The first release in the Naxxramas collection of encounters takes place in the Arachnid Quarter of the dingy dungeon. There are three bosses to battle in this initial wing: Anub-Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina and Maexxna.
We'll be updating this guide as we battle through each boss - then head back for more in the Heroic mode - and we'll provide you with a complete breakdown of how each creature likes to face off against its prey too, not to mention those special mechanics designed to catch you by surprise. We'll also explain how we used our chosen deck to see off each monster.
Normal - Skitter: Summon a 3/1 Nerubian (2 mana).
Heroic - Skitter: Summon a 4/4 Nerubian (2 mana).
Anub'Rekhan strategy - Normal
We used a very basic, very cheap version of the popular Warlock zoo deck to destroy all of the Naxxramas bosses on Normal mode. In the Anub'Rekhan fight, watch out for Death Lord and be ready to take it out as efficiently as you can to both clear the taunt and drag another of your minions into play. Shade of Naxxramas very often comes out in conjunction with a 5/5 spider that returns a minion to the owner's hand - kill the spider if you can and clear his board before those Shades get out of control. Otherwise, just push for an aggressive win, just as you typically would with a deck of this nature.
Anub'Rekhan strategy - Heroic
This extremely cheap deck, posted over at Hearthpwn, can make the Heroic Anub'Rekhan encounter an absolute cinch, but it's essential that you look for your Wild Growths when reviewing your opening hand. The idea behind this deck is to get into your taunting cards as quickly as possibly, forcing the enemy to trade multiple cards against those taunts. Once you have board presence, you generally want to focus on doing direct damage to your opponent.
A couple of uses for the Haunted Creeper spring to mind at first glance. For the zoo deck enthusiast who likes to bring lots of cheap minions to the board early in the match, the benefits are obvious. Yet it also represents a solid weapon for those looking to shut down those very same aggressive decks. Either way - and like the reward from Maexxna detailed below - everyone will think twice before clearing a board while this creature's on it.
Grand Widow Faerlina
Normal - Rain of Fire: Fire a missile for each card in your opponent's hand (2 mana).
Heroic - Rain of Fire: Fire a missile for each card in your opponent's hand (1 mana).
Faerlina strategy - Normal
Faerlina's biggest early-game threat is her Hero ability, and again it's an encounter where the zoo deck shines. Mulligan all of the expensive cards that you're given at the start, and look for a smooth mana curve that will allow you to empty your hand as efficiently as possible throughout the game - the less cards in your hand, the less damage you'll take from her Hero ability. In normal mode, you can pretty much go aggressively straight to Faerlina and forget about all of her threats. There's no harm in using the Necro Knights to take out any adjacent minions if you find yourself overwhelmed though.
Faerlina strategy - Heroic
We're back to using the zoo deck once more for the Heroic Faerlina, but this time with a twist - specifically, some of the special cards you've picked up for beating the wing on Normal. This deck posted over on the official Hearthstone forums contains an excellent solution to this fight, but it's worth Mulliganing hard for the Nerubian Eggs - they just love to eat up Faerlina's Hero ability, and the faster you can assume board dominance, the easier the rest of the fight is.
Send Grand Widow Faerlina scuttling away and you'll unlock the Nerub'ar Weblord. It may not look all that powerful, but its ability to shut down Battlecry minions for such a cheap mana cost is certain to slow those aggressive decks down.
Normal - Web Wrap: Return a random enemy minion to your opponent's hand (3 mana).
Heroic - Web Wrap: Return 2 random enemy minions to your opponent's hand (0 mana).
Maexxna strategy - Normal
While arguably the toughest boss on Heroic mode, Maexxna is an absolute pushover on Normal if you're using the zoo deck. There are a few enemies and spells to watch out for - such as the Emperor Cobra and Necrotic Poison - but your strength-in-numbers deck should never suffer a devastating loss from either of these. Don't be afraid to deal with that cobra if you have an efficient means of doing so - it's a decent safety play if you're approaching the finishing line.
Maexxna stratgy - Heroic
While you'll need a fair amount of luck to pull this trick off, it's actually possible to beat the Heroic version of Maexxna using a pretty cheap deck from Hearthpwn user Adurin. To pull this gimmicky win off, you'll need to have a Consecration in your hand by turn four, while your opponent has nothing but Haunted Creepers out. Once you're in that position, use Consecration to fill her board with 1/1 minions, blocking Maexxna from playing anything else all match. After that it's a case of letting her Hero ability bounce Battlecry healing minions back to you, which you play again on your next turn while cautiously introducing damage. Cheap, but effective.
A thousand situational uses spring to mind for the Nerubian Egg, the new card that's added to your collection after destroying Maexxna. It'll force your opponent to think twice before launching a devastating burst of board-clearing spell damage at you, that's for certain.
The two Hero-specific challenges this week are for the Rogue and Druid classes to enjoy. You need to be familiar with the fundamentals of each class, but there's not a huge amount of strategy to factor in or prepare for here. You can only take part in these challenges in Normal mode, and so a fairly aggressive push against your opponent, stopping only to deal with the most bothersome threats, helped us knock both challenges down at the first attempt.
Arachnid Quarter reward
Complete the entire Arachnid Quarter on Normal mode to receive a new legendary card for your collection.
Head back to the first page for more sections of our Naxxramas walkthrough.