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Hearthstone Showdown in the Badlands: Top Cards Ranked

Who's up for some wild west gun silngin' fun in Hearthstone?

The ever-popular OCG Hearthstone just came out with its newest expansion, Showdown in the Badlands. There are fun new cards and new mechanics to try, and it has generated a lot of excitement for the game. The wild west flavor is on point and so far it is quite enjoyable to play with these cards. And even though the set is still very new, there is an age-old question that is asked of every set since time immemorial. That question is: which cards are the best? Get ready, I’m going to do my top ten best Showdown in the Badlands card list.

My Criteria

Before I get into the list itself, I do want to provide a few qualifiers for my criteria. The main thing that I am considering with this list is how good these cards are for the Standard format. That being said, I will take into consideration their viability in other formats and game modes, but that will be of secondary weight.

The other big thing I want to address, is that only one card on this list is neutral, and the others are all class specific. When looking at the class specific cards I will be considering three factors. The first factor is whether or not the card is usable across multiple decks in the given class. The second factor I am considering, is if the card slots into a current top tier deck (or close to top tier deck). If a card is only good in one deck, but that deck is currently one of the best in standard, then it will score a lot of points. And the final factor is simply how good I think the card is in a (relative) vacuum.

And with all that said, let’s get into the list! By the way, after the honorable mentions section below, I’ve ranked these cards from good to great.

Honorable Mentions

I want to start this list off with two honorable mentions. The new excavate mechanic introduced in Showdown in the Badlands generates you special cards called treasures. Each time you excavate you get a treasure of the next rarity up, starting with common. Once you excavate a legendary card you reset back to common. All five legendary minions you can excavate are strong, but for the honorable mentions I want to talk about the two I believe to be the strongest. These are honorable mentions because they are not actually cards you can craft and put in your deck, but cards that can only be generated in a game using the excavate mechanic.

The first honorable mention is the Azerite Rat. This death knight legend is a 4/4 for 5 mana with a battlecry that resurrects your highest cost minion, gives it +2/+2, reborn and lifesteal. I shouldn’t have to tell you how much of a game changer this can be. Especially if that minion has taunt or rush, you can go from losing to wining for five mana, and that’s pretty great.

The second honorable mention is the Azerite Snake. If it weren’t an honorable mention, this card might top the list, because it is the only Showdown in the Badlands card to already get a nerf! Originally Azerite Snake was a 4 mana 5/5, and is now a 6 mana 5/5. It has a battlecry that steals 10 health from your opponent. Most decks have no way to play around Azerite Snake beyond trying to stay above 10 life. In essence, Azerite Snake says that your opponent starts at 20 life instead of 30, and that is brutal. And since you are stealing the life, if you don’t outright kill them you can bring yourself back from the brink really easily.

Now, onto the official list!

#10 Reno, Lone Ranger

Coming in at number 10 on my list is the new legendary hero card and sole neutral card on this list, Reno, Lone Ranger. Reno, Lone Ranger is incredibly strong, and would have been one of (if not the) top cards on this list, except he requires you to play a singleton deck (unless you want to try and be super janky). Singleton decks are a thing in Showdown in the Badlands, but they aren’t much of one. So that is why I only have him at number 10 on my list. He will be much better for Wild though, which has a lot more singleton synergies.

Reno, Lone Ranger costs 8 mana, but when played, if your deck has no duplicates, he removes all your opponent’s minions (empty the enemy board is the official wording on the card), and then limits it to one card for a turn. This is a huge get out of jail free card (appropriate for a wild west themed set). His wording of empty the enemy board gets around everything from can’t be targeted, to deathrattle, to reborn. Also he limits the opponent to one minion next turn which prevents rebuilding. This is crippling to many decks. But wait, there’s more!

When you play Reno, the Lone Ranger, you gain 5 armor, and your hero power gets replaced with Reno’s Handcannon. Each turn it will be loaded with a random magic bullet. Each bullet costs 2 mana to fire and does two damage plus a bonus effect. The Arcane Bullet refreshes 2 mana crystals, the Fel Bullet draws you a card, the Fire Bullet does 1 damage to all enemy minions, the Frost Bullet gains you 4 armor, the Holy Bullet gives a random friendly minion +2/+2, the Nature Bullet discovers a spell, and finally the Shadow Bullet summons a random 3-cost minion.

#9 Antique Flinger

Coming in at number 9 on my list is card that flies a bit under the radar, I think. And that card is Antique Flinger. It is a 5/4 rogue minion for 4 mana with a battlecry that destroys an enemy minion if you’ve excavated twice this game. Excavate twice is an easy requirement to fulfil in rogue, making Antique Flinger an excellent tempo play, and rogue loves tempo.

Rogue is probably the strongest class for excavate. Not only does it get the best excavate enabler in the game (which we will discuss later on this list) but it has enough bounce (and to a lesser extent copy) effects to really let you excavate early and often.

Rogue generally speaking really likes generating random cards. This is both a fun gimmick and often times viable strategy. Because of this, excavate fits rogue’s playstyle like a glove and will see play in a lot of rogue decks (most likely).

All of this comes together to make Antique Flinger slottable into many rogue decks from combo, to miracle, to straight excavate, and more.

#8 Walking Mountain

Coming in at number 9 on my list is card that flies a bit under the radar, I think. And that card is Antique Flinger. It is a 5/4 rogue minion for 4 mana with a battlecry that destroys an enemy minion if you’ve excavated twice this game. Excavate twice is an easy requirement to fulfil in rogue, making Antique Flinger an excellent tempo play, and rogue loves tempo.

Rogue is probably the strongest class for excavate. Not only does it get the best excavate enabler in the game (which we will discuss later on this list) but it has enough bounce (and to a lesser extent copy) effects to really let you excavate early and often.

Rogue generally speaking really likes generating random cards. This is both a fun gimmick and often times viable strategy. Because of this, excavate fits rogue’s playstyle like a glove and will see play in a lot of rogue decks (most likely).

All of this comes together to make Antique Flinger slottable into many rogue decks from combo, to miracle, to straight excavate, and more.

At number 8 on my list is aptly named Walking Mountain, one of the biggest of elementals (or at least has one of the biggest impacts on the board). One of the fundamental rules of card games is that large units with high costs are usually bad unless they either have a way to protect themselves from enemy removal, or have an immediate impact on the board state as soon as they are played. Walking Mountain definitely does second thing.

Walking Mountain is a 4/16 Shaman minion for 9 mana. It has Rush, Lifesteal, Mega-Windfury, and Overload: (2). Not only does this cost 9 mana, but it essentially costs you 2 more on your next turn. This is why it is only at number 8 on the list. But this card is well worth the price. For those unfamiliar, Mega-Windfury lets the minion attack four times in a turn. This means you can play Walking Mountain, clear out four enemy minions, and heal 16 life in the process. This can destroy most aggro decks. Also, Walking Mountain is a threat of 16 damage to face if not immediately answered. That’s assuming you don’t buff it. Terrifying on offense or defense.

#7 Harrowing Ox

We have another excavate synergy card at number 7 on my list. That is Harrowing Ox. Harrowing Ox is a 7 mana 7/7 death knight minion with taunt that requires your deck to have one frost rune. It has a battlecry that makes your next card cost 7 mana less if you’ve excavated twice this game. Both excavate death knight cards are strong, making Harrowing Ox’s restriction not very punishing. And with that battlecry you can get insane value. Depending what is in your hand you essentially get a 7/7 taunt for free. Also, if you can chain two together? Harrowing Ox can let you go from nothing to a scary board of 14+ damage out of nowhere.

#6 Stargazing

At number 6 on my list is the mage spell Stargazing. It is a 2 mana arcane spell that draws you different arcane spell (so you can’t draw your second Stargazing with your first). If you play that second spell that same turn, it casts twice. Now this card might not be as exciting as some of the other cards on this list (to most people who aren’t value addicts like me anyway), but it is just solid value. Even if you don’t get the double cast of the second arcane spell, you still get to draw a spell from your deck for 2 mana. And it has to be an arcane spell, which is a bit of a downside, but on the other hand, it means you can guarantee which card you’re getting if you only have one other arcane spell in your deck. For 2 mana that seems pretty good.

Most mage decks play at least a few arcane spells. This means Stargazing slots nicely into most mage decks.

#5 Drilly the Kid

At number 5 on my list is a card I foreshadowed earlier. Drilly the Kid is not only a great pun, but a 4/3 rogue minion for 4 mana that excavates on battlecry, quickdraw, and deathrattle. A 4/3 for 4 mana is okay stats, but the potential to excavate three times with one card is crazy value. Not much more to say.

#4 Reska, the Pit Boss

At number 4 on my list is Reska, the Pit Boss. Another death knight card, Reska, the Pit Boss is a 20 mana 6/3 that requires your deck to have a frost rune and an unholy rune. Now 20 mana might seem like a lot, which it is, but it is also a lie. Reska, the Pit Boss costs 1 less for each minion that’s died this game. Reska, the Pit Boss also has rush and a deathrattle that takes control of a random enemy minion. This is incredibly strong on its own, but it is also in one of the top Standard decks at the moment. That being plague death knight. This boosts it to number 4.

#3 Badlands Brawler

Starting off our top three is the final excavate card on our list. Badlands Brawler is a 7 mana 4/4 warrior minion. Her battlecry starts a brawl, but if you’ve excavated twice, she always wins. To clear up any confusion with her ability, Brawl is a staple card in most warrior decks other than aggro. It is a 5 mana spell that picks one random minion on the board and destroys the rest. So at worst, Badlands Brawler is an over-priced Brawl that slightly increases your chances of winning. At best, Badlands Brawler is a 7 mana boardwipe that leaves you with a 4/4. Either way, that looks really good to me. And don’t forget redundancy. This gives warrior two incredibly strong boardwipes now (which they can run two copies of each).

#2 Fye, the Setting Sun

Our top two cards are both staples from the same deck. They make the top of this list because they are not only strong, but currently dominating Standard, As well as the Duels format. The first is the new druid legend, Fye, the Setting Sun. Fye, the Setting Sun is a 9 mana 4/12 dragon with rush, lifesteal, and tuant. However its cost is reduced by 1 mana for each dragon you’ve summoned this game. Not played, mind you, but summoned. This means you will regularly have a 4/12 rush, lifesteal, taunt coming down late game for 0 mana. I don’t have to tell you why this card (or deck) is so good.

#1 Dragon Golem

There is a better card in the dragon druid deck? Yes. At number 1 on my list is Dragon Golem. Dragon Golem is a 3/4 dragon with taunt for 7 mana. Seems pretty bad right? It would be, if it didn’t summon a copy of itself for each dragon in your hand. That’s right, you can potentially get 7 3/4s with taunt for 7 mana. Not only that, but Dragon Golem super enables the aforementioned Fye, the Setting Sun. Even if you don’t get the full seven copies, multiple minions from one card is one of the strongest effects in Hearthstone. And since it comes in a current top tier deck in multiple formats/modes, that makes it number 1 on this list.

 

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