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Kobolds & Catacombs Set Review: Warlock

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Warlock was able to pick up more playable cards from K&C than any other class.

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.

Kobold Librarian

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Fits into: Everything?

Power Versatility
4 5

A one mana 2/1 that Life Taps for free? I'll take two, please!

If this guy ever manages to trade for an enemy minion then you got yourself a two-for-one for only one mana! This is exactly the kind of card that aggressive Warlock decks would love to play, but I think it's strong enough to see play in midrange and controlling Warlock lists as well. I expect to see this little guy everywhere in the new meta.

Vulgar Homunculus

w2.png

Fits into: Demonlock, Handlock, Zoolock?

Power Versatility
4 4

If it weren't for Prince Keleseth, this little Demon would also be joining Kobold Librarian in almost every new Warlock deck. It's great on defense, it's great on offense, and it has the incredibly important Demon minion-type to provide Bloodreaver Gul'dan with another Taunt minion for his Battlecry trigger.

Though two damage to your hero will likely mean one fewer Life Tap for controlling decks that need to concerned about their life total, the Battlecry on Vulgar Homunculus won't always be a downside. We're going to see several new Warlock cards very soon which benefit from inflicting self-damage, positioning Vulgar Homunculus as an important role-player in a brand new archetype.

Dark Pact

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Fits into: Sacrifice, Control Warlock

Power Versatility
2 2

If you need Dark Pact, I think you'll know it. Sacrifice decks in need of extra ways to kill their own minions might want to run a few copies of this card, as well as slower Warlock decks in desperate need of ways to pad their life total.

Amethyst Spellstone

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Fits into: Slower decks with 4 or more self-damage cards

Power Versatility
3 2

I don't think this card is strong enough to works its way into decks which can't reliably trigger the upgrade clause. Fortunately for Amethyst Spellstone, I expect almost everything to be running Kobold Librarian and Vulgar Homunculus. The Lesser version isn't terrible, but I think you'll really want to be playing this as its Normal or Greater version to feel as though Amethyst Spellstone is pulling its weight. I don't think this is efficient enough for aggro decks, but predict that Handlock will be more than happy to run a couple copies of this.

Possessed Lackey

w5.png

Fits into: Don't play this card

Power Versatility
1 1

Too expensive, too slow, and probably not consistent enough at finding Voidlord to warrant a spot in normal Demon decks. Pass.

Hooked Reaver

w6.png

Fits into: Demonlock, Handlock, Self-damage decks

Power Versatility
4 4

A four mana 7/7 is quite the payoff for a self-damage themed deck! Memes aside, I'm really happy about the way this card was designed. Players are going to have to make quite a few interesting decisions with Hooked Reaver, as it won't always be obvious if this card should be played on turn 4 as a lowly 4/4 to buy tempo, or saved until it can be played for full value. Playable cards with relevant minion-types that lead to interesting decisions are exactly the kinds of cards I love to see in new Hearthstone sets.

Voidlord

w7.png

Fits into: Slower decks with Bloodreaver Gul'dan

Power Versatility
4 3

A big, nasty Taunt minion with a huge butt is exactly what Handlock and other slow Bloodreaver Gul'dan decks were in the market for. Outside of Hex and Polymorph, it's going to a nightmare for the average deck to slog through the 18 Health of Taunt minions that this card generates. Aggressive decks are going to have to find a way to kill Warlocks before this card wreaks havoc on the battlefield.

Cataclysm

w8.png

Fits into: Handlock, Quest Warlock

Power Versatility
4 2

It'll be interesting to see if controlling Warlock decks use this as an "oops!" button for games that get out of hand early, or if they find that the downside on this card is too high and are satisfied with the number of board wipes they already have in Twisting Nether and DOOM!. Either way, the most exciting application for this card is a to dump your hand and quickly activate Lakkari Sacrifice. I'll admit that I have a really hard time predicting just how prevalent Cataclysm will be in the upcoming meta, but my instincts tell me that a 4 mana card that says "Destroy all minions" is probably good.

Rin, the First Disciple

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w9-6.pngw9-1.png
 

Fits into: Grindy Warlock Decks

Power Versatility
2 2

How awesome it this card?! I doubt I'll ever end up crafting it, but if ever open it up in one my packs I have no doubt that I'll play Rinlock until I finally kill my opponent with an Azari, the Devourer.

This card is obviously incredibly cool and flavorful, but I don't think its very good. The 3/6 Taunt body is certainly relevant, but there can't that many matchups where you will have the time to play enough seals to make Rin a worthwhile investment. I see Rin as a trump card for grindy Control mirrors, and don't expect her to show in competitive decks unless the metagame becomes incredibly slow.

Skull of the Man'ari

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Fits into: Demonlock

Power Versatility
2 1

Skull of the Man'ari is probably my least favorite of all the Legendary weapons. It doesn't do anything the turn it comes into play, and it comes with zero insurance against the Gluttonous Ooze type cards which will likely be in the majority of competitive lists. It doesn't even provide card advantage, just tempo. Getting to trigger this two or three times will make it worth your while, but I have my doubts that this is the best thing Demonlock decks can do with their mana on turn 5.

Thoughts on the Class

Warlock bounced back from Journey to Un'Goro in a big way during Knights of the Frozen Throne, but it was never quite able to break into top tier of classes. I expect that to change with K&C. Warlock is getting two excellent Commons, a game-changing Rare, and a pair of narrow but powerful Epics. The Legendaries aren't much to write home about, but Warlock fans will be happy to have picked up more playable cards from K&C than any other class.

 

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I think you overrate the common by maybe 1 point in power but they are definitely strong.

I would give the Spell Stone 1 more power anyway my general issue with Spell Stones is if you draw them late you wish you would have put another card into your deck :D

And it's rough, both of the class legends are (probably) useless (Paladin looks similar). That's really disgusting.

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One point I'd make is that Voidlord can "clutter" your gul'dan play by creating too many weak taunt minions when you finally play Gul'Dan, and muscling away your 6/6s, 4/5s and so on.    

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