C'Thun, Cultists, and Competition- Will C'Thun see Play?
Whispers of the Old Gods is the newest expansion soon to be released in Hearthstone. Blizzard and many Hearthstone streamers/personalities released a few of the new cards to the public. While they haven't released all of them, I wanted to take this time to review the new cards and analyze their competitive viability. In this article I'll analyze the legendary card C'Thun and the four neutral minions related to him- Beckoner of Evil, C'Thun's Chosen, Twilight Elder, and Skeram Cultist. Let's start with talking about C'Thun:
The first thing to point out is that this card is worth 10 mana. With the exception of the "Giants" cards, minions that cost 10 or more mana have never been viable. Cards like Deathwing and Varian Wrynn have really cool effects, but cost so much for a high risk play at the expense of all your mana. They don't leave room for too many options in one turn, and C'Thun is no different. However, an upside to C'Thun is that he has an immediate impact on the board that only affects your enemy. With the right amount of power C'Thun could put on a lot of pressure, and the way he gets this power is through these cultist cards. Here are the neutral cards released so far that power up C'Thun:
These cards are meant to power up your C'Thun during the early and mid game. The stronger you make C'Thun the more impact he'll have on the board. At the North American Hearthstone Winter Championship, Lead Designer Ben Brode mentioned in testing C'Thun would be on average 14 attack and health. Dealing 14 damage randomly split among all enemies is incrediblly powerful. C'Thun alone can push the tempo of the game in your favor and potentially set up lethal. However, there are a few problems I have with the consistency of C'Thun and his cultists:
1. Since there is only one copy of C'Thun that you may put in your deck, how often will he be played to justify using him? Will you survive long enough to play C'Thun? Is C'Thun too susceptible to silence?
2. If you're not able to draw C'Thun, will his supporting minions be able to pick up the slack and provide alternative win conditions?
3. Will you have to sacrifice too many significant cards in order to build C'Thun decks?
Ultimately C'Thun's design is meant to be an investment, and while the downsides are pretty apparent I still think it's a really cool card. The idea is that the faithful shall be rewarded with this massive Old God that will send enemies to their doom. The cultists and C'Thun are dependent on each other, which makes for simple deck building for new players. In defense of C'Thun, there's also a lot we don't know about the state of Hearthstone after Whispers of the Old Gods is released. We have no idea how Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes leaving the meta will impact deck building. We also don't know much about the upcoming nerfs to Classic set cards. If Big Game Hunter takes a heavy hit, then C'Thun's potential success rate could rise.
With all this in mind let's take a look at what classes and types of decks could use C'Thun. Classes that survive over long periods of time, such as Warrior and Priest, seem to fit the bill quite nicely. Their cheap and abundant removal can help them keep control of the early-mid game and build up C'Thun. Ramp Druid would also be a good option- cheat out the cultists early on with Wild Growth, or surprise the enemy with a turn 8 C'Thun with Innervate. Some more fun options would be Rogue using Shadowstep on cultists to build up C'Thun more, Shaman using Far Sight to make cards cheaper, and Warlock with Summoning Portal. Neutral cards that have nice synergy with C'Thun decks are Emperor Thaurissan and Youthful Brewmaster.
My final verdict for C'Thun's viability at the moment leans towards no. There will most likely be exceptions for classes with a higher survivability rates, but overall I don't think every single class will have a successful C'Thun deck. I'm more than willing to review C'Thun once more when Whispers of the Old Gods is released. However, there seems to be a lot fighting against C'Thun. The card costs a lot of mana, you can only put one copy of it in your deck, the card is hindered by silence, and it relies on other cards to make it stronger. I'm still really hopeful about C'Thun. I think the battlecry effect and investment will feel rewarding. I'm excited to test C'Thun out and review him when the new Hearthstone meta peters out.
About the Author- I am a writer that follows competitive esports such as Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Follow me @Kenny_Humiston on Twitter for content updates.