I’ve gotten a little time on my hands so I figured I’d go through Hearthstone‘s Curse of Naxxramas. Normal mode for this wing is...

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I’ve gotten a little time on my hands so I figured I’d go through Hearthstone‘s Curse of Naxxramas. Normal mode for this wing is easy enough (I beat it with old-fashioned Zoolock). The real meat is in Heroic Mode! First up on my journey is Anub’Rekhan!

Heroic Anub’Rekhan is a little more problematic versus his normal counterpart. The trick is his endless stream of 4/4 Nerubians via his hero ability. That said, there seemed to be two philosophies to dismantling this villain: face or control. I took the control route for this one.

Going for face usually makes you whip out your deck full of charge minions, and that’s fine. However, Anub’Rekhan has a few spells up his many-armed sleeves that don’t make your minions stick to the board and reduce your overall damage output. That said (plus I like playing with a more control-oriented deck), I cobbled together a semi-budget Druid Ramp to use.

Before we go further, here’s a decklist:
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I really don’t have that many Legendaries yet, so I had to look long and hard for the cards that would really matter in this matchup. 

A Ramp Druid plays out by using the “mana burst” mentality. You ideally want to have and cast as many mana-gaining cards very early in the game to be able to put down your minions. Innervate and Wild Growth are the cards you want to keep for your opening hand. These allow you to gain mana crystals in big bursts once the turn is passed on to you.

Spell-based defense comes in the form of Wrath and Swipe, but with an opponent like Anub’Rekhan, these cards can lose mileage fairly quickly. What I really wanted was beefy minions with taunt. Casting cost is not a problem, since I should be able to ramp up to their mana range fairly quickly. Sunwalker, Ancient of Lore, a lone Ancient of War, and Azure Drakes were staples. Chillwind Yeti, Boulderfist Ogre, and a lone Ironbark Protector rounded out my wall of minions.

I picked these cards specifically for their toughness. Anub’Rekhan will be swarming me with 4/4 Nerubians, so I would want minions that soak up their damage. Most of the minions I picked could easily 2-for-1 the Nerubians. And if they could deal that much damage, they could handle anything else Anub’Rekhan throws at me. The lone Faceless Manipulator is just there to copy either Ragnaros or a Boulderfist buffed with Mark of the Wild.

With my tools at the ready, the strategy was simple enough: ramp up to my big minions while keeping a Nerubian swarm from forming. Having big taunts up certainly kept me from losing too much health, and could be seen as a form of “health gain” or “healing”, since they soak up damage. Board control is paramount to a Ramp Druid, so establish that first. Once you have one or two taunters in play, feel free to go for the face. Your minions have enough attack damage to quickly bring down Anub’Rekhan’s health.

I’ve seen vids and read success stories using Ramp Druid, but the sailing wasn’t as smooth in my experience. I ran out of cards just as I was able to cobble together enough damage for lethal, as seen in the screenshot above. I learned that you need to have at least one taunter in play at all times, so you can control the Nerubians.

The thing with Anub’Rekhan’s AI, is that it will try and summon as many Nerubians as possible, even when his board is full and he has mana to spare. Keep that in mind when putting together your own deck against him.

Another thing I noticed it that you can induce a form of computerized “panic” in Anub’Rekhan by putting out threat after threat in the form of taunts. He tends to try and remove your taunts as soon as possible, usually by putting down many minions from his hand. As such, he can empty his hand quickly, and when that happens, he rarely has answers for your minions other than butting heads using his own.

Heroic opponents have more life than you, so take that into account. Having Earthenring Farseer and Healing Touch helped my face soak up big amounts of damage from the Nerubians.

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