We’re cool with Hearthstone in its present day form (as of this writing, the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion) and all, but we’ve gotta be honest — the recent announcement about Hearthstone Classic has us ready for a refreshing return to our roots; a mode where we can play the game as it was in its nascency before the intrusion of Demon Hunters, an overabundance of board clearing spells and myriad cards that can cheaply generate new cards and/or other random bulls—.
In other words, we can’t wait to dust off some of our favorite old school minions and spells and dive back into the nostalgic bliss (at least for a few weeks anyway). If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to put on your rose-tinted Emerald Goggles and rediscover some of your favorite Hearthstone Classic cards as well; but what if you’ve forgotten? Or what if you started playing Hearthstone long after Classic was already a distant memory?
The following list contains what we consider to be a healthy balance of both the best cards in Hearthstone Classic and the ones that will be the most fun to play again after a long hiatus (or on account of powercreep).
This entry almost goes without saying — but who wouldn’t want to say at least a couple of words about the vaunted Leeroy Jenkins, one of the most ludicrous and commensurately lethal Legendary minions in Hearthstone history?
In retrospect, Leeroy Jenkins, with his 6 Attack/2 HP stat line, Charge keyword and “Summon two 1/1 Whelps for your opponent” effect might not seem much more advantageous than the Mage class’ Fireball spell — but there’s more than meets the eye with this foolhardy finisher.
For starters, Leeroy is the strongest Charge minion in the game; combined with a low mana cost (4 mana back in Hearthstone Classic), Leeroy became devastating in combinwith Spells such as Windfury + Rockbiter Weapon, Inner Rage + Rampage, or Shadowstep + Cold Blood and deal anywhere between 11 and 18 damage in a single turn.
As Blizzard themselves said prior to nerfing Leeroy Jenkins in Patch 188.8.131.5285, “Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. We like having a variety of deck types but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not very fun or interactive.”
If you’re looking to build an aggressive deck when you delve into Hearthstone Classic, Leeroy Jenkins should be a prime 4-spot consideration.
Up until recently the Hunter class has had a glaring lack of card draw ability and that’s likely due to the impact caused by Starving Buzzard, a Hunter minion in Hearthstone Classic which became the linchpin for the strongest combos in the game.
So what’s so good about a little carrion bird that costs 2 mana and has a 2 Attack/1 Health stat line?
What makes Starving Buzzard one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards isn’t its stat distribution but its ability, which allows it to draw a card any time the player summons a Beast; when combined with staple Hunter spell Unleash the Hounds, players can potentially draw 6 cards in one turn, in addition to setting up substantial damage on the board. And just imagine how that damage can be even further amplified if the player draws a Timber Wolf, Kill Command or Leeroy Jenkins to further augment and culminate the combo.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of Starving Buzzard combos in Hearthstone Classic, try to pack some Taunt-based minions such as Sunfury Protector, Defender of Argus, Sen’jin Shieldmasta. Control-oriented decks can also stymie Starving Buzzard’s effect.
Looks like Yeti’s back on the menu, boys.
This blue-furred, devil-horned behemoth is rightfully remembered as one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards on account of its solid 4 Attack and downright bulky 5 Health — especially impressive for a 4-mana cost minion.
Chillwind Yeti can swipe down smaller minions with relative ease and trade two for one on nearly any other 4-drop in Hearthstone Classic as well, making it pivotal for board position.
One of my favorite card designs in Hearthstone Classic is Frostwolf Warlord — not just because it depicts battle-hardened, grizzled, Horde veteran Eitrigg in the card art, but because of the fun, flavorful Battlecry too. Warlord’s Battlecry grants it +1/+1 for each other friendly minion on the battlefield, which makes it a force to be reckoned with in aggro and Zoo decks in Hearthstone Classic.
Another nice touch? The fact that Frostwolf Warlord’s card effect and Attack voice line make it a fitting counterpart, both in flavor and function to the next card on our list.
If Frostwolf Warlord shouts “For the Horde” for every attack and is buffed by its friendly minions, where is the corresponding Alliance representative in Hearthstone Classic?
Enter Stormwind Champion, a minion whose card effect is the inverse to Frostworld Warlord, granting all friendly minions on the battlefield +1/+1.
Much like the Warlord, this one gets extra points from me for its card art, which depicts a staunch looking Alliance soldier decked out in the iconic Stormwind Guard armor.
Much like the previous two entries, Sea Giant is a card that fits well in Aggro and Zoo decks, like Zoo Warlock or Rush Murlock in vanilla Hearthstone.
Sea Giant’s card effect, “Costs (1) less for each other minion on the battlefield,” not only works well for when you’ve rushed several minions on your side of the field — but also benefits from the opponent doing the same. Dropping a 8/8 Sea giant onto the battlefield at 2-mana cost or less isn’t just one of the most satisfying feelings in Hearthstone Classic — it can also quickly turn the tide of a battle.
As Warsong Commander’s voice line and glorious card art implies, this orcish warrioress is one so inspiring in her bellicosity that she gifts her fellow minions (with 3 Attack and less) with the Charge ability.
The Warsong Commander we’ll be getting in Hearthstone Classic is from a point in time before the nerf which affected its ability to synergize in devastating fashion with the Grim Patron card in the Blackrock Mountain expansion, so when the time comes, Warsong Commander should remain one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards.
Blackrock Mountain expansion cards won’t be around when Hearthstone Classic hits, so players who were traumatized at the cry of Warsong Commander’s “Charge Forward” accompanied by the seemingly incessant, “Everyone, get in here!” of Grim Patron can rest easy. Notwithstanding, Warsong Commander still has some effective strategies it can use in tandem with its ability in Hearthstone Classic, such as synergizing with Frothing Berserker and Raging Worgen.
If you’re planning on playing as a Warrior when vanilla Hearthstone mode is made available, strongly consider using Warsong Champion, one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards.
Present day Hearthstone players might attribute the “card you see in every deck” crown to Ziliax from The Boomsday Project expansion, but before Ziliax, and before it was inducted into the Hearthstone Hall of Fame, Azure Dragon was one of the most pervasive cards in the competitive Hearthstone meta.
At 5-mana, Azure Drake provides a solid 4/4 body as well as card draw and Spell Damage abilities. Perhaps most impressive about Azure Drake is the fact that despite being such a prevalent minion, it was never nerfed or modified before being placed in the Hall of Fame, a testament to its excellent card design.
And that card art (even though it depicts Arygos, son of Malygos, and not just a common Azure Drake), though? *chef’s kiss*
Much like the previous entry, Chillwind Yeti, Boulderfist Ogre is plain and simply a minion with solid stats for its costs. In fact, Boulderfist Ogre’s flavor text, “ME HAVE GOOD STATS FOR THE COST,” has become the stuff memes are made of.
Need a good 6-drop (or two) to include in your upcoming vanilla deck? Then strongly consider Boulderfist Ogre, one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards. Him got good stats for the cost.
“I have no time for games.”
As a 6-mana cost, 5/5 Legendary minion with a Deathrattle that can drastically alter the state of the board, it’s fitting that Sylvanas Windrunner, one of the foremost characters in World of Warcraft is one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards as well.
What makes Sylvanas one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards is that she’s a conducive play in pretty much any situation; in addition to placing a dangerous 5/5 body on the board, Sylvanas’ Deathrattle is one that opposing players simply can’t ignore, forcing them to play around her if possible, but more often than not relegating them to inefficient trades or board flooding in the hopes that her Deathrattle will pilfer the least potent minion. Even on an empty board Sylvanas is a strong play, her mere presence being enough to cause an opponent to rethink playing a single, powerful minion directly after her.
To combat Sylvanas Windrunner, one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards, be sure you’re packing a Silence card or two.
Ragnaros the Firelord
“BY FIRE BE PURGED!”
When it comes to the best Hearthstone Classic cards, none are more epic than Ragnaros the Firelord himself.
What makes Ragnaros such an impressive minion befitting one of the most powerful characters in vanilla World of Warcraft isn’t just the intense card art, hot-tempered voice lines or beefy 8 Attack/8 Health for 8 mana stat line — it’s the dynamism of his ability, which deals 8 damage the turn he’s placed on the board, damage which is dealt without Ragnaros taking any damage himself.
Unless your opponent already has a big minion on board (which would have run the risk of getting removed by Ragnaros’ ability), they’ll have to trade a few minions into the Firelord’s substantial 8 Health. Polymorph or Hex are other options to remove Ragnaros, but at that point you’ve already done 8 damage to your opponent or one of his minions, putting you in a good position to place another big minion or a crucial Legendary with even less resistance.
To sum it up, Ragnaros the Firelord is one of the best Hearthstone Classic cards — and a highly effective one at that. Or as he might put it, “DIE, INSECT!”
Which of the preceding entries from our list do you think is the best Hearthstone Classic card? Are there any minions or spells that we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments.