With the second standard rotation, the Wild exclusive metagame has become more expansive, and now that we’ve had the first Wild Open, player interest has never been higher. However, with 2 more expansions and 3 more adventures, totaling 371 additional cards, figuring out what to craft for the Wild ladder can seem a little daunting, especially if you weren’t playing when those cards were relevant in Standard. If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at the Wild ladder, here are some cards to consider crafting first, separated into low and high budget categories. The cards highlighted in this list are viable in multiple decks, helping to maximize the value of your initial dust investment.
Low Budget Wild Crafts
For the Free-To-Play player or conservative spender. Low budget cards are great for decks with few Epics and Legendaries. Standard players will not have to craft much to make good use of these cards.
Recently moved to the new “Hall of Fame” set, the formerly most played card in Standard (apart from The Coin) is a versatile early craft when thinking about transitioning to wild. While frequently played in expensive, slower decks like Reno Mage, I include it in the “Low Budget” section because it goes well in Secret Mage, which can be played well with no legendaries, and Jade Druid, as Azure Drake is arguably the only card needed to take your Standard list into Wild.
Deathlord is an amazing anti-aggro card, which doubles as a late game disruption card. While essentially drawing your opponent a card and ramping them mana, early game your opponent will often have to trade unfavorably to get that effect, and against slower control decks you have a good chance of ruining their game-ending battlecry minions (N'Zoth, The Corruptor/Kazakus). Similar to Azure Drake, it’s most often played in expensive control decks, but I include it in the “Low Budget” section because it’s so good in Inner Fire Priest. This deck is frequently run with Lyra the Sunshard, but it’s not absolutely essential. If you forego Lyra, the deck can be made from scratch for about 2000 dust, or from your standard version for less than 500. You can use your Deathlords later if you decide to save for a higher cost deck.
This little Legendary takes your sub-optimal hero powers (like Armor Up in Pirate Warrior) and can turn them into superb aggressive options like Life Tap and Steady Shot. Sir Finley makes it into the “Low Budget” section because crafting him allows you to play a significant portion of the top tier meta: every aggro deck. Paired with Patches the Pirate, Sir Finley makes up the Legendary core of Pirate Warrior, Token Druid and Aggro Shaman.
Loatheb was the card I was most excited to leave Standard back at the first rotation, but now he’s one of my favorite cards to use. This card can single-handedly steal you games when played at the right time, and gives you a real fighting chance against Freeze Mage when dropped the turn after Alexstrasza. Loatheb fits in a lot of decks, but he’s not really necessary in any of them. Craft him to tech out midrange/control decks once you have the higher priority pieces.
There was a time when Dr. Boom was a must-have card for almost every top tier deck, but now he has competition for the 7 mana slot with cards like Firelands Portal and Abyssal Enforcer. Still, it remains a pretty decent card to craft, thanks to its overall power and wide range of decks it can be included in. Similar to Loatheb, he should only be crafted after higher priority cards.
High Budget Wild Crafts
For the player that crafts as much as he/she wants. High Budget cards are integral for decks with many Epics and Legendaries, which might be difficult to build for Free-To-Play players.
The namesake card of many top tier decks, Reno Jackson is the savior of the high curve control builds. This card is necessary and without substitution in several archetypes, which makes him a high priority craft. Reno is in the “High Budget” category because his mechanic encourages the use of multiple Legendaries.
When it comes to silence, Hex, and Polymorph, no card has a target on its face quite like Sylvanas Windrunner, with the possible exception of Tirion Fordring. Sylvanas is great because your opponent has to play around her pretty hard, especially if you can bait out their removal before she comes down. Her effect is so strong, players will often spend their own removal cards on her just to guarantee she’ll be able to steal the right enemy. As long as she hasn’t been turned into a frog, she even comes back with N'Zoth, The Corruptor. Sylvanas is in the “High Budget” section because she is typically played in expensive control decks, almost exclusively with N’Zoth.
The combo enabler, Thaurissan is invaluable in many slower control and combo decks. The infamous Power Overwhelming/Leeroy Jenkins/Faceless Manipulator combo is no longer possible without him (or The Coin), and Freeze Mage can use him to easily enable an OTK combo.
Whether it’s healing for 16 with Antique Healbot or getting double Kazakus potions, Brann is an amazing value card. Any deck with a lot of battlecries can benefit from Brann, but he gets played most often in decks with Reno Jackson, which is why he’s in the “High Budget” section.
Buy the Adventures
A lot of the power in wild comes out of the Adventures (most of the cards featured here are from them), and considering Blizzard is about to make them all purchasable again, players can get a lot of Wild value by investing in them (also, the single player content is pretty fun). If you were playing Standard in 2016, you probably already have League of Explorers, but if you don’t, you should start there. Sir Finley Mrrgglton and Reno Jackson are two of the most powerful cards in wild, and many cards that go with them come from League of Explorers. Naxxramas is also a high value Adventure, and probably the most fun to play through.
Build Pirate Warrior
Including Sir Finley Mrrgglton, it takes only 1760 dust to transform your Standard list into a Wild one, and only 80 if you have the Adventures. The 5 card change really makes a difference; if you thought Pirate Warrior in standard was too fast, just wait until you Ship's Cannon/The Coin/N'Zoth's First Mate on turn 2. The climb is fun, at least the first time, and after having played Pirate Warrior in Wild I found it’s less frustrating to lose to it.