Once you’ve completed the three normal mode bosses in the Arachnid Quarter of the Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, you can move on to the Rogue and Druid class challenges, or play through the bosses again in heroic mode. As the game will warn you numerous times, the heroic mode bosses are not easy. Unless you have a powerful deck, you will almost certainly need a custom deck to take on these heroic mode bosses.
The enhanced version of the boss characters have more health (45 instead of 30) and can use slightly altered decks. More importantly, their hero powers are much more potent in heroic mode. When you fought most of these bosses in normal mode, you had to work around their hero power or else you wouldn’t last long. That goes double for the heroic mode bosses, and their hero powers have been called “cheap” by many players.
If you haven’t read up on how to defeat Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina and Maexxna, check out our tips for the normal versions of these bosses. Many of the same strategies apply, and we’ll reference the normal mode strategy when discussing the changes in heroic mode.
First and foremost, the heroic mode hero power of Anub’Rekhan can be a pain to deal with. Anub’Rekhan summons a 4/4 Nerubian for only two mana. While you won’t see this happen every turn, it gets used more often than not. Beyond Anub’Rekhan’s hero power, you need to be ready to deal with Abomination and Deathlord cards. Abomination is a 4/4 taunt with a Deathrattle that inflicts two damage to all characters, while Deathlord is a 2/8 taunt with a Deathrattle that pulls a minion from your deck (not Anub’Rekhan’s) and puts it on the battlefield (essentially removing any Battlecry or Combo effects).
The key to defeating Anub’Rekhan is to have a deck that can deal with his hero power and the two aforementioned cards. You’re going to need board wipes that inflict at least two damage, then use them in conjunction with other cards to remove the Abomination from the board, which will inflict another two damage to all characters. If you can keep Anub’Rekhan’s side of the board clear, you have a good chance of taking this battle. Keep in mind, every time you take down a Deathlord it will pull from your deck, which means you can get some heavy-hitting minions without using mana.
Grand Widow Faerlina
The strategy to defeat the heroic mode version of Grand Widow Faerlina isn’t all that different from her normal mode battle. The reason for this is because her hero power doesn’t change. Instead, it only costs her one mana (normally it costs two mana). Unfortunately, this means she’s going to be using her hero power almost every turn. If you’re unfamiliar with her hero power, it fire missiles for every card in your hand. So if you’re holding five cards, she fires five missiles that hit random enemy targets.
To defeat the heroic mode version of Grand Widow Faerlina you need to have a deck that allows you to play at least two cards every turn until you no longer have two cards in your hand. You need a solid opening hand, and you need to make sure you don’t have too many high-mana cards in your deck to ensure you limit the damage of Faerlina’s hero power as much as possible. Completely ignore combo cards or buffing specific cards unless you happen to get the perfect draw (although you shouldn’t have many of these cards in your deck in the first place). You need to burn down Faerlina as quickly as possible to stay alive.
While the other two bosses can be defeated by a variety of heroes and deck configurations, Maexxna is a different story. It’s very likely that you will get frustrated fighting Maexxna and have to battle against her over and over again before you finally score a win. Her hero power removes two of your minions from the battlefield and places them back in your hand, and it doesn’t cost her any mana at all. In addition, she starts the game with two Haunted Creepers already on the board.
It’s extremely helpful to have a Alexstraza Legendary card in your deck. This allows you to drop Maexxna’s health down to 15 on turn nine. The problem is surviving long enough to not only reach turn nine, but have enough damage on the board to finish off her last 15 points of health. You need to build a deck that consists almost entirely of cards with Battlecry, Combo or Charge effects. With every turn, expect two of your minions to return to your hand, and if you have powerful Battlecry cards, you’ll have a big advantage.
Maexxna starts with two Haunted Creepers, which have a Deathrattle that spawns two more 1/1 Spectral Spiders. Use this to your advantage by taking down both Haunted Creepers (Elven Archers are great for this), then leave the Spectral Spiders in play as long as you can. If you’re lucky, Maexxna will play another Haunted Creeper so you can fill the board with Spectral Spiders or other one damage minions. This will drastically negate the amount of damage you take every turn.
Playing Mage is your best option because Freeze Mage decks allow you to stall quite a bit. There are other decks that give you stalling options, but the key here is to stay alive as long as possible while preventing Maexxna from inflicting much damage to you. Armor works well (Mage and Warrior), as do cards with healing Battlecry abilities. Basically, you’re going to need a bit of luck in your draw order, but it can be done with patience.
We’ll have more Curse of Naxxramas tips in the days ahead.