(Note: You may skip this section if you already read it in the Rastakhan’s Epic Crafting guide.)
All new expansions have them, shiny new Legendary and Epic cards, but trying to collect all the new toys can get expensive. The question that haunts everybody who is on a budget is which ones are really worth crafting and which ones are just trash. As we are now one Season into the Rastakhan meta, and about two weeks after the nerf, this article will give you answers to those questions. Keep in mind, that the answers are given for the state of the meta as it is right now. There are still decks that are not figured out that may change the evaluations given over time. In regard to that, we will additionally try to indicate cards that may become relevant in the future.
As Epics and Legendaries are the expensive ones, we will give you reasoning why those cards seem relevant and which decks they are played in. We will split those over two separate articles. We will also categorize them into “staples” and “nice to have”. The cards with future potential will be labeled “sleeper cards”. For Rares, we will list those played right now but we will not go into detail as they are relatively easy to come by. They will be appended to the RR Epic Crafting Guide. To see which decks those cards are played in, you may want to take a look at our Rastakhan’s Rumble Deck Compendium.
Neutral Legendaries – Staples
Mojomaster Zihi: Although some people slept on Zihi, he has not disappointed us with his power. There are so many decks in the meta right now that depend on high mana turns, that his disruption can be very powerful. Delaying a Zul’jin or Gul’dan can feel so satisfying–and game winning. The fact that Zihi has decent stats as a 6-mana 6/6 does not hurt either. He is particularly fun in decks that can get more than one use out of him, like Tempo Rogue (Shadowstep) or Tempo Shudderwock (Wock, of course), but so far he seems to be seeing the most play in Even Warlock. Nonetheless, we expect he will be a consideration for his entire time in Standard, and will come out to punish people whenever the metagame gets a bit too greedy. There are some concerns that he will lose value after Standard rotation (with the loss of Ultimate Infestation, all the Death Knights, and a lot of the tools that Zul’jin likes to use), but if there are any impactful expensive cards printed in April, then Zihi will be alright.
Neutral Legendaries – Nice To Have
Oondasta: Oondasta is borderline “staple” in our rating. It is run in almost all versions of Recruit Hunter and BIG Secret Hunter, as well as some versions of Deathrattle Hunter. Outside of Hunter, Odd Quest Warriors enjoy the big Beast a lot as well. It is also played in BIG Druid, Undatakah Druid, and Taunt Druid, but those decks are not played too much nowadays after the nerfs to Nourish and Wild Growth. After rotation, Oondasta loses Witchwood Grizzly, Charged Devilsaur, Direhorn Hatchling, and some of the big Druid Beasts as play partners, but it will keep Amani Warbear, Ironhide Direhorn, Baku, and Shirvallah the entire time it is in Standard, so there will likely be plenty of chances for it to stay relevant after rotation.
Neutral Legendaries – Sleeper Cards
Da Untatakah: It is ironic that one of the most hyped cards before release should now be called a “sleeper,” but here we are. Deathrattle is one of the most power mechanics in the game. Copying three of them can be huge. The downside of this card is its slowness. Nonetheless, with all Death Knights and Carnivorous Cube leaving Standard with the next rotation, this troll could potentially occupy one of those spots. He already had his moment in Undatakah Druid (the engine to which is rotating in April), but the similar Prelate engine is safe from rotation, so maybe Da Undatakah can rise from his grave again one day.
Class Legendaries – Staples
Zul’jin: The new Hunter Hero is undoubtedly the most powerful card of the set. It catapulted the Secret Hunter and Spell Hunter archetypes to the top of the meta in play- and winrate. Only Deathstalker Rexxar is more important for the class than the Amani warlord. Zul’jin loses most of his favorite toys after rotation and will, therefore, likely lose a lot of power at that time, but, unless there is another wave of nerfs, he seems poised to be incredibly powerful for the next 4 months, which seems like plenty of time to get your money’s worth out of him.
Shirvallah, the Tiger: OTK DK Paladin is a powerhouse deck right now. The Paladin Loa plays a key role in this deck, providing a big heal late game. Be warned though, with the rotation coming in April, the deck will lose relevance in Standard as Uther of the Ebon Blade will leave the play mode. The other deck Shirvallah is played in is Holy Wrath Paladin which, at least right now, is performing subpar. However, the card is strong enough that we suspect it will always be worth a consideration.
Class Legendaries – Nice To Have
Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk: Odd Mage’s strength is founded by a good part on this Loa card. Some BIG Spell Control Mage decks are also running it (e.g. Casie’s Control Mage). Combining it with Zola the Gorgon or Baleful Banker can be crazy in control matchups. The card’s power level appears to have dropped since release, but it is still fringe playable and lots of fun. It also appears to keep most of its most relevant synergy cards after rotation, especially, of course, Baku.
Krag’wa, the Frog: This big frog might not be the most powerful card of the set, but it is one of the most interesting ones. In combination with Unstable Evolution it can create the most crazy games. Unfortunately, Unstable Evolution rotates in April. Still, the card can combo with any spell, so we are excited to see what the future holds for this Loa.
Captain Hooktusk: The pirate chief lady could become a thing. Pirate Rogue is already showing some results on the ladder and with a bit more support in an upcoming set it could become huge. Many of her proponents compare her to Master Oakheart, which is some high praise.
Class Legendaries – Sleeper Cards
Akali, the Rhino: Rush Tempo Warrior is only fringe viable, but the Warrior Loa feels sometimes very powerful. The deck already can make huge plays but is kept in check by the more powerful archetypes existing right now. We can imagine that such a playstyle could become top tier, as was Tempo Dragon Warrior, IF the archetype gets additional support in an upcoming set after the next Standard rotation.
Wild Play Mode
In Wild play mode, Zul’jin had the same impact as in Standard. The other card that sees or will see play in the forseeable future is Mojomaster Zihi. All other Legendaries are not relevant at the moment. A sleeper card could be High Priestess Jeklik as the discard synergy is much stronger in Wild. The bat champion is at least a lot of fun to experiment with.
Generally, the Rastakhan set did not have the biggest immediate impact on the meta, apart from a few exceptions like Zul’jin, which will make it a comparably “cheap” set – at least for now. In April, this may and will change as three old sets rotate out of Standard – Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs. Therefore, you might want to wait before disenchanting any cards as they may rise in playability by a huge margin once some space clears up for them.