HearthCraft Key Cards: common neutral cards


This article is a part of the HearthCraft series of articles, where I discuss about the cards that should be crafted first in Hearthstone, when playing on a budget. And we’re all playing on a budget.


If you want to read the rest of the articles, here is the full list:

So, let’s get to business and discuss about the key common neutral cards, cards you should craft first when you’re thinking about common cards.

Common neutral cards

Piloted Shredder

Piloted Shredder

The “king” of common cards in Hearthstone. Introduced in Goblins versus Gnomes, this 4 mana 4/3 minion summons a random 2 mana minion when it dies.

It is a very powerful minion because of 2 separate factors:

  • it is “sticky”: its removal is very awkward in most situations, requiring 2 hits, in any combination of: minion, weapon, direct nuke or AOE nuke
  • it packs a ton of stats: under the flimsy 4/3 body (that can also trade up due to its 4 attack) the average stats of a 2 mana minion are 2/2; as a result Shredder is basically a 4 mana 6/5 minion

Piloted Shredder can be seen in almost any kind of deck, except for the extremely aggressive ones (Face Hunter) or the extremely greedy ones (greedy Control Warrior). But any time even those decks “move” towards midrange, they tend to include Piloted Shredder.

Ironbeak Owl

Ironbeak Owl

Silence is a very powerful mechanic in Hearthstone. It’s so powerful that it’s literally “hidden” in the basic set (there are no silence cards that are available to a new player when he first plays Hearthstone).

The first time a new player will use this mechanic will probably be when he gets or crafts his Ironbeak Owl.

Another staple of Hearthstone, “Hoot hoot!” as it’s lovingly called by the community, is a common sight in many decks. Aggressive decks use it to bypass taunts and to neutralize big cards with powerful effects, control decks use it to stem the bleeding against the same aggressive decks I mentioned.

It is probably the most used “tech” card (card that’s used mostly for its effect which counters a very specific, major threat). Even if in many occasions it’s only a 1-of, Ironbeak Owl sees a lot of action in Hearthstone.

The 2 mana cost 2/1 body doesn’t seem much. But once it silences your Sludge Belcher just before the Wolfrider and the Glaivezooka hit you, you will see why the card is so powerful.

Leper Gnome

Leper Gnome

The 1 mana 2/1 body isn’t impressive. But it comes with a powerful deathrattle: deal 2 damage to the enemy hero. Leper Gnome is a staple of ultra aggressive decks. As someone called it, it is the “announcer of cancer decks” (“cancer decks” is the not-very-sensitive name the Hearthstone community has given to decks which are extremely common and especially very aggressive).

Leper Gnome is not flashy but it provides a guaranteed 2 damage to the enemy’s face. In a well-oiled aggressive deck, that’s all you can ask from your 1 drop. Especially in the “later” turns of the game, when you need to bypass taunts.

When you hear “I feel icky!”, it’s time to avoid things which reduce your hero’s HP, because you will miss every one of your hit points later on.

Antique Healbot

Antique Healbot

A homonym for “anti-kill bot”, Antique Healbot is a 5 mana 3/3 mech that heals you for 8 HP. Since he has been introduced in the Goblins versus Gnomes expansion, Antique Healbot has been a staple of control decks.

In many control versus aggro games, the control players can be at low health levels in turn 5 or 6. This is where Antique Healbot comes in: he heals the control player for 8, thus extending the game by 1 or 2 more turns, until the control player can stabilize and start playing “bombs” (cards with a high mana cost and a high impact on the game).

Antique Healbot is usually played as a 1-of, or when things get really aggressive, as a 2-of.

Abusive Sergeant

Abusive Sergeant

Another flimsy 1 mana 2/1. Again, the extra text on the card makes card powerful.

Abusive Sergeant gives a minion +2 attack the turn it is used. While it doesn’t sound like much, it allows a small minion to trade with a minion which costs 1 more mana or even 2 more mana in certain situations. It also allows a small minion to do a lot more face damage when that’s needed.

Just as his cousin, Leper Gnome, Abusive Sergeant is a staple of aggressive decks. He sometimes makes his way even into midrange decks which need a little help with boosting their low-attack minions when they fight bigger minions.

Honorable mentions

1 Mana minions (1 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Clockwork Gnome Mech, 1 mana minion that provides spare parts for card combos.
Cogmaster Mech support, 1 mana minion that can provide 3 damage, used in aggressive decks.
Argent Squire Sticky 1 mana minion used in many aggressive decks.
Worgen Infiltrator Sticky 1 mana minion used in some aggressive decks.

2 Mana minions (2 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Loot Hoarder Cheap, efficient card draw minion that can combat smaller threats.
Mech Warper Staple of the Mech tribe, he allows Mech spam very early.
Annoy-o-tron Mech, protects threatening minions (such as Mech Warper in mech decks.
Unstable Ghoul Anti-aggro card that can also trigger enrage-like effects.
Gilblin Stalker Sticky 2 drop used by buff classes (Priest, primarily).
Dire Wolf Alpha Damage buff card used by aggro decks which spam minions (zoos).

3 Mana minions (3 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Acolyte of Pain Efficient card draw minion that can draw multiple cards.
Tinkertown Technician Mech support, 3 drop with above average stats and source of spare parts.
Spider Tank Mech, 3 drop with standard stats.
Argent Horserider Sticky charger for only 3 mana used in aggro decks.
Harvest Golem Mech, sticky 3 drop used in aggressive or midrange decks.

4 Mana minions (4 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Mechanical Yeti Mech, standard stats for a 4 drop and source of spare parts.
Dread Corsair Anti-aggro, used in decks with many weapons or in pirate decks.
Dragonkin Sorcerer Dragon, used by in dragon decks and by buff classes (Priest, primarily).

5 Mana minions (5 drops)

Card name Why is it a good card?
Stranglethorn Tiger Beast, sticky 5 drop used as part of the higher end of the deck for aggressive decks.
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