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Hearthstone Devs Respond to Purify and Priest Outrage

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The reveal of the 3 Priest class cards, and especially of Purify, in One Night in Karazhan caused negative reactions from the community, who has been complaining about the state of Priest these past few months. Two Hearthstone devs tried to salvage the situation a bit.

Discussions about the current state of Priest have been a regular occurrence on the official forums and on Reddit, but the reveal of Purify was literally the breaking point for the Hearthstone community. These threads multiplied in number and a response from a Hearthstone developer seemed imminent. And indeed, here is a Reddit post by Game Designer August Dean Ayala, aka Iksar:

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

We've had similar articles in the past about design stories for particular cards, I think the most recent one I remember discussed all the design iterations that Yogg went through. Card designs have a number of different goals, sometimes those goals are immediate competitive play and sometimes they shoot for something else. Things like flavor, arena viability, or sprinkling in tools for a new or existing archetype. In smaller sets, it can be a little risky to take a gamble on a new toolkit because there are fewer cards to work with. In the case of Priest, we were pretty happy with the amount of options the class was getting from neutral (Barnes, Curator*, Medivh, Dragon Cards) to do some testing with a new archetype that Purify could be a part of. In my mind there is some positive to the outcry over Purify because I think people will definitely try it out and report any successes/failures/stories they had building and playing a 'silence your own stuff' priest. None of this is to say anyone is wrong in their feedback, but just to communicate some of the ideas surrounding a card design. Hearthstone is important to all of us, and we're trying to do better in terms of communication and understanding what different communities (like this one) are most interested in. I've been happy to be here and have a conversation about what you all want from the game, thanks for being so passionate about it. :D  (source)

Ben Brode also intervened with a developer update. We have summarised his main points below the video.

 

Quote
  • The card wasn’t intended to be powerful. They want to allow players to make crazy decks and perhaps win with bad cards.
  • They tried many versions of Purify internally, like Silence any minion. However, they are trying to pull back on the power level of Silence to see what the game feels like without it.
  • There was also a 1-mana version but many play testers were just using it as a draw card.
  • It is intended as a fun card.
  • Ben acknowledges they messed up with the timing on Purify with the community's current views on the Priest class.
  • Purify is good for the game, but maybe in a set with splashy, exciting, powerful Priest cards.
  • Ben still has hopes for Priest, especially Dragon Priest. If not, they will continue to push for Priest in future sets and make changes going forward.
  • Purify will not show up in Arena. He doesn’t think this will solve Arena balance, but it’s a step in the right direction as they are working on Arena long term.

Most players were satisfied with Ben's video update, while some called it a "PR shift". It is great that the Hearthstone team is willing to admit and apologise for its mistakes, but that still doesn't change the facts. Admittedly, with all of the attention it got, the card will now see some play. However, why would someone use Purify, when you can do what it does better with Silence and/or Power Word: Shield?

200px-Purify%2842061%29.png?version=88b5

Purify is not just the problem; Priest in general has been suffering for a while. Iksar pointed out that the team was happy about the options Priest will get in neutral cards in Karazhan. However, most neutral cards that were good for Priest have been rotated out of Standard format (like Deathlord, Zombie Chow, Loatheb) and even if the Karazhan neutrals prove to be equally good, they will have the same fate in the future. Priest needs better class cards and a re-polished Basic and Classic kit.

Moreover, Priest needs more and better class minions - especially early game minions. At this moment, with all sets included in Standard format Priest has the second lowest amount of minions (19 in total) and the highest amount of spells (29 in total) out of all classes. The power level of most of these class cards, especially the minions', is considerably lower than other classes: Paladin may only have 15 minions in Standard format at the moment, but includes cards like Aldor Peacekeeper, Murloc Knight, Keeper of Uldaman and Tirion Fordring. And let's not talk about Paladin spells, especially the healing ones, that beat out the de facto healing class of the Warcraft universe.

Amaz's video (available at the end of this article) explains the entire issue very accurately. To sum up, there will always be a ninth class in Hearthstone. But, does Priest have to be the permanent holder of the worst spot?

Interesting videos from known community figures:

Reddit discussions:

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I must admit I enjoy the hatred purify is getting. Personally I will make a terrible silence deck and play it until I beat some poor guy with it and it shall be hilarious!

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I say I revalued a lot the 4 mana 3/6 that Priest got, I think it's important for a reactive class to do more things together. so to say in the contest of VS Aggro, instead of having to choose at 6 mana if you want to heal, play a minion or "Shadow Word : Pain" for example, you could do only 2 of the 3, but with that card you can do all three things at the same time, and 6 health is good for contesting Aggro.

Not saying it's a revolutionary card, but it's pretty damn good, it's the kind of card you should have in a core set instead of an adventure though.

I say Purify will work for what was intended for, Silence may be better but you can't rely on 2 cards if you need to silence a third of your deck, and the draw will be handy when you are using 2 cards to summon a minion.

Edited by Kokuendan

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5 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

I say Purify will work for what was intended for

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

And basically the same goes for Priest of the Feast - it's good in control priest, but control priest is bad in current meta, and I don't expect the Karazhan meta to be that much different.

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

Edited by Kokuendan

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Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

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4 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

I think I'ts a matter of card quality, It's not like you can't win at all with priest, but since the card quality is drastically lower compared to other classes it takes double the effort to make the same results as something like Paladin. There are situations where you need to rely on your opponent's mistakes or on a perfect hand because their cards are that much better than yours and the more you go up the less you can rely on mistakes, not to mention that a Priest player making mistakes is punished even harder because it's harder to recovery when most of your cards trade 1-for-1. 

People complains because they want Priest to be Legend-worthy or at least an Ok metagame pick, not to offend anyone but at rank 18 if you are good you can make almost anything work (like Silence Priest).

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11 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue. 

5 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

That's because Priest, Mage and (arguably) Druid are the kings (and queen) of basic decks. However, if you run into dragon warrior or midrange shaman, you will lose almost every time. 

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1 minute ago, positiv2 said:

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue.

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

Wailing Soul was a better card for silence priest and the deck still wasn't good enough to be considered usable. I don't think adding Purify will be enough to get the deck going. Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence. And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
And one more thing about silence priest - a lot of drawback cards are gone in standard. No more Fel ReaverDeathlord or Zombie Chow.

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23 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

 And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
 

The advantage comes from playing it earlier. Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Edited by PaasHaaS

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1 hour ago, PaasHaaS said:

Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The combo Eerie Statue + Purify might surprise someone once or twice, but anyone knowing what's coming will deal with the Statue before you can Purify it. You might try a bluff and play the Statue as removal bait, but...

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

They could change it to something else, but it's clear they won't so we have to either make it work or forget about Purify.

2 hours ago, Keizoku said:

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

4 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence.

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

Let's clarify that I too find absurd that with all the things that they could have done they decided to help "Silence Priest" (didn't even know that was a thing), but what are we trying to do by comparing a bad card made to help a really bad deck with meta-defining cards?  Demonstrate it's bad? Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game. It's not like it takes much to best this card but we're talking about something that was concieved not only as bad, but as a niche card too, it's always going to be terrible outside his context (granted that the fact it's good in his context is not even guaranteed).

I admit it's a card that deserves all the hate it's getting, but let's at least be fair in the way we hate on that.

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

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37 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

It can be the other way around - you can have a silence card, but you might not have Eerie Statue or Ancient Watcher. There aren't enough good drawback cards to make the priest work.
Silence + Draw isn't really card advantage as the silence will not trade for any of opponent's cards.
Your cards shouldn't need 2 cards to work. That's why pushing silence priest is bad, why Purify is bad and why Blizzard messed this up hard and yet they do not want to correct their mistake, which significantly disappointed me.

55 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

The power level of priest is bad and they should receive something very powerful as well. *insert the same rant from last paragraph*
Yeah, why would you play basic druid when you can play the best minion in the game. Why would you play the worst class in the game when you can play the best. 

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game.

It's bad even when compared to Silence or even the infamous Magma Rager and Am'gam Rager. I even managed to make a deck with them that has 47% WR, but there is no way I will be able to do the same for Purify. So, it is bad even when compared to some of the worst cards out there.

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

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7 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

I have a compulsive need to defend things that are universally hated. You say that Purify is trash and utterly useless, I say Purify is trash but it has some use if you really need to waste time playing the worst deck of the worst class, not much but I'm giving it more of a chance than most people.

I don't really think it's worse than Magma Rager honestly, but I do think Am'gam Rager is already better than that, I'm just asking to compare trash with other trash so that the comparison is actually fair.

I'm trying to rate the card in a vacuum, so I'm giving at least some points but if I had to take the general game state and the context in account when judging a card, well yeah, no defending it in that case.

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Am I the only one who thinks that Dragon Priest is competitive? Mind you, I'm a mid-level player...haven't gotten any higher than rank 10, but I can get there pretty reliably....and one of my most successful decks is Dragon Priest.

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Dragon priest is almost okay. I have winrate slightly higher than 50% with it, but my other decks feel just so much more powerful and that's because they are. Dragon priest just relies too much on draw and doesn't have that big threat in the deck, like shaman's Flamewreathed Faceless or warrior's Grommash Hellscream, to seal the game or to give you the upper hand.
That's why players are angry about current expansion's cards for priest - they don't offer more reliable starts and do not give him a big card.

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I play it for control. I named the deck "Nope!" because it can take so much away from the other guy....and because I'm perverse, I threw a Nozdormu in there. Hilarious how many players are thrown for a loop by that. 

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Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

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2 hours ago, GrizzlyJ said:

Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

There was an awesome deck Kibler used and actually managed a decent winrate at Legend with it. I'll try find the decklist for you. 

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      Carnivorous Cube generates decent value with minimal effort, netting two minions after it dies while providing a meaningful body when played on curve. It becomes devastating when combined with effects like Play Dead, Spiritsinger Umbra, and Faceless Manipulator, which break the symmetry of the card's Battlecry trigger. The best Cube list appears to be "Cubelock", which is capable of using Spiritsinger Umbra and Doomguard to one turn kill. Failing that, it can summon Voidlord a million times while making powerful tempo plays with Skull of the Man'ari and Possessed Lackey. I would very surprised if Carnivorous Cube wasn't featured in a few more viable decks that crop up in the coming weeks. 
      #3 - Leyline Manipulator

      Leyline Manipulator was pegged by the Hearthstone community to be one of the top new cards from K&C, but after one week it's seeing virtually no play. Elemental Mage isn't close to being a competitively viable deck, and the Questless OTK Mage lists have failed to supplant the Quest-based versions. A major part of the reason that this card has underwhelmed is that it doesn't lower the mana cost of Shifting Scroll as players predicted it would. It seems unlikely that the Questless OTK Mage deck will suddenly discover a new piece of technology which will make the deck competitively viable, which rests the hope for Leyline Manipulator on the emergence of Lesser Ruby Spellstone and Elemental Mage. I wouldn't hold my breath.
      #2 - Corridor Creeper

      It's probably fair to say that no card was more poorly evaluated by the Hearthstone community than Corridor Creeper. Most players (including myself) pegged Arcane Tyrant to be the next big thing, yet Corridor Creeper is the card from K&C card which is currently seeing the most widespread play. It's way easier to reduce the cost of Corridor Creeper to two or less than players expected before getting their hands on the card, which has made it a two-of inclusion in virtually every aggro deck in the current metagame. It's even starting to replace Bonemare in certain lists, implying that it's a better card than Bonemare. It's safe to say that crafting a pair of Creepers is a wise investment of dust, as we're likely to be seeing two copies of this card in every Hunter deck from now until it K&C rotates from standard. Well, almost every Hunter deck.
      #1 - No-Minions Hunter

      Hi Reddit! Remember these cards?
      To My Side! was the laughingstock of r/Hearthstone when it was first spoiled, yet the No-Minions Hunter deck is currently posting higher winrates than any other Hunter archetype. To be fair, the best card in the deck is Lesser Emerald Spellstone, but there's absolutely no denying that Rhok'delar and To My Side! are powerful payoffs for what has been a viable deck in the early meta.
      No-Minions Hunter is very difficult to beat when it curves Greater Emerald Spellstone into To My Side!, but I have my doubts about the deck's staying power. It performs worse at higher ranks, suggesting that skilled players can find ways to beat it. If you can avoid getting blown out by Explosive Trap and Wandering Monster then you'll enter the midgame with a board advantage against No-Minions Hunter, which typically struggles to play to the board until turn five. Regardless, No-Minions Hunter is great against classes without 3 damage board wipes for Greater Emerald Spellstone, such as Rogue and Druid, and will likely remain a powerful yet meta-reliant deck for the remainder of The Year Of The Mammoth.
    • By Vlad
      This thread is for comments about our Cube Warlock Deck List.
    • By Zadina

      Winter Veil begins next week on Hearthstone and a special Tavern Brawl will award three Knights of the Frozen Throne card packs.
      Next week's Tavern Brawl will be really similar to the Gift Exchange one back from 2015 and February 2017. There will be some differences though, as the Brawl will have a Kobold flavour and it will have a new name: Wacky Waxy Winter Veil's Brawl.
      As Winter Veil is a frosty season, the reward will obviously be three packs from Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It's not sure if the Winter Veil Wreath card back, which was associated with the Gift Exchange brawl during the previous years' Winter Veils, will be available this time to those who don't already have it.
      Blizzard Entertainment
      ‘Tis the season! In celebration of Winter’s Veil—and to give all you adventurers something to do that doesn’t involve taking candles—Greatfather Kobold has prepared a special distraction, er, Winter’s Veil tavern brawl packed with wacky, waxy gifts!
      These treats aren’t just on the game board! The reward for winning your first game of this Tavern Brawl is THREE festively frosty Knights of the Frozen Throne card packs! 
      Greatfather Kobold’s helpers have been busy decorating the Orgrimmar game board for the tavern brawl, but you can also experience the holiday in Stormwind while enjoying other play modes. And no matter how you play, don’t forget to show your opponent some holiday spirit with the return of the Happy Winter’s Veil greeting emote!
      The Rules
      Greatfather Kobold will drop off some tastefully wrapped, candle-bearing gifts on turn one—four on each side of the board, for a total of eight. If you unwrap a gift, you’ll receive a Legendary minion that costs three fewer mana to play! Greatfather Kobold will keep the celebration going by periodically parachuting in more presents. Don’t be greedy, though! You’ll only get a discounted Legendary minion from the gifts Greatfather Kobold left on your opponent’s side of the field.
      How will you build your deck to make the most of these potent presents?
      The Wacky Waxy Winter’s Veil brawl begins December 20 and lasts through December 24, so be sure to drop in and celebrate!
      A very Happy Winter’s Veil to you and yours! (source)
      For now, you can enjoy this week's Tavern Brawl, which is Valeera's Bag of Burgled Spells.
    • By Zadina

      Following the tradition started with Knights of the Frozen Throne, Kobolds & Catacombs gets its first digital comic.
      "Up Comes Down" is a lighthearted story about two Kobolds, who decide to go off on their own despite the orders of King Togwaggle. In their short adventure in the Catacombs, they encounter many obstacles, but by cooperating they manage to emerge victorious.

      You can read and/or download the comic here.