The Kobolds and Catacombs expansion is about to release, and we’re getting excited about the prospects of all the new cards and decks we’ll get to play! I thought it might be interesting to ask our writers, as well as some Hearthstone content creators what cards they were most excited about. I’d like to extend a big thank you to all that participated, and be sure to check out their various social media channels! Also, let us know what cards you are most excited about in the comments!
Abhimannu’s Pick: Windshear Stormcaller
Windshear Stormcaller is my pick of the expansion. While it may not be the most viable card, the card does show some promise in Totem Shaman decks that utilize Wicked Witchdoctor, Kobold Hermit and Primal Talismans. In the brief stint that Witchdoctor Shaman was popular, cheap spells like Totemic Might and Primal Fusion were highly effective.
In Wild, we also have access to powerhouses like Totem Golem and Thunder Bluff Valiant to make the deck even stronger. It should not be too hard to get value out of Windshear Stormcaller and with 4 different basic Totems in place and a Primal Fusion thrown in with Windshear, you can get 14 burst damage from Al'Akir the Windlord instantly. Bloodlust and Thunder Bluff Valiant can, of course, serve as two highly viable win conditions in a Totem Shaman list due to the synergies you have access to.
Abhimannu isn’t that involved in social media, so other than enjoying long walks on the beach he has been known to write guides for Hearthstone Top Decks!
blisterguy’s Pick: Rhok'delar
For a long time, Hunter has been my least favourite class to play. As every other class gained a variety of viable strategies, Hunter could only sit on the sidelines offering bargain basement beast battles and *squints at cue card* beauty spa facials, I think? Something to do with the face, anyway, and the idea bored me.
Rhok’delar has piqued my curiosity. Could this actually be a new viable Hunter strategy? The Internet Echo Chamber doesn’t think so, but I can’t imagine Blizzard would create this card without it at being at least a little bit better than Rexxar’s skincare routine. Seriously, whenever I ask his advice and all he does is grunt something about how he moisturises alone then goes back to feeding that oversized cuddle-bear, who I swear has had plenty enough already.
Will it be great? I’m not convinced it will, but I’m really looking forward to giving Spell Hunter a go, because it’s sounds fun.
Chimbarozo’s Pick: Twilight Acolyte
An excellent card for the controlling Dragon Priest deck. Highlander variant or not, this card makes the cut in all of them because it’s just that good. The immediate comparison appears to be Aldor Peacekeeper and Twilight Acolyte is miles ahead – the baseline of the Battlecry effect is almost the same, however its implications are far greater. To start with, it means that Acolyte’s attack actually grows, unlike Peacekeeper, turning it into a sizeable threat every time it deals with one and the 4 health means that most often the thing it just hit won’t be able to retaliate against the Acolyte on its own or even with a ping hero power (Druid, Rogue, Mage). Furthermore, because of class context, reducing an enemy minion’s attack to 2 is a lot more significant of an effect that it is on the Peacekeeper. He is usually paired with Stampeding Kodo, which also works with Twilight Acolyte, however it also enables combos with Potion of Madness and Cabal Shadow Priest. While the latter does not always make the cut in Priest decks (even though this card is a wonderful incentive), Potion is played in every single Priest deck and for good reason. Twilight Acolyte is well positioned to become a real meta-defining card and as a control player at heart, I couldn’t be more excited to play with something so flavorful and powerful.
Chimborazo is a card game theorist and player who develops concepts for Hearthstone and produces analysis pieces for HSTD. You can find him on Twitter @ChimborazoRPG.
Cinder’s Pick: Reckless Flurry
One of the cards on my short list to craft is Reckless Flurry. Control Warrior was my first love in Hearthstone after opening a golden Grommash Hellscream in the game’s earliest days. I remember scraping together enough dust to craft two Shield Slams to build the deck, and then the hours of watching pros play it in tournaments on Twitch. While Control Warrior excels at efficiently removing single minions, it has always struggled with dealing with a lot of minions at once. Brawl was the only answer for a long time. Sleep with the Fishes helped to an extent but often required a Whirlwind-like effect to activate and didn’t always deal enough damage to clear the board, so it wasn’t 100% effective. Reckless Flurry finally grants Warrior a more “absolute” AOE. By combining Warrior’s natural ability to gain armor, Reckless offers an inexpensive way to handle wide boards that develop too quickly for Brawl to manage. And paired with Brawl, this gives Control Warrior access to four reliable AOE effects which I hope will elevate it to a go-to control deck in the coming meta. Armor Up!
Cinder is a former podcast host and is now a caster and Content Manager for Team Hearth League. He casts regularly on Sunday nights at twitch.tv/teamhearthleague. He also streams on occasion at twitch.tv/cinderascendant. You can find him on Twitter @CinderAscendant.
Martian’s Pick: Kingsbane
The card I’m most excited for from the upcoming Kobolds and Catacombs set is definitely Kingsbane. This card allows us to make good use of mediocre cards like Leeching Poison, and might even be enough to justify the use of post-nerf Blade Flurry. I wouldn’t have quite as much faith in Kingsbane if we weren’t also getting Cavern Shinyfinder. If Kingsbane is the only card in the deck, Cavern Shinyfinder draws it every time. It doesn’t matter if you draw Kingsbane first either, as once it’s destroyed it shuffles itself back into your deck, buffed and ready for Cavern Shinyfinder to pull it out again. Using your Hero Power: Dagger Mastery after playing Kingsbane also prevents fatigue (or by playing Kingsbane twice with Valeera the Hollow‘s Hero Power), so it might even have applications in Mill Rogue, but we’ll see.
Martian is suspiciously absent from social media, but plans on streaming in the future. When he’s not lurking in the shadows, he writes articles and guides for Hearthstone Top Decks!
RidiculousHat’s Pick: Barkskin
Barkskin is not a flashy or exciting card, but as far as deals go it’s very efficient. You’re basically guaranteeing a sticky early to mid game board – whether you’re keeping an early threat alive to pressure (Vicious Fledgling!!) or enhancing a cheap anti-aggro tool (Tar Creeper/Crypt Lord/Druid of the Swarm/Doomsayer), you should get some pretty significant value out of the additional butt strength. The card obviously shines against more aggressive strategies looking to pressure your life total – not to mention that when paired with Earthen Scales, you have 4 one mana activators for the new Ironwood Golem that gain you life in the process. And hey, if you’re looking for taunt druid combo shenanigans with Void Ripper, this is 3 damage right to the face.
When he’s not podcasting on Coin Concede or participating in Team Hearth League, you can find RidiculousHat making noise on Twitter @Ridiculoushat, participating in most hearthstone discords, and streaming on Thursday and Saturday nights at twitch.tv/ridiculoushat.
Roffle’s Pick: Call to Arms
Hail, and well met Hearthstone Top Decks readers! Roffle here, and my card choice for Kobolds and Catacombs is Call to Arms!
A former Paladin main in World of Warcraft, I’ve long had a soft spot for Uther (and, more recently, Arthas) in Hearthstone. As such, I see a lot of potential in this four mana Paladin spell.
By the Numbers
If you evaluate Call to Arms based solely on its cost, you’ll find that (unless it somehow completely whiffs) you get significantly more value than you pay in mana.
Drawing three cards from your deck alone is worth more than 4 mana. The fact that the minions go directly into play means you tack on a minimum of 3 more mana (up to a max of 6 mana) worth of value.
Sure, the minions you Recruit aren’t going to be the same powerhouse minions pulled by Warriors and Priests but, in the right context, they still can be enough turn the tide of a game.
The power of the card’s immediate effect cannot be overstated, but the fact that it improves your following draws is equally important. Paladin typically runs little card cycle which always runs the risk of stalling out in the late game. By pulling three early game minions out of your deck, you’re far less likely to topdeck something costing two or lower and, in turn, will find late-game threats more easily.
Standard Murloc Paladin
Not only is Call to Arms a powerful card, but it fits cleanly into several of Paladin’s existing archetypes. In Standard, Murloc Paladin will continue to be a force to be reckoned with until the Year of the Mammoth comes to an end.
Part of the power of the deck is the early game snowballing early game minions into big swing turns with Finja, the Flying Star or Gentle Megasaur. Call to Arms accomplishes both of those in a single card with the opportunity to refill the board after seeing AoE removal.
Even post-rotation, the sheer power level of Call to Arms makes it unlikely that it will stop seeing play once Finja, Vilefin Inquisitor, and others are banished to Wild.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, Control Paladins may also find a use for Call to Arms. Even in these slower decks, pulling a Wild Pyromancer to pair with a stranded Equality or finding a stubborn Doomsayer hiding deep within your deck can swing an otherwise unmanageable board state.
A Walk on the Wild Side
In the Hearthstone’s Wild Format, Call to Arms may be even more potent. Dude Paladin is already considered to be one of the best decks in the format thanks to its incredible consistency. Throwing in two copies of Call to Arms in a deck running Righteous Protector, Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, and Haunted Creeper can only increase the deck’s power level.
Less obviously, the card fits neatly in Anyfin Paladin lists looking to kill off some fish men and dig through their deck for copies of Anyfin Can Happen. Once again, Call to Arms does both by bringing Bluegill Warriors (and others) into play while thinning your deck.
Overall, I’m incredibly excited for the Kobolds and Catacombs release. In particular, very much looking forward to abusing Call to Arms in a variety of Paladin archetypes.
A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.
Spivey’s Pick: Lynessa Sunsorrow
Who wants to play a seven mana one-one? This guy! Lynessa Sunsorrow is a HOUSE and not to be underestimated. Lynessa’s mana cost fits her snugly into the standard Paladin lineup, right between Sunkeeper Tarim and Tirion Fordring. At first glance, she appears to need a specific deck built around her, but many lists are running Blessing of Kings and Spikeridged Steed, which would create an on-curve 7/11 Taunt monster with a 2/6 Taunt upon death. If your opponent has a silence effect, they’d better have two because Tirion’s coming down next! Additionally, Lynessa might just be the hero we need to bring The Last Kaleidosaur back from the brink of extinction. Time will tell!
TacoRocco’s Pick: Deck of Wonders
My personal choice for card that I’m looking forward to from Kobolds and Catacombs has to go to Deck of Wonders. I can’t really see how this can be used well competitively, but it will be fun to play around with and try out in Arena. Mage spells are generally very strong (except for a certain useless 2-mana spell). When you are in a tough spot, this card has the potential to either Flamestrike the opponent’s board, give you an out with Ice Block, or just Pyroblast your own face to end your misery.
It might have some potential in Constructed, but I see this card more as a fun RNG card.
WickedGood’s Pick: Leyline Manipulator
At first glance Leyline Manipulator looks like a cheaper Ethereal Peddler, but once you start looking at it, it feels like it’s going to be a staple of mage decks for the foreseeable future. First of all, Mage doesn’t currently have a great 4-drop outside of Water Elemental, and a Chillwind Yeti with upside is a great place to start. It’s also an elemental, so it curves cleanly into Servant of Kalimos. But the big thing about Leyline Manipulator is that it discounts any cards not from your deck, not just spells, so it’s not just limited to discounting the spells from your Cabalist's Tomes and Babbling Books. That elemental you just got from Servant of Kalimos? The Sindragosa you just pulled from Netherspite Historian? The legendary minions you got from Sindragosa’s battlecry? They all count. And when you play Leyline Manipulator to get those discounts, it also upgrades the Lesser Ruby Spellstone in your hand to start the cycle all over again. All of a sudden, Gadgetzan Auctioneer could have some stiff competition for the Best Deals Anywhere.
WickedGood hosts Off Curve, a Hearthstone podcast recorded while commuting, which you can find at offcurve.com. He also streams occasionally at twitch.tv/wickedgoodfm, and tweets more than he probably should as @WickedGood.
Evident’s Pick: To My Side!
Partially for the memes, but also because I think a deck that runs absolutely no minions is super interesting. This style of deck might have been better suited for a class like Mage or Priest, but if you’ve gotten to play any Lock and Load Hunter you know that a spell-based Hunter deck is actually quite fun to play. I do think, however, the card might cost 1-mana too much or could have been a Discover effect rather than randomly spawning the Companion.
This and Rhok'delar might not be enough to push the archetype, but hopefully it doesn’t end up like Freeze Shaman and gets some follow-up support. We might look back upon this card as the next Purify or it could just end up as another Moorabi.
Evident is the guy who runs this website! When he’s not furiously adding cards or deck lists to Hearthstone Top Decks, he has started doing some writing on his new site: Pro Game Guides.