Despite the inclusion of powerful new Quests and Reno-style cards, the legendaries released with the Saviour of Uldum expansion have taken a while to make an impact on our crafting list. In fact, it wasn't until the nerfs to Dr. Boom, Mad Genius and several other cards that the Hearthstone meta saw a major shakeup. Overnight, a number of the new cards started to shine, and Saviors of Uldum now looks like one of the most impactful sets in some time.
As usual, I asked a panel of top players what they thought the top 20 cards to spend your dust on are. Once again they've delivered a great list, and I'd like to thank them for their time and effort. Our panel consisted of former World Champion Pavel, Grandmaster Casie, Badass Women of Hearthstone European Champion Maricochet, WESG Runner-up BabyBear, newly promoted Grandmaster and Masters Tour Vegas Runner-Up Gallon, and SeatStory Cup IX winner Boar Control.
Before getting to the guide, it is worth remembering that Whizzbang the Wonderful exists. Various panellists remind me of this from time to time, and it's a good point. If you are entirely new to Hearthstone, or simply want to play a variety of different decks for little dust, Whizzbang’s decks are a decent way to do this while only crafting one Legendary card. Now, onto the list!
#20: Reno the Relicologist
On a personal level, I would have been happy to never see a card called Reno ever again. Even worse, this time around the word "Relicologist" activates spell checker.
In some ways it's a surprise that Reno's comeback tour has been a success at all. Mage does not traditionally struggle for removal, and that removal is even more powerful when you're able to run duplicate cards. However, the removal Mage has at its disposal usually focuses on either killing one big minion or a board of little ones. Reno not only does both, but also plugs a hole in dealing with scenarios where one minion with a lot of health is accompanied by some smaller friends. Not to mention that this is removal on a stick, meaning it comes with a substantial 4/6 body attached to create simultaneous board presence.
The no-duplicates downside of running Reno is big enough that, on his own, he probably wouldn't be played. However, as you'll see later in the list, Zephrys makes the case for creating a singleton deck much stronger. Which means that Reno carries very little downside in practical terms and I will be subjected to him for another two years. Magic.
Although Freeze Mage seems to have finally vanished from the scene, and Alexstrasza is only really a staple in Reno Mage, she makes guest appearances in all kinds of lower tier decks. Alex has been tried in decks such as Holy Wrath Paladin, Midrange Hunter, and Malygos Quest Druid from time to time. Although not a first in any of those, the examples emphasise her ongoing versatility.
When spending your dust, you will usually want to be able to play the card that you craft straight away, and Alex is a good example of a card that can be slotted into all sorts of decks. The ability to do 15 damage for 9 Mana, especially in combo-oriented decks, is just a good deal. Such a huge amount of damage can force opponents to heal before you launch your main combo, often leading to a quicker than expected victory rather than letting the game drag-on.
#18: Bloodmage Thalnos
Like Alexstrasza, Thalnos has become a fixture on our list. He's been featured in many decks, but without ever really being instrumental in any of them. The allure of card draw means he's often found in combo decks, which also often make use of the Spell Damage effect. A common question from people who don't own Thalnos is whether they should use Loot Hoarder or Kobold Geomancer to replace one half of the effects that Thalnos provides, and it is difficult to explain why the answer is usually "neither". The whole point of Thalnos is that it provides an amazing amount of incremental value in one card.
Honestly, Thalnos isn't a card that's ever hugely exciting, and most decks can get by with cutting it. But on the other hand, it's undeniably one of the best value cards in the game, and once you own a copy you can expect to use it for a long time to come. Thalnos is perfectly balanced—as all things should be—and if you've already crafted the powerhouses higher up on this list, it will be a good feeling to tick him off the list of staple Classic legendaries.
#17: Chef Nomi
It is somewhat surprising that Nomi didn't make the cut in our previous list. The reason for that was probably that Nomi was mostly seeing play as part of secondary and tertiary decks in Conquest format tournaments, rather than as a main deck card on ladder. Although Nomi Priest is still not a major player in the format, more and more archetypes—Druid particularly—are now able to draw their entire deck. With Control Warrior still a popular archetype, it is becoming less of a hardship to include Nomi as a way to sustain threat density versus the Warrior menace.
Nomi still gives that feeling that it can be an incredible card at some point in the future. When you see it return to hand and replayed it feels unstoppable. We will have to wait and see if someone manages to cook up a way to make Nomi function in the future that propels him up the list even further.
#16: Myra's Unstable Element
Tempo Rogue is currently out of favour in Grandmasters play, although it is still capable of reaching the upper echelons of ladder. The latest version of the deck is pretty aggressive and can dump its hand quickly when required. Even the addition of the value-generating Pharaoh Cat is not enough to fuel Rogue's never-ending thirst for more cards.
As it has been since its release, Myra’s Unstable Element is the best card drawing resource in Rogue's arsenal (and probably the entire game), and as such is an extremely valuable addition to most Rogue decks.
The fact that Rogue can empty its hand rapidly works doubly well with this card. Not only are you able to draw a lot of cards, but you can usually use those cards before fatigue becomes a relevant issue. The inclusion of Lifedrinker in such decks serves the purpose of not only dealing extra face damage, but also adds a little life to help last through those fatigue turns.
At this point, there is nothing to suggest that Myra's is going to have anything other than a stable future for the remainder of its stay in Standard.
#15: Shirvallah, the Tiger
Holy Wrath Paladin continues to be the only archetype in which Shirvallah is played. It is a solid deck and does not require any other Legendary cards to build it. (You can add Zephyrs as an upgrade, but the deck is fully functional without him.) A powerful card, then, but you really should be certain you love OTKing furious opponents after very long games before you consider crafting this beautiful furry boi.
Amusingly, despite Shirvallah having great attributes and stats, it is the base 25-Mana cost that makes her the foundation of the deck. The aim is to stay alive until you've drawn all your cards and then use Baleful Banker to shuffle Shirvallah back into your deck and guarantee a 25-damage Holy Wrath. The resilience of the deck is such that it has survived a full rotation of the Hearthstone year and a nerf to Equality.
Shirvallah's chance to shine in other archetypes is waning as we approach the final set of The Year of the Dragon, and her decline in the rankings reflects that. It is starting to look like she might be destined to be a one-trick Tiger, but it is a pretty good trick.