Top 10 Cards of Kobolds and Catacombs
The time is upon us! We have grabbed our picks, our shovels, and are ready to dig down into the catacombs. There are all sorts of powerful cards and sparkling gems from the new set. We’ve seen them all, but, the question remains, what gem is the best? That is what we’re to answer. As I’ve already said, I believe that Kobolds is an insanely powerful set. Just about every class (sorry, Druids) got an insanely powerful card, and many got great tools for future decks. There is a lot of build off of here. Making this list was not easy, but after wracking my brain and delving down into the dark, I have 10 cards from the new set that I believe are better than everything else.
10. Carnivorous Cube
Another all-star card, Carnivorous Cube slides right into our list simply because of its enormous potential. We live in a world of tempo, where most decks want to leverage their board as much as they possibly can. That makes cube interesting because, this card is anti-tempo. Rather than extending your board immediately, you’re giving up presence for a big payoff later on. But what a payoff it is. Being able to get two minions off of this deathrattle is going to be game winning for a lot of decks that either have great deathrattles or just want as much stuff as possible. Hunter is likely the best option for the epic, but there is no doubt this could slot into every single midrange build.
What I really like about Carnivorous Cube is that it doesn’t need a high ceiling to be good. Yes, you can always hit Savannah Highmane or something like The Lich King and live the insane value dream. However, a card this efficient doesn’t need the dream to be good. It is more than often ok to just hit a smaller card. Cube, at cost, is a five mana 4/6. That’s a very solid body that can contest the board in its own right. I see this at its best when it comes down on curve and eats a smaller minion that is either damaged or already outclassed. Snapping up something like a Southsea Captain can turn this epic into a very scary card extremely quickly. You could even eat something like a Vilespine Slayer, and turn this into a 4/6 with “deathrattle: summon two 3/4’s.” I’d play that.
9. Zola the Gorgon
We begin in gold. Zola the Gorgon is one of my dark horses of the set. Many people have glossed over the three mana 2/2 as a niche or gimmicky card. Though they might be right, I think she has a lot of potential because of her endless flexibility. Being able to copy a minion to your hand rather than actually picking one off the board is extremely powerful, and that’s an ability a lot of decks are going to want. Minions actually live a turn these days, meaning the 2/2 is going to have quite a bit of targets to choose from. Yes, not everything is going to peaches and cream, and she is only a 2/2 for three, but if you hit a key finisher or tempo minion, it could swing the entire game. Imagine being able to double dip with Stonehill Defender, Sunkeeper Tarim, Bonemare, Drywhisker Armorer, Kazakus, every single Tempo Rogue minion, Abyssal Enforcer, The Lich King, Arcanologist, Doomsayer[/card]. The list goes on and on and on and on.
One of the biggest issues with cards like this is that they are typically “win more” cards, where you’re already in control so copying your minion won’t matter. That is not the case with Zola. Her cheap mana cost means that you can use her on a bunch of value plays. Honestly, let’s count the number of decks that wouldn’t mind losing a bit of board presence to get a second minion in their hand: Elemental Shaman, Kazakus Priest, Big Druid, Demonlock, Zoo, Tempo Rogue, Control Warrior…It’s the minion list all over again. The body isn’t great, but I could very well see her being one of the best things to do for three mana. The potential, is quite literally, infinite.
8. Geosculptor Yip
I am sure many of you are surprised to see Geosculptor Yip on my list, and, to be honest, so am I. I liked this card from when I first saw it, but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I believe that heavy armor Control Warrior is going to be extremely strong in the coming meta. The class lost a lot of tempo with the Fiery War Axe nerf, but it may just have enough armor gain and AOE to bull-rush it’s way through a lot of the meta. Cards like Drywhisker Armorer and Reckless Fury are going to allow Warrior to get back to its roots, where they just kill everything their opponent throws at them. If that deck is to exist, Geosculptor is going to slot right into it. Not only that, but it could well be one of the best finishers in the entire build.
Getting seven, eight, nine or ten plus armor is not going to be hard for a Control Warrior. That means, this card basically reads “at the end of your turn, summon a huge threat.” I’d take that any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. In addition, and what I really love about Geosculptor Yip, is that he is not easy to deal with. You get two big bodies for the price of one, both of those bodies are extremely difficult to remove, and you almost always have to remove the Geosculptor first. Yes, you may need to take out Ysera or , but if you don’t kill the 4/8, another big minion is going to come back next turn to take their place. That’s power if I’ve ever seen it.
The only knock here is that Geosculptor Yip is not great against aggressive plays or fast tempo. However, even in those games, he allows you to immediately take over the board. Even with five armor, he is going to act as a value machine that still needs to be dealt with. If your opponent can’t get a handle on him, his army is going to quickly end the game.
7. Psychic Scream
Ahhhh! That’s the sound of this card, and it is also the sound I’m going to make every single time it gets played against me. Psychic Scream is yet another knock-out-of-the-park Priest tool that is likely going to slot into just about every single Anduin build moving forward. Not only do you get a seven mana Twisting Nether, but you get a seven mana Twisting Nether that also ignores deathrattles. I mean…What’s the drawback here? Yes, you give your opponent your minions, but that is rarely going to matter in any list playing this. It could even give your opponent bad token draws. You may think that scream is iffy for dragon builds, but the clear is so incredible that they’ll probably pack it just in case things ever get out of hand. This is, quite literally, the cleanest AOE spell we’ve ever seen in the game. Health doesn’t matter, deathrattle doesn’t matter. If it’s on the board, it’s gone. You thought Entomb was good? Get a load of this thing. It is also going to be absolutely incredible in Razakus Priest. That deck just wants to stall as much as possibly, and this curves right into Shadowreaper Anduin. Disgusting. A great card, but (spoiler alert) it’s not the highest AOE on this list.
6. Elven Minstrel
Well, I kept my word. I said Elven Minstrel would not quite make the top five of this set, and it’s sitting on the outside looking in. However, do not let that fool you. This card is absolute insane (once again showing how strong Kobolds is looking to be). Drawing two cards has always been good, but drawing two targeted cards on a early game minion? We’ve never seen anything close to that before. As I said in my review, while I do not think this card has a big enough body to see play in Tempo Rogue, it is going to be a monster in Miracle. The fact that this draws minions means you can always hit exactly what you want, consistently getting Gadgetzan Auctioneer by turn six. The goblin is the deck’s win condition, and the more chances they have to get it, the better they will be. Playing a one drop plus the minstrel on turn five into turn six Auctioneer is going to give a lot of people nightmares. Not only that, but this also takes minions out of the deck, making it more likely that Auctioneer draws into spells. This is just a pure value card that Miracle honestly didn’t need. Oh, well. They got it, and we’re all going to be sorry.
Note: Despite my hesitations, this card could very well make it in tempo. Even if the deck doesn’t want to run it, the ability is so incredibly strong that they may have no choice.
5. Dragon’s Fury
Though I may eat these words, I believe that Dragon's Fury is the best AOE spell from the new set. There are more than a few powerful options running around, but this one has a lot of things going for it. One, Control Mage (which is no doubt the deck this is going to slot into) is a list that naturally runs a lot of big spells. You have Flamestrike, Meteor, Blizzard, Firelands Portal and you could even throw in Pyroblast if you wanted. This card also simply adds to the mass clear density, giving the deck more longevity. I was skeptical of Big Spell Mage at the start of the reveals, but this is the card the deck needed to bring it all together.
The other thing I like about Dragon's Fury over say, Psychic Scream, is that only costs five mana. Five. A cheap clear spell is always going to be busted at four damage, but this can climb much, much higher than that. Imagine if you hit six or seven. A big problem for AOE in today’s world is that is simply comes too late to stop tempo. This, much like a card we’ll see further down the list, cuts it off before it ever gets rolling. That then perfectly sets the stage for your end game. The only draw back I see here is the occasional pull where you hit or Primordial Glyph for two damage, but those moments are going to be few and far between. I’d always take the odds.
4. Arcane Tyrant
What’s better than a five mana 4/4? A zero mana 4/4. Arcane Tyrant brings us into the cream of the crop, and for good reason. This card is absolutely unreal. Tempo is king right now. Every deck, no matter how big, wants to fight for the board in some way. This allows decks that normally need to tap-out to play a big spell to also impact the board. No more using AOE and then losing tempo. The 4/4 gives you both. Mage is probably the class that comes to mind first because of Inkmaster Solia (which tyrant is a bit like). You Flamestrike your opponent’s board, then drop down your free 4/4. However, Big Druid (Nourish/Ultimate Infestation) could also use this, as could decks like Paladin (Spikeridged Steed), Miracle Rogue (Vanish), Priest (Dragonfire Potion) and Control Warlock (Siphon Soul/Twisting Nether). There is almost no downside to this card. It fits naturally into just about every slow deck out there and will likely see a ton of play for its raw efficiency.
The other thing to note here is that Arcane Tyrant has an elemental tag. That may not seem like a big deal, but I think it is going to matter quite a bit. A lot of bigger elemental decks have had a problem in the past where they simply need to stick to their curve. Elementals builds off of each other, and breaking that chain can lead to disaster. Tyrant neatly fixes that issue by allowing you to both play a big spell and continue to hit your triggers. For example, let’s say you need to clear the board as an Elemental Shaman on turn seven, but you also want a turn eight Kalimos, Primal Lord. Instead of choosing between a minion and Volcano, you can AOE first and still keep your curve alive. The same logic also goes with the big spells run in Elemental Mage. I am not sure if this card is going to be enough to make elemental decks good, but this is some raw tempo power we have not seen in a long time.
Well, I know you all saw this one coming. Duskbreaker is just an incredibly well-statted minion with an absolutely unreal effect. You get a 3/3 Abyssal Enforcer that comes down three turns earlier. Think about that. One of the biggest problem with beating some of the top meta decks today is that they flood the early board and then use that tempo to push to the top parts of their curve. Duskbreaker laughs at that plan by decimating the mid-game board and providing a solid body alongside the clear. This card is not just a good control play, it is tempo incarnate that instantly gives you the board and priority all in one go. Decks everywhere are going to fear this card, and the more dragon builds that get refined, the better it is going to be. Just an insane amount of value for four mana.
Some of you may think that this card is not as good because of the dragon requirement, but you should not get caught up on that. The need to have a dragon in your hand is going to be minimal in any Priest deck playing this. Kazakus Priest (which already runs a ton of flexible tech slots) is going to play the Netherspite Historian/Drakonid Operative package, Dragon Priest is already tier two (soon to be tier one), and even slow Control Priests would run this alongside their big dragon finishers. It is rare that you would skew an entire list to fit just one card, but Duskbreaker is absolutely worth it. In fact, the only reason this card isn’t higher is because the top two cards are just better. If you can imagine that.
2. Vulgar Homunculus
Number two on our list, we have
Wyrmrest Agent. Check that, this isn’t Wyrmrest Agent. This is…better? It has been a while (maybe a set?) since Warlock has had an incredible card, and Vulgar Homunculus gladly steps in to fill the roll. Two drops (and all early game minions) are at a premium right now. Tempo rules the ladder, which means many decks just want to stick to their curve and trade as efficiently as possible. This little demon is number two on this list because it absolutely destroys that plan. Wyrmrest Agent is easily one of the best two drops of all time because it was a nightmare to trade with in one of the best early metas in history. We are in a much weaker meta than we were back then, and getting an agent that has absolutely no condition should make all Warlocks smile.
To understand why this card is so powerful, let’s look at Arcanologist. The Mage two drop is a very good card in today’s world because it trades into just about everything, from Fire Fly to Patches the Pirate, to Kindly Grandmother. This card has that same ability, but it does it even better. Four health in the early game, as Stonehill Defender shows, is not easy to get to. Vulgar Homunculus doubles down on that by giving you the extra health and taunt. Yes, you have to do two damage to yourself to make that happen, but what Warlock is going to care about that? This is the best two drop we’ve seen in years, and it is going to be a nightmare to play against. I could even see people cutting Prince Keleseth in Zoo to make room for the demon. Gul’dan is back.
1. Kobold Librarian
Warlock strikes gold again. The number one card on our list is, without a doubt, Kobold Librarian. This one drop is just an absolute all-star. It may not be extremely flashy, it may not be the card you’re tearing open packs for, but it is just so darn good. You get a completely respectable 2/1 for 1 on top of a free (free) draw. What? This card comes with no immediate drawback because it only costs one mana and allows you to instantly replace it. Yes, it dies to Patches the Pirate, but it also trades well with Fire Fly and presents board presence. Since it draws, it is also not a bad top deck because you can instantly move past it. Azure Drake was an incredible card. While some of that was due to the spell power, almost all of it was because of the “Battlecry: Draw a card” stapled onto it. The librarian does the same thing, but can be fit into the curve and comes down on turn one. Are you kidding me?
Kobold Librarian is going to slot right into every single Warlock deck in the game. Honestly, what class wouldn’t play this if it was a neutral? It’s great in Zoo, moving through their deck and providing board presence, and it also allows slow Warlocks to lifetap on turn one, which is something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. There are many awesome cards in this set, but, as so often happens, sometimes the best things are the ones hiding in plain site. This is an incredible card that will be played from Thursday up until it rotates. Mark it.
Well, there you have it. Ten extremely powerful cards from what appears to be an extremely powerful set. Now that we’ve seen everything I can officially say I’m excited. I hope you are as well. Not sure if you all agree with my list (you probably don’t) but let me know what you think in the comments. Until Wednesday (where we look at some brews right before the lease) may you all open some golden legendaries!