I am, at best, a casual Hearthstone player. I like to fire it up occasionally on my phone and play a Tavern Brawl, or spectate one of my friends from college. For those who aren’t interested in or aren’t able to spend any money on gaming, Hearthstone does a great job of providing free entertainment. Thanks to daily quests from playing a few games a week for a while now, I had enough gold saved up to buy the first wing of Karazhan and I decided to collect my thoughts as someone who isn’t dedicated to playing Hearthstone competitively or regularly.

Even without spending any of my hard-earned gold though, Blizzard gave everyone a sneak peak at the flavor of One Night in Karazhan with a prologue quest. This was a ton of fun. You take the role of Medivh, the last Guardian of Karazhan. Your deck is insanely powerful as is your hero power which lets you draw three cards for two mana. Your opponent is the also powerful Prince Malchezaar, but he’s no match for Medivh. For casual players it’s nice to get both Firelands Portal and Enchanted Raven as gifts just for playing the free prologue.

The Parlor: Enchanted Raven The Parlor: Firelands Portal

So we ponied up 700 gold pieces and entered Medivh’s parlor hoping to save him from the clutches of the demon prince. Moroes, the butler I suppose, met us at the door and then promptly introduced us to the Silverware Golem. Without Medivh to keep everything under control, all of the dishes are causing a riot. With guests arriving it’s up to us to put down the flatware rebellion.

The core of this battle is in the Silverware Golem’s hero power which puts a 1/1 Plate into play every turn with a cost of zero mana. The deck is built around this with Cups that give all Plates +1 attack, Forks that give all Plates Charge, and Knives that give all Plates Taunt. There’s also a few spells in the deck that can create five Plates, give +1/+1 to all Plates, or draw a card for each Plate. So obviously you want to shatter Plates.

I put together a basic Mage deck and easily burned my way through the Silverware Golem. Arcane Explosion and Flamestrike make Mage the perfect choice for a basic deck to bring into this battle. I added some more two-for-one burn in the form of Arcane Missiles, Elven Archer, and Ironforge Rifleman. Some taunt creatures also helped ensure the Plates didn’t get out of hand and I was ready to move on to the Magic Mirror after being gifted some new cards.

The Parlor: Deadly Fork The Parlor: Silverware Golem

The Magic Mirror has a pretty cool Hero power. It’s a passive power that creates a 1/1 copy of every minion played. Looking through the Basic card set there’s three decks that stood out to me as ways to abuse this to our advantage: Spell Damage Mage, Beast Combo Hunter, and Murloc Shaman. The Mage deck is probably the most powerful one, but we just played Mage against the Silverware Golem, and the Magic Mirror is using this strategy. Between the other two decks I have a soft spot for Beast Combo Hunter so I went with that.

This deck is pretty easy to build. The core is abilities that boost the rest of your Beasts. Timber Wolf, Raid Leader, Starving Buzzard, Tundra Rhino, and Stormwind Champion are all easily abused with Magic Mirror. You can compliment these with a collection of Beasts and other abusive cards. I chose Bloodfen Raptor and River Crocolisk for tempo, Houndmaster for value, and Frostwolf Warlord for fun. Throw in some removal like Multi-Shot, Kill Command, and Arcane Shot and it should be a quick victory and two more gift cards.

The Parlor: Arcane Anomaly The Parlor: Pantry Spider

The last battle of the Parlor is a wonderfully enjoyable chess match, Hearthstone style. I won’t spoil anything, since you don’t have to build a deck for this one. The chess match, and especially the Heroic version, are almost worth the cost of 700 gold on their own. Once you defeat the Black King you’ll get Ivory Knight and Protect the King. Arcanosmith, Moroes, and Cloaked Huntress are added to your collection once you defeat all three bosses.

The two class challenges were pretty straightforward and nothing to really write home about. You get pre-built decks to face off against the Silverware Golem and the Magic Mirror again. Against the Silverware Golem you’ll use a Silence-Aggro Priest deck (yes, with Purify in it) to gain Priest of the Feast for winning. With Shaman you’ll go up against Magic Mirror (another reason to play Hunter above) and get Maelstrom Portal for your trouble.

The Parlor: Priest of the Feast The Parlor: Maelstrom Portal

Reviewing Heroic mode is, in my opinion, outside the scope of a casual player review. Once you start trying to take down Heroic mode you’re definitely moving towards the realm of less casual players. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ll leave Heroic reviews and guides to the pros. For now, I’m content to wait for the next wing, The Opera, to open up. I’ve got another 700 gold saved up and waiting (but I’ll have to try to find some more time to play because I only have a few hundred saved towards the third wing).

Rich has been playing Hearthstone on and off since the closed beta and has a golden E.T.C. to prove it. He enjoys playing Zoolock on the ladder and wishes he could figure out how to get more than five wins in the Arena. He’s really looking forward to playing Silence-Aggro Priest once Karazhan is live.

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