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Hearthstone Tombs of Terror Boss Battle - How to beat K'zrath, Plague Lord of Madness

Baggy Trousers are the only option when you have tentacles for legs.

K’zrath, Plague Lord of Madness doesn’t sound like the nicest of people. You’re just trying to quest through the Scorching Dunes like the adventurous hero you are when this bizarre tentacle-covered monster comes up and starts making all your minions succumb to madness. What a meanie. Our guide is here to make things easier though, so keep your head screwed on and dive into the dunes.

For more Tombs of Terror guides, check out our Tombs of Terror guide hub where we’ve got info on unlocks, Signature Treasures and more!

How to deck build for K’zrath, Plague Lord of Madness

  • K’zrath’s abilities are seemingly designed to be irritating. However, you can play around them with a bit of forethought. Each of his phases excels in dealing with different types of minions, so you’ll need both tall and wide options available to you.
  • Remember the Scorching Dunes’ unique Twist - Plague of Madness. Your rightmost minion will attack a random enemy at the end of your turn, so finding some extra damage to shift the fight along can be useful here.
  • Draft some single-target removal if you can. K’zrath can steal your minions and turn them against you, so you’ll likely need a way to deal with them.
  • Take advantage of Bazaar Bob to maximise the overpowered plays you’ll be able to make. Your deck needs to be versatile, with big, single-target minions alongside cheap ones to sacrifice to the Lord of Madness. Particularly in the final stage of the fight, any token generating options you draft will be hugely valuable.
  • Finley’s New “Recruits” Hero Power is a decent, reliable token generating ability, allowing you to create an amalgam on the right side of your board to either trade with the Madness Twist or get hit by K’zrath’s Systematic Betrayal and Murmurs of Mortality.
  • K’zrath has a C’thun growing and growing throughout the battle. This is extremely scary, but if you pick up Glyph of Warding on your way to the final battle, the enemy will never be able to play it, as it’ll cost 11 mana. It’s definitely a passive ability worth grabbing unless something else is too powerful to pass up.

Stage 1

K’zrath’s first Hero Power, Systematic Betrayal, costs 0 mana and auto-casts at the start of the enemy turn. It rotates all minions anticlockwise, buffing minions that change cards by +1/+1. To visualise, that means your rightmost minion will be taken by K’zrath at the start of his turn. Since this is a start-of-turn effect on the enemy side, it means your minions will still get that end-of-turn attack brought about by the dunes’ Twist, as well as any other effects that trigger at the end of your turn.

This Hero Power is reminiscent of the Carousel Gryphon from the Dalaran Heist adventure, but the notable difference is which player is in control. K’zrath has to use its Hero Power at the start of every turn, meaning you’re in full control of which minion moves where. You can kill enemy minions until the left-most one on their board is the one you want, and the right-most one on your side is one you’re okay with getting rid of.

A card like Primalfin Totem is great in this battle, because it’ll just keep generating tiny minions both to take a hit and sacrifice to K’zrath’s side. We found a lot of luck swapping 1/1 Murlocs for whatever big, scary minion it’d absentmindedly left at the left side of its board.

This battle is a tough one to grasp at first, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for the order of all the end-of-turn effects that go off. In our experience, the end-of-turn attack from the Plague occurs before any other minion effects like that of Micro Mummy.

Stage 2

After taking 100 damage, K’zrath will transform into its Evoke Panic form. This time, the Hero Power you’re up against is another 0 mana auto-cast, but it forces the lowest health minion to attack a random adjacent minion. These Plague Lords really don’t mind collateral damage it seems, as this is another ability you can take advantage of. Unfortunately, in Heroic mode, this Hero Power only impacts your minions, so keep this in mind if you’re doing it on hard mode.

You can’t just play absentmindedly in this stage. Keep an eye on your minion situation and make plays based on which one is likely to be forced to attack a neighbour. Also, remember that the rightmost minion on your board will still attack at the end of your turn, so keep the possible RNG in mind as it could scupper your plans for when K’zath uses Evoke Panic.

The Plague Lord will likely bring out a couple of Psychic Screams during this phase to stop you running away with the game. Be careful not to overextend into it and you’ll do just fine, keeping a few minions in hand for the inevitable turn when K’zath Psychic Screams and grinds you to a halt.

The most important thing to remember though: Don’t make silly plays! If the board has nothing on it but two enemy Mountain Giants, for example, they’ll kill each other at the start of the enemy’s turn so don’t put an Argent Squire on board and mess it up. Don’t play minions next to each other if they’ll end up immediately whacking each other up. It seems simple, but it’s easy to mess up.

One more thing: K’zrath likes to cast Surrender to Madness during this phase, so you’ll have a bit of time to get some level of stability with a mana advantage before the onslaught continues.

Stage 3

This part of the battle gets really tough if you didn’t come prepared. Murmurs of Mortality is K’zrath’s final Hero Power, and it’s a passive one this time. Every time you kill one of K’zrath’s minions, one of your minions is brought down to 1 health immediately. This makes even your biggest powerhouses immeasurably more brittle and you’ll need to play very carefully to avoid your minions being killed off.

At this point, buffing up a bunch of small minions is a solid way to go. This stage of the battle is the simplest to visualise as to how it’s going to go, so just keep as many minions on board as possible and hit face whenever possible, trading only when you have to. You won’t be able to avoid the impact of the Murmurs of Mortality Hero Power, but you’ll be able to minimise its negative effect on your board by spreading yourself more thinly. Remember, K’zath has board clears coming out of its eyes, so you’ll be stopped with an inopportune Vanish or Psychic Scream more times than you’ll enjoy. It’s easier said than done, but you just need to be ready for these seemingly endless AOE removals.

Play as wide as possible, keeping as many of your minions as possible alive to attack again. Your health total might be suffering at this point, and K’zrath’s C’thun juiced up like no one’s business, but you should be able to survive a little longer if you’ve used your resources well. Keep slamming down your minions and using your Treasures smartly and K’zath will hopefully fall before you do.

Let us know how you get on against the Plague Lord of Madness! It’s an aptly named maddening monstrosity, but the taste of victory becomes ever sweeter with every ridiculous ability K’zath throws your way. If we’ve missed any tips, leave a comment of course. Enjoy the dune diving!

Check out our Tombs of Terror Guide Hub for more help on beating these big fellas.

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James Law avatar

James Law

Former Guides Writer

James was part of Rock Paper Shotgun's guides team from 2020-2021, bringing his expert knowledge about FPS games, Hearthstone, Path Of Exile and more from his time at Metabomb. He's also a dab hand at Hitman 3, and making his own jam - things which may or may not be related to one another.