Hearthstone Crafting Guide for the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Meta!

Stonekeep takes a look at the safest cards to craft in this Hearthstone crafting guide for the Gadgetzan meta!

Check out our Hearthstone Crafting Guide for the Journey to Un’Goro Meta!

After the last week’s budget decks compilation, 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 instead 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 the 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.

PSA: If you’re more of a casual/F2P player and you play Standard, you should focus on the Classic set or 2016 sets. Sets from 2015 (BRM, TGT and LoE) will rotate out relatively soon – few months from now. If you want to play one of the cards from them, you can still enjoy it for a few months, but crafting it just before it rotates might not be the best idea if your dust count is low!

Safe Cards to Craft for the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Meta

I’ll start with high priority safe crafts from the Classic set. These are the cards that you can’t go wrong with. Every set, these cards have been in at least one high tier deck, often even in a few of them.

Sylvanas Windrunner is a great Control card, sometimes also used in slower Midrange decks. Right now it’s commonly seen in the decks like RenoLock, Reno Priest and N’Zoth decks like Control Warrior/Control Shaman.

Bloodmage Thalnos, even though it’s not a flashy Legendary, it is one of the most consistently strong cards in the history of Hearthstone. If your deck runs a lot of spells, or needs to boost a specific spell combo, Thalnos will most likely find a way into the deck. It’s used by decks like Miracle Rogue, Midrange/Control Shaman and pretty much every kind of Mage – Tempo, Freeze, Reno.

Leeroy Jenkins is another very common card, used as a finisher in many kinds of decks. It can be used as an extra punch in Aggro decks (e.g. Pirate Warrior, Aggro Shaman) or as a burst combo piece in slower decks (e.g. Miracle Rogue, RenoLock).

Ragnaros the Firelord, while less common in the current meta, because of the aggressive decks, was always one of the strongest Legendaries in the game. Its powerful effect was utilized either as a way to remove something immediately or to deal a lot of face damage. It shines in slower metas, but it’s still sometimes used in Midrange decks like Dragon Warrior, Midrange Hunter or Midrange Shaman + you can see it as a tech card in Kabal Reno decks.

A lot more information on card crafting after the jump!

Now, the lower priorities. These cards are still viable crafts, mostly because they are in the “evergreen” Classic set – they will never rotate out and you’re going to find a deck to put them into sooner or later.

Alexstrasza – This big Dragon is a pretty flexible big Legendary, because it can be used two ways – first, as an offensive tool – to deal up to 15 damage with a Battlecry. Then, as a defensive tool, to heal yourself up to 15. It’s mostly used in slow decks with some kind of burst finisher. Most commonly seen in Mage (Freeze/Reno), but sometimes played in Control Warrior or RenoLock too.

Harrison Jones – It used to be one of the most common tech cards, but it’s not as great in the current meta. Right now, with so many Pirate decks on the ladder, Acidic Swamp Ooze is a better tech because of the low mana cost. However, Harrison Jones should be back as the #1 weapon counter again once the meta slows down.

Malygos – Malygos is one of those Legendaries that you can’t just slam into your deck and expect it to work. You need to build your deck around it, and if you do, he’s usually your main win condition. Malygos is most commonly seen in Druid and Rogue, but it might also be an anti-Control tech in Freeze Mage.

Baron Geddon – Baron Geddon was mostly used in the slower decks that needed more AoE – either they didn’t have enough available to their class, or the meta was so board-flood-heavy that extra AoE was useful. Baron Geddon was most commonly seen in Control Warrior, but sometimes also in the slower Druid decks or even Reno decks. Right now it’s out of the meta, because turn 7 AoE is too slow, but it will most likely be back again.

Cairne Bloodhoof – A very high value card, but really slow at the same time. Getting two 4/5 bodies for 6 mana is great, but you don’t get both immediately, so at the start you just drop a 4/5 for 6. Which makes it too slow for the current meta. But it’s still a great card to put into N’Zoth decks, because of a big Deathrattle that makes it resistant to AoEs.

Ysera – An ultimate “value” card, huge body, more and more value each turn you keep it on the board. It’s rarely seen right now, because of the fast meta, but it has been used as a Control mirror win condition in some decks. For example – Fibonacci used it in his N’Zoth Control Warrior and it’s sometimes seen in Reno Dragon Priests.

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 – Right now it’s not played too often, because of how ”greedy” it is, but it fits into every slower Mage build as a big finisher. If you combo it with a few spells, you get that many Fireballs immediately, which then you can use to burn your opponent down. If it stays on the board for just a single turn, it’s usually game over. Historically it’s been used in Mech Mage, Freeze Mage and slower Tempo Mages, right now it’s a semi-common tech in Reno Mage.

Edwin VanCleef – If you play Rogue, you probably 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 at all stages of the game and definitely a great craft if you’re playing Rogue.

Grommash Hellscream – Used as a finisher, or sometimes even a trading tool, in every slower Midrange or Control Warrior deck. After activating it, you can deal 10 immediate damage, usually used to finish your opponent. However, remember that the most popular Warrior deck right now – Pirate Warrior – has no reason to play this card whatsoever, because it’s just too slow.

Lord Jaraxxus – Jaraxxus is a card utilized by nearly every slower Warlock build – it was played in Handlock, then it was played in Control Warlock, now it’s played in RenoLock. Some people are cutting the card from RenoLock builds right now, because the meta is often either Aggro or high burst, but there are still a few matchups where this card shines. And it’ll definitely see play in the future.

Tirion Fordring – Back in the day, it was called the strongest Legendary in the game. Big body, Taunt, Divine Shield and a 5/3 weapon after it dies made it a great defensive AND offensive tool at the same time. Tirion is played and will probably be played in every slower Paladin list.

Since we’re done with Classic set, let’s move onto the 2016 sets. One important thing first – why didn’t I list any card from the 2015 sets? Well, the only 2015 set you can craft cards from is TGT. And I honestly don’t think that any card from TGT is a “safe craft”, considering that they will all rotate out in a few months AND most of them are replaceable. There are a few good TGT cards, but if they fit into any current meta deck, I will talk about them in the next section.

I think that these 4 Neutral Legendaries from the 2016 sets are the safest crafts. They’re played in more than one meta deck, they’re really powerful and they should all still be relevant after the rotation (maybe with the exception of Kazakus, read below).

N'Zoth, The Corruptor – It’s the only Old God that still sees quite common play, even though it’s a little weaker right now, with all the Aggro decks on the ladder. N’Zoth is the ultimate win condition of slow decks – after playing enough Deathrattles, they play N’Zoth and just get them back out again. Even though N’Zoth decks are really slow, some of them are still semi-viable right now – N’Zoth Control Warrior and N’Zoth Shaman come to mind. However, the card is powerful enough that it should find its way into the meta again next year.

Patches the Pirate – Probably the biggest offender of the latest expansion, the card is incredibly powerful. And it’s played not only in the Pirate Warrior. Other classes have been adding the early game Pirate core to their lists just to utilize this card. It’s played in the most common meta decks right now – Pirate Warrior, Aggro Shaman and Miracle Rogue.

Aya Blackpaw – Backbone of every slower Jade Golem deck, but an interesting thing is that even some Aggro Jade Shaman builds are playing this card. If you want to build a deck around Jade Golem synergies – Jade Druid, Jade Shaman, Jade Rogue – you most likely want to play Aya.

Kazakus – Similarly to Aya, but this time around in the Kabal Reno decks. Kazakus is incredibly powerful in every matchup – it can give you AoE/Armor in faster ones and TONS of value in slower ones. If you want to build a viable Kabal Reno deck, you definitely want to play it. However, the viability of Reno decks next expansion is questionable, because Reno Jackson rotates out. I actually think that they might add some more similar mechanics in order to compensate for that, because it would be weird to release all of the Kabal cards for just the next few months.

And now the last Safe Crafts part – Class cards from 2016 sets.

Fandral Staghelm – I haven’t seen a competitive Druid list that didn’t play this card in a while. Every Druid plays “Choose One” cards and Fandral makes each one of them way more powerful. The card has pretty much no downsides, while it can snowball the game by itself quite easily (e.g. when dropped on turn 4, not killed and followed by Nourish).

Ragnaros, Lightlord – While it’s slightly less powerful than Tirion, Lightlord is a great card to put into any slow Paladin list. Big 8/8 body, 8 immediate healing AND the fact that the card needs to be immediately destroyed or it will get even more value makes it one of the best class Legendaries from 2016.

Raza the Chained – Similarly to Kazakus, Reno decks might get weaker with the next rotation. But unlike other Reno decks, Reno Priest might actually be the only one that doesn’t need Reno. With built-in heal from Hero Power and other cards that improve the healing, Reno Priest might be the way to build Priest next year. And right now it’s obviously an auto-include if you want to play Reno Priest.

White Eyes – Just like with Raza, I’m thinking more about the future here. The card is already great right now in Control Shaman, but I think that Control Shaman might become more popular next rotation, when some strong Midrange/Aggro Shaman cards rotate out. That’s why I think it’s a safe craft, and of course if you want to play Control N’Zoth Shaman now.

Those all should be pretty safe cards to craft, but what about the priority? If you want to play as many decks as possible right now, I’ll say that the priority goes like this: Classic High Priority > 2016 Sets Neutrals > Classic Low Priority > Classic Class Cards > 2016 Sets Class Cards.

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.

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards

Core Cards

Complementary Cards


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!


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. He's achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!


  1. AlexanderDx
    January 16, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Excellent guide; thanks a lot! But I wonder why u didn’t include RenoJackson as a must-craft card? o.O

    • Stonekeep - Author
      January 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Because you can’t craft him. He’s a reward from the League of Explorers adventure.

    • Sloxman
      March 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

      If you want, you can drop 3200 dust to craft him golden.

  2. micfi
    December 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Where would you fit the more common epic cards (e.g. Doomsayer, Preparation, Dirty Rat) into the crafting priority? Would they go immediately after similarly valued Legendaries, or somewhere else?

  3. Fel
    December 28, 2016 at 7:21 am


    Great post but I do believe it would as useful or even more if you had a guide to “safe dust”, meaning cards you can turn into dust because they are useless/unplayable.

    I am not a completist and I try to keep my expenses to a minimum, so turning into dust crap cards is a way to generate revenue to buy the aforementioned cards.

    If you could do one of those, I would be really grateful!

    Once again, congrats on a great post!

  4. JoPack
    December 23, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Holy **** this was a awesome guide! Read the whole thing even tho I have all the legendaries. Keep up the good work!

  5. TacoRocco
    December 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Nice post for new players, however I have to disagree with Antonidas and Jaraxxus being safe crafts. Class legendaries are not safe crafts at all by definition, so unless they can fit well into most builds of that class, then they really aren’t a very safe craft. Antonidas might be more okay than Jaraxxus because he at least fits into a tempo or Control deck, but he is still a card that I’d leave out of my mage deck if I didn’t have a lot of cheap spells. Jaraxxus is just bad if you’re not control; you need control cards to make sure you don’t die when you turn into Jaraxxus. Compare these two to your other picks. Tirion is probably the best class card in the game. Solid stats, sticky minion, gives a weapon, taunt, nobody is going to question you for playing this in any Paladin deck. Van Cleef is able to get big whether you play cheap spells or cheap minions and really any Rogue build could fit him in somewhere. Grommash is an excellent finisher. The Charge works for Control, Tempo, Aggro, really any build, and the solid HP and decent 4 base attack makes him able to trade really well and put a huge threat on the board that your opponent has to handle. Compared to these, I just don’t think Antonidas and Jaraxxus are “must craft”. I think people should wait to open those in a pack.

    Criticism aside, I think your picks for Neutral Classic Legendaries were spot on and I can’t think of better safe crafts than those.

    • MrNtorees
      April 5, 2017 at 4:38 am

      Well I have personally crafted Antonidas for a freeze mage deck like 1,5 years ago. He has repaid his value a lot since then. I used him in a variation of the wild freeze mage and duoed him with Alexstraza. O could even beat Control Warriors with 25-30 DMG combos. It was sick.

      Jaraxus was the main reason my midrange shaman had nightmares fighting Warlocks. The card is soooo good if you know how to play it.

      You can understand I m talking about Freeze Mage and Renolock here. These are 2 of the most complicated decks to play. They are not new player friendly and they are very limited used legendaries we are talking about here.
      Moreover tommorow those decks are rotating to wild.

      So my 2 cents here… In a comment coming from April 2017, I would not spend dust on either of the 2 right now.
      If you need those two its gonna be for specific fun decks ATM and you r gonna know when you ll need em.

      PS: Antonidas might see some more light after the new Time Wrap mage quest from ungoro. But until then, craft something safer.

  6. Darkseid
    December 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Stonekeep you are the real MVP. so often on other groups I see “what should I craft” posts, and it’s really annoying to have to answer each one individually. I’m gonna urge every group I belong to to pin this.

  7. Gully1824
    December 21, 2016 at 6:32 am

    This is such a great post. Thanks so much!

  8. Shakespeare
    December 20, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Miracle rogue with violet teacher instead of conceal is… questionable, especially since the one deck you are already struggling to beat has the 1 health minion portal chopper.

    In hours upon hours of playing Miracle Rogue, I have *never* wished I had a 4 mana 3/5 instead of conceal. It is just too good, when almost noone can clear off concealed targets with more than 2 health reliably.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 20, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Well, it’s a matter of matchups you face, honestly. Against faster decks you prefer a 3/5 body spawning 1/1’s 90% of time over Conceal which is usually a dead card. Might prevent a value trade from Aggro sometimes, but you know how rarely they trade against Rogue (the deck with no defensive mechanics whatsoever). This is the deck MrYagut used to hit #1 Legend with, and he’s one of the best Rogue players in the world, so it definitely has its merits.

      But you can always sub Violet Teacher for Conceal, like some lists do, both are quite cheap so it shouldn’t be a problem 🙂

    • MrNtorees
      April 5, 2017 at 4:44 am

      Game vs Conceal rogues will end in 30 DMG KO if not prepared.

      So… When the board is filled with */* stealthed Van Clyfs, murlocks and stuff…

      Thank you blizzard! I got my Devolve. GG

  9. Advocaat
    December 20, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Nice job, thanks 🙂

  10. z
    December 20, 2016 at 4:23 am

    LOVE this post thank you for making it so well detailed for us F2P players

  11. fazli
    December 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    RIP hunter and paladin

    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 20, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Sadly, if those are your favorite classes, you will be having a hard time for a while. In both cases, Blizzard has gone all in on the hand buff mechanics and it failed – probably because of the meta being too fast.

      However, given how Blizzard seems to give love to the weakest classes after a while, I suspect that just like Priest got some new tools this expansion, those might get better in 2017.

  12. Gigo
    December 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    No Paladin or Hunter decks. GG :/

    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 20, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Those aren’t exactly the meta decks right now. Hunter and Paladin are sitting at extremely low win rates and are pretty much out of the meta. According to Vicious Syndicate, best Hunter deck right now is Secret Hunter, sitting at ~44% win rate across the board. But that’s a lot compared to best Paladin deck – Aggro Paladin, sitting at ~40%. Class representation isn’t much better, between ranks 5-1, Paladin and Hunter sit at about 1.5% representation.. combined.

  13. Strache
    December 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    thanks for this article it is really helpful!
    as i understand the section with meta decks correctly the core cards are a must and the complementary cards are somewhat replaceable. can you give like a couple of suggestions on which cards those complementary cards could be replaced with? That would help a lot with the decision of which legendarys to craft. and i really suck at deck building.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 20, 2016 at 1:06 am

      Yes, core cards are necessary, while complementary cards can be somewhat subbed.

      I think that giving a couple of suggestions for each of those complementary cards would be really hard to do. Because there are rarely “direct” substitutions – e.g. you sub one charge minion with another charge minion. Usually, subs are much more complicated and depend on the other cards you’re missing too.

      Just to give you an example – Reno Mage. Both Inkmaster Solia and Greater Arcane Missiles are in complementary cards. And let’s say that you’re missing Greater Arcane Missiles – now, which card you will pick might depend on whether you have Solia or not. If you do – you can pick another big spell. If you don’t – you might go for some small spell or maybe even something completely different.

      The only thing I can do here if you aren’t a great deck builder is to help on the individual basis. If you would tell me which list you want to play and what cards exactly are you missing, then I might be able to help you with the subs.

      • Strache
        January 4, 2017 at 7:16 am

        hey, thanks for your reply. i have a question reagarding miracle rogue: i dont have patches, what to replace it with? second swashburgler?
        and what would a malygos version look like if i dont wanna craft reno? (already have maly)
        thanks very much!

  14. NoName
    December 19, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Great post!

    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 20, 2016 at 1:06 am

      Thank you! 🙂

  15. Lidders
    December 19, 2016 at 10:10 am

    In the Jade Druid section you said the dust cost of Fandral Staghelm is 400 Dust
    Just trying to avoid confusion

    • Evident - Site Admin
      December 19, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Fixed, thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Register to keep track of your comments. You can also build and favorite decks!

Avatar: Registered users can now pick their own Avatar! Register or Login and select one via your Settings page.

Comment Policy: Any comments that are overly derogatory will be removed and could result in an account or site ban.