The year of 2015 was filled to the brim with Hearthstone content. From the launch of the game on Android and iOS, to the revelation of Tavern Brawls, alternate heroes, and much more. Two adventures and one expansion released in Blackrock Mountain, League of Explorers, and The Grand Tournament, respectively, totaling more than 200 new cards. And with the dawn of Winter Veil the year is ready to come to a close. But looking back, only one card can stand out as the best. We spoke with a bunch of professional players, streamers, and personalities to select their top three out of our field of nominees. They are as follows:

Druid Nominees

Hunter Nominees

Mage Nominees


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Paladin Nominees

Priest Nominees

Rogue Nominees


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Shaman Nominees

Warlock Nominees

Warrior Nominees


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Neutral Nominees


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Constructed Card of the Year Votes

Player
First Selection
Second Selection
Third Selection
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Emperor Thaurissan - This single card introduced in the game gave combos for all sorts of decks to experiment with. Druid, Freeze Mage, Malylock, and the pre-nerf Patron (and post-nerf too!) all have a way to do ridiculous turns thanks to this legendary. I even did a crazy turn recently against Trump's secret Paladin in the Starladder tournament.

Mysterious Challenger - Paladin has always felt like they missed out on secrets when Mad Scientist was introduced, as 1-mana secrets just didn't have enough value when drawn and played from the hand. Fortunately, Mysterious Challenger lets us put at most 5 secrets in play at once, along with a 6/6 body as well! With effectively 11-mana worth of stats on a single card, it's no wonder that Secret Paladin decklists have started being popular once players realized its potential.

Dark Peddler - Man have people underrated his card! Not only is it a 2/2 Novice Engineer, and that the fact that you get 1 of 3 choices, we also figured out that class cards were 400% more likely to be discovered. Soulfire, Power Overwhelming, and even Voidwalker are insane 1-drop Warlock class cards. And also the chance to get Bloodsail Corsair against weapon classes and Hungry Crab to destroy that 1 Murloc Knight, this flexible card really does it all.
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Emperor Thaurissan - I don't think this comes as a surprise to anyone. This card singlehandely changed the game of Hearthstone by opening up a whole new world of possibilities with the help of the power of Ragnaros. Historically, in trading card games, cost reduction cards have been the most powerful ones, Black Lotus in Magic; the Gathering and Innervate in Hearthstone just to name a few. Thaurissan pushes this to a whole new level with the possibility to save you nine mana by just the one reduction you're granted for playing him, don't get me started on what happens when he stays in play for multiple turns. This is not even to mention that Hearthstone is a game that is a game with a mana-cap of 10, and every single card is carefully designed with this in mind. Emperor Thaurissan breaks this rule in half and allows you to play combos that were never intended to exist. One of the reasons Leeroy Jenkins got nerfed (originally it cost 4 mana) were because Handlock's finisher of Leeroy + Faceless Manipulator + Power Overwhelming. 20 damage for 10 is insanely powerful. With Emperor Thaurissan effect on a single one of these cards and the combo is available again.

You may think that this is a bad example to demonstrate his power because it's definitely not what he's been used to do the most (Grim Patron, Druid Combo, Malygos Warlock) and this is exactly why he is so insanely strong, allowing something that has been banned from the game is one of the least powerful things Emperor allows. This is a clear choice for me as the most impactful card of 2015.

Sidenote; This is also the reason why Grim Patron is not on my list. The card dominated the meta for months, but it would not have been able to do this without the help of Emperor. Where Emperor would have been very impactful even without his Patron-friends.

Mysterious Challenger - Most ladder players hate this guy, but there is no denying that this card gave Paladin the final push it needed to be a very real contender for the best class in the game. Seeing how pre-GVG it was considered the worst class by quite a bit this says a lot about Mysterious Challenger. When TGT came out a lot of people (including me) just ditched this card as bad because all Paladin Secrets suck. But in hindsight it is really obvious how strong this is. Considering a 6/6 body is already worth more than 5 mana, lets say 5.5 mana exactly, getting cards worth for up to 5 mana more, and also making your threat-heavy by removing multiple cards that you didn't want to draw in the late-game anyway probably puts its "reasonable" mana cost at something like 13 mana... Paladin had a good year and I think Mysterious Challenger can take the most credit for this.

Darnassus Aspirant - Do you remember the days when you hoped that your opponent didn't have Wild Growth? Me neither. Not only did Darnassus Aspirant increase the consistency of Druid by a lot but also gave Druid the best possible tool to fight the decks it was weakest against. For those of you that need a reminder Druid struggled a lot against decks like Zoo, Hunter and other decks that developed the board very quickly while the Druid set up with Wild Growths and slow cards like Shade of Naxxramas. This was such a powerful strategy because Druid lack a way to come back in a game where the Druid player is behind, aside from Swipe, which is not even that powerful compared to what other classes have. Darnassus fixes this problem perfectly not only by letting you cast your high impact-minions earlier, but the 2/3 body is very good at dealing with the early minions that these decks play. As a Hunter expert I think that card alone turned the Hunter vs. Druid matchup from highly favorable for the Hunter to slightly unfavored, and that is huge when you're considering a single card did this.

Honorary Mentions

Flamewaker - Flamewaker basicly put Tempo Mage on the map. What the deck lacked was a powerful 3-drop with your best option prior to Flamewaker were Kirin Tor Mage. The only reason it's not is in top three is because it wasn't quite enough to make the deck top tier as the other cards on the list did but I would feel bad not mentioning it at all since it had a lot of impact on this year.

Imp Gang Boss - Same thing as Flamewaker basically. A class with no good three drop got access to a very powerful one and it is now a staple in almost every single Warlock-deck, especially those of the aggressive type. Warlock would probably not have any chance to compete in the Paladin-heavy meta we have right now if this card didn't exist.
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Grim Patron - The tyrant of 2015 which has single handedly caused Blizzard to forcefully banish Warsong Commander to the shadow realm. No single deck has been this oppressive since Huntertaker and Miracle Rogue. Easily the most impactful card of 2015.

Emperor Thaurissan - He is the glue that allows midrange, combo, and control decks to gain legitimacy in their end game. Decks that lose emperor become significantly weaker, such as pre-need Patron Warrior and Malylock. While players have started weening off the need for emperor in decks (Druid doesn't always run it these days), the overall power level of decks increased greatly thanks to this card.

Mysterious Challenger -
A huge sleeper for TGT ends up getting full reins of the meta after the Patron nerf. Little did people realize that without everyone getting in here, the Paladins have been freed to come forth and boy did they elect quite the leader In his steed. It has defined the meta for a solid 2 months and with LoE just finishing up, it seems MC paladin is here to stay on top for a while. Any card that can singlehandedly give cards like a Avenge, Competitive Spirit and Repentance major significance is a 10/9 power level in my book.
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I think these are the best cards of 2015 as far as being useful and strong in many decks.

A lot of notable cards like Mysterious Challenger, Flamewaker, and Emperor Tharassian are only strong in a single relevant meta deck so I did not value them as highly. Dark Peddler and Brann Bronzebeard didn't make my list, but are close to the top 3 and from a design standpoint are way more fun than the cards I selected, as well as Reno Jackson. The League of Explorers was overall my favorite set as far as playing them, but still not really the set for powerhouse cards. But [it has] so many fairly strong cards that work in a fair number of decks.
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We couldn't not put Grim Patron as our number one pick. Even if what Firebat says is correct, it absolutely dominated the meta for most of the year and took the ladder by storm. Until the Warsong Commander nerf, we never thought we'd see a day when it didn't sit atop the tier list. Thaurrisan, as the card which enabled it and many of the other combo decks out there comes in a close second with Mysterious Challenger a relatively distant third. It's unknown how long our secretive friend will remain untouched (it could be forever), but his history is still relatively brief with much more to come.

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Arena Card of the Year

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North Sea Kraken - Because it changed the Arena meta, becoming the best neutral common in the game.

Murloc Knight - Because people used it a ton, and Paladin users rose, so you had to deal with it a lot (it's not that great actually).

Imp Gang Boss - Because it single handedly lifted Warlock from "bad" to "average."
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Kraken is an auto include as a large, impactful, common minion that can swing board control wildly. As ADWCTA said, Imp Gang Boss basically made Warlock relevant, but we went with Kvaldir as our final choice as the early days of The Grand Tournament were absolutely jam packed full of those activations that continually grew him turn after turn.

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Final Results

Constructed Card of the Year

Arena Card of the Year

Well that's it folks. Everyone has spoken and ultimately Emperor Thaurissan has been deemed the most defining card of 2015. From combo decks, to Patron Warrior, and just about everything but aggro decks, Tharissan was frequently to go to card. North Sea Kraken on the other hand, shows an obvious effort from Blizzard to introduce some larger and more impactful minions at a higher cost but at the common rarity slot. Both have basically changed everything about their respective game modes and Hearthstone will remain forever changed as a result.

We'd like to thank all of the various pro players and streamers for taking their time to make their picks and our readers for being with us for yet another year. Who know's what 2016 holds for the game, but if the content release cycle is to believed we're due for even more cards this year. Hearthhead on the other hand has a lot of exciting things coming up and we're very much looking forward to getting them into your hands!

Editor's Note: Some changes have been made to clarify our opening statement.