Hearthstone’s Kobolds & Catacombs First Experience
Blizzard Entertainment muses us once again with a new expansion released for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Kobolds & Catacombs. Diving deep into treacherous catacombs to grab the hoards of loot surrounding the territory of the Kobolds bring to mind one word: Treasure. The main theme of the adventure encompass the collectible 135 cards. From treacherous foes one may meet excavating the deathly halls to adventurers spelunking through the several tiers of this sprawling earthen dungeon, each card in the set brings to life the charm Hearthstone is known for. It does all this while seaming a fun expanse upon the lore of Warcraft in Kobolds & Catacombs.
With the title sprouting the famous tabletop role-playing game (RPG) of Dungeons & Dragons, this new expansion brings a lot of life and appreciation from many gamers of RPGs in general. Unlike the previous expansions introduced to this free-to-play title, Kobolds & Catacombs hosts many new features and mechanics to dive into. This includes the new single-player content of Dungeon Run and the new card mechanics of recruit, spellstones, unidentified items, and legendary weapons. Also, a new host of Arena-only cards for each class are included to gain throughout the player-vs.-player (PvP) draft experience. Adventure, glory, treachery and the pursuit of loot are motives that drive this wonderful expansion.
The Dungeon Run
The biggest addition to the expansion is that of the new single-player experience. Instead of making one’s way through an infamous dungeon in which one must win in card games against many treacherous raid bosses, one is instead cast into a single trial of many bosses, paralleling the experience of the Arena. The Dungeon Run has a starter deck for each of the nine classes. One must defeat eight bosses that rank-up to a higher tier of power as the player advances. Fear not, during each successful encounter there will be many options to augment the unimpressive starter decks.
Artifacts, treasures and bundles of three cards are possible rewards for victory. And each win prompts the selection of one of three varying card bundles to add to the player’s deck. Artifacts are passive and powerful objects that do not go into one’s deck, but further enhances a specific play style and focuses the entire deck. Treasures are very potent and powerful Hearthstone cards that can swing games into the player’s favor. For very obvious reasons, they’re not seen in the base set.
48 fearsome foes await any who travel through this deck-building, single-player archetype of Hearthstone. With nine classes to choose from and 40 treasures to collect, no Dungeon Run will ever be the same. Sadly, the one fault with this game mode (other than challenging and defeating the Dungeon Run with each class gaining an exclusive card back) is the fact that there is no rewards to be had, unlike its PvP arena counterpart. Though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, since no other single-player content had replayable collective rewards. It is still a bit disappointing that the only alternative way to gain loot from this mode is through the randomized daily quests.
Nevertheless, this mode offers a bounty of fun for those who love the deck-building challenge, enthusiasts of trials that are stacked against the player. Replayable not for reward, but the sheer fun of the mode.
New Mechanics and Cards
Hosting the most diverse selection of new mechanics introduced in a single expansion, the cards of Kobolds & Catacombs follow the same underlying themes and goes about it differently with each. There are many unique and welcoming additions to this collectible card game, as well as some very potent cards released. The ranked ladder meta will certainly shift toward a new light, differing from that of the previous Knights of the Frozen Throne meta.
The banner mechanic of the set is that of the “recruit” mechanic. This powerful effect allows the minion that possesses it to summon a random minion from the player’s deck, following the predetermined prerequisites for the summoned minion. As an example, Silver Vanguard is a 7 mana 3/3 that has the text, “Deathrattle: Recruit an 8-cost minion.” Upon dying, a random 8-cost minion will be summoned from that player’s deck. One quickly realizes this powerful mechanic is hindered by high cost and low stats for the card. There are many different iterations to this new effect upon a host of cards. This powerful addition to collectible cards will ensure an input within the rising meta at some point, being a powerful mechanic with the essence of forming a faster board-state than one’s opponent.
Although not being highlighted in a bold outline by the card text, spellstones and unidentified objects are both new mechanics. Each class received one of these intriguing spellstones whose gimmick is to become more potent as its desires are fulfilled. Meaning it scales to a higher level of power upon the completion of certain tasks within a game. A mini quest within a competitive game with the goal of building a deck to support these spellstones, these will truly become a staple within decks. Unidentified objects are blank slates of a card that gain a random effect from four different options when drawn. An alternating randomness is present within these cards, giving players the exact thing they need or dooming them to lose. With the amount of luck involved with these cards, one cannot imagine that these will see much use for these cards in competitive play.
Additionally, each class received a legendary weapon, embracing many weaponless classes with such a boon. Very potent effects are assigned to the cards, augmenting play in a strong way. The Rogue weapon “Kingsbane” is a 1 mana 1/3 that reads, “ Deathrattle: Shuffle this into your deck. It keeps any enchantments.” A strict upgrade to the classes hero power with the ability to be augmented further and contain any buffing card cast upon it. These legendary weapons will definitely see experimentation within the ranked ladder and some will become staples to certain decks. It is hard to rank these powerful devices without knowing the current standings of decks.
All in all, the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft expansion Kobolds & Catacombs takes players through a Dungeons & Dragons inspired dungeon crawling with monstrous entities, brave adventurers and the grand promise of loot. The expansion hosts a hoard of abundant new mechanics, along with the introduction of the Dungeon Run single-player experience. There is a vast amount of content added within this expansion when comparing it to previous releases. It offers a reason to return to this free-to-play collectible card game, a must for the enthusiast. Blizzard Entertainment has once again pulled off a successful expansion to one of their titles that will ensure its audience will remain playing the game. It is also a wonderful homage to tabletop RPGs. Kobolds & Catacombs is truly an adventure to be had.
Kobolds & Catacombs is available now on the Blizzard Launcher for free, visit the Kobolds & Catacombs website for more information.