Please note, this article will contain spoilers on Blackrock Mountain for the first boss of adventure mode. If that’s something you don’t want to read about then I would advise against it. For the rest of you, let’s talk about this new adventure coming out next month!
So it was no secret that Blizzard was going to announce Blackrock Mountain as the new adventure mode in Hearthstone. It was datamined, they teased at it, and it was probably the most unkept secret ever. So going to PAX East I was excited to get to try out the game on the show floor, only to find out it’s not there.
However, something better happened. BlizzPro and some other fansites and influencers were invited to a Blizzard run event last night that they called the Heroes HQ. Honestly, it was one of the best little Blizzard events I have been to as I got to sit down and chat with Eric Dodds and Yong Woo about Hearthstone and also got to talk to Dustin Browder about Heroes of the Storm. The best part is though, they had stations there with a build for Blackrock Mountain where you could play the first boss in normal and heroic mode with 3 pre-built decks they made for us using some of the already announced Blackrock Mountain cards. (Sorry Heroes of the Storm fans, they did not have the new build for Heroes there so no Sylvanas or Tomb of the Spider Queen playable).
The first boss of Blackrock Mountain you will face is called the Grim Guzzler. World of Warcraft fans will know him as Coren Direbrew, the Brewfest boss. In normal mode his ability is called Pile On! and it costs 0 mana to use. The ability says “Put a minion from each deck into the battlefield”. Direbrew’s deck is filled with HUGE creatures and legendary cards so he’s constantly pumping those out. However, the decks we had were fairly minion heavy as well so as you can imagine, beating Direbrew on normal mode this way was pretty easy.
Heroic mode was another story altogether though. He starts out with 30 life and 15 armor instead of just 30 life in normal mode. His Pile On! ability now reads “Puts 2 minions from your deck and one from your opponents deck”. You can imagine how that can get out of hand pretty quickly when he’s playing 2 of these huge creatures to your one. Not only that, but once you got to the point of balancing out, he would play this one spell that would put 4 1/1 bouncers with taunt in play to help protect his bigger dudes. If you got ahead, he would drop a card called Dark Iron Bouncer (a 4/8 minion for 6 mana) that has the ability Always Wins Brawls. As you can imagine, once that got in play he would play Brawl and effectively wipe your board clean leaving his Dark Iron Bouncer to win the fight. Luckily for us, these cards won’t be seen in constructed play as they are put in the game specifically for this boss (sorry Warriors, no guaranteed Brawl fights for you).
Once you figure out the trick, the heroic battle was fairly easy to beat if you had the right opening hand. Cheap removal is important to keep. Big Game Hunter was a huge MVP for me and I mulliganed aggressively for him because it was better to have him in your hand rather than be one of the minions summoned by the boss’s hero power. The first several rounds are the most important because you don’t want Direbrew to get a huge advantage on the board. I found if you made smart trades with your big creatures and were able to leave 1 on the board, it would even out when he pops his hero power because now he has 2 creatures and so do you, and yours will get to attack next turn while his just sits there. Because of this, it gives you the advantage to control the board. Eventually, Direbrew will run out of minions in his deck to summon, but will continue to summon yours. Once this happens it’s pretty much game over. I won with all 3 pre-built decks and they all had that same conclusion at the end. Eventually he’d run out of minons and cards and there’s nothing he can do to stop you at that point.
I found Foe Reaper 4000 to be a great card that worked against this boss as it almost single handedly would win me games in heroic mode, especially if he was summoned by the boss’s hero power. Grim Patron, one of the new cards revealed, was also incredibly fun to play with. He’s a card that I think it’s going to be fun to play in constructed, especially for warriors as I think he has the most synergy with them.
Overall, Blackrock Mountain looks and feels a lot like Curse of Naxxramas. The boss pokes fun at you and has silly one liners as he casts his spells. You will be able to acquire the cards much the same way as you did in Naxxramas and there will be new class challenges as well. Basically, if you enjoyed Curse of Naxxramas then it looks like you’re going to have very much the same experience with Blackrock Mountain.
I’m definitely looking forward to getting this when it comes out next month and I hope this little sneak peek on the first boss will help you get those first cards in the first wing a little bit faster to you can start wrecking your opponent’s faces with them in constructed.