Hearthstone: The 20 best legendary cards

Find out which of Un’Goro’s new cards, including the Quests, made the cut.

The new Standard rotation arriving alongside one of the most successful expansions in Hearthstone’s history has led to a serious shakeup in our legendary power rankings. Many of the list’s previous stalwarts have been put out to pasture in Wild, and in their place a whole new pile of Legendary minions and Quests have been introduced. Now that the dust has had time to settle on the Un’Goro expedition, we enlisted the help of our usual array of pros, casters, and streamers to nail down a fresh new list of the best cards to craft.

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, we asked a panel of experts to rank their top 20. Using their input, combined with my own expertise, I've created a list that represents a comprehensive guide to which legendaries you need in your collection now. Just start at #1 and work your way back until your decks are bristling with power.

The plan isn't quite that simple, of course. If you're looking to play a specific deck, or favor a particular class, you should give extra weight to the legendaries that are core to those archetypes. 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. 

As ever, we’ll update this list when a new set arrives and the meta has settled around it.

#20: N'Zoth, the Corruptor

The only Old God to keep a spot on our list is N’Zoth. Very few legendaries in the history of Hearthstone have had as big an impact on people’s deck building decisions as this tentacled menace. Upon release, control strategies were 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 earlier arriving threats of aggro and midrange decks.

After hitting a serious lull during the Kazakus meta due to the ever-present threat of your hard-earned, game-winning board getting reduced a parade of sheep wearing trousers  (seriously, why do they have trousers?), some expected N’Zoth to come back with a vengeance due to Kazakus essentially leaving the meta in spirit alongside his literally departed brother-in-arms Reno Jackson.

This hasn’t quite come to fruition just yet, but there are signs of life after Shoop picked up a first major win with N’Zoth Paladin as part of his lineup at Dreamhack Austin. Elsewhere, N’Zoth has also been seeing some serious play in the Chinese meta—who are usually either ahead of the meta, or just completely insane, one of the two. Regardless, for now N’Zoth retains his place propping up our power ranking. 

#19: 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 or Shellshifter is obvious, more commonly Fandral will pick up small incremental effects in conjunction with cards like Wrath, Jade Idol, and Feral Rage—but the impact from even these small bonuses is potentially huge. Wrath dealing four damage and drawing a card for 2-Mana is nuts. As is the double whammy of a huge armour boost alongside an efficient removal spell.

Fandral has remained an evergreen presence from the Token Druid, Beast Druid and Ramp Druid days of yore, through the Aviana/Kun madness, and now all the way back to good old Jade Druid again. It’s a card that for one spot in your deck is always going to represent a great return on investment.

#18 Edwin VanCleef

The leader of the Defias Brotherhood has always been an objectively pretty nutty card. The amount of low cost spells that Rogue decks 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. The addition of the Patches package and Counterfeit Coin means that Rogue now has even more low cost cards available to them, and Edwin slams onto the board with even more oppressive stats than before.

However, as with most class Legendaries, Edwin lives and dies with the power of the deck that surrounds him, and Rogue is now primarily seeing success in its shiny new Quest form rather than the classic Miracle strategy which is still struggling to find its feet in a new meta without Conceal. When your deck is full of 1-Mana 5/5s, it’s hard to justify the need for any 3-Mana card, even one capable of the kind of ridiculous stat lines that puts even Quest Rogue’s ridiculous board states to shame.

Prior to the invasion of the dinosaurs, Rogue decks were primarily only built one way—to leverage the advantage that the hero power and incredibly efficient removal spells provide into tempo advantage, and this meant the ability to play such a huge minion for a small mana cost was hard to overlook. Now, with Quest Rogue tearing up the rulebook and replacing it with the most ragtag collection of nonsense cards that’s been seen since the initial Reno Mage builds, Edwin has taken a huge slide down our power ranking and is left dreaming about the good old days of a 10/10 on turn two.

#17 Bloodmage Thalnos

With Spirit Claws more or less a thing of the past, the skeletal wizard has taken a significant hit to his ranking. Nonetheless Thalnos remains a real workhorse in many top tier decks, and a card that is still often unappreciated.

“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 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 he 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 feature Thalnos. Even spell-based Aggro decks like Shaman can find room to include the card because of how effective it is with Maelstrom Portal and your game-ending burn. Rogue also uses it for powerful tempo plays using Backstab, Fan of Knives, or Eviscerate, while simultaneously cycling through their deck to hit key cards. Finally, Freeze Mage and other burn-based Mage decks are back in full force in the Un’Goro meta, and these archetypes have always cried out for the kind of versatility that Bloodmage provides.

#16: Sherazin, Corpse Flower

A card that almost everyone got wrong in the multitude of previews that dropped once the set had been spoiled, and honestly, I don’t know how we keep making this same mistake. Renewable, infinite resources are just good in CCGs, and Sherazin very much ticks that box.

For a week or so it looked like Miracle Rogue might maintain dominance over the new Quest-based usurper, but over time the reverse has happened, which alone explains why Sherazin features relatively low on this list. In a vacuum, the card is absolutely fantastic, providing repeated value and unremovable pressure against numerous Control decks, consistently returning to the board thanks to combos of Swashburglar, Razorpetals, Counterfeit Coins, Preps and Backstabs.

If Miracle Rogue can find one last lease on life then we might just find Sherazin climb to the higher reaches of the list later in the year, but for now, like the star player at a struggling team longingly seeking a move to pastures new, the grinning plant is being let down by its teammates.

#15: 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 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. And unlike his fire-tossing alter ego, the Lightlord is an 8/8 that 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. Control Paladin archetypes both with and without Murlocs have emerged as strong contenders, and need multiple defensive options to lock out the threat of the Aggro Druids, Pirates, and Hunters amongst others. 

Rag Lightlord received middling ratings from our panel, consistently hovering around the 15th spot that it was eventually awarded, but every single player we asked included him somewhere on their list. For an RNG-based card, Lightlord is the model of consistency.

On the next page: #14 to #6, including Aya Blackpaw and Tirion Fordring...