Class challenge: Druid
Reward: Poison Seeds
Each week/wing also comes complete with Class challenges, enabling you to earn a new Hero-specific card. I tend to main Druid, so tried this one first, and it was a complete blowout. There were spiders everywhere. I think some of them might still be in what remains of my hair.
Second time around I breezed through the match, drawing into a couple of Swipes, plus some Nerubian Eggs I was able to activate. I think without the element of having to craft your own bespoke deck, these class challenges are arguably even easier than the normal bosses, because all you have to do is play the hand you're dealt as efficiently as possible. To be honest, these seem as much about introducing you to how the new cards work as anything.
I plan on using Poison Seeds in my Midrange Druid deck, having recently experimented with running Naturalized as a high risk form of emergency hard removal. I'm still not sure how handy it will be though, beyond wrecking a Handlock's double Taunted Molten Giant board. To be honest just doing that once will be enough value to last me a lifetime.
Class challenge: Rogue
Reward: Anub'ar Ambusher
Finally, it was the Rogue challenge, which again sees you pitted against Maexnna. Her hero power didn't give me any more trouble this time around though either, thanks to obvious synergy with a card like SI:7 Agent's ability to do 2 points of combo damage when played. There's some lovely flavour in the encounters though, with Naxxramas's necromantic overlord Kel'Thazud chipping in with quips at key moments. (“Sea Giant, Maexnna? That's not on my approved card list.”)
Having blasted through the three bosses on Normal, Heroic mode awaits, and the step up in difficulty is substantial. As an example, Anub'Rekhan's hero power gets upgraded from 'summon a 3/1 Nerubian for 2 Mana' to 'summon a 4/4 Nerubian for 2 Mana'. The bosses also now have a 45-point health pool. Suffice to say I'm yet to crack any of them, and there's potentially quite a bit of replay value (and frustration) to be had here as you try to come up with cheeseball strategies to overcome them, assuming you resist the temptation to net deck someone else's solution .
I will say that it feels like a pity that the only reward for clearing Heroic mode in all wings is another new card back. Pretty though it most definitely is , it hardly seems commensurate with the effort required. Although I suppose the same could be said for grinding to Legend. My preference would have been for Team 5 to stick with what appeared to be the original plan, and have gold versions of the new cards as bait for beating the Heroic bosses.
I keep coming back to the value and replayability of Naxxramas out of a sense of duty. The truth is, as a hopeless addict who's already spent quite a bit on packs, (whilst appreciating that paying for anything remains anathema to many Hearthstone players), I was always going to fall on new content like a hyena ravaging Savannah Highmane's still warm corpse. Overall, my take is that you're going to want these cards. They're fun and creative, with many using the previously underrepresented Deathrattle mechanic to intriguing effect. Moreover, you're going to need them. They're going to re-define so many deck archetypes over the coming weeks. Server strife aside—and it should be noted that it still seems very laggy—this is a fun start, and has only whetted my appetite further for the next four wings. Mmm, wings.