39: Ripping Up the Ladder

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Void Ripper got me to Legend! So let’s take a detour to talk about this month’s Legend grind, how the new ladder feels different, and some fundamentals of playing control decks.


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38: Well Worgen Territory

Deck Guide: Control Priest

Control Priest Without Barnes?

What a world, right? Turns out it’s better to play with your opponent’s Voidlords than it is to play with your own Obsidian Statues. Who knew?

 That's a nice N'zoth you have there...

That's a nice N'zoth you have there...

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(Updated 3/16/2018 - Removed Dragonfire Potion and added Shadow Word: Death.)

Seriously, Dragon Control Priest (or just Control Priest, because despite my best efforts no one thinks of Big Priest as a Control deck), is well situated for a meta overrun with Warlocks and Paladins. You have board clears for days between four dragons with battlecries that damage the board alongside Dragonfire Potion and Shadow Word: Horror, as well as healing to stabilize and early minion pressure to help keep the board in a manageable state and help the board clears along.

One other thing that works in this deck's favor is the variety of relevant priest decks in the meta right now. Your early game looks identical to Spiteful Priest and Combo Priest up until you play a Shadow Word: Horror. There's not a great way to mulligan against this deck to begin with, but even if there was, this list is probably third or fourth on the list of decks your opponents are worried about. Depending on how long you can maintain that charade, you can even take your opponent completely off guard with Pint-Size Potion into Shadow Word: Horror or Cabal Shadow Priest. Sometimes, at high ranks, the extra couple of win rate percentage points due to the surprise factor matters.

Fair warning: This is a difficult deck to play optimally. Patience is crucial; you have a lot of board clears, but if you use one too early, or don't line up your answers properly to what you're facing, you're going to have a bad time. Very often, you're going to need to think outside the box and use creative combinations of cards to get yourself out of situations; it's easy to misplay, and misplays tend to get punished hard. Not to mention there are several cards that you may not be used to using, like...

Wait, Void Ripper? Seriously?


 Meet Void Ripper. It's available for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Meet Void Ripper. It's available for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Void Ripper is the Swiss Army Knife of this deck, and I honestly wouldn’t play this deck without it. Like the old PlayStation commercials used to claim, “It only does everything.” With Pint Sized Potion, it’s a board clear for anything that’s reduced to zero attack. It’s another Twilight Acolyte or Pint Sized Potion for enabling Cabal Shadow Priest or Book Wyrms you pick up from Netherspite Historian, or manipulating a board state for Shadow Word Horror. It’s a way to generate burst damage by flipping a board of high health minions, which is why Primordial Drakes and Ysera are also key to the deck. It gets your opponent’s high health minions into range of Anduin. There are a whole host of situations where Void Ripper is a really useful tool, and the more creative you can get by using it, the more successful you’ll be with the deck.

So TL;DR: Yes, Void Ripper is a good card. Yes, it’s core to the deck. Yes, you should craft it. No, you shouldn’t play the deck without two copies. 

 This particular technique is known as the "butt stomp".

This particular technique is known as the "butt stomp".

Card Choices

Northshire Cleric

Cleric does two things in this deck. Obviously, it provides card draw, and it’s really the only option for that in the deck. What it also does is acts as a lightning rod and disrupts your opponent's early game. An aggro opponent may hesitate to drop a 1-drop into it that you can trade off or even just bump into and then draw a card. It’s also going to soak at least 3 damage that might have otherwise gone to your face. Even if it’s not drawing you cards, it’s buying you time by slowing down the game, and that’s just as valuable.

Pint-Size Potion

This is the engine that drives the deck. Many of your powerful plays involve manipulating opposing minions’ attack, and Pint-Size Potion is one of your primary ways to do that. Pint-Size Potion into Potion of Madness, Shadow Word: Horror and Cabal Shadow Priest are the obvious applications, but don’t underestimate the synergy with Void Ripper; whatever attack the minion has at the time the Ripper comes down becomes that minion's health permanently, so you can clear a scary looking board really efficiently this way. It’s even more efficient if you can get the minion’s attack down to 0 because then Void Ripper just kills the minion outright.

Potion of Madness

This is primarily here as a survival mechanism against Paladin, but much like the other cards in the deck, it synergizes very well with all the cards that manipulate attack; while you’d obviously rather just take the Voidlords permanently with Cabal Shadow Priest, Pint-Size Potion and Potion of Madness followed by a board clear can be nearly as effective, because it makes sure the minion dies on your side of the board, giving you the benefit of the deathrattle and removing it from your opponent’s resurrection pool.

Netherspite Historian

Hey bro, I heard you like dragons, so I put some dragons in your dragons. Netherspite really doesn’t need much introduction; it’s both value generation and a way to guarantee activators for Duskbreaker and Drakonid Operative, and you’re not playing dragon priest without two copies. Your default picks are anything that you run in the deck naturally, plus Book Wyrm and Alexstrasza can occasionally be key. If you feel like the game could go the distance, Deathwing can be a decent insurance policy late in the game as well.

Shadow Visions

Spells are fun, so fun! Just be careful not to play this just because you have nothing better to do and it's mana efficient. Unless you’re concerned about mana constraints of playing this and the card you pick on an upcoming turn, you’re almost always going to be better off saving Shadow Visions for later on when you know what you’re playing against and what you need. If what you’re going to need is a spell like Mind Control or Greater Healing Potion that you only have one copy of, go ahead and play Shadow Visions earlier so you don’t draw the natural copy first, but otherwise, you want to use this to get the answer you need at the time that you need it.

Twilight Acolyte

Like most of the cards in this list, Twilight Acolyte does two different things for you. First, it’s Aldor Peacekeeper for Priest, and that’s usually valuable on its own. Aside from that, it gets larger minions into the range of things like Shadow Word Horror and Cabal Shadow Priest, or makes them more vulnerable to a clear following a Void Ripper. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a Skulking Geist, be much more stingy with your Acolytes because they're the only way you have after that to enable a number of your powerful cards.

 Twilight Acolyte tends to be part of "find the lethal" style finishes.

Twilight Acolyte tends to be part of "find the lethal" style finishes.

 Twilight Acolyte into Potion of Madness into Void Ripper into face into victory.

Twilight Acolyte into Potion of Madness into Void Ripper into face into victory.

Shadow Word: Death

There are enough decks that beat you with an early large minion (Big Priest with Eternal Servitude, Spell Hunter with Barnes into Y'shaarj, Cubelock with Mountain Giant, etc.) that you need an immediate answer sometimes, and you can't rely on Twilight Acolyte plus another dragon to be consistent.

Void Ripper

See above. It’s still good. I didn’t change my mind.


Duskbreaker probably doesn’t need much explanation. It’s AoE on a stick and it challenges most meta decks’ power turns.

Priest of the Feast

This may seem odd given how few spells are in the deck, but you usually don’t need to heal for a ton off the card text; the threat of healing up to full in perpetuity is enough for your opponent to direct their damage at it. As a result, if it doesn’t get answered with hard removal, it basically heals you for 6 just by hitting the board. This also gives you a proactive play in slower matchups; tempo Priest of the Feast is a reasonable play in slower matchups. The health is relevant for Void Ripper as well.

Greater Healing Potion

Sometimes you just need to heal for 12 in a hurry. Other times you need to heal a minion for 12 in a hurry, so that you can flip it with Voidlord for extra burst. (And you thought that just because it can't target your opponent that it can't be used for lethal!)

Shadow Word: Horror

One of your primary board clears, Horror is best for removing high health or shielded minions, or combining with Pint Sized Potion and Potion of Madness to steal and remove a minion with deathrattle or potential to be resurrected on your side of the board instead of your opponent's.

Drakonid Operative

Like Duskbreaker, this is just a card that’s too good not to play. Most of the situations you play this card are obvious, but don’t underestimate the value of information it gives you in terms of what exact archetype you’re playing against if you’re playing against Priest or Warlock. Knowing if you’re up against a Spiteful, Control or Combo Priest is really important for how you plan out your turns and line up your answers.

Cabal Shadow Priest

A 4/5 that steals minions and has tons of supporting cards to get minions into range is one of the main reasons you’re playing control priest. If you’re against a deck that doesn’t have must-steal targets like Rin and Voidlord, playing this without the battlecry as a tempo play can be fine.

Primordial Drake

Primordial Drake is effectively the death blow against Paladin; it removes a board of small minions awaiting a buff while also putting up a huge taunt that they likely won’t be able to deal with easily outside of Tarim or Equality. The 8 health also becomes a lot of burst in conjunction with Void Ripper.

Shadowreaper Anduin

Anduin is played primarily for the AoE Shadow Word Death effect, but it’s also very useful in a deck like this for whittling down your opponent’s health total for the last few points of damage. It's not a win condition on its own like it was in pre-nerf Raza Priest, but one challenge Priest decks can have is closing out games, and Anduin gives you that capability.


Seven dragons is the statistical sweet spot for consistently activating your other dragon battlecries, and it just so happens that the 12 health on Ysera generates a lot of burst with Void Ripper, especially in conjunction with Nightmare and Ysera Awakens. Dream can be clutch to get taunts out of the way or remove problematic minions stolen with Potion of Madness, and Ysera can also generate other dragons to activate future abilities. 

Mind Control

You need a third steal effect to effectively combat Control Warlock, and this does very nicely.


Priest of the Feast is the flex spot in the list. If you’re finding you’re seeing a lot of Cubelock and Secret Mage, you can try switching that out for an Acidic Swamp Ooze or a Gluttonous Ooze. (Don’t put in Harrison Jones, though; this deck often operates with a lot of cards in hand and Harrison can be slow and awkward to play.)

The epics (Shadow Visions, Twilight Acolyte, Primordial Drake, Dragonfire Potion, Cabal Shadow Priest and Void Ripper) are all core to the deck and shouldn’t be substituted. Unfortunately, control decks tend to run expensive and this is no exception, but those cards all work together in tandem and the rest of the deck revolves around those cards.

The legendaries, however, can reasonably be swapped out. If you don’t have Ysera, either Alexstrasza or Sleepy Dragon could be a reasonable replacement, and you can sub in either a second Dragonfire Potion or just a Shadow Word Death For Anduin. Zola the Gorgon could get some work done if you have it as well.

"This Looks Great, But Have You Considered...?"

Shadow Word: Pain

This list looks like it doesn't have enough removal; you need to play it to believe that it does. Pain really only becomes relevant for minions with exactly 3 attack, because you have tools to deal cleanly with anything smaller.

Elise the Trailblazer

Playing Elise is effectively conceding that you're going to win in fatigue most of the time, because it's really difficult to play the Un'goro Pack before you've made sufficient room in your hand to get adequate value from it. I've played enough games with Elise in the list to decide that the ability didn't provide value often enough to justify an understatted minion who's not a dragon in the list. I feel that Ysera is the best endgame card for this deck because it's a dragon, so it activates the other synergy cards early on, and it also has 12 health for Void Ripper lethals. Elise is more fun, though; I'll give her that.

Medivh, the Guardian

You just don't run enough big spells for Medivh to matter, he doesn't affect the board the turn he's played, and he's not a dragon. When I've tried Medivh it's almost always felt like win more in this specific list.

Psychic Scream

In general, your gameplan with this deck is resource exhaustion, and Psychic Scream works counter to that. Psychic Scream is great when you don't have any other good way of dealing with awkward to clear minions or powerful deathrattles, but the way this deck is built, you just steal those minions and move on with your day.

Book Wyrm

Primordial Drake has taunt, it has a bigger butt than Book Wyrm, and it clears a wave of Silver Hand Recruits singlehandedly. There are arguments for Book Wyrm depending on what you're facing, but your win rate against Dude Paladin will suffer dramatically if you swap out Primordial Drakes for them.

Dragonfire Potion

This was in the last version of the deck but it ultimately ended up being slow and dead in the hand a lot, and you have plenty of clears but not enough targeted removal; I swapped it out for a single Shadow Word: Death as I saw more mirrors, Combo Priests and Cubelocks playing Mountain Giants.


Always hold Northshire Cleric, Pint-Sized Potion, Netherspite Historian (even without a dragon) and Duskbreaker.

Against aggro, keep Potion of Madness and Shadow Word: Horror. If you have Duskbreaker and you’re on the coin, it’s ok to keep another dragon with it to ensure an activator but otherwise don’t.

Against control, keep Drakonid Operative, and keep Cabal Shadow Priest if you have Pint-Size Potion already.

Matchup Advice


Control - Favored

This is the reason you’re playing this deck. Control Priest wrecks slow Warlocks. Your general plan in this matchup is to ensure that Voidlord and Rin don’t get resurrected. Keep Pint Sized Potion in your hand at all times and be sure you can either Pint-Sized or Twilight Acolyte into Cabal Shadow Priest or Potion of Madness plus a board clear to kill those cards on your side of the board. Good Warlock players will recognize this is your strategy and will Dark Pact their priority minions proactively; this is fine for Voidlord, because you can just take the next one. The way you lose this matchup is an early Rin that dies on their end of the board; if that happens, pressure and draw as much as you can; they may be able to play one Seal a turn but you shouldn’t let them speedrun to Azari. Outside of that, though, they rely on the swing turns of N’zoth and Gul’Dan to win, and if you can defuse those, you can usually outvalue them in the endgame, because they’re going to go to fatigue long before you do.

Cubelock - Slightly Favored

This plays out similar to control except that you're worried about Mountain Giants and Doomguards instead of Rin. What you're trying to do is steal the Voidlords and kill the Doomguards on sight. The sooner you kill the Doomguards, the fewer of them they can make, and the Doomguards only come back once, but the Voidlords come back twice, so stealing one Voidlord is like killing 3 of them. If you're seeing a parade of Cubelocks it's reasonable to swap out the Priest of the Feast for a Gluttonous Ooze. This makes it much more difficult for them to execute the Cube plan, and significantly lowers their overall damage output.

 "Ah, I see you've played Knifey Spoony before!"

"Ah, I see you've played Knifey Spoony before!"


Dude Paladin - Slightly Favored

This is the first control deck I’ve found aside from Control Warlock that has as many board clears as the dude paladin has boards. The key to this matchup is using the right clear for the right situation. You want Shadow Word Horror to deal with Divine Shield and high health boards, and you want Duskbreaker and Dragonfire to deal with high attack boards without divine shields. If you’re at 8 mana and your opponent plays something like Stand Against Darkness or Vinecleaver, try to use Primordial Drake to clear those boards. If at all possible, try to hold your clears for after turn 4 so you can sweep up a Lightfused Stegadon or Call to Arms board at the same time. Potion of Madness on Drygulch Jailor early denies them a lot of value and gives you minions to trade off divine shields, so keep an eye out for that since the Jailor rarely gets dropped on an empty board. It’s also fine to just drop Drakonid Operative for minimal value, because very little in their deck is useful for you aside from Equality and Sunkeeper Tarim.

 The Pint-Size Potion/Void Ripper combo is brutal against Paladin.

The Pint-Size Potion/Void Ripper combo is brutal against Paladin.

Murloc Paladin - Favored

This is similar to the Dude Paladin matchup but you need to be more vigilant about clearing, because Murloc Warleader and Gentle Megasaur can burst you down out of nowhere. Don't be greedy with the board clears and try to keep the murloc population down as much as possible.


Spiteful Priest - Favored

Approach this matchup as you would a slower Paladin; try to conserve your board clears to get value, and hold Twilight Acolyte as long as possible to answer Spiteful Summoner turns. Once you get to ten mana, be careful about playing big minions that you don’t want Mind Controlled if you don’t have a way to get them back.

Control Priest - Even

The mirror is going to be a grind. Most Control Priests are playing something similar to Amnesiac’s list, which runs Curious Glimmerroot and Elise the Trailblazer. Obviously, getting copies of Elise or the pack from Drakonid Operative will help you keep pace, but you’re really looking to stick a big dragon and flip it for lethal. If you go long, the “traditional” control priests will outvalue you.

Combo Priest - Slightly Favored

Basically, just remove everything with a reasonable amount of health as soon as you figure out it’s Combo Priest, and bump into the things you can't remove to deny Divine Spirit shenanigans. The matchup doesn’t actually play all that differently from Spiteful Priest, except that every minion is a potential lethal, so you really need to remove everything with extreme prejudice. If you can weather the initial few turns, you should have enough removal to take the board and never give it back. Late game, be careful about putting out high health minions if you don’t need to; the combo priest can play Pint-Size Potion, Potion of Madness, and then whatever buffs they have available combined with Inner Fire to kill you in one turn.


Secret Mage - Even

Your primary goal in this matchup is survival. You want to take as little damage as possible while keeping the board under control. Duskbreaker is essential in this matchup; most of your opponent’s minions have 3 health aside from Kabal Crystal Runner and whatever comes out of Firelands Portal, and Duskbreaker can’t be Counterspelled. Pint-Size Potion and Potion of Madness can also be helpful to test for Counterspell before a board clear or a Greater Healing Potion. Extra Greater Healing Potions from Shadow Visions make this matchup much easier, and Drakonid Operative is ideal to play into a suspected Explosive Runes because it will still give you a card and soak all the damage. Don’t hesitate to play Priest of the Feast out even if you don’t have spells to go with it, because it can soak a bunch of damage that your opponent really would rather point at your face. As you reach the endgame, make sure to keep your health above 15 at all costs; that’s the max burst for the mage (double Fireball plus Frostbolt). If they play Aluneth, forget about face damage and just focus on outlasting them; the fatigue damage will take care of lethal for you. If things get desperate and Duskbreaker won’t clear the board on its own, Duskbreaker followed by Void Ripper can take a lot of attack damage off the board even if it doesn’t result in a full clear.

Big Spell Mage - Unfavored

Once you realize you’re playing against this deck, you’re the beatdown. You’re trying to end the game before Frost Lich Jaina comes down, because it’s going to be very difficult to do that when you’re also worrying about your minions’ health. Stay on the lookout for potential Void Ripper burst and take the damage when you can get it even if it’s not lethal; you’re very unlikely to have any board stick for more than one turn.


Spell Hunter - Slightly Favored

The way the Spell Hunter usually wins this matchup is a combination of early pressure generated from traps (mostly Cat Trick, but Explosive Trap and Wandering Monster can cause you trouble as well), an early Emerald Spellstone, and endgame burst from Kill Command and the hero power. Make sure you hold back an answer to a turn 5 Spellstone; Duskbreaker, Pint Sized Potion/Shadow Word: Horror, or Coin-Dragonfire all work well. Whenever possible, if you’re going to use a spell based board clear and there’s a secret up, try to cast another cheap spell first; Coin, Potion of Madness or a secret you’ve stolen with Drakonid Operative are all good for this. This triggers the Cat Trick and sweeps up the Cat in the board clear rather than leaving it behind to hit you in the face. If you can come out of the Spellstone turn with a reasonable amount of health, you should be able to start pressuring and recover. In general, if you don’t know what to take off of Shadow Visions, take Greater Healing Potion.


Kingsbane Rogue - Heavily Unfavored

Honestly, I rarely recommend this, but if you see Leeching Poison or Coldlight Oracle, just concede and move on. The matchup is really that bad. You don’t run weapon removal, and you hold a lot of cards, so they can Coldlight at will. I’ve won this matchup once or twice, but it’s generally just a huge waste of your time.

Miracle Rogue - Slightly unfavored

This can be a dificult matchup if they get a good start. Be careful with how you spend your board clears; you may have to deal with a sudden board full of an Auctioneer and a bunch of spiders. If you know you're playing against Miracle, extra copies of Pint-Size Potion/Shadow Word Horror or Dragonfire Potion will see lots of value later on.


Jade Druid - Unfavored

You basically just need to pressure early and hope they don’t draw ramp or UI, because your gameplan revolves around exhausting resources, and that’s just not possible against Jade Idol. If you run into this matchup a lot, you can consider swapping out the Priest of the Feast for a Skulking Geist; just be careful to hold it until you’re not going to get value from Pint Sized Potion or Potion of Madness in other matchups.

Shaman and Warrior


Playing Against This Deck

In general, face is the place. You want to be constantly pressuring. This deck has a lot of answers but it does sometimes just draw poorly, and you can capitalize on that by pressuring the priest’s life total early and often. If you're seeing this deck a lot, you can consider teching in a Skulking Geist; that removes Pint-Size Potion and Potion of Madness, which cuts a lot of power out of the deck. It's not an auto-win if you get an early Geist down, but it does make plays considerably more awkward for the Control Priest player.

If you’re playing as Warlock specifically, you want to be sure that you have a way to kill off minions that you want to resurrect the turn you play them, either via Dark Pact, Carnivorous Cube, or Defile. Rin can wait a turn and is just as effective on turn 7; it’s not worth slamming her on 6 just to have her taken away and used against you.

As Paladin, think about how to construct boards to play around the board clears and have at least one minion survive. Divine shield and health boosts are your friend, be they from Steward of Darkshire, Coldlight Seer or adapt effects, and getting one minion above 2 attack early can give you an extra turn to push damage when the priest needs to find a Pint Sized Potion to go with their Shadow Word Horror.

Go Get Ripped!

When the Corridor Creeper nerfs came down, I was a bit disillusioned, because it seemed like we were going to be stuck with Cubelock, Murloc Paladin and Secret Mage, and we'd already played all those decks to death by the time of the nerfs. This deck, while challenging and skill intensive to play, ia a breath of fresh air, and it can crush any opponent given the right draws and adequate pilot skill. It may take you some time to get the hang of how to use all the pieces optimally, but if you take the time to learn it, soon you'll be butt stomping opponents left, right and center. And isn't that what Hearthstone is all about, really?

If you like this content, please consider subscribing to my weekly podcast, Off Curve, where I talk about Hearthstone while driving home on my commute. You can find it in iTunes and on Google Play. You can also follow me on Twitter and Twitch for more Hearthstone content. Thanks for reading!

Deck Import Code


37: Appreciation Day

36: Feeling Ravenous

What To Craft For the Wild Brawliseum

“I Can’t Play Wild Because I Don’t Have the Cards For It”

Au contraire! Even if you haven’t been playing Hearthstone for years, you’re probably closer to building competitive decks in Wild than you think. Most Wild lists only include a handful of Wild-exclusive cards, and if you already know what kinds of decks you like to play, you can probably craft the few Wild cards you’re missing to be able to have a meta deck in Wild without breaking your dust budget. Even better, most of the really critical Wild-exclusive cards are common, so you can probably build most of the meta-relevant decks in wild just from the dust refund from your nerfed Corridor Creepers.

Should You Buy the Adventures?

If you're serious about playing Wild, you should probably consider investing in Curse of Naxxramus and League of Explorers. Both sets have fairly substantial representation here, with at least one Legendary apiece. Assuming a generous average of 100 dust per pack (taking into account the chance for epic and legendary cards, plus golden cards), the cost of just crafting one legendary from each adventure is the equivalent of opening 16 packs of Classic cards. Currently, Curse of Naxxramus costs $25 USD, while League of Explorers costs $20 USD, while a 15 pack bundle also costs $20 USD. So given that both those sets will give you additional value for the purchase beyond just a single legendary card, those sets are worth the total $35 investment. If you can only afford to buy one adventure, buy League of Explorers; most of the legendary cards in that set have seen significant play at one point or another, while Loatheb is the only consistently played legendary from Naxxramus; most of the critical cards from Naxxramus are common and more easily crafted with dust. Blackrock Mountain is a bit more questionable, given that its most powerful legendary, Emperor Thaurissan, doesn't even make this list; that set should be your lowest priority, and most of the necessary cards are probably better just crafted a la carte.

Note that Wild sets are only available to purchase on Blizzard's web site. For your convenience, links to each adventure's store page are below:

Curse of Naxxramas

Blackrock Mountain

League of Explorers

A Note About This Guide

This guide is intended for the player with a fairly complete Standard collection who either dusted their Wild-exclusive cards or started playing after some of the Wild-exclusive sets rotated out of Standard, and wants to be able to build a couple of decks that can be competitive in the upcoming Brawlasseum. There are considerably more cards that are played or playable in Wild than are included in this list, but I've chosen to limit this guide to Wild-exclusive cards in deck lists featured in Blisterguy's Visual Guide to the Wild Meta, which is sourced from lineups that qualified for the upcoming Wild Open tournament:

There are many more decks that are viable in Wild that are not included in that list or this guide, but in an effort to keep Wild from feeling overwhelming for Standard players, this is limited to proven meta-relevant decks, along with a handful of decks not on that list that see frequent play in the current meta, such as Secret Paladin and Pirate Warrior. To that end, suggestions for possible Standard replacements for Wild-exclusive cards are not to suggest that these replacements will be at the same power level, but merely to separate cards that are absolutely necessary to play a particular archetype (Aviana in OTK Druid) from those that you should use if you have them, but may be lower on your crafting priority list if available dust is a concern (Old Murk-Eye in Murloc Paladin). Also, if a particular deck archetype is not listed here (some notable omissions that didn't make the cut are Secret Hunter, Aggro Druid, and any rogue archetypes), that doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing or that cards needed for that deck aren't worth crafting if that's a deck type that interests you. Wild is a much more forgiving environment for deck building; feel free to experiment and maybe cards from your deck will be on the next version of this guide!




Found in: Naga Giants Warlock, Cubelock
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: None

The original Void Daddy, turns out a minion that can make you immune while it's on the board and buffs your other demons is pretty good in a deck that plays, copies, and resurrects a lot of demons. Mal'ganis certainly makes Cubelock much better in Wild, but if you don't already own it, the deck is still very playable without it. Against anyone who's played against Wild Cubelock before, just the threat of Mal'Ganis being in the deck may be somewhat effective, even if the card itself isn't actually there.



Found in: Naga Giants Warlock, Cubelock
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Skull of the Man'ari

Why doesn't Cubelock in Wild usually run Skull of the Man'ari, you ask? Because you can just have your demons give you more demons, of course! Voidcaller does what Skull does, only more efficiently, and without the drawbacks that the weapon has (dead in the late game, vulnerable to weapon removal, etc.), not to mention you can get it from Possessed Lackey, and it disincentivizes your opponent from using AoE because they don't want to find out what's in the box. You can still play Skull in Wild Cubelock, but don't be surprised if you're outclassed by the Voidcaller build, and at 80 dust, this is a fairly significant upgrade over the weapon to boot.



Found in: Naga Giants Warlock, Cubelock
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Lesser Onyx Spellstone, Shadow Bolt

Frostbolt for Warlock? Seems good! It seems kind of absurd in retrospect that Warlock was given direct damage that can target face with no restrictions, but that's the kind of expansion Goblins vs Gnomes was. If you have Darkbomb, you should use it. If not, there are other cards that you probably have that will let you do 3 or 4 damage inexpensively, though they won't provide you with burst damage to end a close game.



Shielded Minibot

Found in: Murloc Paladin, Secret Paladin, Midrange Paladin
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: None

Just like Shaman, Paladin was in a pretty terrible spot prior to Goblins vs Gnomes, which is why it got a 2-mana 2/2 with Divine Shield that became an auto include in every Paladin deck until it rotated out. If you’re going to play Paladin in Wild you really ought to have two Shielded Minibots; nothing is going to replace them in terms of value. This is one of the best uses of 80 dust in the game.


Muster For Battle

Found in: Murloc Paladin, Secret Paladin, Midrange Paladin
Rarity: Rare
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Rallying Blade, Truesilver Champion

The other omnipresent Paladin card until the Standard format came around, Muster for Battle is one of the best deals for 3 mana; a 1/4 weapon and 3 Silver Hand Recruits in one card makes Patches the Pirate seem like a bum deal. Unlike Shielded Minibot, though, Muster isn’t quite as mandatory now, especially given how many Warlocks are in the meta; dropping 1/1 minions on the board just gives Defile a running start. Some Paladin decks drop Muster for Rallying Blade, given the number of Divine Shielded minions that it can buff. If you don’t have two copies of Muster and you’re not playing specifically Midrange Paladin, which revolves around Silver Hand Recruit synergies, that should be a fair swap.


Found in: Midrange Paladin
Rarity: Epic
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Level Up!

If you’re playing Midrange Paladin, you’re dropping lots of Silver Hand Recruits on the board. And if you’re doing that, Quartermaster can turn them into burst damage for sneaky lethal or just for reclaiming board. Kobolds and Catacombs introduced Level Up!, which does almost the same thing except without the extra 2/5 body. If you have that card and not Quartermaster, that should fill in just fine. If you have neither, Quartermaster is a staple of Wild Midrange Paladin and Level Up! is sporadically included in the Standard version of the deck, so Quartermaster is probably the safer card to craft if you’re intending to play Wild for a while.



Found in: Secret Paladin
Rarity: Common
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: None

This is the secret that made Secret Paladin such a menace the first time around; while Paladin secrets can all be hard to play around, giving another minion on the board a buff when one minion dies makes all the other board-centric secrets much more difficult to play around. When it's pulled out along with Redemption and Noble Sacrifice with Mysterious Challenger, any attack gets blocked, the 2/1 comes back to life and another minion (usually the 6/6) gets bigger. This isn't strictly necessary to play Secret Paladin, but Mysterious Challenger will be much less impressive if you don't have it.


Competitive Spirit

Found in: Secret Paladin
Rarity: Rare
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: Any other Paladin Secret

Another part of the classic secret package for Secret Paladin, Competitive Spirit buffs whichever minions survive the initial Mysterious Challeger turn. Unlike Avenge, though, Competitive Spirit is much more replaceable because the effect isn't nearly as potent, and the fact that it's a rare makes it a better candidate for a budget replacement.


Mysterious Challenger

Found in: Secret Paladin
Rarity: Epic
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: None

"Who am I? None of your business." If you're newer to the game, that voice line may not strike terror into your heart, but it very well could once you enter the Wild Brawl. Mysterious Challenger is the reason you play Secret Paladin. It presents an independent threat, pulls several cards out of your deck to improve future draws, and that leads to chaining threat after threat to end the game quickly after that. If you never got the opportunity to play Secret Paladin the first time around and you have 800 dust, it's worth it to experience a part of Hearthstone history. But if you don't have the dust or two copies of this card, find a different paladin deck to play; the deck is a collection of underwhelming cards without it.


Anyfin Can Happen

Found in: Secret Paladin
Rarity: Rare
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: None

Mrrggl! MRRGGL! It didn't take long after Anyfin was released for deckbuilders to figure out that the optimal murlocs to resurrect are two copies of Bluegill Warrior, two copies of Murloc Warleader, and Old-Murk Eye. When the full combo is resurrected the first time, the chargers combine for 24 damage, which is often enough to end the game on the spot. Should that not be enough, the murlocs that died from the first Anyfin get resurrected in the second, which totals upward of 30 damage. The current version of Anyfin combines those murlocs with the Secret Paladin package; between Mysterious Challenger pulling secrets out of the deck, two copies of Call to Arms, and Finja pulling additional murlocs out, the deck can cycle to draw all the murlocs and Anyfin very quickly and then unleash a fishy assault that would make Jaws jealous. If you don't have Anyfin, there are other versions of either Murloc Paladin or Secret Paladin that are both viable, but make sure the list you choose doesn't just take out Anyfin and swap in two other cards, because the non-Anyfin versions of both of those decks are built very differently.




Found in: Malygos Druid
Rarity: Legendary
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: None

The combination of Aviana and Kun has taken different forms over the year since Kun was printed. They all start with Aviana reducing your minions' costs to 1, and Kun using that one remaining mana to refresh your mana crystals. The current builds involve summoning Ixlid to copy subsequent minions, then as many copies of Malygos as possible, then hitting your opponent in the face for obscene amounts of direct damage. This deck is expensive to begin with, including a number of legendary minions who are technically legal in Standard but rarely see play in that format, so if you don't have most of the cards for this deck you should probably look in the direction of Jade Druid, and Aviana is arguably the most critical part of the combo. (In case you're wondering, by the way, the plural of Malygos is Malygeese.)


Living Roots

Found in: Malygos Druid
Rarity: Common
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: None

Living Roots really only sees play in Malygos Druid, and then just for additional direct damage that can be played cheaply. If you've already spent the dust for the rest of the cards in that deck, another 80 dust is a drop in the bucket. In any other Druid deck you can get away without this card.


Poison Seeds

Found in: Malygos Druid
Rarity: Common
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes:

Poison Seeds is a sneaky way to address things like boards of buffed Murlocs, or Naga Sea Witch and her entourage of giants. If you're playing any non-aggro Druid in Wild, you need two copies of this card; Druid doesn't have any answer to threatening board states without it. This card combined with Starfall acts similar to Paladin's Equality/Consecration combo, and followed by Spreading Plague can add up to a lot of stall to recover on board.

(If you've been playing for long enough to remember Poison Seeds and are wondering why it's suddenly seeing play, it got overlooked before the first Standard rotation because there was no reason to play board clears at the time; if you were playing Force of Nature/Savage Roar (and if you were playing Druid at the time, you certainly were), your board was always the one getting cleared.)



Ice Lance

Found in: Secret Mage
Rarity: Common
Set: Classic Hall of Fame
Possible Substitutes: Firelands Portal, Primordial Glyph

Good news! If you were playing before this time last year, chances are you have Ice Lances, because Blizzard gave you the dust for them pre-emptively when they were moved to the Hall of Fame. Secret Mage takes advantage of Ice Lance's synergy with Frostbolt to provide extreme burst damage, which makes the deck much more streamlined than in Standard. You can probably replace it with any other efficient burn spell if you don't have it; basically any spell from the Standard version of Secret Mage should fit in nicely.


Forgotten Torch

Found in: Secret Mage
Rarity: Common
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: None

Forgotten Torch is the other factor in Wild Secret Mage that provides a lot of additional burn potential; it provides 3 damage up front, and then another 6 later, which makes Aluneth that much more potent, when it can draw 3 mana Roaring Torches in addition to 4 mana Fireballs late in the game. If you have to choose between crafting this or Ice Lance for Secret Mage, craft Torches.




Found in: Big Priest
Rarity: Rare
Set: Blackrock Mountain
Possible Substitutes: None

If you thought Big Priest in Standard was annoying to play against, what if it had two more cards that could resurrect minions for 2 mana apiece? That's something that happens in Wild; Barnes on turn 4 into double Resurrect on turn 5 is a play that is possible and sometimes just wins you games on the spot. Big Priest is already an expensive deck, but if you're even considering playing it in Wild you probably have most of the cards for the Standard version already, so this is 200 dust you should absolutely spend if that's a route you want to go.



Found in: Big Priest
Rarity: Epic
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Dragonfire Potion

Lightbomb was Priest's nuclear option back before Dragonfire Potion and Psychic Scream were causing its opponents fits. In the current Wild meta, it's necessary to react to a board of Naga Sea Witch and Giants, or else you just lose on the spot. Most Big Priest lists only run one copy, and it's worth the investment, but you can probably slot Dragonfire Potion in its place if need be; it'll be mostly as effective against anything that's not an 8/8 on turn 5.


Excavated Evil

Found in: Big Priest
Rarity: Rare
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: Dragonfire Potion

Excavated Evil was Priest's best board clear for a while after Lightbomb rotated out and before Dragonfire Potion came in, and it's still useful against wide Paladin boards. Like Lightbomb, it's probably replaced fairly well with Dragonfire Potion if you've used up your dust budget on the rest of the cards for the deck.


Velen’s Chosen

Found in: Inner Fire Priest
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: None

Before Velen's Chosen was an excellent Hearthstone podcast, it was an excellent buff card, and specifically in Inner Fire Combo Priest, being able to be able to give a minion 4 extra health for 3 mana makes building a gigantic minion much easier. It's not strictly necessary; you can still collect Divine Spirits and Power Word: Shields and Kabal Talonpriests to get there as in Standard, but the deck will perform much more consistently with this card in the deck.


Twilight Whelp

Found in: Inner Fire Priest
Rarity: Common
Set: Blackrock Mountain
Possible Substitutes: Tar Creeper

Twilight Whelp was one of the best early drops Priest had for a long time, and in Inner Fire Combo Priest, it acts both as a dragon activator and as a minion that can be buffed to create a 30/30 monstrosity eventually. The Wild list cuts Tar Creeper for the Whelp, so that could be put back in if you're missing baby dragons in your collection.



Tunnel Trogg

Found in: Aggro Shaman
Rarity: Common
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: None

Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem are the reason that Aggro Shaman is still viable in Wild and not in Standard. Being able to take the drawback of Overload and turn it into an asset on a 1 mana 1/3 is irreplaceable.


Totem Golem

Found in: Aggro Shaman
Rarity: Common
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: None

The combination of a 2 mana 3/4 along with the fact that Tunnel Trogg gets buffed by playing this card is incredibly powerful. You can play Aggro Shaman without this card, but you probably shouldn’t.



Found in: Aggro Shaman
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Lava Shock, Leeroy Jenkins

The way Aggro Shaman plays in Wild is vey much like how Secret Mage plays in Standard (and Wild, for that matter): The deck tries to accumulate as much chip damage via minions as possible early and then transition to burning face once the opponent starts putting taunts in the way. The Wild version therefore runs nearly all the burn spells that can target face: Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Jade Lightning, and the only Wild-exclusive card, Crackle. You can probably replace this with some other form of minion damage, but given how many taunts will likely be in play by the end game, you may lose some otherwise winnable games by a couple of points of damage. If you're already spending dust on Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem, another 80 dust should be a good investment in two copies of Crackle as well.


Whirling Zap-o-Matic

Found in: Aggro Shaman
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: Vicious Fledgling

If you didn’t play Hearthstone before the first Standard year, this is how bad Shaman was back then: They printed a 2 mana 3/2 with Windfury with no drawback, and that still wasn’t enough to make Shaman a viable class at the time. Given how aggressive the current Shaman build is, this is a natural fit, but it’s also not 100% mandatory if you’ve already spent some dust on the other cards above; Vicious Fledgling will certainly be a step down, but that tends to get Windfury often enough that it can snowball games similarly to Zap-o-Matic. You’ll miss getting to hear “Spinning up!” repeatedly, though, and it may be worth the 40 dust just for that alone.



Death’s Bite

Found in: Pirate Warrior
Rarity: Rare Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: Fiery War Axe, Arcanite Reaper

Pirate Warrior runs this in Wild because it’s more powerful than Fiery War Axe and the deathrattle triggers Frothing Berserker’s text for large potential burst damage. Ultimately, though, it’s not critical for the deck; any large weapon will do.




Found in: Too many to list
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: None

If you're going to only craft one legendary minion, or if you're looking for an excuse to purchase Curse of Naxxramus, this is it. Loatheb is a fairly common inclusion in a wide variety of lists, because it's a reasonably statted minion that shuts down most decks' power turns suddenly. It's generally replaceable, but if you're serious about competing in Wild, you should have Loatheb in your collection.


Naga Sea Witch

Found in: Naga Giants Warlock
Rarity: Epic
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: None

If you haven't paid any attention to Wild in the past year or so, this probably comes as a surprise that Naga Sea Witch is a card worth crafting, since it saw no play at all while it was legal in Standard. What happened is a change to the way Naga Sea Witch's effect behaves that makes it possible to play Naga Sea Witch and any combination of Mountain Giants, Molten Giants, and Clockwork Giants in the same turn, often on turn 5. Even if you have a full standard collection, this deck can be expensive to assemble, since Naga Sea Witch and the Giants are all epic cards, but they are all necessary to assemble the combo consistently enough.


Clockwork Giant

Found in: Naga Giants Warlock
Rarity: Epic
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: None

If you're playing Naga Giants Warlock, this is one of the necessary giants that makes the deck tick. If you want the combo to go off like clockwork, it's time to craft this card before it's too late.

(...I'll see myself out.)


Mad Scientist

Found in: Secret Mage
Rarity: Common
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: Tar Creeper, Glacial Shard, Fire Fly

Mad Scientist is used in decks that run more than a handful of secrets to get them out of the deck and into play, both to make turns awkward for the opponent as well as to improve future draws. Secret Mage still has Arcanologists in Wild to draw secrets out of the deck, so while there really isn't any other minion that does what Mad Scientist does, you also can substitute it with another tempo-friendly minion and not miss too much.


Ragnaros, the Firelord

Found in: Big Priest
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Classic Hall of Fame
Possible Substitutes: Ysera

If the last time you checked in with our fiery friend Ragnaros was at his induction to the Hall of Fame, you might expect it would be an auto-include in every meta deck. The decks in Wild tend to lean so hard on synergies, however, that a generally "just good" card like Ragnaros gets cut as lists get refined. The one deck where Ragnaros still shines is in Big Priest, taking the slot that Ysera occupies in Standard; turns out, a random blast of 8 damage coming out of Barnes or Shadow Essence is pretty good, and it's even better when you can summon multiple copies in a single turn. If your collection started after Ragnaros was a mandatory craft or you decided to double up on the Hall of Fame dust and disenchanted it, Ysera still works well in Big Priest as a substitute.


Sylvanas Windrunner

Found in: Cubelock
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Classic Hall of Fame
Possible Substitutes: Any powerful deathrattle minion

Just like Ragnaros, Sylvanas has fallen out of favor as a default 30th card in most decks. She only sees play alongside N'zoth to capitalize on deathrattle synergies, and the only Wild meta deck that runs N'zoth is Cubelock. That said, you can see from playing that deck why this card needed to go to Wild only; combining Sylvanas with Carnivorous Cube and Dark Pact generates disgusting amounts of value. Much like Ragnaros in Big Priest, while you obviously want to play the deck with Sylvanas, you can certainly play Cubelock without her in the deck.


Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Found in: Aggro Shaman, Pirate Warrior, Murloc Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Set: League of Explorers
Possible Substitutes: None

Everyone's favorite British Murloc mainly sees play in aggressive decks where you'd rather your hero power be Life Tap, Steady Shot or Fireblast. In Murloc Paladin he does double duty, because he also happens to be a 1-mana 1/3 Murloc. As was the case when Finley was available in Standard, he's far from mandatory for those decks, but the difference between getting one of those hero powers and playing a totem or armoring up every turn can make a difference in games where you draw Finley early enough to get value from him. There isn't any direct substitute for what Finley provides, but any inexpensive aggressive card can usually replace him in any given list.


Emperor Thaurissan

Found in: Cubelock
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Blackrock Mountain
Possible Substitutes: None

Emperor Thaurissan is most often seen in combo-based decks where the combined cost of all the required cards is higher than ten mana. While this isn't strictly necessary for Cubelock, it runs enough expensive cards that discounting something like N'zoth or Bloodreaver Gul'Dan can allow for some additional cards to be played alongside those big drops, especially if it can duplicated by a Carnivorous Cube. Thaurissan is more of a nice to have in this deck, though, so feel free to just include another card from your Standard Cubelock list if you don't have it.

Twilight Guardian

Found in: Inner Fire Priest
Rarity: Epic
Set: The Grand Tournament
Possible Substitutes: Twilight Drake

Back before Duskbreaker, Twilight Guardian was the dragon priest's 4-drop of choice, because a 3/6 taunt for 4 is pretty good value. In Inner Fire Combo Priest, the starting health is very relevant, because it will take fewer buff cards to get it into lethal range. That said, it can be a tough sell to spend 800 dust on two copies, especially if you're not already adept at playing combo priest, because it can be a fairly difficult deck to learn. The Wild versions of this deck tend to cut Twilight Drake in favor of Twilight Guardian, since the latter is more consistently at high health, but Twilight Drake is more than reasonable to play in Wild if Guardians are too rich for your blood.


Old Murk-Eye

Found in: Murloc Paladin, Secret Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Set: Classic Hall of Fame
Possible Substitutes: None

If you think Murloc Paladin is powerful in Standard, get ready to meet your new fishy overlord. Old Murk-Eye rotated out of Standard on a technicality before the existence of the Hall of Fame, since it wasn't technically a collectible card as much as a hidden quest reward for collecting one of each Murloc in the game. At 2/4 and growing with the other Murlocs on board, it's a natural fit for both the aggressive Murloc Paladin and the more midrange versions that use Anyfin Can Happen as a finisher. That said, neither version is completely unplayable without Murk-Eye; as any Murloc Paladin player in Standard can attest, the aggressive version has plenty of burst without him, and while you will often need to play both copies of Anyfin to get to lethal damage from the second copy, Anyfin Paladin was played consistently without Old Murk-Eye the year after he rotated and was still a powerful deck. (Just don't put in another Murloc in place of Murk-Eye in the Anyfin lists; any Murloc that doesn't have charge dilutes the potential damage of playing Anyfin Can Happen, especially on the second copy where you'll likely have more dead Murlocs than you will available spots for them to spawn on the board.)


Haunted Creeper

Found in: Secret Paladin, Aggro Druid
Rarity: Common
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: Tar Creeper, Glacial Shard, Fire Fly

While Haunted Creeper used to be a staple of aggressive and midrange decks, it now mainly is reserved for use in board-centric aggressive decks, where it can squeeze extra value from Paladin secrets such as Redemption, Competitive Spirit, and Avenge. Much like Mad Scientist, if this is the only card holding you back from playing one of those decks, any reasonable tempo-positive minion will work in its spot. Tar Creeper, Glacial Shard, or Fire Fly could all be reasonable substitutes.



Found in: Inner Fire Priest
Rarity: Rare
Set: Curse of Naxxramus
Possible Substitutes: Tar Creeper

Deathlord's utility is mainly that it's a huge taunt with a big butt that can be made even bigger with Divine Spirit and then hit face following Inner Fire. Tar Creeper fills the 3 mana slot in the Standard version of the list and should fill in just fine here as well if you're missing this card.


Ship’s Cannon

Found in: Pirate Warrior
Rarity: Common
Set: Goblins vs Gnomes
Possible Substitutes: None

This is the reason you play Pirate Warrior in Wild. Being able to drop Ship’s Cannon on turn 2 into two pirates and Patches turn 3, firing 6 points of random damage around the board, is both fun and effective. Don’t try to play Pirate Warrior without crafting two copies of this card.

Go Get Wild!

Good luck in the Brawl, and have fun! If you're looking for more resources for Wild strategy and decks, episodes of Off Curve and Walk to Work this week will focus on the format, as will my Twitch stream. For ongoing discussion of the Wild meta, also check out the Into The Wild podcast and the Wild Hearthstone subreddit. Thanks for reading!

If you like this content, please consider subscribing to my weekly podcast, Off Curve, where I talk about Hearthstone while driving home on my commute. You can find it in iTunes and on Google Play. You can  also follow me on Twitter and Twitch for more Hearthstone content. Thanks for reading!

Dusting Recommendations: Year of the Mammoth

Hey, Hey! Wanna Buy a Funnel Cake?

Having a collection that allows you to build competitive Hearthstone decks is hard. Even if you spend money on the game, if your luck is poor or you haven’t been min-maxing your quests, you might find yourself two epics or one legendary short of any given deck. Luckily for you, though, the set rotation is coming with the April 2018 expansion! Not only does that mean you have 3 fewer sets to craft for Standard, you also may have some cards in the proverbial attic that you can trade for dust without affecting your future competitive prospects. Just think of this guide as Antiques Roadshow for your Hearthstone collection.

Wait, Where’s Nat Pagle?

This guide is going to focus exclusively on cards from sets that are rotating out of Standard after the Year of the Mammoth comes to a close (Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan). Cards that are listed as safe to dust have seen virtually no play in the two years they’ve been in Standard, so they should be relatively safe to dust without worry that they’re suddenly going to be meta relevant in Wild. Cards that are listed as having seen fringe play are just that; they were in decks that turned out to not be good enough to be meta relevant or got swapped out for more powerful cards as decks got refined. They may see play again, but unless you’re a huge fan of that specific deck archetype, you can probably part with the card.

All that said, there are certainly cards that have not seen play in Classic and the more recent sets, but I’m not advocating you dust those for a couple of reasons.

If you’re still opening packs from any of those sets (and if you ever play Tavern Brawl, then you’re still opening classic packs) then dusting a legendary card gives you 400 dust now, but increases the chances you’ll open it again later. So if you leave Lorewalker Cho in your collection, you know that the next time you hear the Innkeeper shout, “Woah, legendary!” it’s not going to be Cho rearing his ugly head again, for instance.

Also, cards go in and out of the meta depending on what’s printed. If I wrote a guide like this a year ago, Y’shaarj, Rage Unbound might have been on it, because it only saw fringe play in meme decks like Yogg Spell Hunter. Once Knights of the Frozen Throne came out, though, Y’shaarj became core to Big Priest and Big Druid, so you’d be sad if you’d dusted it. That doesn’t mean you should never dust any cards that are currently in the standard rotation, but they’re not as cut and dry as cards that have not seen any play for two years.

Enough chit chat, though. Let’s go find you some treasures!

Legendary - Safe to Dust



Turns out, letting your opponent decide when you’re going to blow up the board isn’t an effect you want to put in your deck.



The problem with Cho’Gall is that most of Warlock’s useful spells are cheap, and the ones that are expensive are Twisting Nether and DOOM!, both of which clear the 7/7 that you just played. Also, Bloodbloom was printed after Cho’Gall, which puts this effect on a 2 mana spell instead of a 7 mana minion.


Nat, the Darkfisher

You’d be shocked to discover that giving your opponent extra cards isn’t worth a small bump in stats for a 2-drop.


Hogger, Doom of Elwyn

Rotface gives you a legendary when it’s damaged, and that still isn’t good enough to see play, so a 2/2 with taunt certainly isn't going to cut it.



There’s too much variance in the weapon pool to run a card like Malkorok, and that goes double in wild, both because there are many more weapons to spawn, and also because Cursed Blade is a card that exists in Wild.


Princess Huhuran

Most of the deathrattles you want to trigger right away come attached to expensive minions, which makes Huhuran awkward to play. There have also been better options that have been introduced since, like Terrorscale Stalker and Play Dead.


Shifter Zerus

This is basically just a way to play with cards you don’t have. It’s fine to toss into a deck as a 30th card, but you generally want to choose the minions you play if you’re not getting a discount for the randomness.


The Boogeymonster

It’s an overcosted minion that doesn’t affect the board and rarely gets to attack and trigger its effect.



The only decks that really want an effect like this are token druid and evolve shaman, since they run Savage Roar/Mark of the Lotus/Power of the Wild and Bloodlust/Flametongue Totem, respectively. But each has better options for spawning tokens in Living Mana and Primalfin Totem. Especially when almost every deck has some form of small AoE available to deal with the stealthed Moroes, it’s just too awkward.


Prince Malchezaar

As evidenced by this list, there are a lot of bad legendary minions, and even the good ones often need a deck built to take advantage of their ability. Just jamming 5 random legendary minions into your deck along with a vanilla 5/6 isn’t something you ever want to do when you can use the dust from Malchezaar to put toward the legendary you do want.


Hobart Grapplehammer

Despite the fact that Pirate Warrior was a thing for a year before Fiery War Axe left us, Hobart never saw any love after the first day or two of Mean Streets. Even in that deck which is built around weapon synergies, you never run enough weapons to get value from it, and +1 attack isn’t all that much when most other weapon buffs also add durability. Add to that Hobart being an understatted minion that results in a tempo loss in a deck that lives and dies on tempo, and you end up with a legendary who’s unlikely to ever make his way into a competitive deck.



Add this to the pile of Hunter legendaries that looked good enough at reveal, but ended up being underwhelming in practice. Knuckles was always too expensive to not affect the board immediately in Hunter, and the ability was designed with the expectation that hand buffing was going to be more powerful than it was.


Mayor Noggenfogger

Look, I love meme decks, but even I have a limit. Noggenfogger’s main utility was for disrupting a one turn kill, but often it didn’t even do that well.


Sergeant Sally

Another victim of the disappointing hand buffing mechanic. Ideally, you’d get a big minion and a full board clear all at once. In practice, you got an Arcane Explosion that your opponent chose when to trigger, if it didn’t get immediately silenced.



In theory, dragon decks should love this card. In practice, if you put enough dragons into your deck to get the effect to trigger consistently, you have to put so many dragons in your deck that you can’t really play them all. And if it doesn’t draw you at least two cards, it’s an understatted minion that also isn’t a dragon itself.


Legendary - Has Seen Fringe Play


Herald Volazj

This card has seen some extremely fringe play in quest priest decks (particularly the Quest Priest that featured Weasel Tunneler that Savjz played for a week or two), but it’s hard to set up and usually not worth the effort. Cards like Mirage Caller and Twilight’s Call have since come about that have the same effect but as non-legendary cards that are easier to set up.


Mukla, Tyrant of the Vale

Mukla has seen some play in decks that want to spam a lot of cheap spells, like the early versions of Quest Mage and Raza Priest. It could yet see play in similar styles of decks, but given that it always seems to be replaced with better options as the lists get refined, it’s probably safe enough to dust.


Don Han'cho

In general, the hand buffing mechanic from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan wasn’t as effective as it looked like it might be, and so the boss hand buffer really hasn’t seen play outside of some fringe tempo and control builds. You could probably do worse than the Don, but if you need some dust, feel free to get him fitted for some concrete shoes.


Genzo the Shark

Genzo’s been tried in some aggressive decks as a form of card draw with mixed success. The problem Genzo is going to have in wild is that Jeeves is a card that does the same thing, except it activates at the end of your turn and doesn’t need to stick to the board for a turn before your opponent can react to it.


Madam Goya

This card saw a little bit of play in N’zoth/Crusher Shaman, where it was valuable to swap a totem in play for, say, an Earth Elemental. This and Y’shaarj were the predecessors for the current “Big” decks, but you effectively need to build your entire deck around that premise, and Goya was rarely good enough to justify that deckbuilding restriction.


Epic - Safe to Dust


Ancient Harbinger

The Old Gods were good, but you generally were ok with just drawing them naturally; putting an understatted minion in your deck just to make sure you draw a 10-drop wasn’t enough value, especially since you usually only ran one 10-drop in any given deck, and if you drew that first it was a sad trombone.


Blood of the Ancient One

This is one of those cards you should be happy was never playable, because no one wants a meta full of 30/30 minions. It was always just too difficult to satisfy the condition, and if its text doesn’t trigger, a 9 mana vanilla 9/9 isn’t good enough to be one of the 30 cards in your deck.


Cyclopian Horror

This was an attempt to provide some neutral anti-aggro tools, but if you were able to get the health on this card high enough to justify it being in your deck, it was probably already too late to stop the aggro deck.



Maybe there will someday be a minion that you want to turn into a 3/6 badly enough to play this card in your deck, but it hasn't happened in the two years this card has existed, so I'm not holding my breath waiting.


Eternal Sentinel

This card was mainly a victim of timing. When there were decks that ran large overloads that you might want to unlock early, Lava Shock was available, and was a strictly better card, since it did direct damage and wasn’t just a 3/2 minion. When Lava Shock rotated out, so did the “good” overload-related cards like Tunnel Trogg and Elemental Destruction, and Shaman moved away from overload and toward evolve mechanics. Now that it’s going to be only in wild, it’s back to being Lava Shock’s less attractive younger sibling.


Forbidden Ancient

The flexibility of being able to use your mana efficiently isn't outweighed by the fact that this minion will be understatted no matter how much mana you spend on it.


Giant Sand Worm

The curse of the big Hunter minions continues. 8 mana is just too much for even a minion with a powerful ability such as this one in Hunter. It hasn't even seen consistent play in decks featuring Kathrena Winterwisp, where it should be a natural fit.


Scaled Nightmare

This card is just too fair, ultimately. Your opponent has two turns to kill it before it really starts to get out of hand, which is a lifetime in constructed.


Tentacles For Arms

2 weapon damage for 5 mana every other turn isn't even close to good enough to put into a constructed deck.


Validated Doomsayer

Just like Scaled Nightmare, a 7/7 that your opponent can trade into for free the turn you play it is too fair for a constructed deck, especially when you can get 8/8 for the same mana cost in the form of Bittertide Hydra (or Fel Reaver, which is still a card in wild).


Blubber Baron

There are plenty of decks that run a large number of battlecry minions, but you have to draw this card early and hold it while you play out all those minions before you can see value from the Blubber Baron, and by that point in the game, a big, dumb minion that doesn't affect the board usually isn't what you want. And that's the best case scenario; good luck if you top deck this card in the late game.


Brass Knuckles

Handbuff mechanics and overcosted weapons: Two awful tastes that taste awful together!


Defias Cleaner

Spellbreaker is just a more versatile card all around despite the weaker body. There are plenty of valid silence targets that aren't deathrattles.


Fel Orc Soulfiend

There are plenty of minions that have bigger bodies for just as cheap that don't eat themselves alive.


Fight Promoter

Again, if hand buffing was good this would probably see more play, but even in a pre-nerf world with 7 mana Bonemares and Keleseth in most decks, this still wasn't ever good enough.


Finders Keepers

Shaman’s seen a shift away from Overload of late, moving more toward Evolve and Jade mechanics. A lot of that has to do with Lava Shock rotating out, but even when that card was in Standard, Finders Keepers wasn’t as good as just running the overload card you wanted in your deck.


Greater Arcane Missiles

This was always a card that you'd get value from off of random/discover effects, but you can only run so many 7 mana spells, and Firelands Portal and Flamestrike generally win that argument.


Leatherclad Hogleader

This was a tech against control decks that no one was asking for. In wild you’d run Clockwork Giant before you’d run this card.


Lotus Assassin

This was an interesting effect that proved too difficult to pull off, because you’d get at most one extra attack from it. There were stealth based Tempo Rogue decks at one point toward the end of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan but this never made the cut.


Lotus Illusionist

In general, any card that needs to stick a turn and attack face to trigger doesn’t see play. The only exception is Vicious Fledgling, because it can give itself Windfury and then snowball very quickly. Lotus Illusionist is no Vicious Fledgling. Also, since Thrall, Deathseer was printed, every 4 drop can transform into a 6 drop without needing to attack face first.


Luckydo Buccaneer

Until Kingsbane came along, there wasn't any way to consistently have a large weapon, and it doesn’t see play in those decks now. This is probably safe enough to dust, but this may be one card worth hanging on to in case it suddenly finds value.


Lunar Visions

Ultimate Infestation is a card now.


Mana Geode

This came out in a time when Priest desperately needed 2 drops, and it was barely playable even then, because you generally don't want to be spending tempo on healing a small minion, if you were even able to get it damaged without killing it. Now that Radiant Elemental and Shadow Ascendant exist, Geode is a complete afterthought.


Pilfered Power

This was tried in Aggro Token Druid, and it turns out that if you can spam enough minions on the board to get value from this card, you probably don't need more mana crystals than you already have.


Piranha Launcher

An extremely understatted weapon that generates a 1/1 beast has never really been what Hunter needs; the class has no problem generating beasts, and the weapons it wants generally come out much earlier or have more attack.


Wind Up Burglebot

There are better ways to draw a card that don't involve playing an expensive, understatted minion, protecting it so that it will stay on the board long enough to attack, and then hoping your opponent presents a target for it to attack into and kill.


Epic - Has Seen Fringe Play

Blade of C'thun

C’thun Rogue is a deck that people try from time to time when they get bored. This card is good in that deck, but the deck itself is never really good enough to see consistent play. This card also got considerably less appealing once Vilespine Slayer was printed, because it does the same thing for a considerably lower cost.


Blood Warriors

Once Charge got changed to not allow the minion to attack face, the one deck that used this card to drop giants, copy them and then charge at the opponent stopped working. There may be combo decks that utilize this card in the future, possibly, but the Charge nerf happened over a year ago and Blood Warriors has been dormant since.


Crazed Worshipper

This saw some play in early C’thun Warrior builds, but ended up making way for better cards as they got printed.



Turns out that a ten mana board clear that draws you a ton of cards usually doesn't work well in control warlock decks that life tap a lot, and therefore tend to have very full hands. This saw play in a Bloodbloom control deck briefly, but that was also before Defile came along.


Renounce Darkness

This is a fun card for sure, especially when combined with Barnes, Y'shaarj and 26 other warlock cards. Just don't expect to win more than 30% of your games with that deck.


Meanstreet Marshal

Another victim of the poor performance of the hand buffing mechanic. If that was better this card would be too.


Unlicensed Apothecary

This seems to exist purely to add low rolls to random minion effects. A card like this is good if it's big enough to end the game quickly, or it's easy to trade off before the card text becomes an issue. Apothecary is neither of those things. That said, it is seeing some play in Zoo decks with all the demon buff cards, so you may want to hold off and see if that’s a passing fad or not.


Weasel Tunneler

This was ignored until it had a brief moment in the sun in Abar and Savjz's Quest Priest decks. It's a fun card to play around with if you have all the pieces needed for that deck, but it's not generally worth crafting cards for.


Wisps of the Old Gods

This saw some play in Spell Token Druid before Yogg-Saron was nerfed to stop casting spells when it died during its battlecry. Even before that, though, that style of deck had transitioned to Malygos OTK from a board based deck featuring Violet Teacher, and Mark of the Lotus was printed after that, which does a slightly less powerful effect for considerably cheaper (both in terms of mana and dust).


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35: Just Playing Around

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What does it mean to play around a card? When should you do it and when should you not? This week, we explain one of the biggest concepts you need to understand to take your Hearthstone play to the next level!


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