Curse of Naxxramas - Arachnid Quarter: Hearthstone Expansion Review and Playing Tips

Three months ago, Blizzard Entertainment released Hearthstone for iPad. Ever since that day, I've been playing it for up to 20 hours every week. And, I really enjoyed playing it on my Mac.

Yesterday, Blizzard released the first expansion to the game, called Curse of Naxxramas. The expansion is divided into five wings: Arachnid Quarter, Plague Quarter, Military Quarter, Contruct Quarter, and Frostwyrm Lair. Each wing will be released on a weekly schedule.

Within the next 30 days, players can unlock the first wing for free. After the month-long Naxxramas launch event, the Arachnid Quarter alongside the other wings will be available as paid expansions. Each wing costs 700 in-app golds or $6.99 in-app purchase.

Curse of Naxxramas brings 30 new cards that you can add to your decks. These cards can only be obtained by completing quests in the Naxxramas adventure. They cannot be found in booster packs, cannot be crafted, and cannot be disenchanted either. But once you've unlocked the cards, you can craft their gold versions.

Arachnid Quarter is the first of five wings in Curse of Naxxramas.

The Arachnid Quarter

Arachnid Quarter is the first wing in the Curse of Naxxramas expansion. Arachnid along with the other wings are located in the Solo Adventures menu. Each wing has three game modes: Normal, Class Challenge, and Heroic. Players need to complete the Normal mode to unlock the other two modes.

In Arachnid Quarter, you will face three bosses: Anub'Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and Maexxna. You can use any deck that you have to face them. And, here are their Hero Powers:

Anub'Rekhan: (2) Summon a 3/1 Nerubian.
Grand Widow Faerlina: (2) Fire a missile for each card in your opponent's hand.
Maexxna: (2) Return a random enemy minion to your opponent's hand.

Each boss has a specific reward card that you can unlock when you beat them. You can then use that card to modify your deck before the next battle. And if you manage to beat Maexxna, you will also get her Legendary card. All Naxxramas cards are legal for constructed play.

When you have beaten all the bosses in the Normal mode, you can play the Class Challenge or the Heroic mode. The Heroic mode is the same as Normal mode, except that the bosses are much more challenging to beat. Here are their Heroic-mode Powers:

Anub'Rekhan: (2) Summon a 4/4 Nerubian.
Grand Widow Faerlina: (1) Fire a missile for each card in your opponent's hand.
Maexxna: (0) Return two random enemy minions to your opponent's hand.

In the Class Challenge mode, you will use the pre-built decks to fight the bosses. You will use a Druid deck to fight Faerlina, and a Rogue deck to fight Maexxna. For each class challenge that you win, you will unlock a new card as well.

Arachnid Quarter also brings a new battleground environment.

Playing Tips

If you have a decent collection of cards and have been playing regularly, it is not that difficult to beat the bosses. After playing for a few hours, I've managed to unlock all the challenges (including Class Challenges and Heroic mode). Here are a few playing tips that might be useful if you can't beat the bosses after several tries:

  • To beat Anub'Rekhan in Normal mode, use an aggressive deck with small drops and preferably an easy way to deal with 1-toughness minions. I used a Tempo Warrior deck with Inner Rage and Cruel Taskmaster, but any Zoo variants should be able to beat him easily.
  • To beat Grand Widow Faerlina in Normal mode, use an aggressive deck that only leaves a few cards in your hands to minimize Faerlina's missile damage. Warlock Zoo is a good example of such deck.
  • To beat Maexxna in Normal mode, use an aggressive deck with cheap minions that have battlecry effects. This is to minimize Maexxna's bounce power.
  • To beat Faerlina in Druid Class Challenge, use the Stoneskin Gargoyles and Mark of the Wild combo. With a regenerating 3/6 minion, it's difficult to lose the match.
  • To beat Maexxna in Rogue Class Challenge, always keep in mind that Maexxna will cast one or more Sea Giants. The pre-built deck is quite good and features a few Legendary cards such as Alexstrasza. As long as you're ready with a solution for the impending Sea Giant, you should be OK.
  • To beat Anub'Rekhan in Heroic mode, use a midrange deck with minions that have at least 4-power and 5-toughness, such as Chillwind Yeti, Darkscale Healer, and Sunwalker. This is necessary to fight the 4/4 Nerubian that Anub'Rekhan will summon every turn. I used a Paladin deck with Equality/Pyromancer combo to keep the board under control.
  • To beat Faerlina in Heroic mode, you can reuse the Warlock Zoo deck you used to beat her in the normal mode. With its heroic ability reduced to 1-mana, it's mandatory to keep your hand size low at all times.
  • To beat Maexxna in Heroic mode, you may need to build a custom deck with cheap minions that have great battlecry effects. Such minions include Elven Archer, Voodoo Doctor, Ironbeak Owl, Mad Bomber, Novice Engineer, Earthen Ring Farseer, and Mind Control Tech. You can accompany them with minions that have charge ability, such as Stonetusk Boar, Bluegill Warrior, and Arcane Golem. Basically, you need to control the board and keep your life count high enough until she's running out of steam. Then, you can finish her in 4-5 turns using your charge minions.

All Naxxramas cards are legal for constructed play.

New Post-Arachnid Decks

Once you have completed the Arachnid Quarter, I'm sure you'd want to go back into Ranked Play or Arena. Because all Nexxramas cards are legal for constructed play, you might want to consider updating your decks with the new cards or even create new decks.

For example, both Haunted Creeper and Maexxna are Beasts. They should fit in many Hunter decks. On the other hand, Anub'ar Ambusher is a perfect 4-drop for Rogue decks. It's a nice segue between SI:7 Agent and Gadgetzan Auctioneer.

My favorite card is the new Poison Seeds. It enables new deck archetypes, such as Druid tokens. Combining it with deathrattle cards makes for a huge amount of damage in the following turn. For example, after I cast Poison Seeds with Haunted Creeper and Nerubian Egg on my side, I managed to hit for 23 damage the following turn with the help of Savage Roar.

Beat Maexxna to unlock her Legendary card.


Curse of Naxxramas is a long-waited expansion to Hearthstone. The new adventure style adds an interesting single player gaming experience. I can't wait to play with the other wings in the upcoming weeks. In the mean time, the new Arachnid cards should keep me busy building and testing decks.

Get it on the App Store: iPad