Finally, all of the cards in the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion are available, and we can begin to assess cards in their full context! While I’m typically opposed to pre-release expansion card reviews, I did want to pick a few choice cards that, at first glance, are powerful enough to push their way into the Wild Format.
Wild Hearthstone and New Expansions
Because of the larger card pool, new cards tend to be a little less disruptive in Wild than in Standard. This, coupled with the lower player base, means new archetypes tend to take a little longer to develop in the Wild. That said, given the power level of several new cards in Kobolds and Catacombs, players would be foolish to exclude them from existing powerful decks.
Below, you can find my picks for The Top 5 Wild Hearthstone Cards from Kobolds and Catacombs, along with early iterations of the decklists they fit into.
- Class: Paladin
- Mana Cost: 4
- Rarity: Epic
- Card Text: Recruit 3 minions that cost (2) or less
Things Don’t Add Up
If you evaluate this card based on its effect and mana cost alone, it’s insanely powerful. We’ve seen Small-Time Recruits, a 3 mana spell that draws 3 one-cost minions into your hand. At one more mana, Call to Arms puts minions directly into play and includes those that cost an additional mana.
Looking at it another way, for four mana you can draw three cards and get up to six mana worth of stuff in play …what? Bring that into a format and class that has access to both Shielded Minibot and Haunted Creeper, and Call to Arms is certain to be a mainstay in Paladin.
Dude, What’s Up?
Obviously, this card feels right at home in Midrange Recruit Paladin. Already, the deck has a huge spike at the two mana slot, making it likely you’ll get a preferable ratio of 2 mana minions. Most of the time, you can confidently spend four mana and summon at least 5 mana worth of minions while expending only a single card.
Better still, summoning low-cost minions from your deck dramatically increases the draw density of future turns. Typically, Dude Paladins are subject to stalling when they draw their ones and twos in later turns. Pulling these minions out of your deck and into play makes this less likely to occur.
The four-mana slot is a bit weak in Recruit Paladin, and Divine Favor is frequently inconsistent in terms of the cards it draws. Call to Arms efficiently addresses both of these issues and cleanly slides into Midrange Recruit Paladin as a two-of spell.
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Midrange Recruit Paladin
While the most obvious candidate, Recruit Paladin isn’t the only deck to benefit from Call to Arms. Anyfin Paladin has already begun to shift towards a more board-centric early game that can make use of immediate impact on the board state.
More generally, Anyfin Paladin is looking to dig through their deck to get Murlocs in play (and dead) and find a copy (or two) of Anyfin Can Happen. In a single card, Call to Arms can accomplish both things. At worst, Call to Arms can find a Wild Pyromancer to pair with a stranded Equality in hand. More often, the card can pull a Bluegill Warrior or two into play and swing the board into a more manageable state.
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Anyfin Paladin
- Class: Priest
- Rarity: Epic
- Mana Cost: 7
- Card Text: Shuffle all minions into your opponent’s deck.
Twisting Nether that doesn’t trigger Deathrattles and costs seven mana. Yes, you read that correctly. In any class, this card would be incredible. For Priest, however, it’s just absurd. Reno Priests already have a seemingly unending parade of AoE removal, and Psychic Scream may prove to be the coup de grâce.
A Plethora of Removal
While I’m hesitant to assume that Reno decks want to jam in enough dragons to make Duskbreaker worth running, players facing Priests will need to start worrying about mass removal beginning on turn four. Essentially, this consistent threat of removals puts players in a position where they are unable to play around AoE for fear of failing to threaten their opponent.
Sure, handing your opponent powerful minions and reducing the Resurrect pool may be scary enough to give Big Priests hesitation before including Psychic Scream. In most cases, however, Psychic Scream will dilute the opponent’s deck and lead to weaker draws in the late game. Imagine, for instance, playing Psychic Scream on a fully buffed board of Silver Hand Recruits. If these Dudes had Divine Shield, the Priest would have no good way of handling the board state, save for a few two-card combos. With Psychic Scream, however, a single card cleanly resets the board and frustrates the opponent by adding as many as seven dead draws in their deck.
In the Wild Format, the avoidance of trigger Deathrattle minions cannot be overlooked. In a game mode with frequent inclusions of Piloted Shredder, Haunted Creeper, and Voidcaller, Psychic Scream adeptly dodges the lingering effect of these powerhouse minions.
An Embarrassment of Riches
The question becomes not whether there is space for this card in your deck, rather whether you run it instead of or in addition to the two six-mana spells in Lightbomb and Dragonfire Potion. Since the former becomes a little redundant with Psychic Scream, it is the best candidate to be benched, though an uptick in Dragons could result in the latter seeing less play.
Too many AoE spells is absolutely possible, since (eventually, at least) Reno Priests do need to kill the opponent. Typically the deck is full of cards that buy time, cycle cards, and make up the combo kill. At seven mana, Psychic Scream falls firmly in the “buy time” category but may prove to accomplish this goal better than any other card in the deck.
Upon the release of Kobolds of Catacombs, you’ll likely find me running a Reno list very similar to what we’ve seen in the past, but tinkering a bit with the high-end mass removal slots.
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Reno Priest
- Class: Warlock
- Rarity: Common
- Mana Cost: 1
- Card Text: Battlecry: Draw a card. Deal 2 damage to your hero.
Hero Power on a Stick
When evaluating Hero Powers of the nine Hearthstone classes, you’d have a difficult time trying to convince me that Life Tap isn’t the strongest. For years, Gul’dan has abused his Hero Power to the point that Blizzard seemed hesitant to print powerful cards to bolster the class. Now, that same power comes with a 2/1 body for one mana.
Let’s all Go to the Zoo!
It’s no Secret that Zoo Warlock loves 1-mana minions, but Kobold Librarian is on another level. Typically, Zoo pilots want to get an early-game board presence which, with the numerous one-cost minions, quickly dumps cards from hand. Fortunately, Life Tap comes in handy in these situations and reloads the hand with additional resources.
With Kobold Librarian, on the other hand, you get a card that can do both. While not the best turn one play, it’s certainly better than passing your first turn. Additionally, this little Kobold provides a preemptive Life Tap to ensure a full hand. Even in later turns it fills out your curve and replaces itself in hand.
Blood will Flow!
Only time will tell if Vulgar Homunculus will prove to be strong enough to eliminate the need for Prince Keleseth in Zoo Warlock, but Kobold Librarian pairs nicely with the antisocial two-drop’s ability active. Not only does the 2/1 stat line become 3/2, but it helps you dig through your deck for additional buffed-up bodies and continue a chain of threats.
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Zoo Warlock
There Can Only Be One!
My first instinct is to say that Kobold Librarian is one of the rare Hearthstone cards that can just be jammed into any deck. In this case, while I think Reno Warlock can make good use of both the card cycle and attached body of Kobold Librarian, I’m not yet convinced it makes the cut with such a vast card pool in the Wild Format.
Either way, it may not be the flashiest card in the set, but it’s certainly one of the most powerful.
- Class: Rogue
- Mana Cost: 4
- Rarity: Epic
- Card Text: Battlecry: Shuffle 3 Ambushes into your deck. When drawn, summon a 4/4 Spider.
- Class: Rogue
- Mana Cost: 4
- Card Text: Summon a 4/4 Spider. Draw a card. Cast this when drawn.
Rogue archetypes tend to be reliant on having stuff on board. Whether it’s having a target for Bonemare on turn seven or a target for buffs and burst rolling through Miracle turns, sticking a minion is critical. The ability summon a 4/4 that costs neither mana nor a card should not be underestimated.
Spiders By the Numbers
To better analyze the power of Fal'dorei Strider, we can look at the probability of drawing an Ambush for each draw after played. Assuming the card is played on turn 4, the likelihood of drawing at least one copy in the next six draws can be found below.
Played on Turn 4 on the Play
- First Draw: 11.5%
- Second Draw: 22.2%
- Third Draw: 31.9%
- Fourth Draw: 40.8%
- Fifth Draw: 48.8%
- Sixth Draw: 56.2%
Played on Turn 4 on the Coin
- First Draw: 12%
- Second Draw: 23%
- Third Draw: 33.0%
- Fourth Draw: 42.2%
- Fifth Draw: 50.4%
- Sixth Draw: 57.9%
Obviously, Fal'dorei Strider presents a mechanic that benefits from drawing cards. While Tempo Rogues tend to run very little card cycle, the potential benefit of including Fal'dorei Strider would be to summon a free minion on turns when Bonemare is available. Even drawing only a single card each turn, nearly one-third of the time a Spider will be summoned rolling into the critical seven mana turn.
Even without Bonemare to buff the spiders, summoning a completely free 4/4 offers a massive tempo swing. That said, I’m not entirely certain that the potential upside is better than the consistency of running Piloted Shredder in the four-mana slot.
We Need a Miracle!
Where this card can really shine, however, is in a deck that draws a lot of cards. Miracle Rogue certainly fits the bill in this case. While the archetype has been dormant of late, few minions fit the Miracle archetype better than Fal'dorei Strider.
As a result, we could see a revival of cycle-heavy Rogue lists that replace Tomb Pillager with Fal'dorei Strider. There’s no guarantee that the Wild metagame will cooperate enough to allow it, but a resurgence of Miracle Rogue would be a welcome shift in the format.
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Miracle Rogue
Blade Flurry Died for This!
Likewise, the introduction of Kingsbane may result in an influx of Oil Rogues taking advantage of persistent buffs to the Legendary weapon. Should this be the case, Fal'dorei Strider may find yet another home in Rogue lists. Buffing a weapon is great, but these lists really want a minion on board to land the Combo buff on and Strider offers four bodies in one card.
This multitude of minions in a single four drop allows the Oil Rogue to run a full suite of spells to cycle with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, as well as find some valuable healing from Leeching Poison. Doomerang may be a bit ambitious in this list, but options for large-scale removal are somewhat limited for Valeera and the low cost of her unique weapon may finally warrant a copy or two.
- Class: Mage
- Mana Cost: 6
- Rarity: Legendary
- Card Text: At the end of your turn, draw 3 cards.
Okay, this one may be a bit of a reach, but I feel like my previous four choices were fairly obvious so I thought I’d include a wildcard (pun, regrettably, intended) in the list. It may be wishful thinking, but I do believe there is some real potential in Aluneth.
Interested in Wild Legendary Cards? Be sure to check out the Wild Hearthstone Legendary Tier List!
Card draw is universally powerful in cards games and Hearthstone is no different. As such, the ability to refill your hand at the end of each turn is absurd. Given enough time, there is a lot you can do with the extra resources in hand.
Compare Aluneth, for a moment, to the widely used Druid spell Nourish. Losing the flexibility of the card is certainly a downgrade, as is the extra mana cost. The persistent effect of casting a Nourish at the end of each turn, however, gives Mages a lot of gas.
Sure, you probably don’t want this Legendary weapon in a deck with a lot of top end, but cycling cards at the end of each turn is undoubtedly strong.
Finding the Right Home
Traditionally, it’s Control decks that want to run a lot of card draw, but with how quickly Aluneth can fill your hand, it probably makes more sense in an aggressive tempo or burn deck. Coupled with Explosive Runes, this Mage weapon could give an old fringe archetype, Aggro Freeze, the tools to see play once again.
Where this deck previously had trouble was facing down other hyper-aggressive decks and losing straight up to Reno Jackson. The extra card draw offers massive amounts of post-Reno damage, while Explosive Runes may provide clear skies long enough to get critical minion damage in during the first few turns. It could also just deal five extra damage to face. Nice!
Kill Stuff, then Kill Face
The persistent hand refill from Aluneth also allows the Mage to expend resources on removal in aggressive match ups, something the deck was hesitant to do in the past. More than likely, this allows you to run the opponent out of gas before activating a one-side Jeeves to score the kill.
Granted, this is all theoretical at this point but Aluneth is certainly something I’ll be tinkering with on Day One of the expansion!
Roffle’s Kobolds and Catacombs Freezer Burn Mage
That’s it! These are the cards I’m convinced will shake up the Wild Hearthstone metagame. Feel free to share your list of cards in the comments or ridicule me in the future for being way off base!
As of posting this, there’s also still time purchase the pre-release bundle. If you do, make sure you get yourself a good deal with Amazon Coins!