Earlier today, Hearthstone outlined everything that's set to hit the game in the weeks ahead. This includes the next expansion (Ashes of Outland), the Hall of Fame cards, a whole rework for the Priest class, and an all-new tenth class. As part of the upcoming expansion, players can expect to see some new Legendary cards, one of which they can start playing with immediately. That Legendary is Kael'thas Sunstrider.
(6) Kael'thas Sunstrider (4/7)
Every third spell you cast this turn costs (0).
Playing with Kael'thas Sunstrider - Hearthstone
Kael'thas Sunstrider's effect is fairly straightforward. Every third spell that the player casts in a single turn is free. If that's not impressive to you, why don't you take a closer look at it. I'll say it again. Every third spell that the player casts in a single turn is free. That's totally regardless of how much that third spell costs.
That opens the door for all sorts of abuse. If you have a spell that costs (8) mana or more, that spell is suddenly a lot more viable than it would be otherwise. Let's look at some potential combos for each of the nine original classes.
- Mage: The Mage is filled with spells and Kael'thas opens the door for some of its biggest spells to come out for cheap. That's especially true if you play a Sidequest like Learn Draconic, play a combo of Ancient Mysteries and a (0)-Cost Secret, or drop a Magic Trick. Suddenly, you have a free high-value spell like Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron, Power of Creation or Luna's Pocket Galaxy.
- Paladin: Paladin isn't as dependent on cheap spell, nor does it have a lot of high-value high-cost spells. However, with a slew of 1-Cost Secrets, the Paladin can play Kael'thas and drop a pair of Secrets and then replenish their hand with a free Lay on Hands.
- Hunter: The Hunter has a lot of cheap spells, like the Twinspell Rapid Fire, but not a lot of expensive spells to take advantage of the Kael'thas effect. Standard players won't find too much to work with here, but if you're a Wild Hunter, you might have something with a free Call of the Wild.
- Druid: The Druid not only has cheap spells to trigger the Kael'thas effect, but it also has means of getting extra Mana Crystals. Suddenly, Innervate becomes a valuable resource. Treant Druids can use the Kael'thas effect to fill their board by using The Forest's Aid, which becomes all-the-more-potent if it comes after a Goru the Mightree play. It can also play alongside Malygos and offer up some valuable Swipes to help finish the game.
- Rogue: The Rogue player is just filled with tricks, many of those being cheap spells. Preparation becomes the wild card here, as it can discount a second spell and play right into a free third spell. That third spell can be a valuable Sprint to help replenish the player's hand if it starts to run low.
- Priest: Priest has some of the highest potential for abuse. The class doesn't have a lot of cheap spells, since the best ones like Power Word: Shield are used at the start of the game. But it has some of the strongest expensive spells in the game, like Mind Control and Mass Resurrection. And if those become free plays, watch out! The upcoming Priest rework will eventually make Priest combos even more viable.
- Shaman: This is a case of bad timing for the Shaman player, because Kael'thas arrives just as the spell-generating Hagatha the Witch is about to rotate out of Standard. Kael'thas will still prove useful, thanks to cheap spells like Mutate, which can then pave the way for a free Eye of the Storm. That gives the Shaman player a massive board presence and puts the opposing player up against a wall. Follow up on the next turn with Krag'wa, the Frog to get all of those spells back.
- Warrior: Warrior has one specific spell that will work nicely with a Kael'thas combo. Use spells like Omega Assembly and Shield Slam to set up for a free Dimensional Ripper to get to big-time minions on the board. And because they're copies, that big minion remains inside your deck to play later.
- Warlock: The Warlock would pack in Kael'thas mainly for meme purposes. Their combo would involve spells like Sinister Deal and The Soularium to set up for a free Void Contract, which would wipe out half of each player's deck. It's not a guaranteed game-winner by any means, but it's fun to think about, right? Try this out in a Mecha'thun deck and see what happens.
Expect to see more expensive spells introduced with Ashes of Outland, just because I can't envision Blizzard introducing this specific Legendary without some high-cost spells to take advantage of his ability.
Kael'thas Sunstrider Counters
There's little that can be done to truly counter Kael'thas, given that 4/7 stat line. Single-target removals like Siphon Soul, Forbidden Words, and Shield Slam can deal with Kael'thas before he can cause too much damage.
With Priest players about to get a rework, consider trying out some of the class' new gimmicks. The new Scarlet Subjugator could bring Kael'thas' Attack power to 2, which is just what Cabal Shadow Priest needs to swipe it.
There aren't a lot of direct counters to Kael'thas outside of that, so be prepared to potentially weather the storm for at least one turn. But leave him up for too long, especially if he's in the hands of a Quest Mage who can continually generate new resources.
Have you started putting Kael'thas Sunstrider into your Hearthstone deck? What are some of the best combinations you've seen with this new Legendary minion? Join the conversation and let us known in the comments.