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Is this Hearthstone's first turn one kill?

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Hearthstone is no stranger to one-turn kills. I mean, technically every kill is a one-turn kill, but the nomenclature really refers to combo decks which deal massive damage from hand. Famously, the phrase 'fun and interactive' from the patch notes relating to the Leeroy Jenkins nerf have become enshrined in meme folklore and used to decry any deck that can burst the opponent down from full health.

To this day, I don't think I've ever seen 30 damage done on the first turn of the game. But that's exactly what happens in the clip above, which was tweeted by @geyuan6_hs. Inevitably, it happens in the game's Wild mode. [Edit: As one commenter pointed out, though Wild cards are being used, it's actually against the Inkeeper AI.] Equally inevitably it involves the Druid class, which has access to cards that 'ramp' Mana crystals, enabling more powerful plays earlier in the game. 

In the clip, a player called Lifeline gets what can only be described as the nut draw, and proceeds to go off from there. The key to the combo—if it can even be called a combo, it's more of an act of god—is using Barnes to pull a 1/1 copy of Kael'thas Sunstrider. Once on board, that card's effect reads: "Every third spell you cast each turn costs (0)." It's busted at the best of times, but in Wild it means you get to play stuff like Ultimate Infestation, a 10-Mana card which deals 5 damage, draws 5 cards, and summons a 5/5, for free. 

Below I've broken down how the whole turn plays out, and I've done a little maths afterwards to work out how much it should have cost. (Spoiler: a lot more.)

  • Lightning Bloom - 0 (gain 2 Mana, Overload 2 next turn)
  • Lightning Bloom - 0 (gain 2 Mana, Overload 2 next turn)
  • Barnes - 5 (Summons Kael'Thas Sunstrider, which normally costs 7 mana)
  • Ultimate Infestation - 0 (draws 5 cards, deals 5 damage, normally costs 10 mana)
  • Coin - 0 (gain 1 Mana)
  • Innervate - 0  (gain 1 Mana)
  • Fungal Fortunes - 0 (draws three cards, normally costs 4 mana)
  • Embiggen - 0  
  • Moonfire - 0 (deals 1 damage)
  • Nourish - 0 (draws 3 cards, normally costs 6 mana)
  • Nature Studies - 1
  • Living Roots - 0 (deals 2 damage, normally costs 1)
  • Ultimate Infestation - 0 (draws 5 cards, deals 5 damage, normally costs 10 mana)
  • Moonfire - 0 (deals 1 damage)
  • Innervate - 0
  • Starfire - 0 (deals 5 damage, draws a card, normally costs 6 mana)
  • Claw - 1 (adds 2 attack)
  • Claw - 1 (adds 2 attack)
  • Starfire - 0 (deals 5 damage, draws a card, normally costs 6 mana)
  • Pounce - 0 (adds 2 attack)
  • Swing face for exact lethal

(Image credit: Blizzard)

By my calculation, the Druid played 50-Mana worth of stuff (57 if you include Kael'thas) on the first turn in order to deal precisely 30 damage. They played 20 cards, including the coin, and drew a further 18 cards in the process. Is Druid okay as a class? Almost certainly not. Is this a repeatable combo? Absolutely not. It's lightning-in-a-bottle stuff which required the deck to line up absolutely perfectly.

That said, I will be amazed if Kael'thas doesn't eat a nerf in the next few weeks. Discounting expensive cards to 0 is an incredibly dangerous effect, and it's only going to cause ongoing frustration for both the player base and the balance team. Speaking of which, I'm going to post a piece tomorrow listing the Scholomance Academy cards I think are most likely to get hit in the first wave of changes (which is surely coming soon). Don't dust anything strong yet, unless you absolutely have to.

As an inveterate Hearthstone addict, Tim spends most of his time trying to explain why all Priest players are degenerates. The rest of his day is spent playing Destiny 2. Seriously, he's on it right now.