If you happened to pass by Reddit or Twitter in the last few days, then you may have noticed many complaints about the power level of some decks and the fact that most Forged in the Barrens cards haven't been able to properly fight the contenders from the Year of the Phoenix. Is that really true? We decided to dive into each class' Barrens set and see how every pushed archetype has panned out so far.
For this article, we'll be taking a look at Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior's sets. We'll be breaking down how their Forged in the Barrens cards fit into the different archetypes for each class and we'll give you some decks that you can take to the ladder to experience the class yourself.
In case you're curious, here are our thoughts on each set during the reveals season.
Valeera is another class that found great fortune in the Barrens: even though the Evergreen rotation took away many of her reliable tools, she immediately found some equally good (if not better) substitutes.
- Weapon: Silverleaf Poison, Paralytic Poison, Swinetusk Shank, Apothecary Helbrim
- Combo: Field Contact, Scabbs Cutterbutter
- Burst: Wicked Stab (Rank 1), Oil Rig Ambusher
- Other: Efficient Octo-bot, Yoink!
After Nitroboost Poison's nerf in late March, Weapon Rogue received a new weapon and ton of support: the archetype is being played on ladder, but Miracle Rogue is definitely superior. Speaking of Miracle Rogue, this deck makes good use of Field Contact in combination with cheap Combo cards such as Swindle, Prize Plunderer and Wand Thief, all reduced by Efficient Octo-bot's Frenzy effect (basically an Emperor Thaurissan effect but a lot faster), in order to draw most of the deck and close out games. On a side note, Wicked Stab (Rank 1) is arguably a better Eviscerate, a Spell which has been a staple in Rogue for the past 7 years.
One interesting fact about Barrens Rogue is that both its Legendary cards are yet to cover a key role in any meta deck.
Apothecary Helbrim can provide quite the burst, but most of the time, he is just too slow and clunky for the archetype he supports. As it turns out, when converting all your mana into sheer damage to the opponent's face, playing a slow 4 mana 3/2 is not that great of a move.
Scabbs Cutterbutter is just as unpopular as Helbrim, it is due to completely different reasons:
- Kazakus, Golem Shaper is one of the strongest cards in Miracle Rogue, especially thanks to Shadowstep;
- Scabbs would definitely benefit from future card releases: tempo is good, but you actually need something rather expensive that you want to play after said Legendary.
While we're quite hesitant about Helbrim (unless we receive some synergistic effect that makes him better) we think Scabbs Cutterbutter will find chances in the future.
Final Verdict - Solid, very solid card set that pushed Rogue at the top of the food chain. Valeera has to be happy as much as Rexxar and Uther are.
Shaman, yes. We guess you already know what we're going to say, right?
- Nature: Chain Lightning (Rank 1), Bru'kan
- Murlocs: Spawnpool Forager, South Coast Chieftain, Tinyfin's Caravan, Nofin Can Stop Us, Firemancer Flurgl
- Elementals: Arid Stormer, Earth Revenant, Lilypad Lurker
Let's start with Elementals. If you take them in a vacuum, they're not bad at all: Arid Stormer is solid, especially if discounted by a turn one Kindling Elemental and Lilypad Lurker was good even before the buff, while now it's nutty. Moreover, there are other neat units like Marshspawn, Cagematch Custodian and Menacing Nimbus. The problem is that Elemental Shaman, but also Shaman as a whole, is missing a win condition - a Shudderwock/Kalimos, Primal Lord like card you build your deck around a that makes sure you can capitalize all your efforts. That card is not here, and Alexstrasza the Life-Binder cannot do everything by herself: you actually need to put your opponent in range.
For Murlocs, Shaman lacks almost everything an Aggro deck needs in order to succeed: card draw, recovery effects and a Bloodlust-like finisher. In other words, Shaman is too 'fair', and every good deck has its own ways to be unfair.
Finally, we see why Bru'kan and Chain Lightning (Rank 1) are flavor-wise Shaman cards are we think they have potential for the future, but they pale in comparison to other Mercenary-Ranked spell pairs.
Final Verdict - Definitely the class that needs help the most - two archetypes with no real win-condition on top of a below average Year of the Phoenix. Thrall desperately needs help.
The Hearthstone devs read that the community loves cards getting milled... so half of Warlock set was based around that mechanic.
- Mill: Blood Shard Bristleback, Soul Rend, Altar of Fire, Barrens Scavenger, Neeru Fireblade
- Shadow: Tamsin Roame
- Zoo: Imp Swarm (Rank 1), Kabal Outfitter, Apothecary's Caravan
- Other: Grimoire of Sacrifice
Call it Delete Warlock, Mill Warlock, or whatever you prefer: while the idea is pretty cool, only someone as skilled as Kibler is able to bring this deck to Legend. Destroying your own resources is not the most proficient way to win a game, especially if you consider your current rewards and the fact that fatigue is a thing. We definitely see this archetype getting better if and when future sets will drop more support (some form of Violet Illusionist or Infinite Arcane?), but now the only effect it does is deleting Warlock itself for almost half an expansion cycle.
Tamsin Roame is definitely the spiciest card for Warlock: it comboes well with Drain Soul, Soul Shear and Siphon Soul, and Gul'dan is very likely going to get more Shadow spells in the future. Maybe we'll see some synergy for Zoolock, another archetype that has completely gone off the meta radars and that won't come back until more valid support will be printed.
Final Verdict - Not a very exciting set. Warlock has big flaws and these card don't help much. But hey, it could be worse: you could be Shaman.
- Frenzy: Stonemaul Anchorman, Whirling Combatant, Warsong Envoy, Mor'shan Elite, Overlord Saurfang
- Buff: Bulk Up, Conditioning (Rank 1), Rokara
- Other: Outrider's Axe, Rancor
Rush Warrior is probably the first and most relevant example of successful application of a handbuff mechanics in Hearthstone: it turns out that if your entire deck is made or Rush minions you don't lose tempo while buffing your hand! The deck is among one the best ones in the format and should only improve with time. We are certain Mor'shan Elite will see experimentation as soon as more handbuff cards will be released: it's not seeing play right now, but we're talking about a 5 mana 8/8 that can possibly kill Aggro matchups on the spot.
While Control Warrior is getting better one tiny bit at a time, especially thanks to the field changing and Shieldmaiden getting buffed to 5 mana, the same can't be said about Frenzy Warrior. Overlord Saurfang is simply not enough of a reason to carry the whole package, especially since Garrosh has other deficiencies that affect the class as a whole. We suspect the upcoming mini-set will help this archetype, but for now it's just a sad hard pass.
Final Verdict - Garrosh started the Forged in the Barrens meta as one of the worst classes, but then Rush and Control Warrior started to gain traction. Things are not the best ever for the class, but it's in a good spot.
What do you think about these classes' power level? Are there any archetypes you were surprised/disappointed about? Let us know in the comments below.
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