Hearthstone officially celebrated one full decade on the market about a month ago. It’s really hard to believe that it’s been that long to me, and for players who started before the game’s official full launch, it’ll be even longer for you! Hearthstone has grown a lot as a game over the course of 10 years with nearly 5000 different cards and a myriad of different game modes added during its run. To celebrate all the fun years that the game has had, I thought it’d be fun to look through all of the old Legendary cards that were part of the original Classic set, which basically functioned as the base set. There’s a lot of history behind these old cards.

This will be a four-part series. In the first part, we looked at all of the class Legendaries, and then we started looking at the Neutrals in the second part. There, we started specifically at the low-Cost Neutrals, and now we're looking at the mid-Cost ones. All of the cards in this article cost either 5 or 6. The next part is the final one where we will look at all of the expensive ones, but we've got this group of nine cards to cover first, so let's get started.

Elite Tauren Chieftain

Elite Tauren Chieftain Card Image

Elite Tauren Chieftain, often abbreviated to E.T.C., is a band in the world of Warcraft (that’s a pun) composed of Bergrisst on lead guitar, Sig Nicious on rhythm guitar, Mai’Kyl on bass, Chief Thunder-Skins on drums, and Samuro (not the Blademaster) on vocals. Although quite well known in Warcraft culture, what you may not know is that the band is based on a real-life band (also called Elite Tauren Chieftain) which features real Blizzard employees of the company’s past and present.

The band has quite a few well known songs, some of which have been integrated into cards in the game. When you play Elite Tauren Chieftain, you’ll get one of three ‘Power Chord’ cards which are named after songs from the band and will play a tiny piece of the actual song when you play them. In 2008, the song I Am Murloc was even featured as DLC for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. That should tell you how iconic their music is in the fandom.

Elite Tauren Chieftain couldn’t be bought in a pack. A normal version could be crafted as you could with any other card, but a golden version was a limited-time exclusive given out to people who attended BlizzCon 2013 (either in person or via a Virtual Ticket). This was where Team 5 announced that Hearthstone would be coming to mobile devices. If you want to flash that you were there at BlizzCon and that you’ve stuck with the game for as long as you have, putting a golden Elite Tauren Chieftain in your deck is a huge flex.

The card itself, while it comes with a cool animation and some rocking music, is not particularly great. This however was definitely intentional since Team 5 was aware that giving away a meta-defining card for free as a prize for attending BlizzCon would’ve been very problematic even if it could also be crafted. It’s best that the card was kept fun, but not competitive.

Despite being a minor part of Warcraft as a whole, Elite Tauren Chieftain has been remade on three separate occasions. The first of which was E.T.C., God of Metal in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. Rather unusually, he was remade twice during Festival of Legends. Once as E.T.C., Band Manager in the main set, and again as Elite Tauren Champion in the Audiopocalypse mini-set.

Harrison Jones

Harrison Jones Card Image

Harrison Jones is an archaeologist and explorer who is named and modeled after actor Harrison Ford and one of his most iconic character roles, Indiana Jones. In spite of his character design, he has largely been superseded by Reno Jackson. In spite of the fact that the League of Explorers have become such an integral part of Hearthstone with multiple reprints, Harrison hasn’t received any reprint or mention in sets that the League appears in. In the LoE adventure, Reno does make a comment that “if only Harrison could see me now”, so he wasn’t forgotten about entirely. The card Explorer's Hat also features Harrison’s hat.

Harrison’s entry line “that belongs in a museum” is a quote from Indiana Jones himself who utters the phrase (or a slight variation of it) in multiple instances over the franchise. The effect to destroy your opponent’s weapon is likely meant to represent Harrison taking an artifact to bring it to the aforementioned museum. The fact that the weapon is destroyed feels a bit anti-flavorful since Harrison would presumably want to keep the weapon intact for preservation, but some liberties had to be taken as the card was designed as tech against weapons. The card draw effect doesn’t seem to have flavor significance as much as it is just a way to make the effect feel more Legendary.

As with most tech cards, Harrison Jones has occasionally seen place in the meta over the span of its life, but is largely held back by its poor stats meaning that he can never be very impactful if you match up against a deck without weapons. In this case, Acidic Swamp Ooze would be preferable since Ooze at least had vanilla stats and was cheaper and therefore easier to toss out in matches where the effect wouldn’t come into play. The card draw is not as significant as you might think since you’d usually only draw one card from it, or maybe two once in a while. It’s been quite a long time since he’s had any meta relevance, and unfortunately it’s quite unlikely that he’ll get any again.

Cairne Bloodhoof

Cairne Bloodhoof Card Image

Cairne Bloodhoof was the leader of the city of Thunder Bluff, chieftain of the Bloodhoof tribe, and once a Warchief of the Horde. Despite being on the same side, Cairne did not agree with the way Garrosh Hellscream was commanding the Warsong Hold. After being challenged to a fight to the death (or a “Mak’gora” if you must), Cairne accepts the fight but it unfortunately ended with his death. Garrosh would take position as Warchief of the Horde, and Cairne’s son Baine would take over Cairne’s position. If you play Cairne against Garrosh, he will say “Garrosh, you are not fit to rule the Horde” in reference to the conflict between the two.

Despite his significance to Warcraft lore and connection with one of the basic heroes, Cairne’s card is incredibly simple and basic, even by Classic standards. He’s simply a Yeti that summons another Yeti when he dies. No special effects on either of them other than Cairne summoning Baine. While his effect is intended to represent Cairne’s death at the hands of Garrosh and Baine taking over, his status as a Legendary appears to be almost exclusively because of his lore significance and value-to-Cost ratio.

Two Chillwind Yetis for 6 mana was pretty good… back in the Classic days. He used to be a really strong meta player back when the game was in its original state with no expansions, but even as soon as Curse of Naxxramas came out, Cairne started to fall off the meta and soon enough, it didn’t take that long before he was basically put back on the shelf. Although two Chillwind Yetis were quite strong for 6 mana at the time, his lack of immediate board impact and trouble killing targets that would usually come down on turn 6 ultimately did him in.

In 2021 when the Legacy set was added, Cairne and Baine were both buffed to have 5 Attack, but the game had already evolved past the point where such a card would be viable, leaving Cairne’s legacy still in the dust. I wouldn’t say things are all doom and gloom for him though. Given the rather unignorable ties that Cairne has with Warcraft lore, it’s not that unlikely that he’ll come back as another card and reclaim his glory from the game’s early days.

Gelbin Mekkatorque

Gelbin Mekkatorque Card Image

Gelbin Mekkatorque is the king of the gnomes and leader of Gnomeregan, which is basically a nation full of gnomes (it’s kinda in the name). He was best friends with Sicco Thermaplugg until he snapped and went crazy, and that’s about all I can tell you.

As one can probably just from the way his text is written out, Gelbin’s card is designed more-so for fun factor rather than for actually being good, much like Elite Tauren Chieftain. Despite his card text, his inventions are not awesome in the slightest. In fact, they’re all pretty awful. Three of the four Inventions are two-sided effects that can help your opponent just as much as they help you. Homing Chicken is the only one that is only beneficial for you, but it requires having a 0/1 minion survive on at least turn 6 or later. Suffice to say, chances of that are quite slim to put it lightly.

Gelbin Mekkatorque is also just like Elite Tauren Chieftain in that a Golden version can’t just be acquired like any card. This one was another timed exclusive, this time for spending real money in the shop during the game’s beta. Just like E.T.C., if you wish to flash that you’ve been a player of the game since the very beginning, playing a Golden Gelbin Mekkatorque is the way to make that statement although it’s much more liable to backfire on you than E.T.C. is. For the same reasons as E.T.C., this card was obviously designed to be flashy rather than to be good as it was a prize exclusive to only a select few people. That said, just like E.T.C., he’s still bad.


Hogger Card Image

Hogger is a gnoll who leads the Riverpaw pack in Elwynn Forest. Although his lore significance is quite miniscule, he became a pretty iconic character due to how difficult he would be for a lot of players when they first encountered him at lower levels, to the point where “Deaths by Hogger” is a statistic that can be found in-game.

Hogger is a pretty simple Legendary. If you started playing the game around 2014 or 2015, then you probably at least one time encountered a Hogger that gave you some trouble to get past because it kept spawning Taunts. This ability represents Hogger’s ability to summon gnolls in combat. Other than being an annoyance in about one or two fights as a new player though, he’s not a very good card. Games where he will spawn multiple Taunts and “lock” your opponent are few and far between. Ultimately, he’ll end up only summoning a single gnoll most of the time which amounts to being a Silver Hand Knight where you paid one extra mana for Taunt on the gnoll.

Hogger does have one reprint which is found in Whispers of the Old Gods as Hogger, Doom of Elwynn. That card however is not really any better than his original card, and he’s still an insignificant Legendary. Unlike his Warcraft counterpart, he has no legacy to work off of.

Illidan Stormrage

Illidan Stormrage Card Image

Xavius, is that you?

Illidan Stormrage as a character is so synonymous to the Warcraft franchise as a whole that he basically needs no introduction. For anyone who knows literally nothing about Warcraft and have managed to stumble onto this article though, Illidan Stormrage is the twin brother of Malfurion Stormrage, the base Druid hero. Originally he was a night elf sorcerer who eventually defected over to the Burning Legion, although he secretly had noble intentions. Despite this, he was labeled as a betrayer and sent to imprisonment for 10,000 years, which in night elf years is probably about 4 human days or so? Why else does he still look so supple after all that time?

Illidan became the first Demon Hunter which ended up blinding him, giving him wings and tattoos, and a constant need for vengeance. Just like Malfurion, he was in love with Tyrande, but she ended up with the Druid. This in turn makes Tyrande Illidan’s sister-in-law, and I’m just going to stop right there before things get weird.

But in light of the fact that Illidan has always been one of the most well-known Warcraft characters in all of the franchise’s life, his card was not so impressive to put it lightly. While triggering off of every card played is nothing to slouch at, his slow board building with weak tokens on an effect that costs 6 mana to put onto the board made him a weak card. In Alpha, he had a Battlecry that made both players discard 3 cards and then draw 3 cards. This effect would be changed, not only because it's a powerful hand attack that can be manipulated to not hurt you so badly, but around this point in the game’s history, directly attacking your opponent’s hand like this was avoided as much as possible. Nowadays, hand attacks are a more commonplace part of the game, but even now, I wouldn’t print one this destructive.

Justice would be done for Illidan though, as in 2020, Illidan would be announced as the base hero for the first new class of the game, Demon Hunter. What would happen to his card though? Seems a bit weird for Illidan to be playing Illidan. When Ashes of Outlands launched with Demon Hunter, Illidan’s card was replaced by Xavius which is basically the exact same card. Despite the fact that many heroes like Medivh, Maiev, and Lady Liadrin have been made into cards after being given hero skins, it still seems like Team 5 chooses not to make base heroes into cards. And yet, they didn’t change The Lich King when they made The Lich King, so who knows?

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas Windrunner Card Image

Sylvanas Windrunner is another extremely iconic character to the Warcraft IP. Sylvanas is one of the three Windrunner sisters who are all huntresses. Alleria has been made into an alternate hero for Hunter, and Vereesa was made into a Hunter card in Rise of Shadows. Sylvanas however has been in the game since the very beginning, and has also been by far the most prominently featured of the three sisters. She’s also had by far the worst fate of the three. While her sisters are still living normal lives (for Warcraft standards), Sylvanas was defeated by The Lich King and rather than being murdered outright, she was instead raised as a banshee and made into one of his generals. Her lore can’t be explained so concisely because there’s just simply so much of it.

Unlike Illidan though, Sylvanas’s card does the character justice. During her prime when she was in Standard, she was one of the strongest Legendary cards in the game. While her Deathrattle to steal a minion is quite strong, it also makes the card versatile. You can simply play it and force your opponent to trade unfavorably into it to prevent anything from being stolen, and she was also played and then killed intentionally to be used as a Mind Control. Whenever Sylvanas hits the board, you know that your opponent has a plan for it, and unfortunately you may just have to go along with that plan. The strength of her Deathrattle and ability to force your opponent into awkward situations made her a very strong card. At one point, she was even stronger too because she used to be 5 mana.

In spite of Sylvanas’s legacy as both a character and a card, she has surprisingly not been reused very often. She was made into a Hunter hero skin in 2019 and made into a new card, Sylvanas, the Accused in 2022. Surprisingly little for Sylvanas, but she very well may be a main character for an expansion we don’t know of yet. Wouldn’t surprise me.

The Beast

The Beast Card Image

The Beast is a Core Hound found in Upper Blackrock Spire who guards the spire from intruders. Pip Quickwit is a gnomish inventor (no, not that one) who was swallowed whole by The Beast by some lava pits in the mountain while testing his lava-proof suit. He remained inside the belly of the beast for months until he was freed by an adventurer (the player) when they killed the aforementioned monster. Pip Quickwit’s mannerisms and original name, Finkle Einhorn, is a reference to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The name was changed due to the source material’s controversy over how transgender people are represented and went live on Hearthstone in October 2021 and on World of Warcraft in November 2021.

The Beast’s Hearthstone card is a very simple representation of the enemy. Pip isn’t quite on the board just yet since it’s inside the belly’s stomach, and when The Beast dies, Pip finally “pops” out onto the board. I must ask, how exactly has Pip been keeping himself sustained while living inside the monster? What is he eating? And what about going to the bathroom?

In terms of play though, The Beast is, just like the other cards that depict Core Hounds, pretty unplayable. After GvG when everyone started running Dr. Boom, everyone also started running Big Game Hunter to counter it, which resulted in the vast majority of other minions with 7 or more Attack not seeing play since they wouldn’t do enough after being killed. The Beast fits into that category especially so since his Deathrattle is a negative for you. It gives your opponent a free 3/3. Even if Big Game Hunter wasn’t a factor, it’s hard to imagine this card would’ve been very good though since it’s a fairly expensive minion with no board impact and only a downside. Just about any hard removal would make it a terrible play. The Beast pretty much never stood a chance, especially when BGH had him in his sights.

The Black Knight

The Black Knight Card Image

The Black Knight is a very minor character. He’s simply an agent of The Lich King who was sent to the Argent Tournament (where The Grand Tournament is modeled after) run by Tirion Fordring. His name, achievements, and various elements of his fight are references to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He doesn’t exactly have the best luck and even his in-card flavor text jokes about how he failed at his job in the tournament.

His Hearthstone card is a bit of a weird one. His Battlecry destroys an enemy minion… but only if it has Taunt. Some classes are intentionally very restricted in hard removal, so it’s interesting to have a Neutral hard removal with a limitation. Taunt minions can sometimes be prime targets to get rid of and depending on the meta, it’s not unreasonable that most decks you fight against will have at least some form of Taunt. The Black Knight however does come with some pretty glaring issues that can’t be overlooked. Primarily the fact that without a good target, he’s not strong. Sometimes he very well will just be a 6 mana 4/5 that does nothing, and we already talked about how Cairne Bloodhoof fell off the meta.

With a target though, he isn’t necessarily any more efficient than a hard removal spell since 6 mana is pretty expensive for hard removal even if it comes with a Yeti. You very well might be better off with a burst spell and playing another minion especially since those two cards will on average be better in an average matchup than The Black Knight. He was buffed last year to be a 4 mana 4/4, and while he’s still yet to see play in his current form, he definitely has a better chance now than he did even back years ago.

The Black Knight has also received a reprint in The Grand Tournament as The Skeleton Knight. And it’s one of the worst Legendary minions in the entire game. It’s a Salty Dog, which is technically vanilla-statted, but the distribution is pretty bad. And then it costs 1 more mana on top of that for a crapshoot effect that relies on luck to get it back to your hand. Regardless of how bad The Black Knight has been, it can at least take comfort in the fact that it’s astronomically better than its TGT counterpart.

That's it for part 3, which came out in a very untimely manner. The next part is the last one where we look at all of the high-Cost Neutral Legendaries.