Blizzard has begun new card reveals for Hearthstone's next expansion. Kobolds & Catacombs will introduce 135 new cards, utilizing a new Recruit mechanic and introducing a new Dungeon Run single-player adventure. It'll mark Hearthstone's seventh expansion and will be the final one issued in the Year of the Mammoth.
As is tradition, Shacknews is breaking down the cards by the batch. Two weeks ago saw the card reveals from streamers and press outlets begin in earnest. Today, we continue marching towards the end! But first, a recap:
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 1)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 2)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 3)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 4)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 5)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 6)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Card Analyses (Part 7)
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs - Analyzing Dragon Soul
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs - Analyzing Aluneth
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs - Analyzing Twig of the World Tree
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs - Analyzing The Runespear
Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs - Analyzing Val'anyr
(5) Dragon's Fury
Reveal a spell from your deck. Deal damage equal to its Cost to all minions.
Analysis: Dragon's Fury certainly has a lot of potential to wipe out the entire board, but the damage it causes is entirely dependent on how much the spell it reveals costs. Even pulling out something relatively low-cost like Fireball isn't too shabby. It doesn't need to be Flamestrike to make a lot of noise, though it'll certainly help.
This is going to be a spell that's only used by certain types of Mages. A Control Mage or Freeze Mage might want to consider packing this in, to help keep the board clear. Elemental Mages won't want to risk removing their own board presence. And then there's Secret Mage, packing in too many low-cost Secrets to make any kind of real dent on the board. This is a decent spell, but one I can't see making its way into a lot of Mage decks.
(9) Dragonhatcher (2/4)
At the end of your turn, Recruit a Dragon.
Source: OmniSlash on YouTube
Analysis: Those are some profoundly weak stats for a 9-mana minion. Even on a 4-mana, a 2/4 stat line is pretty bad, so that had better be one amazing effect.
Dragonhatcher's effect and its effectiveness ultimately depend on which dragons are inhabiting the player's deck. Pulling out Ysera is great, but for 9 mana, you can also just... you know... play Ysera. The 2/4 stat line adds nothing here and, in a lot of cases, just eats up a precious deck slot.
(4) Ironwood Golem (3/6)
Taunt. Can only attack if you have 3 or more Armor.
Source: COPAAmerica on Twitch
Analysis: The fact that Ironwood Golem is a Taunt minion really saves it from the woodchipper. At worst, that makes this a formidable 3/6 body for opponents to have to plow through first.
So what if you're actually looking to attack with this thing? Well, this expansion is providing ample ways for Druids to Armor up, which should be helpful. If not, it shouldn't have any trouble attacking in later turns after using Malfurion the Pestilent and his upgraded Hero Power.
(4) Oaken Summons
Gain 6 Armor. Recruit a minion that costs (4) or less.
Source: Rosicky on Douyu
Analysis: Here's one of those new ways for the Druid to Armor up. Oaken Summons is a high-value play that should see more action once Feral Rage rotates out.
Really, look at this primarily as a way to get quick Armor. Any Recruited minion should be icing on the cake, especially if it's something like the aforementioned Ironwood Golem or Crypt Lord. This might find a good home in Aggro Druid decks, especially ones looking to get a quick defensive boost while simultaneously bringing out a big threat like Vicious Fledgling.
(6) Crystal Lion (5/5)
Divine Shield. Costs (1) less for each Silver Hand Recruit you control.
Source: Flurry on Twitch
Analysis: Even without the discount, Crystal Lion is a pretty nice minion for Paladin players. A 5/5 body for 6 mana is a half-decent stat line, made better by Divine Shield.
But yes, the discount makes this a particularly strong minion. While Stand Against Darkness isn't seen often in Paladin decks, there are Aggro Paladin decks utilizing the more common Lost in the Jungle. A combo with this spell means it's possible to play Crystal Lion on Turn 5, which is a pretty strong value play.
Crystal Lion should find a home in some constructed decks, but it'll be the king of the jungle in Arena, for sure.
(2) Bladed Gauntlet (0/2)
Has Attack equal to your Armor. Can't attack heroes.
Source: MKRR3 on YouTube
Analysis: This is a different kind of Warrior weapon, one that has greater effectiveness in the hands of a Control Warrior. If Warrior players can build up their Armor totals, the Bladed Gauntlet can take out even the biggest minions. Just make sure Violet Illusionist is around, because why take copious amounts of damage when you don't have to?
There is one major downside to the Bladed Gauntlet and that's that its high Attack total can work against it. Yes, it's really impressive to boast a weapon with 30 Attack, but wield it around carelessly and the opponent can simply play a Gluttonous Ooze and take all of that Armor for themselves. Be careful.
(6) To My Side!
Summon an Animal Companion, or 2 if your deck has no minions.
Source: biyouxia on Zhanqi.tv
Analysis: This is the next tool for the minion-less Hunter, a deck type that Blizzard seems insistent on for this expansion. A minion-less deck with Deathstalker Rexxar has some potential, but it's hard to imagine any serious Hunter trying this style of deck out. Falling behind on tempo alone makes it far too much of a risk.
Needless to say, this only works in the minion-less Hunter deck, otherwise it's literally just Animal Companion for double the cost. Don't expect to see a lot of this, unless it's off a minion effect.
(2) Murmuring Elemental (1/1)
Type: Minion - Elemental
Battlecry: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice.
Source: Asmodai on YouTube
Analysis: On, snap! It's a mini-Brann Bronzebeard and it's only for the Shaman. It also works for only the very next minion on that same turn. So what can the Shaman player do with this?
It turns out that it can do quite a lot. Never mind finding two Elementals off Servant of Kalimos. That's almost a given. But if this is played on the same turn as Kalimos, Primal Lord, then that can potentially deal two rounds of 6 damage to the opponent's face. That's an even stronger version of Pyroblast and provides the Shaman with an outright win condition.
This becomes even more effective when played correctly with Fire Plume Harbinger. Just make sure to have enough control spells handy, because those 1/1 bodies are going to leave the Shaman player vulnerable in the early turns.
(3) Greedy Sprite (3/1)
Deathrattle: Gain an empty Mana Crystal.
Source: Sequinox on YouTube
Analysis: This is an interesting new tool for the Ramp Druid. And while Jade Druid will more than likely stick with Jade Blossom to help build a Jade army, the Greedy Sprite can fit in well with just about every other type of Druid deck.
The Greedy Sprite allows the Aggro Druid to have its cake and eat it too. The 3/1 body can rush the opponent, but if it gets removed, it allows for an earlier Living Mana play. Greedy Sprite will find a good home in a lot of Druid decks and might be one of its most underrated additions from this expansion.
(3) Void Ripper (3/3)
Type: Minion - Demon
Battlecry: Swap the Attack and Health of all other minions.
Analysis: Void Ripper is a half-decent 3/3 body, but it has the novelty of acting as Confusion: The Minion. So how can this work?
Priest players aren't known for packing in Demons, but Void Ripper can work in two different ways. It can work in conjunction with multiple Divine Spirit spells to create armies of high-attack minions. It can also work as removal, working with Pint-Size Potion to create multiple 0-Attack minions that can then be flipped into oblivion.
Void Ripper won't be a constructed staple or anything, but it'll certainly have its uses. It could also prove to be a solid Arena pick.
(3) Twilight Acolyte (2/4)
Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, swap this minion's Attack with another minion's.
Source: Hearthstone Latin America
Analysis: Oh, man! Even with just the vanilla 2/4 stats, Twilight Acolyte is a passable 3-cost minion. But the effect is bonkers, especially when going up against a big body on the other side of the board.
This is another brilliant early-turn minion for the Priest, one that will find its way into almost every Dragon Priest deck. The possibility of having a 4/4 or 5/4 on Turn 3 is crazy insane and that's without even thinking about what could happen on the later turns, if matched up against a 10+ Attack behemoth. It'll work as a great combo with Shadow Word: Pain. Or better yet, swap Attack stats with a big minion in the late turns and then just straight-up steal it with Cabal Shadow Priest. This has the potential to hurt. A lot.
The card reveals are almost finished. And wouldn't you know it, there's only one batch of cards left from Monday's livestream reveal with Ben Brode and Sean "Day9" Plott. But there are an awful lot of cards there, so come back on Wednesday as we break them all down in a massive lightning round. We're also breaking down the rest of the Legendary weapons, so come back for those, too. Hearthstone's Kobolds & Catacombs expansion is set to release on Thursday.