When the cards of Whispers of the Old Gods began to be revealed, there was quite a bit of hype for C’Thun and his minions. As more cards were revealed and we got closer to the launch, that excitement only grew. The first few days of the ladder were absolutely flooded with C’Thun decks from every class as everyone wanted to play their own massive God. However, within a week the C’Thun decks started to disappear. Over time they grew less and less common, and now I very rarely see them on ladder at all. At Dreamhack Austin, only two of the top eight players brought a C’Thun deck, despite each player bringing four decks. So what has happened to C’Thun? Has he not lived up to the hype?
The obvious first step is to look at whether C’Thun decks are underpowered. Are they failing because they simply don’t pack the bang for their buck? None of the C’Thun decks have made it into the top tier of any of the major tier lists, so is that all there is to it? I don’t think so. In all of my playing around with the different classes, every C’Thun deck has fared at least decently well, with very few noticeably underperforming. Also, many of the same tier lists mentioned have several C’Thun decks in tier two, which houses very strong competitive decks. So if they are still fairly strong, what happened to the hype? Why is no one playing them anymore?
The second step is seeing whether C’Thun decks are fun to play. Oftentimes the top tier decks aren’t the ones played most often because they simply aren’t enjoyable to pilot (see Secret Paladin). While C’Thun isn’t top tier, this issue can easily affect decks from all ranges, no one wants to play if they aren’t having any fun. This certainly contributes to the problem. Playing C’Thun himself is a lot of fun, but the minions that support him tend to be very lackluster. Beckoner of Evil is a glorified River Crocolisk, while Twilight Elder is another Spider Tank. These cards don’t offer anything new to Hearthstone, so playing them can get monotonous. However, the C’Thun arsenal is larger than that, and cards like Ancient Shieldbearer, Klaxxi Amber-Weaver, and Twin Emperor Vek’Lor are all new and enormously fun to play. Besides, as I mentioned, actually dropping a large C’Thun is one of the most satisfying feelings in Hearthstone. So if it isn’t the power level or how the deck pilots, why don’t people play it?
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Here is the fundamental issue with C’Thun decks. When it comes down to it, the core of every C’Thun deck is pretty much the same. While it might be fun to play with the cards surrounding it, being told you can only deckbuild with twenty cards instead of thirty is a boring concept. While many players do netdeck (find their decks online rather than build them themselves), it is early in the new meta so there aren’t any solid meta decks, and tweaking C’Thun decks becomes a lot harder. In addition, those who netdeck tend to stick to tier one decks far more frequently, avoiding the C’Thun decks and others lurking in tier two. Sounds like C’Thun merely failed from a basic deckbuilding standpoint.
Just because veterans aren’t enjoying C’Thun’s deckbuilding does not immediately label him as a failure. The fact of the matter is that many of Hearthstone’s playerbase does not have the cards to build the top decks. In fact, many of them have very few cards at all. The place that C’Thun has been a resounding success is in providing an avenue for new players to round out their decks. You only have twenty cards of a deck you’re looking at making? No problem, throw in ten C’Thun cards to round it out as a solid C’Thun deck. Also, most of the C’Thun followers are neutral, so in theory you can play a C’Thun deck in every class. C’Thun and his minions may not be the flashiest things on the block, but if you’re looking to round out your deck with some solid minions, he won’t steer you wrong.
In addition, every player was granted C’Thun as well as two of his followers upon the Whispers of the Old Gods release. That means that newer players who are struggling to deckbuild don’t have to craft the major legendary when they want to splice C’Thun in. Blizzard also gave away thirteen free Whispers packs, meaning that most players will have opened many of the other C’Thun minions, granted that they are almost all commons.
C’Thun may not be climbing the highest ranks of the ladder, and he may not be the most fun to play or put in a deck. However, he has provided something that Hearthstone has been lacking for a while – a strong deck for new players to play that covers all the classes and costs very little dust to craft. So was C’Thun a failure from a competitive standpoint? Maybe. But he is providing a service to many newer players, and he represents a direction that I hope Blizzard embraces, helping all players to play on a more equal footing. Praise our Old God C’Thun for bringing equality to all!