Last summer, I got a new hobby, and during the fall of 2021, I had a very important and demanding IRL task which required my full attention, so I decided to stop all gaming to increase my odds of being successful. The strategy worked, and I will soon return to my home country in a new and very interesting job!
To my surprise, the desire to return to Hearthstone when I had more time was gone, including maintaining this guide. It felt a bit like trying to make out with an ex you are not into anymore, so I have realized everything has an end.
Thank you all for the journey, I have learned a lot, and I hope mountains of dust have found satisfying homes! This guide actually outlasted both my own MOD career and even the previous admin team of this site, and I will always be proud of having made something online which amassed over 1 million views!
If you spot inconistencies or errors, please post them in the thread and it will be looked into!
Buildaround: Playing an archetype without this card does not make sense. Ex: Baku the Mooneater in Odd paladin
Staple: The archeype can be played without this card, but it will almost certainly hurt your winrate. EX Death Speaker Blackthorn in deathrattle DH.
Good card/near staple: The card performs very well in an archetype, but you can find replacements which are about as good.
Playable: The card is not strictly necessary for the archetype, but can be a nice personal twist or tech option. EX: Al'ar in deathrattle DH.
Niche: Used both for cards rarely used in common archetypes and important cards for rare archetypes.
THE TIERS: The focus of this list is competetive ranked play. Fun/interesting cards and cards performing well in duels or other formats are usually not given a bonus.
TIER 1: Flexible cards which see a lot of play in different classes and archeypes and important cards for the strongest decks.
TIER 2: Cards which are typically very important for "tier 2" decks or viable tech options in tier 1 decks. Also contains some flexible cards which do not have the play- and winrates to be put in tier 1.
TIER 3: These cards are typically not strictly necessary for competetive play, but that does not mean that they are never seen in the top end of the ladder! These cards are recommended for fans of particular classes or if you want to try a specific deck and have the dust to spare.
TIER 4: These cards will typically gather dust in your collection and hurt your winrate as tech cards, but they can be used for meme decks, tavern brawls and curveballs to surprise your opponent. Also the "graveyard" of staples of many outdated archetypes, especially in the Wild section.
TIER 5: While the the tier 4 cards might give you some moments of joy, the tier 5 cards should bring mostly disappointment with their low powerlevel and how hard it is to make them work as intended. Many of these cards have common, rare and epic counterparts which are strictly better for almost every situation
Added a "how to read this list" section at the top of the OP. I should probably have done this a while ago, but for regular readers, I think this is all known information.
i mean just one example, Deck of Lunacy* - Playable in no minion mage.
OK. thx Captain Obvious.
Give some more examples, please, and I will check if I have to do changes. Note there is a difference between "staple", "good card in", "playable", and "sees niche play in". Every card gets the same treatment, and the description should be matching how important the card is for the deck it is mostly played in. Regulars in this thread rightly often give feedback when they don't think a card is "staple" in a deck and should be demoted.
Mecha'thun Warlock is not really seeing any play and the 'modern' list uses Vol'jin and a 0-mana token for the combo so Dollmaster Dorian is no longer a staple. I'd put him in tier 4.
Shaman is quite possibly the best class in wild right now with a large number of strong performing decks and they all run Shudderwock (even those that are not built around him). So perhaps he deserves a promotion to tier 1.
Aluneth is not even an afterthought for Secret Mages since Sayge was printed. I'd put it to tier 4.
Val'anyr is a niche card that sometimes makes the cut in Handbuff Paladin and nowhere else, probably deserves to be in tier 3.
Zola the Gorgon sees a ton of play in a ton of decks (Reno Mages, Renolock, Reno Shaman, Shudderwock Shaman as well as some off-meta decks like Quest Rogue and others), definitely deserves to be in tier 1.
Sylvanas Windrunner: sees very little niche play in very few deathrattle hunter decks that are not even that good, probably tier 3?
Emperor Thaurissan: Isn't he barely more than a meme card for meme OTK decks these days? Maybe not 100%, but he doesn't really see competitive play. Tier 3 or 4 seem more appropriate
I'll continue with Tier 3,4 and 5 legendaries on a later post, but I'll mention already here a few cards that deserve and upgrade in my opinion:
Galakrond the Tempest: Galakrond Shaman might be the 2nd best deck in the format right now, so even tier 1 would be fair, but probably tier 2 as the deck is not really carried by Galakrond, but rather by elemental synergies and the Flurgl-Toxfin combo
Dreadscale is back to being a playable card (mostly in Reno Hunter, but also in some Beast Hunter decks) thanks to the 0-mana spell that gives him poisonous. Deserves an upgrade to tier 3.
Kingsbane: Kingsbane rogue is good enough that the weapon itself should be in tier 2
Kun the Forgotten King. Celestial Druid decks still run him even though Aviana has been cut (and they are doing quite well, especially Maly Druid). Should be in tier 2. For similar reasons, Twig of the World Tree could be worthy of tier 3.
I know the meta changes fast with all the balance patches and thus the tiering is also very volatile, but already some assigned tiers to standard legendaries are a bit outdated in my opinion:
Deck of Lunacy: No longer run in the majority of Spell Mage decks post-nerf and not as impactful as before in general. Feels more like a tier 3 card now, definitely no longer tier 1 Lord Barov: Still a good card, but not really staple in any deck at the moment in standard so I'd put him on tier 2. Cairne Bloodhoof: Not really seeing any play right now, I'd say it's also a tier 3 card Xyrella: I still think she is a tier 1 minion, auto-include in pretty much any Priest deck and has pretty much the highest Played WR, Mulligan WR and Drawn WR in these decks Kayn Sunfury: Barely sees any play these days, probably belongs to tier 3 as well. Alexstrasza the Life-Binder: Staple in so many decks these days as a late game finisher, tier 1 all the way in my opinion Vectus: Starts to see some experimental play in various decks (from egg Warlock to deathrattle hunter, even saw him in a libram paladin), tier 3 is fair I think, but text needs an update as quest hunter is no longer a thing;) Vanessa VanCleef: These days she is pretty much always included in Miracle Rogue (mostly because she comes for free with Foxy), so she might be worth a promotion to tier 2.
I'll try to take a look at the tiering for wild later too