10 Kobolds and Catacombs cards that are better than we thought
Predictions are hard.
Every time a new Hearthstone set comes out, pros and analysts do their best to predict which cards will be the best in the new meta. The problem is, there’s no way to tell what all the good cards are until you see them in action.
At first glance all these cards are either underpowered, boring, or both, but when put into the right deck they become mana defining. These are ten Kobolds and Catacombs cards that were better than we thought they would be, now that we have had a month to play around with the set.
You’ll have to forgive us for missing this one. At first glance, Dire Mole is just a 1/3 with no abilities. It’s easy to miss the Beast tag, which makes all the difference. You can drop a Dire Mole into a Mark of Y’Sharrj. You can drop Dire Mole and then adapt it with Crackling Razormaw. Buffing it even once with hand buff cards or Keleseth, turns this into a hard to handle 2/4. It’s just far more flexible than anyone imagined a vanilla minion would be.
There are a lot of good neutral epic cards in Kobolds and Catacombs, and many of them flew under the radar. Arcane Tyrant didn’t appear to be great because it required you to fill your deck with high cost spells, which should wreck your mana curve. It turns out you don’t actually have to fill your deck with spells at all. As long as you run 2-4 high mana cost spells anyway, there is a decent chance you’ll cast one with Arcane Tyrant in your hand. A free 4/4 is a fantastic tempo boost, especially if you are spending that mana to cast an expensive board clear.
What’s better than a free 4/4? A free 5/5! Corridor creeper looked horrible because it was just so incredibly expensive. No one really thought about how often minions die in Hearthstone. Corridor Creeper has been placed in practically every aggro and mid-range decklist in the meta right now and it’s almost always summoned for 0-3 mana. Once again, that’s a huge tempo boost. To sweeten the deal, Corridor Creeper is a beast giving it all the synergy Dire Mole has, but with a bigger body.
Cheap commons are always easy to overlook. A one mana 1/3 weapon doesn’t look like much to write home about. Paladin has a one mana 1/4 weapon that never gets played. So why is Candleshot good? Because Immune is a very powerful ability. Hunter doesn’t actually have many ways to heal itself, nor does it have many ways to deal one damage. Candleshot fills both roles, allowing Hunter to ping out lingering minions while protecting its health. It’s also an early game weapon drop which lets aggro hunters run Southsea Deckhand and the general pirate package, making them even more aggressive.
Call to Arms
Call to Arms has revolutionized aggro paladin decks. When we first saw this card, we were skeptical that you could get value out of it. The chance of spending four mana to end up recruiting less than four mana’s worth of creatures was high. The thing we didn’t consider was that recruiting also counts as drawing a card, and each card drawn is essentially another one mana effect. Call to Arms has even been used in Control Paladin to call out cards such as Dirty Rat without their drawback. Play this with Knife Juggler on the field and you’ll vomit damage all over the board. Play it after a board wipe and you’re back in the game. This is going to define the aggro archetype for years to come.
This is another card that is run in aggro paladin. It has the ability to summon two 1/1s, give your minions divine shield, give your minions taunt, and give your minions +1 attack. When this card was revealed, it appeared as if most of those effects were useless. However, all the effects greatly benefit the aggro paladin deck, a deck that wasn’t meta relevant prior to this expansion. +1 attack pushes more damage to the face. Two 1/1s establish board presence. Divine shield helps your board stick around and taunt helps you against other, faster, aggro decks. Not to mention the weapon is another four damage to the face all by itself.
This one was my mistake. Everyone thought that Twilight Acolyte was going to be an incredible card, and I just didn’t see it. I didn’t think there were enough dragons to make dragon priest a worthwhile deck. I also didn’t think swapping attack with another minion would be a particularly powerful ability. Turns out it is. This is essentially Aldor Peacekeeper turned up to 11. As long as you hit something with 4 attack or higher, you are getting value. This also combos with Cabal Shadow Priest to allow you to take control of any card you want,
At first glance this card looks horrible. Five mana for a 2/2 body and a random deathrattle effect that can easily be silenced? Why on earth would anyone run this card? One word: Doomguard. Being able to cheat out Doomguard (or possibly the new 9 mana powerhouse Voidlord) is worth playing even this bad body. Heck, you can use Doom Pact to sacrifice it on the turn you play it, and sidestep any chances for silence ruining your day. Your freshly summoned demon can then be combined with Carnivorous Cube to produce a ton of charge damage to your opponents face. This is an important part of Cubelock, one of the fastest rising decks in the meta and will likely end up being an important combo piece in all demon decks for years to come.
Our last two cards were overlooked because of a simple misconception. At first, we thought that you would have to fill a deck with big spells for big spell synnergy to work. Turns out you only have to run two or three. Spiteful Summoner has found its way into priest decks that run Free from Amber and Mind Control, in order to guarantee pulling an eight or ten mana minion. That’s more than enough stats to make Spiteful Summoner a worthwhile inclusion.
Grand Archivist is good for the same reason. If all you do is run a few high level spells then Grand Archivist always casts them. Mind Control every turn, Free from Amber every turn, really any massive spell will do. There have even been hunter decks that run Grand Archivist to immediately pull Call of the Wild. As long as there are ten mana spells, Grand Archivist will still have a place in the meta.
What Kobolds and Catacombs cards took you by surprise? Let us know in the comments.