How to play Raptor Rogue

League of Explorers (LoE) has brought with it several deck types enabled by newly added cards.

Unearthed Raptor

Sometimes a new card can create a new deck type for a class. One of the League of Explorers cards, Unearthed Raptor, has done just that. Unearthed Raptor is a 3 mana 3/4 minion with a very powerful battlecry effect: it can copy the deathrattle of any friendly minion, thus having its own deathrattle. This has enabled Rogue, which was traditionally a spell-based class, to focus on a more minion-heavy play style. Some people have even gone so far as to call it "Zoo". The new, minion-based deck is commonly known as "Raptor Rogue" or "Deathrattle Rogue".

The general idea is simple: since Unearthed Raptor is a midgame minion which can copy powerful deathrattles, just create a deck which includes the most powerful deathrattles. Deathrattles from Leper Gnome to Sneed's Old Shredder have been tested in Raptor Rogue decks, with varying degrees of success at all levels of play. Here I'll present my own variation of Raptor Rogue, with a card-by-card explanation for things I've included and thing's I've excluded that might be alternatives to my choices, as well as a mulligan guide and a general game play guide. I've managed to reach legend with this variation and I think that the deck is competitive for most levels of play and it's definitely a lot of fun to play!

Raptor Rogue deck

Deck list

Cards included:

  • 2x Backstab - very cheap and efficient removal, hard to take out of any Rogue deck; used to clear smaller minion or to add some chip damage when killing a bigger minion.
  • 2x Cold Blood - Nerubian Egg activator, allows trading up minions, racing aggro decks and giving extra reach for lethal.
  • 2x Abusive Sergeant - Nerubian Egg activator, allows trading up minions, racing aggro decks and giving extra reach for lethal (the minion form of Cold Blood :smile:).
  • 2x Eviscerate - Backstab’s bigger brother that can also hit face; used to clear very threatening small minions or bigger minions or as burst damage when going for lethal.
  • 2x Haunted Creeper - deathrattle, sticky minion that can fight off aggro minions and also provides several bodies which can be used (& abused) by Cold blood, Abusive Sergeant or Defender of Argus.
  • 2x Loot Hoarder - deathrattle, cheap and efficient minion that also draws a card; used early game to fend off aggro and late game to draw more cards together with Raptor
  • 2x Nerubian Egg - deathrattle of great value, especially when comboed with Raptor; used to build up a board which is very resilient to board clears.
  • 2x Fan of Knives - good AOE against aggro also provides more card draw
  • 1x Big Game Hunter - cleanest solution to Dr. Boom, also used against Mysterious Challenger (when buffed) or against Giants; overall, most efficient solution to big minions.
  • 2x Unearthed Raptor - the card that started it all; solid 3 mana 3/4 minion that is extremely versatile and can provide a sticky board, more card draw or even special deathrattle effects (Sylvanas, Boom Bot) when needed.
  • 2x Defender of Argus - egg activator, anti-aggro card, allows trading up minions, racing aggro decks and giving extra reach for lethal; all round, great card in this deck.
  • 2x Piloted Shredder - deathrattle and all-round best 4 mana minion in the game.
  • 2x Azure Drake - card draw, +1 spell damage for more efficient minion removal or better reach for lethal and on top of that a decent minion body.
  • 1x Dark Iron Skulker - another, slightly more powerful AOE that also leaves a 4/3 minion behind.
  • 2x Sludge Belcher - deathrattle, double taunt to block aggro.
  • 1x Sylvanas Windrunner - another deathrattle and a decent 5/5 body; great in control match ups especially against classes where you want to block a big drop; copying the deathrattle with the Raptor can be strong as it can potentially block 2 powerful turns from your opponent.
  • 1x Dr. Boom - more deathrattles on top of probably the best 7 mana minion in the game.

Tech cards and alternatives

  • Piloted Sky Golem - great body, great deathrattle, it’s probably the best card that was no included in the deck; I favored Sylvanas as Sylvanas is stronger against control decks.
  • Sir Finley Mrrgglton - the Rogue hero power is not that useful in this zooish deck after early game so swapping it for a better one is strong.
  • Brann Bronzebeard - there are a lot of battlecries in this deck so Brann is a strong contender; it can either beef up your Argus taunt or give you more reach for lethal.
  • Cairne Bloodhoof - useful against more grindy, control oriented decks.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos - fills almost the same role as Loot Hoarder but provides extra spell power for your nukes; situationally better than Loot Hoarder.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze - the dreaded weapon killer, this time used by a Rogue that doesn’t rely on weapons :smile:; useful for metas where weapons are extremely abundant.
  • Antique Healbot - great in a meta with a lot of aggression through spells or hero powers (Hunter, mostly); generally great for leveling as most of the sub-level 10 decks are very aggressive.
  • Sap - Sap can be a great choice for a more-tempo oriented play-style.
  • Sneed’s Old Shredder - big deathrattle, great in a grindy meta; can be used instead of a Sludge Belcher.

Cards which have been intentionally excluded

  • All Rogue weapon buffs and Blade Flurry - you live and die by your minions, not spells; weapon buffs will slow down this game plan while Blade Flurry without them is useless since using it on a naked dagger is too weak.
  • Leper Gnome - doesn’t trade well with anything and this is not a pure aggro deck; think of this deck more like Midrange Zoo than Aggro Zoo.
  • Harvest Golem - the main body doesn’t trade up while the deathrattle doesn’t make up for this weakness.
  • <a href=http://www.hearthpwn.com/cards/7740-baron-rivendare”>Baron Rivendare</a> - Baron Rivendare isn’t threatening enough when played on its own and the extra proccing of deathrattles doesn’t help much as this deck can already fill the board reliably.

Game plan

The general game plan is similar to that of Zoo: get control of the board early and don’t let it go. If you do lose it, unlike Zoo, there are some comeback mechanisms in Fan of Knives and Dark Iron Skulker, but they’re not powerful enough to turn a game around on their own if the board has been lost completely.

Against aggro decks and almost every kind of deck except for super late game control, you’re the control deck. There’s no healing in the deck so once you get too low you’re probably dead. However, with your very cheap and efficient removal, small and sticky minions and your hero power, winning the board around round 4 should be achievable in most games.

The perfect game start would be:

  • Turn 1: Coin / Nerubian Egg
  • Turn 2: Haunted Creeper or Backstab + hero power to kill the opposing minion
  • Turn 3: Raptor on the Nerubian Egg
  • Turn 4: Piloted Shredder
  • Turns 5 & later: solidify the board, preferably by keeping deathrattles so that enemy AOE cannot wipe your board

Mid game things become a bit fuzzy since you need to balance out doing face damage to controlling the board. The reason for this is that the deck is fundamentally a midgame oriented deck, not a super late game control deck that wants to drag out the game to fatigue.

As a simple rule, favor doing face damage to Control Warriors, Priests, Paladins and Handlocks after turn 7 or so, since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to control the board forever with a board that is actually threatening (this deck can flood the board with many bodies but sometimes they’re just 0/2s, 1/2s, 1/3s which are not really threatening to a control class.

Favorable Match Ups

Favorable match ups

Secret Paladin

Mulligan for: Backstab, Egg, Creeper, Raptor, Fan of Knives (only if you already have a 2-drop in your hand; Fan is used to counter Muster for Battle).

Stick things on the board, clear everything the opponent plays until turn 6 (Mysterious Challenger turn), then depending on the turn of the game, either grind down the Paladin with an endless supply of deathrattles or rush face if you have a lot of burst in your hand (Secret Paladins don’t really have defense).

Aggro Druid

Mulligan for: Backstab, Egg, Creeper, Raptor, Eviscerate or BGH (only if you already have a 2-drop in your hand; Eviscerate is used to counter an early Druid of the Claw or Fel Reaver).

Same general plan as for Secret Paladin until turn 5 (Fel Reaver turn) with an emphasis for taunting up after turn 9. The main ways you lose are to an uncontested Fel Reaver (face tanking it isn’t a good choice) or a lucky Force of Nature / Savage Roar combo early on.

Midrange Hunter

Mulligan for: Backstab, Egg, Creeper, Raptor.

Same general plan as for Secret Paladin until turn 7 (Dr. Boom turn) with an emphasis on racing after this turn as the Hunter hero power will whittle you down.

Hybrid Hunter

Mulligan for: Backstab, Egg, Creeper, Raptor.

This game is a race after turn 3. Clear all the beasts after turn 5 if it’s not too costly, to avoid huge spikes of damage from Kill command.

Control Warrior

Mulligan for: Egg, Creeper, Raptor, Eviscerate (to cleanly clear Armorsmith or Acolyte of Pain).

Stick things on the board and grind down every threat with efficient removal. Don’t overtextend into Brawl. If the Warrior is running two copies of Brawl, the match up becomes way harder.

Handlock

Mulligan for: Egg, Creeper, Raptor, BGH.

Same rule of making a sticky board. Ignore most minions played if not giants but don’t bring the Warlock too low before you’re ready for the burst.

Unavorable Match Ups

Unfavorable match ups

Priest

Most minions are bigger than yours, Priest hero power makes them sticky. This deck doesn’t have enough 1-turn burst to kill them from higher life totals (you’re not Miracle Rogue). Also Cabal Shadow Priest can steal most of of your minions causing a huge game swing.

Renolock

Several strong AOEs, many strong Warlock minions, better late game than yours, no way to grind them down efficiently and insufficient burst. Maybe Sneed’s could help, but I don’t have him :smile:

Face Hunter

Pure Face Hunter is a dice roll. On your part it relies on having sticky minions and Defender of Argus in the mulligan.

But overall, you’re disadvantaged since Face Hunter has a ton of damage and this deck is neither fast enough to race nor defensive enough to stall out the game long enough for the Hunter to run out of steam.

Aggro Shaman

Similar situation to the Face Hunter match up. On top of it, Aggro Shaman has higher burst. If you’re facing a lot of Aggro Shaman teching in Acidic Swamp Ooze is a decent choice.

Variations of the deck.

There are many variations of this deck around, here are several versions I found:

And you’ve reached the end of the guide. Thank you for reading so far, have fun playing this deck and come back for more guides!


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HearthCraft Key Cards: epic and legendary neutral cards

This article is a part of the HearthCraft series of articles, where I discuss about the cards that should be crafted first in Hearthstone, when playing on a budget. And we’re all playing on a budget.

Dust

If you want to read the rest of the articles, here is the full list:

So, let’s get to business and discuss about the key epic and legendary neutral cards, cards you should craft first when you’re thinking about crafting epic and legendary neutral cards.

Epic neutral cards

Big Game Hunter

Big Game Hunter

The bane of every “big” card in the game. If you’re “taller” than 6 attack, you’re in his sights.

Big Game Hunter (BGH) is one of the most popular tech cards in the game and probably the only epic card that could be considered a “must-have”.

As the opponents get stronger and stronger and the card quality goes up, Big Game Hunter becomes a common sight.

For the lowly cost of 3 mana, you get a 4/2 minion with a battlecry that instantly destroys a minion with 7 attack. Since minions with 7 attack cost at least 4 mana, the battlecry alone covers the 3 mana paid for BGH. The minion body left behind can then trade with another minion on the board or absorb a hateful nuke used by your opponent after he sees that his big threat has been removed.


Honorable mentions

Card name Why is it a good card?
Recombobulator A common card in fun decks, he can “heal” damaged minions or invoke the RGN gods for even better results.
Doomsayer Anti-aggro card, a very powerful AOE for a low cost. If he survives :smile:
Blood Knight Tech card, used when divine shields are very, very common.
Twilight Guardian Anti-aggro card. Also a dragon, popular in dragon decks.
Enhance-o-Mechano Powerful buff if you have a decent board.
Fel Reaver Aggro deck finisher card that is quite hard to remove.
Faceless Manipulator Another common card in fun decks, also used in combo decks.
Piloted Sky Golem Powerful mech and 6 drop in general.
Sea Giant Finisher for decks which flood the board.
Mountain Giant Powerful minion for decks which tend to have a big hand (Handlock).
Molten Giant Powerful minion for decks which can survive at low HP (Handlock, Echo Mage).
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Legendary neutral cards

Doctor Boom

Dr. Boom

The first 7 mana card in the game to be considered truly good, Dr. Boom is seen as overpowered by many.

For 7 mana he provides a 7/7 body with 2 minuscule Boom Boots besides him. Each Boom Bot is a 1/1 minion that does 1-4 damage once it is killed. That deathrattle is a very powerful effect as in the best case scenario the Boom Bots can kill a 10 HP minion or 2x 5 HP minions. On average they’re still strong, as the average damage that they do is 7.

The main minion is nothing to scoff at, as he can trade with the vast majority of minions under 9 mana.

Dr. Boom is incredibly popular and can be seen in almost any kind of deck, going from aggro to midrange/tempo to control.


Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas is one of the most powerful 6 mana cards in the game. Besides her 5/5 body she comes with a very powerful deathrattle, as she will steal a random enemy minion when she dies.

When she is on the board she can trade with small minions or prevent the enemy from playing his big minion, as suiciding Sylvanas will steal it. Frequently the opposing player will have to make awkward trades to remove her or going for a 33%-50% chance that Sylvanas will steal a powerful minion, in the absence of a silence effect (Ironbeak Owl) or a transform one (Hex).

Sylvanas is used successfully in many midrange and control decks.


Ragnaros

Ragnaros the Firelord

Ragnaros, the Firelord is one of the oldest legendaries in the game that is still seen in many decks and across many meta changes.

For 8 mana you get a “turret”: a 8/8 minion that cannot attack but that does 8 damage to a random target at the end of your round. Ragnaros puts your opponent on a timer as 4 attacks from Ragnaros will kill the opponent even if he is at 30 HP.

Opponents will prioritize killing Ragnaros or, if they cannot do that, they will try to fill the board with small minions hoping that the random attack targets them.

Ragnaros is used as a finisher for midrange/tempo decks or as a powerful minion for control decks.


Ysera

Ysera

Ysera is the veteran “control dragon”. She has a solid 4/12 body which is quite hard to kill unless you have direct removal when she is played. If not answered she starts creating special cards called “Dream Cards”. These cards range from decent (3 mana untargetable 3/5, 4 mana dragon 7/6) to strong (0 mana return minion to owner’s hand, 0 mana give minion 5/5 then destroy it next turn) to almost overpowered (2 mana deal 5 damage to all characters except Ysera).

Against aggro decks and midrange decks the body can trade at least 2-to-1, while the dream cards can at minimum provide additional bodies to throw on the table and at best can provide additional reach for a surprise lethal while racing. Aggro decks are less affected by Ysera as by turn 9, when she is usually played, they are close to killing the enemy and Ysera doesn’t have an immediate effect on the board or on either player’s HP.

Besides the advantages mentioned against aggro and midrange decks, against control decks the body usually trades at least 1-to-1 while the dream cards provide another stream of cards allowing the Ysera player to avoid drawing and going into fatigue first.

Overall, a very solid card in slower metas and a staple of the dragon “tribe”.


Justicar Trueheart

Justicar Trueheart

For 6 mana, Justicar Trueheart provides an instant effect which can be very strong. It buffs hero powers for all classes and for some classes the effect is very powerful:

Justicar Trueheart is great at providing extra value during long, drawn out control games or at keeping your hero alive during the onslaught from an aggro deck.

Probably the best legendary to come out of The Great Tournament (TGT) expansion.

Harrison Jones


Harrison Jones

Harrison Jones is a bit of an odd-ball on the “must have” list. He’s not the staple of any deck. With his 5/4 stats and his quirky battlecry, he can’t really be. He is however one of the most common “tech cards”. Any time classes with weapons flood the metagame, Harrison is bound to show up. Together with his smaller brother, Acidic Swamp Ooze. Or, for the more desperate amongst us, Bloodsail Corsair.

There are 5 classes which can have weapons:

  • Rogue
  • Warrior
  • Hunter
  • Paladin
  • Shaman

It’s a good bet that any time in Hearthstone’s history at least one of those classes was popular of very popular. As a result, Harrison is a common sight in decks. Even if he’s not “must have” in the sense that you can’t build your deck without him, you will want to have him in those moments of need.

Against aggro and midrange decks Harrison is used either as a vanilla 5 mana 5/4 (quite underwhelming) or as a weapon removal in a crucial moment in the game (for example against a Hunter with a Eaglehorn Bow and a trap in play). If the midrange deck is slower he might even be used for the second part of his battlecry, card drawing.

Against control Harrison is used in the same way, but with less emphasis on playing him without benefiting from his battlecry, and a lot more emphasis on drawing several cards when possible.


Alexstrasza

Alexstrasza

Alexstrasza is another veteran from the dragon “tribe”. She can be seen in control and combo decks. Depending on the situation Alexstrasza is either used to do up to 15 damage to the enemy’s face (maybe allowing lethal next turn) or to heal for up to 15 damage. On top of the instant effect she brings a 8/8 body which trades well with most enemy minions or forces the usage of direct removal. Even if the enemy uses removal on the body, the effect has already taken place, and it is a very powerful effect in many circumstances.

Especially for new players Alexstrasza provides one of the best examples of “good card”: instant, powerful effect on the game.


Honorable mentions

Card name Why is it a good card?
Bloodmage Thalnos Card draw and spell damage packed together, both appreciated by tempo or spell combo decks.
Malygos Dragon, hard to kill body (4/12), extremely powerful effect (+5 spell damage means that with 2-3 spells you can kill your enemy from full HP).
Baron Geddon Powerful, constant AOE on top of a hard hitting minion.
Chillmaw Dragon, beefy taunt with powerful AOE on death.
Sneed’s Old Shredder Mech, very slow card but the deathrattle is very powerful in control matchups.
The Black Knight Also called the “taunt-buster”. Great when taunts are very common.
Leeroy Jenkins Staple of aggro decks when used to cost 4 mana, he is still seen in aggro decks, as a finisher.
Gormok the Impaler Decent in decks that can flood the board constantly.
Nexus Champion Saraad Used for providing extra value in control decks.
King Mukla Beast, overstatted body, Seen sometimes in aggro decks.
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HearthCraft Key Cards: rare neutral cards

This article is a part of the HearthCraft series of articles, where I discuss about the cards that should be crafted first in Hearthstone, when playing on a budget. And we’re all playing on a budget.

Dust

If you want to read the rest of the articles, here is the full list:

So, let’s get to business and discuss about the key rare neutral cards, cards you should craft first when you’re thinking about crafting rare neutral cards.

Rare neutral cards

Knife Juggler

Knife Juggler

Knife Juggler, partner in aggro crime with Leper Gnome and Abusive Sergeant. If your deck is a aggro deck, there’s a huge chance that Knife Juggler is in it. Knife Juggler is so good that he’s even played in midrange decks that have some method of spamming minions.

Knife Juggler is a 2 mana minion with a 3/2 body and a very powerful effect: it does 1 damage to a random enemy when a friendly minion is summoned. This makes it very powerful since Knife Juggler can trade 2 for 1, 3 for 1 and maybe even higher with the right amount of luck.

It’s easily one of the most threatening low-cost minions in the game (should be killed on sight).


Azure Drake

Azure Drake

Azure Drake costs 5 mana and comes with a 4/4 body. Nothing to write home about. But it also draws a card, provides +1 spell damage and is a dragon. All of which are powerful extras.

Almost every midrange deck runs it as well as most spell-based combo decks. The Drake is a “fast” card since it draws another card as soon as it is played and it also helps buff cheaper spells providing them the extra damage needed to destroy tougher targets.

The 4/4 is also decent as it can trade 1 for 1 with many cards and is in a sweet spot regarding stats, since most cheap removal can’t kill it.


Defender of Argus

Defender of Argus

One of the “weakest” minions in the rare category, Defender of Argus doesn’t seem like a “must have” minion. However his 2/3 body comes with a powerful battlecry, since it grants both taunt and 1/1 to the minions next to the defender.

As a result Defender of Argus actually provides a total 4 damage, 5 HP and 2 taunts for 4 mana, if there are 2 targets on the board. 2 damage also have “charge”, since they can be used immediately “as part” of the minions already present on the board.

Defender of Argus is a popular defensive option for classes which lack powerful class taunt minions. However, it is versatile and can be seen even in aggressive decks which spam the board since the extra HP provided to the minions on its left and right can take them out of AOE range or make trades very awkward for the enemy.


Honorable mentions

1 Mana minions (1 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Secretkeeper Secret support card, 1 mana minion that gets +1/+1 for each secret played.

2 Mana minions (2 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Wild Pyromancer Anti-aggro, provides both a decent 2 drop and AOE.
Sunfury Protector Anti-aggro, smaller brother of Defender of Argus. Doesn’t provide extra stats, though.
Ancient Watcher Over-statted minion that can’t attack by default. Can be silenced to let it attack or taunted.

3 Mana minions (3 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?      
Mind Control Tech Used against decks that spam a lot of minions.      
Coldlight Oracle Murloc, draw engine for aggro and mill decks.      
Injured Blademaster Jokingly called “Priest card” since priests can heal it to full HP.   Arcane Golem Aggro minion: charge and a ton of damage for a low mana cost.

4 Mana minions (4 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Violet Teacher Combo card used by classes that want a lot of small minions (tokens): Rogue, Druid.
Twilight Drake Strong 4-drop when the average hand size is above 5 cards (Handlock, Control Mages, etc.)
Kezan Mystic Tech card used against classes with powerful secrets. </a>
Jeeves Powerful card draw for aggro decks.
Arcane Nullifier X-21 Anti-aggro for mech decks.

5 Mana minions (5 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Stampeding Kodo Tech card used when a powerful minion with 2 or less attack is used by a lot of decks.
Bomb Lobber Tech card used when a 4+ mana, 4-HP minion is very common in the meta.

5 Mana minions (5 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Sunwalker Anti-aggro mid game minion.
Gadgetzan Auctioneer Card draw engine for decks with a lot of small spells.
Argent Commander Sticky finisher for aggro decks.

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HearthCraft Key Cards: common neutral cards

This article is a part of the HearthCraft series of articles, where I discuss about the cards that should be crafted first in Hearthstone, when playing on a budget. And we’re all playing on a budget.

Dust

If you want to read the rest of the articles, here is the full list:

So, let’s get to business and discuss about the key common neutral cards, cards you should craft first when you’re thinking about common cards.

Common neutral cards

Piloted Shredder

Piloted Shredder

The “king” of common cards in Hearthstone. Introduced in Goblins versus Gnomes, this 4 mana 4/3 minion summons a random 2 mana minion when it dies.

It is a very powerful minion because of 2 separate factors:

  • it is “sticky”: its removal is very awkward in most situations, requiring 2 hits, in any combination of: minion, weapon, direct nuke or AOE nuke
  • it packs a ton of stats: under the flimsy 4/3 body (that can also trade up due to its 4 attack) the average stats of a 2 mana minion are 2/2; as a result Shredder is basically a 4 mana 6/5 minion

Piloted Shredder can be seen in almost any kind of deck, except for the extremely aggressive ones (Face Hunter) or the extremely greedy ones (greedy Control Warrior). But any time even those decks “move” towards midrange, they tend to include Piloted Shredder.


Ironbeak Owl

Ironbeak Owl

Silence is a very powerful mechanic in Hearthstone. It’s so powerful that it’s literally “hidden” in the basic set (there are no silence cards that are available to a new player when he first plays Hearthstone).

The first time a new player will use this mechanic will probably be when he gets or crafts his Ironbeak Owl.

Another staple of Hearthstone, “Hoot hoot!” as it’s lovingly called by the community, is a common sight in many decks. Aggressive decks use it to bypass taunts and to neutralize big cards with powerful effects, control decks use it to stem the bleeding against the same aggressive decks I mentioned.

It is probably the most used “tech” card (card that’s used mostly for its effect which counters a very specific, major threat). Even if in many occasions it’s only a 1-of, Ironbeak Owl sees a lot of action in Hearthstone.

The 2 mana cost 2/1 body doesn’t seem much. But once it silences your Sludge Belcher just before the Wolfrider and the Glaivezooka hit you, you will see why the card is so powerful.


Leper Gnome

Leper Gnome

The 1 mana 2/1 body isn’t impressive. But it comes with a powerful deathrattle: deal 2 damage to the enemy hero. Leper Gnome is a staple of ultra aggressive decks. As someone called it, it is the “announcer of cancer decks” (“cancer decks” is the not-very-sensitive name the Hearthstone community has given to decks which are extremely common and especially very aggressive).

Leper Gnome is not flashy but it provides a guaranteed 2 damage to the enemy’s face. In a well-oiled aggressive deck, that’s all you can ask from your 1 drop. Especially in the “later” turns of the game, when you need to bypass taunts.

When you hear “I feel icky!”, it’s time to avoid things which reduce your hero’s HP, because you will miss every one of your hit points later on.


Antique Healbot

Antique Healbot

A homonym for “anti-kill bot”, Antique Healbot is a 5 mana 3/3 mech that heals you for 8 HP. Since he has been introduced in the Goblins versus Gnomes expansion, Antique Healbot has been a staple of control decks.

In many control versus aggro games, the control players can be at low health levels in turn 5 or 6. This is where Antique Healbot comes in: he heals the control player for 8, thus extending the game by 1 or 2 more turns, until the control player can stabilize and start playing “bombs” (cards with a high mana cost and a high impact on the game).

Antique Healbot is usually played as a 1-of, or when things get really aggressive, as a 2-of.


Abusive Sergeant

Abusive Sergeant

Another flimsy 1 mana 2/1. Again, the extra text on the card makes card powerful.

Abusive Sergeant gives a minion +2 attack the turn it is used. While it doesn’t sound like much, it allows a small minion to trade with a minion which costs 1 more mana or even 2 more mana in certain situations. It also allows a small minion to do a lot more face damage when that’s needed.

Just as his cousin, Leper Gnome, Abusive Sergeant is a staple of aggressive decks. He sometimes makes his way even into midrange decks which need a little help with boosting their low-attack minions when they fight bigger minions.


Honorable mentions

1 Mana minions (1 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Clockwork Gnome Mech, 1 mana minion that provides spare parts for card combos.
Cogmaster Mech support, 1 mana minion that can provide 3 damage, used in aggressive decks.
Argent Squire Sticky 1 mana minion used in many aggressive decks.
Worgen Infiltrator Sticky 1 mana minion used in some aggressive decks.

2 Mana minions (2 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Loot Hoarder Cheap, efficient card draw minion that can combat smaller threats.
Mech Warper Staple of the Mech tribe, he allows Mech spam very early.
Annoy-o-tron Mech, protects threatening minions (such as Mech Warper in mech decks.
Unstable Ghoul Anti-aggro card that can also trigger enrage-like effects.
Gilblin Stalker Sticky 2 drop used by buff classes (Priest, primarily).
Dire Wolf Alpha Damage buff card used by aggro decks which spam minions (zoos).

3 Mana minions (3 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Acolyte of Pain Efficient card draw minion that can draw multiple cards.
Tinkertown Technician Mech support, 3 drop with above average stats and source of spare parts.
Spider Tank Mech, 3 drop with standard stats.
Argent Horserider Sticky charger for only 3 mana used in aggro decks.
Harvest Golem Mech, sticky 3 drop used in aggressive or midrange decks.

4 Mana minions (4 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Mechanical Yeti Mech, standard stats for a 4 drop and source of spare parts.
Dread Corsair Anti-aggro, used in decks with many weapons or in pirate decks.
Dragonkin Sorcerer Dragon, used by in dragon decks and by buff classes (Priest, primarily).

5 Mana minions (5 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Stranglethorn Tiger Beast, sticky 5 drop used as part of the higher end of the deck for aggressive decks.
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League of Explorers card reviews

The third Hearthstone adventure, The League of Explorers (LOE) is here!

The League of Explorers

For those that are new to Hearthstone, Hearthstone adventures are basically the equivalent of single player campaigns. Or Hearthstone raids. Depends on which angle you’re coming from.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the previous adventures, some more info:

Curse of Naxxramas (Naxx)

Curse of Naxxramas (released in July 2014) ## Blackrock Mountain (BRM) Blackrock Mountain (released in April 2015)

There are at least 10 enemy heroes you have to defeat. These heroes (“bosses”) have custom decks and hero powers and you will need specific strategies to defeat them.

For defeating the bosses you receive cards you can use in your collection (these cards cannot be disenchanted if you don’t like or need them).

Of course, there’s a catch: adventures are not free. As we’ve seen in a previous article, buying them with gold is inefficient. So if you can afford it, buy them with cash.

Now, if you’re wondering what kind of cards you get, well, you get all kinds of cards. There’s usually a bunch of neutral cards and often one of them is very strong. For example Naxx had Sludge Belcher and BRM had Emperor Thaurissan.

There are also class cards and these tend to be high quality as well. E.g. Naxx: Death’s Bite (for Warrior), BRM: Flamewaker (for Mage).

Overall, adventures are quite fun in single player and also offer decent to great cards for your collection. They also have the benefit of offering a clear set of cards, unlike buying packs which more like gambling: you never know if you’re going to get the cards you want. So I definitely recommend that you get the adventures, whether you use the fast road (cash) or the slow one (gold).

The League of Explorers is not completely available yet, since it is split into 4 “wings” and each week a new one opens. This week only the first wing is opened.

It’s hard to find out exactly how good the cards are and more precisely which card is good and in which deck it fits, but a lot of people are still trying. Fortunately from all the opinions out there, some of them are a bit more reliable than others, the opinions of professional Hearthstone players. After all, they are paid to play Hearthstone :smile:

I’ve made a collection of quality reviews which you’ll find below:


StrifeCro

Strife Cro

StrifeCro is a professional Hearthstone player which is usually remarkably accurate in evaluating cards before they are released.


Brian Kibler

Brian Kibler

Brian Kibler is another professional Hearthstone player. He is also a competitive Magic The Gathering player (Magic The Gathering is another card game, basically Hearthstone’s grandpa). On top of this he is also a card game designer.


Trump

Trump

Trump is one of the most popular Hearthstone streamers. He is known as “Mr. Value Town” because he always focuses on getting the most value out of the cards he plays.


Kripparian

Kripp

Kripparian is another popular Hearthstone streamer, known especially for his Arena abilities.


Of course, these card reviews are all made before The League of Explorers is actually released, so we’re in for some surprises.


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Personal opinions about history, news, computers and programming.