Decision Making in HearthStone, analysing puzzles #2

Welcome back to this series where I create manually HearthStone puzzles to highlight some of the important concepts of the game.

Solutions of last week puzzle #1

Last week, I left you with a puzzle “Find the lethal” as Mage vs Paladin.

HS puzzle lethal mage
HS puzzle: find the lethal as Mage*

On your board: [Dalaran Aspirant] with 0 stack of spell damage, [Novice Engineer], [Mana Wyrm] not yet buffed, [Illuminator].

On the opponent board: [Twilight Guardian] with his battlecry buff and [Chromaggus].

In your hand: [Dragon’s Breath], [Blizzard] and [Ice Lance].

And it was actually too simple. Indeed there are two solutions: one basic one and one puzzle-like. When building the puzzle, I had in mind the difficult solution and didn’t see the obvious one…

Simple solution:

  1. Blizzard + Ice Lance on the Guardian which dies. Mana Wyrm gets 3/3. Dragon’s Breath costs 4. (3 mana left)
  2. Attack with Novice Engineer the Chromaggus. Dragon’s Breath costs 3.
  3. Dragon’s Breath the paladin. -4. Mana Wyrm gets 4/3.
  4. Attack with remaining minions. -3 -4 -2 = -9 for a total of -13.

As this was not really what I intended, I present you the updated puzzle.

Puzzle Mage v1.1

puzzle 1 mage bis
HS puzzle: find the lethal as mage v1.1*

On your board: same as above.

On the opponent board: [Sen’jin Shieldmasta] and [Boulderfist Ogre] which is frozen.

In your hand: [Dragon’s Breath], [Arcane Explosion] and [Ice Lance].

So you had another Ice Lance and easy lethal but your younger brother played it against the ogre.

Solution of puzzle v1.1

  1. Hero power on the Illuminator. Dalaran Aspirant gets one stack of spell damage. (4 mana left)
  2. Arcane explosion, 1+1 damage on every opponent minions . Mana Wyrm gets 2/3. (2 mana left)
  3. Ice lance on the Ogre which dies. Mana Wyrm gets 3/3. Dragon’s Breath costs now 4. (1 mana left)
  4. Attack with the Novice Engineer and the Illuminator the Sen’jin Shieldmasta, all three die. Dragon’s Breath costs now 1.
  5. Dragon’s Breath face. -5. Mana Wyrm gets 4/3.
  6. Attack with Dalaran Aspirant -3 and Mana Wyrm -4.

What’s interesting here is the use of the hero power against our own minion so that enough minions die and Dragon’s Breath is playable. Secondly the Ice Lance to kill Ogre has the only effect to buff the Mana Wyrm without impacting the mana for Dragon’s Breath. Finally the spell damage is a powerful ability which sometimes is forgotten. Here it is useful (and necessary) on the three spells!


  • Even if we don’t usually want to ping our own minions, this possibility exists and should be considered. Freeze Mage decks use it with [Acolyte of Pain]. It’s also used with [Sylvanas Windrunner].
  • Mana Wyrm is a simple minion for 1 mana but can quickly be an issue if not dealt with. The combo is usually played with the coin and [Mirror Image] on turn 1.
  • Spell damage is not to be underestimated. Say hello to [Malygos].

Puzzle #2

puzzle warrior clear the board
HS Puzzle as Warrior vs Hunter, clear the board

Let’s have a look at a new puzzle now, it’s a Warrior one.

On your board: [Shieldmaiden] + [Death’s Bite] equipped.

On the opponent board: [Webspinner], [Ram Wrangler] which summoned a [Savannah Highmane] buffed by the [Houndmaster].

In your hand: [Whirlwind], [Fiery War Axe], [Unstable Ghoul], [Charge] and [Bloodsail Raider]

It’s not about finishing the Hunter (he has 12 Health Points [HP]) as it’s actually impossible this turn. This puzzle is about finding the best play to take the least possible risk for the next turn. You have only 2 HP and 5 armor. So the idea is to clear the board. You could want to put Charge on your Bloodsail Raider to kill the Savannah Highmane, put the Unstable Ghoul as defense and go face with the ShieldMaiden and Death’s Bite to put the Hunter at 3 HP and ensure a victory if you survive next turn. There is also another solution which puts the hunter at 1 HP. That’s the thing though. How much damage can the hunter do in one turn with minions on the board? A lot. It depends of course of how many cards he has in hand. The possible plays are really open to discussion here.

Solution in the next episode!

*Puzzles are created using Very nice site for creating puzzles. Too bad they are not dynamic enough to allow the users to test the puzzles.

  • bcchs

    Shield Maiden Into Taunt, whirlwind, equip fiery war axe => Taunt dead

    Bloodsail Radier + Charge = 7 dmg to face + attack with axe 3 dmg to face = gg

    • yeah gg! Indeed it’s a mistake. It’s really crazy how much focusing on some ideas make you forget others possiblities. I’ve thus added some health to the Hunter so he really cannot be killed in one turn. I did not approve your other comments as it was basically saying the same. I hope it’s ok.

  • Crownie

    1. Play Bloodsail raider (8 mana left)
    2. Play Charge on raider (8/3, 5 mana left)
    3. Kill highmane
    4. Kill Ram wrangler with weapon (2hp and 2 armor left)
    5. Play Fiery war axe (3 mana left)
    5a. Whirlwind triggers, killing spider and dealing 1 damage to both hyena’s
    6. Play whirlwind (2 mana left)
    6a. Everything except houndmaster dies (houndmaster 4/1)
    7. Kill houndmaster with shieldmaiden
    7a. Shieldmaiden dies but would’ve died to unstable ghoul anyhow.
    8. Play unstable ghoul.

    Would give you at least 1 more turn (depending on what the spider gives)

  • Supertriskel

    Deux solution

    Goule instable plus charge et sur la 8/7 ce qui tue la webspinner et la grande criniere est a3pv
    Ensuite la 5/5 tue la grande criniere tu equipe la hache ce qui fait proc le rale d agone ce qui met tout le reste du board a un puis tourbillon

  • Rorry

    1.Attack with shieldmaiden in highmane (taunt 6/2 now)
    2.Play ghoul + charge, attack taunt, whirlwind( 4 mana left, webspinner, hyenas die, other minions have 1 hp)
    3. Attack face with weapon and play fiery war axe (2 mana left, all minions dead)
    4. Play bloodsail or armor up to be safe

  • Guillermo

    In Mage Puzzle 1.1, you don’t really need to ping your illuminator. And you don’t need to kill the ogre either. Just ping face, ice lance face, use arcane explosion plus illuminator and novice engineer to clear the taunt. Dragon’s Breath now costs 3. Direct that to the face, attack face with everything else. Face Damage: 13 total 🙂

    • Guillermo

      For exact lethal, you could also choose not to cast ice lance.

      • Thibaud

        only 6 mana are left 😉

    • Thibaud

      You’ve got 6 mana only. Ping + ice lance + arcane explosion + dragon’s breath at 3 = 8 🙂

      • Guillermo

        Got me 🙂