Hearthstone’s Journey to Un’Goro expansion with its diverse metagame has been the most expensive expansion to the game if you want to experience the wide variety of competitive decks that currently exist.
This fact makes it easy to overlook another interesting fact: Journey to Un’Goro also brought a large number of very good common cards to the game, and building competitive budget decks has never been easier.
In this post, I take a look at 12 great competitive common cards from the latest expansion.
Jeweled Macaw (Hunter)
Hunter as a class lacks comeback mechanics, so it is vital for them to get on the board early in the game and stay there. Hunter also relies on Beast synergy mechanics a lot, so they prefer to play Beast tribal cards whenever possible – Fire Fly is pretty much the only one-drop where Hunter players are willing to make an exception because of its overall power.
Jeweled Macaw gives Hunter a Beast one-drop that can be used as an opener, activator for synergy effects later in the game, and also to refill your hand a little with a random Beast.
The fastest Hunter decks are not running Jeweled Macaw, as they value tempo over value, but it has solidified its spot in most Midrange Hunter builds.
Crackling Razormaw (Hunter)
One of the most important lessons learned about the Adapt mechanic so far is that it can OK when adapting a minion you are playing, but it is very good when you get to adapt a minion that is already on the board.
So how about a fully-statted two-drop that has a Beast tag and allows you to Adapt an existing minion? Yes, please! Stats, Poisonous, Divine Shield.. There are so many uses for the card both in the early game as well as in the late game.
Did you miss Mad Scientist? Neither did I, it was just a blatantly overpowered card. This new version has slightly less highrolling potential, as it does not play the Secret for free, but it also cannot be silenced, so you draw that Secret from your deck every time.
Therefore, you pay two mana to play a minion worth two mana as well as draw a specific card from your deck. Arcanologist has single-handedly made anything Secret-related viable for Mage, because it ensures that you draw those Secrets from your deck.
Journey to Un’Goro really is about giving most classes a good two-drop, isn’t it? The Paladin version of the old Warlock staple Dark Peddler, Hydrologist is a powerhouse that helps you contest the board in the early game and can still provide you with useful Secrets in the late game. It also sports the Murloc tribal tag, further pushing the Paladin towards a Murloc early game.
Paladin Secrets are generally rather weak as cards to put in your deck, but getting a choice of one for free is a lot more powerful: you get to pick a Secret that fits your current matchup and situation and do not waste a deck slot for it. There are only five Paladin Secrets in Standard right now, so you have a 60% chance to be offered any specific one!
Paladin Secrets in Standard:
- Eye for an Eye (a win condition against Mages sitting behind Ice Block)
- Noble Sacrifice (defensive tool against aggressive decks)
- Redemption (Divine Shielded Taunt dies, except that it does not)
- Repentance (making big minions feel small)
- Getaway Kodo (how about getting that battlecry for a second time)
Radiant Elemental (Priest)
A Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Priest, and finally a two-drop for Priest? Sounds good. Radiant Elemental is the natural fit to the Priest legendary, Lyra the Sunshard, but you do not need to even have the legendary minion to put Radiant Elemental to good use: Priests just love to open with a Radiant Elemental + Power Word: Shield on turn two now – a 2/5 for two mana is not bad at all to contest an early board!
Rogues love their combos, and they love their Gadgetzan Auctioneers. Therefore, a one-mana spell that lets you discover a card is a magnificent match to the class. Discovering cards from your opponent’s class is incredibly powerful, as combining class cards can open up some downright silly combinations, and the discover mechanic almost ensures something suitable for any situation.
Razorpetal Lasher (Rogue)
Early-game minion that gives you a cheap damage spell, Razorpetal Lasher is every Rogue’s dream. Rogue struggles against aggressive decks, so it is great to get on the board early, and getting a cheap spell to activate combos and Gadgetzan Auctioneer for free is great as well.
Hot Spring Guardian (Shaman)
Shaman lost a lot of early game in the rotation, especially all of their aggressive early game. Hot Spring Guardian is not exactly aggressive, but it is a big defensive card to prevent other aggressive decks from being too threatening. A cheap Taunt minion that can be used to heal yourself or, if needed, one of your minions to enable even more value trades.
Nesting Roc (Neutral)
A 4/7 Taunt for five mana is not a bad deal, even when there is a condition to getting that Taunt ability – sometimes it is a perfectly viable play as just a 4/7 without Taunt. When it also carries a Beast tag, Hunters everywhere are very interested, as are people who want to run something like The Curator.
Eggnapper has made numerous appearances in various competitive decks, and while it has been dropped from many of them upon further iteration, it is one of the few sticky deathrattle minions currently in Standard format, and a cheap one at that. Borderline useful for competitive decks, great for budget decks.
Tar Creeper (Neutral)
One of the best cards from the expansion, this three-mana defensive Taunt minion has found itself in a wide variety of decks. It is a natural inclusion in Elemental decks because of its tribal tag, but it is by no means limited to the Elemental tribe. Indeed, whenever a deck is looking for something defensive, Tar Creeper comes to mind, and it has seen play in Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid, and even Aggro Druid and Quest Rogue.
Fire Fly (Neutral)
Perhaps the best one-drop in the game right now, Fire Fly is immensely flexible. It can be played on turn one, or even serve as a pseudo two-drop by playing both halves of it on turn two. If you have anything to buff tokens with, you want this card to be in the deck, and the Elemental tribal tag makes it a great Elemental synergy activator for Elemental decks.
Fire Fly sees regular play in all Elemental decks as well as in Midrange Hunter, Quest Rogue, Aggro Druid, and Token Shaman. It also sees play in Zoo, as much as such a thing still exists.
And that’s not even all of them!
There really is an abundance of good common cards in Journey to Un’Goro. Right behind the top 12, there are numerous common cards that see competitive play in specific decks: Glacial Shard, Rockpool Hunter, Igneous Elemental, and Fire Plume Phoenix are such cards. They are slightly less universal than the 12 featured cards, but still go to show just how strong of an expansion Journey to Un’Goro is even when it comes to common cards and not just the flashy legendaries.