Determining which Legendary Hearthstone card to craft can be a tough decision for experienced and new players alike. If you craft a card and find it less useful than initially expected, the best you can get is one-fourth of your Arcane Dust back.
Our Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Guide will help ease the anxiety of burning 1600 dust on a single card. This guide will take you through a logical Crafting Strategy to ease the pain of Standard rotations and focus on those cards that are most likely to get the best value from your dust. For each Hearthstone Set, we provide the Best Cards to Craft and Good Cards to Craft to assist you through your next crafting conundrum.
Please note that this guide is intended for Standard players. In Wild, Legendary cards have different power levels than in Standard due to additional synergies available in the format.
Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Strategy
When choosing the next Legendary card to craft, you should consider both the strength and set of the cards you’re considering. Typically, Neutral Legendaries fit into more decks and offer the best variety when crafted. As with all class cards, however, class-specific Legendaries tend to be stronger and offer additional synergy and/or class identity options.
The Best Cards to Craft are either Neutral Legendaries played in a variety of decks or ubiquitous class Legendaries. Good Cards to Craft are Legendaries that are tech cards, flexible inclusions, or any card that’s usage is dependent on the ever-shifting Hearthstone meta.
In general, cards listed in the Best Cards to Craft for each set should be given priority over those in the Good Cards to Craft. The exception would be if you have a specific deck in mind that is reliant on the card you’re planning to craft.
In terms of sets, the best long-term value for your dust is always going to be cards in the Hearthstone Classic Set. Barring retirement into the Hall of Fame, all of these Legendary cards will always be included in Standard. Even if crafted cards are banished to Wild, a full dust refund can be expected.
After the Classic Set, the sets from the current year should be given priority. Sets remain in Standard for two years, so the current year sets have a longer lifespan than the sets from the prior year.
The Hearthstone Classic Set is the core set in the game. Introduced with the game’s release, the set still has many of the game’s strongest Legendary cards. Due to their unrestricted duration in the Standard format, Classic Set Legendary cards are more likely to remain playable than those released with expansions.
Hearthstone Classic Set Best Cards to Craft
Bloodmage Thalnos – While not as flashy as some of the other Legendaries, Bloodmage Thalnos has always been one of the most-played Legendaries in Hearthstone. Any deck that runs more than a handful of spells can benefit from this two-mana staple card.
- Example Deck List: Highlander Razakus Priest – Razakus Priest is a deck that loves to cycle. Additionally, with so many damage-based AoE spells, it can benefit from the dual purpose of Bloodmage Thalnos.
Leeroy Jenkins – Effectively a neutral Fireball for five mana, Leeroy Jenkins has been helping aggressive decks close out games since the beginning of Hearthstone. The massive Charge damage will make this card a powerful finisher for a long time.
- Example Deck List: Aggro Paladin – Aggro Paladin came out strong with the release of Kobolds and Catacombs. In this deck, Leeroy Jenkins offers a potent finisher.
Edwin VanCleef – Nearly every variant of Rogue has turns where several cards are played, enabling the possibility of massive Edwins. Even a relatively small VanCleef early on can win games.
- Example Deck List: Tempo Rogue – Tempo Rogue exploded in popularity early in the Knights of the Frozen Throne meta and continues to be a strong choice for the class.
Prophet Velen – If you’re looking to build Razakus Priest, Prophet Velen is all but required. Velen offers enough burst to finish out games even with the opponent at full health. That said, the future of this Priest Legendary is uncertain. When Raza the Chained rotates out of Standard in a few short months, be aware that he may return to obscurity.
- Example Deck List: Highlander Razakus Priest – Prophet Velen can both help stabilize against aggro and finish the game against control in this powerful deck.
Tirion Fordring – Paladin has a long history of incredibly strong Legendary cards and it all started with Tirion. For a time, he was even cited as the highest win rate card in Hearthstone. While not currently as omnipresent as he once was, Tirion is still a safe craft.
Hearthstone Classic Set Good Cards to Crafts
Alexstrasza – Alexstrasza has been a combo enabler since the early days of Hearthstone. The option to either burst down an opponent to set up a kill or dodge incoming lethal damage makes Alexstrasza a perennial powerhouse worthy of crafting.
Cairne Bloodhoof – Cairne provides a sturdy body with a Deathrattle that can threaten opponents for multiple turns. The card, however, doesn’t provide much utility that cannot be replaced.
Deathwing – A massive body, Deathwing can find his way into decks that have ways to cheat him out or need a contingency plan. Because he rarely is a requirement for Tier 1 decks he remains less important than some of the other Legendaries.
Harrison Jones – When weapons are a consistent part of the meta, Harrison Jones is frequently slotted into numerous decks. However, the fact that he’s a tech card means he’s reliant on the shifting meta and not as safe as those mentioned above. Even early in Kobolds, weapons haven’t been prevalent enough to warrant inclusion of this adventurer.
The Black Knight – The Black Knight has seen ebbs and flows of play during the lifespan of Hearthstone. As long as decks run powerful taunts, he’ll find his way into the meta, but even then, he can be replaced with Silence.
Ysera – The best neutral value generator in the Classic Set, Ysera will frequently find her way into control decks. When aggression is king, however, Ysera is too slow and often one of the first cards cut from these lists.
Year of the Mammoth (2017) Sets
The Year of the Mammoth consists of Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs. All three sets will rotate out of the Standard format with the release of the first expansion in 2019.
Journey to Un’Goro Best Cards to Craft
There are currently no Neutral Legendaries that are safe to craft from the Journey to Un’Goro expansion. Spiritsinger Umbra does see some play in Cube Warlock, but even still, she isn’t critical to the deck’s success. Most of the Neutral Legendaries from this set have not found a home in any recent meta decks.
Likewise, Elise the Trailblazer was very popular upon release, but with six expansions currently available, better options have pushed her out of the competitive metagame. The brave adventurer may see a return to fame when there are few cards in the Standard pool but, for now at least, your Arcane Dust may be better used elsewhere.
Lyra the Sunshard – More consistent and controlled than Yogg (and cheaper), Lyra can pull you out of unpleasant situations and save the game. This Legendary Elemental finds a home in numerous spell-heavy Priest decks.
- Example Deck List: Dragon Priest – Any deck running the Divine Spirit plus Inner Fire combo can benefit form the inclusion of Lyra. This Dragon Priest runs several low-cost spells that warrants her inclusion.
Sunkeeper Tarim – Of all the powerful Paladin Legendaries, Sunkeeper Tarim may be the best. The flexibility of the card allows you to neutralize large, opposing minions or buff up you own weak minions to turn up the aggression. If you play Paladin, you need this card.
- Example Deck List: Murloc Paladin – Murloc Paladin continues to be one of the top decks in the meta and Sunkeeper Tarim feels right at home in the list.
Journey to Un’Goro Good Cards to Craft
Elise the Trailblazer – Another strong value generator, Elise sees quite a bit more play than her predecessor. Nearly any slow archetype can make an argument for her inclusion.
Fire Plume's Heart – The card that finally made Taunt Warrior playable, the Warrior quest enables a specific deck like few other cards are capable. If you miss Ragnaros the Firelord as a win condition, this card is probably for you. Quest Warrior is currently pretty weak in the meta, so only craft this if you really like the deck and don’t care about being on top of the meta.
Open the Waygate – Like other quests, Open the Waygate needs a deck built around it. The resulting Exodia Mage lists, while fun to play and capable of winning some games, are just shy of competitively viable.
Pyros – A minion that can slide into Tempo and Control Mages alike, Pyros has some potential. That said, it’s rarely a mandatory component of a top tier deck.
Knights of the Frozen Throne Best Cards to Craft
Prince Keleseth – After the nerfs to Innervate and Fiery War Axe there became room in most aggro decks for Prince Keleseth. The card has empowered the Rogue class, but also helps Pirate Warrior maintain a spot in the high meta.
- Example Deck List: Tempo Rogue – Tempo Rogue is a powerful aggro deck that can Shadowstep Keleseth and re-play it to further strengthen the deck’s minions.
- Example Deck List: Pirate Warrior – Yes, Fiery War Axe got nerfed, but Keleseth keeps the deck among some of the top lists in the meta.
The Lich King – The Lich King is the first Neutral Legendary printed that, similar to Ragnaros the Firelord and Dr. Boom in the past, can be included in nearly any deck and perform well. Crafting this card is certainly a safe bet.
- Example Deck List: Big Priest – Big Priest is able to cheat out high-cost minions (like The Lich King) in a variety of ways, providing massive swing turns early in the game.
Shadowreaper Anduin – Shadowreaper Anduin gives Priest the opportunity to close out games that might otherwise slip away. Even without Raza the Chained, multiple hero powers each turn can strip away Token boards or kill an opponent. If you enjoy playing Priest, you probably crafted Anduin long before reading this.
- Example Deck List: Highlander Razakus Priest – Shadowreaper fits in both Highlander and Big Priest currently. Just be careful not to destroy your own minions!
Malfurion the Pestilent – Malfurion offers the opportunity for Druid to stabilize against decks that would usually overrun the class. The flexibility of both the Battlecry and hero power might make this the best Death Knight in the set.
- Example Deck List: Jade Druid – Innervate did get nerfed, but Jade Druid is still very powerful and capable of quickly climbing the ladder.
Bloodreaver Gul'dan– We’ve seen the incredible power of N'Zoth, The Corruptor in decks with even just a few Deathrattles. Bloodreaver Gul’dan offers a similar board swing coupled with the perfect hero power for a slower Warlock deck.
- Example Deck List: Cube Warlock – The triumphant return of a combo-based control Warlock reminiscent of Handlock, Cube Warlock can quickly close out games with Bloodreaver Gul’dan.
Knights of the Frozen Throne Good Cards to Craft
Prince Taldaram – Didn’t see much play early on, but because of the popularity of Cubelock has now become relevant. It’s still early in in the lifespan of the deck, so we wouldn’t call it a safe craft yet.
Frost Lich Jaina – Frost Lich Jaina has shown some promise in certain decks, but the archetypes she’s included in aren’t quite meta-defining. She is still worth considering crafting, but not on par with some of the other hero cards in the set.
Thrall, Deathseer – Thrall synergizes well with Shaman’s frequent game plan of spreading wide on the board. The upgraded hero power offers some late game value generation that can carry decks into a win. That said, the card isn’t strictly mandatory in the decks that he fits into.
Kobolds and Catacombs Best Cards to Craft
This soon after the release of the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion, the Hearthstone metagame is still in flux. As a result, few Legendary cards stand out amongst the rest.
The set has several Legendaries that are currently seeing play, but their long-term competitive viability is still in question. Because of this, we were more conservative in our assessment of cards from this set and we recommend the same restraint in your crafting decisions. As the meta develops, these recommendations are subject to change, especially for the most recent expansion.
Aluneth – Drawing three cards at the end of each turn gives more aggressive Mage decks the opportunity to extend into the late game and finish opponents with burn.
- Example Deck List: Secret Mage – The release of a Legendary weapon resulted in a resurgence of Secret Mage. With a lower curve than previous builds, Secret Mages can dump their hand efficiently to avoid overdrawing with Aluneth.
Kobolds and Catacombs Good Cards to Craft
Master Oakheart – Despite the low attack requirements, Recruiting three additional minions from your deck has some interesting options for slower control decks.
Dragoncaller Alanna – Big Spell Mage certainly lives up to its name. With enough 5 mana or more spells cast, Alanna can flood the board with 5/5 dragons.
Kathrena Winterwisp – Recruit Hunter has potential for some big swing turns. Combining newly acquired, powerful spells with big Beasts makes Katrena a card worth consideration.
Rin, the First Disciple – Before release, this little gnome was scoffed at. It turns out she can offer a win condition for control Warlocks against other slow decks. That said, she isn’t strictly required for the decks she fits into.
Skull of the Man'ari – Initially, the threat of weapon removal gave players hesitation about including Skull. Even still, the Warlock weapon pairs well with high-cost or high-drawback demons.
Sonya Shadowdancer – Sonya has the ability to punish opponents for leaving minions on board, but isn’t quite necessary for any of the decks she fits into.
Year of the Kraken (2016) Sets
The Year of the Kraken consists of Whispers of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansions (One Night in Karazhan as well, but that’s an Adventure). Both sets will rotate out of the Standard format with the release of the first expansion in 2018.
Whispers of the Old Gods Best Cards to Craft
N'Zoth, The Corruptor – Deathrattle is already a strong mechanic in Hearthstone. The possibility of resurrecting your Deathrattle minions and generating a full board makes N’Zoth an extremely powerful card.
- Example Deck List: Demon Control Warlock – Not as good as Cube Warlock, but has a place in the meta as a more controlling style of deck.
Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound – Go big or go home. Y’Shaarj enable some powerful decks that look to cheat minions into play far earlier than they should be able to.
- Example Deck List: Big Druid – Big Druid can get to 10 mana faster than any other deck in the Standard format. This means Y’Shaarj gets to pull minions out of your deck several turns earlier.
- Example Deck List: Jade Druid – Jade Druid is a very powerful deck that uses its ramping ability to continually pump out larger and larger green men.
Whispers of the Old Gods Good Cards to Crafts
Deathwing, Dragonlord – The second iteration of Deathwing can cause opponents to hesitate before clearing the 12/12 body. In big decks with several dragons, Dragonlord finds a nice home.
Ragnaros, Lightlord – Eight healing on a massive body makes for an immense amount of value on a single card. Rag isn’t necessarily played in every Paladin deck, but still a relatively safe craft for slower builds.
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Best Cards to Craft
Aya Blackpaw – While not technically a neutral card, Aya is viable in at least one deck for the three classes she is available to. The Jade mechanic, in general, is immensely powerful and Aya is a critical part of it.
- Example Deck List: Jade Druid – One the strongest decks in the game, Jade Druid can out-value and overwhelm slower decks. It can now even compete against aggressive decks with Spreading Plague.
- Example Deck List: Highlander Razakus Priest – Playing a Kazakus on curve in Highlander Priest can be devastating for the opponent, especially in mirror matches.
Patches the Pirate – A terror in the Standard meta since the release of MSoG, Patches is so strong it forced the inclusion of the Pirate package into decks solely to shoot him into play. While the card relies on others to perform, it is easily one of the best cards from the set.
- Example Deck List: Zoo Warlock – Adding Pirates to a Warlock deck may seem strange, but the potency of Patches makes it worth the inclusion.
Raza the Chained – Largely ignored upon release, Raza has teamed up with Shadowreaper Anduin since the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne to terrorize the Standard metagame.
- Example Deck List: Highlander Razakus Priest – Raza the Chained is a big part of what enables this deck. A free hero power that refreshes after each spell can pump out a significant amount of damage.
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Good Cards to Craft
Finja, the Flying Star – For a time, several decks shoved in Murlocs just to make use of Finja. While still a strong card, other powerful options have decreased the need to spend 1600 dust on Finja.
Shaku, the Collector – Shaku is a great utility card, but his replaceability lands him just shy of the Best Cards to Craft. He can fit into most Rogue decks, but isn’t missed when replaced.
Wickerflame Burnbristle – It should be no surprise to see another Paladin Legendary. Wickerflame is a strong tool for stalling aggressive decks and will find his way into Paladin lists any time fast decks rule the meta.
About the Author
A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.