Hearthstone Adventurers, it’s time once again to head out into the great unknown as a new set rises up from the distant horizon. The League of Explorers set comes with new cards, surprises around every corner, and a chance for you to get a jump on the best decks burning through the series. Even better: it comes out this week! We have no time to prepare. Where are my bullwhip and my hat? I cannot leave without my hat.
With the newest cards ready to be released into the wild, here are three decks you need to watch out for and a couple of strategies for dealing with the newcomers. The boat is ready to sail. Come this Thursday, the world of Hearthstone is going to change. Here’s what you need to know to stay one step ahead of the competition (or a rolling boulder).
Druid Discover Deck
Grab a torch. The new set coming out of Hearthstone focuses on a new mechanic: Discovery. Every time you play a card with Discover, you are presented with three cards, either from your class or from a neutral, generic pile, and get to choose one to put in your hand. The three cards don’t just come from your deck, which could be good or bad depending on how the RNG (Random Number Generator) Gods favor you. Consistent? No, but it allows for you to choose one new card. And in Hearthstone, choice is power.
Druid gets a leg up on the expedition with Raven Idol. This one cost spell lets you discover either a minion or a spell. Cheap and flexible, Raven Idol lets you dig around for a wide range of tools to help counter anything your opponent could throw at you. I also like anything that gets you a little closer to playing Mounted Raptor, a 3/2 creature that replaces itself with a one-cost minion at death. That’s right; the druids get their own version of one of the most powerful cards in Hearthstone, Piloted Shredder. It’s still a bit of a gamble. Some days get you a Zombie Chow and other days, an Angry Chicken.
How to stop it: Control the Tempo
The way you can counteract choice is to control when opponents can make those choices. Discover puts the card in their hand, but your opponent still has to play it. Tempo is that back and forth “you do this, now I do this” play that you often see in the first part of Hearthstone. Draw a card. Play a card. By doing something outside of the typical play, such as having a minion replace itself or being able to draw an extra card, you can speed up the tempo of the game so that your opponent spends most of their effort just keeping up.
Just as you can speed up the tempo of a game, you can also slow it down. Obsidian Destroyer, a new card from the set, throws a taunt out on the field at the end of your turn to give your opponent something else to take care of before swinging for your face. If they do manage to put together a killer combo or come up with enough damage for lethal, Animated Armor turns all that force flying at your face into one hit of damage. Keep control of the situation and you’ll be a winner in no time.
Battlecry Shaman Deck
The other big mechanic to come out of the new series is Battlecry, which causes something to happen as soon as it hits the table. All of the epic cards from the set come with their own Battlecry. Brann Bronzebeard allows you to trigger any Battlecry twice. That’s not too bad with the right deck, but the one card that caught my eye was the Shaman’s Rumbling Elemental. Every time you throw down a card with Battlecry, this rocky warrior slings out 2 damage to a random enemy. While that seems like just a jab at some of these bigger brutes, remember that you’re also throwing out Battlecry minions that often dish out damage as soon as they land. It’s like getting two-for-one with every card.
How to counter: Deathrattle
If your enemy wants to clear the board, let them. Deathrattle makes any card you throw down a ticking time bomb as soon as it expires. As they hammer away at your front line, you get rewarded with every death. Unearthed Raptor is one of the newer cards that let you double the fun by copying a Deathrattle. Imaging being able to snatch another card from your enemy’s board by copying your Sylvanas’ Deathrattle or watch as one of their cards blows up by duplicating a Doom Bot. Build the right kind of deck and your opponent will regret every death.
Paladin Mysterious Challenger Deck
Are you really that surprised? Players held their breath with the announcement of a new set to find an answer to one of the most annoying cards in the series since Grim Patron. If you are not familiar with this challenger, this six mana minion drops to the board and summons one of every secret you have in your deck. Your opponent will be second guessing which minion to play, which of yours to kill off, or even if it’s safe to attack at all. Secrets work like traps and trigger in response to particular actions. And for a set designed around the idea of dodging traps, the only way around a secret is to move right through it. To add a little fuel to the fire, the new set even includes a secret that destroys the fourth card played by an opponent.
How to Counter: Build a Better Deck
As annoying as it may be, the answer lies in consistency. It’s a one shot deal that gums up the rest of the deck with secrets waiting for Mysterious Challenger to put them to work. If he’s only hitting on turn 6 at the earliest, maybe it’s time to go on the aggressive and start controlling the board early or send your minions to do a little damage before he even has a chance to step out on the field of battle. Try including some of the newer cards in your deck to give it a much needed boost.
The League of Explorers Adventure set sails this Thursday with the first wing opening up for $19.99 or 700 gold. There will be four wings in total with one dropping each week except for Thanksgiving week. With 10 bosses in total and 45 new cards waiting for you to grab, you have your work cut out for you if you want to beat some of the great new decks coming out of this expansion.