They had watched as the boat that brought them to Gadgetzan sailed away and eventually vanished in the mist. Anduin and Jain felt uneasy about traveling to Gadgetzan with someone like Gul’dan, but the warlock assured them that his old friend, the last member of this four person party, has something special for the three of them. They knew better than to trust the orc warlock who had try to conquer Azeroth multiple times and has been harassing them on ladder with his various zoo decks, but they were running out of options to fight Thrall and they were getting desperate, especially Anduin who has been everyone’s laughing stock for almost a year. Besides, Gul’dan’s friend had seemed like a decent fellow. The lack of wings, horns and felflame gave them three more reasons to trust him.
After a few seconds in silence, Anduin turned to their fourth companion and asked, ”What are we going to do now?”
The man looked at him, smiled and said ”We’re gonna be rich!”
Welcome, one and all, to this weeks discussion about the gangs of Gadgetzan. Last time I’ve covered the Grimy Goons and this week I’m going to cover the Kabal, the richest gang in all of Gadgetzan. A good portion of the Kabal cards have been revealed this week and we’re in for a treat. Priest was given several good cards for dragon deck, mage has been given further secret deck support and warlock has been given a few cards that will do wonders in a Reno deck. More so than that, all three classes are now officially endorsed by Reno Jackson and we are bound to see some new Reno decks in early December.
Here, have a drink!
I love magic and one of the key things that come to my mind when I think about magic are potions. Magical potions have been present in fantasy stories since forever and it was about time that we got them in Hearthstone as well. At this moment there are seven different potions in the game (not counting Kazakus custom-made potions) and each class has at least two (priest has three). Mage has volcanic-potion and potion-of-polymorph which is a secret, priest has dragonfire-potion, pint-size-potion and potion-of-madness while warlock has felfire-potion and bloodfury-potion.
How good are the potions?
Area of effect or AoE potion cards are very good. While I would argue that a spell powered arcane-explosion is better than volcanic-potion, felfire-potion and dragonfire-potion are both amazing (with dragonfire-potion being a bit more amazing). There is a cute combo with pint-size-potion and shadow-word-horror to clear your opponents board for only 5 mana and potion-of-madness has a great effect for the cost. I personally wouldn’t run potion-of-polymorph over mirror-entity and bloodfury-potion is probably not something that will see too much play.
One card that works absolute wonders with potions is kabal-chemist. This card is simply amazing! Let us consider, for a second, the idea that these potions that we saw now are the only potions that we are going to get. Taking that into consideration and the fact that 3 of these potions are board clear potion, kabal-chemist has 43% (3 out of 7) chance to give you a board clear potion and two of them can kill most of the minions in the game. With those odds in mind this will most likely be a card that will be played simply because it has a fairly decent odds of giving you a board clear when you desperately need one. As far as the revealed gang mechanic tri class cards go, this one is beats grimestreet-smuggler by a mile.
We have many secrets
Though not one of the two main themes of Kabal, this gangs has brought us some well needed support for a secret mage deck. I would say that a lot of people have begun taking the idea of this archetype more seriously when Medhiv’s Valet came out in One Night In Karazhan adventure and although it saw play in some so-called secret aggro valet decks that popped around here and there on the internet but never saw any real high level competitive play, Means Street of Gadgetzan expands on that idea with two new additions in the form of kabal-lackey and kabal-crystal-runner.
Kabal-lackey is a very good card. You get a free secret, which usually costs 3 mana, and a 2/1 body for 1 mana which is crazy value in the early game, especially on turn 1, and especially if you can follow it up with a Medhiv’s Valet on turn 2. It is a smaller kirin-tor-mage but it can provide you with a huge advantage at the very start of the game and it can trade with a decent number of 2 drops.
The other card that I want to talk about is kabal-crystal-runner and the first thing that comes to my mind when I see this card is thing-from-below. Yes, they both share a similar cost reduction ability but I would say that thing-from-below is way better than kabal-crystal-runner simply because it goes well into any shaman deck because of the hero power synergy and it has taunt which is quite valuable. There is a world of difference between having usually 2 cost minions that reduce your cost by 1 and having 3 cost spells that do it. However, I would not write off kabal-crystal-runner. Although it doesn’t have the crazy synergy that thing-from-below has it will be an all-star in a secret mage deck. It is an amazing card that which should not be underestimated. A 2 mana cost reduction is huge, especially now that we have been given more ways to play secrets for 0 mana.
Here there be dragons!
I have already written about dragon priest in another article (which you can find here) but since I’m talking about the Kabal as a whole I feel the need to quickly mention it again. Back in the day before the standard format was introduced there was this deck called dragon priest which revolved around, you’ve guessed it, playing dragons and using the dragon synergy to your advantage. Yes, I am aware that it exists even now but it is nowhere as good as it was before. Ever since some key cards like lightbomb, velens-chosen and dark-cultist had rotated out the deck had fallen off the radar almost entirely. To push priest back into the metagame, the developers have decided that instead of creating a new type of priest that it would be better to simply expand upon the existing archetype and so dragon priest was given two awesome cards, dragonfire-potion and drakonid-operative.
Both of these cards are amazing but the card that really pushes the dragon priest back into the metagame is dragonfire-potion which is one of the best board clears that I have ever seen. For 6 mana you get to, in most cases, clear your opponent’s entire board while preserving the dragons on your board. If you get to combine this card with an azure-drake that you have played a turn before then there is no non dragon minion in the entire game that can survive a hit from this thing. The obvious flaw of this card is that it is going to be next to useless in a mirror match. In summary, dragon priest is coming back and it is coming back swinging.
The richest gang of Gadgetzan
Those who know me already know this but for those who don’t know, I absolutely love reno-jackson. It is by far my favorite card in the entire game. I’ve been playing Magic: The Gathering for well over a decade now and my favorite format is commander aka the highlander format aka no duplicates deck so when the developers have announced that the Kabal will be a gang that will focus on making reno decks even stronger it blew me away but I was not ready for the craziness that we were getting.
Let us start with mage. Mage is getting a single no duplicate mechanic card and it is chogall…I mean, inkmaster-solia. The reason why I’m comparing these two cards is fairly obvious, they function almost the same way as in they are giving you a ”free” spell. The problem with chogall is that there really aren’t any good spells to play with him. The problem with inkmaster-solia is that it is a no duplicate mechanic card. However, when it comes to spell quality there is no competition between warlock and mage. There are so many powerful and high value spells that you can cast for free as a mage that it simply makes inkmaster-solia great. Why wouldn’t you want to play flamestrike and a 5/5 minion or a cabalists-tome along a 5/5 minion or even pyroblast on turn 7? There is no reason not to want to do these things and if you’re already going for a Reno mage deck than there is no reason not to include this card if you have it. It is by no means a must have card for a Reno mage deck but it will certainly not hurt you to include it if you have it.
Next class is priest and priest was given on hell of a card called raza-the-chained. This card right here is insane! Once you play it you get to heal yourself or your minions for 2 every single turn for 0 mana. Combine this with justicar-trueheart which is an auto include in a Reno priest deck and you get to heal yourself and your stuff for 4 damage for free every turn. That is some crazy value right there! There are also other ways of playing with this card like changing your hero power with sir-finley-mrrgglton before upgrading it with justicar-truehart or in a shadowform priest deck. It opens up a lot of possibilities and I for one can’t wait to see what crazy decks will be built around this card.
I would also mention warlock but we didn’t get to see his no duplicate legendary card 🙁
Last but not least is the gang leader, Reno’s new best friend, the big guy himself, kazakus. I’ve also already talked about kazakus in my previous article but you can’t really talk about a gang without mentioning its leader. Kazakus is unique in a way that it lets you create your own spell. Once you play it you’ll get to choose the cost of your spell (1 mana, 5 mana or 10 mana), then you’ll get to choose its first effect (the strength of the effect differs according to the spell’s cost) and then you get to choose a secondary effect (the strength of the effect differs according to the spell’s cost). Ben Brode had mentioned multiple times that there are hundreds of different combinations so it may take a while to discover all of them. This, like inkmaster-solia, is a card that you don’t have a reason not to play in your Reno deck if you have it. It has a powerful fun effect and it will see play in every mage/priest/warlock Reno deck ever…ever.
The goal of this gang was to provide us with powerful tools for Reno decks and it that aspect it had fully delivered. The big concern that everybody has is what will happen to no duplicate decks once Reno rotates out next year. Although I honestly don’t believe that the developers will make Reno a part of the evergreen classic set I think that we will get some kind of a substitute in the April 2017 expansion and if we don’t, well, I can’t see no duplicate decks surviving without it. This is all I had for you today, folks. What do you think about the Kabal? Are you excited to experiment with the new Reno decks or is that not your cup of tea? Do you see these decks surviving if Reno is gone? Do leave your feedback in the comment section and if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eternal_HS. There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstone questions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can. Until next week when we’ll be taking a look at the last gang, the Jade Lotus.