt to beat a Heroic boss.

The three bosses you find in the Heroic part of the Arachnid Quarter are the same ones that you fought in Normal Mode: Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and Maexxna.  You must beat Anub’Rekhan to unlock the next battle with Grand Widow Faerlina, and then beat her to unlock the fight against Maexxna.

The only option is to start by fighting against Anub’Rekhan.  Click on him, and another warning pops up under his image at the side of the screen.

The Boss Info says: Heroic Bosses are extremely difficult.  They will require many attempts and multiple deck revisions to defeat.  This is a clue that you will need to put together a revised deck, and will need to go back and alter it many times, before you can beat a Boss in Heroic.  I’d never built a deck before.  It seemed to me that this was a skill that was required in order to get through Heroic.  I like learning how to do new things in video games, so that would be ok.

Oh, and Lich Kel’Thuzad is back, with the same words he said during the Normal Mode of the Arachnid Quarter.  If you’ve gotten to this point in the game, then you already know what he will say in the Heroic part.

Where to begin?  I decided to try the standard Rogue Deck against Anub’Rekhan.  I expected to lose, but thought I might learn something during the match that would help me determine what I needed to put in a customized deck.

The first thing I learned was the Heroic Anub’Rekhan starts with 45 points, and that you start with the usual 30 points.  This puts the player at a big disadvantage no matter what kind of deck he or she has put together.  I expected the Heroic Bosses to have better cards in their deck, and a smarter A.I. behind them.  I wasn’t anticipating that they would have an extra 15 point advantage, too.

Obviously, I lost the match against Heroic Anub’Rekhan with my standard Rogue deck (but that was expected).  I tried several other standard decks.  I tried customizing several different types of decks.  It does not seem to matter what I do – I can’t beat Anub’Rekhan.  I suspect that part of the problem is that I haven’t unlocked all the cards in many of my decks.  There are probably some that I need as a basis in order to stand a chance against a Heroic Boss.

The other thing I learned is that Heroic Anub’Rekhan has a hero ability that costs 2 mana and lets him put a minion on the board that has 4 offense and 4 defense.  He starts using it as soon as he gets 2 mana, and continues to use it a lot!  I don’t have any cards that cost only 2 mana and that are 4/4 minions.

I’ve learned that if you try and target Anub’Rekhan directly, and pass by his minions, he will quickly overrun you by continuing to produce more 4/4 minions.  If you survive to the turn where he has 8 mana, he will use a card that takes three mana away from each of your minions as well as your Hero.

There was no way for me to beat him.  Instead, I decided to use Heroic Anub’Rekhan as a means to an end.  Your deck gains experience points even if you lose.  For a while, I was doing nothing more than playing some of my standard decks that still needed to have cards unlocked.  I figured it was worth a try.  The decks needed to be leveled, and there as a slim chance that some quirk of the shuffle would cause me to actually win.  I also experimented with creating my own, customized, deck.

Just for fun, I put my Golden Elite Tauren Chieftain card into a customized Mage Deck. I got that card because I attended Blizzcon 2013.  It took many matches before the card even managed to get shuffled into my hand.  This was frustrating!  Eventually, I did get to actually play this card.

The Golden Frostwolf Grunt card has Taunt on it and has 2 offense and 2 defense.  I’m sure it would have been useful.  However, since I only had 3 points on my Hero, and the card with Taunt only had 2 points, and Anub’Rekhan had a ton of minions, I never got the chance to really see what these two very cool cards of mine could do.

The closest I got to defeating Heroic Anub’Rekhan was when I knocked him down to 19 points.  I had 8 points at the time, and ended up losing that match.  This was the best I could do.  Eventually, it got really boring, so I tried to move on to the next portion of Naxxramus.

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