Class cards make a big splash, but often neutrals can be far more impactful. Strong neutrals like Bonemare or Cobalt Scalebane can define the entire meta-game. We’re early into the Kobolds and Catacombs meta, but already four neutral cards perform outstandingly in a wide variety of decks. Bonemare, Keleseth and Scalebane pushed Knights of the Frozen Throne towards midrange. How will these four neutrals affect the Kobolds meta-game?
Flooding and trading with Corridor Creeper
Corridor Creeper is a powerful tool in a variety of aggressive, minion focused decks. Aggro Paladin and Zoo both can run it to great effect. But it’s not just a simple Aggro tool. Sure, it’s a potentially free 5/5 that rewards minion-flooding decks. But since the discount only applies when minions die, it rewards trading and value-focused play with your swarms more than simply hitting face. What’s more, because it requires a high volume of minions to be worth it, it rewards decks that draw or generate more cards.
So what’s the overall effect on the meta? Well, if you play it, it rewards decks that trade pro-actively. This encourages a slower form of aggro, more focused on value than rushing down opponents. It also pushes boards wider, encouraging cards like Saronite Chain Gang and Fire Fly. Aside from decks that push these strategies, like Evolve Shaman, Zoo and Aggro Paladin, the big winners are control decks with AOE that can counter these archetypes. Control Warlock in particular would benefit greatly from a Corridor Creeper meta, as it’s able to sweep the board repeatedly.
Swinging with Arcane Tyrant
Speaking of 0 mana cards, Arcane Tyrant is another neutral with huge discount potential. The 4/4 is free whenever you cast a 5 mana or more spell, making it an ideal option to drop behind a Spreading Plague or a Firelands Portal. Of course, the first requirement to unlock this power is to have a good number of spells costing 5 or more to synergise with. This means that there are already only a few archetypes this can work with. Mage, Druid and Priest seem like strong contenders. In terms of counterplay, either decks that can rush down the big, clunky spells of the opponent or decks that starve the opponent win out.
Arcane Tyrant gives a boost to late-game decks with big spells and lots of draw. This is mostly Highlander Priest and Jade/Big Druid. Theoretically, this should benefit fatiguing or control decks that can squeeze the life out of high-draw late-game decks. However, these archetypes’ late-game power crushes most other Control decks. Otherwise, simply playing extremely aggressively so the opponent cannot afford their spells before they die is an effective strategy.
Building boards with Master Oakheart
Master Oakheart is a dream card for very specific types of deck. His ability to tutor specific minions creates a huge opportunity. Since he costs so much, he is best used in decks that seek to revive specific minions. Bloodreaver Guldan and N’zoth are natural fits; the 3 attack Voidlords and Direhorn Hatchlings, 2 attack Loot Hoarders and Plated Beetles along with 1 attack Voidwalkers or Acolytes of Pain can instantly create a sturdy board that can be re-summoned next turn. Control Warrior, Paladin and Warlock can benefit greatly from super-charging revives, building taunts and thinning out the deck.
As a 9 mana card, the natural counterplay is fast strategies. However, this can be problematic, as Oakheart’s natural ally is Taunt minions. As such, it might be burn-focused decks like Mage who can kill ‘over the top’ of Oakheart’s wall. Otherwise, Dirty Rat is a great counter to both Oakheart and his reviving allies.
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