Standard mode took away quite a few of our favorite cards and with 2017 approaching us in a matter of months, it’s only a matter of time that League of Explorers, The Grand Tournament and Blackrock Mountain leaves us. When the Year of the Kraken ends we have to bid adieu to some of the most class defining or even game defining cards that have made quite the mark in the game.
Do note that cards mentioned below include powerful cards that shaped the Year of the Kraken. Cards like Mysterious Challenger have not been included in this list because they have not been that impactful after the departure of cards from Goblins vs Gnomes or Curse of Naxxramas. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Special Mention – Dreadsteed
No, Dreadsteed is not a powerful card. It is also not a card that is relevant in the Meta. But it does have a special place in Hearthstone and quite the story behind it. Crescendo, is a Hearthstone player who was diagnosed with cancer and he put in quite an emotional message talking about how the community kept him busy while he was battling his medical condition. The flavor text of the card was dedicated to this brave hero and the last time we heard from him he was winning the battle! “Crescendo himself summoned this steed, riding it to victory in the Grand Tournament. Wherever he rides, an army of riders ride behind him, supporting the legendary champion.”
In case you want to read up the original reddit post:
10. Living Roots
It might not be the flashiest card on the list, but it sure is one of the best cards to come out of The Grand Tournament. Token, Ramp, Combo, Aggro or even Beast Druid, it hardly took any time to leave its mark. One of the reasons why Living Roots is so favored by Druids is the fact that they usually do not have good early game and rely on cards like Wild Growth, Innervate and Wrath to start off their game. Being able to generate board presence instantly or remove/damage a minion sure does make quite the impact and this is why Living Roots is one powerhouse of a card.
9. Keeper of Uldaman
Keeper of Uldaman might not be talked about much, but this card is one of the most consistent cards that offers amazing value for any deck at all. You can use it as an offensive tool to buff up a Silver Hand Recruit or shut down a big drop so you can easily pick it off with a weapon or a weaker minion and trade favorably. It completely stops you in your tracks and generates quite a bit of tempo by protecting minion from having to die to your opponent’s big drop and it also adds a nice 3/4 body on the board which is just insane.
8. Imp Gang Boss
Imp Gang Boss is easily one of the best 3 drops in the game and it’s not only Zoo that lapped up this card but it has also seen play in decks like Demon Handlock and Reno Warlock. It is the true successor to Harvest Golem with distinct advantages like being able to avoid cards like Fiery War Axe or Frostbolt. It is a great minion with solid stats for its effect and it surely deserves a slot in any Warlock Deck.
7. Justicar Trueheart
Justicar Trueheart was talked about quite a bit when the card was announced and everyone in the community tried to figure our which classes would benefit from it the most and they were spot on with their predictions. Warrior and Priest stood to benefit from the hero power the most because they are slower classes and relied on using removals to sustain the game long enough to completely destroy their opponents by being able to outlast in any game.
6. Dark Peddler
Dark Peddler is a powerhouse of a card and it has changed the way Zoo plays out in some subtle ways. I have always been an ardent Zoo player and I feel that one of the reasons that Leeroy Jenkins is so good in Zoo at the moment is Dark Peddler’s ability to generate cards like Soulfire and Power Overwhelming which can get discarded by Doomguard. It is like a swiss army knife that always gets you something good to use.
Flamewaker is one of those cards that define Tempo Mage these days. Being able to wipe out boards of aggro decks with something as meagre as a Coin and Arcane Missiles is just too good. The synergies that it has with Sorcerer’s Apprentice and other cheap Mage spells makes it one of those minions that just need to be removed on sight else they cost you the game.
4. Tunnel Trogg
Tunnel Trogg is one of the cards that put Shaman back into the meta and how! If left unanswered it can push 15+ damage across a few turns quite easily and it marked the beginning of Shaman’s reign over Hearthstone. Most of the cards that Shaman uses in aggressive builds have been here for quite some time but the 3 health Tunnel Trogg makes all the difference in the Shaman early game.
3. Grim Patron
Grim Patron Warrior was one of the most powerful decks in the game after BRM came out and it ruled the meta for quite some time, especially in the competitive scene. After a nerf to Warsong Commander came by it was expected that the card would not be able to make an impact but everyone was proven wrong. And yet again, when deaths-bite got rotated out people expected Grim Patron to be gone for good but the arrival or cards like Blood to Ichor and Ravaging Ghoul ensured that everyone would keep getting in here until the next rotation hits!
2. The League of Explorers
We just cannot afford to split the League can we? League of Explorers is easily the most diverse content update that the game has received. When we talk about the League of Exporers we are talking about the team of Brann Bronzebeard, Elise Starseeker, Reno Jackson and our very own Sir Finley Mrrgglton. Each of these cards have extremely powerful effects and while they might seem to be on the gimmicky side of things you just need to play them to see how much of an impact they have on any match. Brann is very versatile and has seen play in all kinds of decks including fast decks like Zoo. Finley is a perfect tool in decks that want a different hero power to be more effective with their game plan. Reno is in a class of its own and it transformed Handlock completely into what we now know as Renolock. While Handlock was the king of control Renolock keeps many of the key cards while having more tools to deal with aggressive decks. Elise was considered to be a fun card that would not see competitive play and very few people said it would find a place in decks. As the expansion came out the card slowly found its place in Control decks and it is the perfect late game tool once you have fully stabilized and taken control of the game. The card allows you to make more room for removal and have less big threats to make your survival against aggressive decks more likely.
1. Emperor Thaurissan
By the power of Ragnaros! Emperor Thaurissan is no Dr. Boom and it most definitely doesn’t find a place in all decks. However, the amount of crazy plays that it enables makes it a card that demands attention whenever it is played. It was one of the main reasons why Grim Patron Warrior was so powerful before Warsong Commander was nerfed and it also enabled crazy combos when Combo Druid was still a thing. It still enables plenty of crazy decks but they just aren’t as consistent as things like Freeze Mage or Renolock where you can get some great value. With new cards coming there are going to be plenty of amazing combos to try but they will sadly be limited by their mana cost and Thaurissan will not be around in Standard to help us get those satisfying but hard to pull combos.
There is a possibility that some cards have not shined so far and might gain relevance in the future, if that happens I will be updating the list. Looking forward to your inputs on the list and if you have other cards in mind in the comments below!