Summonable Heroes

        Going back to Hearthstone one more time, today will be a shorter article about a rather interesting concept- playing as different heroes. I don’t mean the various classes and cards you can pick, but rather the additional heroes that one can turn into through some means in the game, making them basically summonable. There’s only two, so as I said, this will be quick.
        Firstly, let’s establish what doing this actually entails. The hero is what actually determines your Hero Power, and what kind of deck you can make. For instance, only Mages can use Mage cards, excluding special effects that take cards from your enemy, like Nefarian’s card, which takes two when played. However, these summoned Heroes replace your current one, changing the Hero Power, but not your cards. The deck, after all, is already made, so the new Hero can only work with what the old one left them.
        In any case, the first of those summoned heroes is Lord Jaraxxus, a nine Mana 3/15 Demon minion, which can only be used by Warlocks. In keeping with the theme of Warlocks sacrificing things for power, such as cards and Mana Crystals, Lord Jaraxxus, when played, leaves the board entirely and crushes the Hero who played him, replacing them.
        It so, however, possible to play him normally in unusual circumstances, such as Voidcaller, which pulls a Demon onto the board when killed and skips their Battlecry, which is what makes Jaraxxus replace your Hero. His 15 health means he can be used to pummel any other minion with risk of dying, and his three attack, while not great, could be worse. And since he can only be used this way through means where it costs no Mana, since you’re not playing him normally, he’s basically a free minion.
        If you do play him normally, however, you’ll see exactly why he has those stats. When he replaces your Hero, Lord Jaraxxus has a maximum health of 15. This means that it cannot be raised above that no matter what… not that Warlocks generally have much means of healing anyway. This means Jaraxxus is best played when you have little health, so you’re gaining health instead of losing it.
        As for his three attack, when he becomes the hero he comes with Blood Fury, a three attack weapon with eight uses, one of if not the most durable weapon in the game. This lets him attack, obviously, and is great for hitting your enemy every turn thanks to its high durability. Most battles won’t last eight more times, to the point that Jaraxxus actually has a quote for if he loses his weapon.
        Your Hero Power is also replaced with “INFERNO!”, a two Mana effect that summons a 6/6 Infernal. These are cosmetically and stat-wise identical to the Warlock’s six Mana Dread Infernal, except they lack the Battlecry- hurting everything else for one damage- and can be summoned for four less. This leaves Jaraxxus plenty of Mana to do other things, and he can repeat this every turn.
        This obviously leaves the enemy in a precarious position- they’re being attacked for three damage every turn, and 6/6 minions are quickly flooding the board. Trying to destroy the minions is mostly futile, meaning they have to strike at Jaraxxus himself. Since he has half the normal amount of health he can be beaten more easily than most, but actually surviving to do so is the challenge.
        However, it should be pointed out that since he appears on the board before replacing the Hero, he is subject to enemy Secrets that might hit a summoned minion, such as Snipe, which takes off four health, so the resulting Hero would only have 11 health. He also cannot be played if your side of the board is full, since he does take up space there, if only briefly. His replacement also removes any Armor you had, or the Frozen effect, but you do keep any Secrets if you have any.
        Jaraxxus also counts as a Warlock himself for the purpose of card stealing effects, so using them on him will get you Warlock cards. He also, despite being a Hero, still counts as a Demon for the purposes of the card Sacrificial Pact, which is a zero Mana Warlock spell that destroys a Demon to restore five health. This means you perhaps should not use Jaraxxus against enemy Warlocks, or anyone who can steal cards from you. And no, for clarity’s sake, this card will not work on either of the demon bosses in Karazhan, with Prince Malchezzar mocking you for even trying it.
        Moving on, we have the next summonable Hero, Ragnaros the Firelord. However, unlike Jaraxxus, who is summoned directly, Ragnaros works a bit differently, presumably due to the lore behind them. As a Demon, Jaraxxus can potentially be summoned by a skilled enough Warlock… but as World of Warcraft and Hearthstone both show, doing so is not advisable for the summoner, hence the replacement.
        Ragnaros, on the other hand, is an elemental lord and as such won’t just appear because you call him. Well, the normal Ragnaros minion does, but the point is that this is a reference to the original lore and the Blackrock Mountain adventure. To summon the Hero version of Ragnaros, first you must play the nine Mana 9/7 Majordomo Executus. Given the cost, these stats aren’t exactly great, but he could certainly do some damage. However, what is important is his Deathrattle. Much like when you beat him in Blockrock Mountain, Executus summons Ragnaros from his slumber to do battle, only instead of being replaced himself, Ragnaros replaces your current Hero.
        Sadly, while turning into a giant embodiment of fire sounds incredibly awesome, he doesn’t really stack up to Jaraxxus stat wise. Like the minion version, Ragnaros has eight attack and eight health. A maximum of eight health, meaning by the time the change can feasibly happen, your opponent could very well destroy him in a turn or two, unless you maintain careful control of the board.
        As for his eight attack, that turns not into a weapon but into his Hero Power, “DIE, INSECT!”, which shoots a eight damage fireball at a random enemy. While this can wipe out most anything it hits, it is, again, random. It can help keep the board clear potentially, and do massive damage to the enemy Hero, but the randomness means it could save you or leave you with no way to avoid defeat.
        However, the fact that the change happens when Executus dies means that you may be able to control when it happens, and thus have enough Mana to pull off the Hero Power as soon as it does. If you have less than eight health, this can heal you, though like Jaraxxus, you do lose your Armor, but not your Secrets. Unlike him, Executus can be used by any Hero, not just Warlocks. Also, he counts as a Boss for the purposes of card stealing effects, meaning they will not take a class card, but instead a copy of Tail Swipe, a four Mana four damage spell. Not very useful for your enemy generally. In addition, the transformations lets you use his Hero Power immediately, even if you have already used your old one.
        So while Ragnaros is extremely frail compared to any other Hero, if used properly he can be a terror to face. Jaraxxus falls in a similar category, but he has more health and capability, in exchange for only being able to be used by one class, and being able to be instantly killed by a particular zero Mana card. Both of this playable bosses, so to speak, have their weaknesses, but they make up for it with sheer power to end the match quickly and decisively- if you play your cards right.


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