When ranking legendaries, there are a lot of different factors to consider. The reality is that, most of the class specific legendaries are not as good (at least right now) as say, Sylvanas. Some are not even as good as Ragnaros. Some are really good, just not in the current meta. What are the best class specific legendaries and, when should you craft them? Those questions are, to my knowledge, largely unexplored. Rankings always come down to opinion and I thought I’d share mine, along with the criteria I use to evaluate the cards.
Great legendaries should be useful most of the time. There are always going to be circumstances where it’s less than optimal to play certain cards, but a top tier legendary should be playable in most circumstances. That’s the primary reason I rank cards like Sylvanas and Ragnaros over the Black Knight. The Black Knight’s a fantastic card, but there are circumstances where it’s an overpriced 4/5 and nothing more.
Great legendaries should either give you instant value or allow you enough mana to combo them with another spell or minion. Part of what makes Ragnaros so good, even in a meta where people are openly running Big Game Hunter, is the fact that he immediately provides you eight damage. The same is generally true of minions that feature the charge mechanic. You will get something out of King Krush, Grommash Hellscream and Al’Akir the Windlord.
Finally, great legendaries should feature a lot of overall value. Sylvanas, if played correctly, demands a lot of effort to disarm. You usually can’t just kill her, because she’ll take something with her. Silencing her does not change the fact that she’s still a 5/5, capable of inflicting respectable damage. The same is true of Tirion Fordring, my favorite class specific legendary. The fabled Paladin champion is a veritable Swiss Army Knife featuring taunt, divine shield, a 6/6 frame and a better Arcanite Reaper upon expiring. That’s a lot, even considering the hefty eight mana cost.
Criteria explained, here are my top five class specific legendaries:
1. Tirion Fordring
I mentioned it earlier, but Tirion Fordring brings with him an absurd amount of return on your initial investment. If silenced, he’s still a 6/6, and flies just under the radar of the nefarious Big Game Hunter. He requires a lot of effort to take down, and once gone, you’ll usually have a big sword for your troubles. If you’re going to play a Paladin deck seriously, I’d say craft a Sylvanas first and then beeline to this epic champion of the Light.
Prior to Hearthstone’s closed beta, I surmised that Druid would be incredibly strong because of its versatility. Given the rise of Druid Control of late, I feel fairly good about that prediction. Cenarius features a pair of powerful options, both great depending on your circumstance. If you need some defense, throw him down and make a pair of 2/2 taunts. If you’re looking for the killing blow and have a decently populated board, go with the buff and go for the throat.
Nine mana is expensive, but Cenarius is incredibly tanky and is, like Tirion, underneath the seven attack threshold, meaning Big Game Hunter won’t just put him down. This card features instant value and can be safely run in a lot of the current Druid Control setups. As far as when to craft him, that’s a tough call. I would not put him above most of the usual suspects, but he’s definitely a tool worth having.
3. King Krush
I owe this dinosaur an apology. I was not high on him back when, but having seen him close out numerous games of late, I’m willing to change my tune. He’s essentially Ragnaros for one more mana, but with the ability to target where his damage goes. That flexibility carries with it some disadvantages in the form of weaknesses to taunt minions and spells such as Noble Sacrifice and Misdirection, but on the whole, those are acceptable risks. He’s a fantastic game ending minion and can be run in most Hunter setups. If you’re serious about running a Hunter, I’d definitely take him after Sylvanas.
4. Grommash Hellscream
There’s an obvious similarity between Grommash Hellscream and King Krush. The difference is, King Krush comes out and throws down an impressive eight damage, no questions asked. While Grom has access to tools that can boost his damage higher, it relies on comboing cards, and that reliance makes him a slightly less safe bet. That said, cards such as Inner Rage and Cruel Taskmaster can quickly make Grom absurd, as Artosis showed at the BlizzCon 2013 Innkeeper’s Invitational.
The decision on when to craft him is tricky. Aside from the one turn kill gimmick deck being run right now, Warrior’s full potential seems unrealized. I like Grom a lot but I’m not sure when I’d actually craft him.
5. Archmage Antonidas
I love this card. I’ve had him in arena a couple of times and he can be incredible with the right setup. That’s why he’s not higher, though. He can win you the game, but it’s circumstantial and depends on what you have left in your arsenal. Ideally, you’d like to play him in a situation where you can follow up with Arcane Missiles, Mirror Image, Frostbolt, or even Ice Lance. You want to generate Fireballs and then end the game in the next turn or two. The problem is, if you’re being overrun early on, you’ll have to throw out those other spells to either keep alive, or advance your position on the board.
In terms of when to craft him, Archmage Antonidas would be fairly far down my list. I’d take Sylvanas, Leeroy Jenkins, Bloodmage Thalnos, Ragnaros, even Malygos over him. If I did have 1600 spare dust though, I’d definitely give him a shot.
The Other Legendaries
My explanation on the other four class legendaries, along with more analysis on the first five can be found in the video below.
If you’re looking for rankings on the neutral legendaries, be sure to check those out here.