Kobolds and Catacombs: Wild Deck Brews to Enjoy
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to One and All. With the recent launch of Kobolds and Catacombs, I wanted to share with you guys five personal unique deck brews, which have proven to be quite fun. However, that being said I have also built them using a solid enough foundation for them to be deemed as viable and competitive and not just memes.
It is important to note moving forward that, despite having reached the Rank of Legend and my own personal mentality of equating ‘having fun’ with ‘winning’ , I am not really a fan of meta power-grinding and net-decking, not that there is anything wrong with that even in the slightest. Therefore, I enjoy thinking about new, cool and fun deck ideas that push boundaries while also allowing you to win. The decks I have chosen to share with you in this article do just that. So without anymore gilding the lily and with no more ado, it is my utmost pleasure to present you with ‘Five Fun Deck Brews for your Enjoyment‘.
Geosculptor C’thun Warrior
With every new expansion, the control warrior nostalgia resurfaces and with that, the jolly old desire to innovate another way of playing the resident sleeper archetype made infamous by the ‘Tank-Up and Pass‘ turns of competitive play. The primary justification for choosing C'Thun as win condition is due to the way in which synergistic minions like Ancient Shieldbearer allow for burst-productions of armor. As a result a legendary minion like Geosculptor Yip will remain relevant throughout the entirely of the game.
One of the primary reasons that this deck is fun is due to the fact that your Armor is actually quite key to winning your match-ups and synergises with quite a few of your cards thus transcending the usual fatigue strategy. It transitions what is, on its own, just an increase in health above the 30 hit point threshold into a multipurpose aspect of warrior game play. Essentially, it produces minions (through Geosculptor Yip), allows you to remove opposing minions (with Shield Slam and [Bladed Gauntlet]) and of course increase your health to the point where you outlast your opponent in fatigue.
Unlike previous C’Thun warriors, this deck brew has a few key differences. Firstly, I have not included the Emperor Thaurissan-Brann Bronzebeard-Doomcaller combo. I genuinely feel that the interaction is too slow; with that build your win condition essentially gets blown out of the water by any sort of transformation effect. In order to cover up for this loss of value, we have included a Dead Man's Hand that essentially serves the same purpose, but does not require a one-turn-setup, nor is it countered by transformation effects. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of duplicating removal effects and other large minions you may need depending on the match-up. The second key difference is the inclusion of Elise Starseeker. Apart from being a nice little throwback to the Resident Sleeper archetype it serves the purpose of actually turning useless non-lategame cards like Acolyte of Pain, Reckless Flurry and Shield Block into potentially a nice selection of beefy lategame minions.
Taking the information above into consideration it quickly becomes apparent that the primary win condition for this deck is C'Thun with the secondary one being Geosculptor Yip. The latter is very often guaranteed to get you at least an eight-drop per turn considering all your armor generation. However, the deck doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget that by utilizing your upgraded hero power, Tank Up!, you can essentially go to fatigue and come out on top. The fatigue strategy is further reinforced as you will also have the benefit of Elise Starseeker transforming your useless card draw and small minions into big scary Legendaries. So technically, this deck has three win conditions which you can utilise effectively at your discretion depending on how the game works out!
Dragoncaller Burn Mage
Typically when people think of Burn Mage, their minds instantly jump to thoughts of Flamewakers pinging their face turn after turn after turn, as your opponents play their cheap spells. In recent memory, that experience has probably extended to include a turn 6 Aluneth. The weapon will allow your opponent to draw their entire deck filled with burn spells which just turn your hero into ash with turn after turn of Forgotten Torches, Roaring Torches, Fireballs, Firelands Portals and Pyroblasts to the face. However, that is not what I wish to share with you with this deck. In fact, to properly illustrate where this deck comes from, we need to go back a couple of expansions to the Journey to Un’goro set.
During the almighty Ultrasaur expansion, a deck rose to prominence that played very similarly to Control Mage but carried the Burn Mage package as an alternate win-condition. Many people simply branded it as the ‘standard iteration of freeze mage‘ at the time post Ice Lance rotation but it was much more than that. It, in and of itself, was an entirely new archetype that can be best described as Control Burn Mage. Although its popularity quickly soared in the beginning, it was quickly forgotten thereafter as faster mage decks came to light, that allowed for shorter games and faster wins. That being said though, it was strong enough to warrant being revisited with Kobolds and Catacombs.
After an initial glance, it might seem that the deck has no clear win condition. Well there is always Alexstrasza + burn, but if you want to go that way, isn’t it just better to play Freeze Mage then? Technically you would be correct, but even though this deck looks a bit like Freeze Mage, the actual overall play style differs greatly. Now what do I mean by that? At some point in the mid game, Freeze Mage decks want to surrender board control completely. Thereafter, it just constantly Freezes the opposing minions contained therein and then survives thanks to cards like Ice Block. This deck differs in so far as at no point in the game do you want to abandon board control, unless you’re already burning your opponent down and you have Ice Block. Essentially, instead of running Freezes and ways to stall the game, you run board clears and ways to swing the tempo in your favour at crucial times in the lategame.
In order to cover the ever widening and all encompassing format that is Wild, this deck runs pretty much runs every kind of removal i.e. small single target, big single target, polymorph effect, general aoe. This should translate into the player having the necessary removal when he/she needs it. In essence, the key to victory lies in you controlling the board to the best of your ability and at some point in the mid to late game, beginning to execute your win conditions. They include the following: Dragoncaller Alanna, Alexstrasza + Burn Damage or the good old zero mana Arcane Giants.
Dragoncaller Alanna has truly breathed new life into this deck by replacing [Medivh the Guardian] as a win condition. Although people might argue that Medivh is strictly better in terms of value, he doesn’t fit the prerequisite role of what this deck wants to accomplish. You want to continuously present threats and not hold back your heavy spells in order to grind out value and although [Atiesh] is amazing in producing value over 2-3 turns it doesn’t quite pack that immediate pressuring swing we are looking for.
Infinite N’zoth Druid
Going Infinite; the ability to never reach fatigue, a lovely concept and for once achieving it can be done without the wonderfully balanced spell and excellently designed card known as Jade Idol (although I will say that Miracle Druid is a masterpiece of deck building). Such a feat is possible thanks to the new card, Astral Tiger that reads ‘Deathrattle: Shuffle a copy of this minion into your deck’, essentially making it an even better version of Malorne, the original version of Jade Idol.
Now, the new card on its own gives druid the ability to never fatigue. However, that is quite irrelevant if you don’t have the resources to pressure your opponent into submission or defend against their very own win condition. It is at this point that the relevance of other minions and spells come into effect. Essentially, N'Zoth, the Corruptor will provide you with an immense amount of Astral Tigers which if killed will just rotate back into your deck. Yet, it doesn’t end there as cards like Oaken Summons and Grizzled Guardians are able to carry your game plan by refilling your board straight from your deck with a never ending onslaught of Tigers.
Further to the above, it is quite possible to even include Spiritsinger Umbra in the deck as the Deathrattle reads ‘put a copy of this minion in your deck‘, so unlike Malorne you actually get the full value. However, her place has been taken by the new legendary minion Ixlid, Fungal Lord as he can provide additional board presence and furthermore synergises with all minions in the deck and not just Deathrattles. Moving on, even though I have negatively referenced Malorne twice already in this miniature guide his inclusion is based on merit. The Legendary Stag is a relatively cheap really aggressively statted minion, that keeps coming back repeatedly if your opponent is unable to kill him with a transformation or silence effect.
A similar deck was played by Kripparian not too long ago but unlike his iteration we have severely toned down the greed element of the deck. Furthermore we have tried to be logical with our inclusions in so far as thinking of the best way to achieve infinite value while also ensuring that the deck remains competitive enough past double digit ranks. As such, even though dear old Hadronox would have been a wonderful synergistic inclusion in this deck, he is sadly as always not good enough to see play. Maybe at some point in the very distant future, there will be merit to his existence.
Spiteful Unicorn Paladin
I know, I know. Based off of the name alone you probably think that this particular deck brew is a meme. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not and that it is one of the more competitive lists posted in this article. There might be more competitive merit to replacing the Shimmering Coursers (damn it I ruined the surprise) with Southsea Captains but that really isn’t in the spirit of the new expansion. The deck itself emulates Satellite Priest to a degree but is able to be consistently more aggressive thanks to the new cards printed. Those more or less push paladin towards adopting a vastly more aggressive style of play.
At its core we’re running the Call to Arms shell, which has been proven to be a very tried and true powerful combo card. This deck seeks to abuse the interactions between the Pirates, Ship's Cannon, Knife Juggler and minions in general. Not only that but because the card is deck-thinning, it will actually allow you to draw your heavy cards in the mid to lategame when you really need them to push ahead, limiting your dead draws.
Now as a mid-game option we have included Spiteful Summoner, which looks at spells in your deck and summons a minion based off of the revealed cost. The best mana slot for summoning a random minion, with this being especially true for paladin because of cards like Tirion Fordring and Ragnaros, Lightlord, is 8 mana. Because of this fact we have included two Dinosize in our deck. Furthermore, should you get a Shimmering Courser to stick on the field then it is a prime target for your Dinosize spell thus effectively making it a slightly smaller albeit cheaper Tyrantus. It is true that we run 4 other spells but from playtesting this deck and doing the mulligan correctly in the vast majority of games only Dinosize remained in our deck before Spiteful Summoner is to be played. If you still continue to question Spiteful Summoner’s validity in this deck, you need look no further than Faceless Summoner that continues to remain relevant to this day in certain tempo mage lists.
The rest of the cards are pretty self-explanatory. Corridor Creeper, Sunkeeper Tarim, Cobalt Scalebane, Bonemare all tick the box as solid cards, thusly they have been included in the list. The deck overall is quite beefy as it is teched more towards beating control match-ups which are plentiful on ladder at the present time amidst the throng of aggressive decks and paladin mirrors.
Val’anyr Colossus Paladin
Last but certainly not least, I am thrilled to present you with what I would characterise as the most simple and fun deck to play of the bunch. The gameplay element of the list at hand is quite straightforward and warrants little explanation. The deck works much like the Dragon Warrior of old in so far as you are looking for an aggressive start and to control the board while doing the occasional odd chip damage until your giant swing turn with Furnacefire Colossus who’s effect is almost reminiscent of that of Drakonid Crusher’s.
Although it was certainly possible to play this type of deck before Kobolds and Catacombs, the expansion itself provided the deck with some invaluable support. Utmost and foremost we are referring to the legendary weapon Val'anyr itself. Should the game show signs of going longer than anticipated then the weapon at hand will ensure that even your most feeble of minions will be able to do substantial damage to your opponent. However, the support to the archetype does not end there as the new epic minion Rummaging Kobold ensures that, even if our first Furnacefire Colossus has used up all of our remaining weapons then, we will be able to generate additional weapons so that our second Colossus does not enter the field as a 6 mana 6/6.
The deck itself is quite linear to play but I must admit that there is something quite beautiful in its simplicity. Not all decks need to be flashy and have multiple win conditions, sometimes a simple absurdly statted minion is enough to appease our thirst for enjoyment.