Naxxramas is Hearthstone’s first expansion pack, and it draws its inspiration from the infamous raid dungeon that was the finale of the original World of Warcraft edition, and kicked of its third, Wrath of the Lich King.
The WoW dungeon is a large floating edifice that’s split into a series of themed wings, each featuring a number of bosses. The Hearthstone version follows that same format, breaking its adventure into five different wings, each with between two and four different characters to beat. In typical modern WoW style, the dungeon isn’t fully open at launch, but becomes unlocked wing-by-wing each week.
Only players who’ve unlocked all nine Hearthstone classes can play Naxxramas. There are two difficulty settings, but must first complete a wing in Normal mode before Heroic can be attempted. Two each of Naxxramas’ 30 new cards can be unlocked by defeating all the bosses – with legendary cards being won by completing a wing. Players can also win new card backs by completing the Heroic mode.
There are also Class Challenges, which put the player against a strategic challenge using preselected decks. Beating each challenge unlocks a class-specific Naxxramas card.
Each boss has his, her or its own deck that features the powerful cards you’re about to win. You can tackle any boss with any deck of your own making, and since each boss has unique heroic powers, some decks to better than others.
Boss One: Anub'Rekhan
This guy is reasonably easy to beat on Normal mode. His heroic power enables him to spawn a 3/1 nerubian minion per turn. This isn’t too difficult to deal with, especially if you’ve got any kind of collateral damage cards, or critters that can ping for damage.
These 3/1 critters become 4/4 in heroic mode, which is pretty overpowered. In this situation, you really want beefy creatures that can soak damage, and cards that enable you to control the playfield. What you don’t want to do is get into a situation where you’re giving Anub'Rekhan’s card advantage by using yours to deal with his endless parade of free minions. If that happens, you’ll be out of options fast.
Something that can help is that Anub'Rekhan summons super-cheap 2/8 Deathlords, whose Deathrattle penalty lets you put a minion into play. If you stack fatty minions, that can be very handy. Just make sure you include the means to kill them in your deck.
I prevailed with my favorite Priest Control Deck. I have lots of removal, and some really huge creatures, as well as the usual array of annoying Priest synergy minions. That basically let me continually heal myself and my minions, and hold back Anub'Rekhan long enough so that I could eventually unleash my huge critters and smash him to bits.
Boss Two: Grand Widow Faerlina
Faerlina is a tricky proposition. Her heroic power rains down fireballs that do +1 damage to random targets, including you. The number of fireballs depends on the number of cards in your hand – which is just as much a pain in the ass as it sounds. Especially so when you consider it costs her only one mana in heroic mode to cast this annoying barrage versus two in normal mode.
So what you need is a fast deck with only a moderate amount of cards that need to sit in your hand. Avoid weenie minions. You need your guys to be able to soak up the fireballs, so look for low-cost minions with good defense. Faerline is quite prone to fast-attacking and swarm decks, so Hunters and Warlocks can do very well. I beat her with a quite simple Hunter Beast Synergy deck by being extremely aggressive, and only ever holding a card or two. I lost a bunch of minions, but in the end overwhelmed hers.
Boss Three: Maexxna
This fight can be really annoying, but once you know the best approach, it can actually be quite entertaining. Maexxna‘s heroic power party trick is to put two minions back into your hand every turn. Yeah. Every turn, because it doesn’t cost him anything to cast his stupid spell.
This is not much fun, unless you stack your deck with all your favorite battlecry minions. So have a look and decide what kind of nice effects you want to get going with two battlecry critters popping up and down every turn. Make sure it won’t strangle you on cost, of course, but basically what you need to do here is stall Maexxna for as long as you can, and then go for a big finisher. You’ll be facing a large swarm of spiders, so AoE effects are very handy.
This means, of course, that mages are ideal for this fight. Make sure you’ve got plenty of AoE, stall spells and big finishing critters or damage spells, and get to work. This is a tough challenge, and it’ll take you a good few goes before you get the cadence of the fight. But once you get how the math works, it’s just a case of being patient and waiting for your combos to be blessed by Hearthstone’s random number generator.