Thoughts on the Kobold’s Metagame
Kobold’s and Catacombs has been out long enough that we’re seeing the metagame settle down. So let's reflect on the Kobold’s metagame and where I see it going in the future.
The first thing we need to look at before I start to talk about the meta are the decks involved. Instead of listing out every deck is makes more sense to have you look at both the Tempo Storm meta snapshot and the Vicious Syndicate Data Reaper.
As you can see there are stark differences between these two resources and it can be hard to decipher which one is accurate especially if you’re a more casual player. Raza Priest is a prime example of a deck that’s difficult to gauge. On Tempo Storm the deck is tier one while VS rankings have it as a tier 3 deck. How can two trusted sources have such differing opinions on such a popular deck? Well, it has to do with where the data comes from.
Vicious Syndicate gets their data from thousands of games recorded by the Track-o-bot program. They have the option to separate the data by rank, which does change the tier list, but not significantly. The Tempo Storm Meta snapshot’s data is curated by top legend players which means the opinions on matchups can be more biased due to skill being a bigger factor when deciding %. So, the question becomes what is the true tier list?
The answer to that question is unique to every player. If you are better and more skilled at playing aggressive decks, then playing the highest ranked aggro deck will do better for you than a control deck because you play it better. The opposite is true as well. Fibonacci is still out there on the ladder queuing up Control Warrior and succeeding with it even though it isn’t even on a tier list simply because he’s so skilled at the deck. I’m sure he would likely do worse playing an aggro deck that is higher tier until he adjusts to the playstyle since it’s so different. Climbing the ladder can be a grueling process and you should be playing something that you enjoy and can play well, you will do better that way.
There are also decks that frankly take more skill to play than other decks with Raza Priest being a premium example. Most players don’t play the deck optimally thus yielding poor results whilst top tier pro players are consistently piloting the deck to high ranks and immense tournament success. If you know you don’t have a lot of time but want to climb to a certain rank, it’s going to more efficient to play an easier deck than to learn the ins and outs of a higher skill cap deck.
Now that we got to look at the decks and get an idea of where they rank it’s time to discuss the meta:
The most impactful cards are Corridor Creeper, Psychic Scream, and Dark Pact. There are more cards that are impacting the development of the meta but I find these to be the most important.
This card has vaulted every single aggressive deck to a new level. Being able to tempo out a 0 mana 5/5 has made decks like Aggro Paladin, Tempo Rogue, Secret Mage etc. to reach new heights. I know these decks got other tools that helped, but this is the main factor. Once the rotation hits I think Corridor Creeper will become far less potent without Patches.
Aggro Paladin is the deck that has seen the biggest shift on the tier list with the release of Kobolds. The other aggressive decks existed prior but were given a boost, and their playstyles don’t feel drastically different by any means.
This card has cemented Priest's place in the metagame as a top tier deck in my opinions; especially in the tournament scene. Priest was already one of the top decks in the KotFT meta and I believe it has remained there even though some may say it has fallen off. Psychic Scream is just another tool in the tool box for Priest and hasn’t changed the decks skeleton.
Dragon Priest is starting to climb the ranks of tier lists so perhaps Duskbreaker could break into my top three most impactful cards, but right now it hasn’t reached critical mass. I could see it happening soon.
Warlock was desperate for a multipurpose healing card. Cubelock is one of the best decks in the game right now in my opinion and this card is one of the main reasons why. The sacrificing of a minion is a benefit in cube lock which makes this card a perfect fit for the deck. Outside of Cubelock, Dark Pact makes any Control Warlock archetype have viability because what they have been lacking was healing. In recent tournaments, Warlock has been getting banned over Priest and many top players think it is the best deck in the game. Ladder statistics don’t reflect this because it’s a difficult deck to play optimally.
Aggro Paladin and Warlock have been the biggest changes from the last metagame in my opinion. Every deck got new tools but outside of these two decks I don’t see many new archetypes arising from this meta that will be prevalent. There could be unsolved classes like Hunter, but overall, I don’t see a big shift in the metagame happening until rotation hits.
The metagame not drastically changing from a new set, especially the last set before rotation, isn’t a bad thing. There were enough changes to keep the game fresh, but not change the identity of the format. The goal of the last set of the year isn’t going to be to change the game completely. It is to set foundation for once the rotation hits while providing some fresh new tools for existing archetypes and maybe create a new deck or two.
I don’t believe decks like Spell Hunter were meant to be strong right now. Once rotation hits, and new sets come out, we are going to see new Hunter spells that potentially synergize with an all spell Hunter deck. This sentiment translates to numerous deck building mechanic cards like the new Totem Shaman archetype being pushed, Weapon Rogue, Silver Hand Recruit Paladin, etc. The goal of Kobold’s wasn’t to make these decks immediately viable and shake up the whole metagame but rather set the foundation for those to be viable archetypes in the future.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the current state of the Kobold’s metagame. I know it’s not too exciting since the meta is relatively the same but there are enough new tools to make the game fresh until rotation hits. The game is in a good place right now skill and variety wise. I’m excited to see if we see any surprise decks during the World Championships next month or if we see what we have been seeing the past couple of weeks.