Death Knight Guide – Hearthstone

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  • Death Knight Mechanics Overview
  • Death Knight Sample Deck

The Death Knight is Hearthstone's new hero. This is a unique hero as there is an entirely new concept for deck-building, the Rune system. The Runes open up new possibilities for putting together decks with cards that interact with each other in interesting and powerful ways.

We will cover the three Rune types (Blood, Frost, and Unholy), as well as how this will impact your playstyle. This guide will also cover some of the best cards, decks, and the Death Knight-specific Corpses mechanic that is a crucial part of all DK decks.

Death Knight Mechanics Overview

There are three main mechanics for deck-building and playing Death Knight: the Ghoul Charge hero power, the Rune system for deck-building, and the Corpses class mechanic. Let's go over each of these.

Hero Power: Ghoul Charge

The Death Knights comes with a two mana cost hero power, Ghoul Charge. It's relatively straightforward: summon a 1/1 Ghoul with Charge. If it's alive at the end of that turn, it dies. For every minion that dies while you're playing Death Knight, you'll get a Corpse. More on that in a moment, but this hero power is crucial in generating early Corpses to progress your deck.

How Does The Rune Deckbuilding System Work?

Death Knight's deck-building is unique and a new angle for Hearthstone constructed. There are three Rune types available: Blood, Frost, and Unholy. Each Rune type comes with its own set of cards, but you can mix these together in certain ways depending on the Rune cost of each card.

Each card comes with a Rune cost between one and three. This will take up a corresponding slot on the deck-building screen.

For example, take the Frost Death Knight card Frostywyrm's Fury. This card has three rune slots in the top left, which means it can only be used alongside other Frost cards. There are no other slots available for Unholy or Blood runes.

However, take the Blood rune card Patchwerk, which is only one Blood rune slot. This means you could use it with other two-slot Runes from either Unholy or Frost.

Some of the best decks make use of only one Rune type, whereas others will mix two different types together. There is a lot of potential here, and we will likely see the meta shift and change a lot as the best card combinations are figured out.

Corpses Mechanic

As well as the new Rune system, Death Knight's also have a unique hero mechanic: Corpses. To keep it short and sweet, Corpses are spawned by either minions dying on your side of the battlefield, or spawned via cards that produce them.

Here are some of the best cards that produce Corpses:

  • Heart Strike (1-cost) – Deal 3 damage to a minion, if that kills it, you get a corpse.
  • Plagued Grain (1-cost) – Gain four corpses and shuffle four crates into your deck – when they appear, summon a 2/2 undead minion.
  • Body Bagger (1-cost) – Gain a Corpse battlecry.

Corpses can be spent much like mana, and they can be used to activate powerful combos across all three Rune decks.

Take the Unholy card, Lord Marrowgar. This card requires you to generate as many Corpses as you can to pull off a powerful, end-game combo that will fill your board with stacked Golems with Rush.

Death Knight Sample Deck

There are so many unique ways to put together a Death Knight deck, but this sample 3x Frost Deck is a great place to start if you're looking for a tempo-heavy, control deck.

Horn Of Winter (x2) Death Knight1
Defrost (x2) Death Knight2
Frost Strike (x2) Death Knight2
Deathchiller (x2) Death Knight2
Harbinger of Winter (x2) Death Knight2
Lady Deathwhisper (x1) Death Knight4
Might of Menethil (x2) Death Knight4
Remorseless Winter (x2) Death Knight4
Tharassian (x1) Death Knight4
Marrow Manipulator (x2) Death Knight6
Overseer Frigidara (x1) Death Knight6
Frostwyrm's Fury (x2) Death Knight7
Astalor Bloodsworn (x1) Neutral2
Nerubian Vizier (x2) Neutral3
Brann Bronzebeard (x1) Neutral3
School Teacher (x2) Neutral4
Theotar, the Mad Duke (x1) Neutral6
Sire Denathrius (x1) Neutral10

This is a tempo-heavy deck (that means you're trying to control the board at all times, placing down more and more powerful cards) that makes good use of the Death Knight's Frost cards.

Control the board, take favorable trades, play your big cards. This deck isn't too complicated and makes use of some of the Death Knight's most powerful cards.

Card And Choice Analysis

  • Horn Of Winter is essential for a high-tempo Death Knight deck as it provides a quick refresh of two mana crystals, allowing you to get early power or get out Overseer Frigidara or Frostwyrm's Fury early.
  • Defrost and Frost Strike provide good early card draw and damage on the battlefield.
  • Deathchiller is included a lot of these early Death Knight decks because it provides excellent staying power, generating several more Taunt minions if the game goes your way.
  • Tharassian is a must-include because it just seems like such a powerful turn 4 play for the Death Knight. We also rate Lady Deathwhisper as a must-have.
  • For neutrals, we had to include Brann Bronzebeard because of the double Battlecry on Overseer Frigidara and Thassarian. You could also include Marrow Manipulator to benefit from this, although that might mean having to drop Frostwyrm.

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