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 Mage, Paladin and Priest'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.
Definitely one of the classes that got the shortest end of the stick: although most of the ideas aren't inherently bad, they still need some solid foundations in order to be viable.
- Spell: Runed Orb, Refreshing Spring Water
- Hero Power: Reckless Apprentice, Wildfire, Mordresh Fire Eye
- Freeze: Oasis Ally, Flurry (Rank 1), Rimetongue, Varden Dawngrasp
- Other: Arcane Luminary
Many players, including myself, were excited to see Hero Power Mage back on the menu: Odd Mage was probably one of the best memories I have of a very hated card like Baku the Mooneater, especially thanks to the bird. Unfortunately for all of us, the support printed isn't nearly enough for the archetype to fend through the competition. While all the cards seem to be very good, the deck as a whole has too many flaws that can't really be filled up with the current card pool.
The same unfortunately goes for Freeze Mage. Even though Varden Dawngrasp is arguably a better Frost Nova, the archetype misses too much in order to become either a deck on its own or a package into a bigger concept. Finally, No Minion Mage was definitely pushed over the top: while Deck of Lunacy was problematic was got hit and people are still arguing about a potential Incanter's Flow change, Runed Orb and especially Refreshing Spring Water have been vital for this archetype to rise at the top of the meta.
Final Verdict - No Minion Mage was so powerful that it got nerfed twice and still sees some play, but other archetypes didn't really make the cut. We'd say a pretty sad set of cards for Jaina.
If Rexxar had to receive a good set in order to fill the cracks left by last year's Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy and Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, Uther didn't need much to stay at the top of the meta, but despite this Paladin received one of the strongest sets of cards.
- Secret: Galloping Savior, Sword of the Fallen, Northwatch Commander, Cannonmaster Smythe
- Holy: Invigorating Sermon, Knight of Anointment, Conviction (Rank 1), Veteran Warmedic, Cariel Roame
- Other: Soldier's Caravan
Let's get straight to the point: Barrens Paladin has very few bad cards. Excluding Soldier's Caravan (which to be fair is probably the best or, let's say, least bad Caravan), Invigorating Sermon (Knight of Anointment draws it, but you miss targets that benefit from handbuffs like Saronite Chain Gang, Paragon of Light and such) and probably Veteran Warmedic, every other card is far from being unplayable.
Secret Paladin was brought back after many years in the dark so it needed plenty of synergy in order to compete in the meta: given the reduced and OP Secret pool, a broken tool like Sword of the Fallen and reward units like Northwatch Commander, Crossroads Gossiper and Cannonmaster Smythe (who sees zero play not because he's bad, but because Paladin has way better and way more powerful tools to use), we can say that Team 5 definitely did a great job.
But that's not all: the introduction of School Spells was very beneficial for Paladin. The Holy package printed for Uther is amazing:
- Knight of Anointment is a 100% keep in the mulligan and probably one of the best cards in the set;
- Cariel Roame is great in both Aggro and Libram Paladin;
- Conviction (Rank 1) is pretty much a 1 mana Bloodlust.
Final Verdict - Paladin entered in the Barrens with an over-the-top powerlevel and found even more goodies - Uther's definitely the luckiest most skillful hero of the bunch. By the Holy Light!
Priest's set is quite the mixed bag, from both the archetype and power level points of view.
- Healing: Desperate Prayer, Devouring Plague, Lightshower Elemental, Priest of An'she, Xyrella
- Spell: Power Word: Fortitude, Void Flayer
- Other: Soothsayer's Caravan, Condemn (Rank 1), Serena Bloodfeather
On one hand, Anduin got some seriously good cards like Xyrella and Lightshower Elemental which helped Control and Menagerie Priest to take form and develop without having to worry too much about Aggro. These two cards in particular are definitely the most promising ones for the future, given that they'll be easily included (especially Xyrella) as a 'survival package' in almost any Control Priest for the next two years.
Devouring Plague and Power Word: Fortitude were not the flashiest cards ever, but they were able to respectively push Flesh Giants into the Control build and to promote Miracle Priest, a deck that relies on cheap spells in combination with Sethekk Veilweaver, Nazmani Bloodweaver and Rally! in order to take the board and suffocate the opponent.
However, there are a lot of cards whose low playrate suggests that Priest is either missing something or that they're nothing special:
- Priest of An'she is "just" a 5 mana 8/8, and Priest's current gameplan doesn't benefit from playing with big bodies: the card may come in handy later on though.
- Serena Bloodfeather is that strange Legendary tech cards like The Nameless One and Chameleos that seems good on paper but that relies so much on what your opponent does that it's rarely good enough.
- Void Flayer doesn't seem great in a class with lots of removals.
Final Verdict - All in all, some (very good) tools and some quite bad ones. Although we would've liked seeing a Tempo Priest kind of deck, we hope that the next expansions will finally give us Shadow Priest and with that a new way to play the class.
What do you think about these classes' power level? Are there any archetype you were surprised/disappointed about? Let us know in the comments below.
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