It turns out that people get oddly passionate about card lists, which is honestly a pretty great sign for Hearthstone. The first list we dropped two weeks ago was met with agreement, and also a lot of 'where is this card?!', despite warnings that there would be more to come. There was also some disagreement with the Wild Pyromancer choice, but I'm hoping that Amaz and his skilled use of the fiery minion at Dreamhack Summer has opened some eyes. It's incredibly powerful with the right complements.
This week we'll take a look at another five sub-epic cards no one should be without. The only ranking to the list is mana cost, so we're not saying that one's more important than another. That decision is up to you and what decks you want to play.
Leper Gnome: 40 dust
Successfully playing an aggressive (or aggro) deck is all about getting the most possible value out of your cards. Some classes will be easier to take down because they don't inherently feature an ability to generate armor and health, while others will prove incredibly difficult. What makes Leper Gnome such a steal is that, most of the time, you do get some damage out of him. Hearthstone is a game that often features a back and forth game of 'drop the minion, watch the minion blow up before ever accomplishing anything', so in that respect, Leper Gnome is a decidedly impactful minion.
Leper Gnome also presents opponents with some difficult decisions, especially if played on turn one. The Coin is theoretically supposed to be used to make a big tempo play at some point in the match. Leper Gnome often forces it to come out as a reactionary measure early on, especially against classes that have one damage hero powers. Coincidentally, we're seeing a lot of those classes used on ladder right now.
Argent Squire is definitely solid, but she requires a lot of synergistic spells and minions to get really get a lot done. If you're looking to play something a bit more direct that just piles on direct damage, Leper Gnome is a must have. He can be run in a lot of different decks and will always be a solid option for more aggressive setups.
Earthen Ring Farseer: 40 dust
The ability to spontaneously generate health is important in Hearthstone. Mentioned above, aggro decks often feature a finite amount of firepower that has to bring you down to zero health before they're out of cards. Spells and minions that heal while additionally creating or destroying a threat on the board are a great answer. Earthen Ring Farseer is not crazy, in terms of stats. He is solid, however, and will heal a hero or minion for three points of health upon being played. That can be a real source of irritation to foes, especially if played early, as it can essentially negate two turns worth of aggression.
Earthen Ring Farseer also gets points for costing three mana, both because of flexibility and the lack of other astounding options at that tier. Most of the neutral three drops serve very specific purposes, and there's a lack of stat heavy beater minions such as River Crocolisk or Chillwind Yeti. This boosts the worth of Earthen Ring Farseer because there's a great chance that in any match you'll get optimal value out of him, without risk of repercussion.
Additionally, this shaman's healing power can actually be used as a tactical laser in conjunction with Auchenai Soulpriest's ability to turn healing into damage. If Anduin Wrynn is your go-to, definitely take a flyer on this minion.
Azure Drake: 100 dust
It cannot be overstated just how important card draw is. If you don't have cards, you don't have questions, answers, or options. Azure Drake is, simply put, amazing. It offers a solid 4/4 body, a card and spell power, all for five mana. Spell power might not be essential to your deck's victory condition, but it never hurts to boost that Consecration up to three damage, or that Swipe up to five and two. In fact, these unexpected swings can often pave the way for a comeback, or a backbreaking blow. The only time it might work against you is if you're playing control warrior and your Whirlwind spell does more than you want it to. Personal experience speaking, here.
The 4/4 body on Azure Drake can also be problematic for a lot of decks to deal with, especially if it's played on curve and an opponent has nothing on the board. That circumstance might seem unlikely, but in the current meta, an empty board is fairly common against specific decks. Azure Drake can easily force out Swipes, Eviscerates, Truesilver Champions and all kinds of other weapons your opponent might be trying to hold on to for later.
What really ices Azure Drake as a must craft card, however, is that it fits just about everywhere. Gnomish Inventor is definitely starting to make a comeback because it's a card draw minion that comes out a turn earlier, but most top tier players are still sticking to at least one drake for timely spell power boosts and the solid body. Expect to get a lot of mileage out of Malygos' brood.
Argent Commander: 100 dust
Argent Commander is arguably one of the best cards in Hearthstone. This brash paladin comes with charge, divine shield and enough damage to take out a number of tougher minions. He doesn't just trade, however. He delivers a punch to the jaw and then hangs around, with what's really one more health than can be conveniently dealt with for most decks. It might not seem like much, but having two health as opposed to one is huge. Two health takes a minion outside of the range of Shapeshift, Wicked Knife and Fireblast. This means that opponents will generally have to commit either a minion, or an additional card to dealing with Argent Commander, as opposed to just mana/health.
What's more, Argent Commander can sometimes be a win condition. Prior to the days of the Leeroy Jenkins/Shadowstep combo we've all come to loathe, rogues often won on the back of Argent Commander into Cold Blood. With other classes, similar things still occur. Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Rockbiter Weapon, Mark of Nature, essentially any buff that can be tossed on Argent Commander can turn him into a homing missile that ends the game. In that respect, he's incredibly flexible. He can be a card that awards tempo and card advantage, or a card that spells doom to your foe.
The only real drawback to Argent Commander is the six mana price tag. He's definitely worth it, but against some decks he might be too slow to make that much of a difference. All the same, whether you're playing aggro, control or some other weird deck, Argent Commander can absolutely do work for you.
Sunwalker: 100 dust
Similar to Argent Commander, Sunwalker is a paladin who can get you a lot of bang for your buck. She also comes with divine shield, but instead of charging into battle, she's more focused on keeping you and your minions safe from harm. Sunwalker features an identical stat spread to Chillwind Yeti, meaning she'll likely take a couple of different resources to get off the board. Praise aside, I only recommend crafting one Sunwalker initially.
She's strong, but she's also a victim of the meta. In situations where Black Knight is being run, Sunwalker is really hard to trust. It's okay if an opponent uses a Polymorph, Hex or even Keeper of the Grove on her. That's just one less crowd control or silence effect to worry about on other, more important minions. Black Knight however is almost expressly designed to deal with something like Sunwalker, and the swing is brutal.
If you run Sunwalker, definitely keep track of what tech cards are being run. She can be great, but she can also be a one way ticket to a loss.