Introduction

One of the most frequent questions Hearthstone players face is which cards to craft. Because most packs include four commons and a rare*, it is rarely worth it to craft those cards; generally, players will save their dust for legendaries, though there are many epics that are also worth considering crafting. This guide will attempt to give some structure to that decision-making process.

The problem with trying to write a guide to crafting legendaries is that which legendary is best for you is very dependent on your preferred style, which class(es) you prefer to play, and what other cards you already have. Some of the classes have very strong legendaries (Paladin, Warlock, and Warrior, for instance), while others are not as impressive (Hunter). This guide will try to be as detailed as possible, though any ranking will naturally be influenced by personal preference. For this reason, I will discuss the class-specific legendaries separately from the neutral ones; it is up to you, the player, to decide when it's better to craft a class-specific legendary (or epic) rather than a neutral one.

Also, I should note: this guide only looks at the craftable cards available in Standard; if you have a large enough collection that you prefer to play Wild, then you probably don't need this guide. I highly recommend going through all of the adventures and unlocking the cards from them before embarking on crafting, as that will provide you more value for your investment.

* It has been determined that Hearthstone implements a "pity counter" for each card set; the chance of getting an epic goes up the longer you go without receiving one, to the point where you're guaranteed to get an epic at 10 packs. Similarly, your chances of getting a legendary go up slowly, until hitting 100% at 40 packs. These pity counters persist across sessions, so there's no effective difference between buying and opening one pack forty times and buying forty packs and opening them at once.

Neutral Legendaries and Epics

Generally, I recommend crafting neutrals before class-specific cards, since they can be used in all classes. Naturally, not every card will fit in every deck, but these are powerful enough to see general usage:

Legendaries

  1. Ysera (Classic) has several things going for her. She's a dragon, which enables certain tribal synergies; her 4 attack puts her in the Priest "dead zone"; and her dream cards all provide significant value.
  2. Twin Emperor Vek'lor (Whispers) is a very easy addition to any deck that features C'Thun (Whispers), since he can often be played on curve and still get his trigger.
  3. Sylvanas Windrunner (Classic) works well if you like control decks. The biggest challenge with her is knowing when to play her (short answer: don't put her on an empty board or when your opponent has a lot of low-value minions).
  4. N'Zoth, the Corruptor (Whispers) suffers a bit from the loss of the Naxxramas cards in Standard, but there are still several very powerful deathrattle legendaries available.
  5. Alexstrasza (Classic) is very strong due to her battlecry, either as an attack or a quick heal. The facts that she is a dragon (tribal synergy) and has the same stats as a giant is simply bonus.
  6. Ragnaros the Firelord (Classic) is very popular, but I don't like him as much as some because of the very random nature of his attack. He is dangerous enough, however, that your opponent will probably focus on removing him (I call this "effective taunt").
  7. Harrison Jones (Classic) and The Black Knight (Classic) are good utility cards, but are both extremely situational. If you've come this far down the list without crafting a class-specific legendary, I have to wonder why.
  8. Yogg-Saron, Hope's End (Whispers) suffers a little bit from his random nature, but can be very fun to play with. There's a slightly higher probability that the spells cast will be beneficial to you, but there's a fair bit of risk. (Also, be careful if your opponent has Sylvanas Windrunner on the board; if she dies and Yogg-Saron, Hope's End moves to your opponent's side, all beneficial effects, including card draw, will occur as if your opponent had cast the spells!) Update, October 2016: I've moved Yogg further down the list because of the upcoming change that will make him stop casting spells if/when he removes himself from the board. At only 5 health, it is very possible for him to die early. I still expect him to be a fun card, but he will not be as powerful as he used to be.
  9. Shifter Zerus (Whispers) has the advantage that he can be literally any minion, including class-specific ones from other classes, which can be very powerful. However, his value is entirely dependent on luck.
Additionally, some neutral legendaries should be noted as potential stand-outs because although they're not useful in all decks, they can be very powerful in certain deck types. If you enjoy that particular type, then these should be strongly considered:
  • Justicar Trueheart (TGT) is a great addition to some decks, especially Control Priest and Control/Fatigue Warrior. She does not see as much play in other classes, however.
  • Deathwing, Dragonlord (Whispers) is extremely powerful in a dragon deck. However, many dragons rely on battlecries for value, and many cards that benefit from dragon tribal synergies actually require having the dragon in your hand, rather than on the board, so sometimes the deathrattle will work against you.
  • Chillmaw (TGT) works great in a control-oriented deck (especially Dragon Priest), but does require having other dragons. If you're still in the early stages of crafting, you may want to wait.
  • Baron Geddon (Classic) is useful primarily in control-oriented decks, and is mostly seen run by Warriors.
  • Malygos (Classic) can be good, but you often end up building a deck around him, and suffering if he doesn't deliver. Generally limited to Mage, Warlock, and Rogue decks.

Epics

Somewhat surprisingly, most of the neutral epics are not worth crafting. The two exceptions (in my opnion) are Ancient Harbinger (Whispers), which has a threatening enough effect that your opponent will likely focus on removing it, and Big Game Hunter (Classic), which (even at 5 mana) is a very powerful answer to many of the strongest minions. Most of the others are underwhelming, at least when you're considering spending 400 dust on them.

Class-Specific Recommendations

Druid

 
The druid legendaries are a mixed bag, but generally are underwhelming. My overall recommendation is to hold off on them until later.
  1. Fandral Staghelm (Whispers) has good enough stats that he can be played on curve, and represents a significant threat. Your opponents will often focus significant removal on him, which will in turn protect your other minions.
  2. Cenarius (Classic) is very powerful, either as an "emergency wall" or as a "win more" when you have a significant board presence, but he is not a requirement for a strong deck.
  3. Aviana (TGT) is eye-catching to many new players, but it is very difficult to build a consistent deck that includes her.
The class epics provide some nice options. Forbidden Ancient (Whispers) is as large as you want it to be (especially when combined with Brann Bronzebeard (LoE), and works really well in a ramp deck, since you can always play it on curve. Ancient of War (Classic) provides high value.

Hunter

Hunter is generally regarded as a good class for new players because you don't need to spend much dust on high-power cards for it in order to have a strong deck, even though it has more legendaries than any other class. On the up side, all of the legendaries are beasts, and so benefit from tribal synergies, but none of them are worth crafting early.

  1. Princess Huhuran (Whispers) has good stats for her cost, even without gaining any benefit from her battlecry. If you're going to craft one of these, she's the one to get. Dreadscale (TGT) can help control the board, but its low health makes it so it often won't stay on the board long.   
  2. Dreadscale (TGT) can help control the board, but its low health makes it so it often won't stay on the board long.
  3. King Krush (Classic) is somewhat underwhelming due to the fact that it is stopped by taunts, and doesn't generally see much play.
  4. Acidmaw (TGT) works well in a deck with many low-cost minions (or Dreadscale (TGT)) for board control, but its high cost relative to its health makes it a hard card to use.

The class epics aren't very exciting, either, except for Call of the Wild (Whispers), Snake Trap (Classic) and (maybe) Lock and Load (TGT). I would recommend not spending any dust on this class until your collection is mostly complete.

Mage

  1. Archmage Antonidas (Classic) is really powerful, and can outright win games for you if your opponent isn't able to remove him immediately.
  2. Rhonin (TGT) works really well when paired with Archmage Antonidas (Classic) (see Brian Kibler's infamous "Fireworks Mage"), but doesn't see as much play outside of that deck.
  3. Anomalus (Whispers) can clear the board for you, but you're often going to have to spend removal on him yourself in order to trigger it, since he doesn't have taunt. Doomsayer is much cheaper and more reliable.

Cabalist's Tome (Whispers) can provide significant value (especially if it draws itself). Ice Block (Classic) and Pyroblast (Classic) are also good epics to consider, though both have limitations; I'd tend to stay away from them early in the crafting process.

Paladin

Paladins have some of the best legendaries; it's hard to go wrong with any of them.

  1. Tirion Fordring (Classic) is dominant in almost every Paladin deck, to the point where you often don't need to even have him--your opponent may hold off on playing their silences or removals just in case. But he's amazingly powerful, and definitely on the shortlist for crafting.
  2. Ragnaros, Lightlord (Whispers) can work very well in a control-oriented deck.
  3. Eadric the Pure (TGT) can work decently as a "get out of trouble" card, but if you're not behind on board control, his cost is rather prohibitive.

Epics to consider include Lay on Hands (Classic), Forbidden Healing (Whispers) and the notorious Mysterious Challenger (TGT).

Priest

All three class legendaries are decent, but not required.

  1. Confessor Paletress (TGT) can provide a lot if you're lucky, but you need to wait until at least turn 9 to guarantee getting value from her. This reduces her usefulness significantly.
  2. Prophet Velen (Classic) can lead into some impressive combinations. However, combo decks often struggle if you can't draw the proper cards.
  3. Herald Volazj (Whispers) is decent stat-wise only if you have at least one other minion on the board; the ideal is three others with good effects to copy, but that's not likely to happen very often.

Cabal Shadow Priest (Classic) is a great epic to get.

Rogue

Another class with underwhelming legendaries, Rogue's epic cards help make up the difference.

  1. Edwin VanCleef (Classic) is the best of the three; his low cost does mean that you can often get him out with at least a small buff, but he is weak to silence. Xaril, Poisoned Mind (Whispers) provides some significant value through his toxins, which can be used to initiate combo effects.
  2. Xaril, Poisoned Mind (Whispers) provides some significant value through his toxins, which can be used to initiate combo effects.
  3. Anub'arak (TGT) is a sticky minion, but its high cost to health makes it a harder card to run.

Preparation (Classic), on the other hand, is practically a must-craft. Shadowcaster can create many tokens, but without powerful effects, they're not going to have much impact. Beneath the Grounds (TGT) is good in certain decks (and hard counters Reno decks).

Shaman

Shaman's legendaries are, generally, underwhelming. Even the best of them rarely sees play.

  1. Hallazeal the Ascended (Whispers) turns many of the Shaman cards into significant healing spells, and can provide significant value almost immediately. Unfortunately, it's just too slow and weak to have as much of an impact as one could hope. Al'Akir the Windlord (Classic) should be on the shortlist for anyone playing Shaman, though many of the current most popular decks don't include him.
  2. Al'Akir the Windlord (Classic) should be on the shortlist for anyone playing Shaman, though many of the current most popular decks don't include him.
  3. The Mistcaller (TGT) is tempting for many new players, but his effect is rarely worth his cost.

Of the epics, only Eternal Sentinel (Whispers) and Doomhammer (Classic) are significant; many of the others are situational or dependent on building a very specific type of deck.

Warlock

With the variety available in warlock decks, you'd expect the legendaries to be varied; unfortunately, only one of them is really viable.

  1. Lord Jaraxxus (Classic) is very powerful in handlock-style, control-oriented decks.
  2. Cho'gall (Whispers) provides a large body even if you don't capitalize on his effect. However, there are a limited number of warlock spells that are reasonable to play for life rather than mana. This minion would have to be supported by healing spells or minions, and there aren't that many available in Standard.
  3. Wilfred Fizzlebang (TGT) is the weakest of the three, and rarely sees play. It's possible for his effect to be very powerful, but you're not guaranteed to get much value from him generally.

Bane of Doom (Classic) is the only epic I'd go out of my way to craft, largely because of the possibility of getting one of the more powerful demons, though there are enough weak demons that it's of questionable value. Renounce Darkness (Whispers) could result in a surprisingly powerful deck due to the discount, but is very much reliant on luck.

Warrior

  1. Grommash Hellscream (Classic) typically has a tremendous impact when he is played, and is often used as a finisher in Warrior decks. He's not as important in decks that are designed to simply outlast the opponent and let them die to fatigue, but is often still included because he's that powerful.
  2. Malkorok (Whispers) provides a decent body in addition to the weapon. There are 20 collectible weapons in Standard, so there's only a 5% chance of accidentally equipping a Cursed Blade; all of the other possibilities are good.
  3. Varian Wrynn (TGT) can be a powerful mid/late-game card, but doesn't see as much play.

Brawl (Classic) is also pretty much a must-craft, since Warriors don't have much ability to clear a board once they start to fall behind. Shield Slam (Classic) is also a card to consider (and is pretty much required for Control Warrior).