Latest Update: 11th March
Due to the latest patch, the recently announced nerfs to Tinkmaster Overspark and Nat Pagle have dethroned them from the top of this list. Tinkmaster in his new incarnation would no longer make this list at all. Nat Pagle, while still playable, is also significantly weaker. If he were to make the list, he would likely be near the bottom.
Top Ten Legendaries To Craft
You finally have enough dust to craft a legendary, but what should you craft first? This week [DKMR]Varranis is here from Don’t Kick my Robot to discuss the first ten Legendary cards you should craft. It’s always a difficult decision deciding how you should spend your dust, so we’re here to help! We’ve listed the Legendaries you should craft from last to first. Depending on the deck you’re building, you may want to prioritize crafting your Legendaries somewhat differently than we’ve listed them. The following list is meant as a general guide if you’re looking to craft the most powerful Legendaries which you’ll use most frequently in the various decks you’ll play.
Honorable Mention: Sylvanas Windrunner
Sylvanas Windrunner is still a very powerful Legendary, but at six mana we don’t feel she is the powerhouse she once was. If you don’t plan on playing Ysera or Alexstrasza, you could likely slide Sylvanas in as your eighth or ninth Legendary or right after your class Legendary.
10. Class Legendary
You generally want to craft the powerful neutral Legendaries first, but some class Legendaries are just too good to pass up. AlAkir the Windlord, Tirion Fordring, and Grommash Hellscream are particularly potent and important win conditions in several decks. Cenarius and Lord Jaraxxus have also seen frequent play in certain Druid and Warlock decks. It’s best to craft the top neutral Legendaries first, but these five class Legendaries in particular are worth crafting next if you play any of the decks that play them.
Al’Akir offers a powerful win condition for the Shaman Control deck. He isn’t necessary for the deck to function, but he adds another dimension to the deck that your opponent must consider when facing you. There are few other cards that make a Rockbiter Weapon so deadly. Not only can a Shaman player threaten twelve or more damage starting on turn nine, but Al’Akir also serves as a powerful emergency Taunt or removal. His Divine Shield makes him a formidable barrier and enables him to tangle with powerful minions that would typically knock him out. Just be wary of The Black Knight or Tinkmaster Overspark ruining your fun.
Tirion Fordring is arguably one of the most powerful cards in the game. Not only is a 6/6 Taunt with Divine Shield an intimidating force, but he threatens to deliver fifteen damage in the form of Ashbringer when he dies. He is weak to Silence and other similar effects, but he is otherwise one of the most difficult minions in the game to deal with. While not the best for a Paladin Aggro deck, Tirion is a must in Paladin Control and Midrange decks.
Grommash Hellscream is quite the finisher and a staple of Warrior Control decks. He is often used in conjunction with Inner Rage to provide a twelve damage pummeling. He requires an immediate answer from your opponent before ending the game in short order.
Cenarius has seen less play recently, but he used to be a staple in Druid Midrange. Both modes are useful, although the buff requires several minions already in play to provide the same value as the two Treant Taunts. The Taunt minions are an excellent way to deploy a significant threat (nine attack and twelve health) while serving to save you from your opponent’s last push at lethal. The buff can often be used as a sort of Savage Roar, either to end the game or create an indomitable board position.
Lord Jaraxxus is likely the most unique Legendary and is a blast to play. He only sees play in Warlock Control decks, but is crucial to those strategies. He can be used both as a massive life reset as well as a finisher. Remember though, you typically can’t use the Infernal power the turn you play him since he costs nine mana to put in play. You can use the weapon, however. When he isn’t saving your bacon by healing a chunk of life, Lord Jaraxxus can be used as the last points of damage to finish off your opponent. Also remember to cast your Molten Giants before Lord Jaraxxus! If you play Lord Jaraxxus, Molten Giant then calculates its cost based on a max health of fifteen. This means your Molten Giant isn’t even castable until you’ve taken at least five damage as Lord Jaraxxus and can never cost less than six mana (or you’re dead).
Ysera is an interesting Legendary, and one of the last of the powerful neutral Legendaries you should craft. She is too expensive for many decks and is typically only played in control decks such as Warrior and Priest. Left unchecked, Ysera will almost certainly win you the game. She is one of the strongest late game win conditions, but suffers due to the number of turns she requires to end the game. Other finishers such as Ragnaros the Firelord and Grommash have a strong and immediate impact on the game. You don’t get an immediate effect when you play Ysera and must wait at least a full turn to use the Dream cards she gives you. Although all the cards you can draw are powerful, there is an element of RNG, and you can find yourself with a Laughing Sister in situations that call for Nightmare or Ysera Awakens.
Ysera is strongest in control mirror matches where the game is most likely to be prolonged. In these games, an active Ysera often spells doom for your opponent as you accumulate powerful Dreams in addition to your regular card draw. The Dream cards are also very proactive cards, adept at closing out the game, and add another dimension to a control deck’s end game. A card like Nightmare (say Power Overwhelming) is too narrow to include in most control lists. Ysera gives you access to that sort of finishing potential without the inconsistency that comes with adding narrow cards such as Power Overwhelming.
If you don’t plan on playing Warrior or Warlock Control, you could probably remove Alexstrasza from this list. However, she is so crucial to those decks while still being a generically strong finisher that we decided to rank her as the eighth Legendary you should craft. Alexstrasza can either serve as a life gain spell or a massive damage burst all while providing an 8/8 body to finish the job. Of particular note is her synergy with the Warrior card Gorehowl. Many of you likely remember the now nerfed Warrior one-turn-kill using Gorehowl, Alexstrasza, and Charge to set an opponent’s life at fifteen before attacking for seven damage with Gorehowl and eight damage with a Charged Alexstrasza. The nerf to Charge makes the combo a turn slower, but not much less effective. It is still one of the Warrior Control deck’s most effective methods of finishing a game.
Alexstrasza also serves a critical role in Warlock Control. Warlock generally values Alexstrasza as a life reset since their constant use of the Hero Power can drain the Warlock’s life quickly. Alexstrasza also conveniently sets up a lethal sixteen damage swing from two giants.
Despite her particular applications in Warlock and Warrior, Alexstrasza is useful in many other decks as well. Mage in particular can also take advantage of her in order to either burst the opponent down before slinging a slew of Fireballs or to give the Mage one last breath to cast a lethal Pyroblast.
7. The Black Knight
The Black Knight is a very meta dependent card, but a nonetheless powerful tool for your Hearthstone arsenal. In a meta rife with Taunt minions, you can’t get much more value than The Black Knight. He is effectively a Chillwind Yeti with a two mana Assassinate tacked on. That’s some serious value, especially when you consider that you’re getting all of this for one card. If it was guaranteed you’d face a powerful Taunt minion in every game, we would make a strong case for The Black Knight being the best card in the game.
Therein lies this card’s primary fault. When you’re not up against Taunt minions, The Black Knight is a six mana Chillwind Yeti and nothing more. Fortunately for this dastardly knight, Taunt minions are fairly popular. The Black Knight particularly thrives on the popularity of Defender of Argus. As aggressive strategies get popular, players tend to add Defender of Argus to their decks. Defender of Argus is so good that a lot of decks, such as Warlock Control, just run him by default. Defender of Argus can paint a giant red target on any minion for The Black Knight. The Black Knight tends to be a staple in many decks when Defender of Argus is popular. He is generally best in Midrange decks or sometimes as the top end of the curve in aggressive decks, although he can fit most any deck if the meta is right.
Although he is not a card you should always be playing, The Black Knight is so good in certain meta that he is a must craft. Also, who doesn’t love a good Monty Python reference?
6. Cairne Bloodhoof
Cairne Bloodhoof has value written all over him. He’s not the flashiest Tauren at the Hearth, but he’ll always deliver. Even with Sylvanas Windrunner recently moving into the six slot, Cairne still reigns as the strongest six drop in the game. To put his value in perspective, consider Chillwind Yeti. Chillwind Yeti is popular due to the ability of a 4/5 to frequently trade for two minions. Cairne is effectively a Chillwind Yeti that gives you another Chillwind Yeti when it dies. Sticking to a strict parallel, this means Cairne will often trade for as many as four of your opponent’s cards. Yowzers. A four for one will usually win you the game.
The downside is that Cairne Bloodhoof is one card and six mana. Being one card is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you get a lot for that one card. On the other hand, a card such as Tinkmaster Overspark can quickly end your ride on the value train by dealing with both halves of Cairne simultaneously. Costing six mana instead of four means that Cairne is also competing with tougher company than Chillwind Yeti. By turn six, your opponent is more likely to have the mana and cards necessary to efficiently deal with a 4/5 than they are on turn four. Each half of Cairne is less likely than Yeti to trade for two cards. Even so, Cairne Bloodhoof is a bargain at six mana and will typically be able to at least trade for two or three of your opponent’s cards. There’s a reason he’s Tinkmaster’s number one target.
5. Bloodmage Thalnos
Bloodmage Thalnos is one of the first cards on this list that we would argue is a staple in most decks. In other words, if you own him, you’ll likely be running him in 90% of your decks. We didn’t rank him as highly as some of the other staples, but that is mostly due to the sheer power level of the third and fourth ranked Legendaries.
Bloodmage Thalnos is an inconspicuous fellow. He never comes hot off the top of your deck to spell doom for your unsuspecting opponent. He’s a meager 1/1 content to cackle in the background. You don’t have to thank him for drawing Leeroy Jenkins just in time for lethal. Good guy Thalnos is ok letting Leeroy hog the limelight. You know how your Swipes sometimes deal five damage? You could thank Bloodmage Thalnos for that, but he knows how good Swipe is. Swipe is one of the best removal cards in the game.
On the surface, Bloodmage Thalnos seems like a simple fellow, but then you get to know him and things get a lot more complicated. Bloodmage Thalnos isn’t a Kobold Geomancer. He isn’t a Novice Engineer. He’s not as single-minded as either of those cards. A lot of players want to compare Bloodmage to one of those aforementioned minions, but the real beauty of the card is that he’s both a Kobold Geomancer and a Novice Engineer. Although neither of those cards is particularly worth running in the majority of decks, the combination of those two cards makes for one of the best cards in the games. Bloodmage Thalnos won’t be the one wielding the meat cleaver of justice that ends your opponent’s winning streak, but he will be the good-natured skeleton he’s always been, winning you games in subtle and small ways.
4. Ragnaros the Firelord
Ragnaros the Firelord used to be the ubiquitous bad guy Legendary, but recently cards like Big Game Hunter and Tinkmaster Overspark have put him in his place. But don’t let those short fellers let you think the Firelord’s been squelched. Ragnaros is still arguably the strongest finisher in the game. Ragnaros’ power lies in his ability to deal his damage unscathed and around Taunts and his “immunity” to Silence. Most minions have to take damage in order to remove other minions. Even an 8/8 Mountain Giant has to take five damage to take out an Ancient of Lore. Taking that damage makes your Giant vulnerable to cheap removal spells like Wrath or smaller minions like Faerie Dragon. Ragnaros burns down the same Ancient of Lore without taking any damage, and will continue to rain fire upon your opponent until they choose to throw the requisite amount of damage at him. It’s not even a given your opponent can muster eight damage to kill Ragnaros. Frequently your opponent will not possess an adequate means for dealing with Ragnaros or will need to use so many cards to remove him that he becomes a three or four for one. Ragnaros also possesses an inherent “immunity” to Silence. Silencing Ragnaros turns off the fireball barrage, but also turns off the RNG and allows him to attack whomever he chooses at will.
Aside from his susceptibility to Big Game Hunter and Tinkmaster, Ragnaros also suffers from RNG. Despite how powerful Ragnaros is, if you need to remove a specific minion, he’s never a guarantee. However, even though he won’t always hit your opponent’s best minion or deal the fatal blow when you want, he always gives you that chance when other cards cannot. In certain situations, it doesn’t even matter what he hits as he’s gaining you value every turn. Remember there are always ways to control RNG as well. You may not be able to guarantee that Ragnaros will remove a specific minion, but you can guarantee he will do eight damage to your opponent if you clear their minions by other means.
One of the things that makes Ragnaros a particularly adept finisher is that he has an impact on the game state immediately. This is the factor that really distinguishes Ragnaros from a lower ranked finisher like Ysera. While Ysera has inevitably, she can never save you from a large minion threatening lethal or deal the fatal blow the turn she enters play. Ragnaros will begin dispensing molten justice the turn he enters play. He acts as a sort of perpetual and monolithic Pyroblast machine starting on the turn you play him. Generally he will throw a wrench in your opponent’s plans in a way Ysera cannot and will demand a significant and immediate response before taking over the game.
Ragnaros the Firelord is one of the most generically powerful finishers in the game and can be played in many decks. Due to this power level and general usability, we recommend crafting him as one of your first few Legendaries.
3. Leeroy Jenkins
We fear no card as we fear Leeroy Jenkins. we curse the day he ever learned to Shadowstep or possess the fury of the wind. He is a Fireball in man form. Being a minion allows him to synergize favorably with a large array of cards. Cards such as the aforementioned Shadowstep and Windfury change Leeroy from an unscrupulous raider into a precise, combolicious, killing machine.
The crux of Leeroy Jenkins’ power is his damage efficiency. Spells are generally more mana efficient than creatures since they do not typically provide any persistent benefits. From a game design perspective, removal spells in particular should be costed aggressively in order to provide a tempo advantage and not be objectively inferior to playing a minion. Fireball is generally considered one of the most powerful removal spells in the game. Leeroy is a minion with the same cost, damage, and speed of Fireball. The only advantages Fireball possesses over Leeroy is that it can get around Taunts and it doesn’t spawn Whelps. Spells like Shadowstep and Windfury exacerbate Leeroy’s efficiency and breed combos of the borderline degenerate variety.
Leeroy Jenkins is not for every deck, but he is a must for the decks that use him. We’ve ranked him number three for general crafting, but he could easily be the first Legendary you want to craft depending on the deck you’re making. No other minion packs a punch quite like Leeroy. If you want to play an aggressive deck, raise your meat cleavers of justice high and craft Leeroy.
2. Nat Pagle
The fisherman of much recent debate is the second Legendary we recommend you craft. He is playable in nearly any deck and is one of, if not, the best means of card draw in the game.
We generally find the best illustration of Nat Pagle’s power level is the Druid Midrange mirror match when one player has a turn one or turn two Pagle and the other does not. Next to Innervate into Chillwind Yeti, this is the most back breaking play in the match-up. The player with Pagle will generally go on to win the game as long as Pagle drew one or more cards. Not only does Pagle draw cards for you, but he will generally draw out your opponent’s best removal and minions. Since an unchecked Pagle can accumulate a significant advantage, your opponent will often be incentivized to deal with the Pagle quickly. This often means they burn premium removal such as Wrath or Swipe earlier and for less value than they may have otherwise. As an example of the value this can gain you, consider a Pagle who has drawn you one card but meets an untimely fate at the hands of an Argent Squire and a Wrath. Your Pagle has traded two for one since you drew a card and forced your opponent to use a removal spell. If you draw any more than one card in that same situation you three or four for one your opponent. We said this earlier, but those sort of exchanges win games.
Nat Pagle creates a fascinating sub-game when he enters play. Your opponent is no longer playing Hearthstone; they’re playing “kill the Pagle.” You’re not playing Hearthstone anymore either; you’re playing “protect the Pagle.” Pagle provides so much potential advantage that the game state will begin to revolve around his fate until he either provides you an unsurmountable advantage or is dealt with.
There has been significant debate and discussion surrounding the RNG Nat Pagle introduces to the game. Just as a Druid mirror match is often determined by who plays Pagle and who doesn’t, a match in which both players play Pagle is often determined by whose Pagle draws more cards. The discussion has gone so far to consider banning Pagle in certain high profile tournaments run by third parties. Such discussion is truly a testament to the power level of Nat Pagle, but be wary of this when crafting him if there’s a certain event you’re crafting him for. It’s highly unlikely Blizzard will ban him, however, so he’s still a must for ladder play. If he does get nerfed or banned by Blizzard, we imagine they will offer the same dust refund they’ve offered for prior nerfs, so craft without fear.
He is playable in all but the most aggressive of decks.
1. Tinkmaster Overspark
Remember how I said The Black Knight could be the best card in the game if everyone played Taunts? Well, that’s why Tinkmaster Overspark is likely the best card in the game. You can rely on every deck running powerful minions, and Tinkmaster is your solution. Not only is Tinkmaster one of the most popular competitive Legendaries, but he is an excellent Legendary for newer players to craft first since he answers so many of the powerful Legendaries other players will have. It is also important to have a strong suite of removal in your deck when you first start playing, and Tinkmaster is one of the best removal cards in the game. He isn’t a removal spell in the strictest sense, but the result of a Tink often fluctuates between being a Hex and a Silence.
Just be careful when playing Tinkmaster Overspark. He isn’t a Hex that also gives you a 2/2 (although sometimes that’s what happens). When you Tink a minion, you want the worst case result to be that you “Silenced” the minion. Generally you don’t want to Tink a minion that is a 5/5 or smaller unless you value “Silencing” the minion very highly or you have no other choice but to. Tinking a 2/1 or 1/1 of your own is often a reasonable play as well, especially if you suspect your opponent’s deck does not contain any fantastic targets for Tinkmaster. Just be careful. Tinkmaster is an incredibly unique card and often one of your only efficient answers to cards like Ragnaros the Firelord and Cairne Bloodhoof. Before you Tink, it’s always best to be mindful of what you could Tink later. If you’re about to YOLO Tink a 5/5, make certain it isn’t likely your opponent will play a stronger minion soon or present a Taunt you’ll have to get around.
One of the reasons that you should craft Tinkmaster Overspark first is that you can play him in literally every deck you play. Midrange and control decks value him as a quality removal spell to counter their opponent’s finishers. Shaman and Mage will sometimes eschew playing him since they already have Hex and Polymorph, but even those classes often use him. Aggressive decks often use him as a three mana Silence minion with upside in order to circumvent Taunts. You may regret Tinking that Ancient of Lore and turning it into a Devilsaur, but you’ll never regret crafting Tinkmaster Overspark.
Arguably the most powerful card in the game, Tinkmaster Overspark is usable in almost every deck and the first Legendary you should craft. Tink smart, and happy crafting!
[DKMR]Varranis streams every Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM EST at http://www.twitch.tv/varranis. You can find all of DKMR’s streamers on their website with times and the days they stream!
Written by [DKMR]Varranis
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Decks To Watch Out For
Only three decklists this week as there haven’t been any particularly new or exciting decks cropping up recently. If we can give you any advice this week when laddering, watch out for Warlock Aggro. This deck is back with a vengeance. It’s not the strongest deck out there, but it may be the most popular, so you’ll definitely need to be prepared for it. I’ve included two different versions below. [DKMR]Alchemixt used his build to achieve Rank 5 from Rank 25 in less than 3 hours on a new account and is currently rank 1 (6hrs). We’ve also included a Druid Token list that had success in a recent tournament.