Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hearthstone Guide: How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck

As you climb to the higher ranks in Hearthstone matches, I’m sure you’ve encountered opponents whose decks consist of cards that can easily beat you in less than five turns. If you keep losing to these Murloc or rush deck users, read this guide to learn some easy countermeasures.

Hearthstone Complete Murloc Cards

General Tip

Murloc and many other rush decks try to win the game by overwhelming you with minions. Weak as they are, these minions can be problematic once they come out in large numbers. The best way to get rid of the swarm is though area-of-effect cards.

Note: Rush decks in Hearthstone are also known as aggro or aggressive decks. These decks aim to deal as much damage as possible in a small number of turns before the enemy is able to make his countermoves.

For the minions who can survive an AoE attack (because of their higher health or of buffs), that’s where targeted abilities come into play. As you aim at a specific creature, prioritize the ones with auras first if possible. You don’t even have to kill them outright; nullifying their auras through silence effects works just as well.

This may be a cliché, but “a good offense is the best defense.” Indeed, you can counter Murloc and other rush decks with your own minions. Those with taunt abilities can be an effective way to prevent the enemy minions from depleting your hero’s life as fast as possible. Make use of creatures with silencing battlecries and charge abilities as well.

To summarize, you can maintain board control against a player using a Murloc or other rush decks by using cheap AoE spell cards during the first few turns, single-target spells for stronger enemy minions, and summoning your own defensive creatures. If you have weapons with cheap mana cost, use them too!

If your deck is also made for rushing a game, then winning against a fellow rush deck user is a contest of speed—the one who wins is usually the one who forms his army first.


Let’s proceed to specific cards per class that can be useful against rush decks. I won’t list down all cards, just the more notable ones.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Warrior

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Warrior AoE cards

Brawl. Though you may have to sacrifice your own creatures just to wipe the board clean save for one creature, Brawl lets you survive for a few more turns. Just hope the surviving creature is your own, or at least a wimpy enemy minion.

Cleave. While not exactly an AoE card, it’s cheap mana cost lets you remove two minions.

Whirlwind. It’s the cheapest AoE spell in the game. Finish off with Execute.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Warrior - Shield Slam, Heroic Strike

Shield Slam. This is useful if you’ve managed to accumulate enough Armor.

Heroic Strike. It’s cheap mana cost lets you remove a creature, but you receive some damage for attacking using your hero.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Warrior - Commanding Shout, Inner Rage, Cruel Taskmaster, Execute

Commanding Shout. If you’ve gathered a couple of minions, you can use them to attack the enemy creatures without necessarily getting killed in the process. Commanding Shout makes them immune to death and lets them survive for at least another turn.

Warriors are known for their sadistic cards that damages a creature in exchange for attack buffs (e.g., Inner Rage, Cruel Taskmaster). Sometimes, the situation calls for sacrificing the buff for your own minions so that you can deal the damage and kill an enemy creature. If the minor damage doesn’t make the kill, finish off with Execute.

Warriors are also weaponmasters. Though the point of this guide is to prevent you from bleeding health early in the game, sometimes your hero has to deal damage using weapons and get damaged in the process to maintain board control.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Shaman

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Shaman AoE cards

Lightning Storm. If you’re willing to sacrifice your tempo (because of the Overload effect reducing your next turn’s mana pool by two points), this is the Shaman’s most effective spell card for clearing the mob.

Forked Lightning. Like the Warrior’s Cleave, this spell only hits two random enemy minions for 2 damage.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Shaman - Hex, Lava Burst, Lightning Bolt

Hearthstone - Shaman - Frost Shock, Earth Shock

The shaman’s removal spells for specific minions include Hex, Lava Burst, and Lightning Bolt. Rockbiter Weapon can be useful as well for a single attack. Frost Shock is useful for preventing a powerful enemy from dealing damage for one turn, while Earth Shock is great in pacifying a minion with buffs/aura.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Shaman - Ancestral Healing, Ancestral Spirit

If you have a minion in your deck with a huge health and decent attack, it can help you defend your health by giving it taunt via Ancestral Healing. Alternately, let a creature with a native Taunt ability defend you a few more turns by buffing it with Ancestral Spirit.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Rogue

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Rogue AoE cards

Hearthstone - Rogue - Preparation, Deadly Poison

Fan of Knives. The Rogue deck doesn’t have strong early AoE removal spells. Its Fan of Knives cost 3 mana and only deals 1 damage per enemy minion, though you can make it cheap by using Preparation.

Blade Flurry. The Rogue’s only other damage AoE spell is the Blade Flurry, which only works if you’ve a weapon equipped. Make it more effective by buffing your weapon with Deadly Poison.

Vanish. If the enemy manages to build his army mid-game, Vanish helps you prevent death and forces your enemy to waste his mana to build his army again next turn. Once again, Preparation is quite useful for casting this spell with 3 less mana.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Rogue - Betrayal, Backstab, Sap

Betrayal. If the enemy isn’t careful with the position of his mobs, you’ll be able to take advantage of it with Betrayal to ice two minions.

Backstab. What the Rogue lacks in strong, early AoE it makes up for in single-target spells. Backstab, for instance, deals 2 damage without costing you any mana.

Sap. Force an opponent to waste mana next turn with the same minion by returning that minion back to his hand.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Rogue - Eviscerate, Perdition's Blade, SI7 Agent, Cold Blood

Rogues are known for their Combo effects, so make sure you play efficiently to deal more damage with cards like Eviscerate, Perdition’s Blade, SI:7 Agent, and Cold Blood.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Paladin

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Paladin AoE cards

Consecration. The Paladin’s main AoE spell has a relatively higher mana cost than similar spells of other classes. As you build your mana, cheaper Pally spells can help thwart a rush deck.

Equality. This is effective as a prelude to Consecration, even if it changes the health of your own minions to 1 point as well in the process.

Avenging Wrath. This quasi-AoE spell can be useful for any minion who remains even after Consecration. However, its randomized damage can be pretty unreliable.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Paladin - Noble Sacrifice, Humility, Hammer of Wrath

Noble Sacrifice. As mentioned above, cheap spells like Noble Sacrifice can be used first while you wait for Consecration to become affordable.

Humility. If the opposing player has focused its buff on one single minion, Humility will reverse all that effort.

Hammer of Wrath. Like Consecration, this is a rather expensive spell but can be useful against single targets.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Paladin - Holy Light, Hand of Protection, Redemption, Argent Protector

As a healing class, you can survive all the way to late game with Holy Light.

You can also help your defensive minions survive a little longer with Hand of Protection, Redemption, and Argent Protector.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Hunter

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Hunter AoE cards

Explosive Trap. The hunter’s passive AoE spell is arguably the best against rush decks. For the best effect, only put this in play if the opponent has already amassed his army of low-health minions.

Explosive Shot. This is effective against a buffed creature and the weaker ones beside it.

Multi-Shot. A more powerful version of the Warrior’s Cleave, this deals 3 damage to two random enemy creatures.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Hunter - Kill Command, Arcane Shot

Kill Command. Make sure you have a beast minion in play to make this card more effective.

Arcane Shot. For 1 mana, you can deal 2 damage to a minion.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Hunter - Freezing Trap, Misdirection, Snipe

Take advantage of traps—one of the features Hunters are known for. Freezing Trap acts like the Rogue’s Sap. Misdirection, if you’re lucky, may force an attacking minion to kill one of its companions. Snipe is also great against single targets.

Hearthstone - Hunter - Unleash the Hounds, Timber Wolf, Houndmaster

Don’t forget your beasts. Unleash the Hounds is yet another great anti-rush deck and has great synergy with Timber Wolf and other creatures with attack aura.

Help your beasts defend you using the Houndmaster’s battlecry.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Druid

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Druid AoE cards

Swipe. It’s a weaker version of the Hunter’s Multi-Shot, but costs 1 less mana.

Starfall. It may be expensive for just 2 damage per minion, but you can cast it early with Innervate.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Druid - Starfire, Moonfire, Claw, Bite

Starfire. It’s a more powerful variant of the Paladin’s Hammer of Wrath. Use it wisely.

Moonfire. It doesn’t cost mana, but it’s quite weak it only 1 damage dealt.

Claw and Bite give your hero the ability to attack for one turn and also some armor to negate any return damage.

Additional cards and tips:

Druids are known for their “Choose One” cards that allows for a very flexible play. For instance, the Starfall spell can either damage all enemy opponents or just hit a single target with a bigger damage.

Hearthstone - Druid - Mark of the Wild, Mark of Nature

Hearthstone - Druid - Ironbark Protector, Ancient of War, Druid of the Claw

Druids also have a lot of spells that buff minions with Taunt, such as Mark of the Wild and Mark of Nature. Some of their creatures also have Taunt by default, such as the Ironbark Protector, Ancient of War, and Druid of the Claw. They’re quite mana expensive, so Innervate is useful again here.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Warlock

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Warlock AoE cards

Hellfire. Sure it also damages you and your own minions, but with 3 damage it’s a decent remover of enemy minions.

Shadowflame. This is similar to the Rogue’s Blade Flurry, but you get to sacrifice a minion instead of a weapon. Make sure you pick a sacrifice with high attack points. If there are only weak ones in play, use Power Overwhelming first.

Twisting Nether. Nothing beats the Twisting Nether when it comes to wiping the whole board clean of minions, including your own. Use only when the odds are in your favor.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Warlock - Soulfire, Drain Life, Shadow Bolt

Soulfire. If you’re willing to sacrifice a random card in your hand, you can use Soulfire to remove a strong minion from the board.

Drain Life. You get to damage with this card and restore some health as well.

Shadow Bolt. Pretty much self-explanatory, use this against important minions.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Warlock - Voidwalker, Demonfire

Your cheapest defense (without any snags) is the Voidwalker. Combine it with Demonfire. Otherwise, use Demonfire to kill off an enemy creature.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Mage

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Mage AoE cards

Hearthstone - Mage AoE freeze cards

Mages have the best set of AoE spell cards. You can start off with the cheap Arcane Explosion. Then as you wait for mana to build up for the devastating Flamestrike, keep enemies at bay with Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, and Blizzard. If you have minions that adds damage to your spells, even Arcane Explosion and Blizzard will suffice in clearing the board.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Mage - Ice Lance, Arcane Missiles, Frostbolt

Ice Lance. You can either use it prevent an attack for one turn or deal damage to an already frozen character

Arcane Missiles can be of some use. Just pray it hits the target you want to destroy.

Frostbolt. Its cheap cost lets you kill off rush minions (or freeze them if they survive).

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Mage - Sorcerer's Apprentice, Kobold Geomancer

Mages are quite dependent on their spells, so it won’t hurt to add Sorcerer’s Apprentice to your deck. Add damage to your spells with minions like the Kobold Geomancer.

How to Beat a Murloc or Rush Deck as a Priest

Area of Effect cards:

Hearthstone - Priest AoE cards

Circle of Healing. While its purpose is to restore health, you can make it deal damage instead by playing an Auchenai Soulpriest first.

Holy Nova. If you don’t have the aforementioned CoH and AS combo, your only other option for AoE damage is Holy Nova.

Target-specific spells:

Hearthstone - Priest - Shadow Word Pain, Shadow Word Death, Holy Smite, Shadow Madness

Shadow Word: Pain helps you remove creatures before they get buffed with higher attack points.

Shadow Word: Death can then be used for those who managed to slip by SW:Pain.

Holy Smite deals 2 damage for a single mana cost. Simple as that.

Shadow Madness lets you destroy an opponent’s minion by controlling another of his minions. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.

Additional cards and tips:

Hearthstone - Priest - Mass Dispel, Silence

Make use of the Priest’s Silence spells against buffed creatures or those with auras.

Useful Neutral Cards against Murloc or Rush Deck

Neutral Cards to Counter Murloc or Rush Decks

Hungry Crab lets you eliminate a pesky Murloc.

Doomsayer destroys all minions on your next turn. This can delay an opponent by forcing him to remove Doomsayer from the board first or by forcing him to end his turn without playing any minions.

Abomination. Taunt plus AoE damage upon death equals awesome. ‘Nuff said.


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