Hearthstone’s 21 Most Useful Neutral Cards

Every Hearthstone deck needs to use at least some Neutral cards, right? These are the non-class-specific cards that help to round out each deck with the Minions it needs to realize the deck’s ultimate strategy.

Join us as our resident Hearthstone expert Pavel Oulik walks you through the most essential selections when it comes to useful Neutral cards. Enjoy!

 Kezan Mystic

21: Kezan Mystic

In a meta dominated by Aggro and Tempo decks using a minimum of 2 Secrets (Face/Hybrid Hunter and Tempo Mage being the main culprits), this is a good card to have. At the moment it is a common feature of Druid decks but this season I tend to include it in other decks too. It’s not at all uncommon for this card to win games, and a 4/3 for 4 mana is not too painful if you end up facing a character lacking in Secrets.

 Acidic Swamp Ooze

20: Acidic Swamp Ooze

A standard turn 2 Minion with its respectable 3/2 stats, the best thing about this Minion is its ability to take out an opponent’s Weapon. 5 out of the 9 classes (6 if you allow for Lord Jaraxxus’ Weapon) regularly carry Weapons, and some decks even rely on them for Combos – Patron Warrior, or Oil Rogue. In the current ultra-fast meta, taking out a Hunter’s or an Aggro Paladin’s Weapon can be the difference between life and death. I would put this card higher in the list if it wasn’t for Harrison Jones, who may be a bit pricier, but also offers card draw. You will be seeing him a bit later.

 Ysera

19: Ysera

Ysera disappeared from the meta almost entirely before the release of the Blackrock Mountain adventure, which attempted to re-introduce Dragons into the game. Since then, Ysera has become a must-have card in Dragon decks for a few reasons. Firstly, her ability to create very powerful cards each turn often comes in handy later in the game when card draw becomes ever more problematic. Also, her high health and invulnerability to Big Game Hunter makes her invaluable. Even though Dragon decks haven’t entered the scene in a strong way, new cards from the Grand Tournament expansion may make Dragon decks and Ysera even more feasible.

 Leper Gnome

18: Leper Gnome

He won’t do much good in Mid-range or Control decks, but put him in an Aggro deck and he will do what he was made for – to deal as much damage as he can early in the game. He is the standard turn 1 Minion for faster decks and can surprise opponents later in the game by using his Deathrattle ability to bypass enemy Taunts and deal 2 points of damage. Some games will be won this way.

 Abusive Sergeant

17: Abusive Sergeant

Another staple of Aggro decks — he gives instant value with his Battlecry that gives +2 to attack to another Minion. Used to take out problematic Taunts, add extra damage when hitting the face, trade favourably and otherwise offset the status of the board the same turn that it is played. Cheap and lovely in equal measures.

 Mind Control Tech

16: Mind Control Tech

This list is heavy on Tech cards – cards that deal with a certain kind of situation but don’t necessarily synergize with the rest of the deck. Such cards tend to be useful in multiple deck types but their usefulness is dependent on the state of the meta. Mind Control Tech is very advantageous when facing opponents who will be fielding a lot of Minions, which in the current meta is more than half of the popular decks. A while back this used to be primarily Zoo.

 Defender of ArgusSunfury Protector

15: Defender of Argus / Sunfury Protector

The 2 cards here get used in different decks and for slightly different reasons – the buff that Defender of Argus gives makes it more suited to decks that have an easier time building a bigger board (Shaman or Zoo), or in situations where a card that can’t attack on its own needs to be able to attack, while Sunfury Protector primarily sees play in Handlock as a means of face protection. For all of your Taunt needs, these 2 cards are here for you. Different types of decks will prefer one or the other.

 Antique Healbot

 14: Antique Healbot

At first glance it appears underwhelming at 3/3 for 5 mana. At a second glance, the 8 health that it grants is often the difference between dying from a charge to the face or stabilizing against an opponent who is quickly losing cards at the stage that this card is played. Antique Healbot is currently the best source of healing in the game coming from a Neutral card.

 Loatheb

 13: Loatheb

Loatheb is lovely. Adequate stats for the cost, but it’s the effect that counts. Preventing board wipes and AOE is the name of the game, as is setting up for a Lethal attack the next turn. Some decks that are more spell-heavy will have a hard time playing anything when faced with Loatheb, let alone being able to take advantage of any synergies that are spell-based. Timing is everything with this one.

 Azure Drake

 12: Azure Drake

Azure Drake fills many boxes – a relatively strong Minion, it also provides extra spell damage (Mages, Shamans and Rogues particularly like that) and gives extra card draw, all in one card. Card draw is important and it’s rare to have a Minion who can provide it while being useful for other things as well. If you happen to like Dragon synergies, this card becomes even better.

 Harrison Jones

 11: Harrison Jones

Probably my favorite Tech card of all time. Not only does it remove an opponent’s weapon, hopefully destroying his plans for the next turn, it also gets you cards. Did I mention that card draw is important? I did? Okay. It won’t be of much use against opponents who don’t use Weapons, so once again, the usefulness of this card is determined by the state of the meta. Right now though it’s pretty useful. Even against opponents who don’t run weapons, 5/4 for 5 mana is acceptable. One of my favorite moments in the game comes from unleashing this card against Lord Jaraxxus’ weapon.

 Zombie Chow

 10: Zombie Chow

A 2/3 Minion on turn 1 is just what the doctor ordered against Aggro decks that tend to put down a 2/1 on their first turn. This is why this Minion gets played in most Control decks. Giving your opponent 5 health is not a problem when their health is full, or if you are going for a longer game and a late turn finish. When playing Priest, the healing effect can turn into damage with the help of an Auchenai Soulpriest.

 Sylvanas Windrunner

 9: Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas is one of those cards that everybody expects and knows how to play around, being a staple of numerous deck archetypes for a long time. This makes it more difficult to use her to steal strong Minions, but it’s usually a tough struggle for the opponent to remove her and a huge expenditure in resources to do so. A Silence effect may be necessary, an expensive removal spell, or even a whole board clear in order to prevent Sylvanas from stealing anything essential.

 Knife Juggler

 8: Knife Juggler

This card is all about value. It won’t survive long with 2 health and it will almost definitely be removed straight away if dropped on its own. The effect, though, is amazing. Used to take out numerous 1 health Minions, deal damage to the face when played in an aggressive deck, or simply to chop away at the opponent’s board. This card is usually played along with cards that bring more Minions at the same time, making the Knife Juggler throw 3 or more daggers in a single turn. I like him most with Unleash the Hounds.

 Sludge Belcher

 7: Sludge Belcher

At the moment this is the strongest Taunted Minion in the game. The wonderful thing is its Deathrattle, necessitating a minimum of 2 attacks in order to clear the Taunts. This can save you from a particularly strong Minion that can’t be removed just yet. It’s the ultimate defensive measure at 5 mana.

 Emperor Thaurissan

 6: Emperor Thaurissan

This is by far the most useful card from the Blackrock Mountain adventure. It has strengthened numerous types of play styles – particularly Ramp Druid and Freeze Mage, but it has made its way into just about every deck that has a place for a 6 mana non-aggressive Minion. Reducing the cost of the entire hand is priceless, even if Thaurissan very rarely makes it till next turn. As with other Legendaries, the fact that the effect does something before the opponent can react to it makes this card so strong.

 Big Game Hunter

 5: Big Game Hunter

Removing a big Minion for the price of 4 mana is good. If you get a 4/2 Minion on top of that, it’s safe to say that the deal is great. Given that just about every non-aggro deck runs at least 1 Minion with an attack power of 7 or higher, looking at you Dr. Boom, this card is a must have in every deck that doesn’t count on finishing the game before the big hitters start dropping.

 Piloted Shredder

 4: Piloted Shredder

This friendly 4/3 is the most used 4 mana Minion in the game. The reason for that is its stickiness – a 4/3 is relatively easy to remove, but there will be a 2 mana Minion coming right behind it. It’s most likely that it will be a 3/2 or 2/3, and sometimes it can be a bit of a surprise to both players when it comes in the guise of a Lorewalker Cho or a Doomsayer, completely changing the course of the game. Having had a look at the new 2 mana cost Minions coming with the Grand Tournament expansion, some of which are outright awful without their Battlecries, it is possible that this Minion will become a bit more scarce as the Deathrattle becomes more risky, possibly watered down with more weaker Minions.

 Mad Scientist

 3: Mad Scientist

If you happen to be playing a character who will definitely be using Secrets (Hunter, Mage), this is the Minion for you. Getting a Secret into play for free and from your deck is such a tempo boost that this Minion tends to be thought of as being severely overpowered. It’s not at all uncommon for the opponent to Silence a Mad Scientist as soon as it enters play.

 Ironbeak Owl

 2: Ironbeak Owl

Few characters have a class ability to Silence enemy Minions, yet there often comes a time where a Taunt needs to be removed in order to get a Lethal, or a problematic effect needs to be dispelled before it becomes outright dangerous… In these situations, Ironbeak Owl jumps into action. Unlike a lot of other cards, this card makes it into both aggro and non-aggro decks — and it’s cheap. It’s not a flashy card, but it sure comes in handy. Unlike other Tech cards, the Owl will undoubtedly keep on being useful no matter the state of the meta.

 Ragnaros the FirelordThe Black KnightAlexstrasza

The careful omissions: Alexstrasza, the Black Knight, Ragnaros

I feel a bit odd about not including Ragnaros the Firelord in the list, given that it is such a strong card and a common finisher in Control decks. It has become a lot less popular since Dr. Boom arrived but it still finds a place in many deck types. Nevertheless, this would probably be my number 22 card.

The Black Knight is the only popular tech card that I haven’t included in the list. At the moment, Sludge Belcher is the only Taunted Minion consistently appearing in many decks, and consequently The Black Knight rarely hits an opponent where it really hurts. I have a feeling that this will change as soon as the Grand Tournament expansion arrives – there will be new taunted Minions, some of which will see play, and we may even see a new deck archetype from Warrior that relies heavily on Taunted Minions.

Alexstrasza is the last big Legendary that didn’t make the list. While it is indispensable in a couple of decks – Freeze Mage or Control Warrior wouldn’t be the same without it — practically no other decks, including Dragon decks (she is a Dragon after all), ever field her.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next days and weeks as the new expansion arrives on our gaming devices. I hope that there are a couple of cards that would feature on this list if it was written a bit later!

 Dr. Boom

 1: Dr. Boom

As much as it pains me to put the good old doctor and his trusted boombots on the first spot, there is little that can be done about it. This Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion Legendary took the meta by storm just over eight months ago, becoming a replacement for Ragnaros the Firelord as the big, mean, late-game hitter, making its way into just about every deck archetype with the exception of builds that have no room for a Minion costing 7 mana. It’s a great card for a number of reasons – it costs 7 mana, which used to be a vacant spot in most decks pre-GvG, and it has instant value even if your opponent has a Big Game Hunter, as there are 2 boombots left behind once the doctor gets shot, both of which will be causing damage even if removed using AOE. Since the arrival of Dr. Boom, BGH has been a must to include in most decks.


Final Thoughts

Hearthstone is a game that constantly shifts and turns, changing as new expansions arrive, introducing new cards into the card pool. Most importantly, the game changes as players learn how to take advantage of the current meta, trying to stay ahead of the wave of deck archetypes that are most competitive and afford the biggest advantage. One thing is for certain — whatever new cards come out and however the meta changes, the cards above will continue to be useful for a long time yet!

What do you think? Agree or disagree with our list? Any additions of your own?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Pavel Oulik
Author: Pavel Oulik View all posts by

Pavel is a graduate in Economics and Business, as well as a lover of books, stories and writing in general. He lives in the Czech Republic, which isn’t only known for its beer. He played Magic the Gathering back in the day, entering the intricate world of Hearthstone around the time of the Naxxramas expansion. Pavel’s biggest dream is for a future world of mature and dignified conduct within the online gaming community.

  • Michelandjelo

    What a pathetic “article”. Journalism realy is dead. How about you write how the game RNG is far from random. How the pack drop rates are rigged and pathetic. How the game is becoming more and more pay to win, how they insult the gamers by saying how numbers higher then 9 are confusing or how having perma squelch option would be confusing also etc .

    • Pavel Oulik

      Interesting points. In my opinion the game is as pay to win as it was before.

      Blizzard has done a lot this year for players who don’t intend to pay any money – golden cards at the end of the season, or the extra pack from tavern brawl each week. Also the introduction of many new cards of lesser rarity that fill the spots that would have otherwise been taken up by Legendaries.

      At the same time, new content is coming faster so you may have to pay or play a lot to keep up with all the new cards. That’s only if you want to own everything.

      What’s important is that some of the most successful decks in the game are unbelievably cheap and devoid of Legendary cards (practically every Aggro deck). If we are talking about the potential to climb high on the Ladder, it is entirely possible to do so without paying any money. Even for completely new players. Then there is Arena, where money and card collection play no role.

      As for the other issues, I am not sure that I understand what you mean (eg. rigged RNG or pack contents). There is a lot of statistical evidence against those claims.

      Lastly, if this article lacks any journalistic value for you, I can only apologize.

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