Hearthstone’s latest adventure has arrived. So we’re taking a week by week look at the different wings and the most enticing cards entering the game. So check back often as we continue to party it up!
One Night in Karazhan is Hearthstone’s fourth adventure expansion, building on the popular mobile card game with 45 additional cards upon completing the entire adventure. It’s almost a full year since we had our last adventure in Hearthstone — League of Explorers. With a slew of scenarios and some crazy card additions, lets dive in to see what’s next in our wild night out.
Week 1: The Parlor
The Adventure: We start with a prologue mission with pitting Medivh (played by you) against an uninvited party guest. It’s an excellent preset match with your deck made up mainly of spell cards, many of which you won’t find in the regular game. It’s a personal favorite game type of mine from the designers when they create pre-made matches since it provides something different and gets me using something other than my usual decks.
Following the prologue are three scenarios traveling with the butler through the house to save Medivh from wherever he’s abducted to. The three scenarios are interesting, but relatively simple. The highlight of which is the third scenario pitting you in another pre-made match in a weird chess-like game. The heroic version of the scenario appears more based on luck rather than skill, so good luck trying to get through it if you’re hunting for the special card back.
The Cards: Perhaps the best of the first week of cards is Priest of the Feast. For anyone still attempting to make priest decks work in ladder it is a great addition, helping secure some of the mid-game and slowing the ever present aggro decks that permeate ladder play.
The other major cards of note involve the newest mechanic of duel-effect cards. Maelstrom Portal (Shaman) and Firelands Portal (Mage) each deal damage while summoning a random minion of the same cost. As the weeks progress several classes will receive one of these type cards so it will be interesting to see which work their way into regular play or if they’ll labor without much use.
Week 2: The Opera
The Adventure: Arriving at the opera has us play out three scenarios in tongue-in-cheek fashion of some popular stories. Hearthstone’s versions of Romeo and Juliet (entitled Romulo & and Julianne), Little Red Riding Hood (Big Bad Wolf), and Wizard of Oz (The Crone) are rather hilarious games with quirky rules added to whichever of your own decks you plan to play. Definitely some of better scenarios the designers have developed and while the heroic challenges are difficult they also aren’t unmanageable.
The Cards: Are you ready for the return of Totem Shaman because Wicked Witchdoctor all but guarantees more versions of that deck type. Arcane Giant is fantastic addition to the Mage class adding some serious firepower to the late game and might stabilize some of the Tempo Mage decks that many players are trying out. We’ll also highlight the Swashburgler which is a cheap, fun card to play and could be in a lot of Rogue decks going forward as a cheap option to add some additional value to the deck.
Week 3: The Menagerie
The Adventure: Our final stop before rescuing Medivh has us tasked with helping The Curator retrieve several creatures that have escaped and are running a bit of amok. And since these creatures also happen to be quite deadly, it’s probably best to put them behind glass before they feast on arriving guests.
This week’s set of missions are really simple, should only take you one play to defeat each of the three segments. The class challenges though are really solid, with fascinating deck construction, especially the Hunter one. Heroic mode is a mixed bag as the heroic Nightbane fight is absurd. Not impossible, but I always felt behind the curve during the fight and that winning was far more luck than skill based.
The Cards: Purify is probably the best card of this week’s lot. A cheap Priest card that opens up some additional possibilities for cards like Ancient Watcher and Eerie Statue to get additional play. Babbling Book is an amazing turn-one card that should see immediate play in Yogg-Mage decks. I mean if you’re going for randomized chaos you might as well go full tilt right? Finally we get to The Curator. While I understand what Blizzard is attempting with enticing hybrid creature decks; a lot of cards from these series provide boosts if you control a Murloc, Beast, and Dragon; if the hook of the deck is centered around getting to The Curator then this deck type simply won’t work. The Curator is too high of a cost, too low for stats, and only draws these cards to your hand. These multi-type creature decks will only work if you can do big swings. It’s a combo deck. Alone each card is kind of meh, but in conjunction with one another it can turn the tide of battle. It’s just not cost-effective and I wonder how any deck built on this principle could compete with the current ladder. I applaud the effort, I’m just not sure if this was the right answer.
Week 4: The Spire
The Adventure: We did it guys! We finally made it to the Spire and the end of our journey. The final two fights in this wing are very clever, the plus-three spell damage during the Shade of Aran fight is so simple it’s boring. The battle with Netherspite was great with the heroic mode particularly maddening, but in the good kind of way. Controlling the portals to provide buffs to your minions while preventing Netherspite from buffing himself made for a great little puzzle. Pro tip: throw a low-drop taunt minion on the right side of the board, for whatever reason Netherspite doesn’t seem inclined to attack and buys you a few turns to get the heavy hitters on the left side.
In the final section we finally get to free Medivh and we revisit a fight with (spoiler warning I guess) Malchezarr in the process. The fight is really a war of attrition and as long as you can eventually control the board, usually by around turn six you should be in a good shape.
The Cards: The stars of this are definitely the two legendaries you get for completing the wing in Prince Malchezarr and Medivh, The Guardian. Malchezarr is the card I’m most interested in seeing the pro-level players get their hands on. He’s an exceptionally powerful card because he adds five legendary minions to your deck at the start of the battle, but has a huge drawback because he adds five legendary minions to your deck at the start of battle. But how is that not just awesome? The problem becomes deck synergy. Elite decks and the players that build them carefully select the cards that go in there. While we see a lot of decks with cards that create other random cards usually those go to the hand and not shuffled into the deck. That’s a huge distinction when it comes to drawing what you need for the right occasion. The most effective use of Malchezarr is going to be something that gets a lot of cards in your hand and very quickly. Malchezarr is a long-game card and you’ll have to be clever to keep the board clear long enough to take advantage of when the big guns come out to play.
Medivh, The Guardian is more likely to see immediate deck inclusion. While just being a 7/7 eight-drop card is good on it’s own. You also get Atiesh, a 1/3 weapon that loses a durability once you cast a spell. The effect? Summon a minion of the same cost as the spell you cast. This should work seamlessly with some of the higher level Mage or Paladin spells. I could even see this working nicely in non-aggro Warlock decks. Think using it in conjunction with Twisting Nether or DOOM!
Final Thoughts: One Night in Karazhan is a rather excellent solo adventure. There were several good highlights, a challenging heroic mode and the class specific deck challenges were interesting as well. Of course cards for the meta are what ultimately matter and this adventure did not disappoint. We’ve seen the addition of dual-effect cards and at least an attempt at introducing a new type of deck construction. Blizzard has also attempted to address some of the overlying issues with heroes that clearly favor the mid-to-late game and provided boosts to those deck types in the hopes of seeing them enter into more competitive play. Time will ultimately tell whether the cards from One Night in Karazhan become permanent fixtures, but appears to be a great step forward for the series.
Images courtesy us.battle.net.