This trio of powerhouses sports some of the best classes from 2016. Aggro Shaman dominated the metagame throughout the year thanks to last year's offerings from The Grand Tournament and League of Explorers which was then emboldened by the power of the Old Gods. Druids came to fruition due to a ton of spells and the pre-nerf Yogg-Saron, Hope's End and Rogues have remained steadfast as Miracle Rogue keeps managing to hold itself together.
It's only fitting that we divide up the classes by their Gadgetzan families and we'll be rolling out one each day until discussing the neutral nominees on Thursday.
Please note, that while we have hand selected these cards, judges will be able to write in other nominations if they feel it is appropriate.
Fandral Staghelm - To talk about the other two nominees, we really have to acknowledge the impact of Fandral. He's relatively cheap and has an incredibly powerful effect which can even be doubled by Brann Bronzebeard. Though he isn't exclusively why the other two cards on this list are here, he's certainly a large reason why they are that good.
Mire Keeper - Completely replacing Darnassus Aspirant isn't necessarily an easy task. But it turns out that Druids don't mind waiting just a little longer to ramp and doing so gives them the option to either summon another minion or combo it with Fandral.
Feral Rage - We weren't sure that Feral Rage would stick around after the Yogg-Saron nerfs, but it's proven to be resilient. There's just too much value in having a spell that can either help you remove enemy minions or stall a bit longer by adding Armor. Again, combining this with Fandral is tremendously good as well.
Spirit Claws - Was certainly an underestimated card, but as it turns out Shamans really love spell power. On the 25% chance that you summon a spell power totem on Turn 2, this is a huge swing in your favor immediately and Shaman's early game was already strong.
Flamewreathed Faceless - Though it's become a meme, Flamewreathed Faceless isn't only powerful because of synergy with Tunnel Trogg. The LoE minion surely lets the class snowball much more quickly, but on its own Flamewreathed is one powerhouse of a card.
Thing from Below - Some dissenters argue that it was actually Thing from Below that makes Shaman broken. Prior to the Tuskarr Totemic nerf it wasn't all that uncommon to have already summoned two Totems by Turn 4 which would make Thing from Below a 4-Cost 5/5 with Taunt. Seems very strong considering Flameweathed Faceless is only 2/2 more stats and has an Overload of two as well.
Swashburglar - It hasn't been too stellar of a year for Rogues, but they've gotten a couple of really interesting cards that steal cards from your opponent's class. Swashburgler has seen some play across the many archetypes including Miracle Rogue simply to give the deck something to do on Turn 1 and potentially build upon later.
Undercity Huckster - Huckster has probably been more popular than the card preceding it simply because it's a bit beefier and a Deathrattle instead of a Battlecry. Because of this, it was more friendly with N'Zoth, the Corruptor and other synergistic cards.
Shadow Strike - Shadow Strike has really stuck around all year long. It's immensely popular in Miracle Rogue, the only Rogue archetype that has remained relevant all year long. A lot of minions sport five Health and as a result Shadow Strike is a very solid card.
Hearthhead started reviewing 2016's Cards of the Year on Monday with a look at Hunter, Paladin, and Warrior followed by Mage, Priest, and Warlock yesterday. Tomorrow we'll be selecting our five nominees for the best Neutral card.