Zechs Files: Top 10 Cards from Kobolds and Catacombs
It's early Christmas for Hearthstone fans. The new set comes out this week and we're taking a look at the cards you should be crafting for the upcoming meta game.
Ixlid, Fungal Lord
If the internet is to be believed, Druid doesn’t need much help in the coming expansion. Luckily for the cynics, I don’t think Malfurion gets much help. Ixlid is my pick for best Druid card mostly just because it’s really cool. Is it actually good? Maybe. It costing five means you’re often able to play some decent minions in the same turn. As a 2/4 it’s unlikely to survive for long, but if it does you will quickly take over the board.
Honourable Mention: Jasper Spellstone
The one thing Druid does lack is removal. Cue Jasper Spellstone. It’s not a very exciting cards, but oftentimes the best cards in a set are pretty dull. The fact that this scales with the game is fantastic and, although six damage won’t always kill what you want, Druid will usually have the minions it needs to finish the job.
Hunter gets a lot of cards which might be good, depending on how the metagame shapes up. Spellstone is one of the best in a vacuum. Starting at six power and toughness for five mana is already good. Upgrading to four, simply by playing secrets, is going to be tough for a lot of decks to beat. Not great against sweeper-heavy control decks, but excellent against anything else.
Honourable Mention: Rhok’delar
Maybe this is just the memelord inside me, but I actually think this card is good. The type of deck which plays no minions is exactly the type of deck that wants a handful of cards at all times. Is that actually a good deck? That remains to be seen. Bare in mind, hunter has quite a lot of spells which make creatures now. I’m not convinced by Rhok’delar but I am hopeful.
Just when you thought controlling Mage decks couldn’t get any more frustrating, along comes Arcane Artificer. We saw the power of this little guy on the final reveal stream, gaining six armor off Blizzard. That combination on turn seven will just be game over for a lot of aggro decks when you remember that the minions taking a turn off will often be equivalent to even more than six extra life.
Honourable Mention: Aluneth
I have heard people calling this one of the best cards in the set. While the effect is certainly powerful, I can’t fully endorse the Mage weapon for a couple of reasons. First of all, in control/fatigue matchups, this card is an absolute liability. Secondly, in the aggro matchups you simply can’t take turn six off to draw cards. In all other scenarios, this card is ridiculous. You will bury midrange decks in card advantage, just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you cast it.
Paladin gets a lot of situational cards in this set, but Level Up is one of the few blatantly powerful cards the class is getting. This is sometimes going to be even better than Quartermaster and that card was already great. Token Paladin is already a good deck in Wild and it looks like it might be in Standard now too.
Honourable Mention: Benevolent Djinn
Personally, I like my Paladin decks to be on the defensive. This little fella might be my new best friend post-expansion. Three-mana 2/4s have a history of being pretty good, and gaining three life a turn can be backbreaking against certain decks. I can’t wait to give him a try.
So, the best class in the game gets two of the best cards in the set? Okay. Psychic Scream is often going to be the best sweeper in the game. Exactly how good it is depends on your opponent’s deck, but it is always going to be good. Sometimes - against, say, Shaman - it is going to be absurd. Have fun drawing your Healing Totem on turn 10.
Honourable Mention: Duskbreaker
I don’t know if Dragon Priest is going to be a thing in Standard, but in Wild this gives Priest yet another option it really doesn’t need. Any Priest deck that plays Dragons is going to want a four-mana Abyssal Enforcer. Simply put, this card is great in Dragon Priest.
This weapon is slow, but it sure is powerful. Combining it with Shinyfinder is an obvious starting point for some kind of Oil Rogue style deck, but I don’t think you need to commit to building around it. Just playing it in a deck with Deadly Poison might be good enough, but whether or not Keleseth decks actually need this effect is the only thing holding this card back. Remember Blade Flurry? Blade Flurry is still a Standard-legal card.
Honourable Mention: Evasion
“Oh, good, another Ice Block effect,” said nobody ever. Combo decks love this effect and this card could be a real boon to Miracle Rogue decks if the rest of the cards come together. This might not be the best card in the set but it could easily be the most frustrating.
Kobolds and Catacombs goes live in the US on Thursday (Friday in Europe, because reasons). I guarantee you that there will be highlight clips of this card and Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Radiant Elemental by the weekend. The odds of that coming up in any given game are slim, but this game is very dangerous, regardless. It’s difficult to even write about why this card is so good, with so many possible outcomes, but just trust me: it’s really, really good.
Honourable Mention: Murmuring Elemental
Remember Brann Bronzebeard? That card was like a walking, talking value pinata. This guy isn’t quite as good but it can do some pretty excellent things. You’re going to have to do them all in one turn, since it’s a two-mana 1/1, but how about turn eight this and Aya Blackpaw? How about turn ten this guy and Kalimos? Spicy!
This thing has so much synergy packed into it, I can’t help but fall in love. On the reveal stream we saw Realz play it as his only demon, guaranteeing its recruitment from Possessed Lackey. It also makes an incredibly strong stabilizing play out of Gul’Dan. How many aggro decks are going to kill you through 18 toughness of taunt minions, plus five armor and whatever health you still had? Of course, you have to survive to turn ten for that to happen, but even against non-aggressive decks it is still a strong play.
Honourable Mention: Hooked Reaver
Control Warlock gets a lot of new toys in this set, but the new Molten Giant is my second favourite. Ironically, this demon doesn’t go all that well in the current Gul’Dan shell, thanks to its taunt effect being a battlecry, but if there is a demon-light control deck to be built, this card looks solid. If not, the Spellstone should probably be in this spot.
Warrior is in a weird place right now, but this card is a strong nod towards classic Control Warrior decks. The fact that this sweeper sort of scales infinitely is very powerful. I don’t know if there is a home for this card right now, but if there is, it will be an integral part of it.
Honourable Mention: Drywhisker Armorer
I feel like I’m scraping the barrel a bit here. Warrior didn’t get a whole lot, and while I do think this card is quite strong against aggro decks, I don’t think it’s amazing. It’s certainly not very interesting but I do think a control warrior deck in Standard, if it’s not all taunts, can make good use of a minion that will realistically gain six or more armor quite often.
A lot of the neutral minions in this set are quite mediocre, but having more weapon destruction is going to be decent in a set full of legendary weapons. Gluttonous Ooze is likely going to be better in most decks, but decks that don’t care about armor might just prefer having a 5/5. If you think Weapon Rogue is going to be a big deal, you can run all six oozes and a Harrison. That’s probably not correct, but it might be quite funny on launch day when everyone is trying to make their shiny new weapons work.
Honourable Mention: Dragonslayer
I picked this card with an agenda in mind. It seems like a long time since the sideboard debate reared its head, but cards like Dragonslayer are a really good example of why I think competitive games should allow sideboarding. Nobody wants to play a 4/3 for three with no abilities, but if it is guaranteed to kill a decent size minion it is excellent. Sadly, there being so many different decks available means cards like this are very difficult to play in your normal 30. This is the new Eater of Secrets, ladies and gentlemen, and she is probably going to sit around collecting dust, despite being amazing in certain situations.
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