With Standard format now in full swing, I enlisted a panel of pros and prominent community members to update our list of the most powerful Legendary cards playable in Hearthstone's primary competitive format. Our illustrious panel includes Europe Championship qualifiers Tars and AKA Wonder, Hearthstone Championship Tour caster Raven, my compLexity teammates TheJordude and SylvanHunter, as well as Virtus Pro's Faramir, and Splyce's Th3Rat.
Of course the biggest impact from Standard has been the removal of the Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes sets, as well as the addition of new Whispers of the Old Gods cards—with three of the four Old Gods making an appearance in this list. Outside of this though, the shift in metagame has also had a dramatic impact on the placings of the other cards.
For many Hearthstone players, particularly newer ones, deciding which legendary cards to craft with your hard-earned dust is a stressful experience. 1600 dust isn't easy to come by, and the setback from crafting a card which ends up being useless can be potentially devastating.
To help guide your crafting decisions, I asked our experts to rank their top 20 legendary cards. Using their input, combined with my own expertise, I've created a list that represents a comprehensive guide to which legendaries you need. Just start at #1 and work your way back until your collection is bristling with power.
The plan isn't quite that simple of course. If you're looking to play a specific deck, or favour a particular class, you should give extra weight to the legendaries that are core to those decks. You should still pay attention to the cards listed highly here due to their versatility, since those will go the furthest to increasing the power of your collection overall.
#25: Varian Wrynn
Varian is a card that has been on quite the emotional rollercoaster. When it was first revealed the card was met with cries from the community that it would be ridiculously overpowered. When we actually got our hands on it, however, Varian proved surprisingly underwhelming. It was too slow even for such a powerful effect, and had dramatic downsides in terms of pushing you closer to fatigue, or forcing you to over-commit into your opponent’s AoE removal options.
But rewind to just before the release of Standard, and Varian exploded back into the spotlight. ShtanUdachi created a deck that would come to be known as Tempo Warrior which Xixo used to achieve Rank 1 Legend. It is this deck, and this deck alone, that sneaks Varian onto this list.
In Tempo Warrior Varian is used as a last ditch effort to try and seal a tight game. Since the deck is so proactive, the effects of fatigue are heavily mitigated and your opponent is often forced to AoE your board way before you are forced to drop your big 10 Mana bomb. Even so, many players are now viewing the optimal build of Tempo Warrior to be without Varian, which is why the redemption of the Alliance King only finds himself at 25 on this list.
#24: Xaril, Poisoned Mind
Our first brand new Whispers of the Old Gods entry is this resource-generating card for Rogue. The key here is versatility—Xaril fits into any sort of high level Rogue strategy imaginable. The Deathrattle effect means that it has powerful synergy with Unearthed Raptor and N’Zoth, and the cheap 1-Mana spells it creates means it allows you to power through insane Gadgetzan Auctioneer turns with much greater consistency.
Outside of this though, the Toxin cards are just good! These spells are essentially close approximations of high quality Rogue cards like Conceal, Cold Blood, or Shadowstep, or otherwise excellent utility tools like card draw or direct damage. This means that even though the initial investment can create a loss in Tempo—something that Rogues are usually trying to avoid—the overall benefit of the card may swing the game in your favour.
With all that said, Xaril does have competition in the 4-Mana slot for Rogue, which even after the loss of Piloted Shredder is still tightly contested due to the insanity of Tomb Pillager and the evergreen Violet Teacher. This competition for space in the deck sometimes leads to Xaril taking a spot on the bench and watching on sadly as the Coins and Apprentices fly around.
#23: Fandral Staghelm
Fandral is perhaps the best example of a low-risk, high-reward card in Hearthstone. As a 4 Mana 3/5 minion he’s rarely going to cost you too heavily if you’re forced to play him without activating his effect, but when combo’d with your Choose One cards, the effect can be so glorious that the game ends as your slack-jawed opponent reaches for the Concede button.
While the spectacular value from using Fandral with Ancient of War and Wisps of the Old Gods is obvious, more commonly Fandral will pick up small incremental effects with Wrath, Living Roots, and Raven Idol, but the impact of even these small bonuses is potentially huge. Wrath dealing four damage and drawing a card for 2-Mana is nuts. Likewise Raven Idol discovering a card and a spell. Crucially, these are easy combos to achieve.
Fandral is now an almost auto-include in all Druid decks, from spammy Token-based strategies all the way up to heavy Ramp and C’Thun decks. It’s easy to see why.
#22: Emperor Thaurissan
Well, well, well. This update sees a dizzying drop of 20 places for everyone’s favourite combo activator. What could be the explanation? A quick look back at the entry from our old list tells the tale. It dealt almost exclusively with the now defunct Combo Druid, and without those sweet, sweet discounts to the various combinations of Charging treants, Emperor just seems a lot less oppressive.
That’s not to say the card doesn’t have his place in the meta. Renolocks still use him to great effect to create the 20 damage combo with Leeroy, Faceless Manipulator, and Power Overwhelming. There’s also the ever-present threat of Freeze Mage getting Emperor down on “that hand” that deals 30 damage. However, with Druid’s explosive ferocity tamed, Emperor seems like a much more fair and healthy card. Nothing else in the game allows you to create some of the spectacular interactions that Emperor makes possible, and the card will surely be sorely missed when it rotates out with Blackrock Mountain next year.
Free-to-play Hearthstoners rejoice! One of the 25 best Legendary cards in the game is available to you at no cost when you pick up your first Old Gods pack.
The actual power level of C’Thun is still hotly contested, and this is reflected in the amount of disagreement and infighting amongst our panel. C’Thun reached the dizzying heights of #3 on one player’s list, but was left off entirely by two others. This disagreement is also reflected by C’Thun’s presence in the metagame. During the first week of Standard, C’Thun was everywhere as people experimented with every class imaginable trying to find the best builds. Initial forays were underwhelming and C’Thun disappeared from the limelight for a period. Eventually the lists got more refined, and C’Thun Druid and Warrior started to show incredible promise.
So why the debate? Well, the effect of C’Thun is undoubtedly powerful, but it requires significant deckbuilding sacrifices in the form of playing subpar minions in order to unleash the power of the tentacled colossus. This balancing of upside and downside is what causes the contention between pros, and we’re going to need a much larger sample size of games before it can truly be decided whether C’Thun deserves a spot much higher up this list.
#20: Bloodmage Thalnos
Still probably the most unassuming pick in our top 20, Bloodmage Thalnos is a card that can fly under the radar of a lot of new players. Despite this, six out of the seven pros ranked it in their top 20, with one rating it as high as 5th.
“It’s just a Novice Engineer with Spell Damage” or “It’s a Kobold Geomancer that draws a card” are two reactions that come up often from less experienced players. Combine that with the fact that Bloodmage also has weaker stats than the Kobold, and it’s easy to see why the skeletal wizard gets ignored.
But it’s exactly the combination of those two effects in one card that makes Thalnos so powerful in the right deck. It’s impossible to replicate the value with a single replacement, and since you can only fit 30 cards in your deck, this 2-in-1 package can be hugely useful.
Any deck based around some sort of burn spell finisher tends to features Thalnos. Freeze Mages include it to buff up their game-ending burst combo, or to dig deeper in their deck for crucial cards. Rogue uses it for powerful tempo plays using Backstab, Fan of Knives, or Eviscerate, while simultaneously cycling through their deck to hit key cards. Again, the versatility is key.
#19: Edwin VanCleef
Another class legendary sneaks onto the list in the shape of the leader of the Defias Brotherhood. The amount of low cost spells that Rogues play, combined with the power of Preparation to string together multiple cards early on, means that Edwin can often be a 6/6 for 3-mana, or better.
Since Rogue decks are primarily only built one way—to leverage the advantage that their hero power and incredibly efficient removal spells provide into a tempo advantage—the ability to play such a huge minion for a small mana cost is hard to overlook.
Edwin received a huge boost in Standard since the nerfs to Ironbeak Owl and Big Game Hunter combined to mean that many classes simply have no answer to a huge Edwin dumped in the opening turns using combinations of Prep and the Coin. On top of this, the addition of Xaril, Poisoned Mind to a lot of Rogue decks means that you have even more low cost Spells that can be used to create an Edwin with stats in the double digits.
#18: Twin Emperor Vek'lor
Now, see how the student becomes the master. Although Twin Emperor is theoretically just a component of decks in which C’Thun should get top billing, in the opinion of our panel this 7-Mana double Taunt play is the real star of the show.
On the surface, it’s a call that makes sense. Twin Emperor can be both a game-winning, or game-saving, play that arrives as early as turn seven. The agonizing wait until turn ten can also be too big an ask for C’Thun to be able to rectify problematic situations, but the game is very rarely dead and buried before turn seven.
But setting aside the hot topic of which of these two minions is the real leading man, the key point is that many C’Thun decks live or die by whether or not they draw these two cards. That simple fact alone is one of the things holding C’Thun decks back at the moment, and is the overarching reason that neither of these key components has made an impact on the upper reaches of the list.
#17: Brann Bronzebeard
Rather than building a deck around Brann’s effect, which would inevitably be inconsistent given you can only play one copy of him, it’s best to slot him into an already viable deck that already runs a lot of Battlecry creatures.
Of the existing competitive decks around when League Of Explorers launched, Zoo was one of the most obvious fits, enabling doubling of Dark Peddler’s Discover card draw and the buffs from Abusive Sergeant, Dark Iron Dwarf and Defender of Argus. Indeed, the diversity of Battlecry effects found in Warlock decks makes the class a good fit full stop, with the Malylock and Renolock variants also making use of him.
Whispers of the Old Gods introduced another great role for Brann to fill—a supporting act in C’Thun decks. Running Brann in your deck means that you can run less supbar C’Thun minions because a single double buff using a +2/+2 minion will get you to that magic 10 activator number. Brann’s synergies with power plays in the deck like Twin Emperor, Ancient Shieldbearer, and even C’Thun itself means the card is a core component in these decks.
The fact Brann’s effect is passive—meaning it applies so long as he stays on board—also makes him a ‘soft taunt’ target in the sense you’re opponent will do everything to remove him from play, or risk being snowballed out of the game by the double Battlecry value train.
#16: Justicar Trueheart
It’s only fitting that the card that welcomed us to The Grand Tournament remains a key part of this list. Justicar’s effect is hard to sum up quickly, as it varies uniquely between classes. Paladins have made great use of Justicar to flood the board with Silver Hand Recruits, creating a single-handed win condition against other Control decks. Priests have started including Justicar to make their minions even harder to remove, and further increasing their advantage over pesky Aggro decks.
Perhaps the most effective use of Justicar, however, is in Warrior. Gone are the days when 20 armour seemed like an impressive safety net. Now, the dizzying heights of 40, 50, even 60 armour are achievable, giving birth to a new form of Control Warrior that is no longer interested in killing the other player at all, they simply armour up, (or rather “Tank Up”), remove every threat you play, and then sit bellowing with laughter as you die to fatigue. While this might not be the most fun experience, (at least for one player involved), there is no denying its effectiveness.
Interestingly, Justicar made it onto the list for every player polled, but failed to break into the top 10 for any of them. The definition of solid but unspectacular, then.
#15: Elise Starseeker
Elise was the only member of the titular League of Explorers who was left off this list last time. It’s hard to put a finger on why she now makes an appearance. Maybe it’s simply the variance of a different panel, or perhaps she’s profiting from the spots vacated by the loss of power cards like Doctor Boom and Loatheb from GvG and Naxx, or is it more complex than that?
There is an increased amount of viable Control decks in the meta now, and in duels between these decks, Elise is just about the best card you can have in your deck. Much like Fandral mentioned previously, Elise is a low risk card. As a 4 Mana 3/5, playing her will rarely cost you the game, but in those matches that last beyond turn 20, you’re going to be pleased that all those situational cards you would have been stuck with have now been transformed into juicy late-game threats.
Elise, much like Justicar, received middle of the road ratings from nearly everybody polled, showing that she’s a card that’s on everyone’s mind, but isn’t regarded as the powerhouse that some of the ones higher on the list are.
Cursed Blade. Sorry, I just wanted to get that out of the way, because it’s impossible to talk about Malkorok without mentioning the game-losing weapon. However, serious analysis will reflect that the nightmare scenario is 1/20 shot and quickly move on.
On average, the value of Malkorok is incredible. Popular Arena ranking sites have established that Malkorok is actually the best card in the game in terms of improving people’s Arena winrate, and it’s not difficult to see why. The huge percentage of middling outcomes all represent fine value for a 7 Mana card, and you are actually much more likely to get an incredible blowout option like Doomhammer, Gladiator’s Longbow, or Gorehowl than you are to see the much-maligned Cursed Blade.
Not to mention the card also includes an imposing 6/5 body that threatens to pressure the opponent out of the game if not dealt with. The powerful one-two punch of Malkorok is what makes the card such a huge threat, and it’s no surprise to see it being appreciated highly by our panel.
#13: Ragnaros, Lightlord
A card that had an enormous amount of hype coming into the release of The Old Gods, Rag’s happier, more loving twin has largely lived up to expectations. The incredible amount of stability that this single card brings to your late-game is hard to pass up for Paladins. Unlike many of the previous burst healing cards like Antique Healbot, Happy Rag also presents a huge threat. Unlike his fire-tossing alter ego, the Lightlord is free to attack at will, meaning it serves the dual utility of caring for you whilst crushing your opponent.
Most late-game focused Paladin decks auto-include Lightlord without much consideration. The N’Zoth and Anyfin archetypes have both emerged as strong contenders, and both need defensive options due to the loss of Healbot and Sludge Belcher, amongst others. Although I still have my suspicions about the long term power of this card, (with more time and experience, people can play around the healing by putting small amounts of damage into multiple targets) for now it’s hard to dispute that it deserves a spot on our list.
Ragnaros, Lightlord received middling ratings from our panel, ranging from 10th to 19th, but received a nomination from all but one person involved.
One of the holdouts from the early days of Hearthstone, Alexstrasza is in a fairly unique position of being a powerful card from day one that has stayed strong all the way through to the current expansion. Its versatility is the secret to its longevity, as it can be included in almost any late-game focused control deck, or one aiming to kill opponents with a burst combo. In these decks Alex serves the double purpose of activating a win condition by instantly lowering your opponent’s health, or crushing the dreams of aggro decks by healing your own hero when near death.
The power and immediacy of Alex’s effect also makes the card relatively resistant to removal, which has forced many other slow and clunky minions out of the meta. Once a Freeze Mage has dropped Alex and brought you down to 15 life, Alex’s 8/8 body is barely relevant. Even if you remove her, you still die to Fireball, Fireball, Frostbolt just the same.
Alex is featured in Freeze Mage, older Control Warriors, some Renolock decks, as well as various Dragon builds, so it’s no surprise to see this card listed in the top 15 for most of our polled pros, as well breaking the top 10 for some of them.
#11: Sir Finley Mrrgglton
The primary use for the dapper Murloc has been to open up more aggressive lines of play in classes which are otherwise restricted by their hero powers. No, Aggro Priest still isn’t a thing yet, but Shaman, Paladin and Warrior have all been able to create brutally fast decks which benefit from switching hero powers.
Versatility is key once more. Whilst it might seem obvious that you want to mulligan for Sir Finely and pray you get the Hunter’s Steady Shot, there will also be matchups in which it’s more important to pick Warlock’s Life Tap to keep the card draw coming. Even in a top deck scenario, being able to grab a clutch heal might buy you one more turn from which to draw that Rockbiter you need to pair with your Doomhammer.
Also, although Sir Finley’s one attack means he won’t do much face damage, his three health means he can potentially take out Living Roots tokens, or challenge an Argent Squire or Possessed Villager, without dying—helping secure the board for your forthcoming swarm of creatures. All in all, a cheap but annoyingly effective addition to the current pool of Legendaries.
#10: Leeroy Jenkins
Curiously missing from our previous list, Leeroy is back with a bang, crashing straight into the top 10. Why the sudden change of heart towards the impatient raider? Well, with Arcane Golem getting the Warsong Commander treatment, there simply aren’t too many efficient Charge minions left in the game. This means that outright Aggro decks have to fall back on Leeroy as a source of damage, and combo decks have no other options to use as a target for their pile of damage buffs. Miracle Rogue is also back in full force, with the most popular version using Leeroy and Cold Blood as their finisher of choice. On top of this, the Leeroy, Faceless Manipulator, Power Overwhelming combo is an absolute staple in Renolock decks.
It’s terrifying to think that Leeroy once existed as a 4-Mana card, and you have to give credit where it’s due and say that Blizzard reacted accordingly when they chose to bump him up to 5 Mana. Leeroy would have been ludicrously oppressive if left alone.
Opinions on Leeroy fluctuated significantly more than other cards that populate the middle of this list, with some players choosing to award it one of the coveted top 5 spots, while others left it out of the top 10 entirely. Regardless of which side of that argument you come down on, it seems likely that we'll be hearing that iconic battlecry for many years to come.
#9: Reno Jackson
Reno’s get rich success story happened pretty much as soon as the card was released. Beforehand, there’d been an element of doubt about how damaging building a deck that contained all or mostly single copies of cards would be. The answer, it turned out, was not very. And the potential benefit of being able to heal for up to 29 points in a mostly aggressive meta hardly requires further explanation.
This site made the case that Reno might be the most exciting Hearthstone card since Emperor Thaurissan, and little has changed since to make anyone doubt his power level since. Reno’s natural home appears to be in Warlock, where the innate card draw from the hero power, coupled with the synergy of using Gul’dan’s health pool as a resource, means that you’re both likely to have Reno in hand when you need him, and are likely to need him.
The sheer number of Warlock cards which work well as singletons has also helped drive Renolock into the top tier of competitive decks. But Reno’s power isn’t restricted to Warlock. Priest, Paladin and Mage decks can all be built effectively to include his whopping heal. Reno has become a meta-defining card, and is well worthy of his place here in the top ten. Enjoy him (until he cycles out of Standard sometime in spring 2017!)
#8: Yogg-Saron, Hope's End
Oh boy. Where to begin? I think everyone knew when Yogg-Saron was announced that it was going to be a big steaming pile of nonsense. What was perhaps unexpected was that it would turn out to be a good card. The overall unpredictability of Yogg’s exact outcome is almost irrelevant. In many decks, the card is included as an emergency kill switch that essentially serves as the equivalent of flipping the table in a game of Chess. Yogg can potentially reset proceedings so that you can try and recover lost positions.
Primarily, Yogg seems to work in decks that aim to activate powerful combos using spell synergy such as Token Druid. If your gameplan hasn’t quite worked out come turn 10, you use Yogg to reset the board and try again. Yogg is also run in some heavy Control decks in a bid to provide the final answer during drawn out games, but this plan has proved less successful due to the effect’s annoying tendency to fatigue you by recklessly drawing cards.
Yogg has yet to have too big an impact on competitive play, but that looks set to change in the near future. With each passing day we get closer to a prophesied deck in which the card finds its natural home. Until then, Yogg will continue to Call of the Wild and Twisting Nether its way into the hearts and minds of Hearthstone players everywhere.
#7: Harrison Jones
Harrison Jones is an interesting card to see so high on the list. Usually tech cards wouldn’t be recommended as high crafting priorities since they’re only effective in the right meta. However, Hearthstone has been so heavily dominated by Paladin, Shaman, and Warrior decks for a while now that Harrison almost always finds a target. Add to this the re-emergence of Rogue as a powerhouse in Standard, and you have a winning recipe for Harrison to be the king of tech.
The particular strength of Harrison is that even in matchups like Druid where he won’t get to add a new weapon to his ever-growing museum, he still isn’t terrible. Unlike other tech cards such as Eater of Secrets which are really found wanting when they whiff, Harrison has a decent amount of health. He still represents a threat in an aggressive deck, and he can still ‘trade up’ with a better minion in a Control deck. This lack of downside is what makes Harrison such an attractive option.
That value was reflected in our player poll, with Harrison an ever-present, never falling below 14th for any of our polled players. They, like us all, cannot resist the urge to send another Doomhammer to the museum.
#6: Cairne Bloodhoof
Don’t call it a comeback. Cairne was one the most sought after cards in the early value-focused days of vanilla Hearthstone. A few months later, once people started to realise the power of playing for tempo, Cairne largely fell by the wayside. This was reflected by our previous top 20 list that did not feature the card at all. In fact, Cairne didn’t receive a single nomination from our original panel.
The tauren chieftain's resurgence has been driven by the arrival of a card we’ll talk about next—N’Zoth, the Corruptor— which has dramatically changed the value of Deathrattle minions. Since many of the best Deathrattles went away with Curse of Naxxramas, most N’Zoth decks function around a core package of Deathrattles, which usually consists of Cairne, Sylvanas Windrunner, and any powerful class specific Deathrattle minions. Cairne is a core part of these decks because his Deathrattle is essentially a resummon effect, which means he protects your board against large AoE spells such as Twisting Nether and Brawl.
Additionally, the power level of the minions around him has also fallen. The oppressive nightmare of Dr. Boom and the omnipresent Sludge Belcher and Piloted Shredder are now gone, meaning slower, less impactful cards like Cairne have an opportunity to shine, as well as time to achieve their full value.
#5: N'Zoth, the Corruptor
Taking the crown as King of the Old Gods on our list is N’Zoth. Very few cards in the history of Hearthstone have had as big an impact on people’s deck building decisions as this tentacled sea-dweller. Control decks have been given a new lease on life, since a single 10-Mana card allows your deck to be completely dominant in the late-game, enabling you to focus on tweaking the remainder of your deck to counteract the more early threats from Aggro and Midrange decks.
The reason for N’Zoth’s inclusion so high on this list is that he’s both a powerful threat himself and has also revitalized other cards. The aforementioned Cairne Bloodhoof is now viable again, while Corrupted Healbot and Infested Tauren—both borderline unplayable in isolation—have found their way into various N’Zoth decks.
N’Zoth’s flexibility is impressive too. The card has seen success in Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Druid, Warrior, Warlock, and even Hunter. That kind of versatility is only shared by other Legendaries at the upper extremes of our list, and it speaks volumes for the singular power of N’Zoth as a win condition.
#4: Tirion Fordring
A contender for the best pure value card in the game. In Arena, where a sterile evaluation of a card’s overall worth is generally the starting point for any rating system, Tirion has historically been considered the best card. And with good reason. Theoretically, Tirion is capable of trading 5-for-1 with your opponent’s cards because his body can be expected to slay two minions, and the resulting Ashbringer weapon can chop down another three. In reality, he’s rarely that spectacular since various factors like hard removal spells, Harrison Jones, and your own life total can put a stop to the dream. Nonetheless, dropping Tirion is always a powerful play.
Furthermore, with the addition of N’Zoth, Tirion becomes an even more ridiculous proposition. Not only do you get to ride the value train once, you get the double whammy of reviving not only an amazing minion, but also a huge defensive wall that can provide you with the buffer needed to be able to safely play a 10-Mana card.
Tirion may well be the most powerful card in the game, and it was only kept out of the top three by the fact that it’s a class Legendary, and Secret Paladin has mostly become a thing of the past. Nonetheless, he’s a must-have card for any player tempted to try Paladin.
#3: Grommash Hellscream
Narrowly edging out Tirion to a coveted top three finish is the Warsong Clan chieftain himself. Although he suffers from the same issues as Tirion—he’s a class Legendary—he offers a little more versatility than his Paladin counterpart. Grom can be used in Tempo-focused Warrior decks, is included as a top end threat in Patron Warrior, and is still a staple in most forms of Control Warrior.
Anyone who has faced a Warrior will be familiar with the terrifying feeling of having your life total dip into Grom range. You’re forced to play inefficiently in order to protect what remains of your health pool, or shut your eyes and hope they don’t have it—at which point they inevitably do. Without Grom in your Warrior deck, you find yourself lacking the final punch, and while plenty of the late-game legendaries other decks can be swapped with other big hitters, Grom’s finishing power is irreplaceable.
Since the huge nerf to Big Game Hunter, Grom has also only increased in power. Now you are not quite so obligated to hold onto your big charger as a final win condition, and can feel more free to use him as a threat to control the board. Previously a Grom that was dropped and used to trade would often be answered with a BGH, leaving you lacking that late-game punch. Now Grom sometimes sticks, and that’s even scarier.
#2: Ragnaros the Firelord
On the subject of the Big Game Hunter nerf, no card has benefitted more from the neutering of everyone’s least favourite dwarf than Angry Rag. In the long gone days of vanilla Hearthstone, Ragnaros was an absolute powerhouse. Often first on people’s to-craft lists, the destructive power of Ragnaros in the late-game was more or less unmatched. The reason this changed is that suddenly Big Game Hunter became an auto-include in almost everyone’s deck due to the addition of Dr. Boom to the meta. With Big Game Hunter banished to mediocrity, Rag is back to reclaim his throne.
The thing that makes Ragnaros so special is his immediacy. While almost any late-game threat is capable of winning the game if it goes unanswered, Rag has the ability to affect a game on the turn he’s played, meaning that by the time your opponent is able to frantically scramble for their Hex or Siphon Soul, you have already potentially crushed their hopes and dreams. Sure, there’s a risk attached, and we’ve all considered disenchanting this frustrating card at least once, purely to teach him a less about accuracy, but the average returns are incredible.
Ragnaros received the coveted number one nomination from two members of our panel, and never dropped outside the top 10. Señor Del Fuego is, quite literally, on fire.
#1: Sylvanas Windrunner
Possibly the most frustrating card to deal with in the entire game. The arrival of Sylvanas can change a comfortable feeling of being ahead on board to one of despair as you quickly realise you have no efficient way of dealing with her menacing presence. That feeling is pretty common because, beyond silence or transform effects, there isn’t an efficient way of dealing with her. Often you’ll be forced to trade your entire board just to prevent something being stolen. This feeling of dread is deepened when playing against a Warrior or Priest, where they can use things like Brawl, Shield Slam, or Shadow Word: Death to manipulate what gets stolen even further.
The versatility of Sylvanas is nearly unmatched, with it being an effective play when ahead, behind, or (as is often the case) on a board that’s closely contested. And this versatility already earned Sylvanas a comfortable spot on our previous list. Since then a perfect storm of factors have come together to catapult her to the top. Firstly, the power couple of Emperor Thaurissan and Dr. Boom have fallen to the wayside, with the good doctor out of Standard and Emperor losing favour dramatically. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Sylvanas is the dream card when paired with the corrupting influence of a certain tentacled Old God. Pairing N’Zoth and Sylvanas is the biggest no-brainer deck-building decision in Hearthstone history. The prospect of playing multiple copies of Sylvanas over the course of a game is mouth-watering.
Sylvanas takes the top spot through overwhelming consistency, despite only receiving a single first place nomination, she was in the top three for all but one of the players polled. And to think that once upon a time she cost 5 Mana!