Hearthstone Help: Top 10 Best Legendaries

Tim Clark

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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...

#10 Deathwing

Mana: 10

Attack: 12

Health: 12

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

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.

#9 Alexstrasza

Mana: 9

Attack: 8

Health: 8

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

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.

#8 Bloodmage Thalnos

Mana: 2

Attack: 1

Health: 1

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

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.

#7 Tirion Fordring

Mana: 8

Attack: 6

Health: 6

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Paladin

Rarity: Legendary

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 Polymorphand 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.

#6 Lord Jaraxxus

Mana: 9

Attack: 3

Health: 15

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Warlock

Rarity: Legendary

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

#5 Sylvanas Windrunner

Mana: 6

Attack: 5

Health: 5

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

Deathrattle: Take control of a random enemy minion.

VS: Sylvanas is absolutely amazing when the board conditions suit her or in decks that exploit her ability fully. For the perfect example, Warlocks can use Sylvanas to attack and then sweep away a load of cheaper/midrange minions and steal the largest one by using Shadowflame. She also makes for a very warping presence on the board because your opponent is forced to play around her ability. It's worth noting that she's more resistant to silence than Cairne because her base statline is better, if only by 1 attack. Of Cairne and Sylvanas, I prefer Sylvanas, even if she is harder to get complete value from.

TC: She can be a tricky card to use correctly, but the tempo boost when her Deathrattle works and she steals a decent creature is immense. Here's my favourite Sylvanas moment: My opponent plays her. I panic. Then I calm down, use Faceless Manipulator on her, and cast Power Overwhelming on my freshly minted Sylvanas copy, which dies at the end of my turn and steals his Sylvanas. On the following turn I play my own Sylvanas which was sat in my hand the whole time. Don't ask how I still managed to lose that match.

#4 Leeroy Jenkins

Mana: 4 [Note: from 22nd September 2014, Blizzard nerfed Leeroy to cost 5 Mana.]

Attack: 6

Health: 2

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

Charge. Battlecry: Summon two 1/1 Whelps for your opponent.

VS: Only fourth? I think Leeroy is not only the strongest Legendary, but the strongest card in Hearthstone full stop. The sheer amount of decks he enables, the combos he is the key piece of, and his immense effect on the metagame alone shows how powerful he is. Leeroy is often compared to Fireball, which is partly true—they both cost 4 Mana and deal 6 damage—however there are far more ways to buff Leeroy's damage than the there are to boost the power of a Fireball. If Mage had access to solid buffs, it would likely run Leeroy as well.

TC: I suspect the only reason Jenkins doesn't rank higher is because people are sick of the bastard. Rogues combo him with Shadowsteps and Cold Bloods. Warlock's use Power Overwhelmings and Faceless Manipulators. Shaman use Rockbiters and Windfuries. On and on it goes. Leeroy is almost singularly responsible for all the burst-heavy decks currently doing the rounds. As finishers go, he's unrivalled, and should be top of any player's must-craft list.

#3 Ysera

Mana: 9

Attack: 4

Health: 12

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

At the end of your turn, draw a Dream Card.

VS: Now here's a card I just plain don't like. Ysera has the potential for immense value given that she draws you an additional card every turn, and all those cards are significantly stronger than their Mana cost would suggest. However, she is both incredibly slow—with no immediate impact except her card draw—and incredibly unpredictable.

When you have the opportunity to play her, and she draws you Ysera Awakens when you need to clear the board, or Nightmare when you just need a tiny bit more burst, she's amazing. At other times she draws you Laughing Sister five games in a row and you disenchant her to make a Hungry Crab out of sheer rage. There are better, more reliable Legendaries to play if you're going all the way up to 9 Mana on your curve, with Alexstrasza being the best example.

TC: For a while Ysera was being run as the 'win condition' card in all sorts of decks, probably because people overvalued her exotic card draw ability. That she's used less now is precisely for the reasons Vince outlines—too slow, too random—but while I generally don't like relying on RNG, especially in the late game, I still think she has a possible place in heavily control-focused decks. Also, goddamnit, she's just cool. Sometimes it's okay to run a card just because you enjoy it, right? I mean, she dreams and the world trembles. Who doesn't get a little kick out of that?

#2 Cairne Bloodhoof

Mana: 6

Attack: 4

Health: 5

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

Deathrattle: Summon a 4/5 Baine Bloodhoof.

VS: Cairne is the essence of value. If his Deathrattle is triggered, he provides a total of 8/10 in stats for a cost of 6 Mana. 8/10 worth of stats is, roughly speaking 9 Mana's worth. If he doesn't get silenced or removed, he can really alter the flow of the game—and that's without accounting for synergies with cards like Ancestral Spirit and Shadowflame.

There's not really all that much to say about Cairne—he's ol' reliable. Personally, I've cut him from a lot of them in favor of cards like The Black Knight (which I'm amazed more people didn't vote for) and Big Game Hunter because they generate more value in the current metagame, but I'm sure that with the upcoming Naxxramas expansion we'll get even more clever ways of milking this card for value.

TC: Just a rock solid six-drop. The acid test with most cards is how often are you happy to have them in your hand. I rarely feel uncomfortable with a Cairne sat there, because you know there'll come a point when you'll want to play this beefy, sticky creature. Huh. Anyone else hungry?

#1 Ragnaros the Firelord

Mana: 8

Attack: 8

Health: 8

Crafting cost: 1600

Class: Neutral

Rarity: Legendary

Can't Attack. At the end of your turn, deal 8 damage to a random enemy.

VS: Ragnaros, Ragnaros, Ragnaros. Creator of both epic wins and spectacular fails. Rag is similar to Ysera in some ways, but he's also cheaper and has less of an obvious drawback. Yes, his ability is unpredictable, but the percentages can be manipulated by removing minions you don't want to hit from the board, and unlike Ysera he's not slow.

Rag provides you with inevitability in the sense that, if not dealt with, he can utterly close down the board. Unfortunately, with 8 attack he does fall into Big Game Hunter's range, which is usually the way he's dispatched. Unless you run Baron Geddon to draw out the Big Game Hunter, it's very likely that your first high-attack minion will be Rag himself.

In decks which do run huge, early threats like Handlock, he's also not that spectacular since you can't really afford to use 8 Mana to just plop down a threat, while if you are looking for win conditions or inevitability, Jarraxxus and the Leeroy-Power Overwhelming-Faceless Manipulator combo are better options. Granted, I have an aversion to unpredictability so I may not value Ragnaros as highly as someone who does have great luck with the card.

TC: No surprise at all with this choice, and let the record state that Rag absolutely romped the vote. Because he hits something for 8 damage on the turn you play him, it's impossible to get no value from him. And it's not like using Silence on him is a great answer either, because you've now created an 8/8 creature who can attack freely. I woldun't say Rag is OP though, but, Leeroy aside, he's definitely the easiest finisher to use. Plus he often ends up being good comedy value, as evidenced by this incredible piece of RNG captured by poor old Kripp...

Now check out the worst 10 Legendary cards, as voted by you, or our list of the best 46 cards in the game full stop.

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