Hearthstone League of Explorers: Guide to Beating the First Wing Heroic Bosses
Posted: Nov 18 2015
League of Explorers, the fourth Hearthstone expansion, was released today, opening the first wing of the new PVE encounters. This article will be a quick and hopefully helpful guide to getting through all three new heroic bosses using variants of a cheap, easy Mage deck.
Of the now three PVE solo adventures, this first wing appears to be the easiest to get through the heroic bosses. Most of the encounters I got through pretty quickly with few tweaks here and there. This guide is just one way to do it. There are many other ways to get by the bosses, but I found this fun, easy, and most importantly not requiring several legendary or epic cards.
First Boss: Zinaar
Zinaar is a very entertaining encounter, mostly because this pissed off genie gives you a wish every turn. This wish shows off the new expansion mechanic called Discover, which allows you to pick a card out of a choice of three to add to your hand. These wishes cost 0 mana, and are treated as spells when you play them. Additionally, Zinaar plays a few scary minions, Fireguard Destroyer, Stormwind Champion, and Dunemaul Shaman. These can be a pain to deal with, so you'll need something that can trade with them or save spells to remove them.
Deck: Standard Tempo Mage
0 mana spells...Hmm...Could that be any more awesome with a tempo mage deck? Flamewaker and Mana Wyrm are designed for this boss hero power, so the deck I used is a common tempo mage deck without any real alterations, and without Archmage Antonidas because quite frankly I haven't crafted him yet, but I will say that playing at least 1 Counterspell is very helpful so as not to get wrecked by his Flamestrike. This is a pretty good example of the deck, but I substituted in a Loatheb for Antonidas, which ultimately didn't make a difference. I did play Missiles instead of Arcane blasts as well.
Playing the Matchup
You want to have a Flamewaker in your opening hand, or at least a Mana Wyrm. From the boss' first turn, you will begin getting 0 cost discover cards...Don't use these yet. The point of the deck is to spam a ton of spells with the Flamewaker effect, pumping up your Mana Wyrm in the process. By turn three when you can drop a Flamewaker, you will be able to cast three 0 cost spells and possibly more if you get a Sorcerer's Apprentice to stick. That amount of tempo is massive, and you'll probably wipe his board while getting some damage into him.
Mirror Entity is another massive tempo swing in this matchup, but you have to time it right. You don't want it popping on a 2/1 snake he also plays, so be sure to kill off your Mad Scientist or hard cast the secret on turns 5-7 to get a fatty minion. I found he will always play Coin-Stormwind Champion if he has it in his hand, so that's a really nice minion to copy.
By this time, he's probably killing off your Flame Waker/Wyrm combo but it's not that big of a deal because this entire time you've hopefully been discovering high value minions and spells which are all still sitting in your hand. With some clever secret timing you should be able to outpace him with some luck added in. On turn 7 if you have 2+ minions it appears he will always cast Flamestrike, so obviously you'll want to Counterspell the turn before if possible. Flamestrike was the only way I lost when I was able to get the kind of tempo and board control offered by a typical tempo Mage.
A few tries and a good starting hand should do the trick.
Second Boss: Sun Raider Phaerix
Compared to Zinaar this guy is a much greater challenge, due to the fact that his hero power does nothing to help you. In the normal run, you get immunity for stealing his staff, but in heroic it just becomes a useless 0/5 minion that he can steal back by killing it. Given that it's completely useless for you and very useful for him, Silence is the perfect mechanic for it, because once you kill it, it's permanently gone. However, even still the 5/5 minions he plays, Tol'Vir Hoplite can be pretty annoying since it's a 5/5 for 3 mana that does 5 damage to you when you kill it. This is also a really nice silence target. The rest of his minions are relatively small with inconsequential deathrattles, so you'll be able to outpace him with a well formed deck. He does equip Fiery War Axes and Arcanite Reapers, so tech'ing in a Acidic Swamp Ooze is a good idea, although I was able to manage without it.
Deck: Tempo Mage with Silences
I used the same tempo Mage deck but with some alterations to incorporate silence, cutting the Sorcerer's Apprentices for Ironbeak Owl's and a Piloted Shredder for a Spellbreaker. Again, it's very important to get an early silence on the staff and killing it off. I had to concede a few times until I was able to draw an owl for it. I found that getting a second silence on the Tol'Vir Hoplite was important to avoid taking too much damage. Another alteration that would be useful is to play Acidic Swamp Ooze since he plays 4 weapons, 2 Arcanite Reapers and 2 Fiery War Axes...I didn't end up needing them but they certainly would help.
Playing the Matchup
The way you want to win this matchup is play into your normal tempo curve, getting off Flamewaver and Mana Wyrm's and using them to kill off the silenced staff and his first Tol'Vir Hoplite. You'll probably end up using a spell or two to kill them off, but from there your tempo is much better since his other minions are pretty small with average effects. Keep up the tempo and hit his face often to bring him low enough that you can finish him with a fireball/frostbolt combo.
Mirror Entity again is huge here. You need to time it right to get a good minion that can push face damage. I keep Counterspell in the deck to nullify his Flamestrike, because if it does land you've definitely lost. The only other spell he plays is an armor up/draw card, but on his turn 7 if he has the flamestrike he will play it. I wasn't able to win this matchup without an early silence, so don't be discouraged and keep trying. This is definitely the harder of the three bosses, and requires the most amount of luck to win.
Final Boss: Temple Escape
Certainly the easiest of the three encounters, this boss just requires you not to die for 10 turns and your damage is ultimately meaningless since there's no face to hit. Since it's pretty much a scripted encounter, I broke it down step-by-step for an easy win.
Deck: Cheapo Freeze Mage
The deck used here is a crappy variant of Freeze Mage. Basically I took 2 Frost Novas, 2 Blizzards, 2 Ice lances, and a bunch of cheap taunts and secrets like Vaporize, Ice Block and Ice Barrier to minimize the damage. The only minions I ran are Annoy-A-Tron, Deathlord, and Sludge Belcher. The vital turns here are your turn 5 and 8, which are the ones you'll die in if you don't have a nova effect. Deathlord here is perfect since the temple doesn't have cards so even when he dies, there is no downside.
Playing the Matchup
1) Mirror Image is great on turn 1. He will always play a Boulderfist Ogre so you can soak an attack here.
2) Choose to gain mana crystal on turn 2 so that you can get to Blizzard on turn 5 instead (will explain on turn 5). Also helps to get Deathlord out turn 2.
3) Risk 10 damage if you have Freeze in hand or just take 5 if you don't.
4) Don't play a minion to left of the boulder on turn 4. Absorb damage without using a nova effect, you want to save that. A Sludge Belcher is really nice here with your mana ramp.
5) This is the first key turn since every minions is destroyed at the end. Choose to take 2 cards since you shouldn't need the heal, and freeze board. If you don't have Frost Nova then you can Blizzard here because of mana ramp you took earlier. If you have neither, then take 10 health instead and try to stay alive with secrets/taunts/freezes
6-8) You need to use any form of freeze to avoid popping your Ice block preemptively. It's a bit difficult to pull off if you didn't take the 2 extra cards on turn 5 since that should help you draw taunts/ice lances. The minions here only hit for 6 so Deathlord is again a nice drop.
8) The other vital turn. First, take the option to go 1 turn faster since that will mean you only need to survive 1 more turn assuming you have Ice Block. If you freeze the board, he won't be able to kill you since your Ice Block won't be proc'd. If you don't have a Nova then you need to get a bit creative to make sure your Ice Block doesn't pop. Use any kind of freeze and taunt to survive the damage.
9) Just pass the turn with your Ice Block sitting pretty and you've won!
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helped! We'll be doing these each time the next wing opens, so check back if you're having any trouble getting through these heroics.