Twitch streamer GetMeowth seems to be sitting pretty at the end of this Hearthstone match. His opponent has no minions on the board, and a pitiful 2 health remaining. GetMeowth has his full 30 health and a whopping 26 armor on top of that, and a full board of primarily high-health, high-damage taunt minions. He just has to survive one turn and his victory is in the bag.
And that’s when his opponent, Rats, plays a complicated and devastating combination of cards that not only destroys GetMeowth’s board but delivers 512 damage directly to his hero — 456 more damage than they needed to win.
Let’s break this down
If all these flipping cards and shifting minions look like Greek to you, there are two things you should know: Rats here has probably been biding their time for most of the game, stalling GetMeowth in various ways as they drew through their deck in order to pull enough of just the right cards to make this work. They probably sacrificed a lot to get here (including almost all of their health).
The other thing you should know is that Rats and GetMeowth are playing a Wild game, which means that every card in the history of Hearthstone is available to them. Hearthstone’s other play mode, Standard, only contains the previous two years of cards (roughly), and Standard is the mode in which official Hearthstone competitions are played.
In other words: No, you couldn’t pull off this particular trick in a Hearthstone tournament.
So here’s the “trick”
Set dressing: Aviana and Kun the Forgotten King
The first thing Rats does on their final turn is set the stage for their combo, which requires them to play a whole series of cards that cost a lot of mana — and the most any player gets by default is 10 mana in a single turn.
So first, they play Aviana, a 9-cost minion that makes every minion in your hand cost a mere 1 mana. Then they use their remaining 1 mana to play Kun the Forgotten King, which gives you a choice: Gain 10 armor, or refresh your mana crystals. Rats picks the latter.
Now all their minions cost only 1 mana, and they have 10 fresh mana crystals to play with.
The combo’s heart: Majordomo Executus and Clockwork Automaton
The core of what Rats is doing relies on the interplay between Majordomo Executus and Clockwork Automaton, a new card introduced in Hearthstone’s latest expansion. Here, Rats doesn’t care much about Executus as a minion, but rather about Executus’ Deathrattle effect (which only happens when the minion is destroyed).
When Executus is destroyed, it transforms its player’s hero into Ragnaros the Firelord, which does a few different things; only one of them is important for our purposes. Ragnaros brings his own hero power to the fray: a 2-mana ability that can be activated once per turn called “DIE, INSECT!” This ability does 8 damage to a random enemy character, either minion or hero.
Remember Clockwork Automaton? Clockwork Automaton doubles the damage and healing of your hero power. But 16 damage isn’t going to win Rats the game (and in any case, Majordomo Executus is still alive; it doesn’t have Ragnaros’ hero power yet). Rats needs to up the ante.
Escalation: Carnivorous Cube and Faceless Manipulator
Enter Carnivorous Cube, a very popular card in the current Hearthstone meta, particularly in Warlock decks. It has a tricky ability: When you play it, you must choose one of your other minions to destroy. But when that Cube is later destroyed, its Deathrattle effect will summon two copies of that minion.
Rats uses it to destroy their Clockwork Automaton. Now they just have one Cube. When that Cube is destroyed, though, two Clockwork Automatons will appear.
But Rats doesn’t stop there. He plays not one but two copies of Faceless Manipulator, a card that allows you to choose any minion on the board and become an exact copy of it. They use those cards to make two more copies of that Carnivorous Cube. Now, they have three Carnivorous Cubes, each ready to turn into two Clockwork Automatons when they’re destroyed.
Let’s recap: Rats’ board now has one Majordomo Executus, which will transform their hero into Ragnaros when it dies, and three Carnivorous Cubes prepped to turn into a whopping six Clockwork Automatons when they die. And, thanks to Aviana’s 1-mana minion effect, Rats has set up all of that for only 5 mana.
Now they just have to trigger all those Deathrattles.
The finisher: Deathwing
Like its namesake in World of Warcraft, Deathwing is a destructive card. When played, it destroys every minion on the board, and discards its own player’s hand. But Rats doesn’t need their hand anymore — they’ve already got everything they need.
Deathwing wipes out all of GetMeowth’s carefully constructed powerful taunt minions, and triggers all of Rats’ Deathrattles. There’s DIE, INSECT! — the 8-damage, randomly targeted hero power. And there are the six Clockwork Automatons, multiplying that damage to an absurd total of 512 for a cost of 2 mana.
Rats still has 4 mana left, and with all of GetMeowth’s minions destroyed, there’s only one “random” option for their hero power to land on:
Their opponent’s face.
DIE, INSECT!, indeed.