How to beat the Lower Citadel bosses in Knights of the Frozen Throne
Knights of the Frozen Throne not only adds 135 new cards to Hearthstone. It is also the first expansion to include free single-player missions to play through.
Players will traverse through the Icecrown Citadel en route to battle the dreaded Lich King. The Citadel is filled with challenges, featuring some of the most feared opponents from Warcraft lore.
On release day, the first wing to Icecrown Citadel opened—the Lower Citadel. The Lower Citadel features three boss fights between Lord Marrowgar, Deathbringer Saurfang, and Lady Deathwhisper. Each boss has a powerful, unique Hero Power and some cards that you will only see in the Adventures. These boss fights will challenge a player’s deckbuilding, creativity, and resilience in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.
The Prologue is a little different. It doesn't require any real strategy, simply by letting it play out you will be rewarded with a free legendary Hero card.
But, to make it a little easier for you, we put together this guide on how to best approach and win these boss fights in the Lower Citadel. You’ll be to the Lich King in no time.
Lord Marrowgar is the first boss you face on your way through the Lower Citadel. He heals himself back to full health every turn with his Hero Power while trying to tempo you out with a Rogue Deathrattle deck. His win condition is a four mana card called Bone Spike. As long as Bone Spike remains on the field, you take 15 damage at the start of Lord Marrowgar’s turn.
Bone Spike and Lord Marrowgar’s Hero Power presents an interesting challenge. You have to defeat Marrowgar all in one turn while preventing yourself from losing in two.
There are several ways you can choose to develop your one turn kill. Exodia Mage uses the Quest card Open the Waygate with a combination of Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Molten Reflection, and Archmage Antonidas to create infinite, zero mana Fireballs all in one turn. Jade Druid from the previous meta builds Jade Golems over time, growing and populating the board with high attack minions towards the end of the game. Both methods are certainly viable so long as you draw your cards in the right order.
However, the best method to dismantling Lord Marrowgar is a variation of Combo Priest. Combo Priest uses the Inner Fire/Divine Spirit combo on one of Priest’s minions to deliver a heavy blow early in the game. The deck wants to apply the combo to Ancient Watcher or Humongous Razorleaf. Since Ancient Watcher and Humongous Razorleaf can’t attack, silence effects are added to the list to enable these minions to beat Marrowgar down.
The silence effects and other useful cards also serve to keep the Priest player alive in this fight. Silence can be used in a pinch to prevent Bone Spike from activating its ability and cutting your life total in half. Even better, Cabal Shadow Priest and Embrace Darkness steal Bone Spike from Marrowgar’s side of the board. Bone Spike then works for you and makes it easier to end the game with your Inner Fire/Divine Spirit combo.
This Priest deck has flexibility and plays strong offense and defense, making it the perfect deck for the encounter.
Deathbringer Saurfang presents a unique win condition to the player—he can only be defeated through weapon damage. Luckily, Saurfang begins the game with only 20 health, putting him within range of this unusual path to victory.
Saurfang plays a Warrior deck that plays cards that respond well to damage. Cards like Frothing Berserker and Acolyte of Pain, Taunt minions like Bloodhoof Brave, and the new Saronite Chain Gang—and a minion unique to the deck, Blood Beast, that heals Saurfang once every turn. While the Berserkers don’t usually get out of control, the Taunt minions can become a problem since you have to force weapon damage. More than one Blood Beast out on the field at any time negates any weapon attack with the amount of health gained. Players will need to have spot removal if they want their weapon strategy to be successful.
A deck from the Warrior class makes the most sense for this matchup. Warriors have some of the best weapons in the game in Fiery War Axe and Arcanite Reaper, and play ways to improve those weapons with cards like Upgrade! and Bloodsail Cultist. The new Warrior spell Forge of Souls ensures you always have a weapon in hand and keeps your upgrade cards live.
The Pirate tribe combines well with a deck touting a lot of weapons. Southsea Deckhand, Bloodsail Raider, and Dread Corsair trade with Saurfang’s board while you attack him with your weapons. There are only so many weapon resources in the deck, and the pirates ensure your weapon use is spent on Saurfang himself rather than his minions.
Taunt minions stand directly opposed to this deck’s win condition. Stampeding Kodo should consistently handle the midgame Bloodhoof Brave or Saronite Chain Gang from Saurfang. Execute unlocks with the effect of Blood Razor and takes down any threat standing in your way. These cards keep you and your play on the front foot, allowing you to use your weapons for aggression rather than reaction.
Lady Deathwhisper is the final boss fight in the Lower Citadel. In this fight, you have to protect and use the wounded dragon, Valithria, to defeat the evil sorceress. Valithria can only attack once fully healed. To make matters worse, Lady Deathwhisper starts the game with 30 health and 90 armor. It will take four attacks from Valithria to win the game. Since Deathwhisper’s Hero Power damages all minions on your side of the field down to one health, you will need to find multiple ways to heal Valithria over the course of the game.
Lady Deathwhisper plays a Priest deck in which minions are buffed based on how many minions have died while on the field. Additionally, Deathwhisper plays Taunt minions that receive buffs if there are any Deathrattle minions on your side of the field. Despite being in the Priest class, Lady Deathwhisper’s deck shows no sources of life gain—only the rare armor gain from a Mage card or two.
Healing Valithria is essential in your route to victory, and the Priest class has the best healing resources for this particular encounter. Circle of Healing and Binding Heal allow you to attack with Valithria on turn one. Hozen Healer and Darkshire Alchemist provide middle and late game healing options. In just four turns, you can power through three fourths of Lady Deathwhisper’s health pool.
For that final attack, you don’t need to heal Valithria anymore. You can use silence effects to remove Valithria’s card text and let her attack freely. Purify and Silence provide efficient silence options and a cheap way to end the game.
Keep in mind that whenever Valithria is fully healed (or silenced), she is vulnerable to attack. Read the board state. If Valithria is in potential danger from one of Deathwhisper’s minions, deal with that minion before healing Valithria. It’s very difficult to win the game if Valithria somehow dies on the battlefield.
This week’s adventure presented three unique boss battles that rewarded creative deckbuilding and innovative sequencing. What sort of challenges await us next week in the Icecrown Citadel?