Hearthstone Help: Top 10 Best Legendaries
Greetings Hearthstonians, Vincent Sarius here and today I'm joined by PC Gamer's Tim Clark to bring you our thoughts on the best Legendary cards, as voted for by you the readers. Legendaries tend to divide players’ opinions. Some see them as the greatest proof that Hearthstone is a pay-to-win game, while others note that there are plenty of Legendaries with questionable value. Blizzard's own design policy on these expensive to craft cards are that they’re intended to have unique effects, rather than be strictly better versions of more commonly accessible Rares and Commons.
Anyway, let's cut to the chase and see what you voted for...
Crafting cost: 1600
Battlecry: Destroy all other minions and discard your hand.
VS: Deathwing is huge. He's both the most expensive minion in Hearthstone, outside of undiscounted Molten Giants, and wields the largest statline of any creature, even accounting for stuff like Savannah Highmane with its Deathrattle (the second largest, at 10/9 when including the Hyenas). Unlike, say, Archmage Antonidas, Deathwing has an immediate impact on the board. One might say cataclysmic. He both burns your entire hand and unleashes the equivalent of a Twisting Nether, destroying all minions currently in play.
That makes Deathwing very difficult to use correctly, and means he tends to be relegated to being played as the ultimate catch-up mechanism. Much like Antonidas, he doesn’t see a lot of action in the higher echelons of constructed play, although he is occasionally run in very late-game focused decks. I do use Deathwing in some of my lists, in particular in a Ramp Druid and Control Warrior—both classes which lack good class-based removal cards.
TC: Obviously, throwing your entire hand away is almost always a recipe for disaster, but as pure YOLO plays go, slapping Deathwing down on the board when you’ve lost control is as dramatic a response as it gets. Put it this way: it often won’t be the right thing to do, but it never won’t be enjoyable to do.
Crafting cost: 1600
Battlecry: Set a hero's remaining Health to 15.
VS: Alexstrasza is number three on my personal list of best Legendaries, so I'm a bit surprised not to see her higher here. She can swing games immensely by having such a huge effect on either player’s health. While she’s slightly easier to get rid of than her Dragonflight cohorts, having both less overall health and being vulnerable to Big Game Hunter, I feel that overall she's a much stronger card. In particular, as a way of enabling win conditions, she's a great card to set-up an opponent’s life for a kill the next turn, whether from a combo in your hand, or from the board if she isn't removed.
TC: Unlike Deathwing, it’s usually easy to know when to play Alex. You either use her fiery breath to bring your opponent within range of lethal, or to give your own ailing hero a second shot at survival. The fact she leaves an 8/8 body on the board doesn’t hurt either, guaranteeing the other player will have to find an immediate response. She’s a key component of popular ladder decks like Handlock, Control Warrior, and the stalling version of the Frost Mage, and little wonder: this is a card that it’s almost impossible not to get value from.
Crafting cost: 1600
Spell Damage +1. Deathrattle: Draw a card.
VS: And here's another that's high on my list, though this I can understand it being ranked lower by the readers. Thalnos is a difficult card for a lot of players to really understand—he has a tiny statline, he doesn't do anything particularly crazy, and he just seems like a Kobold Geomancer and a Loot Hoarder duct-taped together. Which he pretty much is, but this particular combination of effects make for a very strong card when put on a cheap body. Thalnos isn't really a minion, he's a Spell pretending to be a minion. When I look at him I see ‘All your Spells deal +1 damage for this turn. Draw a Card’, which is incredibly powerful. You tend to play around the most devastating or common AoEs spells, but with Thalnos, it's easy to walk right into them.
Take the Druid spell Swipe, for example: When playing Zoo Warlock, you want to avoid popping off your Argent Squires' Divine Shields, and prioritize buffing cards above either 4 health or 1 health, to limit the chances of a Swipe clearing your entire board. However, Thalnos makes Swipe deal 2 AoE damage and 5 to the primary target, it's functionally impossible to play around this without really holding back your hand, which will lose you the game regardless.
TC: The rule of thumb for Thalnos, which goes for any card really, is only play him when you know you’re going to get full value from the text. So you should never just slap him down because you’ve got two Mana and nothing else to play. As Vince notes, comboing him the right clearance spell can swing the game completely when your opponent has been working to incorrect damage assumptions. He also may as well have Taunt too, because your opponent will always attempt to remove him on the next turn.
Crafting cost: 1600
Divine Shield. Taunt. Deathrattle: Equip a 5/3 Ashbringer.
VS: In my view Tirion is by far the best Class-based Legendary. He's one of the few cards that can regularly trade 5 for 1, and he also avoids Big Game Hunter. However, he does come with one major vulnerability: Silence. Tirion takes a hit to his statline for all of his effects, being under-cost by roughly 2 attack and 2 health for an 8 Mana minion. When he gets silenced, it really hurts since you just overpaid for a 6-Mana minion, eating up your entire turn, and the 6 Mana minion is weaker than a Boulderfist Ogre. The same risk applies from transformation-based removals like Polymorph and Hex, but everything is weak to those. On the bright side, it's hard to remove Tirion with direct damage, and even if he get's hit by The Black Knight's battlecry, you still get value from that amazing Ashbringer. Unless they follow up with Harrison Jones. In which case, the game likely hates you.
TC: No hard removal? No Silence? Then it’s basically gg for you. The key to playing with Tirion is to bait out the cards that are going to remove or nerf him first. Playing a Shaman who hasn’t used any Hexes yet? Now is not the time to play Tirion and hope for the best. Because the best is usually not what’s about to happen.
Crafting cost: 1600
Battlecry: Destroy your hero and replace him with Lord Jaraxxus.
VS: Probably the most fun card to play, and the one with the most unusual effects. Slap down Jaraxxus, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION, and he replaces your hero, sets your life to 15 (which is also now its maximum), grants you a massive 3 attack 8 durability weapon, and changes your Hero Power from Lifetap to INFERNO!, which spawns 6/6 Infernals for a staggeringly low 2 Mana. Playing Jaraxxus puts your opponent on a very short clock, because if the game keeps going they will be overwhelmed by the flow of Infernals.
However, I haven't seen Jaraxxus used for a while. There are two main reasons for this. One, is that his 9 mana cost eats up your entire turn. The other, is that the state of Hearthstone's metagame right now makes him almost suicidal to play in a lot of match-ups. Most Classes have burst combos ranging anywhere from 14 to 30 damage in the course of a single-turn once the later Mana crystals are hit. Nonetheless, in slower match-ups, Jaraxxus can be the deciding factor between a win and a loss.
TC: I think he ranks so highly here because there’s no other card capable of generating the same shits and giggles. Just the fact that all his emotes occur in CAPS makes him worth running for me. That said, even I’ve started leaving him out of my Handlock deck in favour of a second Faceless Manipulator. There’s just never really the right time to play him.
Once your health is below 15 you’re in such a parlous state anyway that he’s too slow to really help. Your weapon damage on the turn you play him is only 3, and you won’t be able to summon an Infernal until the next turn, which then won’t be able to attack until the turn after. Think you can last that long with only 15 health? He also effectively rules out playing any remaining Molten Giants, due to how your revised maximum health interacts with them. And yet, I still can’t quit you, Jaraxxus. And THIS VIDEO is a big reason why.
Next page: Your top five revealed