Legendary Crafting Guide (Part 2 – Class)
Hello everyone. The crafting guide on our site wasn’t updated for a while, so I’ve decided to give it a go. The guide is aimed mostly at the newer/F2P players who can’t afford to craft whatever they want, but want their collection to be as competitive and versatile as it can be.
The list will be created around Standard format, not Wild. Standard is the most competitive mode and it’s the only one that “really” has the meta. I can bet that in Wild Dr. Boom is still #1 on priority list, so you probably want to get it if you don’t have already. Besides that, I really have no clue. I’ll break it into 2 parts – Neutral Legendaries and Class Legendaries. Overall, if you care about the number of decks you can play those Legends in, Neutral ones have higher crafting priority than Class ones. But Class ones can be more important if you “main” a specific class and want to make it viable faster.
Then, I’ll group the the Legends into three different Tiers:
- Tier I – High priority. Strong Legendaries that can be played in multiple decks, across different classes (if Neutral), possibly different archetypes and are commonly seen in the current meta. You can fit those into the high number of viable decks.
- Tier II – Medium priority. Legendaries that are good, but aren’t played in many decks or the decks they’re played in aren’t very popular/strong right now. They might be more situational, but still are necessary in certain archetypes.
- Tier III – Low priority. Legendaries that are still sometimes played, but either in low tier decks or in one very specific archetype. Some of them aren’t also necessary for the deck to function, so they can often be replaced by something else.
The Tiers are still pretty flexible. Something on the bottom of Tier II has about the same priority as something on the top of Tier III. I just had to make a division somewhere. It’s also pretty obvious that I’m talking about meta in general. If you only play Mage, some Tier I Legendary might be useless and some Tier III one might be staple. That’s why I’m putting example lists under each one of them – if some Tier III Legend is played in the decks you enjoy, it might have higher priority for you.
If a Legendary hasn’t been listed in any of those three Tiers, it means that it has no place in the current meta and shouldn’t be crafted if you’re playing competitively. If you really want to craft it, you can still obviously go for it, but you need to understand that it doesn’t fit any viable decks.
Now off to class Legendaries. This one is a bit harder, because I didn’t know whether I should make Tiers a “class” thing or a “general” thing. For example – without doubt Tirion Fordring is a Tier 1 Paladin Legendary, but is it Tier 1 Legendary in general, considering that Paladin is not a very popular class right now? I’ve decided to go with “if some Legendary is absolutely amazing in the given class, even if the class is not very popular right now, I’ll still put it in Tier I.”. That’s why both Tirion and Edwin are in Tier I, even though Paladin and Rogue are underplayed right now.
Warrior is one of the strongest classes in Constructed right now. You have a lot of different, viable Warrior archetypes – Dragon Warrior, Control Warrior, C’Thun Warrior, Patron Warrior, even some OTK stuff. And Grommash Hellscream fits into quite a lot of them. In the current meta, it’s most notably played in Dragon Warrior and Control Warrior, both of which are high tier decks.
At base, the Legendary doesn’t seem that impressive. 4/9 with Charge for 8 mana. That’s sometimes alright – you can make a trade into Azure Drake and still have a minion on the board. But what’s stronger about it is Enrage. Once you Enrage it, it gains +6 Attack. That’s 10 Charge damage and that’s suddenly much more. Grommash is, most of the time, used as a finisher. Most of the decks run some sort of activator – cards that have different uses, but can double-up as a way to make Grom enrage. Stuff like Blood to Ichor, Whirlwind/Revenge or Inner Rage/Cruel Taskmaster. The last two even pump his attack up to 12. Add some weapon attack from something you’ve equipped previous turn and you have a nice combo.
Combo finishers are very strong and it’s been proven time and time again. Grommash keeps his place in the meta since I remember. And I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon, so Grom is definitely a great Legendary to craft if you play Warrior or you play meta decks in general.
Example decks: Control Warrior, Dragon Warrior
Fandral Staghelm is THE Druid Legendary. While Cenarius is played now and then, Fandral is pretty much auto-include into every Druid deck we have right now. Every Druid deck runs some “Choose one” cards. “Choose one” cards are pretty balanced already when you get only one part of them. But if you pretty much double their effect and get both things at once? That’s amazing and that’s exactly the reason why Fandral is so strong.
If you drop a Fandral, it has a big red marker above its head. Enemy will do everything to kill it. And for a good reason – unanswered Fandral can snowball the game hard. You drop t4 Fandral and just two turns later, as long as enemy doesn’t kill it, you might have ramped up and drew a lot of cards (Nourish), removed opponent’s stuff efficiently (Wrath) and summoned a powerful board (Living Roots + Power of the Wild).
Right now the most popular Druid decks and one of the strongest decks in the meta overall are Token & Malygos Druid. Both of them run Fandral and both of them are significantly weaker without Fandral. And since Blizzard releases new Choose One cards quite consistently, I feel like Fandral will be still useful for a while.
Example decks: Malygos/Token Druid, Beast Druid
Tirion Fordring. He was called the best Legendary in the game very often. And while maybe not THE strongest, it’s hard to argue that he’s amazing in general. And I’d have to say that he became even stronger recently.
Tirion Fordring is basically an auto-include into every Midrange and Control Paladin deck. Secret Paladin, Midrange Paladin, N’Zoth Paladin, Anyfin Paladin… Heck, even some Aggro decks used to run Tirion, because he’s so amazing. For 8 mana, you get way more than 8 mana worth of stuff. The big Taunt with Divine Shield alone is very strong (I’d say it’s already worth around 7 mana) and then if you add Deathrattle to the mix… 5/3 weapon which you get nearly for free. Yeah, that’s insane value.
But I’ve said that he became stronger recently. What was the most common counter to Tirion? Silence. Nearly no one runs Silence in Standard right now. So his Deathrattle procs very consistently. And what was the second most common counter? Weapon destruction. Harrison Jones was amazing once Tirion was killed. But you know what? Nearly no one runs weapon destruction too. Not to mention that Priest’s Entomb was one of the biggest problems and – yes, you’ve guessed – nearly no one plays Priest right now. Those all make Tirion incredibly strong in the current meta.
The only problem with Tirion is that Paladin is one of the worst classes in Constructed currently. But even then, I feel like Tirion is one of the Legendaries that are worth crafting the most. If you will ever want to play some Paladin deck, the chances are you will want to put Tirion in there. And then, it’s from Classic, so it won’t rotate out. And trust me – it’s so powerful that it won’t be forgotten and once Paladin takes off again, Tirion will be played.
Example decks: Secret Paladin, N’Zoth Paladin, Anyfin Paladin
Edwin VanCleef in Tier I? Indeed. In my opinion, Edwin is one of the strongest Legendaries in the game. But it shares the same problem as Tirion right now – the class it’s played in is severely underplayed and kinda forgotten by Blizzard. Paladin at least had a great run pre-Standard. Rogue wasn’t one of the most popular classes ever since old Miracle days. Right now it’s one of the least played ones on the ladder. Some of it definitely has to do with the lack of options – number of viable Rogue decks is very limited. It probably also has to do with Rogue’s difficulty level – if I had to call one class “the most difficult”, that would definitely be Rogue.
But, no matter what kind of Rogue you want to play, maybe besides Aggro build, I can assure you that you would want to put Edwin in there. The card is very strong, because of how flexible it is in Rogue. Costing only 3 mana, it’s quite easy to fit it into a lot of turns. With a lot of cheap/free cards, Coins from Tomb Pillagers, Preparation… It can very easily become a 3 mana 8/8. 10/10. Sometimes even more. And everyone who played against huge Edwin with no immediate answer at hand knows how strong that is. But let’s even picture a very common scenario. You’re going Second. You have Coin, Backstab and Edwin in your hand. On turn 2, enemy drops a 3/2. Then you answer with Coin + Backstab + Edwin. And so, you have a 3 mana 6/6 with no downside (the fact that you had to use Coin was the only downside). And 6/6 so early in the game can buy Rogue some time, can bait the removal that later might be used on something else or can just snowball the game if enemy has no way to kill it. If it connects 3 times into the face, enemy is nearly dead now and it would be very easy to finish him with other things.
Another reason why big Edwin might be so good in Rogue is Conceal. When you make a 12/12 minion late in the game and you Conceal it, most of the decks have no way to deal with it. And 12 damage connects with the face. Heck, if you’re playing against Shaman and you’re on the Coin, even t2 Coin + Edwin is already good. 4/4 minion trades very well with everything they drop in the early game. It’s the Legendary that is almost never useless and it’s very often game-changing.
Example decks: Miracle Rogue, Thief Rogue
Archmage Antonidas is a win condition. A very strong win condition. If you set him up right, he can even deal 30+ damage to the enemy over few turns, AFTER he’s removed. That’s mostly thanks to the cheap spells that were made even cheaper with Emperor Thaurissan. I can’t stress out how many times I’ve lost a game because Mage has pulled 5 Fireballs out of nowhere and I couldn’t do anything about it.
Unanswered Antonidas is usually game over. You can play two Fireballs each turn while getting two more into your hand – it’s like a Fireball recycle machine. But that’s very rare scenario, opponents really keep answer for Antonidas if they’re even remotely competent. But that’s not even a big deal. After the right set-up, you can probably immediately get 3-5 Fireballs, depending on the rest of your hand and the deck you play. And that’s usually way more than enough to kill the enemy.
The main problem with Antonidas and the reason why he’s not in Tier I is that he requires set-up. It’s not a 7-drop. Not only you first want to have 10 mana before playing it, then you want to hoard all the cheap spells in your hand and then you want to make them even cheaper with Emperor first. Without proper set-up, you can’t really count on more than 1 or 2 Fireballs from Antonidas. Which is still fine a lot of times, but rarely game-winning. The amount of set-up requires time, and time is what we don’t have in the current meta. Antonidas is amazing in any slow matchup, but it’s pretty weak against Aggro decks. By the time you get to play him, you’re usually dead or nearly dead. Also enemy won’t give you 2-3 free turns to just shoot Fireballs into your face – he will kill you before that. That’s why Antonidas is not a staple in Mage and it’s going in and out of the decks. More recently, it’s been played in slower Tempo Mage builds with a quite good result. So if you like Mage, definitely do craft him. But you could probably build most of the decks without him too.
Example decks: Tempo Mage, Freeze Mage
Ragnaros, Lightlord is a very powerful Legendary. Just like any Legendary with ongoing effect, it needs to be taken care off immediately. But this one, similarly to it’s fiery brother Ragnaros the Firelord, gets immediate value even if enemy removes him right after. In this case, however, it’s healing.
Ragnaros, Lightlord is very strong in the current meta. Health total is a serious concern against a lot of decks. And since a lot of the faster decks run no real answer to Lightlord, or may have already used their removal before you’ve dropped him, they might have to throw 8 damage at him. And if you drop him, heal for 8 and then he tanks 8 more damage – that’s 16 health you’re gaining. And what if enemy doesn’t have a way to kill it? Then it’s usually game over. If you play against let’s say Hunter and you just casually heal for 8 each turn (well, or it heals itself after trading into something), there’s no way they can race you.
That’s why Ragnaros, Lightlord is common in any slower Paladin list. But I’ve decided to put it in Tier II for two reasons. It’s still less important than Tirion and it’s played in lower amount of decks. More Midrange or aggressive versions would rather play the Firelord than Lightlord, so Lightlord really fits into slow Paladin lists. Which aren’t very popular right now, although Lightlord is still a strong card.
Example decks: N’Zoth Paladin, Anyfin Paladin
Xaril, Poisoned Mind
Definitely less flashy than the other Rogue Legendary – Edwin VanCleef. Probably because you can’t make him a 10/10. Xaril, however, is a very strong card. The 3/2 body for 4 mana is weak, but Rogues rarely care about the bodies. The effect is awesome – while kinda random, it gives Rogue two more cheap spells he can work with. Each one of them is good and actually worth around 1 mana. So you’re getting two extra actual 1 mana spells.
First use is very simple – just use them for what they’re meant to do. Deal 2 damage? You can kill some small minions. +3 damage? You push for more damage or trade your small minion into something bigger. Draw a card? Well, you cycle further into your deck and that’s exactly what you want to do. Etc.
And then, since they’re all cheap spells, they can be used to activate Combos. They can be used as a cheap card to combo with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and draw. There are also some neat combos between them and minions. E.g. 2 damage one is great in Malygos deck as a source of unexpected extra damage. The Shadowstep one can also be combo’d with Auctioneer to return him into the hand after cycling a lot, so enemy can’t kill it and you can resume what you were doing last turn. Stealth is very strong with both of those – putting Stealth on Auctioneer means he’ll be much harder to kill and well, stealth on Malygos is pretty much game over outside of some rare cases (e.g. enemy playing a minion, Brawl and winning it – or Paladin’s Equality or Yogg into some AoE clear).
It’s another Legendary that’s not flashy, but is very well designed. It fits the Rogue thematically (“toxins”, cheap spells, prioritizing effects over stats) and it’s strong, but not broken. If you enjoy playing Rogue a lot, you should definitely get it.
Example decks: Miracle Rogue, Reno Rogue
Lord Jaraxxus is a very interesting Legendary. On the one hand, it can win the game by itself. And I mean it – you can run no other real threats in the deck and still win a match thanks to the Jaraxxus. But on the other hand, it’s nearly useless against all the high tempo decks. All the fast decks, where you don’t win the game by long term value, but by tempo swings and controlling the board. Heck, in some matchups playing Jaraxxus is like a death wish (against combo decks mainly).
That’s why he’s theoretically the most powerful Legendary in the whole game, but in practice… Well, in practice he’s often completely unplayable and a dead card. Jaraxxus is one of my favorite cards, because it takes quite a lot of skill to determine when is the best moment to drop him and if you will survive after doing that. But I have to say that he became much worse in the current meta. Against Shaman, you first have to clear the whole board to play him and probably run them out of cards so they can’t immediately refill. And at this point you most likely don’t even need it. So it’s mostly used for healing. Against Malygos Druid, you can’t really play him if you don’t want to die to Malygos. Dealing 15 with that deck is a piece of cake even if he has no board at all. Tempo Mage? Similar stuff, the deck runs so much burn that you often don’t want to play Jaraxxus at all, only if you will heal with it. And so on.
The only popular meta deck right now which Jaraxxus works well against is Control Warrior. If the meta was full of control decks – Warriors, Paladins, Priests etc. – Jaraxxus would be AMAZING. Right now, it’s okay, because sometimes you still meet those and sometimes getting to 15 health actually means healing yourself and not dying.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that he can only really be played in slow Warlock decks. You definitely DON’T want to play him in Zoo or something like that. And the only currently viable slow Warlock deck is RenoLock. So if you’re a fan of RenoLock, like I am, you probably still want to play Jaraxxus, because after all he’s your main win condition in all those slow matchups. And if the meta ever gets more control-oriented, though, I’m sure that this card will be way better than it is right now.
Example deck: RenoLock
Al’Akir the Windlord
Al'Akir the Windlord used to be a Shaman staple back in the day. He was a very common finisher in Midrange and Control versions of the deck. Right now he seems to be back in some Midrange Shaman builds. The card is pretty strong, especially if you combo it with other tools that are available to Shaman.
The stats are very underwhelming. 3/5 for 8 mana needs to have incredibly strong effect. And this one kinda has. It has Taunt. And Divine Shield. And Charge. And Windfury. Yeah, it’s the card with most keywords in the game. But why does it make Al’Akir strong? First of all – Charge & Windfury are something that’s incredible when combined together. Basically, any attack buff you apply to it, applies twice. Similarly to the Doomhammer. If you play a Rockbiter on Al’Akir, he can deal 6 more damage, not 3. Flametongue Totem? 4 instead of 2. That’s a very strong finisher. If you leave Flametongue Totem on the board in the late game, Shaman might drop Al’Akir, buff him with Rockbiter and push for 16 damage out of nowhere.
Then, Charge and Divine Shield combo very nicely when you play the board clear game. 3 attack might not seem like much, but a lot of the key minions in this Meta (especially Shaman minions) are on 3 health. Al’Akir usually takes down 2-3 minions before dying itself.
The Taunt + Divine Shield combo is okay if you play around Charge damage, like some combos. Dropping Al’Akir might completely stop OTK Warrior in the tracks. It’s also good to drop right before Hunter’s Call of the Wild turn. He would need to throw in the Huffer just to get rid of the Divine Shield (or don’t attack at all, which will make it vulnerable to AoE).
The card is not necessary in any Shaman build right now – you can build a slower Shaman lists without Al’Akir. So don’t worry, he’s not very high on priority list. It’s just something that seems to be back in favor due to how current meta looks like.
Example deck: Midrange Shaman
Cenarius is pretty much a staple in Ramp/Astral Druid lists. Because the card itself is good – it’s just really slow. If you need to wait until turn 9 to play it, it won’t have a huge impact. But playing it way earlier is great. Multiple bodies means that it’s way easier to make trades against small minions. Two Taunts are relatively hard to get through if you need to protect your life total. And then the 5/8 body is good for making multiple trades against small/midrange minions. Plus, the second effect – if you have 2+ minions on the board, you can surprise enemy with some burst damage or you can make your trades better.
More recently, I’ve seen some Token Druid lists with Cenarius too – interchangeably with Wisps of the Old Gods. The idea here is to make a lot of tokens, which by themselves aren’t very threatening. But then if you give them +2/+2, you have a full board of solid minions. He’s definitely more of a tech choice and a rare one, that’s why he’s so low on the priority list.
So if you want to play a Ramp/Astral Druid or want to experiment a bit with different versions of Token list, Cenarius might be an okay crafting choice. But remember that in both cases, you can find a replacement for it and it won’t hurt your deck much.
Example decks: Ramp/Astral Druid, Token Druid
Hallazeal the Ascended
It’s important to have some way to gain life when you play a Control deck. After all, your early game is nearly nonexistent, so you’re bound to take some damage. Since you will outvalue all the fast decks in the long run, your only real concern is surviving. And so, healing cards are key in Control lists. Just like this one is great in Control Shaman.
In the right scenario, Hallazeal the Ascended can act like a Reno Jackson without deck limitations. Most notably, if you combo it with Elemental Destruction. Let’s even say that there are 5 minions on the board in total (including Hallazeal). When you play Elemental Destruction, assuming no Spell Damage on the board, it will on average deal 22-23 damage. And so, you will heal for 22-23. That’s usually healing back to full. And since Hallazeal has 6 health, it survives and now enemy has to finish it off. While less spectacular, it also works nicely with Lightning Storm, especially with Spell Damage. But even without it – against a board of 5 minions from the opponent’s side, Hallazeal will heal for 12-13 on average. That’s quite a lot of free healing. And you still have a 4/6 on the board. Heck, if you’re really desperate even small spells like Lightning Bolt or Lava Shock can give you some extra health.
Reason why I’ve put the card so low? Hallazeal is very strong, but it fits only into a single list and that list isn’t even popular right now. Midrange and Aggro Shaman are stronger than Control Shaman is. But you know what? I feel that once all the broke nearly game cards rotate out, Shamans will probably have to switch to more control play style. So he might go up next year, when 2015 expansions rotate out of Standard.
Example deck: Control Shaman
After WoG, Malkorok used to be very common in Midrange Warrior lists. First in so-called Tempo Warrior and later in first versions of Dragon Warrior. But since Tempo Warrior is no longer played (Dragon version turned out to be slightly stronger, and since both decks have similar play style, it took its spot) and people have cut it from Dragon Warrior lists, it’s pretty low on the crafting priority.
I’ve put it on the list, since it’s sometimes played as a tech in Dragon Warrior lists. I’ve seen it a few times in Legend this season. And the card is not bad at all. I feel like at one point or another it will get back into the meta, because it’s a very strong tempo move and the one terrible outcome (Cursed Blade) doesn’t make it bad.
He’s very low on the crafting priority list, but if you’re out of the best Legendaries you want to craft and you still have some dust left, you might want to get this one.
Example decks: Midrange Warrior lists
Disclaimer: This is more of a fun card and the deck it’s played in isn’t competitively viable. But I felt like putting it on the list, because after all it activates a certain deck and the deck is playable.
Prophet Velen is a card that makes a Combo Priest deck work. It’s a very rare deck, mostly played for fun. If you’ve watched recent Batstone tournament, you have probably seen it in action. The goal is to play Emperor to make the combo pieces cheaper and then play Prophet Velen followed by 2x Mind Blast and Embrace the Shadow + Flash Heal to combo enemy down from 30 to 0. The deck features a lot of cycle, removals, life gain etc. – basically ways to make you survive and draw through the deck until you draw the combo.
It’s a “fun” deck, because it’s weaker than the other popular combo decks. But it’s something unique and really fun to play. I wrote a guide on the deck back in the day (it was around 1.5 years ago if I remember correctly, the deck looked quite different). Then I’ve played it some more around the time of LoE. But sadly, just like any other Priest deck, it got significantly weaker in Standard. Without Lightbomb, it’s very hard to clear big boards of midrange minions. Without Zombie Chow and Deathlord, surviving early game is another serious concern.
But if you want to try it, once you learn it it should still be semi-viable to ladder with, at least until rank 5. And it’s really fun to actually pull off the combo. So if you enjoy niche decks, you can craft the Velen and try it.
Example deck: Combo Priest
And the whole thing is out. If you have missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 on Neutral cards and Adventure priority. If you still have questions about the crafting priority, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. I’ll try my best to give you any advice you need.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!