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 Demon Hunter, Druid and Hunter'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.
In Forged in the Barrens, Illidan found a hit-or-miss set which was heavily oriented towards the new Deathrattle build.
- Deathrattle: Razorboar, Tuskpiercer, Razorfen Beastmaster, Vengeful Spirit, Death Speaker Blackthorn
- Control: Sigil of Silence, Sigil of Flame, Kurtrus Ashfallen
- Miscellanea: Fury (Rank 1), Vile Call
We think that Demon Hunter got quite the winning deal of out the Barrens. Following the recent nerfs and the decrease in popularity of both Aggro and Secret Paladin, Deathrattle Demon Hunter was finally able to have some breathing room to grow and flourish. Sure, it still has some weaknesses, but the fact that it got pushed in the first expansion of the year and it's already playable means that it has big chances to become better going forward.
While Fury (Rank 1) is the successor of the rotated Twin Slice and so everyone knew it was going to see play, we can say that Sigils have been pretty underwhelming. It is probably a matter of meta-compatibility, but they've been far slower than necessary to see play. We know for sure that we'll receive more Sigil support in the future, but for now they're definitely a failed experiment.
Final Verdict - Although none of the already existing Demon Hunter archetypes received major support, Illidan has reasons to smile.
Malfurion's Forged in the Barrens set was quite the mixed bag. Druid received support for multiple already existing archetypes, with the introduction of a new one as well.
- Aggro: Thorngrowth Sentries, Pride's Fury, Guff Runetotem
- Combo: Celestial Alignment
- Beast: Druid of the Plains, Thickhide Kodo, Living Seed (Rank 1)
- Taunt: Plaguemaw the Rotting, Razormane Battleguard, Mark of the Spikeshell
As things are now, despite the high amount of experimentation around most of the Druid set (especially with Celestial Alignment in combination with C'Thun, the Shattered), very few cards were able to find a place in the meta.
While Combo Druid didn't survive the first two weeks of the meta, both Beast and Taunt Druid never really took off. This could be for several different reason:
- Lack of worthy support;
- Better deck options being available;
- Players not interested enough in the archetypes.
Taunt Druid is nowhere to be found in any meta reports, despite hosting a broken card like Razormane Battleguard; Not even the recent N'Zoth, God of the Deep's buff (which has very interesting synergy with Plaguemaw the Rotting) seems to be enough for the archetype to see some success or, at the very least, reasonable experimentation.
On the other hand, Token Gibberling Druid is among the best decks in the format. The recent Paladin nerfs were pretty well received by the archetype which has since risen in both popularity and winrate. Thorngrowth Sentries helps you protecting your Gibberlings, Pride's Fury is basically a less offensive but way more resilient Arbor Up, which grants insane stickiness to an early board. It's a shame that, with all these Nature Spells laying around, Guff Runetotem is not able to make the cut. Unfortunately, Fungal Fortunes (even at 3 mana) is too good of a card draw ending for you to lower its consistency in drawing 3 cards for 3 mana.
Final Verdict - While it definitely has not the most impactful set, other classes got shafted way harder. At the very least, some cards ended up seeings experimentation and made the cut in a top-tier deck.
We think it is fair to say that Rexxar received one of the best, if not the best, set this time around. Almost every Hunter card sees play or has enough potential to see play in the future, and therefore the class was able to rise from a pretty mediocre Year of the Phoenix.
- Beast: Sunscale Raptor, Warsong Wrangler
- Value: Pack Kodo, Tame Beast (Rank 1), Prospector's Caravan, Tavish Stormpike
- Spell: Wound Prey, Piercing Shot, Kolkar Pack Runner, Barak Kodobane
Forged in the Barrens was the set Hunter was looking for to rise at the top of the meta. While Rexxar's set can be divided into three categories, they have synergy between themselves, which makes the deckuilding process easier for players.
Let's start from the cards that currently see play. Warsong Wrangler has pushed the Beast package very well, creating spicy on-curve synergy with a buffed Trampling Rhino, which is one of the combos that made Face Hunter stay at the top of the meta even after the rotation of core cards like Phase Stalker and Dragonbane. On the other side of the class, Barak Kodobane was the card draw Hunter has been craving for: while many people thought it was underwhelming during the reveal season, Barak's ability to tutor specific damage cards from your deck as well as Mankrik's wife for an additional body and some chip damage made him quickly become an auto-include in any Hunter list.
While we can't say much about Prospector's Caravan, since all Caravans suck, Tavish Stormpike looks like a card that still has a few missing pieces to see competitive play, but we all definitely see the potential in there: mana cheating is always good, especially if it thins out your deck and gives you control of the board. Finally, Piercing Shot is arguably a better Kill Command, which tells us everything about the card's power level.
Final Verdict - The Year of the Gryphon could've started in the worst of the ways for Rexxar, but fortunately for all our Hunter mains, Forged in the Barrens brought powerful goodies that will carry the class for the near future.
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.