We’re back again to go through some more of Hearthstone’s greatest cards. As you may be aware, the game has just received a new balance patch that brought with it some meta-changing nerfs. Luckily for us, however, none of the cards on this list were hit.
As mentioned before, it’s important to remember that ‘best’ doesn’t always mean ‘most powerful’, and that this list is subject to personal preference.
Set: Whispers of the Old Gods
In Hearthstone, a card’s power level often boil down to “does it help you kill your opponent?” or “does it stop your opponent from killing you?”
Shadowcaster is a card that focusses on value rather than trying to pressure your opponent. Part of what makes it so great is its synergy with the Rogue’s ‘combo’ mechanic. For those that don’t know, a ‘combo’ effect is enabled by having other cards played before it. For example, Vilespine Slayer is a 5 mana minion with the combo effect “destroy a minion”. If it’s the first card you play that turn, you just get the minion. If you play something before it, you gain the combo effect. The issue with these effects is that sometimes it’s difficult to have enough cheap cards to play before them. Shadowcaster, however, gives you a 1 mana 1/1 version of a friendly minion, meaning you can generate copies of your minions with powerful combo effects. Need an extra Edwin Van Cleef? Maybe another SI:7 Agent? Shadowcaster has your back.
The card becomes more interesting when you realise that you can Shadowcaster your own Shadowcaster. This opens up whole new avenues and the possibility of infinite value. Popular streamer and content creator Dane has several examples of the magic that Shadowcaster can create.
Shadowcaster is possibly the best example of a perfectly designed card. Strong in the right hands, but less-experienced players won’t be able to get as much value out of it.
Hearthstone being based on Warcraft lore allows for fans to play with some of their favourite characters from the game. However, with this Team 5 also has the responsibility to do these characters justice. While they may have missed the mark with some (I’m looking at you, Illidan), one aspect they most certainly got right was the dragon…Aspects. First on the list is Malygos, the Aspect of the blue dragonflight.
The card is just the definition of epic. The artwork is superb and his effect is powerful. The strength of the effect, though, is balanced by the fact that he’s such a high-costing card. Several classes can make use of the card, but he’s not some homogeneous legendary that can be thrown in every deck. Your deck really has to revolve around building up a combo and killing them in one turn with Malygos. Consequently he probably takes the top spot for minions you have to kill immediately. Leave a Malygos on the board and you can bet you’re dead next turn.
The last thing that makes Malygos such a well-designed and fun card is his entrance voice line. Try slamming him on the board and listening to him scream “I AM THE ESSENCE OF MAGIC”, with anger and madness in his voice, without getting chills.
Set: The Grand Tournament
There are many legendary minions in Hearthstone that can fit into many decks, but there aren’t too many that have unique effects in each class. Justicar Trueheart’s battlecry upgrades your hero power for the remainder of the game. This means that each class get its own unique upgraded hero power. She saw a lot of use in Control Warrior decks, as she allowed them to gain 4 armor every turn. However, she also saw play in some less common decks. In Mill Druid, she was a great source of armor gain (though is now overshadowed by the Druid Death Knight). Control Priest also included her in many lists due to the strength of healing a minion or yourself for 4. Former world champion Firebat even included it in his attempt to build a Fatigue Hunter deck.
Justicar Trueheart isn’t a great card in every class, but what makes her one of the game’s best cards is the fact that she’s a neutral legendary with a unique interaction with each class. This is something of an oddity in Hearthstone, and is certainly something we’d like to see more of.
Yet another powerful legendary dragon, Deathwing is the ultimate ‘all-in’ card. When your opponent has the board and there’s no hope of you wrestling it back, sometimes you just have to pray and drop the coolest board clear in the game. Sure, you’ll discard your entire hand but that’s only fair when you’re summoning a 12/12 AND destroying every minion on the board. Deathwing is probably the card Arena players fear most. In fact, a lot of the time you simply can’t beat him so there’s no point in playing around him.
As you may have noticed, a lot of the cards that appear on this list have either cool voice lines or animations. Yes, I’m a sucker for an epic entrance onto the board. Deathwing is no exception. In fact, it’s probably better you watch it for yourself to appreciate it in all its glory.
So there we have it, another four of Hearthstone’s greatest cards. Keep your eyes peeled for the final installment, where you’ll finally get to find out whether or not I included Patches the Pirate.