Hearthstone Kobolds And Catacombs: Can Druid Survive Without Jades?

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Ixlid Fungal Lord
Ixlid really needs a weed whacker Blizzard

Hearthstone’s Kobold And Catacombs expansion is jumping out of the crypt in just a few weeks. Over 80 of the set’s 120 cards have been revealed, allowing players to get a grasp on what the next few months of card-game play is going to look like. From the truly awe-inspiring Temporus to the meme-tastic To My Side, there are tons of new wonders for deck-builders to unlock.

Shocker, everything here is my personal opinion:

Judging from the cards we’ve seen so far, it look like one class pulls ahead from the rest: Druid. There are still three cards we haven’t seen, but the ones we have are absolutely monstrous. Malfurion has dominated the meta ever since Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan brought Jades into the mix. Jade Idol, Jade Blossom and Aya Blackpaw will all sail away from the Standard format at the end of Year Of The Mammoth in 2018, which leaves Druid without any of its most powerful cards. Innervate turned into the Coin to try and quell its over-arching power and I’m sure Blizzard has been worrying what Druid’s identity is going to be moving forward.

With Kobolds And Catacombs, Druid seems to be turning into an armor building brute. A good defense is just as strong as a good offense, but nothing is going to be as strong as an 11/11 Jade Golem. This means Druid’s playstyle will have to change dramatically. Jasper Spellstone needs you to gain six armor in order for it to be upgraded to max damage, which can be done with one card: Oaken Summons. That spell can summon a multitude of smaller minions, including Enchanted Raven, but a smart player would prefer to pull Ironwood Golem. For a four-mana investment, you have a 3/8 Taunt that can attack and six armor, which as Kripp would say, is pretty good.

Now, that theory is a best case scenario, but Druid still has plenty of other options to come out on top. Branching Path will also give you the six armor needed to upgrade Jasper Spellstone and allow Ironwood Golem to attack, on top of giving your minions +1 attack or draw a card. The card does lose a bit of its edge when Fandral Staghelm leaves Standard, but not nearly enough to make it blunt and useless.

Druid can only seem to have one good Legendary at a time, which makes some room for Ixlid, Fungal Lord to enter the fray . Five-mana for a 2/4 is usually a terrible trade, but getting an extra copy of whatever minion you summon more than makes up for it. Since they are summoned rather than played, cards like Druid Of The Claw and Kun, The Forgotten King can activate their Battlecries, meaning you can refresh your mana crystals and get 10 armor in one turn.

I have high hopes for Malfurion in Kobolds And Catacombs. Other classes, like Rogue and Warlock, look strong, but it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to maintain consistency. Druid looks simple to use and powerful to wield, making it an early winner in this game of theory Hearthstone.

Do you think Druid will be as powerful without its Jades or am I a rank 20 scrub for even writing this? Tell me in a salty message after I play Ultimate Infestation for lethal damage.

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