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HearthstoneJan 3, 2019 2:31 pm CT

Five fantastic Hearthstone cards that casual players should craft

ESL Legendary Series

Rastakhan’s Rumble is a couple of weeks old and the community has formed a consensus around the top decks. Most of these decks are built around big Legendary cards, but unless yo’ve spent outrageous amounts of cash — either in-game gold or real life money — you won’t have what you need to build these decks.

Fortunately, Hearthstone has a helpful crafting system that lets you turn your spare cards into Arcane Dust. Arcane Dust, in turn, lets you craft specific cards. Then the all important question becomes: which cards do I craft with my precious dust? Because casual players have less dust, the decision all the more critical. You want to get the most value out of every ounce of dust, which means need to look at both the longevity of the cards as well as their versatility.

Crafting the first cool card you see may give you one fun deck, but smart crafting will give you cards that will help you build strong decks from expansion to expansion.

Here’s what you need to think about before you get crafting.

How long will my cards last?

Hearthstone has a system where cards from different sets rotate out of play for the Standard ladder. (Though all cards are available for Wild play, that can be tougher for casual players as it’s more reliant on having a big card collection.) Early in 2019, cards from Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs will rotate and only be usable in the Wild, so I wouldn’t recommend crafting any cards from those sets.

However, cards from the Witchwood, Boomsday Project, and Rastkhan’s Rumble  expansions will remain in Standard play until 2020. And Classic cards will never rotate out of Standard play, with a few exceptions — rarely, cards from the Classic are put in the Hall of Fame and removed from play. But that’s not all bad news, because Blizzard lets you disenchant those cards for enough dust to craft newer, better cards of the same quality.

How many decks can I use these cards in?

The other criteria to consider is the versatility of the card. Some cards are powerful, but only for one class or even one specific deck. Shirvallah, the Tiger is one example. He powers a strong OTK (that’s “one turn kill”) Paladin decks, but doesn’t see much play otherwise. Other cards can be used in a variety of decks and those are the ones you want to craft, whether you’re a casual or hardcore Hearthstone player. Crafting powerful cards that you can use in multiple decks lets you build multiple decks — and that, in turn, makes it easier to complete quests, get more cards, rank up, and generally have fun.

Ready to get crafting? These are my recommendations.

Great neutral cards that can fit into any deck

Zilliax (The Boomsday Project) — A taunt minion with divine shield and lifesteal (a heal), this card really maxes out its versatility stat. You’ll find Zilliax in Deathrattle Hunter and Odd Quest Warrior, both considered “tier 1” decks, the best of best in Hearthstone right now. And while you may not have all of the cards you need to build those decks, Zilliax fits in any deck that wants some defense. He’s an ideal replacement for other defensive Legendary minions, which can help you put together solid decks even if you don’t have all the cards.

Baku the Mooneater / Genn Greymane (Witchwood) — These two cards upgrade your hero power if you have only odd-cost cards (Baku) or only even-cost cards (Genn) in your deck. Ever since their introduction, the Even and Odd decks these cards empower have been game-changing. The upgraded hero powers offset the deck-building restrictions and these two Legendaries will only grow in power as more cards are added over the next year. Paladin, Hunter, Warrior favor odd decks. Shaman and Warlock favor even decks. Rogues have powerful decks for both even and odd. There are plenty of decks to try, with Even Paladin, Even Warlock, and Odd Warrior decks are all considered tier 1. This Even Rogue is a good one for casual players, as it has only one other Legendary, Captain Hooktusk, and he’s not essential. (However, the Epic card Cannon Barrage is more necessary.)

Leeroy Jenkins (Classic) — Leeroy is a staple in aggressive decks, which to be less expensive than Control or Midrange decks. That makes them a good option for casual players. Because Leeroy has charge, you can play him and deal damage on the same term, making him a perfect finisher in any aggressive deck. You can could use Leeroy in a budget Zoo Priest, in which Leeroy is the only Legendary (and the deck has only one Epic, More Arms). If you’re willing to spend a little more dust, you could build this Shark Spirit Rogue. In addition to Leeroy, this deck has four other Legendary cards including Zilliax (that guy is everywhere), as well as three Epic cards.

One fantastic class card

Everything to this point has been a neutral card, usable in any deck. My next recommendation is a Hunter class card, which can only be used in Hunter decks. Crafting class cards starts to position that class as your “main” — once you craft a Legendary class card, it makes more sense to play that class often — and thus craft the class’s Epic cards as well. The issue comes as the meta shifts from expansion to expansion, and class power waxes and wanes with it. Still, this Rastakhan card is good enough to be worth crafting.

Zul’jin (Rastakhan’s Rumble) — As part of the newest Hearthstone expansion, Zul’jin will be in the Hearthstone meta for the next two years. This is a powerful card, and essential in this Spell Hunter deck which is currently considered the best deck in Hearthstone. Zul’jin also appears in another tier 1 deck, the Subject Nine Hunter.

So get out there and get crafting, Hearthstone players!

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