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Hearthstone: Our First Look at ‘Kobolds and Catacombs’

Kobolds and Catacombs is an old-school dungeon run


Recently, at BlizzCon 2017, the Hearthstone team announced its latest expansion: Kobolds and Catacombs. The new set brings an element of whimsy to the card game, along with several never-before-seen features.

As part of the opening ceremony at BlizzCon, game director Ben Brode debuted the expansion. Referring to the expansion as “our love-letter to that classic fantasy, dungeon-crawling vibe,” Brode went on to take us on a tour through the catacombs.

We might begin with Brode’s first announcement, which is also the most relevant at the moment. True to the rumors, the first legendary revealed in the set was thief Marin the Fox. And as a neutral legendary, he’s pretty exciting.

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Marin’s Battlecry immediately summons a 0/8 Treasure Chest for one’s opponent. As an eight-mana, 6/6 minion who summons something for one’s opponent, this might not seem very good initially. But breaking the Treasure Chest yields some pretty amazing loot, in a mechanic similar to the presents of Winter’s Veil.

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Marin’s loot can be one of four options and all are quite powerful. Zarog’s Crown, for instance, lets you discover a Legendary minion and then immediately summon two copies of it. The Golden Kobold, on the other hand, is a three-mana 6/6 minion that replaces your hand with Legendary minions.

If one is excited to get their hands on Marin, there is more good news in that the card is to be released next week. Marin the Fox comes as a forerunner to the expansion, with those log-in starting Monday receiving the card for free. Furthermore, BlizzCon 2017 attendees or virtual ticket viewers will receive an additional golden version of the card.

The free card is a certain nod to Hearthstone’s appreciation of its fans, but there is more exciting news with Kobolds and Catacombs.

First is the reveal of Legendary weapon cards. Like the quest cards of Un’Goro or the death knights of Frozen Throne, these weapon cards are special Legendaries made for each class. Each class will receive one in addition to their standard Legendary minion, and not all are standard weapons.

Aluneth, for example, is a 0/3 weapon for Mage that draws three cards at the end of the turn.

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And the Dragon Soul, as a similarly-statted Priest weapon, summons a 5/5 dragon whenever three spells are cast in a turn.

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Alongside the new Legendary type, a new card keyword was revealed. Cards with ‘Recruit’ will pull a minion out of your deck and put it directly in the battlefield. This allows for some pretty crazy shenanigans, as seen with the neutral ‘Guild Recruiter’ or new Warrior spell.

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Last in the new card types and mechanics, we might mention the Spellstones. These are cards that do something highly specific when played, but also feature the new concept of being upgradable. Each Spellstone comes with a specific task, such as the Druid Spellstone, which upgrades when one gains three armor.

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Each Spellstone is able to upgrade twice, getting progressively better effects for the same cost. In the case of the Shaman Spellstone, this can get pretty out of hand.

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There are many more card reveals to come and you can keep track of them at the official site. But before one jumps over there, it might help to hear about the adventure component that comes with Kobolds and Catacombs.

Begun with Knights of the Frozen Throne, each Hearthstone expansion since is to have a free adventure component. Completing the adventure brings its own set of rewards, in addition to a unique solo experience. But where Knights of the Frozen Throne’s adventure was familiar, Kobolds and Catacombs presents a brand-new format: the dungeon run.

As opposed to previous adventures of climbing through wings of boss fights, the dungeon run is an exercise in deck-building similar to Arena. The player begins the dungeon run by choosing a class and creating a deck with ten cards of their choice. Using this deck, the player must defeat a flight of eight bosses of increasing difficulty, gaining cards along the way. But rather than just including the cards everyone is already familiar with, the dungeon run introduces some cards specific to that mode.

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All of the above cards are super-powered loot specific to the dungeon run—they won’t be playable in any other format. And given the advantages certain bosses are bound to have, one is going to need these cards dearly.

Certain passive abilities can also be chosen along the way, simulating one becoming stronger as an adventurer. These include things like giving all one’s minions +1/+1 at the start of the game or doubling one’s starting health.

Ben Brode has described the dungeon run as a “Hearthstone rogue-like” and its “most replayable singleplayer content ever.” And like the Frozen Throne adventure, it’s completely free.

Kobolds and Catacombs is set to release next month and will be the last expansion released in the Year of the Mammoth. Come next year, more sets will rotate out with the advent of the expansion beyond this latest one.

For more Kobolds and Catacombs news, watch this video of the opening ceremony below:

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