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Hearthstone: All about card synergy

Hearthstone All about card Synergy DNP INCOMPLETE

The last time I talked about Hearthstone, we were looking at deck construction tips. We went over factors to keep in mind like your class, mana costs, and the approximate ratio of spells and minions. As you can probably guess, that deck list I listed could've used much more fine tuning. The deck works at a basic level, but can we improve upon it even further? What separates a basic deck from a solid and competitive deck?

It's called synergy!

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

- Aristotle

A fine quote by a fine Greek philosopher which has relevance with what we're looking at today. Now obviously Aristotle was thousands of years ahead of his time and clearly was referring to Hearthstone decklists! Individual cards can be strong. But when cards are combined, they produce an even better effect. Strong synergistic cards are powerful when it involves two. While it's possible to have three or more cards, it becomes a little more complicated (and less consistent) to pull off because you need to have the necessary card components in hand and the mana available to execute it on the same turn. While they're often fun when they do work, they're not always reliable. It's even better if you have cards that don't have to work with specifically one other cards. If an entire deck is synergistic (meaning cards that work in tandem with other cards), you can easily adapt to threats your opponent is throwing at you while you craft your own offense.

Let me illustrate some simple examples of synergy.

Kill Command and any Beast (like an Ironbeak Owl) - By itself, Kill Command deals 3 damage. If you have any beast minion in play, it does five instead! This is a virtual must-have spell to include in any beast-centric deck.

Auchenai Soulpriest and Any Healing Spells - The Soul Priest turns any healing spells and abilities into damage. Couple this with Greater Heal and watch as it deals tons of damage. I found this out the hard way being on the business end of this actually which you can see in the clip below (with some NSFW language).

Cruel Taskmaster and Rampage/Execute - This is an example of a flexible combination. You drop a Cruel Taskmaster on the board and it has a Battlecry effect of dealing 1 damage to a unit and giving it +2 attack. You can use it one of your own minions to give it a small buff to the its attack. Slap on Rampage to give it a +3/+3 and turn it into the Hulk. Or if your opponent has a huge threat on the board, target the Cruel Taskmaster's ability on your opponent's minion and Execute it without remorse. Doesn't even matter how much health it has. It'll be dead.

Equality and Consecration - My favorite board clearing combination in the game right now is the Paladin's 1-2 punch of Equality followed by Consecration. All of the opposing minions health is dropped to 1. Consecration deals 2 damage to all enemies (including the other player). But, we can improve this even further. What about a Sea Giant? Cast Equality first, then drop the Sea Giant. Not all of the opposing player's minions are dead yet. There should be enough minions in play to really lower the price of the Sea Giant. Casting Consecration after empties out their side of the board. Now your opponent really needs to have an answer in hand or else they're going to be taking 8 damage next turn! While this card combination works well with just Equality and Consecration, the Sea Giant is a nice touch that allows you to start finishing the game.

Ice Lance and any Freezing spell - By itself, Ice Lance simply stalls a minion for a turn. Couple it with any freeze inducing effect, and you'll most likely kill the minions you want. However, freezing targets isn't limited to just minions. Opposing players can be frozen too! Follow up Frostbolt with an Ice Lance and watch as they take a devastating 7 damage with a combined 4 mana.

Let's not forget about hero abilities here and what they can do with cards.

Imp Master with Priest Lesser Heal - Chuck the Imp Master in and play and remember to keep the Imp topped off with Anduin's hero ability which heals two damage a turn. As long as the Imp's health is up, it'll keep producing 1/1 cheap minions at the end of your turn. Combine it with Knife Juggler and the board and watch as you create an engine that deals steady, consistent damage per turn.

Youthful Brewmaster and any Battlecry - I actually built a competitive deck around this called Brewmaster Control. The Brewmaster lets you bring any minion of yours back to your hand. Combine it with any Battlecry effect and reap the rewards again.

Okay, let's go back to our original paladin deck pile for a moment and see what we can do to tune it up even further using the concepts we learned about synergy. Let's cut the cards that don't offer as much punch and add cards that work well with others.

Bubblehearth!

2 x Hand of Protection
2 x Noble Sacrifice
2 x Redemption
2 x Argent Squire
2 x Goldshire Footman
2 x Divine Favor
2 x Equality
2 x Argent Protector
2 x Ironbeak Owl
1 x Scarlet Crusader
2 x Truesilver Champion
2 x Consecration
1 x Leeroy Jenkins
2 x Silver Hand Knight
2 x Avenging Wrath
2 x Argent Commander

The main theme around this deck is the usage of Divine Shield. This powerful mechanic allows your minions to effectively trade against others in a two for one advantage.

Trading: If you sacrifice a minion to kill an opponent's minion, that's called a 1 for 1 trade. Great players know how to maximize their minions by ensuring that they win out on trades as much as possible. For example, if my Thrallmar Farseer kills a Novice Engineer and a Goldshire Footman it was effectively a 2 for 0.

What can we do to really take advantage of the Divine Shield mechanic? How can we start turning Bubblehearth into a bigger threat?

1 x Leeroy Jenkins out
1 x Silver Hand Knight out
2 x Blood Knight in

By itself, the Blood Knight is a 3/3 for 3 mana. It deals out a decent amount of damage. But now you're using a Paladin deck which revolves around Divine Shield. Any shields that are still up gets funneled into a Blood Knight making it extremely powerful the turn after and forcing your opponent to answer it ASAP. Argent Protector and Hand of Protection can help "feed" the Blood Knight before it comes out.

2 x Goldshire Footman out
1 x Sunwalker in
1 x Scarlet Crusader in

We really don't need the Footman in there. Yes it provides decent early game coverage, but it lasts at best two turns before it explodes. We're going to add another Crusader and throw in just one additional Sunwalker (keeping in mind the mana costs and curves of the deck). Both minions have Divine Shield (which also fuels the Blood Knight).

1 x Divine Favor out
1 x Tirion Fordring in

Having cards in hand is almost never a bad thing. We're going to go ahead and cut one of these though. Having two in the deck seems a little overkill. Tirion is an awesome finisher to add to the deck. Even if he dies, he still provides you with the ability to dish out five damage for three turns. At 6/6, he can take and dish out punishment long enough.

2 x Avenging Wrath out
1 x Sword of Justice in
1 x Lay on Hands in

The Avenging Wraths are just too inconsistent. Having a Sword of Justice equipped means the minions you cast will be that much stronger. Having that extra health can put them just out of range of any pesky AoE spells like Holy Nova. If you don't have a minion, you can make a 1/1 which automatically turns into a 2/2. The Lay on Hands is a little more expensive but it does provide you with much needed life and cards in the event the game starts to drag on.

Okay, here's what it looks like now!

Bubblehearth 2.0!

Spells
2 x Hand of Protection
2 x Noble Sacrifice
2 x Redemption
1 x Divine Favor
2 x Equality
2 x Consecration
1 x Lay on Hands

Minions
2 x Argent Squire
2 x Argent Protector
2 x Ironbeak Owl
2 x Scarlet Crusader
1 x Sunwalker
2 x Blood Knight
1 x Silver Hand Knight
2 x Argent Commander
1 x Tirion Fordring

Weapons
2 x Truesilver Champion
1 x Sword of Justice

There you have it! Now we've got ourselves a decent competitive deck to work with and rake in some wins! It has some much needed durability and provides you with ways to help finish off your opponents. I just hit Masters over the weekend. Feel free to catch some of my clips and games on my Twitch channel!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

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