After finishing our Basic deck series, I received many requests for decks that could be constructed with cards from the Naxxramas set. In terms of value, the Naxxramas expansion will pretty much guarantee you the best value for your gold or cash. It’s not surprising that many newer players — even those without many Expert cards — have chosen to unlock the Naxxramas set first.
The inclusion of several Naxxramas cards allowed us to fill in several gaps we had from the Basic version of this deck, and also allowed us to improve the overall efficiency of our minions. Take a look!
Minions – 24
2x Zombie Chow
- A wonderful minion for early pressure. While his deathrattle is a drawback, the objective is to establish board control with Zombie Chowearly, trading him for something more valuable while your opponent is already at high health.
2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- Basically the best 2 mana minion in the Basic card set. His 3/2 body for 2 mana passes the Vanilla Test, and his battlecry is useful against more than half the classes in the game (Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior).
2x Flametongue Totem
- This is a great card that will let your lesser minions trade up to kill larger ones. Allows a Acidic Swamp Oozeto trade with a Chillwind Yeti, and a Haunted Creeperto trade with most 3 mana minions.
- You’ll want to use him only when you have minions on the board, otherwise he’s an easy target for removal.
- It’s important to remember that the Totems you generate with your Hero Power always spawn from the right of your board. If you only have one minion on the board, you should always play your Flametongue Totemto its right so you can get a buffed Totem.
2x Haunted Creeper
- This spider is our counter to aggressive decks that like to drop multitudes of 1 health minions. He’s a mini Harvest Golemthat spawns two 1/1 tokens instead of a single 2/1 token.
- As a bonus, the 1/1 tokens work extremely well with Flametongue Totemand Shattered Sun Cleric, allowing you to trade its 1/1 tokens for much more valuable cards.
2x Shade of Naxxramas
- The Naxxramas card set gave us several neutral 3 mana minions to consider. At the end of the day, I went with the Shade because he has the least number of drawbacks. Deathlordlooks formidable, but is an easy target for a Shadow Word: Painor Stampeding Kodo. Dancing Swordslooks like a card that can trade 2 for 1, but ends up drawing your opponent a card, nullifying its advantage. The Shade is also nice, because when left untouched, he’ll gain one attack and one health each turn, making him more and more valuable.
2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- Her battlecry is great for tempo on turn 3, if you can mana to buff one of your minions to trade up, or to survive what would have been an even trade. She leaves behind an attractive 3/2 body as well.
2x Chillwind Yeti
- The best 4 mana minion in the Basic card set. His stats allow him to trade with three 2/4 minions, or two 4/4 minions. This means that on turn 4, he’ll help you reestablish the board if you’re behind, or put you further ahead if you already have an advantage.
2x Gnomish Inventor
- 4 mana for 2/4 isn’t great statswise, but a 2/4 isn’t awful.
- Primarily we want to play her for her battlecry that draws a card later in the game when we’re low on cards. By playing her late, she gives you the potential to play her and whatever she draws on the same turn.
- Loathebis consistently rated as one of the best cards from the Naxxramas set. To the beginner it can be hard to see why. 5 mana for 5/5 is a statline commonly seen in many other cards that are Common, so what’s the big deal? Frankly, his battlecry is what makes him so good. Many decks in constructed rely on spell combos, and this throws a wrench into that system. If you can predict that your opponent will play a Holy Novaor Flamestrikethe following turn, this card can make that play impossible, forcing your opponent to skip their turn, or dump minions on the board, giving you an extra turn to trade for more value before the expected board clear.
2x Sludge Belcher
- Sludge Belcheris basically a Sen'jin Shieldmastacombined with a Goldshire Footman. The great thing is that the 1/2 token with taunt spawns immediately after he dies, forcing your opponent to use at least one more minion to get rid of it. This is especially good against other Hunters who like to Unleash the Hounds.
2x Fire Elemental
- 6 mana for a 6/5 isn’t great stats-wise, but he gives us a free Lightning Boltability when he comes into play which can swing the tempo in our favor. We’ll gladly trade the two extra health that we’d get with Boulderfist Ogrefor 3 damage to any target we choose.
2x Stormwind Champion
- He’ll make our 1/1s into 2/2s, and as a Shaman you’ll usually be able to buff multiple targets with his ability the turn he comes out into play. As a 6/6, he’s also a threat opponents can’t ignore.
- Unlike Loatheb, Kel'Thuzadis a card that beginners look at and think “wow, that card is incredibly broken”. In situations where you have board control over your opponent, he is indeed amazing. However, without board control, he’s a 6/8 for 8 mana, which is inefficient for its cost when dropped onto an empty board. The nice thing is that if you can utilize his passive ability to respawn your minions even once on the turn he comes out on, he’s worth it.
Spells – 6
2x Rockbiter Weapon
- This card compares favorably to Claw. Instead of 2 armor, we’re given an extra point of damage and a choice of which target (either yourself or minions) to buff, which is fair. This is a card that allows you to gain control over the board early, and eliminates most 3 mana minions.
- Awesome unconditional removal. It’ll get rid of that pesky Sylvanas Windrunneror Cairne Bloodhoofand won’t trigger any deathrattles. A key card.
- One of our primary win conditions. Use this card to clear your opponent’s board with your buffed tokens, or to finish your opponent off. Be sure to count how much damage you can do each turn. You’d be surprised. Even 0/2 Totems become dangerous.
This deck is an an improvement over the Basic [insert class here] deck I posted a while ago.
The key differences between this deck and the Basic version are the inclusions of
- Zombie Chow: While the 5 health deathrattle is a drawback, the key to playing this card effectively is to utilize him to gain board control when your opponent is already at relatively high health. It won’t matter if you can trade your 2/3 into his 3/2 on turn 2 while he’s still at 30 health. When buffed by a Shattered Sun Cleric, the Zombie can trade with two 2/3s or 3/2s. Pretty awesome value.
- Haunted Creeper: An upgrade over the vanilla Bloodfen Raptor. This is a great card against aggro decks that tend to have more 1 health minions. As a bonus, the 1/1 tokens work extremely well with Flametongue Totemand Shattered Sun Cleric, allowing you to trade its 1/1 tokens for much more valuable cards.
- Shade of Naxxramas: Usually an upgrade over Ironfur Grizzly. The only time this is really bad is if you’re playing against a Warrior, and you have another 3/2 minion on the board (imagine Cleavein this situation). He’ll gain one health and one attack each turn, making him a “soft-taunt” that your opponent will want to get rid of right away.
- Loatheb: A minion that can seriously shut down your opponent’s tempo if you can accurately predict when he’ll play removal. It’s a good play on turn 6 so your opponent can’t play Flamestrikethe very next turn, buying you time to either clear the board, or inch closer to lethal.
- Sludge Belcher: An upgrade over Sen'jin Shieldmastathat also filled a glaring hole at the 5 mana slot. When you’re behind, he can buy you the time to get back into the game.
- Kel'Thuzad: A win-condition for our deck. He’s safe against Big Game Hunterand The Black Knightand can have an immediate impact the turn he is played as long as you already have some board presence. While his stats are underwhelming for the cost, he can be a win condition if you already have a few minions out that you can use to clear your opponent’s board.
In general, you want to mulligan so that you can put out minions on your first three turns. If you’re going second, feel free to keep a single 4 mana minion so that you can coin it out on turn 3. Coining out a minion on turn 3 is actually a significant tempo boost, as a card like Chillwind Yeti
Cards to Keep
- 1 Mana: Rockbiter Weapon, Zombie Chow
- 2 Mana: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Haunted Creeper, Flametongue Totem(with Haunted Creeper)
- 3 Mana: Shade of Naxxramas, Shattered Sun Cleric
- 4 Mana: Chillwind Yeti, Sen'jin Shieldmasta
Remember, you want to plan out your first three turns with your opening hand, so if you already have a 1 mana and 2 mana minion, you should mulligan away your remaining card or two to dig for a play on turn 3.
I won’t make an exhaustive list of potential upgrades this time, but here are a few cards that will improve your deck.
- Minions: Harvest Golem, Mana Tide Totem, Defender of Argus
- Spells: Earth Shock, Lightning Bolt, Feral Spirit, Lightning Storm
- Weapons: Doomhammer
Give the deck a try, and let me know how you do! As always, I’d be happy to address any questions you may have
I’m Sheng, a community guide writer and 7+ win arena player. I’ve coached over 100 hours of hearthstone to students around the world, and I’d love to coach you! Please visit www.HearthstoneCoaching.com for more information