Posted Mon, Jun 09, 2014 by Messiah
Hearthstone is a game that at its most basic, is all about board control and card advantage. If you can control the board by having more of your minions in play than your opponent while still having more cards in your hand to chose from, then you are more likely to win than they are.
This is of course known by all players and most decks are built around these two basic principles. However, when you enter the arena you don’t get free reign to pick any card you want. You are limited to the cards that pop up in the pseudo-draft rotation. The principles for your final deck are still the same though, board control and card advantage. With the above in mind, which cards are the ones you should be looking for when you are drafting an Arena deck?
In this guide to Arena cards and drafting we will look at the top 10 rare cards that I would pick when creating an Arena deck. Keep in mind that this is just a generic listing and only includes the rare cards that everyone will get access too. Common, Epic and Legendary cards will be dealt with in their own guides. Class cards are discussed in the class guides found here (Hearthstone Deck Guides) for each class.
Also keep in mind that the cards that you want will change slightly based on the class that you choose to play, mainly near the bottom of the list though as some of the class cards will filter into the list dropping some of these cards off.
This is a really solid card that gets under rated (in my opinion) by many players in constructed format, and he is even better in the arena format. At 5 mana for a 4/4 he is only a mediocre minion. However when you start looking at the fact that he has taunt and has to be attacked, and once killed he deals 2 damage to all minions and helps you keep the board clear he starts looking up.
In the Arena format he becomes even better since players will in general be playing more minions and those minions will be less coordinated than in constructed and his abilities play even more of an impact. Unless you get him late in the draft and have a whole lot of rush type minions in your deck, he is a solid pick.
This is another minion that is ignored by may players as they look at the requirement of having 4 enemy minions on the board for his ability to work as a downside. While it is a large number of minions to count on in constructed format, in the arena format it is pretty common. In addition, since he is a 3/3 minion for 3 mana he is perfectly acceptable to play all by himself in the early game and just ignore his ability.
This minion is one that can be hit or miss depending on your opponent having a silence or not. Sure, she is only a 1 attack minion, but with 5 health that makes her last a while. Also each turn the 1/1 imp provides a steady stream of attackers. Best of all if you happen to get any other cards that buff minions you can boost her up to generate more minions, or if you have a card that boosts all minions the imps can get dangerous rather than just annoying.
This minion has the potential to be pretty amazing, however it also can be next to useless. Therefore it places a little further down on my list than some others out there. In constructed format where you can build around having lots of cards to make this drake huge, it gets better. In the arena format though where it will generally be a 4/4 for 4, it is an OK minion and still worth grabbing, but not a first choice for a rare card.
Many players don't go after minions with taunt since it isn't a super effective ability in constructed. In the Arena though taunt in far more useful. However, that isn't even the reason this card is ranked so highly. At 4/5 for 6 the card is a bit overpriced based on stats, but when you factor in the Divine Shield that means she can hit way above her weight class. In theory against most 4 mana drop minions (usually 4/4), she can take out 3, and is almost always guaranteed to trade 1 to 2 against almost any 5 or lower mana cost minion out there.
At 4 mana for a 2/3 minion, you may be tempted to pass this one by, heck in beta when it was 4 mana for a 3/3 you could have been tempted to bypass him as well. However, you would be missing out on a solid minion. Sure at 4 mana for a 2/3 he is overpriced, but don't forget to factor in his ability.
As with the Sunwalker above, taunt is better in the Arena than in constructed which is a bonus, and if you play him between 2 minions you are really getting 4/5 worth of minion for 4 mana, which is a solid deal. After all that is what a Chillwind Yeti is and he is considered among the best cards out there. The downside here is that you need to have 2 minions in place to ensure great card value.
This minion should be a guaranteed 2 to 1 trade since you can time summoning him to ensure that he destroys an enemy minion as he hits the table, which is pretty sweet. At 5 mana he is a bit expensive for only 3 attack, but with 5 health and an instant kill as a battlecry you should grab him as soon as you see him. Your opponents will quake before the stampede!
At 2 mana for a 3/2 minion, the Knife Juggler makes a great minion for almost any deck. You can get him on the table on turn 1 with the coin or turn 2 normally and he puts out a lot of pressure. Even better than his 3 attack though is his ability. Any time you summon another minion you have the chance to clear off an enemy minion with the 1 random damage. In the early game this is a very strong effect as 1 damage is likely to kill most minions. Even in the late game though, he is still solid, as that extra damage against a minion will allow you to trade minions to your advantage in most cases. This means trading a 3 mana minion against a 4 mana minion and so on.
Charge and Divine Shield, what more could you want from a minion. Sure, this minion is fairly expensive at 6 mana for a 4/2 minion, but the charge and Divine Shield almost always allow a 2 to 1 trade. If you need you can slam into your opponent for 4, and then make him trade 2 against you to remove the commander, or you can pick that enemy minion that needs to die, and kill it off before he can react. In the Arena, you should grab this card every time if shows up, no matter your class, unless of course the next card shows up as well.
This minion starts off as slightly sub-par being a 4/4 minion for 5 mana, however it provides a spell power boost which can be useful depending on your class and which other cards you have drafted. The big boost that makes this such a good card though is that you are only paying 1 extra mana over what would be a fair cost for a 4/4 minion and getting a card draw.
This makes is a great choice and not one that is easy to pass by when drafting your arena deck. A 4/4 for a fair price and a free card to replace it, sign me up! Take this card any time it shows up, the only exception possibly being if you have already drafted one and do not have many spells and an Argent Commander shows up. That's a lot of if's though, so you can be excused if you decide to just take more of this card.
As with any Top 10 list, there will be different opinions out there. These are mine, if you have your own idea for cards that I missed that are available to all classes and rare, let me know by posting them in our comment section below.