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The Paladin Spellstone has been revealed and we finally know almost everything about it.
After the Mage Spellstone, it was time for the Paladin Spellstone to be revealed by Korean streamer sung0, who was joined by RenieHouR. The translated name of the card should be Lesser Pearl Spellstone, but it hasn't been officially confirmed.
Image by Hearthpwn.
Another translation of this card reads "Spirit" instead of "minion". It might be the case that the summoned token is an Elemental. This would be interesting since Paladin will get Benevolent Djinn in Kobolds & Catacombs, which is an Elemental that also has healing synergy. The "Restore 3 health" part is not clear, as well: it probably means to both your hero and your minions, but it should still be clarified.
The streamers weren't provided with the upgrades of the Spellstone, so again this is a mystery. There are two cases: a) it's either get one, two, three minions or b) the stats of said minion get upgraded. The former seems more likely.
There's still not enough information to properly review this card. Keep checking this thread for updates and we'll be sure to have the final details in our Kobolds and Catacombs hub as well.
According to French site JudgeHype, it looks like the token will get +2/+2 stats when the Spellstone is upgraded. So, the second stage is "Summon a 4/4 Spirit with Taunt" and the last stage is "Summon a 6/6 Spirit with Taunt". The card does indeed state "Spirit", instead of minion, but it turns out the Spirit is NOT an Elemental. The name of the card is almost certainly Lesser Pearl Spellstone, with an official confirmation on it still pending. The "Restore 3 health" condition applies to everything and can be done in multiple turns.
On its own, the Lesser Pearl Spellstone is a poor card since it basically summons a Frostwolf Grunt. The upgraded versions look much better, but that will depend on whether Healadin will become a viable deck or not.
The Rogue Legendary minion revealed today by Savjz appears to be a powerful, plug-and-play option in many Rogue decks.
Revealed today on Savjz's Youtube channel is the latest Legendary minion for Rogue, Sonya Shadowdancer. She has an extremely exciting text box which could provide serious value to a wide variety of Rogue decks:
Though her 2/2 body is underwhelming, her Shadowcaster-esque ability can gain immediate value the turn she is played. She requires some setup to be truly powerful, but I believe that triggering her ability even once is probably good enough in many matchups. Her most obvious home appears to be in Jade decks alongside Aya Blackpaw, but she could also be a solid option in Midrange and Tempo decks looking to out-value opponents. My first impression of Sonya is that she an extremely powerful card, and I fully expect to give her very high marks in my upcoming set review.
Can you think of any crazy combos with Sonya Shadowdancer? Let us know your thoughts on this card in the comment section, and be sure to check out our Kobolds and Catacombs hub for more information on the upcoming set.
The schedule for the second week of Kobolds & Catacombs spoilers was officially released today.
Following up on the week 1 card reveal schedule, Blizzard has released the schedule for K&C's second week of card spoilers. There were will be between three and five cards scheduled to be spoiled per day for the week of November 27th, adding up to a total of 30 cards next week.
Kobolds and Catacombs Reveals Unearthed Week 2
Tricky traps and dangerous dungeon dwellers lurk behind every twist and turn of Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion. We’ve gathered a party of Hearthstone community members to bring to light all the lavish loot and malicious minions they’ve discovered while venturing deep into the catacombs.
Check out the days and times below, and click the images to portal directly over to their channels.
Week of November 27 You can look forward to another exciting week of K&C spoilers here on Icy Veins, as we will continue to closely monitor K&C card reveals, news, and updates in our Kobolds and Catacombs hub.
Hi and, first of all, thanks for your time.
I´m back to WoW after around 3 years, and I´m feeling quite confused yet. My main is a Hunter. I left it during WoD as a BM. Now I´m back, still with WoD expansion, and I feel the class has changed a LOT. No traps, quite a different composition, etc.
I´d like some help in order to set my talents and rotations. My intention atm, as lvl 100, is to finish questing Draenor (still quite a bit to do here) and then buy Legion and try to level up before the expansion comes. I like soloing (I guess BM should be my choice, but I´m here to hear your opinions!!) and I´ll try to avoid skipping content. I´m not in a hurry, just want to enjoy the whole lore-and-questing all the way up.
Thanks again for your help!!!!
Aleco takes a long and lighthearted look back on one of the most polarizing sets in recent memory.
Aleco takes a long and lighthearted look back on the accuracy of his KFT set review, the history of the KFT Standard meta, and wraps things up by handing out his "KFT awards" in this sunset article.
With spoiler season for Kobolds and Catacombs upon us, our days with the Knights of the Frozen Throne (KFT) metagame are coming to a close. The most polarizing Hearthstone set in recent memory, let’s take a look at the highs and lows in this KFT “sunset” article. I’ll cover everything from the accuracy of my KFT set review to the state of the meta today, then wrap things up by handing out my awards for the set (such as “Best Design”, “Best Art”, and “Card of the Set”).
Pre-Launch: Frozen Throne Set Reviews Hit the Mark
After the top set reviewers missed badly on their set reviews for Journey to Un’Goro, the Hearthstone pro community needed a win to restore some credibility. They got that win with KFT, a set that packed far fewer surprises than its predecessor. Though several Legendaries were vastly overhyped (I’m looking at you, Uther of the Ebon Blade) and a few managed to slip through the cracks (sorry Prince Keleseth), it’s difficult to deny that the majority of high-profile set reviews did anything but a great job at predicting KFT.
In my previous sunset article (written for LiquidHearth) I wrote that I would “[make] fun of my own terrible predictions in the next sunset article”. I made good on my promise to make a video set review for KFT, so how did I end up doing?
The Rating System
I decided to try something different with my first set review by using a different rating system than the rest of the Hearthstone community. Instead of assigning each card a one to five star rating based on its anticipated impact on the upcoming metagame, I rated cards on two different categories: power and versatility. The power rating was intended to reflect how big of an impact the card had on the game when played in a vacuum, while the versatility rating was meant to reflect how many decks the card was capable of slotting into.
Looking back on the set review, I was very pleased with the way that the review system panned out in practice. The dual rating categories did a pretty good job of identifying cards which were powerful in a vacuum but were unlikely to find a proper home once the meta matured, but they weren’t so vague as to unspecific. In my opinion, predicting an entire metagame is simply too difficult of a task to be a practically useful metric for pre-set rating systems, and I believe that the Power/Versatility ratings did a good job of communicating which cards I believed to be worthy of building decks around, experimenting with, and crafting on day one. I look forward to using this rating system again in my set review for Kobolds and Catacombs.
Power: 5 Versatility: 4 One of the most meta-defining cards in the entire set, Prince Keleseth is a card that I’m certainly not alone in reviewing poorly. The Hearthstone community at large was hating on all the three of the princes before the set was released, and there were very few set reviewers who had positive things to say about the unique deckbuilding restrictions imposed by the Princes battlecry trigger. Looking back, the key thing I underestimated about Prince Keleseth was the massive increase in win percentage that occurs whenever this card is played on turn two. The upsides of Keleseth vastly outweigh the downsides when amortized over a large enough sample of games.
Power: 5 Versatility: 3 My entire approach to evaluating this card was totally off. I viewed the Battlecry as a largely symmetrical effect that had a smaller effect on the board than that of the other Death Knights, while in reality this couldn’t have been further from the truth. It’s quite easy to gain tremendous value off of Shadowreaper Anduin's Battlecry trigger with smart play and creative deckbuilding. Though I was well aware of the combo with Raza the Chained, I assumed that a Highlander deck needed to be built as more of a Control deck than a Combo deck and greatly underestimated just how powerful the upgraded Hero Power would be.
Power: 5 Versatility: 5 Arguably the most powerful Death Knight of the entire set, the key to my underestimation of Bloodreaver Gul'dan was the true power of Voidwalker. I took a hard look at all the Demons that would be in standard and determined that a lack of Taunt minions would be this card’s downfall, yet the pesky 1/3 Taunt proved to be more than enough to stabilize a board for a long enough time to take over the game with Bloodreaver Gul'dan's upgraded Hero Power. Surprisingly, this card sees play in every single Warlock deck in the meta, including Zoo Warlock. How many of you at home would have given this card 5 Stars in Versatility before the set was released?
Power: 2 Versatility: 1 I thought the Enrage deck was going places, but there’s no denying that this archetype ended up being a total dud. In practice, the Enrage deck has far too many moving pieces to consistently assemble a powerful board state and does a terrible job at recovering when behind. I also gave Animated Berserker a Power rating of 3, yet somehow gave Blood Razor a rating of 2 for both Power and Versatility. Oops.
Power: 2 Versatility: 2 I can count the number of times an opponent has played Howling Commander against me on the ladder on one hand. Despite the fact that this draws some of the most powerful Paladin cards, it turns out that the tempo hit suffered from playing this underwhelming body on turn 3 is just a little too much to overcome. It also didn’t help that the Divine Shield deck implied by Bolvar, Fireblood (another card I totally whiffed on) never came to fruition.
Power: 1 Versatility: 2 I should have listened! The vast majority of the Hearthstone community was down on Ice Walker, but I wanted to take a contrarian opinion on what I perceived to be a highly versatile card. In my actual testing of the card I found that the body was far too small to actually accrue value in a Control deck, while Tempo decks never had enough leftover mana to get use the Hero Power on their opponent’s biggest threat turn after turn.
Updated Rating: Unchanged
Most set reviewers pegged Uther of the Ebon Blade as the top Death Knight in the set, but the highest ranked Death Knight in my own set review was Malfurion. I had a hard time seeing when this card wasn’t phenomenal - it’s great when you’re behind, great when you’re ahead, and fits in every deck that’s interested in taking the game past turn 7. While I’m tooting my own horn, I also pegged Druid as the “most improved” class coming out of Journey to Un’Goro, noting that Malfurion the Pestilent and Ultimate Infestation were two of the top four cards in the entire set.
Updated Ratings: Unchanged
There was a surprising amount of hype surrounding Rogue’s new weapon cards before KFT was released. What I saw was a group of underwhelming cards with way too much setup cost for their actual effect on the game. Runeforge Haunter may end up having its day in the sun if Rogue gets a few new powerful weapons, but as things stand today these two cards are nowhere close to competitively viable.
Power: 2 Versatility: 2 Forge of Souls picked up some of the highest ratings in all of KFT from other high-profile set reviews, but I just didn’t see it. I realize that the Fiery War Axe nerf ended up severely hurting this card’s stock in the long run, but that doesn’t change the fact that the deck-building restrictions for this card are quite prohibitive and that drawing multiple copies of this card is absolutely dreadful - the secret tech is to play just one copy in your decks that are naturally interested in running 4 or more weapons.
Updated Rating: Unchanged
Another one of the most hyped-up cards in KFT, Drakkari Enchanter requires far too much set-up cost to ever be effective. I’d sooner expect Howling Commander to make a splash in the metagame than this total dud of a card.
Power: 5 Versatility: 5 I’m counting this one as a home run. One of the most powerful cards in the entire set, my 4 and 4 rating of Bonemare was somehow way higher than that of the average reviewer. To quote Reynad in his set review, it’s “not really a constructed card, not really worth talking about when it comes to Standard.”
KFT’s Launch and the Early Metagame
The first few weeks of the KFT metagame were a glorious, glorious time of greed and experimentation. Especially at the higher ranks, the meta was almost entirely made up of extremely slow control decks that lent themselves to long, fun, and brainy games of Hearthstone. A popular post on reddit noted that Hearthstone games had become so long that it was no longer possible to play the while pooping - a small price to pay for the magnificent reward of a true control meta. To illustrate just how greedy and beautiful the early KFT meta was, I once watched on Twitch.tv as Team Liquid’s Dog put N'Zoth, the Corruptor into his Control Mage deck while the only Deathrattle minions in his entire deck were Sindragosa's Frozen Champions.
The good times couldn’t last forever though. As the meta began to settle down it became quickly apparent that Druid was in a tier of its own. Spreading Plague gave Jade Druid the tool it badly needed to survive the early game, while Ultimate Infestation enabled the deck to overwhelm Midrange and Control decks in the late game. Jade Druid was made even more powerful by the fact that Aggro Druid and Kolento’s Midrange Taunt deck were also tier 1 options, making it nearly incredibly difficult to mulligan against Druid. Should you mulligan for your early game cards to counter Aggro, or mull for your heavy hitters to outpace Jade and Midrange? The mulligan phase became a dangerous guessing game that benefited all three popular Druid builds equally, and the versatility of the class made it nearly impossible to construct a single deck which had game against all three Druid variants. Murloc Paladin managed to post some solid winrates against Druid on the whole, but the other classes just couldn’t manage to keep up with both ends of Druid’s Aggro/Control spectrum.
As Druids continued to dominate, Highlander Priest began to emerge as the clearcut “second best deck” in the meta. Quest Mage had a few weeks where it was able to prey on unrefined Jade Druid and Highlander Priest lists, but an uptick in Aggro Druid and Pirate Warrior brought a swift end to the brief dominance of Archmage Antonidas. With no apparent answer to Druid in sight, the meta quickly devolved into a toxic environment of never-ending, unrelenting, overpowered Druid decks. The higher you climbed the ladder the larger the Druid menace grew... I distinctly recall a ladder session where I encountered nine consecutive Jade Druids at ranks 1 and 2.
The golden age of the early KFT control meta was long dead. The age of Druidstone was upon us.
Patch 9.1: The End of a Plague
On the fateful morning of September 5th, a beacon of brilliant light beamed through the dark, Druidic clouds that had enveloped the sun for weeks on end. Blizzard announced they would be nerfing five cards, among them Innervate and Spreading Plague, in an effort to curb the historically high winrates for Druid and shake up the rapidly deteriorating meta.
The Hearthstone community was completely split on the nerfs. The majority of players were happy to see Innervate struck by the nerf hammer, but many were claiming that the nerfs to Druid didn’t go quite far enough. Ultimate Infestation, the card that most believed to be the true source of Druid’s power, was left untouched in Patch 9.1. Blizzard was well aware of the huge target on Ultimate Infestation's back, but had some solid reasoning for not changing the card:
The majority of the community had little to say about the nerfs to Murloc Warleader and Hex, but many were furious about the change to Fiery War Axe. It appeared as though several healthy and compelling warrior decks (such as Fatigue Warrior and N’Zoth Warrior) were paying dearly for the sins of Pirate Warrior. These healthy Warrior decks ultimately suffered a near-fatal blow, but is that such a bad price to pay for a ladder without Pirate Warriors? It’s regrettable that so many fair Warrior decks fell by the wayside due to the nerf to “Free Win Axe”, but I’m optimistic that Blizzard is well aware of Warrior’s downfall and will address the class in a future set. For the time being, try your hardest to enjoy a metagame largely free of N'Zoth's First Mate and Brawl.
The Post-Nerf Metagame
Most would have expected the de-facto “second best deck in the game”, Highlander Priest, to completely dominate the ladder in a post-Jade world free from Pirate Warriors. The metagame had something else to say about that.
A handful of previously overlooked decks quickly emerged as top contenders, including Tempo Rogue, Midrange Hunter, and Zoo Warlock. Safe from the toxic Innervate turns of Aggro and Jade Druid decks of old, these new-look contenders were able to keep both Highlander Priest and post-nerf Jade Druid decks in check. The weeks following Patch 9.1 were a time of experimentation, evolution, and adaptation which ultimately led to a healthy and stable metagame. It’s hard to argue that the nerfs were anything but totally effective at restoring balance to the competitive ladder.
With the play rates for dedicated aggro decks (namely Aggro Druid and Pirate Warrior) as low as they’ve been in years, the door opened up for slower and bigger decks to prey on the Midrange kings which had begun to dominate ladder. The top choices in today’s ladder environment (after Highlander Priest and Tempo Rogue) appear to be Big Druid, Big Priest, and Freeze/Burn Mage. Though none of these decks appear to have unhealthy effects on the meta at present, the new Recruit mechanic is looming on the horizon. Will Kobolds and Catacombs see the Old Gods reign supreme in their last hurrah before rotation?
Lessons from KFT: Class Legendaries Disappoint
KFT brought us some of the strongest Legendary cards in recent memory: Prince Keleseth, Shadowreaper Anduin, Malfurion the Pestilent, Bloodreaver Gul'dan, and The Lich Kingto name a few. Despite this high volume of heavy-hitting Legendaries in KFT, the non-Death Knight class Legendaries unanimously and unquestionably failed to deliver. Have a look for yourself:
Druid: Hadronox Saw fringe play in dedicated Taunt decks in the first weeks after launch. Was never featured in a popular competitive deck. Hunter: Professor Putricide Saw fringe play in dedicated Secret decks in the first weeks after launch. Was never featured in a popular competitive deck. Mage: Sindragosa Saw fringe play in some Control decks in the first few weeks after launch. Was never featured in a popular competitive deck. Paladin: Bolvar, Fireblood Saw fringe play in dedicated Divine Shield decks in the first few weeks after launch. Was never featured in a popular competitive deck. Priest: Archbishop Benedictus Featured in Hemet Highlander Priest decks for a couple of weeks. Briefly saw play at a few tournaments before completely disappearing from the metagame. Rogue: Lilian Voss Never saw play, even in the earliest days of the KFT meta. Shaman: Moorabi Never saw play, even in the earliest days of the KFT meta. Warlock: Blood-Queen Lana'thel Never saw play, even in the earliest days of the KFT meta. Warrior: Rotface Intermittently saw fringe play in Warrior decks as a finisher alongside Scourgelord Garrosh. The card eventually fell out of favor and hasn’t seen play since the first month of the set. Who would have guess before the set came out that the most competitively viable class Legendary would be Archbishop Benedictus, the walking meme? Despite a decent amount of hype surrounding Sindragosa, Bolvar, Fireblood, and Blood-Queen Lana'thel before KFT’s release, all nine of the non-DK class Legendaries can now be best described as “400 dust waiting to happen”.
In defense of Blizzard, I completely understand the need for cards like Moorabi and Rotface. Not every Legendary should be a slam dunk, and the unique effects which are printed on these cards make the most sense on a Legendary minion. With that said, these kinds of effects rarely (if ever) find their way into competitive decks, and I struggle to see the logic behind wasting so many precious Legendary slots on such narrow design spaces.
With the rising number of complaints surrounding the cost of the Hearthstone, I can empathize with the disappointment that many players experience when their pity timer is reset by one of these underwhelming Legendaries. The somewhat recent change to prevent duplicate Legendaries from being opened does little to prevent these cards from being opened again and again, as these cards have a tendency to be dusted almost immediately after being opened. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve opened Moorabi three times since the release of KFT. Opening a Legendary after weeks of pack opening and finger-crossing is supposed to be a moment of great excitement, yet I found the experience of cracking a third Moorabi in three months to be nothing short of tremendously frustrating.
Adding on to the disappointment of the class Legendaries in KFT was an atypically high number of underwhelming Epics. By my count, only 6 of the 27 Epics in KFT saw any kind of consistent play: Ultimate Infestation, Obsidian Statue, Simulacrum, Dead Man's Hand, Corpsetaker, and Skulking Geist. I was overjoyed to see the number of powerful and highly-playable Commons and Rares in the set, and realize that if cards like Bonemare and Saronite Chain Gang were moved to Epic the cost of the game would be moving in the wrong direction. With that said, I would have liked to see more Epics like Obsidian Statue with safe, boring, and playable text boxes.
Going forward, I’d like to see Blizzard shift the balance of Legendary minions more towards “playable” than “unique and interesting”. Cards like Archbishop Benedictus certainly have their place in Hearthstone, but whenever nine out of nine class Legendaries fail to find play for the duration of a set it’s time to change the formula.
Aleco’s Knight of the Frozen Throne Awards
Best Design: Deathstalker Rexxar
Do you want to build a Zombeast?
One of the first cards I crafted in KFT, It’s hard not to fall in love with the design of Deathstalker Rexxar. Despite being a sub-optimal option in many Hunter lists, I couldn’t help bet include this card in nearly every Hunter deck I built. Whoever designed this card deserves a raise!
Worst Design: Prince Keleseth
My problem with Prince Keleseth is not that he’s too powerful, though you could certainly make the case that he is. I have the same complaints about “Prince Two” as I do with Patches the Pirate - he leads to frustrating gameplay experiences for both players. The majority of games with Keleseth in it lead to one of two negative player experiences:
“I didn’t have Keleseth on two this game, how unlucky!” “My opponent had Keleseth on two this game, how unlucky!” A delicate balance needs to be struck when designing cards that impose deckbuilding restrictions. Though this is certainly a compelling design space which has led to a handful of healthy cards (such as Prince Valanar and Krul the Unshackled) this design space has also led to its fair share of meta-defining and incredibly frustrating cards to play against (such as Prince Keleseth and Reno Jackson). Future cards with deckbuilding restrictions stapled to them deserve to be more carefully tested.
Most Improved: Raza the Chained
Highlander Priest was pronounced dead after the departure of Reno Jackson from Standard, but the printing of Shadowreaper Anduin saw Raza’s fate quickly turn back around. Expect to see plenty of Raza for the remainder of the Year of the Mammoth.
Most Potential: Shadow Ascendant
Shadow Ascendant is clearly quite powerful, and has recently begun to see an uptick in play during the final weeks of KFT. Aggro Priest decks are starting show some potential, and could easily be on the verge of competitive if Kobolds and Catacombs gives the deck a few more goodies to work with.
Best Art: Bearshark
With my sincerest condolences to Snowflipper Penguin, I simply couldn’t bear to choose anything else. Half bear, half shark, 100% awesome.
Worst Art: Dark Conviction
Upon closer inspection I can see what the artist was going for in the picture, but something about the way this piece was comes together makes it look like a jumbled mess of knees and elbows. I also have a hard time connecting the art of the card to its name and effect.
Best Arena Card: Bonemare
Both Ultimate Infestation and The Lich King are certainly more powerful in a vacuum, but Bonemare's status as both a Common and a Neutral made it an ever-present threat that demanded constant consideration in the Arena. Now synonymous with turn 7, Bonemare has arguably had an even bigger impact on Standard than Arena.
Deck of the Format: Tempo Rogue
Though it’s undeniable that Jade Druid was the most powerful deck in KFT before the nerfs to Innervate and Spreading Plague, patch 9.1 just one month into the set. Tempo Rogue is the deck that wore the crown of “best deck in KFT Standard” for the longest time, boasting incredibly strong winrates for multiple, uninterrupted months. Just one set removed from ruling Journey to Un’Goro Standard with The Caverns Below, Rogue has proved itself to be the class most capable breaking powerful neutral cards. As the best Prince Keleseth deck in the game, Tempo Rogue is poised to remain a powerful option for many months to come.
Card of the Set: Ultimate Infestation
KFT is bursting at the seems with powerful cards, but in a set of stand-outs only one card can claim the title of “most powerful Hearthstone card of all time”. Ultimate Infestation was the coup de grâce in pre-nerf Jade Druid, one of the most devastating standard decks in history, and has been the source of more ire than any card in recent memory (including Prince Keleseth). Though it may not be the KFT card with the highest overall winrate, I have little doubt that Ultimate Infestation was the card from KFT responsible for the most tears, sweaty palms, and cell phones thrown across the room.
Wrapping Up KFT
Knights of the Frozen Throne was a set of highs and lows, of flaws and success. The early toxicity of Jade and Aggro Druid proved to be the catalyst for positive changes in Patch 9.1, paving the way for a stable and healthy metagame to exist for the majority of the set. The nine class Legendary minions will go down as unmitigated disasters, but the nine Death Knights were a resounding success.
With spoiler season for Kobolds and Catacombs off to a shaky start, debates raging over Hearthstone’s pricing model, and complaints are mounting over the game’s increasing propensity for random effects, nothing would silence the critics more than a strong launch for K&C. One of the biggest reasons for optimism in K&C is the surprisingly dynamic nature of the aging KFT metagame, a sign that its cards still have plenty of gas left in the tank. I have a good feeling that KFT will be looked back on with much fonder eyes than it was ever seen with during its reign as Hearthstone’s newest set.