Hearthstone: The 20 best legendary cards

Since we last visited the top 20 legendaries, a huge amount has changed in the Hearthstone universe. Although the initial impact of Rastakhan’s Rumble was unimpressive, the nerfs that followed unusually fast have left a sizable crater. Nearly every top deck in the game took some damage, with Hunter emerging as the dominant class at Druid’s expense.

For this update, too much has changed for me to take on the task of ordering the list on my own, so I brought back the polling system. I enlisted the help of Hearthstone professionals Casie, Cora, DeathBoose, Gallon, and DrJikininki to give me their most craftable cards and added my picks to theirs to come up with the final list.

The update before set rotation is always one of the most interesting, and also the hardest to create. Some of the cards will only be around for roughly three more months, so they need to offer a lot of power if they're going to make the cut. How much to weigh that factor varies from player to player, so even though this guide has been lovingly built, you should still exercise your own judgement when deciding between cards that are extremely strong now, and those which may be less powerful but have more longevity.

#20: Whizbang the Wonderful

Whizbang technically didn't score enough points to be included, but three separate pollsters had him at #20 for the same excellent reason, so we decided to sneak him in at the expense of Prince Keleseth. If you craft Whizbang, you will learn a lot about how Hearthstone decks work, plus have a ton of fun in the process. For the price of a single legendary, Whizbang enables you to play all 18 of the pre-built deck recipes. (The ones you see when you click on 'New Deck', followed by a class.) Granted, this generosity comes with the considerable downside that you don’t get to choose which you play in any given game. 

The point of the card is to give new players a feel for competitive decks without the outlay of having to craft them first. If you are a more competitive player you probably won’t want to craft this, but hey there are another 19 cards below to consider. But for the more casual crowd, you can have a wonderful time with Whizbang.

Despite Zerek's Cloning Gallery being a strong card right now, the panel believe it’s only a short term solution to the current meta. The main issue going forward is that the current iteration of the deck loses Radiant Elemental when the next set comes out around April, which is the key piece in the combo that enables one turn kills.

As it stands, the ultimate version of the OTK uses Cloning Gallery to fetch two Radiant Elementals, Malygos and Velen. Then it’s a simple matter of casting double Mind Blast with the obscene amount of Spell Damage on the board. That exact scenario doesn’t happen too often, as you’ll often draw some of the pieces before you get to cast Cloning Gallery, but the rest of the deck revolves around survival and resurrection, which enables multiple ways to set up substantial burst damage.

As the deck can still function pretty well when it doesn’t draw the exact OTK, it may be that it can survive the loss of Radiant Elemental, though this remains to be seen. At worst, you’ll have a powerful deck for the next three months, with the potential for future use depending on what subsequent expansions bring.

#18: Mecha'thun

When people first saw Mecha'thun, it was largely assumed to only be for meme decks. Although still not quite a mainstream choice, the card has managed to become a threat on ladder and as a fringe tournament option in several classes. Druid, Warlock, and Priest can all find ways to rapidly draw cards and then destroy the Mecha'thun to activate the alternate win condition.This gives you access to three decks for the price of one craft, which should provide plenty of good options for you (and plenty of annoyance for your opponents).

It remains to be seen what support Mecha'thun will get when April rolls around, but given the number of creative ways people have found to activate it in the current meta, it seems likely that the tinkerers will once again find ways to make the many-eyed mech into a serious threat.

#17: Shirvallah, the Tiger

At first glance, Shirvallah's effect does not seem that ridiculous. But in practice the big cat will often gain you 14 health, clear some of the board, and deplete a significant portion of your opponent’s resources. It turns out that the amount of time it takes to reduce the Mana cost from 25 to almost zero is around the same as it takes for you to need the effect.

On top of that, people are still finding spicy new ways to incorporate the card into their decks. The combo with Holy Wrath and Baleful Banker (which requires that you draw your whole deck, then put a 25 cost Shirvallah back in to do a guaranteed 25 damage with Holy Wrath) was spotted very early on, but wasn’t considered realistic. Whoops!

Although Control Paladin loses a lot of its punch when Uther of the Ebon Blade leaves Standard, it is an archetype that usually finds a way back from the grave. Next time around it will have the eye of the tiger on its side, so don’t bet against it being a survivor. Also, note that the Gold version of this card is one of the best looking cards in Hearthstone. For those who like their bling, it is well worth blowing the extra dust.

#16: Sunkeeper Tarim

Tarim's fortunes have largely been linked to the strength of Aggro Paladin decks. For the majority of that time, this has meant he’s been regarded as one of the strongest cards in all of Hearthstone. The mere threat of being able to create an army of 3/3s out of thin air can be enough to make your opponent use their resources sub-optimally. And when you buff a decent-sized board, the result is often lethal damage.

Tarim's power lies not just in the army he can generate, but also in the space it can free up in your deck. Due to the ability to shrink opposing Taunt minions, you often won’t need to play Silence effects. This opens up room for more aggressive cards that focus on the job in hand. That versatility is such that Tarim is not just limited to aggro decks, but can also find a place in control and midrange too.

If you do craft Tarim, be aware that he leaves Standard at the end of the Hearthstone year, which will be happening around April.

#15: Malygos

Its frankly excessive amount of Spell Damage has made Malygos a core part of one turn kill combo decks since Hearthstone began. The big blue dragon has previously seen play in Shaman, where it could be cheated from hand using Ancestor's Call, and in Rogue, where it benefits from the abundance of cheap spells.

More recently, Druid has leveraged Malygos by using Flobbidnious Floop to create a cheap copy. And if that isn’t nasty enough, the Twig of the World Tree legendary weapon enables Malfurion to play Malygos for free on the turn it breaks, winning the game with massive burst damage from Moonfires and Swipes.

Malygos is also currently seeing play in the popular Clone Priest archetype, which uses Radiant Elementals, Prophet Velen and double Mind Blast to administer degenerate amounts of damage. Given the card's consistent history of viability, there’s little reason to think future expansions won’t bring more ways to abuse its Spell Damage effect. But there is one caveat to consider: The card's ubiquity and power makes Maylgos a serious target for the Hall of Fame. Happily, if that does happen, you'll receive a full dust refund.