Hearthstone Kobolds And Catacombs Expansion Lacks Identity

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Ettin's hungry for some scraps
Ettin's hungry for some scraps BLIZZARD

Every Hearthstone expansion up to this point has had a unifying identity. The Grand Tournament brought knights and jousts to the field, Whispers Of the Old Gods shared cultists and tentacles and Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan gave us broken cards and gangsters. The newest set, Kobolds And Catacombs, doesn’t seem to have that same kind of cohesive idea idea. Of course, there are kobolds, the angry mouse-people that really despise having their candles taken, but nearly every other card revealed so far is crazy - in a unique way.

Unlike the other expansions Blizzard has force-fed players, KAC isn’t based off on any Azeroth lore or fancy gimmick, instead encapsulating the developers love for the classic tabletop experience, Dungeons & Dragons. There are no dinosaurs like in Un’Goro or clockwork knights roaming the halls ala Gadgetzan. It’s a whole new world where the rules of Hearthstone can be pushed to their limits. There’s a new keyword, Recruit, and weapons for every class, but nothing as ham-fisted as the Death Knights in Knights Of The Frozen Throne or as boozy as Medivh in One Night In Karazhan.

I’ve never been a huge D&D fan; my friends in high school preferred to play Warhammer to fight our imaginary battles. Using those tiny miniatures, we rolled dice and commanded hordes of minotaurs and dwarves to victory or a miserable defeat. Though I’m not well-versed in the owlbears of never-ending catacombs of Gary Gygax’s ever-lasting creation, I do understand how amazing it is to create a story using nothing but your imagination and a few plastic dice.

Though the cards in Kobolds And Catacombs have no overarching theme, they sall still fit together. Blizzard is rethinking how Hearthstone works, moving away from the crazy combos and almighty spells that have dominated the game for the last year and a half. Hoarding Dragon, Voidlord and Temporus all have unique effects, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the game before. Awe-inspiring Legendaries make you rethink how you want to build a deck, like King Togwaggle and Lynessa Sunsorrow . These are cards that hold merit on their own, and you don’t need a full deck of Jades to make them work together, just some imagination and patience.

With two of the worst sets Hearthstone has ever had, Mean Streets and Old Gods , rotating out of the Standard format at the end of the year, Team 5 has room to come up with something unique. Thorns in the ass like Jade Golems and Ice Block will be locked away in Wild, making room for cards with less gimmicky power. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any brute force in the next set: Fal’dorei Strider is a mean, giant bug.

Kobolds And Catacombs’ overall lack of a unifying identity as its predecessors isn’t a bad thing. In order for Hearthstone to evolve and grow out of the shadow of the much larger World Of Warcraft, it’s going to have to find ways to be unique. Capitalizing on classic experiences that nearly every nerd worth the weight in stolen gold is a great way to give more to the players who already expect a lot.

Do you think Kobolds And Catacombs has an identity or is it just a bunch of random cards tied together for profit? Roll for initiative to find out.

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