Hearthstone is a free-to-play game, first and foremost. However, not investing into the game often means you won’t have access to all of the best decks available, unless you play a ludicrously large amount. We thought we’d put together a crafting guide to help you make those tough decisions, and help you craft the right cards to maximise your Arcane Dust’s utility.
With Legendary cards costing a whopping 1600 dust, we’re focusing on only the fanciest cards around here, as you can craft Common and Rare cards with less of a drastic impact on your dust reserves, and Epic cards are a list for another day.
Card Crafting Criteria
We’ll be basing this guide on a few different factors.
- Power level: Does it have a high win-rate when drawn? You want to be crafting cards that can help you win games, obviously.
- Popularity: will you be able to use this card in a lot of decks? It’s all very well crafting a card that wins the most games, but if it’s only relevant in a single deck, and that deck includes a bunch of other Legendary cards, crafting that single card won’t help that much. You want a versatile card that’ll help you in many situations. For this reason, you’re more likely to see Neutral cards rather than class cards, although there will be some exceptions.
- Shelf Life: The Standard Format changes every year, with the three oldest card sets rotating out of the meta at the same time as the new update. At the moment, this means the Witchwood, Boomsday Project and Rastakhan’s Rumble sets will be leaving us in April 2020, whilst Rise of Shadows and Saviors of Uldum will remain in Standard until 2021. This means you’ll get more bang for your buck by crafting newer cards, although sometimes power level and popularity win out. Of course, at the moment the Classic set is slated to remain in Standard forever, so those cards receive a boost too.
Which cards should I craft?
As class cards go, Zul’jin is one of the biggest powerhouses you could possibly get your hands on. It’s got everything going against it, from rotation time to class exclusivity, but its sheer power level in Hunter carries it through to our list. Recasting all spells you’ve played throughout the entire game is massively strong, and if you enjoy playing Hunter then it’s well worth crafting Zul’jin for the remaining few months of the Year of the Dragon.
It was a toss-up between Zul’jin and High Priest Amet for this spot, as they’re both able to serve as the sole legendary in a cheap deck, but in the end we went with the Hunter Hero card because of his utility numerous strong Hunter decks. Of course, Midrange Hunter is a happy home for Zul’jin, but he’s equally devastating in the powerful Secret Hunter and Highlander Hunter archetypes. He replays your impactful spells from Secrets and Animal Companion for reloading your board state to Hunter’s Pack and Unleash the Beast to replenish your hand for future turns, if your opponent even survives that long. Basically, Zul’jin is one of the best cards in Hunter and can be used as a solo Legendary in a more expensive deck or as an important part of a larger whole.
9: Corrupt the Waters
Another class card, this Legendary Quest was introduced in the Saviors of Uldum expansion. Corrupt the Waters won’t be leaving the Standard Format for a while yet, and it’s the most popular Quest card yet. It’s the focal point of Quest Shaman, by far the most popular Shaman deck with over 70% of Thrall mains playing it. Be warned though, it’s not going to get you free, easy wins. What it will get you is a hell of a lot of exciting, fun games and the skill ceiling for playing the deck is higher than most. This means that with practice, you’ll be able to grind your win rate higher and higher by learning matchups through experience.
There’s so much potential for creativity with Corrupt the Waters as well, and given it’s got a hell of a lot more time in Standard, we’re pretty sure there’ll be Shaman decks with strong enough Battlecries throughout the year for this card to work out long-term. Craft this card if you’re after a fun deck that’ll be consistently solid throughout the time it’s in Standard, as we think it’s got potential even without Shudderwock backing it up.
8: Edwin VanCleef
Of course, you’re not expected to go and play Hooktusk Rogue without owning a copy of Captain Hooktusk, but Edwin VanCleef is a mainstay in almost all meta Rogue decks. The potential he has to win a game early on with his ludicrously strong Combo ability is reason enough to put him in so many decks. Check through your collection - if you’ve got even a few of the supporting Legendaries for the likes of Tempo Rogue, Edwin is worth your dust.
He’s never leaving Standard either, as far as we know, and if the devs did remove him or nerf him, as members of the Hearthstone community have suggested, players would receive a full Arcane Dust refund at the minimum. Edwin VanCleef has been touted for a nerf or rotation to the Hall of Fame by some, but until then you might as well get some mileage out of the card risk-free.
7: Bloodmage Thalnos
Bloodmage Thalnos is one of the least exciting Legendaries in Hearthstone. He’s no Zul’jin or Corrupt the Waters, you don’t build decks around him. And still, he ranks higher. It’s because Bloodmage Thalnos has been one of the most ubiquitous cards throughout the game’s history. Currently seeing play in some iterations of Quest Druid, Secret Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin and Tempo Rogue amongst others, it’s certain that Bloodmage Thalnos will keep making it into a massive range of decks.
His versatility is his biggest strength. Being able to act as both a cycle card in the same vein as Loot Hoarder whilst offering a genuine threat with Spell Damage makes Thalnos a solid pick for a long-term addition to your collection. Obviously, if you’re looking for the highest-impact cards for right now, Thalnos isn’t the top choice. He doesn’t ‘make’ any decks, but he does help a whole lot of them, and will continue to do so long into Hearthstone’s future.
6: Chef Nomi
This pan-frying Pandaren has a big Battlecry that fills your entire board with 6/6 elementals, usually enough to finish a game. The only downside to Chef Nomi is that the Battlecry will only go off if your entire deck is empty. When the card was first revealed, much of the community dismissed him as a meme card that’d be experimented with before being thrown by the wayside. Alas, that didn’t end up being the case.
Nomi Priest saw some play during Rise of Shadows, and it’s still a somewhat viable deck to play if piloted correctly. Currently though, you’ll see Chef Nomi thrown into decks that tend to need that extra oomph at the end of their game during a control-style matchup. Quest Druid is a prime example of this, a final gambit after your opponent has used all their board clears. Our deck list doesn’t include him, but if you’ve been facing and losing to a lot of control decks, chuck him in the deck in place of a Swipe. Murloc Paladin works with Chef Nomi too, given the potential to get through your deck at breakneck speed and summon a sudden massive board.
Chef Nomi is a card that’ll be around for a fairly long time, and in a decent variety of decks to boot. It’s a neutral, so will be applicable to whichever decks can fit him in, and if you find yourself going into fatigue often, chuck him in and see what happens!
There’s a decent chance you already own this card. In gold, no less. If you played during the Rise of the Mech event in June 2019, you’ll have received a golden SN1P-SN4P. This card was added to the Boomsday Project almost a year after the expansion was released, and immediately found its footing in the meta. It forced a change to Reckless Experimenter to avoid its Magnetic and Echo being exploited for infinite damage combos (still possible in Wild), but after that it’s found success as a solid card for a whole lot of decks. Obviously, this is a crafting guide, and most people were already given SN1P-SN4P for free, but if you missed out this mechanical monster is well worth the dust. Used in a great deal of meta decks, and the second-most played Legendary in the entire game, SN1P-SN4P features everywhere. You’ll find it in Highlander Hunter for its utility as a strong Mech to draw with Ursatron and a card that keeps its value up until the late game to Zoo and Highlander Warlock, decks which absolutely love SN1P-SN4P’s ability to keep foes at bay with its token-generating Deathrattle (also apprecated by Token Druid decks, obviously).
Basically, SN1P-SN4P will be in a whole host of decks for the foreseeable future, so if you haven't got it in your collection, it might just be worth the craft thanks to its use in all kinds of deck archetype.
That’s right, Saviors of Uldum released some sweet Neutral Legendaries. Siamat is an absolute powerhouse, supporting all kinds of deck archetypes with its combination of removal and potential attack power.
Siamat really comes into his own when you start throwing him into decks that don’t always include him just to make them more versatile. Some builds of Quest Shaman run Siamat to take advantage of the doubled Battlecries. A 6/6 with ALL of the options: Rush, Divine Shield, Taunt and Windfury is wildly strong, and often allows you to clear a couple of enemy minions whilst simultaneously leaving up a massive threat. He’s not in the list in our deck guide, but all you’ve got to do is toss out a smaller Battlecry like Sandstorm Elemental, especially useful if you’re coming up against a lot of Control decks. Murloc Shaman often runs Siamat as a bit of high-end to push through enemy taunts and finish the game, whilst Control Warrior sometimes brings it out for mirror matches. Basically, Siamat will be making it into a whole lot of decks in the next couple of years, and the fact that he’s just come out means you’ll get a decent bit of mileage too.
3: Leeroy Jenkins
One of the only Charge cards left in the game after Blizzard decided to stop printing them, Leeroy Jenkins wears this as a badge of pride. Calls by anti-aggro players on the ladder to nerf or Hall of Fame him have not worked, so he remains. The last bastion of neutral minion-based Charge damage is here.
Why should you craft him then? Well for one, he’s the most played Legendary minion in the Classic set, finding a place in all manner of decks from Tempo Rogue to Aggro Warrior. There’s not a lot to say about Leeroy to be honest. Just craft this card if you have any inclination at all to play an aggressive-style of deck. The quintessential game-ender who’ll always be relevant in the meta, give him a shot and your opponents will hate you.
Worry about him being nerfed? To be honest, that’s a distinct possibility, along with him being moved to the Hall of Fame set. Regardless, if this does happen, you’ll get a full refund for your Arcane Dust, so go ahead and craft this powerful, versatile, and essential minion.
2: Zephrys the Great
We’re getting to the real big dogs now. Zephrys the Great was released in the Saviors of Uldum expansion and has captured the imagination of the Hearthstone community with his unique deckbuilding requirements and skillful gameplay required to best utilise his Battlecry. One of the best-designed cards in the game, Zephrys has given Highlander decks a triumphant return to the meta. Want to get better with Zephrys the Great? Well you’re in luck, we just so happen to have a guide on exactly that!
One thing to remember is that the decks Zephrys is useful in are very specific. Mostly, he’s used in Highlander decks like Highlander Hunter which require a fair few expensive supporting cards. Check the decks before crafting Zephrys the Great off the bat! There are some less costly options if you’re looking to have fun with Zephrys without the hit to your wallet. Highlander Warlock is great because it doesn’t require an extra class Legendary from the League of Explorers, and the other Legendaries are either really good ones to craft (on this list) or replaceable. It’s a similar story with Murloc Paladin - Sir Finley of the Sands isn’t necessary for a lot of wins, so you can build the deck and reap Zephrys the Great’s benefits.
We can’t stress this enough though: Zephrys isn’t going to work as well without other expensive cards. It’s just the nature of Highlander decks, which require every card to be limited to the ‘1 per deck’ restriction in the same way as Legendaries. That’s why it’s down in 2nd place in all honesty. It’s the most enjoyable and dynamic card in the game, and it’ll be in Standard for a while, but it’s far from a deck in itself.
What else were you expecting? Sure, Zilliax is from the Boomsday Project and won’t be in Standard for as long as most of these other cards, but it’s included in a monumental amount of decks - over 40%. From Quest Priest and Quest Paladin to Secret Hunter and Control Warrior, Zilliax finds a place almost everywhere. It’s leaving Standard in April 2020, but until then you’ll find a hell of a lot of value in utilising Zilliax for both aggressive and control-based plans. When in doubt, chuck a Zilliax into your deck. Almost universally a good shout.
It’s somewhat impressive that the game’s designers managed to make a card so pervasive without it being hated by the masses within the community, so give it a go - there’s no safer craft in the game as long as you’re okay with losing Zilliax from Standard next year.
Honorable Mention: Whizbang the Wonderful
If all this is sounding too much like pay-to-win, then fair enough. Luckily, there’s a card available that’ll give you access to any of Blizzard’s premade decks. It’ll give them to you at random, but you’ll be able to play with and test far more cards than you otherwise would. Whizbang the Wonderful’s decks vary in power level, but some of them are actually solid from a competitive standpoint. Underbelly Underlings, for example, gives you a rendition of Murloc Shaman, and Unseal the Vault gives you a version of the newly-resurgent Quest Hunter to play with.
If you can only afford to craft one legendary, make it this one, as for the rest of the Year of the Dragon you’ll be able to play with the latest cards and decks at the cost of just one Legendary. It’s unclear as of yet what will happen when the Standard Format rotation comes around, but we hope Blizzard see the value of Whizbang and either move him to Classic or at least release an equivalent version.
That’s it for our Hearthstone Card Crafting guide! We’ll keep this up to date when expansions roll around, and we’d love to hear your feedback on the Legendaries we’ve picked out!