Tuesday, November 25, 2014

K.T. Best Buds (or Kel'Thrallzad)

Like the majority of Hearthstone players (Hearthstoners?), I've spent the last few months enjoying the craziness that is deathrattle-based decks thanks to Curse of Naxxramas. Warlock can run it's own Zoo variant (or hybrid) and even priest has some good builds, but I find shaman to be the most fun.

Shaman has a great selection of removal (that isn't as reliant on combos like Auchenai + Circle) as well as minion buffs and minor card draw. Thrall's biggest weakness of course is a lack of self-heals, so it pays to play control to avoid getting too weak.

As you can imagine, the deck is chock-full of deathrattle minions. I've opted to go a little less aggressive in the early game by not including 1-drop deathrattles. The early game for this deck is mostly about keeping the opponent from overwhelming you while you build towards CrazyTown.

Undertakers aren't necessarily must-haves in the opening hand here, but are great if you have a strong followup on turns 2 and 3 (say Creeper and Harvest Golem). Another option is to use your hero power often in the early game and save up for a big Undertaker turn later. Of course this tactic is only advised if the opponent is playing a slow early game - board control almost always takes precedence.

You'll notice that the majority of class staples are missing from this deck. This was done to maximize the gimmick and see how shaman performs using other cards. Frankly it's a bit unoriginal to swap out 5-6 cards and call it a "new" shaman deck (though I'm also well-aware that deathrattle decks aren't original either). In any case, the deck performs reasonably well despite the absence of supposed "auto-include" class cards.

There's also no standalone 4-drops here, but I often find you'll be spending those turns clearing the opponent's board or shoring up your own with smaller minions and totem support.

The late game is an-all star cast of legendary deathrattles and K.T. their best buddy. If you don't have Cairne or Sylvanas, you can opt for other useful legends (Black Knight and Loatheb immediately come to mind) or large, value minions like Boulderfist or Sunwalker (which is wonderfully frustrating to your opponent alongside Kel'Thuzad).

Reincarnate allows you to make some ridiculous plays, especially if you can get Baron Rivendare to stick around. Take a look at this recent board against a Handlock (who prior had Twilight Drake, giants and a Watcher all with Argus/Sunfury buffs).

Warlocks are a decent matchup in general - mulligan as if you're fighting Zoo and if it's Handlock just save the removal to help bring down their upcoming giants. You can usually afford to play slower against Handlock and out-value them in the end. Priests can be a problem if they're running heavy on theft-based cards (Cabal, MC, Shadow Madness, etc.) alongside already efficient removal like SWD.

I don't clearly recall games versus Control Warrior, though I'd imagine Brawl being hit or miss depending on what you have on board. Miracle Rogue has the ability to cause trouble as well with board clear and Saps, though it's somewhat dependant on what they draw into.

I'm anxious to dive into Goblins vs Gnomes, but for now I'm relatively content with the absurdity of deathrattle.

Friday, November 21, 2014

So Many Free-To-Play MMOs - Why LotRO?

Old habits die hard. About a month ago, I started getting that itch to play an MMO again. I've been avoiding them for a while now (for reasons explained in older posts), but I keep hoping one day I'll find a title really worth playing.

I started doing research on some of the more popular free-to-play MMOs, narrowing down the list of potential playables based mostly on the number of limitations placed on absolutely free play.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kripp Breaks Down Arena Matchups

Hearthstone guru Kripparian released a very informative video detailing arena matchups by class. Kripp lists what he considers the best card for each hero in arena (with explanations for those choices) and breaks down the typical strengths and weaknesses versus the other heroes. Anyone trying to get a better grasp on arena play should take heed of this great advice.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Goblins vs Gnomes Coming to Hearthstone

Today Blizzard unveiled the upcoming Hearthstone expansion, titled Goblins vs Gnomes. Unlike Curse of Naxxramas where you unlock wings and fight bosses to obtain cards (known as adventures), players can simply purchase packs of the new set in the shop with gold or real money.

Goblins vs Gnomes will contain over 120 new cards based around crazy mechanical contraptions. There's a new minion type (Mech) and a slew of ridiculous cards, both neutral and class-specific.