Stonekeep takes a look at the safest cards to craft in this Hearthstone crafting guide for the Un’Goro meta!
After last week’s budget decks compilation by Evident, a crafting guide is probably the second most important resource for every new and/or F2P player. The meta changes every expansion, so do the crafting priorities – different top tier decks require different Legendaries and that’s what I want to cover today.
Instead of a more classic Tier List approach, I’ll focus on the decks and the expensive cards that you want to get in order to enjoy them to the fullest extent. So instead of plain information, you will just have a quick glance at the decks you play and know which cards you should prioritize!
But first I’ll talk about “safe crafts” – those Legendaries that are either the most powerful Legendaries in the current meta or those who will very likely still be useful next year. That’s why I will focus on the Classic Legendaries, with a few of the strongest Legendaries from the Year of the Kraken (2016) added in, because those won’t rotate out until 2018.
Still, not every of those Legendaries has the same priority. That’s why I’ve listed them in a specific order – the Legendaries I’ve listed first have the highest priority and should be crafted first (if you want to play them in most of the meta decks), while the lower down the list you go, the lower priority those get (but should still be safe crafts for now or for the future). For the priority, look at the order in descriptions, not the images!
P.S. Remember that the list is for Standard, if you play Wild, the Legendaries you want to prioritize might be completely different!
Safe Legendary Cards to Craft for the Journey to Un’Goro Meta
Classic Set Safe Crafts (Neutral)
With Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord gone from Standard, there aren’t many safe neutral crafts from the Classic set. Still, these 3 cards are great way to spend your Dust, because they’re all powerful and will most likely be played in the future.
Bloodmage Thalnos – One of the less “flashy” Legendaries, but it’s just very versatile. It’s mainly played in Rogue and Mage decks, but it also fits into classes like Shaman or Druid. There was no meta in which Thalnos has seen no play so far, which makes it probably the safest card to craft.
Alexstrasza – Alexstrasza is usually a part of combo decks. Right now it’s a must-have in one of the strongest ladder decks, Freeze Mage. It’s also played in the Arcane Giants variant of Quest Mage. The Legendary is very powerful and will most likely be played in future metas.
Leeroy Jenkins – It’s a common finisher in Aggro lists, it was also used by some combo lists, but they aren’t viable in Standard with Emperor Thaurissan gone. Leeroy is still a solid craft, because you can pretty safely put him into any aggressive list and it should work.
A lot more information on card crafting after the jump!
Classic Set Safe Crafts (Class)
Now, onto the class cards. Class cards are tricky when it comes to the crafting, because you can play them in only a single, specific class. The card might be very strong and a great craft, but if you don’t play that class, it might be useless for you. These are the cards that are worth crafting if you play a specific class, or even a specific deck of that class. I’ll explain each one of them below:
Archmage Antonidas – Antonidas is played in the strongest Mage deck on the ladder – Freeze Mage. It’s also a part of the Exodia Mage’s “infinite damage combo” – which is more of a fun than a competitive deck, but it’s still quite common while ranking up.
Edwin VanCleef – If you play Rogue, you most likely want this card. It’s one of the most powerful Legendaries in the game and probably the only one that you play only for its stats. However, in this case, it’s a good enough reason. Most commonly seen in Miracle Rogue, with the access to all the cheap spells + extra Coins, it’s very easy to make it a 6/6 or 8/8 for 3 mana. The card is great in all stages of the game and definitely a great craft if you’re a Rogue player.
Tirion Fordring – Latest expansion has brought Paladin back into the meta, and so Tirion is played in most of the Midrange and Control Paladin list. Unless countered (which doesn’t happen often, since no one plays Silence and Sylvanas is out of Standard), the card gives Paladin tremendous value and tempo. While the 6/6 Taunt with Divine Shield might not be worth 8 mana, the 5/3 weapon you’re getting after it dies compensates for the high cost really well.
Lord Jaraxxus – Jaraxxus was very common in RenoLock, but with Reno rotating out of Standard it’s now a bit more of a niche Legendary. Still, it’s your main win condition vs slower decks when you play Handlock. It’s not particularly popular on the ladder, but Jaraxxus is necessary if you want to play it. If you’re not interested in Handlock, you can pass on crafting the Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion for now.
2016 Sets Safe Crafts (Neutral)
I think that these 4 Neutral Legendaries from the 2016 sets are the safest crafts. They’re the most powerful Legendaries from the last year which see play in at least one deck right now, but most importantly they’re very likely to stay relevant for the rest of the Year of the Mammoth.
Patches the Pirate – While Pirate decks were dominating in the Gadgetzan meta, Patches was a very powerful card. After the Small-Time Buccaneer nerf the Pirate package has become less popular, but it’s still used in a variety of decks like Pirate Warrior, every kind of Rogue, even some builds of Aggro Druid and Zoo Warlock.
Finja, the Flying Star – It’s very unexpected, but the card has became very popular about 3 months after the release of Gadgetzan. It was used in decks that have never played Murlocs before, and it usually came with Bluegill Warrior and Murloc Warleader as a 5-card-package. The card is in a way similar to the Mysterious Challenger (which made Secret Paladin one of the best decks in 2015). In order to play this card, you need to put a few bad cards into the deck (you don’t want to play Bluegill or Warleader in a non-Murloc deck), but if you pull them out with Finja, it’s a huge tempo swing that’s worth it. Currently it’s used by the Aggro Druid and Murloc decks.
Aya Blackpaw – Backbone of every slower Jade Golem deck. While Jade decks aren’t as popular as they were before the rotation, Jade Druid is still a viable choice and Elemental Shamans are often putting the Jade package, including Aya, into their lists.
N'Zoth, The Corruptor – I was on the edge with this one. While it’s not commonly seen on the ladder, it’s still used in a few viable decks like Deathrattle Priest or Control Paladin. But the main reason I’ve put it on the list is that if you want to build any slower, Deathrattle-heavy list, it’s pretty much an auto-include. There is just no reason to not play it, as it’s a huge value and tempo swing. Which means that it will most likely see some play during the rest of the year, as long as people play Deathrattle-themed decks.
2016 Sets Safe Crafts (Class)
And now the last 2016 Safe Crafts part – Class cards. Similarly to Classic, the cards from the classes that you play most have – obviously – higher priority.
Ragnaros, Lightlord – Most of the slow Paladin lists run Ragnaros, Lightlord. The card is very powerful in this meta. If you play against Aggro and you manage to survive until turn 8, Lightlord usually seals the game. The card is insane against Freeze Mage, not only does it heal you for 8, but it also forces a big removal, so in the end you usually save over 15 life with this one card (even more if they can’t clear it). In value games it’s good to heal something up after doing a big trade. Very strong Legendary and since Paladin seems to be pretty viable, it should be a good craft.
Fandral Staghelm – Most of the slower Druid lists run Fandral, because multiple cards become so much powerful with him in your list. While not played in the Aggro Druid (too slow), it still sees play in decks like Jade Druid or Token Druid. Its value might also go up in the future expansions if Druid gets some new, strong “choose one” cards.
Shaku, the Collector – While the card isn’t overly powerful, it fits nicely into the Rogue’s curve. The class rarely had a good, proactive turn 3 play and Shaku fills that gap. It’s used in multiple Miracle Rogue lists and while it’s never 100% necessary for the deck to function, it makes the early game a bit more consistent.
Wickerflame Burnbristle – Similarly to Ragnaros, Lightlord, since Paladin sees much more play right now, Wickerflame has become a better crafting choice. It’s a great anti-Aggro card, especially if you also use the handbuff mechanics (e.g. in Elemental Paladin). It’s not a very high priority craft, but it sees some play in viable ladder lists.
Journey to Un’Goro Safe Crafts (Neutral)
Journey to Un’Goro is the only 2017 set we have so far, but A LOT of viable Legendaries were printed this time around. Previous sets had maybe 3-4 viable Legends in total, Journey to Un’Goro easily doubles that number. The set is very low on the neutral Legendaries, so most of the safe crafts will be in the Class part. It might make it hard to choose which cards from the latest set you want to craft, so you might want to look at the list of deck below, pick the ones you like most and then decide what you want to craft.
Elise the Trailblazer – New version of the fan favorite Elise Starseeker. It’s a great include into most of the slow lists that plan to outvalue the opponent in the long game. I’ve seen it used by the Control Paladin and Control Priest decks, but I’m pretty sure that there are even more builds that use it.
Edit: I’ve decided to remove Hemet, because it might still be too early to call it a safe craft. It’s played in some lists and I really think that it will be played in the future, but right now it’s not popular enough to show here.
Journey to Un’Goro Safe Crafts (Class)
There are tons of viable Class Legendaries from the Un’Goro. I’ll try my best to list all of them with my reasoning.
Fire Plume's Heart – By far the strongest Quest released in Un’Goro. Taunt Warrior has became a meta deck with over 10% ladder popularity, which is quite a lot for a slow, Control deck. It’s a Tier 1 deck that works very well against the current meta, and while there are some ways to counter it, it still has solid winrate across the board. It’s also a great option for people who are looking for a strong, but inexpensive Control deck, because it’s much cheaper compared to similar decks.
The Caverns Below – But if we’re talking about the most popular Quest, it will definitely be Rogue. With a good early hand, the deck can overwhelm the opponent around turn 5-6 with a board full of 5/5’s. Multiple players have hit high Legend ranks when playing it, but it’s probably most popular in the lower ranks. It’s definitely a strong deck, which is countered only by Aggro lists like Pirate Warrior.
Sherazin, Corpse Flower – Both Rogue Legendaries were rated very poorly before the release, but both have seen a lot of competitive play in the first 2 weeks. Sherazin has found its place in Miracle Rogue builds, alongside the new cards that generate extra cheap spells (Razorpetal Lasher). The deck can bring it back to life multiple times quite easily – often 4-5 in a slower game, which means that it gets a lot of tempo (and value, but tempo is more important in Rogue) over time. A key card in the Un’Goro builds of Miracle Rogue.
Sunkeeper Tarim – Third Paladin Legendary with Taunt. If I had to rate it, it’s probably a bit below Tirion and above Wickerflame. The card is very powerful, because it has both defensive and offensive potential. If you’re ahead on the board with a bunch of small tokens, using it will turn it into a real, huge threat (similarly to what Quartermaster used to do), while you can also use it to neutralize a big threat or trade your small minions up. It’s a well-rounded card, which comes handy in most of the matches.
Kalimos, Primal Lord – Elemental Shaman is much more popular in the lower ranks, but it’s still a viable deck. And if you want to play Elemental Shaman, Kalimos is a clear must-have. The card is a late game powerhouse, which can be used as AoE, heal, board refill or burn damage. It’s probably the most versatile Legendary in the game.
Important note: The reason why I haven’t included other Quests like Open the Waygate, Awaken the Makers or Unite the Murlocs is because they don’t seem to be very viable. While it might still be a little bit early to judge, those Quest decks have a very low win rate, with Exodia Mage (Quest Mage) being the worst meta deck on the ladder right now (it’s at 35% average win rate according to the Vicious Syndicate’s stats). If they turn out to be viable, I will add them to the crafting list, but despite them being semi-popular it might not be the case.
Those all should be pretty safe cards to craft, but what about the priority? If you want to build your collection thinking about the future, you should prioritize the Classic and 2017 Sets (Journey To Un’Goro), while the 2016 Sets (Whispers of the Old Gods, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan) have a bit lower priority.
Safe Crafts For Meta Decks
On the other hand, if you already know exactly which deck you want to play, this should make it even easier. I’ll list the common meta decks and talk about the crafting priority for each one of them. I’ll list Epics + Legendaries + Adventure Cards and divide them into two categories – core cards and complementary cards. Core cards are either necessary for the deck to function or replacing them would hurt the deck’s quality a lot. Complementary cards can be replaced more easily, but you still want to play them, because they make the deck more consistent or stronger.
- Swamp King Dred – 1600 Dust
- Archmage Antonidas – 1600 Dust
- Alexstrasza – 1600 Dust
- Doomsayer – 2x 400 Dust
- Ice Block – 2x 400 Dust
- Pyroblast – 400 Dust
- Medivh's Valet – One Night in Karazhan Wing 4
- Tirion Fordring – 1600 Dust
- Vilefin Inquisitor* – 2x 400 Dust
- Murloc Warleader* – 2x 400 Dust
- Gentle Megasaur* – 2x 400 Dust
- Primordial Drake – 400 Dust
- The Curator – One Night in Karazhan Wing 3
*Those cards are core if you’re running the heavy early game Murloc synergy build (like this one). Midrange Paladin with no Murlocs is also viable option if you’re missing those cards.
- Sunkeeper Tarim – 1600 Dust
- Ragnaros, Lightlord – 1600 Dust
- Ivory Knight – One Night in Karazhan Wing 4
- Faceless Shambler – 2x 400 Dust
- Barnes – One Night in Karazhan Wing 2
- Purify – One Night in Karazhan Wing 3
- Shadow Visions – 2x 400 Dust
- Sherazin, Corpse Flower – 1600 Dust
- Edwin VanCleef – 1600 Dust
- Preparation – 2x 400 Dust
- Vilespine Slayer – 2x 400 Dust
- Arcane Giant* – One Night in Karazhan Wing 2
*Alternatively you can use the Malygos version, which doesn’t play Arcane Giants.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – 1600 Dust
- Patches the Pirate – 1600 Dust
- Swashburglar* – One Night in Karazhan Wing 2
*It’s core if you have Patches the Pirate. It’s not 100% necessary if you don’t.
- The Caverns Below – 1600 Dust
- Patches the Pirate – 1600 Dust
- Swashburglar – One Night in Karazhan Wing 2
- Preparation – 2x 400 Dust
- Kalimos, Primal Lord – 1600 Dust
- Aya Blackpaw* – 1600 Dust
- Blazecaller – 2x 400 Dust
- Maelstrom Portal – One Night in Karazhan Wing 1
Aya Blackpaw is core in the Elemental/Jade mix, but if you don’t have her, you can try running the full Elemental build.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – 1600 Dust
Alternatively, you can try using a non-Discard list.
- Fire Plume's Heart – 1600 Dust
- Sleep with the Fishes – 2x 400 Dust
- Brawl – 2x 400 Dust
- Dirty Rat – 2x 400 Dust
- Primordial Drake* – 400 Dust
- The Curator – One Night in Karazhan Wing 3
One Primordial Drake is core, second copy is complementary.
- Leeroy Jenkins – 1600 Dust
That’s all folks, thanks for your attention. I think that I have listed most solid “safe crafts” and most common meta decks – but if I have missed something, please let me know in the comments!
If you have any questions about crafting, please ask and I’ll give my best to answer everything. And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!