Xatma, Plague Lord of Death
Xatma is probably the strongest of the Plague Lords. His first 2 hero powers are very difficult to deal with. While going through this chapter, you’ll have to have an above average amount of removal. At the same time, you’ll need enough minions to recover for his own removal. This section will go over a few ways to strike that balance as close as possible.
Unlike the other boss guides with details with how to handle each stage, this Plague Lord will focus more on the overall fight since the tactics are mostly the same and handling him is a whole process.
Major Deathrattle Effects
Minion Stealer: Sylvanas Windrunner
His first hero power is by far his strongest, as it allows him to trigger some of the most impactful Deathrattles in the game multiple times. The most notoriously difficult one to deal with is Sylvanas Windrunner. Being able to steal a random minion as long as she’s alive is very troubling for decks without a spell to get rid of her. The best way to play around her is first to save most of your better minions for the later stages of the game if you can. Second, Xatma will always play her as soon a possible. Having an empty board on that turn isn’t a bad idea if you wanna check if he has her. He’ll only have one per stage, so it’s important to be cautious before she gets played.
Most of his tactics will remain the same, except that instead of triggering his Deathrattles for free every turn, he’ll trade his minions into yours and revive it for more value. The good part is that you also benefit from the Reborn effect. The optimal way to go about every turn is to make sure something you don’t mind dying (preferably a Deathrattle) dies first, and killing his least oppressive minion before anything else. This can be hard with all of his Taunt minions. Just try to make sure he’s not the only one getting benefits from his hero power.
This is a relatively tamer stage, but it’s hard to keep up the fight if you’re doing this all in one run. You may not be able to take all the damage he gets from his hero power this late in the game. There is a way the have this work for your benefit though. He gets a 3 damage to all enemies card whenever something dies to his hero power, but he only gets one regardless of how many die. He’ll summon 1/1 copies of his minions to try getting the spell. But since they’re definitely going to die, it can be okay to just ignore them and trade into bigger things. Each turn, you can either try to avoid the consequences of his hero power entirely, or try to take his minions down with you.
All Three Stages
Xatma has 2 main strategies; Trigger as many Deathrattles as possible, and Resurrect everything that dies. The first stage may be one of the hardest to deal with, but it’s your chance to set up a better late game situation. With each passing stage, Xatma will have more N'Zoth, the Corruptors and Hadronoxs in his deck. Despite the Chapter Twist having Deathrattle Synergies, it’ll a lot of times hurt Xatma more than it’ll help. Since he runs the strongest Deathrattles in the game, the random ones will usually just be worse. It will affect his resurrecting cards, and give you a better chance at catching up.
The biggest advantage you have is his predictability, he is basically predetermined to make certain choices even if there are better ones. Both this and the random Deathrattles he’ll generate are the best things to exploit in order to win. Here are a few quick notes on the topic.
- He’ll prioritize Expired Merchant for his first stage hero power, even when it’s resummoned with no effect.
- He tends not to use Plague of Death as long as he has more than 1 minion out, even if you’re board is relatively bigger threatening.
- Whenever the tomb generates a Lucentbark for him, kill him as often as you can. Hadronox and N'Zoth, the Corruptor will add more of them. If you can keep them dormant, his board space will become very limited.
- If you happen to generate Rin, the First Disciple, you should wait to play Azari, the Devourer until the start of stage where you feel least confident in. Since he’ll refill his deck every 100 Health, it’s usually best to not use him on the first stage.
- Xatma stalls way longer than the other Plague Lords with all the Taunts, removal and Lifesteal, so prioritize cards that generate resources rather than minions whose value is in their stats. Most of your minions will die to his Deathrattles as opposed to the strength of his minions.
- Most of his Deathrattles are “Destroy a random enemy minion”. This can lead to a problem if you run too many big minions.
- Thankfully, he does have a couple minions that’ll negatively affect his resurrecting cards. Grandmummy is a minion that doesn’t have nearly as strong of a Deathrattle as his other minions, but it also dies twice. Expired Merchant will not retain it’s Deathrattle effect at all either. Seeping Oozeling will occasionally copy these underwhelming Deathrattles if you’re lucky. There’s no strategy you’ll be able to pull off consistently to abuse this fact. But if you happen to have one on your particular run, go for it.
Hero Pre-Adventure Selections
Reno Jackson: As Xatma is the strongest control Plague Lord, you'll sometimes go all the way to fatigue if you don't have a way to add more to your deck. Reno's Magical Torch can not only keep you out of fatigue, it can give you a way to pick off one of his minions every time you use it once it reaches high enough damage. Arcane Craftiness is a good option that can sometimes allow you to kill off multiple removal Deathrattle minions without having to lose minions or unnecessarily waste spells.
Sir Finley: The constant board of insane Deathrattles can be overwhelming quite often. Scales of Justice can for sure get you back in the game if you can't deal with a certain board. Early in the fight, it can also be used as a way to keep his best minions out of the resurrection pool from future N'Zoth, the Corruptors or Hadronoxs. Bubble Blower can also be a fantastic way to generate more minions when Xatma keeps destroying yours.
Elise Starseeker: Addarah might be the best way to deal with one of Xatma's N'Zoth, the Corruptor boards. It won't trigger any of his Deathrattles, and it'll supply your deck with more good cards. Druidic Teaching is the best choice due to its card draw, since the other two Elise hero powers don't do enough to keep up with Xatma.
Brann Bronzebeard: Most of Brann's Treasures will have a minor impact in this fight, but Flo has the power to gift you a treasure or two that can stand up to his onslaught. Playing her on stage 2 can reward you with even more treasures if she gets the reborn effect from dying. Dino Tracking is also a reliable option to increase your chances of getting the cards you need when Xatma does something that you have to have a specific answer to.
Phaoris' Blade: Xatma has no weapon removal and his minions without buffs are fairly low on Attack. If you can get this weapon to snowball enough, you can keep pace with his constant removal by getting rid of problem Deathrattles before you play your minions.
Crawling Claw: There is almost never a bad thing to steal from Xatma, whether it be a powerful Deathrattle minion, or really good Deathrattle support.
Ancient Reflections: With how often Xatma can keep your board small/empty and keep his own full, this treasure can turn things around if you copy some of his best Deathrattles (most notably Sylvanas Windrunner).
Do Not Take
Minions with Persistent Effects: Xatma has SO many "Destroy a random enemy minion" Deathrattles that any minion that needs to stay on the board to get their value will typically not see much use in this fight.
Crusty the Crustacean: With all of Xatma's Taunts and removal, Crusty won't be anything more than a cheap single target destroy effect most of the time, so you can't really take advantage of the massive stats he'll get.
Crook and Flail: Xatma has a tendency to outlast most of your resources, so building a board by recruiting minions only pushes you toward fatigue faster.
Band of Scarabs: This will have very little affect on Xatma's minions. Either their Attack have next to no impact on the board or their stats are boosted through the roof from several Anubisath Warbringer triggers to where -1 Attack won't even matter.