Mastering Your Opening Hand - Episode 37

September 27, 2014


  • Adam is on the show this week
  • Topic: Choosing which cards to keep and throw back, based on your opponent
  • Reasons to be happy this week
  • News: Nerfs to Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard

Choosing Which Cards To Keep

  • Scope of this guide
  • How much it can affect your win rate
  • Lots of questions from Josh

Hearthstone Mulligan Innervate

Playing against Druid

  • Popular Druid deck type:Ramp, with late game threats
  • What that Druid deck wants to do: Use Innervate to cheat something out early, then use minions and spells to control the board and keep tempo in its favor through mid and late game.
  • Types of cards you want to keep:Any large minion that is hard to remove like Sludge Belcher or Cairne Bloodhoof/li>
  • Types of cards you want to throw away:Any slow spells like Flamestrike or Holy Fire that take a long time to develop.

Playing against Hunter

  • Popular Hunter deck type: Fast early minions that punch to the face
  • What that Hunter deck wants to do: Deal as much damage as fast as possible, using charge minions and its hero power
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Leper GnomeUndertaker, any strong 1 or 2 drop
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: High casting cost cards and secrets that the hunter can easily flare away

Playing against Mage

  • Popular Mage deck type: Late-game control
  • What that Mage deck wants to do: Keep the board clear with lots of removal and burn you down with spells and fatties late
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Sturdy troops that will survive most removal like Kel’thuzad or Sunwalker, because this game is going to go late whether you want it to or not
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: 1-health minions that don’t have an immediate impact on the board. The hero power will kill them easily.

Hearthstone Mulligan Equality

Playing against Paladin

  • Popular Paladin deck type: Slow control
  • What that Paldin deck wants to do: The Paladin deck wants to get as much card advantage from its big equality combos as possible, while slowly leaning on you gaining small advantages over a long period of time
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Card advantage cards like Acolyte of Pain or good mid range sticky minions like Harvest Golem
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Late game cards, you want to draw your big threats later on in the game, not early.

Playing against Priest

  • Popular Priest deck type: Control
  • What that Priest deck wants to do: Wait for you to make a move so it can counter on their turn with one of their many spells or minions
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Any 4 power minions that are hard to remove like Cairne BloodhoofChillwind Yeti, or Spectral Knight
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Big minions that usually get Shadow Word: Death’ed or Mind Controlled

Playing against Rogue

  • Popular Rogue deck type: Miracle or Tempo
  • What that Rogue deck wants to do: Miracle Rogue wants to draw Gadgetzan Auctioneer and then cast many spells all in one turn. Tempo rogue wants to completely control your board while casting midrange minions
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Against Miracle you want a lot of taunt defense, against tempo you want easily casted early minions
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Anything slow or clunky like 5 casting cost minions or above, unless they have taunt

Hearthstone Mulligan Bloodlust

Playing against Shaman

  • Most popular Shaman deck type: Mid-game board control
  • What that Shaman deck wants to do: Use efficient spells to keep his minions on the board and then empower them all at once for a huge attack
  • Types of cards you want to keep: AoE removal and minions that are spell-resistant like Faerie Dragon and Harvest Golem
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Slow, high-cost minions. You need to get board control early.

Playing against Warlock

  • Most popular Warlock deck type: Handlock
  • What that Warlock deck wants to do: Drop his health low and stack his hand while controlling the board, then unload huge minions
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Early aggressive cards and strong removal spells. He will play huge minions eventually.
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Slow minions and low-damage AoE removal

Playing against Warrior

  • Most popular Warrior deck type: Control Warrior
  • What that Warrior deck wants to do: Lots of AoE removal and enough weapons to arm an entire country.
  • Types of cards you want to keep: Weapon destruction like Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones, and high-health taunt minions to force the weapon attacks
  • Types of cards you want to throw away: Late-game bombs like Ironbark Protector and low-damage aoe spells like Fan of Knives


  • Question: Best class card from Naxx set
  • iTunes Reviews

Card of the Week

Hearthstone Kelthuzad


Curse of Naxxramas Review - Episode 36

September 1, 2014


  • Scott is on the show this week
  • Topic: Curse of Naxxramas review
  • Reasons to be happy this week

Our Review Process

Our goal is not just to help you identify the most powerful cards in the set (although we are doing that). We want to help you understand why they’re powerful, what situations they’re best played in, and give you some fun ideas to play with all of the new cards, not only the best ones.

To do that, we suggest decks and combo cards for each card, and give each card two ratings:
Base Rating (0-5): Average value of the card, by itself, if played in all decks in the game.
Combo Potential (0-5): The high-potential value of this card, when played in an ideal deck that has synergy with it.

You can add the two scores together to get a rough estimate (out of 10) of the card’s overall value. But the specifics matter. A high Base Rating means the card has strong vanilla stats and doesn’t need synergy to be good. Rely on these cards in Arena. A high Combo Potential means that the card has a powerful effect that gets better with other, specific cards. Look for ways to exploit this when building decks in Constructed play.

What is Curse of Naxxramas?

  • What the expansion costs, and what it gets you
  • Our impressions of the solo dungeons and class challenges
  • Explanation of card rarity

Hearthstone Naxx Undertaker

Neutral Cards – Common

Dancing Swords

  • Josh says: Very high risk for a very low reward (1 bonus attack stat). Pass.
  • Scott says: Same.
  • Deck Recommendation: Mid-range Deathrattle deck, where you get an inherent bonus from the Deathrattle effect. (Aggro Paladin may be the best bet IMO, as it’s cost-efficient on offense and plays nicely with Divine Favor.)
  • Base Rating: 1
  • Combo Potential: 1

Haunted Creeper

  • Scott says: I’m a big fan. 3/4 for 2 is better than Harvest Golem!
  • Josh says: Crazy efficient on stats if the Deathrattle happens. And if not, they wasted a silence!
  • Deck Recommendation: Deathrattle, Hunter Beastmaster
  • Base Rating: 5
  • Combo Potential: 3

Mad Scientist

  • Josh says: Weak stats, but that effect is great — as long as you only have one Secret in your deck.
  • Scott says: I think it’s still great with more than one secret, though you obviously lose some control that way.
  • Deck Recommendation: Mage, Hunter, Paladin
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 5

Nerub’ar Weblord

  • Scott says: Hard to build around, and not good if you don’t.
  • Josh says: Agreed! It’s just as likely to annoy you as your opponent, and this card is not even close to being strong enough to build around.
  • Deck Recommendation: Druid, Rogue
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 0

Spectral Knight

  • Josh says: One of the hardest-to-kill minions in the game. Nothing else this big has the Shroud effect protecting it.
  • Scott says: I don’t rate quite as highly as others, but it is clearly above average. 0.5 mana for its effect is a good investment. Works in many decks as filler.
  • Deck Recommendation: Any deck that needs a beefy french-vanilla 5-drop.
  • Base Rating: 4
  • Combo Potential: 0

Stoneskin Gargoyle

  • Scott says: Too easy to kill. It’s possible this can dominate a game with buffs and luck, but too high-maintenance.
  • Josh says: You’re absolutely right. This looks much better than it is. Healing at the start of the turn, instead of end, really hurts it.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Priest
  • Base Rating: 1
  • Combo Potential: 3


  • Josh says: Decent minion stats, and it’ll often draw out removal early because of the potential.
  • Scott says: He’s good, but there’s not enough deathrattle in the game to get insane effect from him.
  • Deck Recommendation: Deathrattle, Zoo (with a few deathrattle)?
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 4

Unstable Ghoul

  • Scott says: Not great under normal conditions, but plays really well with specific cards.
  • Josh says: I like this card m ore than Scott as a general pick. Fine stats with Taunt, and it kills any attacker with 2 health. Solid value for any Control deck.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Warrior
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 4

Zombie Chow

  • Josh says: Great for early board control, when you’re not planning to deal damage before this dies anyways.
  • Scott says: I value this card less than most. Has a place, but I don’t think it’s remotely OP. Can be a liability unless drawn in opening hand.
  • Deck Recommendation: Shadow Priest Control, any Late-game control
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 2

Hearthstone Naxx Kelthuzad

Neutral Cards – Rare


  • Scott says: Can be good, can also be a big liability.
  • Josh says: Luck be a lady tonight!
  • Deck Recommendation: Aggro Warlock, Control Paladin, Control Priest
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 2

Nerubian Egg

  • Josh says: There’s so much potential here. This is the sort of card that just gets your mind racing with combo ideas.
  • Scott says: Great card, but only in decks that can properly support it. It’s simply unusable in most decks.
  • Deck Recommendation: Zoo, Shaman, Warrior Enrage
  • Base Rating: 0
  • Combo Potential: 5

Sludge Belcher

  • Scott says: YOU SHALL NOT PASS. Also, taunt across 2 creatures is better than just 2 normal creatures
  • Josh says: This guy will eat at least 2 hits, most often 3 in my experience. Taz Dingo what?
  • Deck Recommendation: Any control deck
  • Base Rating: 5
  • Combo Potential: 1

Wailing Soul

  • Josh says: Like the Nerub’ar Weblord, this seems like you’ll never see a board state where the effect doesn’t hurt you in addition to helping you. Weak stats leave me unimpressed.
  • Scott says: Because he’s under the vanilla curve, you only want him if your deck is built specifically to get value from his ability. Best combo is Equality, though other ‘drawback minions’ work well w/ him too.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Paladin (Equality)
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 2

Hearthstone Naxx Ooze

Neutral Cards – Epic

Echoing Ooze

  • Scott says: At its worst, leaves you with 2 1/2s, giving you 2/4 total for 2 mana. Also amplifies any buffs cast first turn.
  • Josh says: I see the potential here but I just don’t like it. It’s super high maintenance and forces you to make bad decisions, like playing buff cards on turns that you can’t use them immediately.
  • Deck Recommendation: Paladin, Druid
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 3

Shade of Naxxramas

  • Josh says: You’ll rarely leave this in Stealth beyond 3/3, but it is a trading machine!
  • Scott says: Stealthed or no, continues to grow until killed. Demands an answer and therefore forces subpar enemy play in most cases. That’s worth at least 0.5 mana in my book.
  • Deck Recommendation: Any non-combo-based deck
  • Base Rating: 4
  • Combo Potential: 0

Hearthstone Naxx Feugen

Neutral Cards – Legendary

Baron Rivendare

  • Scott says: Seems better than he is. Even in a deathrattle deck, you have to draw him and have other things line up to be useful. Stat numbers aren’t bad, but stat balance is horrible.
  • Josh says: I can confirm those stats. I soloed him last week and the dude barely scratched me! Push over.
  • Deck Recommendation: Deathrattle deck (Shaman)
  • Base Rating: 1
  • Combo Potential: 4


  • Josh says: I love this card. Yeti 2.0 — 1 more mana for 2 more health gives this guy a massive life total with a hefty 4-damage for trading. Deathrattle effect is just silence bait, nothing more.
  • Scott says: Combo is hard to trigger, but this guy’s worth using vanilla
  • Deck Recommendation: Warlock
  • Base Rating: 4
  • Combo Potential: 1


  • Scott says: Super awesome card. Just pricey — as a super awesome card should be.
  • Josh says: Lots of cool potential, but you’ll pay for it with the games where you can never even play this.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Priest, Control Paladin, Control Shaman
  • Base Rating: 5
  • Combo Potential: 5


  • Josh says: I’m not entirely sold on this card. You’re given up at least 1 health for that effect. How often were they not going to play a spell anyways? Seems very focused against specific decks.
  • Scott says: Fine card, but not the auto-include some people say. Slightly better than vanilla IMO.
  • Deck Recommendation: Miracle Rogue (for mirror match),
  • Base Rating: 4
  • Combo Potential: 1


  • Scott says: Compares to Boulderfist Ogre. Better against minions, worse against heroes.
  • Josh says: Susceptible to Silence, but that’s just about it. 1 more health than Boulderfist Ogre at the same cost
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Hunter, Control Priest
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 1


  • Josh says: Four health is such a liability, but it will draw out the removal. Only worth it if you’re going for Deathrattle effect.
  • Scott says: Yup, agreed. 7/4 isn’t a good mix of stats, even though it’s on the vanilla curve.
  • Deck Recommendation: Warlock
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 1

Hearthstone Naxx Treant

Class Cards

Rogue: Anub’ar Ambusher

  • Scott says: Drawback seems pretty big in most cases. Not really sure how to turn it into an advantage.
  • Josh says: There are many more cards where this is a liability than a perk. The “random” factor makes it horrible.
  • Deck Recommendation: Combo- and Battlecry-heavy Rogue decks
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 1

Paladin: Avenge

  • Josh says: Secrets can’t proc on your turn, which means you can’t really control when to proc this or who it lands on. That’s a lot of conditions.
  • Scott says: Haven’t used it yet — I want it to be good, but I’m not sure it is. Ben Brode thinks it’s strong, but has been easy to play around when I’ve seen it in the wild.
  • Deck Recommendation: Paladin Swarm, Paladin Control
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 1

Priest: Dark Cultist

  • Scott says: Strong card, absolutely above average. Have been surprised that it hasn’t performed stronger when I’ve seen it used.
  • Josh says: Easily the best class card in this new set. Awesome vanilla stats, and an effect that synergizes perfectly with this class.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Priest
  • Base Rating: 5
  • Combo Potential: 4

Warrior: Death’s Bite

  • Josh says: Warrior is always welcome to have more weapons, and the Deathrattle effect is decent, if situational.
  • Scott says: Good card, fleshes out weapon spectrum for Warrior. Deathrattle can be very strong.
  • Deck Recommendation: Enrage Warrior
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 4

Mage: Duplicate

  • Scott says: With infinite mana, this would be great. Requires discipline to control what triggers it, like Redemption. Hard to figure out where it shines most.
  • Josh says: Yeah, I agree. This is one of those cards that looks better on paper than in practice. Same mana as Arcane Intellect, and equal part perks/hindrances in comparison.
  • Deck Recommendation: Mage control
  • Base Rating: 3
  • Combo Potential: 2

Druid: Poison Seeds

  • Josh says: I really wanted to like this card, and it does have a few very specific combos that are fun, but it’s almost never worth the mana/card.
  • Scott says: This card sucks. I think I might rather play an Angry Chicken. Seriously.
  • Deck Recommendation: Druid Deathrattle
  • Base Rating: 0
  • Combo Potential: 1

Shaman: Reincarnate

  • Scott says: Lots of fun tricks with this thing. Can function as a poor-man’s silence. Can also restore Divine Shield. Reincarnate + Ancestral Spirit + Cairne Bloodhoof = LOLs for days
  • Josh says: More of a fun card than a reliable staple for any deck. Have fun with your Timmy combos, but don’t expect efficiency.
  • Deck Recommendation: Control Shaman
  • Base Rating: 2
  • Combo Potential: 4

Warlock: Voidcaller

  • Josh says: Ugh. This card was designed to make sure the popular Warlock decks stagnated. I want to play Warlock demon deck, and I really tried to, but it just isn’t competitive. It’s barely even fun.
  • Scott says: Avoiding casting cost of demons in hand is nice — avoiding drawback from them is even better in some cases.
  • Deck Recommendation: Warlock Demon mid-game
  • Base Rating: 1
  • Combo Potential: 3

Hunter: Webspinner

  • Scott says: Fun card that’s also good (on average).
  • Josh says: My Sindragosa attempt was saved when I top-decked this and it gave me a King Crush!
  • Deck Recommendation: Hunter Beastmaster, Hunter Deathrattle, Hunter Control
  • Base Rating: 4
  • Combo Potential: 2

Hearthstone Naxx King


  • None this week! Isn’t 3 hours enough for you?
  • iTunes Reviews

Card of the Week

Surprise on the show!