Hearthstone Highlight: Leper Gnome

Leper Gnome

 

Now that I’ve established Sundays as the day I talk about a science fiction or fantasy television show, my next step is to establish Saturdays as another regular column. So, because my son and I are enjoying the great new Blizzard game Hearthstone so much I’ve decided to talk about the game on Saturdays unless something more important pops up that I need to talk about.

To start off I’d like to talk about one of my favorite cards so far in the games I’m playing, the Leper Gnome. At the moment I’ve been putting two of this card into every deck I construct as I try out different strategies and themes.

At a cost of a very cheapĀ one mana, the Leper Gnome is available for play on the very first turn of the game if you can manage to draw them into your opening hand. I seem to have fairly decent luck in getting the card in my first one or two turns. You can play it immediately and if your opponent removes it immediately with a spell, you still get to nail them for two damage as a result. If you get lucky, your opponent might use their hero ability (particularly Rogues and Druids) to remove him and do some bonus damage to themselves by taking the two damage the care deals on a melee hit plus the two damage from the flavor text.

Some could argue that there are better cards available for the mana cost and they might be right. But, for me, I’ve been getting an awful lot of mileage from this card. In my opinion, if you manage to get your Leper Gnome out onto the board and your opponent doesn’t remove it immediately then any damage you get to deal with it to an opponent’s minion or to the opponent’s hero is bonus damage and you are way ahead of the curve.

There have even been a few times when I’ve used a Leper Gnome as part of a finishing move to get the last couple damage points I needed to win a game. I haven’t found any cards that synergize in an overly spectacular way with this card yet, but it can obviously benefit from the standard +2 attack type of buffs just like everything else can.

Leper Gnome Flavor Text: He really just wants to be your friend, but the constant rejection is starting to really get to him.

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Hooked on Hearthstone

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I enjoy playing World of Warcraft in my free time. There have been times when I play it a lot and times when I play it just a little. It sort of depends on how my mood is at any given time. The trouble with World of Warcraft though, is that to do anything meaningful in the game you sort of need to play for an hour or two at a time, ten or fifteen minutes just doesn’t do much for you.

Enter Blizzard Entertainment’s newest game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun this game is for me right now. I’ve always wanted to play a trading card game but never had the time or money. Hearthstone fixes all of that. The game is free-to-play, absurdly easy to learn, and games take about ten to fifteen minutes, exactly what I need!

There is obviously a lot more depth to the game than just playing the game and winning or losing. You can create your own custom decks, use the basic decks, craft some new cards, earn gold for winning or completely daily quests like “Win 3 Games,” or just look at all the amazing card artwork and flavor text. It’s so straightforward that my five-year-old son sits on my lap while I play and after a few games of watching began to get a grasp of what we had to do each turn to win.

He is able to figure out which cards we can play on a turn by checking how much mana is in the bar to the side and comparing it to the cost on the corner of the cards. He can grasp that minions on the board with big numbers need to be destroyed first, and that some of the minions can be protectors for my hero and some can’t. It’s been a lot of fun to play the game on my own, but even more fun to play with my son.

Right now the game is in a closed Beta (which I was lucky enough to be invited to thanks to my brother-in-law), but it will be reaching open Beta in a few weeks and I imagine the full, outright launch of the game within a few months of that. My son and I are really excited for the release of the game on iPad, which should happen with the full launch once the game leaves Beta. At that point we are going to set him up with his own game account on the iPad at home and he and I will be able to use his iPad and my iPad to lay on the living room floor and play against each other. That way I’ll be able to help him if he has questions, but by then he’ll be a rock star at the game anyways and probably won’t need much help to be honest.

I’m having a ton of fun playing with the Druid deck, making it as high as Rank 17 in a ranking system that goes from 25 (lowest) to 1 (highest). I’ve been fine-tuning my deck little by little and I’m now winning more often than not. My son is partial to our Mage deck because it features fireball spells and ice spells pretty heavily and the visual effects are pretty amazing.

So, I’m definitely going to be playing Hearthstone for a long, long time. It fits a niche for casual fun that I haven’t found with anything else. Maybe I’ll see you there!