Hey, Hey! Wanna Buy a Funnel Cake?
Having a collection that allows you to build competitive Hearthstone decks is hard. Even if you spend money on the game, if your luck is poor or you haven’t been min-maxing your quests, you might find yourself two epics or one legendary short of any given deck. Luckily for you, though, the set rotation is coming with the April 2018 expansion! Not only does that mean you have 3 fewer sets to craft for Standard, you also may have some cards in the proverbial attic that you can trade for dust without affecting your future competitive prospects. Just think of this guide as Antiques Roadshow for your Hearthstone collection.
Wait, Where’s Nat Pagle?
This guide is going to focus exclusively on cards from sets that are rotating out of Standard after the Year of the Mammoth comes to a close (Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan). Cards that are listed as safe to dust have seen virtually no play in the two years they’ve been in Standard, so they should be relatively safe to dust without worry that they’re suddenly going to be meta relevant in Wild. Cards that are listed as having seen fringe play are just that; they were in decks that turned out to not be good enough to be meta relevant or got swapped out for more powerful cards as decks got refined. They may see play again, but unless you’re a huge fan of that specific deck archetype, you can probably part with the card.
All that said, there are certainly cards that have not seen play in Classic and the more recent sets, but I’m not advocating you dust those for a couple of reasons.
If you’re still opening packs from any of those sets (and if you ever play Tavern Brawl, then you’re still opening classic packs) then dusting a legendary card gives you 400 dust now, but increases the chances you’ll open it again later. So if you leave Lorewalker Cho in your collection, you know that the next time you hear the Innkeeper shout, “Woah, legendary!” it’s not going to be Cho rearing his ugly head again, for instance.
Also, cards go in and out of the meta depending on what’s printed. If I wrote a guide like this a year ago, Y’shaarj, Rage Unbound might have been on it, because it only saw fringe play in meme decks like Yogg Spell Hunter. Once Knights of the Frozen Throne came out, though, Y’shaarj became core to Big Priest and Big Druid, so you’d be sad if you’d dusted it. That doesn’t mean you should never dust any cards that are currently in the standard rotation, but they’re not as cut and dry as cards that have not seen any play for two years.
Enough chit chat, though. Let’s go find you some treasures!
Legendary - Safe to Dust
Turns out, letting your opponent decide when you’re going to blow up the board isn’t an effect you want to put in your deck.
The problem with Cho’Gall is that most of Warlock’s useful spells are cheap, and the ones that are expensive are Twisting Nether and DOOM!, both of which clear the 7/7 that you just played. Also, Bloodbloom was printed after Cho’Gall, which puts this effect on a 2 mana spell instead of a 7 mana minion.
Nat, the Darkfisher
You’d be shocked to discover that giving your opponent extra cards isn’t worth a small bump in stats for a 2-drop.
Hogger, Doom of Elwyn
Rotface gives you a legendary when it’s damaged, and that still isn’t good enough to see play, so a 2/2 with taunt certainly isn't going to cut it.
There’s too much variance in the weapon pool to run a card like Malkorok, and that goes double in wild, both because there are many more weapons to spawn, and also because Cursed Blade is a card that exists in Wild.
Most of the deathrattles you want to trigger right away come attached to expensive minions, which makes Huhuran awkward to play. There have also been better options that have been introduced since, like Terrorscale Stalker and Play Dead.
This is basically just a way to play with cards you don’t have. It’s fine to toss into a deck as a 30th card, but you generally want to choose the minions you play if you’re not getting a discount for the randomness.
It’s an overcosted minion that doesn’t affect the board and rarely gets to attack and trigger its effect.
The only decks that really want an effect like this are token druid and evolve shaman, since they run Savage Roar/Mark of the Lotus/Power of the Wild and Bloodlust/Flametongue Totem, respectively. But each has better options for spawning tokens in Living Mana and Primalfin Totem. Especially when almost every deck has some form of small AoE available to deal with the stealthed Moroes, it’s just too awkward.
As evidenced by this list, there are a lot of bad legendary minions, and even the good ones often need a deck built to take advantage of their ability. Just jamming 5 random legendary minions into your deck along with a vanilla 5/6 isn’t something you ever want to do when you can use the dust from Malchezaar to put toward the legendary you do want.
Despite the fact that Pirate Warrior was a thing for a year before Fiery War Axe left us, Hobart never saw any love after the first day or two of Mean Streets. Even in that deck which is built around weapon synergies, you never run enough weapons to get value from it, and +1 attack isn’t all that much when most other weapon buffs also add durability. Add to that Hobart being an understatted minion that results in a tempo loss in a deck that lives and dies on tempo, and you end up with a legendary who’s unlikely to ever make his way into a competitive deck.
Add this to the pile of Hunter legendaries that looked good enough at reveal, but ended up being underwhelming in practice. Knuckles was always too expensive to not affect the board immediately in Hunter, and the ability was designed with the expectation that hand buffing was going to be more powerful than it was.
Look, I love meme decks, but even I have a limit. Noggenfogger’s main utility was for disrupting a one turn kill, but often it didn’t even do that well.
Another victim of the disappointing hand buffing mechanic. Ideally, you’d get a big minion and a full board clear all at once. In practice, you got an Arcane Explosion that your opponent chose when to trigger, if it didn’t get immediately silenced.
In theory, dragon decks should love this card. In practice, if you put enough dragons into your deck to get the effect to trigger consistently, you have to put so many dragons in your deck that you can’t really play them all. And if it doesn’t draw you at least two cards, it’s an understatted minion that also isn’t a dragon itself.
Legendary - Has Seen Fringe Play
This card has seen some extremely fringe play in quest priest decks (particularly the Quest Priest that featured Weasel Tunneler that Savjz played for a week or two), but it’s hard to set up and usually not worth the effort. Cards like Mirage Caller and Twilight’s Call have since come about that have the same effect but as non-legendary cards that are easier to set up.
Mukla, Tyrant of the Vale
Mukla has seen some play in decks that want to spam a lot of cheap spells, like the early versions of Quest Mage and Raza Priest. It could yet see play in similar styles of decks, but given that it always seems to be replaced with better options as the lists get refined, it’s probably safe enough to dust.
In general, the hand buffing mechanic from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan wasn’t as effective as it looked like it might be, and so the boss hand buffer really hasn’t seen play outside of some fringe tempo and control builds. You could probably do worse than the Don, but if you need some dust, feel free to get him fitted for some concrete shoes.
Genzo the Shark
Genzo’s been tried in some aggressive decks as a form of card draw with mixed success. The problem Genzo is going to have in wild is that Jeeves is a card that does the same thing, except it activates at the end of your turn and doesn’t need to stick to the board for a turn before your opponent can react to it.
This card saw a little bit of play in N’zoth/Crusher Shaman, where it was valuable to swap a totem in play for, say, an Earth Elemental. This and Y’shaarj were the predecessors for the current “Big” decks, but you effectively need to build your entire deck around that premise, and Goya was rarely good enough to justify that deckbuilding restriction.
Epic - Safe to Dust
The Old Gods were good, but you generally were ok with just drawing them naturally; putting an understatted minion in your deck just to make sure you draw a 10-drop wasn’t enough value, especially since you usually only ran one 10-drop in any given deck, and if you drew that first it was a sad trombone.
Blood of the Ancient One
This is one of those cards you should be happy was never playable, because no one wants a meta full of 30/30 minions. It was always just too difficult to satisfy the condition, and if its text doesn’t trigger, a 9 mana vanilla 9/9 isn’t good enough to be one of the 30 cards in your deck.
This was an attempt to provide some neutral anti-aggro tools, but if you were able to get the health on this card high enough to justify it being in your deck, it was probably already too late to stop the aggro deck.
Maybe there will someday be a minion that you want to turn into a 3/6 badly enough to play this card in your deck, but it hasn't happened in the two years this card has existed, so I'm not holding my breath waiting.
This card was mainly a victim of timing. When there were decks that ran large overloads that you might want to unlock early, Lava Shock was available, and was a strictly better card, since it did direct damage and wasn’t just a 3/2 minion. When Lava Shock rotated out, so did the “good” overload-related cards like Tunnel Trogg and Elemental Destruction, and Shaman moved away from overload and toward evolve mechanics. Now that it’s going to be only in wild, it’s back to being Lava Shock’s less attractive younger sibling.
The flexibility of being able to use your mana efficiently isn't outweighed by the fact that this minion will be understatted no matter how much mana you spend on it.
Giant Sand Worm
The curse of the big Hunter minions continues. 8 mana is just too much for even a minion with a powerful ability such as this one in Hunter. It hasn't even seen consistent play in decks featuring Kathrena Winterwisp, where it should be a natural fit.
This card is just too fair, ultimately. Your opponent has two turns to kill it before it really starts to get out of hand, which is a lifetime in constructed.
Tentacles For Arms
2 weapon damage for 5 mana every other turn isn't even close to good enough to put into a constructed deck.
Just like Scaled Nightmare, a 7/7 that your opponent can trade into for free the turn you play it is too fair for a constructed deck, especially when you can get 8/8 for the same mana cost in the form of Bittertide Hydra (or Fel Reaver, which is still a card in wild).
There are plenty of decks that run a large number of battlecry minions, but you have to draw this card early and hold it while you play out all those minions before you can see value from the Blubber Baron, and by that point in the game, a big, dumb minion that doesn't affect the board usually isn't what you want. And that's the best case scenario; good luck if you top deck this card in the late game.
Handbuff mechanics and overcosted weapons: Two awful tastes that taste awful together!
Spellbreaker is just a more versatile card all around despite the weaker body. There are plenty of valid silence targets that aren't deathrattles.
Fel Orc Soulfiend
There are plenty of minions that have bigger bodies for just as cheap that don't eat themselves alive.
Again, if hand buffing was good this would probably see more play, but even in a pre-nerf world with 7 mana Bonemares and Keleseth in most decks, this still wasn't ever good enough.
Shaman’s seen a shift away from Overload of late, moving more toward Evolve and Jade mechanics. A lot of that has to do with Lava Shock rotating out, but even when that card was in Standard, Finders Keepers wasn’t as good as just running the overload card you wanted in your deck.
Greater Arcane Missiles
This was always a card that you'd get value from off of random/discover effects, but you can only run so many 7 mana spells, and Firelands Portal and Flamestrike generally win that argument.
This was a tech against control decks that no one was asking for. In wild you’d run Clockwork Giant before you’d run this card.
This was an interesting effect that proved too difficult to pull off, because you’d get at most one extra attack from it. There were stealth based Tempo Rogue decks at one point toward the end of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan but this never made the cut.
In general, any card that needs to stick a turn and attack face to trigger doesn’t see play. The only exception is Vicious Fledgling, because it can give itself Windfury and then snowball very quickly. Lotus Illusionist is no Vicious Fledgling. Also, since Thrall, Deathseer was printed, every 4 drop can transform into a 6 drop without needing to attack face first.
Until Kingsbane came along, there wasn't any way to consistently have a large weapon, and it doesn’t see play in those decks now. This is probably safe enough to dust, but this may be one card worth hanging on to in case it suddenly finds value.
Ultimate Infestation is a card now.
This came out in a time when Priest desperately needed 2 drops, and it was barely playable even then, because you generally don't want to be spending tempo on healing a small minion, if you were even able to get it damaged without killing it. Now that Radiant Elemental and Shadow Ascendant exist, Geode is a complete afterthought.
This was tried in Aggro Token Druid, and it turns out that if you can spam enough minions on the board to get value from this card, you probably don't need more mana crystals than you already have.
An extremely understatted weapon that generates a 1/1 beast has never really been what Hunter needs; the class has no problem generating beasts, and the weapons it wants generally come out much earlier or have more attack.
Wind Up Burglebot
There are better ways to draw a card that don't involve playing an expensive, understatted minion, protecting it so that it will stay on the board long enough to attack, and then hoping your opponent presents a target for it to attack into and kill.
Epic - Has Seen Fringe Play
Blade of C'thun
C’thun Rogue is a deck that people try from time to time when they get bored. This card is good in that deck, but the deck itself is never really good enough to see consistent play. This card also got considerably less appealing once Vilespine Slayer was printed, because it does the same thing for a considerably lower cost.
Once Charge got changed to not allow the minion to attack face, the one deck that used this card to drop giants, copy them and then charge at the opponent stopped working. There may be combo decks that utilize this card in the future, possibly, but the Charge nerf happened over a year ago and Blood Warriors has been dormant since.
This saw some play in early C’thun Warrior builds, but ended up making way for better cards as they got printed.
Turns out that a ten mana board clear that draws you a ton of cards usually doesn't work well in control warlock decks that life tap a lot, and therefore tend to have very full hands. This saw play in a Bloodbloom control deck briefly, but that was also before Defile came along.
This is a fun card for sure, especially when combined with Barnes, Y'shaarj and 26 other warlock cards. Just don't expect to win more than 30% of your games with that deck.
Another victim of the poor performance of the hand buffing mechanic. If that was better this card would be too.
This seems to exist purely to add low rolls to random minion effects. A card like this is good if it's big enough to end the game quickly, or it's easy to trade off before the card text becomes an issue. Apothecary is neither of those things. That said, it is seeing some play in Zoo decks with all the demon buff cards, so you may want to hold off and see if that’s a passing fad or not.
This was ignored until it had a brief moment in the sun in Abar and Savjz's Quest Priest decks. It's a fun card to play around with if you have all the pieces needed for that deck, but it's not generally worth crafting cards for.
Wisps of the Old Gods
This saw some play in Spell Token Druid before Yogg-Saron was nerfed to stop casting spells when it died during its battlecry. Even before that, though, that style of deck had transitioned to Malygos OTK from a board based deck featuring Violet Teacher, and Mark of the Lotus was printed after that, which does a slightly less powerful effect for considerably cheaper (both in terms of mana and dust).