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Aleco

Kobolds & Catacombs Set Review: Hunter

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Hunter picked up some exciting new commons in K&C, but how do the new Hunter Epics and Legendaries stack up?

Click here to read my other written set reviews!

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.

Flanking Strike

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Fits into: Control, Midrange, and Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
4 3

3 damage and a 3/3 for 4 mana is some serious value. It may not be able to hit face like Fire Plume Phoenix can, but Hunter has never had a problem with finding face damage anyways. I expect this card to be a powerful curve filler in Hunter decks that look to make the game go long and accrue value via Deathstalker Rexxar. It will also be an obvious include in the "Spells-Only" Hunter deck, which may or may not end up being any good. 

Cave Hydra

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Fits into: Most Hunter decks with Houndmaster

Power Versatility
3 3

Cave Hydra has a meaningful ability, a relevant minion type, and reasonable stats for its mana cost. It also comes down at the perfect time in the curve to be buffed up by Houndmaster. I don't think this card is what Face Hunter is looking for, and I also don't expect it to take Midrange Hunter to dazzling new heights. Cave Hydra will be excellent in an aggressively-slanted meta, but will be outshined by Bearshark in slower metas.

Candleshot

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Fits into: A wide variety of Aggressive Hunter decks

Power Versatility
3 4

Low-to-the-ground Hunter decks have long been looking for a powerful one drop to go along with Alleycat, and I think they found that card in Candleshot. This card isn't going to blow anyone away with its 1 power, but the 3 durability give this card a ton of flexibility. Being able to split up the damage across 3 turns should give decks that are looking to play to the board tons of favorable trades. It also does some serious work in combination with Hunter's Mark.

Wandering Monster

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Fits into: Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
2 1

This card seems far worse than Snake Trap and Venomstrike Trap in Secret Hunter, but might be a way for the Spells-Only Hunter deck to play to board on turn two. The "when an enemy attacks your hero" clause is much easier for that deck to trigger than "when an enemy attacks one of your minions".

Seeping Oozeling

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Fits into: Deathrattle Hunter

Power Versatility
2 1

This card draws some unfavorable comparisons to Savannah Highmane, as it costs the same amount of mana but has a slightly worse body. I don't think this card will be good enough to see play in generic Hunter builds, and think it's liable to copy too many underwhelming Deathrattle triggers to be effective in dedicated Deathrattle decks. If Seeping Oozeling ends up seeing any play it will be in decks which only contain high impact Deathrattle triggers, such as Cairne BloodhoofDevilsaur Egg, and Deathwing, Dragonlord.

 

Emerald Spellstone

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Fits into: Secret Hunter, Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
4 2

Emerald Spellstone is a serious payoff for Hunter decks that are willing to play few secrets. The Lesser version isn't an embarrassment, the normal version is excellent, and the Greater version is phenomenal. This card could do some serious work in combination with Tundra Rhino on turn 10, and may end up being the reason that Spells-Only Hunter is playable.

To My Side!

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Fits into: Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
4 1

I designed my rating system exactly for cards like this one. Make no mistakes, To My Side! has is an incredibly powerful card that you would play in nearly every Hunter deck if it always summoned two Animal Companions. All three of the Animal Companion cards are excellent for three mana, and it stand to reason that any combination of two of them is well worth an investment of one card and six mana. With that said, this card is stone-cold unplayable outside of the Spells-Only deck. Wait to craft to this one until you're sure that the Spells-Only deck has some staying power.

Crushing Walls

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Fits into: Control Hunter, Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
2 2

Crushing Walls has an undoubtedly powerful effect, but I have my doubts as to whether or not the effect is worth its high mana cost. Priest is getting Psychic Scream in K&C, another 7 mana card which shuffles all minions into the opponent's deck. I don't think the asymmetrical nature of Crushing Walls does enough to position the card as a consistent board clear. That said, I can imagine a few controlling Hunters builds which might need this card to take over the board in the late game, and it should slot nicely into the Spells-Only deck.

Rhok'delar

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Fits into: Spells-Only Hunter

Power Versatility
4 1

A compelling reason to play the Spells-Only deck, and total garbage in everything else. Next!

Kathrena Winterwisp

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Fits into: Midrange Hunter

Power Versatility
4 3

I'm higher on Kathrena than most of the Hearthstone community seems to be. She seems like a far better finisher in Midrange Hunter than King Krush or N'Zoth, the Corruptor, and I fully expect her to see a fair amount of play in Hunter decks that are looking to go to the late game with Deathstalker Rexxar. It's really not the end of the world if she grabs an Alleycat, and I don't think she necessitates a change to the way that Midrange Hunter decks are built to facilitate her Recruit ability.

Thoughts on the Class

Continuing Hunter's theme of being the most affordable class in the game, Hunter picked up three excellent commons in K&C which should bolster the beast-oriented decks that are currently seeing play on the ladder. Breaking far away from the traditional themes of Hunter, a good portion of the new Hunter cards appear to be pushing the Spells-Only archetype. If that deck is a total dud, Hunter fans will be quite disappointed with the fact that three out of four Epics and Legendaries are totally useless. It's too early to write the deck off before the set is even released, but I'm not very optimistic for it. Despite the fact that the deck seems really fun to play, pushed archetypes rarely make an impact on the competitive ladder.

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Cannot wait to try out the meme-worthy spell only hunter, the deck on the livestream didn't actually look too bad i'm really excited to get my hands on this deck with Rhok'delar, To My Side! and everything else that comes with it.

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Just now, leapingshadow said:

Cannot wait to try out the meme-worthy spell only hunter, the deck on the livestream didn't actually look too bad i'm really excited to get my hands on this deck with Rhok'delar, To My Side! and everything else that comes with it.

You and me both! I'm secretly hoping that I open these cards so that I don't have to craft them to play them.

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Just now, Aleco said:

You and me both! I'm secretly hoping that I open these cards so that I don't have to craft them to play them.

Like most of Reddit I thought that To My Side! was one of the worst cards ever made in Hearthstone but on further consideration and looking at how the deck played, it's a really nice sorta mid to late game power card, especially since the companions compliment each other really nicely.

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Kathrena Winterwisp shouldn't be played in a deck with Alleycat or any weak beast. I think the only beasts you should put in the deck must cost 8 or more. Non beasts minions and spells should fill the lower mana spots so she can pull 8-15 face damage from the deck and be the finisher that is meant to be

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Psychic Scream is especially rough on spell-only hunter.

Still, certainly gonna try it, along with Barnes-Yshaarj Hunter with the spellstones and 4-drop/removal. Or a some kind of Big Beast Hunter with Barnes-Yshaarj-Kathrena maybe. Although probably have to play snowflipper penguin in that just to annoy Hanz...

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5 hours ago, Aleco said:

A compelling reason to play the Spells-Only deck, and total garbage in everything else. Next!

The best sentence in your review :D

I still have my doubts about a spell-only hunter deck, but as others said before, the idea looks tempting enough to try, but not worth to craft the expensive cards imo.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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I wouldn't consider the demonstration games on last Monday's stream as anything but a fancy way of revealing new cards. Those games hardly represent what hearthstone is in reality. 

The 4 mana removal is pretty insane, as some streamer pointed out, it's the average Imp-losion without the inconsistency. As someone who played (and still play) my fair share of that card, yeah, it's pretty damn good. 

But this won't enable a spells only hunter deck. There is just no way. To be frank I think it's quite outrageous that they want to promote a no-minion hunter deck... I thought rexxar was the one who couldn't get away from his beloved beasts. An all spells mage, warlock or even priest deck would make more sense, flavour wise. They want to give hunters another play style other than aggro/midrange, I get it, but like... put some real effort into it, or don't put any at all. 

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20 hours ago, Hanz39 said:

Kathrena Winterwisp shouldn't be played in a deck with Alleycat or any weak beast. I think the only beasts you should put in the deck must cost 8 or more. Non beasts minions and spells should fill the lower mana spots so she can pull 8-15 face damage from the deck and be the finisher that is meant to be

I disagree here. You can build a deck in a way that omits cheap beasts but new legendary can work  even in a face hunter deck as a way thin your deck for Kill Command Eaglehorn Bow Leeroy Jenkins

8 mana 6\6 card with a battlecry "draw a card", and deathrattle "draw a card"  is not that far from being playable. This one not only draws them but puts them in play.

 

____________

Also, the best hunter card is that 1\3 neutral beast.

Edited by Strongpoint

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