Last week, we covered Goliath. Now, we look at David. Done with our trip down deathrattle lane, this week on Top 10’s we are going to cover the best comeback cards of all time. These are the swing cards of Hearthstone, the ones that help inspire underdog stories and help you off the ledge. Everyone knows that Hearthstone is a largely tempo-based game (as is any game where attacker has priority). Almost all good decks like to control the board and add pressure as they play more and more threats. A lot of the time this quickly leads to a loss for the opponent. However, sometimes, though you fall behind early, there are ways to climb back into the game or even turn a game around that you were desperately losing. The cards that help you do that are what we are going to cover week.
Big Game Hunter (Pre-Nerf)
An honorable mentions all-star, Big Game Hunter makes yet another early list. This card was the best tech card of all time, and managed to pull people back in a lot of situations that they would normally lose in. Being able to kill something as large as a Dr. Boom or Molten Giant and put down a 4/2 was a very strong swing. So much so that Blizzard nerfed it. Even so, the body of BGH was so weak it almost never lived a turn and it just didn’t have the power to contest multiple things when you were behind.
There are many forms of comeback cards, but AOE is one of the most popular. Being able to clear the board is a great way to pull yourself out of a hole (as we will see later on) and stabilize in a game where you are losing. Lightbomb was perhaps the second best come-from-behind AOE card in the game, giving you a way to really destroy some huge board when you were out of options. However, while it cleared better than most cards, there were many popular choices it couldn’t touch. For that reason, it stays in the mentions.
Another strong tech card, Harrison Jones is one of those rare swing plays that allows you threat and card draw in a game where you are far behind. The 5/4 has saved many games for people, allowing midrange or control decks to play a body and then get a few (or many) cards that they can use to heal, clear or take over the board. Harrison just misses the top ten, but the fact that his ability is so limited to a few classes keeps him off of the main ten.
The Top 10
10. The Black Knight
Out of all the tech cards in the game, few have as much swing power as The Black Knight. The 4/5 for six has been hot and cold throughout the history of Hearthstone, but when it is good it is really, really good. Unlike something like Big Game Hunter or Harrison Jones, The Black Knight gives you a very heft body for the cost. This means it allows you to clear a very high-impact minion while putting down a solid threat on your own. That rarely happens in Hearthstone, as most kill cards are severely understatted. The knight breaks that rule and also gives you a way to turn the game around by taking down your opponent’s board while adding to your own. Hitting something like an Ancient of War or Thing from Below can lead to a win on the spot.
TBK comes in at ten because, while it does have a big impact, that impact can be very small at times. Hitting one minion usually doesn’t do too much against a bigger board and it can be very weak if your are already under a lot of pressure. While it is still a very good card that can instantly turn the tides of battle, there are times where it just sits in your hand. In addition, it is only good at killing one big thing. Though it is still very solid and one of the best tech cards ever made, most cards on this list can nullify multiple threats, not just one.
9. Divine Favor
Sometimes in life, you’re dead. And sometimes, when you think you’re dead you topdeck a three mana draw six. Divine Favor is one of the strongest spells in Hearthstone’s history and it has enabled many wins for many decks that didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. Cards are the lifeblood of any deck, and for that reason cheap card draw is often very hard to come by. A lot of games (especially for aggro or low-curve midrange) are lost in Hearthstone because of card advantage. That is to say, one person simply keeps a full hand and runs their opponent out of cards. However, if you have the ability to suddenly draw up a full grip then you are right back in the game.
Though there were times where Paladin players would use Divine Favor to seal a game they were ahead in, mostly this was the card that instantly put you back into a game where you had no other options. Most comeback cards are extremely strong when you are on the brink of death, and favor is no exception. Most of the games where favor hits hard is when your opponent has board state, card advantage and middle to low life. Even if they have a lot of life, being able to draw four, five or six plus cards in one go gives you so many options that you are right back in the mix no matter what deck you were facing. Sometimes you even go from losing to favored or instant lethal. There aren’t many cards that swing that hard. The only reason this stays at nine is because of how situational it can be as you need your opponent to have a lot of cards to trigger it.
8. Mysterious Challenger
Though it stats were just a 6/6 for six, there aren’t many cards that have been able to turn a game around like Mysterious Challenger did. Not only did you get a big body, but you also got four or five spells to go along with it. Though Paladin’s secrets are bad or largely underwhelming on their own, they get a lot better in unison with each other. Especially when they are working to protect a large threat. Challenger was very hard to deal with on your own and even killing it with the board was going to cost you a lot of your minions. As a result, this card could provide instant board presence, a protection spell, a buff as well as either an aura effect or additional removal spell. That much versatility would often be an army in its own right, giving you presence in a game where you had none.
The reason challenger slides into number eight is because it put you back in the game in a very proactive way. Rather than just giving you a spell effect, it gave you a big threat (sometimes two) that could instantly took over priority. It is rare for a comeback card to do both. The reason this card isn’t higher is because there were situations where you could answer it if you had strong removal options or a flooded board. In addition, a lot of this card’s strength came from how good it was when you were ahead as well. This is one of the few comeback cards that was truly better when you are head. It was one of the best seal-the-deal cards ever printed, making its ability not quite at swingy as the higher ups.
7. Mind Control Tech
Though there are better tech cards around, none of them can swing a game like Mind Control Tech. This card was only truly popular for a couple of months, but the swing it supplies is just incredible. Stealing minions is an inherently strong ability across Hearthstone, and being able to take some big threat for the low cost of three mana is gamebreaking. Yes, this was not a guaranteed steal, but taking Dr. Boom or your opponent’s Sylvanas Windrunner instantly put you ahead in a game where your opponent had four minions. You would add a big threat to your board and also play a 3/3 for three that also acted as a removal spell. Even if you stole a smaller minion against a deck like Zoo, it was usually enough to both clear and stall.
Though conditionally one of the strongest cards on this list, Mind Control Tech is not higher up because you simply can’t control its ability. As a result, there are many times where you are not going to get value. Yes, we are looking at the best case scenarios when putting together the list, but most swing cards are reliable in some way. MCT is anything but. That type of back-and-forth ability keeps this from moving higher up. However, stealing a minion for three mana can change a board state unlike any other card around. That potential for that is so high it would not make sense to leave MCT out of this discussion.
There are a lot of AOE cards in the game, and by their nature they are all comebacks in some respect. However, as good as they are, none of them have the ability to turn around a game like Brawl. The reason that the five mana AOE rises above other options like Lightbomb or Flamestrike is that is has no damage cap or situational trigger. Brawl kills minions. Period. It doesn’t care how much attack or health they have. It doesn’t care about their abilities or things like divine shield and taunt. For that reason, this is one of the non-situational mass clears that helps you rebound against almost any board state in the game.
Almost every single AOE in the game has cap or a certain type of minion that it cannot deal with. For instance, Flamestrike is not going to help you against minions with a lot of health or divine shield, while Lightbomb did nothing to a lot of Zoo boards. Brawl doesn’t have those limitations. Rather, it just deals with large boards. In that way, it gives Warrior the ability to set up their middle game in a match where they are very, very far behind. The only reason it misses the top five is because it is always going to leave one thing alive. If RNG is against you, that can still lead to a loss. However, if luck is on your side (or you play the odds) no clear is better when the game is slipping away.
5. Call of the Wild
What’s better than a Huffer? How about a Huffer, Misha and Leokk? How about all three for the low, low price of eight mana? There have been many token generators in the history of Hearthstone, but most just fill up the board with junk. Yes, they may add pressure or bodies, but that does not mean they are going to be able to save you when you are behind (I’m looking at you Wisps of the Old Gods). What make Call of the Wild different is that is extremely proactive and gives you a way to clear, supply pressure, and protect yourself in the same turn. Because of that, the three beasts can rapidly turn around a game that is going south.
Each piece of Call of the Wild is good, but together they create a force so powerful it cannot be ignored. A 5/4 with taunt is a great way to shut down any potential out-of-hand damage your opponent might have. Misha protects you and forces your opponent to pilot their attacks through a very strong body. Leokk, the weakest of the three, also demands removal because of how strong its ability is, and Huffer is a five damage removal spell that can clear anything you need. The reason this card comes in so high is because it provides a way to fill up the board with three bodies that all have a relevant ability. Being able to clear a threat, present a taunt and get a must-kill 2/4 can instantly turn around a board state and force your opponent into a corner when a second a go they were cruising to the win.
A number four that would make Brian Kibler proud. “I wish I had Deathwing” is a phrase that almost every competitive Hearthstone player has said at some point or another. The reason for that is few cards can change a game like the legendary dragon. As good as AOE can be, the ability to kill all minions is a very rare trait. A big turn where you clear your opponent’s board can give you one last chance at winning when things are completely hopeless. Minion combat is the language of Hearthstone, and if you can force your opponent to lose their board, no matter the situation, you have a chance to win the game. That goes double for when a 12/12 is staring them down after the dust has settled. Though this card has seen limited play over the history of Hearthstone, the swing it provides is so strong that it slides all the way up to number four. Few cards provide a comeback mechanism like death incarnate.
3. Dr. Boom
One of the best cards ever made, Dr. Boom slides into number four on our list because of just how well he could dominate a board. There are a lot of big legendaries in the game, but none of them supplied three bodies, two of which also acted as removal spells. Dr. Boom is very interesting because it didn’t operate like the other comeback cards. Most of the cards on this list supply an ability that comes down and gives you the board or allows you to clear a huge army. The doctor worked a little differently. Instead of taking over with a set ability, the goblin allowed you to comeback because he was such a big threat that he almost always had to be dealt with immediately. And boy was he was not easy to deal with.
There were countless games where someone would be losing or be far behind, and then they would play Boom and instantly be in the lead. The 7/7 was a threat on his own, but the 1/1 removal-spell-damage-bots really put a hold on the board and forced your opponent into tight positions. That type of power, which just isn’t seen in today’s game, really would swing an entire board. Yes, the doctor didn’t prevent you from getting run over from damage or burn (which is why he isn’t higher up on the list) but if you had the health he was the best way to get back into a game you were losing. Even though he could be slow when you were going down, his strengths were so strong that he deserves number three.
2. Reno Jackson
Weeeeee’rrreee gonna beeee rich! Reno Jackson is the best heal in the history of Hearthstone, which means he is a card that can very, very quickly turn an entire game around. Healing is an aspect of comeback cards, but it can be easily negated. Because of that, it is rare that a card can bring you back from the brink. However, Reno’s heal is so good that it doesn’t matter where you stand. Like AOE, most heals in Hearthstone have some sort of cap. As a result, they usually only buy you an extra turn and are nearly useless if your opponent has multiple big threats or damage in hand. Reno’s ability to bring you back to thirty in one fell swoop means that you can face down just about anything and then suddenly take over the game by resetting the damage done. In fact, it is very rare that Reno is ever played when someone is winning. It is usually the card that saves them from certain death.
There have been many games where a player has lost board and card advantage and still won because Reno bought them the time they needed to get back into the game. Almost no cards can boast that type of power and almost none of them can save a game where you are at one life with three cards in hand facing down a Hunter with two threats on the board. However, while Reno’s ability is no doubt incredible, and while he has saved many a player from sheer destruction, he doesn’t quite climb all the way up the mountain. He settles at number two because he isn’t that great against full board or fast aggro decks that still have a lot of burn in their hand after the heal. Still, silver is pretty good.
1. Yogg Saron Hope’s End
As much as I dislike this card, no card enables a comeback quite like Yogg. The Old God went from a fun-wacky-fringe-new-player card to a real meta definer that can, quite literally, bring you ahead in a game you have absolutely no business winning. Check that. It can win you a game you have absolutely no business winning. While all of the cards in this list lead to big swings or can help you out of a hole, none of them can have a game go from zero to a hundred like Hope’s End.
What makes Yogg number one is that he is the only card ever printed in Hearthstone where everything can go from absolutely hopeless to” easy win” in seconds. Yogg is not just a comeback card, he is the only card in Hearthstone that can give you a win in a game where you had zero (and I mean zero) chance. With Yogg you are always a board clear, card draw and random heal away from coming out ahead. Yes, his ability is random, but it has been proven that the pros heavily outweigh the cons here. The chances of him doing something good for you are often much higher than him doing something bad, and he is usually going to get you some type of clear. Add in the fact that he can also put you out of damage range and summon minions and you have the best come-from-behind card ever made.
Don’t call it a comeback. Well, maybe sometimes you should. This week especially. Everyone likes comeback cards when they are losing. They bring an important aspect to the game and make it so there are ways to win when things are going bad. Comeback cards are great because they offer a strong depth to any card game and, with the exception of number one, this top 10 is pretty cool. Hope you enjoyed the read and tell me what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading.