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From experience (rank 11), I've noticed that there are a few cards that are essential to know (and to expect) from certain classes.

For example, you should expect a combo "Unleash the Hounds" with "Starving Buzzard" from a hunter at turn 5. You can also expect an AOE spell that deals 4 damages to every minions from the mage at turn 7. Both of these can easily cause a player to lose if they played into them carelessly, even if they were in a strong position before.

So I was wondering what other such cards or combinations are that can turn the game around completely and/or clear the entire board.

  • If you have a better idea for the title of the question, please tell me ! – Pierre Aug 14 '14 at 12:15
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    Generalized questions don't work very well at Arqade, as they don't often specify a concrete issue at hand. We work much better with specific problems you are having, and can focus on those particular aspects. – Frank Aug 14 '14 at 13:32
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    @Frank The question is restricted enough to be reasonably answerable in our format. There simply aren't that many cards that can wipe the board, and playing around them is one of the first things a new player has to learn. – Mad Scientist Aug 14 '14 at 13:42
  • @MadScientist "What board clear / AoE cards exist" is a much more specific question than "what should I keep in mind" which is vague and open-ended. I would vote to close the latter but the former seems much more acceptable. – jw013 Aug 14 '14 at 14:20
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    I don't really see the interest of this question, if you are just asking what those cards are and as you said not depending on the kind of deck but just the hero, look at the cards directly, read the spells and you will have your answer. – Shunwoo Aug 14 '14 at 14:24
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There are many cards one can play around and that one should expect, knowing the capabilities of all classes and the common tactics is necessary for high-level play. All that would be far too much for a single answer here, but there are a few devastating plays that are useful for new players to know.

I've restricted my list to the most dangerous cards or combos, only those that can completely turn the game if you are playing into them unaware.

Mage

  • Flamestrike : 4 damage AoE for 7 mana
  • Blizzard: 2 damage to all enemy minions for 6 mana

Paladin

  • Equality (2 mana): Changes health of ALL minions to 1. Usually combined with Wild Pyromancer or Consecration (4 mana, 2 damage to all enemies) to clear the board
  • Blessing of Kings (4 mana): +4/4 to 1 minion. The threat of this card means that leaving a weak minion alive (even a 1/1 token) can be risky.
  • Paladins have less reliable removals on strong minions, and therefor a Big Game Hunter (kills on 7+ atk) can be worth to be prepared for

Hunter

  • Unleash the Hounds: Summons 1 hound for every enemy minion (3 mana). Usually combined with Starving Buzzard (5 mana) for card draw and/or Timberwolf (1 mana, +1 attack for beasts) for damage.
  • Explosive trap: Deals 2 dmg to all your minions when you attack your opponent's hero.
  • Deadly shot: 3 mana, kills random minion. Opponent will try to create a situation where you only have 1 high-value target (and no other minions) before casting to guarantee a winning trade.

Shaman

  • Lightning Storm: 2-3 AoE damage for 3 mana, especially dangerous as Shaman has a totem with +1 spell damage
  • Bloodlust: 5 mana. +3 attack to all minions (caster side only) until end of turn. Dangerous because it means that any board with a lot of minions (including totems) is potentially lethal.

Priest

  • Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing. This combination deals 4 damage to ALL minions on both sides.
  • Holy Nova. 2 damage to all enemies, heal all friendly characters 2 for 5 mana

Warrior

  • Brawl: Destroys all minions except one randomly chosen one for 5 mana
  • Whirlwind: Deal 1 damage to all minions for 1 mana

Druid

  • Swipe: 4 mana. Deals 4 damage to 1 target enemy and 1 damage to all other enemies
  • Starfall: 5 mana. Deal 2 damage to all enemy minions or 5 damage to one enemy minion
  • Being a class with many strong taunts, a game changer can be an Ancient of War (5/10 taunt) when you're out of removals. Use your removals and silences wisely when dealing with their 3/5 and 4/6 taunts.
  • Force of Nature (6 mana) + Savage Roar (3 mana). 4 + 4 + 4 + 2 = 14 damage. The distinction of 3 separate 4s and a 2 is important when calculating damage through taunts.

Warlock

  • Hellfire: 4 mana. Deal 3 damage to all minions on both sides. Especially dangerous if opponent already has Nerbuian egg or Voidcaller in play.
  • Twisting Nether: 8 mana. Destroy all Minions on both sides. Especially dangerous if opponent already has Nerbuian egg in play.
  • Shadowflame: 4 mana. Destory a friendly minion and deal it's attack damage to all enemy minions (strong with Ancient watcher, it's a flamestrike in that case)

Rogue

  • Deadly poison + blade flurry: 5 mana, dagger > deadly poison > attack(hero or minion with more than 3 hp) > blade flurry, deal 3 damage to ALL enemy characters, includes hero, it's a very strong and flexible board clear combo and also deal 6(or 3) damage to the hero. Sometimes combined with assassinate blade instead of dagger, deal 5 damage to ALL enemy characters, but requires more mana and more card.

Neutral

  • Deathwing: Destroy all minions, 12/12 for 10 mana. (Almost never played, I wouldn't worry about this one)

The list is incomplete, feel free to add to it (this post is community wiki)

  • Thanks. It's a good idea to create a community wiki, hoping the list will grow. Should I still mark the answer as accepted? – Pierre Aug 14 '14 at 13:14
  • Mages can run quite a few +1 spell damage minions, even Arcane Explosion can be used to clear (3 damage Arcane Explosion for 6 with 2 Kobold Geomancer or Ancient Mage with minions). Which is also true with a Shaman. – Jonathan Drapeau Aug 14 '14 at 13:31
  • Bloodlust should be expected anytime a Shaman has several minions on the board and 5+ mana. – spudone Aug 14 '14 at 18:35
  • @spudone, nowadys many Shaman don't put bloodlust in their decks, since it's too slow for current meta and can be a dead draw in most cases. – SSilicon Aug 15 '14 at 15:51

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