Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs out December 7th


If you’re kobold enough to catacome down into the depths of Hearthstone’s latest 135 card expansion, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s catacombing out on December 7th. The Kobolds & Catacombs expansion will bring nine new class legendary weapons and cards bearing a new ‘Recruit’ keyword, but that’s kobold news. I cata wait to tell you about the new stuff we’ve learned since we last posted about it.

If you want to take a peek at all of the new cards and get down to some theorycrafting, Blizzard have put them all up on show.

You should bear in mind that Blizzard have a history of releasing their expansions a little later on the European servers, so don’t expect the expansion to land until the early hours on Friday if you hang your hat in that part of the globe. Judging from the last bit of this interview with Blizzard card wranglers Peter Whalen and Ben Thompson, it’s just possible we’ll see a simultaneous release – but don’t hold your breath.

Whalen and Thompson also discuss their plans for next year. They’re aiming to release 3 expansions again, each with PvE missions rather than ‘Adventures’. The main difference with those missions is that completing them rewards you with card packs rather than specific cards, which have often become necessary components of competitive decks. The devs say they want to avoid gating too many powerful cards behind single-player challenges that some players struggled to beat.

The PvE ‘Dungeon Run’ mode that’s part of this upcombing expansion shows they’re already moving towards that more accessible approach, with only a single exclusive card for each hero up for grabs. Here’s how Blizzard described it:

“Players start with a novice deck from their class of choice and face a series of progressively stronger foes, randomly selected from a huge pool of unique bosses. As they progress, they’ll bolster their decks with cards looted from defeated bosses, including some immensely powerful treasures exclusive to Dungeon Runs. Heroes should plunder with caution, however, because losing a single battle will spell the end of their Dungeon Run.”

Your first 3 wins in the mode will also net you a card pack each, and you can get one of the new legendary weapon cards just by launching the game.

I’ll probably boot it up to give Dungeon Run a whirl, though I doubt I’ll be tempted back into ladder climbing in the PvP. Long ago, I played enough Hearthstone to get to the point where I knew every card in the game and had a decent shot at guessing what card my opponent was going to pull out next. That was 4 expansions ago though (including this one), so once it lands I’ll have 537 new cards to get to grips with. Being destroyed by crazily powerful decks with all manner of cards and effects I’ve never seen before has an appeal of its own, but any shot I had of reaching legend rank is well and truly gone.


  1. lancelot says:

    Not one but two cobbled puns on the word kobold. Going together as well as cats and combs.

  2. Hunchback says:

    Reading about yet another large (135 new cards seems massive) HS expansion only makes me sad about the state Gwent is in.
    I don’t mean to trashtalk HS, i’ve played it a while and i know it’s a huge success, but i find it very bland mechanics-wise (mostly because of the mana resource and the fact you get it in a linear fashion), compared to Gwent.

    Sadly, even if Gwent is very fun and well made, it’s been very damn slow lately, with very few cards to play with… Feels like wasted potential. And yes, i know it’s still in “open beta”, but we all know what that term means nowadays.

    Genuine question to HS players: Has the game actually evolved in terms of mechanics and gameplay or is it still simple maths and aggro always wins?

    • subprogram32 says:

      I’m not really a ‘player’ as such, but as someone who likes watching Trump’s Card Reviews and Post-Expansion reviews of the review, it seems like the meta has been getting significantly more control and tempo heavy lately.
      In fact, with a few exceptions, most of the ‘true’ aggro decks have died out entirely, instead being replaced by fast tempo decks such as token druid, which unlike true aggro decks will clear the board if they need to do so *before* hitting face. Priest, a total joke just a year ago, is now one of the strongest classes around. And this next expansion seems like a potential significant buff to Warlock too.
      The meta is mostly dominated by stuff from the Gadgetzahn expansion, such as Jade Druid and Kazakkus decks, so it will be interesting to see what direction it goes once those cards rotate out next year.

      • Hunchback says:

        When last i played (i was very low rank, mind) Paladins were “unbeatable” and Shammys were the joke.

        And there were very find “mind games” to play with, since most cards have a very direct and simple effect – damage, block, stun, destroy, etc, but no special CONDITIONS to do the effect, no real interaction with the deck other than “draw a card” mostly. Have they added some mechanics that require actual setup, interactions with the deck and graveyard, interactions with the opponent hand/deck… ?

        • Atuin says:

          Mind games?

          Curious Glimmerroot shows you 3 cards and you need to guess which one started in your opponent’s deck to get a copy of it. Fatespinner let’s you choose an effect – either buff or damage every minion on board – that’s hidden to your enemy. Rogue is getting 3 secrets.

          Have they added some mechanics that require actual setup?

          Well there’s Exodia Mage. You need 2 sorcerer’s apprentices, 2 cards to copy 3rd and 4th apprentice, activate the mage quest by casting 6 spells that didn’t start in your hand and Antonidas to cast infinite amount of 0 mana cost fireballs. Every hero has a quest card (not to be confused with those quests that give gold) that’s sort of special conditions to do the effect (play X taunt/1 mana cost/deathrattle/murloc minions etc.), there’s an upcoming card that summons a free Al’Akir if your shaman has all 4 basic totems alive, Death Knight Uther instantly wins the game (literally) if he has 4 upgraded token dudes on board and so on.

          interactions with the deck?

          Prince Keleseth gives a bonus if your deck has no other 2 mana cost cards. Same with Prince Taldaram/3 mana cards and Prince Valanar/4 mana cards. Reno heals your hp to full if your deck has no duplicates. Benedictus copies your opponent’s deck and adds a copy for each card to your deck. Dead Man’s Hand adds a copy of every card in your hand to your deck.


          Big Priest is fully based around resurrecting your big minions.

          interactions with the opponent hand/deck?

          Gnomeferatu discards the top card from your opponent’s deck. Mill decks are fully based around overdrawing your opponent (if you have 10 cards in hand, the 11th card is destroyed). King Togwaggle swaps your and your opponent’s decks but the opponent can reverse it with 5 mana (unless the reverse card is milled).

          These are just a few examples from the top of my head, I bet I missed the majority of interesting cards. HS can be a complex game if you prefer shenanigans over steady winrate.

        • subprogram32 says:

          Oh yes, interactions with your own deck have gone WAY up lately. The first rise was the Reno decks, featuring Reno Jackson, a 6 mana 4/6 card that healed you to full health when played…IF your deck had no duplicate cards in it when played. Obviously, the best way to do this is to never have multiples of a card in a deck, which changed deck composition massively for the classes that could make Reno work – and quite a few could, cos Reno was powerful af and one of the best aggro counters out there.
          Reno has rotated into Wild since, but upon the time when he did, several more characters were made that had the same idea – a conditional effect that is super powerful, but relies on no duplicates in the deck when played, with by far the most deck-defining one being Kazakkus (sic), who is avalible to Mage, Priest and Warlock decks.
          In addition, last expansion had several ‘Prince’ cards, which give powerful effects when played, but only if there are no other cards in the deck that has the same mana cost as the Prince in question. The most significant of these was Prince Kelazeth, who in return for being the only 2-mana card in the deck, gives a +1/+1 to every other minion in the entire deck when played, massively improving your win chance if you draw him on curve, but greatly weakening your early game in return.
          And the ‘recruit’ mechanic from this expansion is all about drawing cards from your deck based on specific conditions of the recruting card’s parameters. So yeah, I think Hearthstone has gotten just a little bit more setup-y.

        • Hunchback says:

          Thanks guys for the lengthy replies.
          I am tempted to give it a spin, i know i don’t have the time to go “competitive” or anything, but maybe have a couple of games every now and then.

          However, some colleagues claim that a recent expansion made it seriously P2W. What’s with that?

          • subprogram32 says:

            I don;t really know, there have always been decent f2p decks out there, many tope streamers have f2p decks just to show that they are possible. The only real difference is that you have to keep a constant time commitment to not have all your cards be rotated out faster than you can get new ones basically, cos every year the cards from two years ago become unusable in Standard modes.

  3. Carra says:

    The devs say they want to avoid gating too many powerful cards behind single-player challenges that some players struggled to beat.

    The real reason is of course that Blizzard makes a lot more money selling three full expansions a year. A pre-order of 50 packs costs $50. And you need to spend a multiple of that to get all the cards in the set. An adventure costed $15 and you had all cards.

    Getting a free legendary and no more duplicate legendaries helps but Hearthstone has definately become more costly to play.