Not going to lie, I play a lot of Hearthstone. While most games involve a pretty deep investment, it’s hard to resist how relaxing it is to kick back with Hearthstone and marathon some Netflix.
More so than grinding the ranked ladder, I really enjoy firing up an Arena run. It’s exciting to open and build a powerful deck and satisfyingly challenging to irk out a few more wins when the wheels fall off.
While there are certainly some more exhaustive tiered list out there, here are a few cards I’d recommend you almost never pass up. I’m just sticking to the generic classless commons, since these are the cards you’ll see most often. These are in no particular order.
For a lot of folks realizing how good Chillwind Yeti is in Arena is a bit of a leveling up point. It’s easy to overlook this vanilla minion and take some aggressive 3/2 over it, but Chillwind Yeti’s cost and stats make it deceptively powerful. It’s very hard to trade profitably with Chillwind Yeti early in the game, and it’s still a respectable body down the line. Outside of some extreme curve issues, it’s almost impossible to have too many Chillwind Yetis in a deck.
Dark Iron Dwarf
Sometimes you’ll use Dark Iron Dwarf to push a bit of extra damage at your opponents face, but Dark Iron Dwarf really serves a very important purpose of letting your cheaper, or damaged, minions trade up for more expensive ones. And it leaves a 4/4 around afterwards. Little minions start to get outclassed really quickly after the first few turns, so getting to trade your 2 drop up for say their 4 drop is a huge play. Heck, it’s even better if you’re playing Paladin and get to trade a class power for a whole card.
Most players get the idea that card advantage is important, but card advantage doesn’t always need to come from straight card draw spells. If your Chillwind Yeti eats a smaller minion and then next turn trades off with another card, that’s card advantage. You used one card to trade for two cards. Piloted Shredder is just a simple built in 2-for-1. When it dies, it flips into a new one. Just be prepared, sometimes Piloted Shredder will screw you over by flipping into something like Doomsayer while you had a nice commanding board.
Zombie Chow requires a bit more building around, but the best decks for it are the ones that disregard the deathrattle trigger by wanting to ensure the game goes long. It doesn’t really matter that they get 5 life if you’re just planning to smack them with 6+ power creatures in a few turns. What makes it solid is that it eats any 2/1s and trades for 3/2s that are played in the early game. This let’s you be ahead a turn, since it’s usually hard to capitalize Turn 1 with any real impact.
I will always take my first silence minion pretty highly. Silence is just too good at shutting down problematic minions, pushing winning damage through a taunt, or stopping degenerative combos. Sunwalker in your way? Not any more. Some Priest is trying to build a 20 power Lightspawn? Well now it’s a 0/5. Sometimes you’ll use silence to just irk out a little advantage, but after you have the first one you can rate them a little lower.
Acidic Swamp Ooze
Acidic Swamp Ooze has been steadily going up for how highly I take them. Think of it this way, at worst it’s a Puddlestomper. However, weapons are one of easiest ways to generate some card advantage and tempo on your opponent. So breaking up their weapon, even after they have used the first durability ensures they won’t get too far ahead. Every now and then you’ll also get to live the dream of destroying a fresh weapon, that usually got played out to be mana efficient. See also a card like Mad Bomber. When it’s good, it’s really good.
Outside of a few buff spells for certain classes, and the Priest class power, the vast majority of the time your opponent is much more likely to point removal spells at your minions than you are going to target them. Note that this does make Spectral Knight a little weaker for Priest. Spectral Knight stapled a nicely sized 4/6 body, 5 casting cost, and Hearthstone’s hexproof into a nice little package. Once thing to remember is that while it can’t be targeted by spells or Hero powers, anything that doesn’t target like an AOE or abilities like battlecry can still get you.
Say it with me now, 5/6 for 4. It’s a freaking 5/6 for 4. Often the one drop minion that it spawns for your opponent will be small enough to take care of with your class power or just trivial enough to ignore. Even if you end up trading off one of your cheaper cards, the massive Hungry Dragon can usually make up for the card disadvantage by either ending the game quickly or using its bulk to eat up other minions. So hungry.