Sinisa Bucan, November 25, 2016

Tri-Class Cards Review – Kabal

Hearthstone is in for a bit of a shakeup, which it sorely needs as One Night in Karazhan didn’t exactly set the world on fire. The upcoming Mean Streets of Gadgetzan seems like it may bring a lot more to the table (not only in regards to cards), but new and interesting concepts as well.

The big thing is the concept of tri-class cards. Essentially, these are cards that are shared between three classes. Thematically, they are three different gangs that are all vying for control over the streets of Gadgetzan. Druid, Rogue, and Shaman belong to the Jade Lotus; Mage, Priest, and Warlock to the Kabal; whereas Hunter, Paladin, and Warrior belong to the Grimy Goons.

Kabal

The Kabal gang is mainly comprised of either spellcasters or some other form of magical creature. Naturally, it makes sense that the gang’s power revolves around providing spells and potions.

The concept of Potions is new for Hearthstone. Kabal Chemist’s Battlecry adds a random Potion to your hand. There have been a number of Potions revealed so far, including Warlock’s Bloodfury Potion and Felfire Potion, Priest’s Pint-Size Potion, Potion of Madness and Dragonfire Potion, and Mage’s Potion of Polymorph and Volcanic Potion.

There may be more Potions revealed later on, but even at this stage, it seems that Kabal Chemist is definitely a viable card. Some of the Potions are strong and useful; for example, there’s the added benefit of Mage having access to both Priest and Warlock potions.

Kabal Courier is less exciting. This card’s problem is the same as Grimestreet Informant’s, which we talked about when reviewing the Grimy Goons. Discover is a fantastic mechanic and the prospect of having access to cards belonging to other classes is great, but increasing the pool from which you’re drawing from makes things far too inconsistent.

The final Kabal card is super exciting. The cost and stats of this Legendary minion are fine, and the Battlecry is great. Creating a custom spell is another new concept and it works like this. First, you will be given a choice between creating a 1, 5, or 10 mana spell.

Then, you select the primary effect, before finally choosing the secondary effect. The full list of effects isn’t known as of yet, but they include dealing damage to enemy minions, buffing your minions, freezing enemy minions, drawing cards, summoning minions, gaining armor, etc.

Kazakus is exciting because it’s extremely versatile. You will be able to craft a spell depending on either your current situation in the match, or you’ll be looking ahead and preparing for later turns. It’s the kind of card that you build your whole deck around, and because the Battlecry demands that you don’t have any duplicates in your deck, adding Reno Jackson makes this even more potent. This sort of deck makes sense for all three Kabal classes.

Reno Warlock

Renolock has been a thing since, well, Reno Jackson was added to Hearthstone in The League of Explorers. This deck archetype definitely has a bright future ahead of it thanks to Kazakus. Blizzard has only revealed four Warlock cards as of writing. We’ve already mentioned the two Potions, which definitely seem viable, but the other two cards aren’t really that exciting.

Abyssal Enforcer is just a buffed-up version of Dread Infernal, and I’m not sure that the additional mana point justifies two extra damage. On the other hand, board clear is very important for a control deck like Renolock, so a one-off might even make it into that deck.

Seadevil Stinger is obviously designed to push for some sort of Murloc-based Warlock deck, which is definitely not viable at this moment. Maybe we’ll see some more Warlock cards that enable Murloc synergy.

Reno Priest

Reno Priest is definitely going to be a thing—not only thanks to Kazakus—but also Raza the Chained. The stats are great for its cost, and Battlecry provides free healing for the rest of the game. This can be combined with Justicar Trueheart, and even Shadowform if you want to get more aggressive.

Moving on, Mana Geode and Kabal Talonpriest provide Priest with a fantastic early game, something the class has been lacking for quite some time. If that wasn’t enough, the three Potions are super effective against aggressive decks and maintaining the board. Drakonid Operative isn't very impressive, despite the fact that it's actually a good card.

The stats are great and the effect is good, it simply boils down to the fact that Reno Priest and the classic Control/Fatigue Priest have been given so many useful tools that Dragon Priest is going to fall by the wayside. Speaking of Reno/Control/Fatigue Priest, this expansion is finally going to put Priest on the map... and it’s going to be really scary.

Reno Mage

Mage is getting some really nice cards in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. Cards that cost 1 mana are often overlooked; however, they are incredibly important and are often played even if they are just half-decent. Early game is crucial in Hearthstone, which is why we think Kabal Lackey will see play and may even surprise some people.

This is the first time since Mad Scientist that a Mage can play a Secret before turn 3, and it is the first time ever that it can play a Secret on turn 1. It might not enable a full-on Secret Mage deck, but it’s definitely going to be helpful to set up those Secrets as early (and for free) as possible.

Speaking of Secrets, we’ve already mentioned Potion of Polymorph. It’s not fantastic, but it might see play in a Reno Mage deck as a one-off. Volcanic Potion is a good board control spell, especially in combination with Bloodmage Thalnos or Azure Drake. Kabal Crystal Runner is kind of like the Mage version of Thing from Below, but with a few subtle differences.

Playing totems is something that Shaman does naturally, while Secrets aren’t utilized as often. However, playing a Secret does decrease the minion’s cost by 2 mana. With Kabal Lackey and this card, we might see more Mage Secrets than before.

Manic Soulcaster is a fantastic card. It has great stats, is useful on turn 3, and can be useful on any turn. For example, even if you play it on turn 3 with no minions of your own on the board, it’s a 3/4—no regrets as it becomes a potential game changer later on.

You can hit so many things that will help you in the late game. Of course, the dream is being able to place a copy of Reno Jackson into your deck after you’ve already used him once and watching your opponent hit concede.

What will ultimately solidify the viability of Reno Mage is the Legendary card Inkmaster Solia. The stats are not fantastic for a 7-drop, but the Battlecry is amazing, as it gives you the ability to play a 5/5 and Flamestrike on the same turn. In addition, you could also choose to play Pyroblast on turn 7.

Firelands Portal, Blizzard, and Cabalist’s Tome... why not? Even if you play a cheaper spell like Frostbolt or Forgotten Torch, it’s still a fantastic tempo play. Because of this, it is definitely one of the best cards in the set that we’ve seen so far.

Sinisa Bucan

Siniša is a writer and translator from Croatia, a small European country on the Adriatic coast. Apart from being a passionate Hearthstone player, he enjoys all kinds of video games, including strategy, role-playing, adventure, and action. Other interests include listening to indie rock and travelling. You can follow him @SinisaBucan.