Welcome, one and all, to the first ever THL Top 8s! This is a new series where we will be bringing you our picks of what we believe to be the top 8 in any given subject (usually Hearthstone related, but who knows?). Naturally, Kobolds and Catacombs hit exactly one week ago today, so what better way to start this series off than by evaluating our picks for the top cards of the expansion one week in? THL members Ericokey, FollowDurden, RidiculousHat, rebobson, and Sage have each selected their own individual top 8 cards which they believe to have shaped the KnC metagame the most in the first week; with the obvious exception of Corridor Creeper. That card is so far ahead of everything else, what’s the point of even writing about it? Each individual list was compiled and averaged into the top 8 you see in front of you, which is probably the closest to science THL has ever come. Thus, I think we can safely say this list is 100% accurate, without a shadow of a doubt.* Read on to find out what the team thought and see whether you agree!
*definitely not 100% accurate.
8) Spiteful Summoner
Ericokey: People thought this would be a strong card in the Kobolds and Catacombs meta mostly because of how well it fits into decks like Murloc Paladin; which they were correct about because this card is great there, but it has an even better home in Pirate Warrior in my opinion. Pirate warrior can control the board leading into turn 6 about as well as any deck and the fact that most builds only play Mythril Spellstone as the only thing this guy can reveal so you always get a random 7 drop is just amazing.
RidiculousHat: This card is enabling entire strategies and redefining deckbuilding in a way that Keleseth did - and it gives aggro decks a midgame army in a box while almost guaranteeing a target for Bonemare (if you play it) or just a 4/4 and a giant minion. It’s good in big spell control and it’s good in low spell aggro - the power level combined with the versatility and universal impact on the meta makes it a card that must be appreciated.
Sage: Spiteful Summoner is a card I definitely wasn't expecting to be as good as it is. Showing up very prominently in Pirate Warrior, Big Spell Mage and some Midrange Pally lists, this minion gives a very big bang for your buck.
7) Dire Mole
Ericokey: 1 mana 1 / 3 beast. That's all it takes to be great in Hearthstone. This guy is everything Hunter wanted in a one drop, being a hard to kill Beast that curves into Crackling Razormaw. If that's not enough he is also just as good if not better in Aggro Druid when you curve him into Mark of Y’shaarj.
Sage: Dire mole is the new neutral 1 drop king for Hunters and Aggro Druids. Getting this out on 1 with a Mark of Yshaarj or Crackling Razormaw to follow it up is one of the best openers available.
FollowDurden: Aluneth has pushed Secret Mage from a tier 2/3 deck into one of the meta’s early leaders. The weapon allows the deck to increase its clock by a matter of turns, something any burn deck would wish to do. Play this card on curve and your win rate increases to 63%.
rebobson: Who cares about drawing through your entire deck when it’s entirely comprised of Secrets, Secret reductions, burn spells, and 0 Mana 5/5s? This and Explosive Runes have pushed Secret Mage to the absolute forefront of the early KnC meta game.
Sage: The weapon of Tempo Mage’s dreams lives up to its Legendary rarity. Aluneth is a complete beast. You only lose after playing this card if you draw it while way too far behind.
5) Elven Minstrel
FollowDurden: For the price of a few stats you can pull 2x minions from your deck, either pulling the card you need or thinning your deck to the card(s) you need. Either way, you at least gained some resources. He’s breathed new life into Miracle Rogue and has already found his way into Tempo lists. This is a card to keep your eye on. General win rates for deck’s including him have increased 5% since day one.
rebobson: All Rogues have been scientifically proven to like drawing cards, and this Arcane Intellect comes with a Flame Imp. Plus, it only draws minions, so after you play Keleseth it’s guaranteed to get you two buffed dudes. Nuts.
RidiculousHat: Rogue has always hesitated with early comboing because you run out of fuel… but what if I told you that you can just get more fuel? And thin your deck to make your Fal’Dorei Strider more likely to hit or more likely to draw spells if you’re miracle? Hell, in tempo rogue, you don’t even need spells - just get more really good minions because that’s literally all you play.
4) Kobold Librarian
Ericokey: This card will most certainly be in every Warlock deck from Control to Midrange to Zoo. This little guy just makes any deck more consistent and even has great synergy with things like the new Warlock Spellstone.
rebobson: 1 Mana 2/1 ability Life Tap for 0 Mana? How was this ever not going to make the list? Great in Zoo, great in Control Warlock for activating the Spellstone, and just for drawing cards in a resource-based game.
3) Explosive Runes
Ericokey: This card is the Secret that the Tempo Secret Mage archetype has always wanted. It is another burn spell that also doesn't lower your secret count which is about as efficient as you can get in a deck like Secret Mage.
FollowDurden: Remove a minion and more often than not damage the opponent’s face, and in Secret Mage? Abso-freaking-lutely. This card is everything Secret Mage needed to further its purpose. This card allows the deck to hold the board even longer and chip even more damage, all while decreasing the opponent’s life total. That’s OP OP. Of all the early contenders, Secret Mage feels about as safe a bet as any other deck to call as here to stay. The 1-2 punch of Aluneth and Runes are why.
rebobson: Secret Mage really struggled for an early, strong tempo reactive answer to other Tempo decks, most notably Zoo and Tempo Rogue, and not only did they get one, it also deals bonus damage to their face as well! Card has completely revived Secret Mage’s hopes against several of its unfavoured matchups.
RidiculousHat: BOOM. It’s like you get to play Counterspell on their next minion, but the important part is you also get to push damage while you’re doing that. Secrets were tempo neutral or tempo negative if they didn’t proc, but knowing your opponent’s next minion just isn’t going to happen AND pushing damage at the same time pushes this card way over the top. Tempo mage is now an early game avalanche that can get out of control super fast.
Sage: I love this secret so much. I always hated having to run Mirror Entity in secret mage, and having it steal Mirror’s spot on the list was a very welcome change. Rune can absolutely ruin your opponent's gameplan by acting like a Counterspell for minions that also does some bonus face damage (dependent upon counterplay). Not even potion of polymorph could fully prevent your opponent from getting a minion on board. Thanks Team 5!
2) Psychic Scream
Ericokey: Most Priest decks would play Twisting Nether if they could, so why wouldn't they play Psychic Scream, which is probably better in most scenarios. This card is an easy include into any control deck in the Priest class.
FollowDurden: This is a very difficult card to score due to its inherent usage. You’re playing this card when you’re in trouble, and traditionally these cards have very poor performance ratings tied to them. However, when you dig further you find this card actually increases the win rate of its games when it’s played between turns 7-12. Notably, in turns 9 & 10 it notably increases the win rate by 5+ % points. For a board clear, those are strong numbers. There is little to no chance Psychic Scream will be dropped from Highlander Priest, and for an already dominant deck with cards fighting for slots, that’s a huge deal.
rebobson: Everyone prior to expansion launch: Wow, Psychic Scream is busted good. Everyone after expansion: Wow, Psychic Scream is busted good. Lets Raza and Big Priest deal with difficult board states (Dragons, Deathrattles, high health minions, you name it) with relative ease for the first time in the classes history. Bonkers.
Sage: In an aggro meta a board clear such as this was never going to fail. Nothing can clear a board as well as Psychic Scream can.
RidiculousHat didn’t even include Psychic Scream in his top 8. Shame him.
1) Call To Arms
Ericokey: This card is makes existing Archetypes better as well as creating new ones. It's great while ahead, great while behind, and great when fighting for board. There is rarely a time you don't want to draw this card. Easily the best paladin card of the set. This is an entire board in one card so any Midrange or Aggro Pally will be playing this for as long as it's in Standard.
FollowDurden: The card that has breathed new life into dead decks (Aggrodin, Silver Hand Pally) and re-strengthened an already powerful one (Murloc Pally). Board wiped on turn 3 or 4? No big deal. Drop Call to Arms and instantly rebuild it. And, you’re doing so at a time in the game when you want to be drawing into the higher end of your curve, and this card thins your deck to give you a greater chance to do so.
rebobson: 4 Mana thin your deck of early game, summon 3-6 Mana worth of minions, and get yourself a board out of nowhere? The tempo of this card is absolutely insane, and is rightly being heralded as one of the standout cards of the set. Aggro Paladin ain’t going anywhere.
RidiculousHat: Casual infinite refuel and/or go get a bunch of pressure and/or get a bunch of taunty shit. Paladin two drops are good enough to play on their own. Why are you giving me three of them for one card and stapling on an innervate?
Sage: It has been a long, long time since a non-Murloc Aggro Paladin has been a competitive deck. Call to Arms has pushed Aggro Pally into Tier 1 and ThisIsFine.
All hail our Aggro Paladin overlords! If you are interested in how each writer voted so you can seek them out and laugh at them, the individual voting breakdown is included below. (Really, Hat, no Psychic Scream?). On a final note, we give some credit to our honourable mentions, who narrowly missed making the cut: Lesser Emerald Spellstone, Master (br)Oakheart, Dragon’s Fury, Duskbreaker, and Wandering Monster. Hunter was so close to officially getting some love. So close. Until another edition of THL Top 8s!
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