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Kobolds & Catacombs Set Review: Druid

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Druid was one of the most powerful classes in KFT. Did it pick up enough from K&C to remain a contender in the new metagame?

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My Rating System

Each card is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 on two criteria: Power and Versatility.

The Power rating reflects how much I expect a card to impact the game when played. Cards which immediately represent multiple cards worth of value (Ultimate Infestation) or have a powerful effect on the board for their mana cost (Sunkeeper Tarim) will receive high Power ratings, while cards which have a low impact on the game (Ice Breaker) or cost too much for their effect (Furnacefire Colossus) will receive Power low ratings.

The Versatility rating is intended to communicate how dependent a card is on other cards for its success. Cards can be very powerful without being versatile at all (Clutchmother Zavas), which means that many exciting and powerful cards will end up seeing very little play once the metagame is established. A high Versatility rating means a card relies very little on other cards to be good, and the more comfortable I would feel crafting that card on day one. A lower Versatility rating doesn't necessarily reflect that I expect the card to be bad, but that I wouldn't feel comfortable crafting it until it has proven itself to be a part of a competitive deck.

Oaken Summons

1.png

Fits into: A variety of non-aggressive decks

Power Versatility
4 3

If Oaken Summons always gets a powerful 3 or 4 drop (such as Fandral Staghelm or Tar Creeper), then it's really really good. I don't think it will be as hard as some people think to make that happen. Controlling and midrange Druid decks can easily cut all low-impact minions to leave only good hits for Oaken Summons, making it a card which increases the consistency of their deck's gameplan. I expect this card to see a fair bit of play in Standard.

Ironwood Golem

2.png

Fits into: Taunt Druid

Power Versatility
2 2

This card only has one more health than Sen'jin Shieldmasta, a card which sees no play at all in constructed. The only reason I didn't rate this card lower is because of the Taunt synergy in Druid, which could potentially make this card a fringe playable.

Barkskin

3.png

Fits into: Taunt Druid

Power Versatility
2 1

Barkskin provides quite a bit of stats and armor for one mana. Unfortunately, Druid isn't very well positioned to take advantage of that. The only payoff in the class for gaining Armor is Jasper Spellstone. Taunt decks could potentially be interested in this effect, but I don't see Barkskin as a generically useful card.

Jasper Spellstone


4.png4-1.png4-2.png
Fits into: Non-aggressive decks

Power Versatility
3 4

Unlike the majority of the Spellstones, Jasper Spellstone is passable even if it doesn't receive any upgrades. Controlling Druid decks will be quite happy to pick up a cheap tool for them to interact with minions in the early game; the fact that this scales well into the late game is an awesome bonus. Plays excellently with Oaken Summons.

Grizzled Guardian

5.png

Fits into:
Taunt Druid, Recruit Druid

Power Versatility
2 2

I'm not as bullish on Grizzled Guardian as I am on Oaken Summons. You can certainly get your mana's worth out of this card with some clever deck construction, but it doesn't impact the board as much as I'd like it to when it plops down on turn 8. Plays well with Hadronox.

Greedy Sprite

6.png

Fits into: Ramp Druid, Control Druid

Power Versatility
2 2

Feeling greedy? This sprite has the potential to jump you from 3 to 5 mana while trading for a card in the process, but it's not nearly as reliable as Jade Blossom. I expect this card to see play over Mire Keeper in decks that run Oaken Summons, but the card's inconsistency will hold it back from seeing widespread play.

Branching Paths

7.png

Fits into: Aggressive and Midrange Druid decks

Power Versatility
3 2

The true power of this card is its flexibility. Some Token Druid builds will be happy to play this as a permanent Savage Roar when ahead and an expensive Arcane Intellect when behind, but I think that the true home for Branching Paths is a Midrange deck which can make use of all three modes. I can only guess as to whether or not Druid will have a competitive Midrange deck in the new metagame, but if there is one, I expect Branching Paths to play a role in it.

Astral Tiger

8.png

Fits into: Recruit Druid

Power Versatility
2 1

Astral Tiger will never widespread play due to its unimpressive body, and it isn't as strong of an anti-fatigue tool as Jade Idol is. This card is clearly a plant for the Recruit deck, so cards like Oaken Summons and Grizzled Guardian will never run out of targets. If the Recruit deck is any good, then this card will be a key roleplayer. If the Recruit deck is bad, I don't expect to see this card at all.

Twig of the World Tree

9.png

Fits into: Decks with Medivh, the GuardianUltimate Infestation, and Malygos

Power Versatility
4 2

The Deathrattle on this card gives you 10 fresh, new, ready-to-rock mana crystals. This is no doubt a powerful effect, but just how often will it impact the outcome of the game? This card will surely set up many incredible turn 8's, but I don't think it'll be as busted as many people expect it to be. It seems like more of a combo piece with Medivh, the Guardian into Ultimate Infestation, setting up a massive tempo swing that nets board and card advantage in one fell swoop, or a replacement for Aviana for a one-turn-kill Malygos deck. This card will win its fair share of games with the right draws, but I also expect it to be underwhelming in a variety of circumstances.

Ixlid, Fungal Lord

10.png

Fits into: Quest Druid?

Power Versatility
3 1

It'd be all too easy to write off Ixlid as "another terrible Legendary minion with a powerful text box and underwhelming stats". If this card can survive turn 5 to create a copy of a minion on turn 6, it's actually quite strong. The question is, how often will that be possible? Fandral Staghelm (a card which costs one less mana and has better stats) has won me a number of games when I play it on turn 4 into a turn 5 Nourish. Expecting Ixlid to survive a turn later with even worse stats is a bit of an ask, but I see a chance for this card to set up a number of powerful plays in Quest Druid.

Thoughts on the Class

Druid was one of the top three classes in the KFT metagame, and I expect that its current power level will be enough to carry it into relevance in K&C. The class didn't pick up quite as many new tools as some of the other classes did, but I'm optimistic that Oaken Summons and the new Recruit mechanic will birth at least one new and compelling deck for the class. There's also an outside chance that a dedicated Taunt deck with Hadronox will rise from the ashes thanks to Master Oakheart.

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I find it interesting that they decided to give Druid so much armor.   I believe they're the only class that has both armor and life gain cards, barring niche things like the deathknights?

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7 minutes ago, Migol said:

I find it interesting that they decided to give Druid so much armor.   I believe they're the only class that has both armor and life gain cards, barring niche things like the deathknights?

They'll always have a weakness of dealing with large boards though.

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Just now, positiv2 said:

Do you expect the comeback of Malygos druid with Twig of the World Tree

Ixlid has good synergy with Twig of the World Tree, too, so perhaps the two cards will be thrown together in some kind of deck.

That's a great point about Twig and Ixlid! I didn't think about that interaction. My first impression is that it feels a bit "win-more", but I'm actually quite excited about the potential for Malygos. I'm going to add that to the review, thanks! 

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19 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

Do you expect the comeback of Malygos druid with Twig of the World Tree

Ixlid has good synergy with Twig of the World Tree, too, so perhaps the two cards will be thrown together in some kind of deck.

I don't think so, because an Ooze will stop you. You can, for example, play: Twig of the World Tree, Innervate, Medivh, Ultimate Infestation. You can't do the same with Malygos, because you need to destroy your weapon. In a perfect world, you play Malygos, attack with the last charge of the weapon, then OTK. In a real world, "that belongs to a museum!" or "I don't know how to write the sound the ooze does".

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50 minutes ago, Synesthesy said:

I don't think so, because an Ooze will stop you. You can, for example, play: Twig of the World Tree, Innervate, Medivh, Ultimate Infestation. You can't do the same with Malygos, because you need to destroy your weapon. In a perfect world, you play Malygos, attack with the last charge of the weapon, then OTK. In a real world, "that belongs to a museum!" or "I don't know how to write the sound the ooze does".

Yes, that's likely. Nonetheless, when it works out, it will work great. Also, there will definitely be decks that will also not run any counters to legendary weapons, or maybe the weapons will not end up all that popular or strong, so not that many decks will run Acidic Swamp Oozes or Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?, which could make the weapon combo more consistent, but that it yet to be seen.

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I think that Ixlid aside the obvious quest druid synergy is more meant to be as 10 mana card not a 5th turn, you play Ixlid+ another 5 mana or Ixlid + a 3 and a 2 mana for example.

Dropping it at 5th turn means just getting one shotted by enemy, I've honestly never seen a Fandral dropped by enemy remain a turn on the board, if that happens means I've a terrible hand or I've already lost, was like seeing a Brann Bronzebeard sitting on the board nobody let you do such things with those cards unless they have lost already.

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4-mana gain 6 armour, summon a 20/20..... seems fairly strong. Or would it be summoned dormant?

Edited by Bozonik

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As we all know they are often not clear and sometimes confusing with their card texts but looking at The Darkness text box the "Starts Dormant" part is clearly set before the Battlecry. This would mean (if I'm not wrong) it would start dormant not matter if you play it from your hand or summon it but if summoned (Battlecry will not trigger) it would not shuffle the candles into your opponents deck, making it impossible to awaken at all. But yea recruit seems to be a great mechanic .. sarcasm off :D

Maybe that thing would to better in a Shaman deck with an "awesome" 8 mana combo: 2x Murmuring Elemental the playing The Darkness and shuffle 9 candles into you opponents deck :D

Edited by Caldyrvan

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