The third Hearthstone adventure installment, League of Explorers, has finally landed globally after an announcement at this year’s BlizzCon. The quest? To find and retrieve the shattered pieces of the mighty Staff of Origination - an ancient and powerful artifact, perfect to grace the Hall of Explorers back in Ironforge.
The League of Explorers totals four wings, spread out in weekly unlocks. Each Thursday a new wing will open, and along with it a trio of encounters. Besting these rewards a selection of the new League of Explorers cards, with the end of each wing also unlocking a shiny legendary counterpart of your League allies.
Introduced in this adventure is a new keyword: Discover. When you play a card with the keyword Discover on it, you will be given a selection of three cards that pertain to the given text. An example could be a card that says “Discover a (3) cost minion”, this will - once played - give you a choice of three random minions that cost three mana. Understanding this new addition is key to mastering the challenges ahead.
As always, the following decks are very specific, often tailor-made to deal with a certain boss in particular (especially on Heroic mode) - there’s nothing stopping you from altering it and still attaining success. It may be that you are simply missing some of the cards listed, or even you have some better ideas of your own.
Wing 1: Temple of Orsis
Meet Zinaar - a crafty and dubious genie who wants nothing more to be let out of his lamp-bound prison. Unfortunately for you, you’re an obstacle in his quest for freedom, and will need to battle him to continue onwards in the Temple of Orsis.
Zinaar will try and use his genie powers to give him an advantage in this fight, but he still must abide by the laws of his wish-giving magic. His hero power is called Djinn’s Intuition, which he will cast every time it’s his turn. This will enable him to draw an extra card (and receive an extra mana crystal on Heroic), but it will also supply you with a zero mana-cost Wish card. Don’t worry - these wishes are all beneficial effects, and will prove useful in putting him back in his lamp.
Before we get onto the deck, let’s rundown the possible Wish cards Zinaar can gift you.
Wish for Glory: Discover a minion.
Wish for Power: Discover a spell.
Wish for Valor: Discover a (4)-Cost card.
Wish for Companionship: Discover a Companion
Wish for More Wishes: Gain 2 Wishes.
My initial reaction to this was to make a Rogue deck since pulling off combos would be a doddle, but then I remembered that Flamewaker existed. Being able to deal two damage each turn at a minimum is some fearsome board control. Likewise, you can pile up the Wishes to unleash even bigger blows to Zinaar’s face. Here’s the deck I found worked best:
2 x Sorcerer's Apprentice
2 x Mirror Image
1 x Arcane Explosion
2 x Frostbolt
2 x Mana Wyrm
2 x Arcane Intellect
2 x Fireball
1 x Bloodmage Thalnos
2 x Mirror Entity
2 x Arcane Missiles
2 x Mad Scientist
2 x Unstable Portal
2 x Flamecannon
2 x Flamewaker
2 x Arcane Blast
2 x Mana Addict
If you manage to draw a Flamewaker early, consider banking Wish cards for later, unless of course you feel like you need the extra umph. I prefer to use the removal to keep the board clear, and protect your Flamewaker. Mirror Image and Mirror Entity help to delay the game long enough to get your engine rolling. I threw in Mana Addict too - a highly undervalued card in this fight, as it can deal game-ending blows to Zinaar’s face if left untouched.
Sun Raider Phaerix
A hidden temple wouldn’t be complete without its own guardian, and Sun Raider Phaerix watches over the inner sanctum with an indomitable strength. His secret lies in his Rod of the Sun, which bestows its owner with immunity, making them impervious to damage.
The Rod of the Sun is a 0/5 minion (3/8 if you’re on Heroic) that starts on Phaerix’s side of the board, which gives him that aforementioned immunity. To get past this, you’ll need to destroy the rod, which causes it to shift over to your side, making you immune. Naturally, Phaerix will try everything he can to return it to its rightful owner.
Just like with Zinaar, my first inclination was to make a deck with a weapon-wielding class, to take advantage of the immunity. A Warlock deck also crossed my mind, giving you free Life Taps as long as you held the rod. While both of these ideas had merit, it was Priest that has the clear winner, and it’s partly thanks to being able to take the rod out of the game entirely.
2 x Target Dummy
2 x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2 x Inner Fire
2 x Mass Dispel
2 x Shadow Word: Pain
2 x Power Word: Shield
2 x Holy Fire
2 x Silence
2 x Shadow Word: Death
2 x Divine Spirit
2 x Northshire Cleric
2 x Dark Cultist
2 x Deathlord
2 x Velen's Chosen
2 x Light of the Naaru
If you silence the rod and then destroy it, it vanishes from the field permanently. Then just place a taunt minion, and begin to buff it up into infinity with Velen’s Chosen, Divine Spirit, Power World: Shield, and finally Inner Fire. Deathlord is the best target for this, but it can be difficult to get to him without falling behind - for that reason I included some Target Dummys. Before you say anything, I actually beat this challenge with a 24/24 dummy monstrosity. It works.
There are reports of a cheese strategy which involves stealing the rod, silencing it, then placing a taunt. This method apparently causes Phaerix to pass his turns indefinitely. You can then proceed to murder him while his AI brain overloads with 1’s and 0’s. Yes, this is essentially a AI bug, and requires little effort to accomplish, but even the legendary Harrison Jones will play dirty if it means getting to his precious loot faster.
This encounter is unlike any other - you won’t find a big bad boss to take down here. Instead you’re tasked at surviving nine turns as you run as fast as you can to escape the now collapsing temple. However with your newfound haste, you’ll blunder into various traps and monsters before you see the light of safety from the exit.
With each passing turn, new enemies will be summoned to the board to try and stop you in your tracks. Some turns will also offer you a choice between two different possible outcomes. Examples include choosing between an extra mana crystal or drawing an extra card, whereas another will offer you a shortcut - speeding up the turn timer by one - but adds 7/7 War Golem to the temple's board.
Remember, your goal isn’t to destroy a boss, but merely survive until the turn timer reaches zero. With this in mind, a Freeze Mage deck is a perfect fit for freezing any threats, and also giving you extra turns via Ice Block.
2 x Cone of Cold
2 x Ice Block
2 x Frost Nova
2 x Frostbolt
2 x Ice Lance
2 x Blizzard
2 x Loot Hoarder
2 x Acolyte of Pain
2 x Novice Engineer
2 x Arcane Intellect
2 x Fireball
2 x Polymorph
2 x Ice Barrier
2 x Mad Scientist
2 x Flame Lance
Because there’s a set pattern for this encounter, I’ll reveal the choices I made on each turn to attain victory on Heroic mode.
On turn one, I’d pick the “Wade Through” option and gain an extra mana crystal, since this deck has decent card draw already.
Turn two is a bit of a mix up - you can take the five damage from “Walk Across Gingerly”, or risk it by choosing “Swing Across” and hope avoid the damage completely. If you’re unlucky and take the larger ten damage, you can always redo the fight until you do it successfully.
When you reach turn four, I always end up opting for the ten health via “Touch It”. If you’re somehow undamaged, you can always grab the two extra cards with “Investigate the Runes”. Either way you’ll summon an 10/10 Animated Statue.
Finally on turn seven, you’re given the choice of taking a shortcut or doing nothing. I’d say that if you have an Ice Block in place at this time, you can feel free to take the shortcut and summon the 7/7 War Golem. Do keep in mind that you’ll skip turn eight with the shortcut, and that includes the 5/9 Seething Statue, which deals five damage to all of your minions.
And there we have it - with the rod in your possession, you’ve completed the first step in restoring the Staff of Origination. Hop over to the next page for wing two of the League of Explorers adventure, where we’ll be journeying into the halls of Uldaman.