More than flair, Hearthstone’s Arena is about solid cards that carry themselves. Synergy is something to spot as the deck is drafted but each pick is more about the best card at face value and not its potential when combined with a complex strategy. Constructed decks are where theme and flair can manifest with real power and presence.
But what cards have the best potential in a draft? Exact favorites vary from drafter to drafter, from deck to deck, but four out of five times I pick these cards over anything else presented. I wish I could swap most of these for a rare or even an epic when my choices are things like Angry Chicken, Coldlight Seer, or Hungry Crab.
Venture Co. Mercenary
Its effect isn’t great, but he’s a nasty threat. It also puts your opponent in an uncomfortable position – they have to deal with him or risk him running over a weaker taunt minion or chopping the health pool down in big swings. But dealing with him removes the minion inflation cost, usually meaning you’ve baited out a polymorph, hex, or a heavy hitter of the enemy’s. Not bad for a five cost.
A decent enough three-cost card on its own, but the benefit on summoning a minion on death is fantastic. It can take some of the punch out of big board wipes and can bait early silences. Usually though it soaks up two creatures which is never a bad trade.
A powerful two drop, the Berserker’s stats make him useful for eating the 2/2, 2/1, and 1/2 drops opponents can play for card draw, spellpower, or taunt. His enrage combo is great with Jaina’s Fireblast or the various warrior cards that deal 1 damage for more attack.
Silver Hand Knight
A great mid game response for a rough early game. Lots of low health beasts can wear you down but playing a Silver Hand Knight can help you regain momentum or at least stall for a turn or two. For five mana you soak up at a few creatures or spells and stay in the fight.
A 3/3 for three mana that becomes a vicious brute when enraged. Excellent card.
The best taunt in the game. Cheap enough to play early, threatening enough to kill most one, two, and three drops and stick around. Taz’dingo!
Shattered Sun Cleric
Another fantastic 3/3 for three, she comes with the bonus of turning those two drops into something more threatening. The battlecry is also great for messing up the opponent’s predictions about power and toughness. I usually bait at least two cards from playing her.
Card draw. More chances for that trump card that can turn the game in your favor. Always play before you start sacrificing minions to something. If you have this guy in your hand don’t consider a three for one trade a terrible deal – that’s a lot of card draw.
Acidic Swamp Ooze
I love breaking weapons. Gorehowl is a problem? Paladin just play Sword of Justice? Assassin’s Blade? Let the ooze solve those problems for you. Try not to cackle so much you forget to play anything.
Silence is a powerful mechanic. It reduces the 8/8 Twilight Drake to a laughable 1/1, disrupts taunt for a powerful rush against the enemy, and hilariously quiets legendary minions. The Ironbeak Owl is great, but a 2/1 doesn’t survive long after it’s battlecry. As a hunter the Owl might serve you better since it’s a beast but for the other heroes the Spellbreaker is too great to pass up anytime you see it. A 4/3 for four that solves so many problems outright then sits as a solid threat on your board.
What are your favorite arena picks? Any that didn’t make my list? Or tell me how wrong I am in comments.