Cult of Kain Taris Winter Patch 2016 approved! We got some great almost-Christmas gifts, some of them were new socks we needed, and some were lumps of coal, but overall fairly decent. (non champions are still in progress, most notable change there is the loss of Cleansing Emerald to the Savage Tundra). Notable changes to: Kanen Alpha (He lost Boost!) - Lump o' Coal Crazed Warmandrils (He can get Leap 3 for pseudo 8 speed, but isn't deck limit 3) - Socks Kanen Darkrunner (We got Shadowshift, Portal, and Pounce on U1. U2 changed to Stealth, Shadowstrike, and Shadowspawn.) - Puppy! Kanen Howler (lost Detection! now has Death Nova: Sonic) - Lump o' Coal Kanen Cultist (lost Heal, now has other healing options) - Sweater? Spark Crone (replaced Surge: Kanen with Zeal: Damage) - Socks 2017 Patch Notes: Mongrel (Aggressive replaced with Sunder 1) - A bit more fair for his cost now. What’s good about Kanen? Kanen are one among many of the Horde themes in Pox. However, rather than relying on attrition to take down your opponent like most hordes, the Kanen rely on careful positioning, ap management, and taking out your opponent’s champions in a quick and tidy fashion. Luckily, they are extremely adept at all of those. Kanen champion roles are simple, champions with Pack Mentality screen the enemy, champions with Pack Leader go in for the kill, and your Kanen Witches support from the rear. Kanen also have access to some nice Kanen specific runes that you will want. Pack Savagery is amazing for power turns and dealing surprise damage. Idol of Kain Taris is like a second warbanner, but better! Remember that it only works if you have a Kanen with Class: Witch in play though! Finally there’s Scythe of Gore, which will give you spot Shadowstrike, and Multiattack if equipped on a Kanen. We also have two heroes, Garin the Sharpfang, SP/SL, and Kiergana, SL/UD. They’re both quite good, but Kiergana is generally preferred as she has more abilities that help out the rest of your Kanen. Once you can afford it, Kanen are a competitive theme to play that rewards attention to detail and both broad strategy and micro-management. Woof! What’s bad about Kanen? They lack Dispel and Cleanse on their champions, but instead have access to Purge, one of the best Cleanse and Dispel runes in the game! To be honest, there’s not much that is truly bad about Kanen, which is one of the main reasons to play them! Kanen's best alternate damage sources are Rupture Alpha, Kanen Howler, and Kanen Crone, and Spark Crone. Out of those, Spark Crone is your best option until you can afford the two Exotics, Rupture Alpha and Kanen Crone. Where to start? Kanen are nice in that you have a good variety of choices to fit your own personal style, but here is a list of some of the more common choices in Kanen battlegroups: CHAMPS 1x Kanen Alpha 2x Kanen Howler 1x Kanen Slipped 1x Kanen Crone 1x Kanen Lasher SPELLS 2x Pack Savagery RELICS 1x Idol of Kain Taris EQUIPMENT 1x Scythe of Gore How to play Kanen? "These Kanen were different. They were coordinated, highly trained. They were wild, but the wildness was perfectly honed. Our defending party didn't stand a chance." As usual, you’ll want to deploy something speedy to start capturing and contesting fonts. The Kanen have plenty of champions either with base 7 or greater speed, or can be upgraded to it: Bloodhowler Alpha, Garin the Sharpfang, Kanen Animus (8 speed with Berserker 2!), Kanen Mongrel (Reinforcement 1 or 2, good if you run cheaper Kanen and have more than one Font to capture), Kanen Tracker (Base 8 speed!), Two Headed Kanen (Another base 8 speed! Woof!), or Crazed Warmandrils. The Kanen Darkrunner (Winter Patch 2016) can be given Shadowspawn to give him pseudo 7 speed at base, which makes him nice for contesting fonts early one. Generally, if you can, you’ll want to play your cheaper champions first, only bringing out your heavy hitting (and slower) Alphas when you’re getting ready to fight. It will give you more nora to work with and allow you to react better. However, most of the time, you’ll be wanting to deploy an Alpha by turn 2 or 3, in order to better contest a central font or protect against a rush. Always remember that you’re Pack Mentality Kanen are at their best when working alongside and supporting your Alphas. If you don’t use you’re Alphas to attack the enemy, your smaller Kanen are essentially 2 nora (http://s-qpoxdb.rhcloud.com/ability/1938) more expensive. Remember that your smaller Kanen can use Fuel Rage twice per turn! The same goes with your Alphas, if you aren’t supporting them with the smaller Kanen, they’re 2 nora more expensive. The Kanen Witches are for support, and bring some handy utility to the table, as well as activating the ability on Idol of Kain Taris, which is vital to the staying power of your Kanen! All of your Alphas have Pack Leader (Kanen Slipped is a special case, more on him later) and Unleash, making them great melee fight leaders. Remember that you can only include one of each though, except for the Two Headed Kanen! Finally, Kanen are a horde theme, but they are very different from other hordes. With Kanen, you want to wait until the enemy is vulnerable, and then hit as hard as you can with big power turns. In this way, Kanen are similar to many UD battlegroups in that they need to rush to win. Avoid getting bogged down in games of attrition with the Kanen, because while you’ll be fine at first, the high cost of your most important champions and the low health of your cheaper ones will eventually be your undoing. A note on Hordes: There are many variations on the Horde theme, the truest are: Zombies, Skeletons, Myx, and Spiders. Some of the more unique ones are: Spirits, KF Treefolk, Worms, even Dragons can be horde themed! When a battlegroup is built as a "Horde", it's win condition is to maintain a larger number of champions in play than the opponent. All Hordes have their own way of doing this, with Summoning and Swarming being the most common. However, where Horde's truly differ is how the utilize their win condition. Skeletons, Spiders, and Zombies focus on wearing the enemy down with their summoned champions, while Myx and Treefolk simply stop the opponent from being able to do much of anything. Kanen are most similar to Dragons in this regard, as both of them rely on waiting for the perfect moment to strike, and then rushing in with everything they have. "Let them chew on bones and rotten meat. If they turn away from us, they turn away from Kain Taris. They will gnaw at our refuse.