Changes: I updated my ranking list a smidgen Black knight increased, and Ysera dropped down a bit. I also have included a brief discussion of some other non-listed legendaries that were getting some mention in the posts.
Legendary creatures are a source of amazement, frustration, and desire in Hearthstone. They have dramatic, and flashy effects as they hit the board and cause all manner of death and destruction. Unless you are lucky enough to open these bad boys you must spend your heard earned dust to craft them one by one, and it’s important that you feel like your dust was well spent. To that end, I have created a list of where (IN MY OPINION!) all of the legendaries rank and why. I will note what constructed meta decks utilize them so that if you are trying to decide where your next 1600 dust should go, the decision is hopefully a bit easier. I value cards that do well in MANY decks more than cards that fulfill a niche role in 1 deck, because this list is intended to be for everybody not just (insert deck name here).
1) Sylvanas Windrunner
What decks: ALL (no, I’m not joking)
Why: The Queen of IMBA herself is balanced only in the sense that every single deck can and does run her. Sylvanas is a mana efficient 5 drop, and while her effect doesn’t always go off she forces your opponent to bend themselves into pretzel shapes and sacrifice their strongest cards trying to avoid giving you some sort of valuable card. Either that, or they’ll flood the board with weak creatures trying to dilute your RNG chances of grabbing their strong card which makes them vulnerable to mass removal. She’s amazing, and there isn’t a deck under the sun that isn’t well served by running her. THIS IS WHERE YOUR FIRST 1600 DUST SHOULD GO!.
2) Ragnaros the Firelord
What decks: Any that can reliably reach 8 mana
Why: Rag is the current heavymana champion of the world. His ability essentially makes him an 8/8 with charge and invulnerability to damage while attacking with a drawback that you can’t choose who he attacks. Thats amazing, and there are very few cases where 8 mana will be better spent. If you are running a highly aggressive deck (I’m looking at you warlocks) then there are probably better uses for your deck slot but any deck that has any end game plan whatsoever will be able to make use of Rag and he’s a great use of dust.
3) Bloodmage Thalnos
What decks: Any with 6 or more cards that deal spell damage, Rogue and mage love him
Why: Now that I’ve covered the basics top 2 (on which I think almost everybody will agree…) I’m venturing into flame filled waters. Bloodmage is a pretty safe 3rd pick though, because he is such a great utility player and he fits smoothly into the lower part of any decks curve. Most of the time you want to hold him in hand until you have at least 1 spell to take advantage of the bonus damage, but at absolute worst he cycles your deck and that’s never bad. Some decks, such as rogue and mage and some druid variants, are going to probably wanna rank him higher than this.
4) Tinkmaster Overspark
What Decks: Control
Why: Tinkmaster overspark is one of the best removal spells in the game. He is a 1 discounted polymorph with a free 2/2 dork attached and he can go in any class’s deck. Granted, occasionally your polymorph does not work as well as you intended, but that simply means you need to be judicious with your targets. Trust me when I tell you that if you drop this on an opponents Rag, Ysera, Sylvanas, Earth Elemental, Tirion, Sunwalker, (the list goes on a while), they are going to not be happy with a 5/5, and if it’s a 1/1 they’ll be extra sad. This card drops considerably on the list if your main deck is Shaman or Mage, but almost everybody else will be able to find a home for the Gnome.
5) The Black Knight
What Decks: Mid Range Aggression (Shamans, Druids, some Priests)
Black Knight is underrated, but he’s VERY strong in the current meta. A lot of players (myself included) run decks with heavy amounts of taunt to help stymie the rush of the very popular warlock deck. Including Black Knight in your deck lets you guarantee a 2 for 1, and at least one of the cards you take out is one your opponent was counting on to survive. The 4/5 body is hardly inspiring for 6 mana, so if you don’t feel like you are facing much taunt it’s very possible to take a pass on him.
ADJUSTMENT: In the original version of my list, Black Knight is rank 10. At that point, I had only recently crafted him and I didn’t know how useful he’d end up being for me. Short description: Wow. Black Knight is an absolutely great card for mid range aggression decks, and woe be to those who don’t realize it. So many decks are running heavy taunt to combat the ubiquitous Warlocks that he’s almost never a dead draw. This is a meta dependent ranking though.
What Decks: Druid mana ramp, Control Decks
Why: Ysera is an amazing card, I rank her lower than Rag because she costs 1 more mana, and doesn’t have quite as dramatic an effect on the current board position. That said, if your deck can keep the game going long enough to reliably cast her she’s going to go a long way towards helping you win. Easily the strongst 9 drop in the game, Ysera allows you to draw two cards a turn and the dream cards she provides are almost never dead draws. Her 4 power makes priest decks tremble in apoplectic fury (although you want to be sure that they use MC prior to dropping her…) and her 12 toughness means that nothing short of hard removal is going to be able to bring her down. If Ysera hits the board you are almost guaranteed a 3 for 1 trade, and if you can protect her the game is over.
ADJUSTMENT: Ysera previously occupied the 3 slot, and she’s fallen a bit in my eyes since then. Decks that can consistantly reach turn 9 are probably best served to have her, and she’s a great card, but she’s not that essential and is more of a luxury than a “must craft”.
7) Leeroy Jenkins
What Decks: Aggro
LEEERROOOOYYYY!!!! Ahem.. sorry… So, Leeroy Jenkins is Fireball for every class. Any further questions? What else would you call a 6 damage swing for 4 mana? The 2 1/1s, while annoying, are almost never going to be relevent, and much like Tinkmaster if you think in terms of trading one of your opponent’s largest creatures (or ending the game entirely) for 2 1/1s… generally speaking you’ll be coming out ahead there. Leeroy jumps way up in decks that can reliably remove the 1/1s quickly (Combo rogues with Fan of Knives/Blade Fury come to mind)
8) Tirion Fordring
What Decks: Any Paladin
Tirion is easily the strongest of the class specific legendaries, and if you are playing Uther you are doing yourself a disservice by not running him. He doesn’t do anything flashy the split second he hits the board (other than frustrate your opponent) but a 6/6 taunting divine shield is absolutely going to give any deck in the game fits. In card advantage terms, Tirion is completely nuts. I’ve seen this card trade 1 for up to 5 or 6 against VERY strong decks (2 or 3 cards to kill him, another 3 dead to your weapon swings).
What Decks: Freeze Mage, OTK Warrior (watch Artosis stream to find out what that is)
Alex is absolutely essential to one of the most previously reviled decks in the format, the Freeze Mage. In that deck you stall the board until you can drop Alex, and then almost guranteed kill them the next turn using a combination of burn spells.
10) Lord Jaraxxus
What Decks: Some warlock Aggro
Jaraxxus was included in the infamous Team Liquid Board Control Warlock. He’s a great card, and if you drop him while you have control of the field you are essentially guranteed a win. He’s a lot lower on this list than some people might expect because although Jaraxxus is good he’s not essential to the deck functioning and not every version of the deck runs him (some prefer Rag, and I see their point). That said, he’s a TON of fun.
11) Edwin VanCleef
What Decks: Rogue
In the right rogue deck Eddy can be absolutely insane, but if you’re drawing daggers and own Edwin it’s generally a mistake not to play him. That said, there are ways to play Rogue that don’t need him and he sometimes feels like a “win more” card.
12) Nat Pagle
What Decks: Control
I’m not a fan of Nat, but I’ve also lost games to him so I understand how very strong he can be. He can also be absolute garbage. The 2 drop game is VERY important in hearthstone, and by dropping the fisherman you gurantee you’re going to lose early tempo. What you may gain in exchange is a single card (so… he’s an Engineer?) and MAYBE a second one. Some players go absolutely out of their minds trying to kill him, and if he draws a removal spell that’s great. If you can protect him, I’ve seen him net quite a few cards, but he’s not absolutely essential to any deck.
I am not ranking these cards, the ones I’ve listed above are (in my eyes) the definitive top 12, and honestly I think they are the only legendaries worth crafting at all. If you open one of these below, here are my thoughts for what they are worth.
Al’Akir: A good rule of thumb is that anything you are paying 8 or more mana for should be guaranteed to change the playing field in some way. This is why Rag is so much better than say Gruul. Rag deals a guaranteed 8 to SOMETHING, and Gruul stands a very good chance of doing nothing more than drawing a removal spell. Al’Akir passes this basic test, but at the cost of not having much else other than that initial pop. If you are running Rockbiter weapon, or maybe Flametoung totem, you could do some serious damage with the two attacks and perhaps make him worth his cost. If you aren’t, after you deal your damage you’re left with…. A Sen’Jin Shieldmasta with windfury. I’m sorry, but that’s hardly inspiring. When you consider that the meta around turn 8 consists of stuff like Ancients of War and Rag, it’s very likely Al’Akir comes he does little more than blow around in impotent fury.
Archmage Antonidas: There is a class of cards known as “Win More” cards. What these cards do is basically make a situation in which you were already winning even better. If you draw them when you are behind, they either do very little or don’t help you at all. Archmage Antonidas is a classic “win more” card. If you draw him with a hand full of spells and board control you’re going to absolutely obliterate your opponent, but unless you are playing him later than turn 7 (and often MUCH later, unless you are holding Arcane Missile/Ice Lance/Mirror Image) you are not going to get much value out of him the turn he hits the board so his 5/7 body will have to endure an entire turn of your opponent’s depredations. If you have a hand full of spells and he lives through that, you were already ahead to begin with (your opponent had no board control, and you had a hand full of spells). I argue that the cases where Archmage wins you a game where you were likely to lose to begin with are slim to nonexistent.
King Krush: Honestly? I don’t have much of a problem with King Krush. He’s not a prevalent meta card, and doesn’t make the top 12 as a result, simply because Hunter is so low tier at the moment. 1 Extra mana is not much to choose what Rag attacks and he’s gonna put a hole in SOMETHING valuable the turn he comes out. In the unlikely event you play hunter, he’s a decent pull.
Grommash: Grom’s fair. In order to REALLY get use out of him, you need to have an Inner Rage in your hand when you cast him. If you do, he is going to leave a Grom shaped impression where you opponent used to be. If you don’t, his first attack is going to basically be an Argent Commander for 8 mana, and if you hit your opponent in the head that might be all your second attack is too. There are worse legendaries, but the times where he outperforms Rag are few and far between.
Cairn: Remember what I said about the uninspiring 4/5 for 6 body on Black Knight? When you are outperformed by Chillwind Yeti by 2 mana that’s not the best start. I need to be fair to our good Tauren Cheiften though, he gets TWO 4/5s and that’s certainly something worth a second look. The time’s I’ve played with Cairn and felt I’ve gotten good value out of him I have been playing a Paladin deck running Redemption. In those cases, he feels positively unfair. In the other cases, he just doesn’t feel like he has enough board impact for the mana cost I’m paying for him. Let’s consider his biggest neutral competitor at 6 mana: Argent Commander. WIth the commander, we get an instant 4 damage wherever we need it most, and he survives no matter what. Cairn can provide the same service, but it takes him a turn to deal the damage. What you get in exchange for waiting a turn is some additional health in both his first and second incarnations. In theory it sounds like it might be worth it, in practice you will almost always want to do that 4 damage NOW. It’s the difference between Gruul and Rag, and you see which one of those made my top list.
Malygos: See my discussion of “Win More” with the Archmage Above. With Malygos you’re basically in the same boat. If you draw him with a hand full of spells, and he lives until the next turn, you were ahead to begin with and now you’re way more ahead. Meh.
Deathwing: I’ve actually lost a game or two to this card, but when I have it has always been because I made a tactical error. It’s a bit of a “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION” scenario. He comes down in a spot where you just don’t expect the board to suddenly be cleared with a 12/12 in play for your opponent. That said, his mana cost and the requirement to discard your hand are truely absurd. I think he’s a very FUN card, and I’m a fan of fun cards, but he’s not good enough for me to recommend crafting or to ever really recommend for any specific deck.
Prophet Velen: See “Win More” cards above. The advantage Velen has over, say, Archmage A. is that he doubles your heal and he’s got bigger biceps but if you have the board position where you cast him, he survives, and you’re just healing yourself over and over you are definitely WAY ahead before he hit the board anyway. Wait a turn and play Rag, you’ll be glad you did. A 7/7 for 7 is not a terrible on-curve body though, and if you HAVE Velen, and are playing priest, I won’t mock you to your face for putting him in your deck. I won’t even talk about you behind your back with the other cool kids. Don’t craft him though.
Cenarius: I love druids, and my main deck is a druid deck, but what in the name of smelly centaur dung is this legendary? If you have the board position to make use of that +2/+2 you were about to cave his skull in anyway, and 2 2/2s with Taunt *barf*. I got better than that sorry 5/8 body on turn 7 when I played my Ancient of War. At least he’s worth 400 dust….
Hogger: I kinda like this card, actually. You get a 6/6 worth of body for 6, and he’s going to keep making more guys if you’re able to protect him. The 2/2 having taunt potentially prevents him from just getting run the heck over by Argent Commanders too. I like this guy better than Cairn, although I think usually Argent Commander is still the better card. I anticipate Hogger one day having a place in a deck where you just abuse come into play effects like Knife Juggler. For the moment there aren’t very many of those effects and I can’t see CRAFTING Hogger for any reason right now, but he’s not a bad card.
Lorewalker Cho: Uhhh…. why is this effect mirrored? Seriously, why? Anyway, this card is garbage because he is easily played around by the vast majority of decks, he takes up your valuable turn 2 to play card that doesn’t do anything to give you board control, and he prevents you from casting your own spells for no good reason whatsoever.
Harrison Jones: Harrison Jones sits at home hoping that someday Rogues, Warriors, and Hunters become 80% of the meta. Meanwhile his buddy Ooze gets invited to all of the cool parties.
Captain Greenskin: I guess this is OK in Hunter/Rogue/Warrior decks that run a lot of weapons. Seems like he is hella outclassed by Arathi Weaponsmith and when your legendary is compared unfavorably to a COMMON I doubt it’s worth crafting. That said, I am openly admitting right now that I am unsure how good this card really is. Somebody let me know based on testing in the thread and I’ll happily update this space and credit you!
King Mukla: When you play this card play close attention to what happens the turn immediately after. You deserved that.
Illidan Stormrage: Honestly not bad. The body is on curve at 7/5 for 6 but sadly you are almost never going to get anything more out of him the turn he comes out. There are certainly worse turn 6 plays though, and his body is just fat enough to dodge a lot of the common removal at 6 mana (cough… Argent Crusader… cough). He very likely has a place in some version of a Rogue deck as a combo piece. I wouldn’t craft him, but if I opened him in a pack I’d make a deck that used him.
Baron Geddon: If the meta keeps being as aggro as it is, Geddon might sneak his way onto the top 12 one day. Control decks can certainly get sick value out of his effect and it’s kinda shocking how many things get obliterated by it. I don’t own a Geddon, and therefore haven’t played much with him, but once I get him I’ll do extensive testing and consider moving him up.
Onyxia: Not a bad card, sometimes your opponent will just board clear and make you cry but if they spend their turn clearing your millions of 1/1s you still have an 8/8. It’s rare that this card doesn’t occupy at LEAST 2 cards from your opponent to get rid of it, and a guaranteed 2 for 1 is a decent use of your turn 9. If you play this with a Knife Juggler in play feel free to sing TROLOLOLOLOL at the top of your voice.
Nozdormu: Seems mean of blizzard to make a card exclusively to help experienced players troll newbies. They did though, and here is that card.
The Beast: The first time I saw his stats and cost I did a literal double take. He needs to, at minimum, draw out two of your opponents cards to even go even on card advantage though and that’s pretty poor. That said, if your deck is one that can easily deal with the 3/3 I can see running this guy. Somebody pleas make a hunter deck with this and lemme know how it goes, in particular take note of how many times your opponent seems at a loss with how to deal with him and how many times you felt highly disadvantaged by the 3/3.