By Spike, Regular Contributor
At any rate, this is the second in a series of short articles on how to play each hero in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. You, the readers, are the ones that voted on who’d be second, so… King Mukla time!
First of all, a huge thanks to everyone who clicked on my article on Patches. You can find it here. This article single handedly garnered more views in 24 hours than all but one of my other articles have done, and some of those have been up for over a month. Due to its success, I’m writing an article the very next day, this time on King Mukla! Keep in mind that as I write this, it’s mid-July 2020, so some information may be outdated by the time you read this. I’ll do my best to keep these updated, but please cut some slack, I have dozens of articles to keep tabs on and not nearly enough time to update them all.
First of all, here’s what King Mukla is currently.
His Hero Power is interesting. One Gold for 2 1/1 buffs is excellent, but comes with the downside that your opponents will get a Banana (0 Gold, give a friendly minion +1/+1) at the end of the round, so they’ll be able to buff a minion during the next buying phase. Updated: there is now a 25% chance to get a “Big Banana”, which gives +2/+2. It doesn’t make a notable difference to either his playstyle or competitive standing. As of 7/18/20, King Mukla actually isn’t that good. On the HSReplay Battlegrounds Tier List, he’s 32cd/44, in Tier 4, with a 24.2% pick rate and a 4.85 average placement. Ergo, he’s below average, but not absolutely terrible. His placements seem to skew towards 3rd-7th place, so by the data he’s a decent hero that doesn’t flop, but has a hard time clutching wins. Update: as of 12-29-2020, he’s in about the same spot. Still a terrible hero.
King Mukla’s Hero Power used to passively give you a Banana whenever you sold a Beast. As with other examples of Heroes that reward/rewarded selling minions, such as Fungalmancer Flurgl or Sylvanas Windrunner (who didn’t sell them, just made them vanish into thin air), he wasn’t very good. Dancin’ Deryl is the one exception I can think of, but his reward for selling minions is fairly unique.
Looking at his current Hero Power, it isn’t terrible. It has some interesting uses, including buffing key minions that aren’t part of a Tribe and can’t normally be buffed, like Soul Juggler or Waxrider Togwaggle, or minions that need to survive to be buffed up in battle, like Scavenging Hyena. Giving a Banana to opponents is a definite detriment, though. In games where there was a King Mukla, I’ve often been able to take huge advantage of the Bananas they gave out to buff key parts of my comp. Given that King Mukla gets 2 and gets them during that buying phase, though, they definitely take the initiative.
Some Heroes (Fungalmancer Flurgl, Ysera, Patches, etc.) have direct synergy with one tribe and have a fairly set gameplan. Others, such as Brann (Murlocs), Deathwing (Beasts), or Illidan (Scallywag/Cannons) have a particular setup that their Hero Power benefits them with without explicitly focusing on that setup. Those Heroes have the advantage that their gameplans are easier to pilot. Mukla doesn’t have this advantage, and so I can’t really offer a set gameplan on how he should play. I can offer some suggestions, tips, tricks, and my preferred Mukla comps.
First of all, Mukla’s Hero Power will aid you in pretty much any comp you decide to make. The only two I can think of where it wouldn’t help at all are the Exodia Deathrattle build (Ghoul triggering a bunch of bombs right off the bat, I believe most people call it Ghoul Deathrattles or something like that) and the Scallywag/Cannons build, which you honestly aren’t likely to find success with with most Heroes. In both cases, you don’t really want to buff your Deathrattle minions’ Health, although I suppose in the Cannons build you could buff the Cannons.
My preferred comp when playing as Mukla is Beast/Deathrattles, focusing on the Rat Pack. Mukla is generally helpful for buffing Pack Leader, who you won’t normally buff otherwise due to him being Neutral, and Scavenging Hyena, who can be buffed, as a Beast, but is awesome to buff simply so he survives long enough to snowball into a gigantic minion.
For those unfamiliar with the comp, I’ll take a quick look at it. The basic idea of it is to grab cards like Scavenging Hyena, Rat Pack, Rabid Saurolisk, and Monstrous Macaw early on, then add in Pack Leader and eventually Goldrinn, the Great Wolf. In the late game, you have a big ol’ Rabid Saurolisk, but the real star of the comp is the Deathrattle synergy package. Often, from left to right, you have Monstrous Macaw first, then Goldrinn, the Great Wolf, and then Rat Pack, Pack Leader, and Scavenging Hyena as the last 3 minions. You get +4/+4 buffs to most of your board, sometimes multiple times thanks to Monstrous Macaw triggering Goldrinn’s Deathrattle. Your Saurolisk and Rat Pack tend to harm your opponent’s board fairly heavily, and then when Rat Pack dies it summons a bunch of Rats, which get buffed by Pack Leader. This whole time, your Beasts have been dying (including the Rats), buffing your Scavenging Hyena to incredible stats.
That’s the ideal, at least. In reality, sometimes your Rat Pack/Scavenging Hyena/Pack Leaders die early, or get sniped by Ship’s Cannon or Whelps, and the comp doesn’t have finishers. Sometimes your Monstrous Macaw hits Rat Pack’s Deathrattle and does nothing, although I’ve seen comps that ignore Rat Pack, making Goldrinn the only Deathrattle, to guarantee Monstrous Macaw being a buff. They then put in something like Maexxna or Cave Hydra to replace it, sometimes replacing Scavenging Hyena as well. From what I can tell, either one works. The one that keeps Rat Pack even in the late game is higher risk, higher reward. I may write up a piece on how the comp works in detail later, but this section of the article is already longer than it should be. Sorry.
At any rate, that definitely isn’t the only use for Mukla’s Bananas. Another interesting comp for them is Dragons, simply to buff Waxrider Togwaggle, so he can survive and be buffed by your Dragons killing opposing minions, making him less likely to die to Whelps, Cannons, and the like.
Maybe the most interesting use for Mukla is in Demon comps. Wether Midrange, Token, or just plain old Demons, Soul Juggler is a key minion, and this is a simple way (I believe the only way, outside of other Heroes’ Hero Powers) to buff it. Buffing minions that summon other minions when damaged, like Imp Mama or Imp Gang Boss, or minions that buff other Demons while alive, like Siegebreaker or Mal’Ganis, is also not a bad move.
Essentially, King Mukla’s Hero Power is going to be helpful in any comp you choose to play, but especially in ones that rely on a minion with no Tribe. Giving a small buff to your minions isn’t something you’ll really dislike (I’m sure someone will read this, then leave a nice comment along the lines of “I HATE buffing my minions!” Troll, thank you for showing off your lack of maturity and lack of originality.)
Man, I’ve spent a while going over little comps and not so much on general gameplay. Oh well. As for general gameplay, Mukla has 2 extremes, and I’ll go over a few things about each.
The first extreme is, essentially, “I DON’T WANNA GIVE MY OPPONENTS BANANAS!” With this strategy, incredibly overcautious Mukla players make no use of their Hero Power. No, just no. Battlegrounds is a game where your Hero Power and how you use it really does matter. If you’re really super cautious about giving your opponent Bananas, wait until you get a minion you need to buff (like the aforementioned Soul Juggler or Pack Leader) and then do so.
The other extreme is when a Mukla player decides that Bananas are just bacon. They can’t get enough. (Cue trolls saying “I HATE BACON!” That’s nice, dear.) These players are awesome to have in your lobby, because the non-Mukla players are staring at Bananas nearly every turn. You can probably do better with this strategy than not Bananaramaing (is that the verb?), but it isn’t especially good either.
There isn’t really a set game plan for Mukla, at least in my opinion, but here are a few tips:
Turn 2- You may be wondering if it’s better to upgrade your Tavern or buy a minion and Bananarama. It’s a pretty complicated decision, but at the end of the day, if you bought last turn or can buy this turn a minion that is crucial to a comp (Scavenging Hyena, Whelp, Murloc Tidecaller, etc), buy a minion and then Bananarama, tossing the Bananas onto that crucial minion. If you can’t buy and didn’t buy a comp-crucial minion, you usually want to upgrade Bob’s Tavern. One notable exception is against Deathwing, where you can buy a minion in the case of him not upgrading his Tavern, so that you simply don’t lose that turn.
Early on, you probably want to Bananarama as often as possible while still advancing your comp, and use the Bananas to buff minions. King Mukla does fairly well in the early- and mid-game, simply because Bananas allow you to have more stats than the opponent. In the mid-game, however, you may want to start saving your Bananas, so that when you get comp-crucial minions in the mid game (Tiers 3 and 4 have a lot of them!) you can immediately buff them a good deal.
In the late game, King Mukla tends to fall off. A few extra stats don’t mean as much once comps are established, especially against Poisonous Murlocs. However, if your comp can prevent its crucial minions from dying due to the buffs, your chances are good. Really, if you can do well until 3-4 opponents are gone and survive with a good bit of Health, you’ve done fairly well with Mukla.
Honestly, expecting too much from him leads to disappointment, as he just isn’t an especially strong Hero. I’m sure some Mukla fans would disagree, but that’s my take on his viability. He’s Tier 3 and worse than nearly three-quarters of the Heroes for a reason.
At any rate, here’s a quick overview of some of the crucial minions in some popular comps to buff with Bananas:
Dragons- Waxrider Togwaggle (T2), Bronze Warden (T3), Herald of Flame (T4)
Demons- Soul Juggler (T3), Mal’Ganis (T5), Imp Mama (T6)
Pirates- Ripsnarl Captain (T4), Seabreaker Goliath (T5), Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler (T5), Dread Admiral Elise (T6)
Murloc- Murloc Warleader (T2)
Mech- Security Rover (T4), Junkbot (T5), Foe Reaper 4000 (T6)
Beasts (non-Deathrattle- Scavenging Hyena (T2), Pack Leader (T3), Cave Hydra (T4), Mama Bear (T6), Maexnna (T6)
Deathrattles- Baron Rivendare (T5)
That isn’t every comp possible, but it is a large chunk of the more common ones. Even if it isn’t one of those minions listed, pretty much any minion (the exception is Deathrattle minions) will want a 1/1 buff. Don’t be too scared of using Bananas, because with King Mukla, doing well in the mid-game is even more crucial than for most Heroes. He isn’t super strong, and his late game is somewhat lacking, so a Top 4 finish isn’t terribly difficult. A win, however, is an extremely uphill battle.
Until next time,
Never Stop Playing