Hearthstone crafting guide: Rares and beyond
This feature aims to guide new players into the crafting system of Hearthstone and list the most essential rare and legendary cards for most decks.
Written by: Space Monkey Follow @spc_monkey
After you have acquired the more useful commons it's time to look at the big splashy rares. In the list below are the neutral rares, epics and legendaries that are played in the widest variety of decks and there is a big chance that you are going to play full sets of these cards in many of your future decks. As you might know, the price to craft one rare is 100 dust, for epics it's 400 and for legendaries it's 1600. Even though the legendaries look awesome, it’s best to start with the rares as they offer the best deal for your dust.
- Argent Commander
This is hands down the best neutral rare in the game right now. You can play him in 98% of decks (Hunters being in the 2%) and in each one he is going to be brilliant. For the cost of only 6 mana, you receive a charging, divine shielded minion that is always going to change your opponents’ plans. He is going to trade two for one every time you play it, thus giving you slight advantage in the game. He became the big thing after the patch – when players were in search for a card that can beat Priests, the top 1 deck at the time – and unless some future patch changes him drastically he is going to remain one of the best cards in Hearthstone.
- Defender of Argus
There is the other minion that you are going to put in almost every one of your decks. Like the Argent Commander, he gives you so much value for its mana cost. Every time you play it, you are turning the game around and swing it in your favor. He buffs two of your minions with +1/+1 thus giving you 5 attack and health and two taunters for just 4 mana. An offer you cannot refuse.
- Knife Juggler
This little fellow is going to be a nightmare for your opponents if they cannot kill him the moment he enters the battlefield. Every minion you play after him is going to do damage to something on the other side of the board. Despite the fact that the target is chosen at random, the value that Knife Juggler offers is great. He is especially good with minions who come on the battlefield with their friends (Defias Ringleader, we are looking at you).
Right now, the Juggler is great in Paladins and Rogues but he is good in every other class (besides Priests). He is one of the cards that really demand an answer from your opponent and if he doesn't receive it you are going to get in the lead.
- Azure Drake
Another great mid-range minion. He immediately exchanges himself with another card in your hand and offers you very good body on the board. The Spell Damage buff is very useful in almost every class – from Paladins and Warriors, through Rogues and Shamans and all the way to the heavy control or burn decks like Priests and Mages. None of those can refuse some extra damage for their spells. This drake is going to add a lot of value in your decks so don't hesitate to craft it as soon as possible.
- Twilight Drake
The second drake on the list, although not as strong and obvious choice like the Azure Drake. Twilight Drake is great in the slow, heavy control decks who’ll always want to have many cards in their hand. If he battlecries into more than five health, your opponent is going to have a hard time dealing with him and possibly spend a good amount of resources to do kill him. As Kripp showed us at the Blizzcon Innkeeper Invitational, in the right deck – namely heavy Priest control or other forms of control decks such as Mages and Shamans – this minion is a monster. If this playstyle is more you, go craft it!
- Sunfury Protector
The Sunfury Protector is the little brother of Defender of Argus. It comes at half the cost and doesn’t give the two +1/+1 bonuses but that doesn’t mean it’s no good. Not only is the Protector a solid 2/3 for 2, his ability convert your minions into taunters is invaluable. The Protector fits nicely in slower decks which aim for the late game and their only mission is to survive until then. Although he often comes in play around turn four or later in order to maximize the effect of its battlecry, its low mana cost allows you for follow-up plays.
- Imp Master
This minion is not as universal as the ones listed above him, but it can still offer great value in some decks. Paladins, Priests and Shamans can do a lot of damage with it if they keep it alive long enough. For extra fun time, combine with Knife Juggler for recurring damage.
- Injured Blademaster
Another a little more deck-specific minion which – as Artosis showed at aforementioned Innkeeper Invitational – can turn into a great threat if left unanswered. Priests can heal him up to full and Warriors can use the fact that he’s injured to either draw cards via Battle Rage or buff him up with Rampage. Even outside those classes, Injured Blademaster offers good attack and toughness for his mana cost and if you need an aggressive 3 drop he is one of the better ones.
Why no separate section for neutral epics? Because, frankly, they suck. Bar the Faceless Manipulator which is the only neutral clone effect in the game and in theory can be used in any deck, everything else serves a very specific purpose (or no purpose at all). The Big Game Hunter is a good sideboard card but you won't need it until you start playing competitively in tournaments. The cycle of giants is also inflexible: Molten Giant is used in some Warrior and Warlock decks but very rarely; the Sea Giant is a sideboard against weenie decks but those weenie decks usually kill you before you can get it out; and the Stone Giant, which is supposed to be a finisher in control decks, is simply outshone by other late-game cards
That’s why we skip right into the legendaries!
The ruler of Blackrock Mountains is the first legendary that you should craft in the game. He has the unique ability to deal damage through taunts and other minions. Although he hits a random target every time, in most cases you want to play him when you have some control on the game or your opponents have empty board. His ability activates at the end of your turn, making sure that he'll hit at least one target for the massive eight damage.
The best thing about Ragnaros is that silence won't stop him at all. If your opponent silences him then you have this mighty attacker for your next turn. That is why Ragnaros could fit in almost every deck out there. I've seen him in Priests, Rogues, Druids, Mage, etc as he is great end to every mana curve. If you could afford to craft a legendary this is the one to go. You won't be sorry.
Second on the list is the protector of the Emerald Dream. At the end of each turn, Ysera is going to draw you a card from her “dream deck”, which is full of cool mana efficient cards. After that, if your opponent doesn't have an answer for her, she is going to turn the game in your favor very fast. A T8 Ragnaros into T9 Yser is one the most dreadful things you can do to a Hearthstone player. The best decks for Yser are any kind of controls and Druid ramps.
- Bloodmage Thalnos
This is the smallest legendary minion out there, but he certainly isn't the weakest. Think of him as a combination of Loot Hoarder and Kobold Geomancer. He is going to exchange himself if he dies and buff your spell damage while he's alive. He isn't the most aggressive 2 drop, but he’s one of the most useful for sure. You could use him in almost every deck, where Rogues, Mages and Shamans make him shine the brightest.
- Sylvanas Windrunner
She is not my favorite legendary, though I can understand her charm. Many good players love her and put her in almost every deck. In theory, she is a very good minion that easily trades at least one for two. My problem with her is that you could easily play around her as all silence effects are really strong against her. If she is left unanswered she is really good, but I doubt that many players in Master+ are going to do that. Don't get me wrong, she is a good 5 drop and she is going to do some good for you but don’t rush to craft her before the other legendaries described above.
Edits: Added "Sunfury Protector"
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