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Hearthstone Tombs of Terror Boss Battle - How to beat Xatma, Plague Lord of Death

We'll make this an easier undertaking.

Xatma, like the rest of the Plague Lords, begins the battle with 300 health. The Plague Lord of Death will give you a hard time if you’re not prepared, just like the rest of the big bosses.

For more Tombs of Terror guides, check out our Tombs of Terror guide hub where you can find our pages on unlocks, Signature Treasures and more!

How to deck build for Xatma, Plague Lord of Death

  • Hard removal is key here. Cards like Entomb and Psychic Scream, which don’t trigger Deathrattles, are perfect to face off against Xatma. Definitely grab them if you’re doing a playthrough with Elise.
  • Addarah is a great addition too, given her ability to remove (and steal) enemy minions while opening the possibility of buffs from Bartender Bob. Keep an eye out for treasures like Kodo Hide Whip - they’ll be similarly able to snatch Deathrattle minions from your foe.
  • In general, you’ll want to find ways to kill off enemy minions. Even with strong Deathrattles in Xatma’s deck, you’ll want to get them clear sooner rather than later, otherwise they’ll keep generating value.
  • Draft for the long game, as things really do start to take a while. Xatma likes to shuffle in Corrupted Bloods into your deck from Hakkar, the Soulflayer. This means long term value and ways to shuffle cards into your deck are rather useful here, as well as long-game effects like Sr. Tomb Diver.

Stage 1

Xatma’s first Hero Power is a tough one to deal with. Foreboding Fate allows Xatma to trigger a friendly minion’s Deathrattle for 0 mana, just like Play Dead from Hunter decks of last year. Unlike Vesh, there’s no shenanigans to deal with here - you’re aiming to get Xatma’s HP total down to below 200 to advance to the next stage. You’ll be trying to draft a whole lot of removal up until this point in the fight, so don’t waste it if you can afford to. Use your minions and other abilities to work your way through Xatma’s onslaught of brutal Deathrattle effects, keeping in mind the effects and potential fallout of doing so. You’ll often need to weigh up things like: is it worth killing the enemy Sylvanas Windrunner right now, or should I wait until I have no minions on board for her to steal? Can I use a Silence effect, or do I have to take a bunch of damage?

Depending on your deck type, you’ll need to approach this fight differently, but in general the Plague Lord will be trying to throw a host of Deathrattle effects in your direction, and you’ll need to make the tough decisions and weigh up the pros and cons of clearing away enemy minions as opposed to leaving them alive. At this stage in the fight, you don’t want to fall too far behind so deny the enemy as much value as possible.

There are ways to force Xatma to keep a whole board of bad cards, using combinations of board states and treasures like Band of Scarabs and Elixir of Vigor, but generally you’ll need to deal with enemy minions through standard means.

The Twist - Plague of Death, isn’t a strict help or hindrance. Rather, you’ll want to keep track of the number of minions, both friend and foe, who need to be killed off to summon a minion from the Eternal Tomb. Trading off your tokens can be extremely useful to summon a big Deathrattle minion, but you never know what’ll come out of the tomb. Occasionally, you’ll get the exact wrong minion for the job. Anomalus shows up at the least convenient time through the Eternal Tomb, which can scupper your plans but also be used to your own benefit if you engineer the board state to your advantage. Remember, Xatma can trigger any friendly Deathrattle for free, and they’ll usually be looking to ruin any progress you’ve made either through board clearing Deathrattles or minion-stealing through Sylvanas Windrunner and the like.

Stage 2

Xatma transforms after taking 100 damage, bringing out a new Hero Power in Death’s Embrace. This new ability gives the first minion that dies on each side Reborn, bringing it back to life with 1 Health. This stage requires your focus, so keep in mind the ongoing passive effect you’re dealing with. If Xatma plays out a minion with a strong Deathrattle, try to kill off a weaker minion first, then remove the more significant threats for good.

It’s probably the toughest phase to get to grips with, especially when Xatma keeps bringing out Obsidian Statues that combine Lifesteal, removal of your minions, and the Reborn effect from Death’s Embrace. Try to stabilise by using your removal spells on other minions, or just finding a way to kill the Obsidian Statues and Sylvanas Windrunners twice over, preferably with spells so your minions don’t get killed off or stolen.

N’Zoth, the Corruptor features in Xatma’s deck too, so unless you have Glyph of Warding, be prepared for a sudden board of tough Deathrattle minions. It might be best to save your Plague of Death, Entomb and Addarah for this situation, as well as your other big board clears. You’ll hopefully have been drafting removal throughout the run, both Treasures and normal cards at the end of each round.

With the combination of Deathrattles, Eternal Tomb and Death’s Embrace, your board clears will struggle to fully do their jobs, but you’ll need to manage your health total to avoid getting overwhelmed too heavily, so try to keep the enemy board weak. Keep an eye out for Xatma casting Shadow of Death, which can give them a free board refill and target minions on both sides of the battlefield. If Ragnaros the Firelord is hanging out on your side, Xatma can shuffle three free copies into their deck, so always be ready for something like that.

Stage 3

Death’s Gaze, the final stage. In a vacuum, this is the easiest stage of the fight. No more infinite value for the enemy, and they have to deal with minions getting killed off. At the start of each turn, Xatma deals 1 damage to all minions. If any die, they receive an Untimely Demise card, which deals 3 damage to all enemies for 3 mana.

This Hero Power is far more predictable than the others you’ve been having to deal with, and many players know how this kind of thing works having had to play around cards like Defile, Lord Godfrey and Warpath. Just don’t leave minions on 1 Health if at all possible, otherwise Xatma has access to a big board clear and some chip damage in your face, which if you’re completing this battle in one go isn’t exactly something you can handle. It also appears that Xatma will play Untimely Demise on their turn regardless of board state, instead of saving it for a turn in which it would be stronger.

At this stage, N’Zoth can’t come out if you’re playing on Normal difficulty, since the auto-cast of Death’s Gaze will always occur, meaning Xatma only has 9 mana to play with. Keep an eye on the board state and your health total as usual, and eventually the Plague Lord will fall.

Remember to avoid overextending of course. Plague of Deaths litter Xatma’s deck, and just when you think you’ve got it in the bag your minions slide slowly into a big pit of sand. If you’ve got this far you should be alright, but remember that each new stage the boss replenishes their deck, meaning the big, powerful Deathrattles come out once again and you’ll need to rely on your deck’s longevity.

Remember - defeat was specifically accounted for in the Plague Lords’ design. This one is tougher than the first two as well, so keep plugging away, keeping in mind all the tricks Xatma can pull out, as we’ve described above. You’ll manage as long as you keep our tips in mind. We’ve got more guides for the Tombs of Terror available too, if you’re interested! We’ve even got help on some of the more rare and explosive aspects to the Tombs of Terror, such as Bazaar Bob’s VIP Membership!

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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.