These Are Hearthstone’s Weirdest and Rarest Cards
Recently, we at LiquidHearth had a look at some of Hearthstone’s most overpowered cards that emerged throughout its long history. This year represents an important milestone. Five years have passed since the game’s inception, with the closed beta releasing in North America on August 16th, 2013. In that time, we’ve experienced a huge variety of metagames, with certain immensely powerful and popular cards rising to the fore. But like all things in life, there is another side to The Coin. There exists in the game a few cards that for a number of reasons are very seldom seen, even by the standards of the Legendary set. Some were once strong but received nerfs; some are too complex for all but the gimmickiest decks; some are quirky and fun, but just don’t cut it in terms of power.
All are anomalies in one way or another. All have been left behind, as relics of an outdated design philosophy.
Most of these mysterious cards are in the Classic set. Partially this is because it’s the largest set, partially because Blizzard - I assume - did not have the same volume of experience in card design that it has now, five years into Hearthstone’s development. These are funny and weird cards that are much better at producing YouTube clips for Trolden than they are at winning games. In my humble opinion, by virtue of their age, uniqueness, and sheer quirky
identity, these cards deserve some time in the limelight.
Believe it or not, this card actually used to see a decent amount of play. Back in early 2014, it was considered an auto-include, and appeared in a wide variety of decks across all levels of gameplay. Pagle’s relatively tough body, the powerful RNG card draw, and his low mana cost made him a very attractive Neutral minion in control and aggro decks alike. The key difference was that in those days of Hearthstone’s beta, Nat Pagle had a 50% chance to draw a card at the end of the turn, as opposed to the beginning. Therefore, players could often expect to cycle Pagle immediately after he was played. It was effectively a cheaper, tougher Mana Tide Totem (if you happened to be in RNGesus’ favour) – that any class could use.
Nat’s overbearing presence in the ESGN Fight Night tournament series led to a community outcry, which in turn led to a nerf. You can read the rationale behind the furore over these RNG cards in an excellent article published on this very website in 2014. The card is almost never seen since – appearing in just 0.11% of all decks (according to HearthPwn). Nat Pagle was an early embodiment of the perceived unfair dominance of RNG cards in competitive play and as we all know, this is a tricky debate that rages on to this day.
If you’re fortunate enough to own this legendary fisherman, I would encourage you to try him out in your decks. In one of my recent games, he drew me no less than six cards. Of course this is an extremely unlikely outcome, but what has not changed much since 2014 is that four damage is hard to find on turn two. Similar to cards like Cult Master and Grand Archivist, it functions as a soft Taunt and can bait out your opponent’s removal. Give Nat another go!
Continuing in the zero-attack minion thread, Alarm-o- Bot is an interesting niche Mech that has been a feature of many gimmick decks since Hearthstone’s release. It’s one of the most unique cards in the game, with a mechanic that is not seen on any other minion. Swapping itself out for a Ysera or Deathwing, Dragonlord on turn three, this whiny robot has potential unlike any of its peers. It appears in more than twice as many decks as Nat Pagle. Moreover, Alarm-o- Bot simply oozes charm and charisma.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
Despite all this, it sees next to no play. This is because it suffers from the same drawback as post-nerf Nat Pagle: it allows counterplay. The chances of Alarm-o- Bot surviving the one turn necessary for its ability to activate are very low. It’s tempo suicide to play a 0/3 minion on turn three, that also might not pull out the right big minion should it even live. You don’t really need me to explain why this card is bad – but in the right deck, such as Ramp Druid, it deserves a place.
Formerly the most expensive minion in the game, requiring 2220 Arcane Dust, this Beast is a useful deck thinner in Wild Pirate decks. Prior to Whispers of the Old Gods and the introduction of the Standard format, Captain’s Parrot could only be gained by acquiring all of the Pirates in the Classic set; it does have a few virtues. Targeted card draw is a powerful
mechanic. There is a reason why Arcanologist is perhaps the strongest 2-drop in the game today.
It is in an incredibly tiny amount of decks – 0.06%. There are some good reasons why. The problem with it is that in a Pirates deck, playing a 1/1 Beast on turn two is very bad tempo, and generally if you’re in a position where you need to draw more Pirates, you’ve lost anyway. Now that Patches has been killed off, there’s even less reason to be running Pirates in Wild today. It’s an intriguing card to look at, because it represents how Pirate decks used to be before WotG and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan made them viable – essentially Murlocs but worse.
This card was one of the twin terrors of late Beta, alongside Nat Pagle. Players were able to choose the target of the transformed minion, making him a remarkably reliable Neutral 3 mana Polymorph. Now he is much diminished. I opened this guy in a pack recently and I can assure you that if you aren’t trying to reach Rank 1 Legend, the Tinkmaster can be very rewarding.
There are few things more satisfying in Hearthstone than turning your opponent’s Tirion Fordring into a squirrel. The sheer shock value of this card is incredible. Inevitably you will struggle to play him when you have control of the board, but as a comeback card against heavy decks (such as the popular Big Priest and Big Spells Mage) he can work magic.
Honourable Mention: Nozdormu
Nozdormu is the rarest and most peculiar Dragon, appearing in just under 0.5% of all decks. Its unique power to shorten turns to just fifteen seconds has solidified his position in the game as a timeless (!) fun card. Noz is perhaps the only card that enables players to use their speed of playing, and the computing power of their device, against opponents. This is why Lifecoach’s Nemesis deserves a mention here.
Throwing him down on turn 9 and immediately pressing End Turn, then waiting to see if your opponent is paying attention to the game or to YouTube or Facebook is a special delight. As with the other cards on this list, if you’re fortunate enough to get Nozdormu in a pack, I encourage you to embrace its strangeness – don’t be afraid to experiment!