Last updated: May 6th, 2020 – Patch 17.0.2
(Note: You may skip this section if you already read it in the another of the Year of the Phoenix crafting guides)
All new expansions have them, shiny new Legendary and Epic cards, but trying to collect all the new toys can get expensive very fast. The question that haunts everybody who is on a budget is which ones are really worth crafting and which ones are just not worth the investment if you are on a budget. The question is even more pronounced in the new system in which we get fewer duplicates, which means we open more new cards, but have less dust lying around.
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 categorize them into format “staples”, “nice to have” cards, and “sleeper” cards.” Staples are core to the most powerful decks and cannot be replaced without serious harm to the composition. Nice to haves are good additions to a deck, but replaceable without hurting the deck too much. Sleeper cards are interesting ones that have not found a place but which might be relevant in the future, or have found a place that just needs a little more support from future sets to become relevant. With recent changes to packs, we will not cover Rare cards any more as acquiring them is very easy and duplicates are a thing of the past. Please remember that these guides are meant to be for Standard only.
Take all suggestions with a grain of salt, though, as the meta might shift or balance changes come up. We, hsdecktech and I, will update those guides as the Year of the Phoenix is evolves. For your reference, we will indicate the Patch the guide is based on. Below you will find the links to the guides for each set.
- Bamboozle – Galakrond Secret Rogue/Highlander Rogue (one-of): Did you already get bamboozled? If so, you know why this secret is very powerful. Aside from it just being good, there are so few Rogue secrets that, if you are going to run them, you usually want to run all of them. Keep in mind that, as with the other Rogue secret cards, this card is borderline “nice to have,” as the secret package is not markedly better than other ways to play Rogue.
- Warmaul Challenger – all kinds of Warriors: Warmaul Challenger is a solid removal and tempo card. It is flexible and it synergizes perfectly with Battle Rage, Rampage, and Bloodboil Brute. It is not run in every build of every Warrior list, but it is usually one of the best cards in the builds it is in.
- Warglaives of Azzinoth – Tempo Demon Hunter: This is one of the best Weapons in game which apparently also synergizes perfectly with Demon Hunter’s hero power and attack buff cards – it can go face too. Of all these “staples,” this is the most important individual card at the time of writing, in terms of power and meta relevance.
- Glowfly Swarm – Spell Druid/Token Druid: A poterntial 14/14 of stats is nothing to be overlooked. The vast card draw the Druid class has in its portfolioperfectly supports this card rendering it one of, if not THE, core card to Spell and Token Druid.
Nice to Have
Mo’arg Artificer – Galakrond Warlock/Galakrond Priest/Highlander Priest (one-of): This very well-statted Demon turns small AoE effects like Holy Nova into big board clears. Penance heals for 6, Nether Breath for 8, and Mortal Coil can take out early DH minions to name just a few interactions. Some of the decks choose to run just one, but if you get two out, the effect stacks (so the base damage is quadrupled instead of doubled).
Sethekk Veilwaever – Galakrond Priest/Highlander Priest (one-of): This mini-Auctioneer has decent enough stats and gives you a bit of card advantage. It can also find buffs and/or heals to protect itself and help you really go off. It’s a must-answer minion for your opponents, and Priest doesn’t naturally have a ton of those any more.
Augmented Porcupine – Face Hunter/Highlander Hunter: In conjunction with the many beast buffs, this small critter can turn out a lot of damage. It is particularly powerful when hit by Scavenger’s Ingenuity, and pairing it with a Mok’Nathal Lion is just mean.
Greyheart Sage – Stealth Galakrond Rogue/Highlander Rogue (one-of): There is still a split as to which version of Galakrond Rogue is better right now, secret or stealth, but both are powerful and each needs some core expensive cards to work. This is the whole reason why you run the Stealth version.
Skeletal Dragon – Resurrect Priest/Highlander Priest (one-of): Dedicated Dragon Priest didn’t really get made, but this card is strong enough that it sees some play regardless. It’s not a core card, but it’s a solid choice that goes into lots of these builds. It automatically replaces itself at the end of the turn. On top of that, the body is very beefy and pretty hard to clear, so it usually takes a few guys down with it and/or gets you multiple cards over multiple turns. It’s a value engine, and that’s what Priest’s about these days.
Underlight Angling Rod – Murloc Paladin/Highlander Paladin (one-of): Paladin’s not in a good spot right now, but this is one of its stronger cards. The stats are good enough to compete on the board, or pressure the face, and the murloc generation is a nice bonus. It’s not as good as the Warrior 3-drop weapons, but there are a lot of reasons why Paladin’s not as good as Warrior right now, so lets not put that all on the Rod. Yet, in lower ranks, Murloc Paladin is already a top tier deck – so hope remains that Uther and his Murloc companions may rise again.
Apexis Blast – Spell Mage: Spell Mage never quite made it out of the week-one meta, but Apexis Blast is one of the best cards in the deck. This archetype might get more specific support throughout the year, but, in another sense, every spell printed throughout the year supports it, so there’s a lot of room for growth here.
Bogspine Knuckles – Evolve Shaman: Evolve Shaman has some decent tools and, as indicated by the off-meta portion of the Grandmasters broadcast, is almost there. Knuckles is the single most important card for that deck, so you can expect it to be played if the deck as a whole ever finds a way.
Nagrand Slam – Control Hunter/Highlander Hunter (one-of): Nagrand Slam is a nutty card when it goes off, the meta’s just not in a place where it goes off all that often. There is no slow, control Hunter, and there were experiments with pairing it with Kael’thas, but that never panned out. Its main home right now is Highlander Hunter, a perfectly acceptable deck in the middle of the meta, but we could see some worlds in which Nagrand Slam’s stock rises.
This wraps up this crafting guide. Make sure you check out the others as well be clicking through the links below. If you disagree for any reason, let us know in the comments below or send a tweet to @hsdecktech or @OtakuMZ1978.
Links to individual guides:
Year of the Phoenix Crafting Guide Hub (includes Galakrond’s Awakening Evaluation)
Saviors of Uldum: Legendary Crafting Guide (coming soon)
Saviors of Uldum: Epic Crafting Guide (coming soon)
Rise of Shadows: Legendary Crafting Guide (coming soon)
Rise of Shadows: Epic Crafting Guide (coming soon)
Classic/Initiate: Legendary Crafting Guide (coming soon)
Classic/Initiate: Epic Crafting Guide (coming soon)