Card games are extremely unique in a sense.
They are a tremendously old kind of game, yet have stood the test of time, either being played professionally for an incentive or together with a small group of friends whilst socialising. Whatever you think of card games, you have to admit there are a huge number of them with several different variations and a huge number of people still playing them – Friday Night Magic anyone?
As technology evolves, so do the games themselves, replacing paper and card with keyboards and pixels – all encouraging a new generation to take to the Internet and play with others.
A great example of this would be Blizzard’s free-to-play ‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft,’ offering players a chance to take on the world with their decks full of popular minions from the ever present MMO ‘World of Warcraft.’ While fans have been displaying their creativity by building countless viable decks, there are certain neutral cards that can benefit any creation without being dependant on class or ability.
These cards are free and already unlocked when you first play the game, leaving class-based, rare and legendary cards to one side (for the moment with the exception of one). It is more important then ever to have the correct minions in your deck, for the threat of the ‘Curse of Naxxramas’ expansion looms over the game, waiting in anticipation for its time to strike.
Whilst these cards are popular and achieve great value by trading with the opponent’s minions, it does mean using them effectively, which is vital. Hearthstone is a tricky game with plays that can shift the balance if used correctly and even take out other players with relative ease, but to rush into a situation prematurely when you and your hand of cards aren’t ready isn’t beneficial – you may as well click the concede button.
Baring all this information in mind, it’s time to get stuck in…
10. Faerie Dragon
Whilst this small winged creature doesn’t look like much, it has an interesting ability that allows it to scrape into this list by the tip of its wings.
The cards description states, ‘Can’t be targeted by Spells or Hero Powers’ which as well as being a unique ability, also renders once aggressive, spell-wielding classes into tame and useless decks. Okay that may be exaggerating slightly, but its effectiveness in the early game can lead a player to winning the match up.
Realistically, this 3-2 creature can only be destroyed by other minions through physical combat damage, unless caught in the crossfire of a bigger spell that doesn’t rely on targeting, like a flame strike or a blizzard. This does have a serious advantage against most other neutral minions with the exception of the Bluegill Warrior due to its effective charge, however it is unlikely opponents will remove the dragon without some effort, causing great trades and an unwanted problem for your opponent.
Unfortunately, the later this minion is played the less effective it may be. Bigger area of effect spells become commonplace and enemy creatures will be much more powerful and capable of taking out the Faerie Dragon with ease. This demonstrates the card’s effectiveness is based solely on its position in the deck, yet due to its potential damage and low cost, it is often worth the gamble to implement it within your deck.
The Spellbreaker is surprisingly effective at breaking apart an opponents’ play in one fowl swoop, yet its appears to be undervalued by many players, often choosing many heavy hitters in its place. This 4 mana card is a 4-3, which is currently bad value by itself compared to other 4 cost yet its ability far outweighs its battling ability.
Silence is a popular technique in the card game for rendering certain cards useless or less powerful. Since some cards have an enrage ability or others may have been buffed this is a handy way of putting a stop to the often inevitable madness. It can also break taunt walls providing an easy way of attacking the hero. This would be perfect against a card like the Ironbark Protector but be advised; it doesn’t destroy the minion, so a high damage Taunt creature can still be a huge threat to you.
Another less common use for this card is to use it on your own minions. Players jump to the conclusion that Spellbreakers are more effective against the enemy, and whilst this can be the case, it isn’t always the correct play. For example silencing an Ancient Watcher will allow it to attack and as you may know, a 4-5 creature costing 2 mana is great value.
7. Stampeding Kodo
Whilst this beast may lack attack capability for a 5 mana creature, it does however enter the battlefield with an aggressive start thanks to an ability to destroy a minion with 2 or less attack when summoned. This may initially sound pathetic and too situational to warrant a space amongst your limited choice but you will be surprised. Some of the best creatures with a wide range of abilities have two or less health, rewarding the Kodo with some much needed respect. Some examples include stealth minions, Armor Smith or even a Gurubashi Berserker.
This card does have some setbacks though; the attack is random so if multiple targets on the field have 2 or less attack then your target may not be guaranteed a quick exit and whilst removing any minion for free is a nice incentive; the unpredictability can ruin a great play. To make a situation worse, there may not be any minions on the opponent’s side leaving an unsatisfactory 3-5 on the field, with many creatures able to deal such damage with relative ease at 5 mana.
Yet, the Kodo is relatively unique, effectively awarding the player with a free spell to remove a minion and although it may have its fair share of downsides, it will certainly contribute to creative plays and removing weak taunts, leaving powerhouse minions to direct their damage else where.
6. Boulderfist Ogre
This is our heaviest and costliest minion in the list. The Boulderfist Ogre doesn’t rely on creative problem solving or special abilities but rather his strength, hitting hard to create an immediate threat for opponents to try and deal with. This 6-7 isn’t your conventional late-game thriller, but instead a card retaining all seriousness in an attempt to intimidate. This guy doesn’t need a special animation like Ragnaros the Firelord or King Crush to prove a point either.
Easily the best part about the Ogre is the 7 health, This can make it difficult for opponents to trade well – if at all – with this monster. While a spell like Deadly Shot would be an ideal choice against this card, many players choose not to in fear of something bigger waiting next turn, which can easily be the downfall for players. As legendaries become popular and increasingly commonplace in every deck it is understandable. The ogre is hardly a threat against a Ysera until you realise with every hit your hero takes, a fifth of your health vanishes.
The card is a perfect fit within a deck thanks to its bulky stats which genuinely make it easy to use in most situations. However due to the mana cost you are limited to the late game where bigger minions can be summoned just a turn after, but with extra help and a spell or two you will have no problem taking out a premium late card.
5. Faceless Manipulator
This card is as effective as you make it. The Faceless Manipulator is more of a tactical play rather then a display of dominance as the card has the ability to change form into anything you or your opponent has on the board, which can create some interesting and devastating results. Due to its nature, the majority of players capitalise on this for aggression, often copying the biggest and most expensive minions possible, and whilst this can be a good play, it is not always the best or most valuable.
Instead, you should use this card delicately with full knowledge of your situation in the game. Whilst the thought of an 8-8 is a great one, you may have to take a step back and look at the board. Are you ahead of your opponent? Do you have many cards in your hand? Can you afford to loose it immediately? If the answer to all these questions is no perhaps holding it would be the best answer, for now. Instead it may be worth investing in a taunt creature to protect other minions or something with an impressive Deathrattle, like Sylvanas Windrunner. This can gain you more leverage on the board or, at the very least, keep you alive a few more turns.
This card is a great opportunity to change the dynamics of the game; however it does have one set back. It is dependent on minions, including your opponents. This can become unpredictable and even dangerous. Just as you are ready to use the card your optimum target could be destroyed leaving your future plays in tatters. It is, therefore safer to copy your own minions but this could be a challenge with a control-orientated deck.
4. Senjin Shieldmasta
This card is by far the fan favourite of the deck due to its effectiveness and shot opening voice acting. The Senjin Sheildmasta is referred to as one of the best taunts in the game. Whilst boasting this restriction to your opponents it’s also a 3-5 costing 4 mana, making it impossible to trade effectively with. Without the use of multiple cards this beast will remain on the board until the end.
This card doesn’t rely on tricks to obtain victory and doesn’t claim any of the victory but the card certainly has a vital part in it. This card is even described as one of the most reliable and effective in the game by some people and when you see what opposition it faces on turn 4 we tend to agree.
The card does unfortunately have one set back; it’s effectiveness after turn 4 can be questionable at best leaving most of its use valueless. Once facing late game threats, its 3 attack is merely a scratch and whilst it can help, it will be destroyed in the process. This means dependency on your deck capability to draw is huge and most of the time you just won’t be lucky enough.
3. Acidic Swamp Ooze
Weapon heavy-classes beware! This little blighter is the bane of most aggressive decks, especially warriors due to the abundance of weaponry in their armoury.
The Acidic Swamp Ooze may not be your conventional game changer yet its ability is unmatched. It can destroy any weapon your opponent is using. Essentially, dependant on how you use this card will reflect its effectiveness. Against a rogue’s hero ability, it would be a waste but faced with a Doom Hammer or Sword of Justice it may be cause for celebration.
This small creature could salvage a horrible situation.
Whilst only costing 2 mana, the Ooze can be used in a variation of different ways and styles whilst still retaining its quality. The addition of being a 3-2 only increases its value, achieving a high damage potential for some excellent trades. A slight problem that doesn’t so much rest on the card but on the player would arguably be the cost. Whilst its optimum play would be late game for bigger weapons and greater value, players too tempted into a growing board presence could be stuck with limited options, meaning the Ooze may be the only sound choice.
Alternatively players may favour bigger late-game cards as opposed to the 2 cost, leaving the green slimy creature remaining in the hand unused, however the card has some great potential with or without its ability, so its appearance in any deck – unless extremely unusual – will need this card.
2. Chillwind Yeti
This card is a dangerous monster in the right hands. The Chillwind Yeti is well known amongst aggressive and control decks meanings it has multiple uses.
Whilst this card has no special ability or hidden attack it is a 4-5 for 4 mana, which is extremely useful. When played early, this card can force some horrible trades for your opponent often having to destroy 2 or 3 of their own minions just to deal with it or use one of their spells that are most effective during late game play. The card has a foreboding presence about it once on the field, knowing that whatever you do will not be enough to trade efficiently with it.
Like many early game cards, they are only effective during small mana turns. Once you rise above 5 mana the Yeti becomes more of an attack card then a trading card. Its 5 health is matched by opponents attack makes trading for it easier. It is unfortunately another card that remains dependant on the deck draw; however it is a good solid card. 4 damage may seem small but in comparison with other 4 mana cost creatures, it is incomparable.
It will allow further plays to be set up and implemented in order to remove late game threats and easily dwarf the battlefield. Many people use this card in their deck and is commonly referred to as one of the best cards in the game.
1. Harvest Golem
Weak but deceiving, this card has overwhelmed players for months including the new and less able. The Harvest Golem has the power to summon a 2-1 creature after its death leaving yet another obstacle for your opponent to face. Whilst this card is relatively small and defenseless, it can force players into stupid decisions and consistently awful trades. The card is a 2-3 for 3 mana which makes it a fairly efficient card with an interesting ability that is shared predominantly with legendary creatures. This allows the Golem to possess tremendous value at such a low cost. No matter how you take this card down, you will be sinking more then two cards into it every time.
It’s effective throughout any game due to its mana cost, making it easy to play with several creatures in the late game, along with the nature of its ability summoning another creature when it exits the field. As well as this, it works well with several combo cards including Warsong Commander or a Flesheating Ghoul simply due to this ability too.
Several new players to the game often decide to abandon the card due to it’s low attack damage and the effortless removal of the second summoned creature due to the Mage’s hero ability but since the games initial beta launch this card has found a position in most decks due to its success and flexibility. This card is well and truly one of the best neutral cards in the game to date, and it’s worth experimenting with many different cards to work out clever combos.