Hearthstone Barrens Part 5: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 5 brings us, at last, to the end of our journey into Horde territory. It represents an arduous week and a half long trip through dangerous terrain. During our last entry, we fought against sneaky rogues and shaman wielding the very power of nature itself. I’m proud of our successes. We will learn from our failures. Overall, the journey made us stronger.

Nietzsche was a notorious ass, but this quote is pretty dope.

The final leg of our trip looks at Warlock and Warrior cards from the set. While I hate Rogue and Shaman, I always loved playing Handlock. Plus, any version of Wallet Warrior gives me a big happy. Neither of those archetypes appears in this set. However, wild exists. Maybe some cards from the set make it into those decks.

Speaking of Wild, I play that format almost exclusively. You think I’d (a) be better at it and (b) build decks around my favorite cards in the set. Let me answer in order. (a) I don’t care enough about the game to git gud. (b) That’s actually a good idea. Maybe after I review the new MTG set this week, I will revisit that idea. Thanks, random reader! For now, lets finish this set with Hearthstone Barrens Part 5.

Warlock

Decent: Broken record time. Look! Another ranked spell. This one is especially awful. Even if you get the fully ranked version, maybe you’ve exhausted all of your opponent’s removal. Highly unlikely, but that’s the only hope you have if you’re running this card. Honestly, the outfitter isn’t all that terrible, but this feels much more like they included it in the game to put it into Battlegrounds.

Good: A sub theme of Shadow spells for Warlock here. Similar to the sub theme of elementals for Shaman in the last article, I slacked on research. Therefore, this may be a strong archetype with other cards in the format. I will say that I haven’t seen much evidence of that. Who knows? Maybe they’re setting it up for a future set.

Great: As I mentioned, I loved Handlock. I tried playing Discolock a couple of times and performed terribly. Zoo is always there when I want to finish a Warlock quest quickly. But, my all time favorite deck was probably Mecha’thun Warlock. This strategy plays right into that deck. Another reason to revisit these cards in Wild.

Having played a mill strategy in both Hearthstone and MTG and also realizing that I said in my last article that I despised mill strategies, especially in Hearthstone, I find it funny that Blizzard forced Warlock into a mill strategy in this set. Yikes, how’s that for a run on sentence? I’d hate to diagram that almost as much as I hate mill strategies. On that note, I probably won’t ever play this deck. Oh yeah! How’s that for a transition? Ready for another, less smooth one?

Warrior

Decent: Okay, I won’t even say it this time. Instead, join me for story time. Once upon a time, Paladin utilized a strategy known as Hand Buff Paladin. I’m confident in your ability to figure out the base line of that strategy. These cards read like a worse version of that deck.

Good: Unlike some of the more recent classes, the good cards for warrior share little synergy. Perhaps I need to rethink my assessment of these cards. Honestly, it makes little difference. However, if I want to be taken seriously, I have to take myself seriously. When I redo my ranks in a few weeks, remind me to reevaluate Warrior more seriously.

Great: Blizzard pushing me to build a possibly terrible Frenzy Warrior deck. I’m more than willing to take that bait. It seems that others have, too. I faced more than one Frenzy Warrior during my recent play tests.

This deck combines Rush with Frenzy and the one taunt minion from above for some late game protection. It also is a deck that I shamelessly stole from Hearthstone top decks. The originator of the deck is Dekkster. Sorry for that, but I wanted to get this article done. 9/10 ain’t bad and you get at least one good deck from this all.

The Verdict

Hearthstone Barrens Part 5 wraps up the review of the set. Overall, I’m happy with how the new format worked and I may try it with my MTG Strixhaven review, hopefully starting tomorrow. MTG sets have many more cards, so I doubt I’ll include every card in the review, but I’ll try. Okay, off to swear at Hearthstone. I have some new decks to play!

Hearthstone Barrens Part 4: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 brings us 2 of my least favorite classes. I both hate playing and playing against Rogue and Shaman. It hasn’t always been like that. When the game first released, I enjoyed playing Shaman. I’ve never been able to figure out Rogue. I remember watching a stream and asking the streamer how to survive hitting everything with my face. Warrior and Druid both have armor to mitigate their attacks on minions. Shaman has healing. Rogue…has aggression? I guess. Kill the other player before you kill yourself.

Rogue started to annoy me with Kingsbane and the fact that everyone who plays Rogue in wild chooses mill. Hearthstone mill annoys me even more than MTG. At least in MTG, you have the option to recur your cards from the graveyard. When they’re milled in Hearthstone, they’re gone. So, yeah, screw Hearthstone mill.

Aggro Shaman became a deck a few years ago. Then, evolve Shaman burst onto the scene and continue to annoyingly bubble up into the meta. Finally, battlecry Shaman with Shudderwock made me want to claw the skin off of my face. While I don’t react as viscerally to Shaman, it still ranks at the bottom of my list of classes. Let’s get this Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 review out of the way.

Rogue

Decent: I suppose that Yoink! can have some utility, depending on the hero power choices you get and the situation. Oil Rig Ambusher is overall terrible unless maybe you combo it with Shadowstep? Even that feels underwhelming.

Good: Wicked Stab deals 6 damage at top rank. Field Contact might work in the right deck as a pseudo miracle effect, but it dies far too easily to removal to be consistent. And, the Octo-bot has a good Frenzy effect that might actually trigger. Frenzy pops when the minion first survives damage. It just doesn’t fit my “Poison Rogue” build I made.

Great: Once upon a time, Rogue ran a weapon that received +1 durability when you played a card from another class. Usually, you only put one in your deck because the other cards synergized so well that you went infinite with the weapon. Well, other than the fact that everyone else played rogue, too, and nullified the effect. Okay, what does this “Poison Rogue” that can’t quite go infinite look like?

This deck might actually make me change my mind about playing Rogue. It looks like a lot of fun. The cheap spells and topping off at 5 mana with Secret Passage ensures that there might be some crazy lethal turns out of nowhere. I might have overdone it with the removal and probably should have Eviscerate instead of Brain Freeze since it can go face. Especially since I have Ironbeak Owl and Coerce already in the deck. Now that I read it, I think that might be a change that I have to make. Join us in a month or so when I revisit these decks to see if I actually do that.

Shaman

Decent: Once again, the effects of the “Decent” cards look and feel too situational for me to consider them for my deck. At least for Shaman, they synergize pretty well. I with that Chain Lightning worked like The Lurker Below, but that would be busted as hell.

Good: Elementals! Elementals everywhere! Not really. There’s only 3 in this set and I’m not sure how many others in Standard right now. And so my laziness, and frankly stubbornness perhaps, you are stuck with murlocs instead. Let’s see the murlocs!

Seeing that murlocs in Standard are currently grossly underpowered, this deck is sure to lose more than it’ll win. I can’t even promise you that you’ll have fun as you’re losing. Why build this deck then? Why? Mglrlgglrlrlrlrlg!

That last statement translates roughly to “Eff Shaman, that’s why.” I jammed all possible murlocs in the deck. Put in some buffs, a bit of removal, and viola! We have a deck. Mgrglglglrlglglrgl!

The Verdict

I said that Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 brings two of my least favorite classes. They might even be my least favorite. The rogue deck actually makes me want to play the class more this expansion. The Shaman deck makes me laugh because it’s so terribly bad and I’ll never play Shaman other than if my random number generator makes me for Tavern Brawl. As I am trying to get back on track with my articles, hope to see you tomorrow for the finale, Part 5!

Hearthstone Barrens Part 3: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 covers Paladin and Priest cards. Slowly, but surely, we are making our way through the new set. So far, I’m happy with the new format. Sure, I often build terrible decks with either no synergy (or too much), but that’s part of the fun of the page. Once again, you can find meta decks at a variety of pages. Where else can you find ridiculous decks and occasional self deprecation?

In this day and age, there’s plenty of that to go around, too…Picture found here.

Once upon a time, in the recent past, I loved Priest. Blizzard unleashed the scourge of Demon Hunter on Hearthstone. I found a Galakrond Priest deck that absolutely destroyed them, so I played that exclusively for the last half a year or so. I never loved Paladin. It stems back to the PTSD caused by Secret Paladin. I never forgave the game for that meta. Even today, unless absolutely necessary, I refuse to play Paladin even to complete a quest.

More recently, Libram Paladin haunted me to the point that I automatically conceded every game against Paladin. I mean, Demon Hunter has become the new hotness in classes nobody wants to play. But, Paladin (and sometimes Priest) are the OGs when it comes to annoying archetypes. Hell, even now I play Galakrond Priest more than anything else and I still concede quite often because I’m in Priest ELO Hell. Let’s see what Hell Blizzard unleashed with our Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 review.

Paladin

Decent: Oh look, another terrible ranked spell and a worse Survivial of the Fittest. I considered Sermon for the “Good” section, but too many other good cards in the set reduced it to “Decent” status. Rank is a new mechanic and often times, they take a set or two to come up with some good cards for a new mechanic. Perhaps the next time they design ranked cards, they’ll come up with some better ones.

Good: To be fair, these cards might not all be better than Sermon. I just put them in this section because the synergy made me consider building a “Holy” deck instead of a secret deck. I nearly lost my mind when I thought that secrets might be “Holy” spells. Thankfully, they have no spell type, so that saved me from having to make too many decisions about my deck. Maybe I will revisit the “Holy” Paladin deck in a future article.

Great: I already talked in the introduction about the old Secret Paladin. Because this deck hasn’t annoyed me nearly as much as that deck, I’m willing to give it a chance and build it myself. I especially like the effect of Cannonmaster Smythe. I played it a few times and it was so much fun. What does this deck look like?

This deck has it all. There are secrets that are versatile, but hopefully won’t trigger immediately so that we can take advantage of Smythe. Both Fordrings can sync together if you draw Alex before Taelan dies. We need to search for Mankrik’s wife, which is a fun little Easter egg for those of us who played way too much World of Warcraft 5 years ago. Finally, Kazakus makes a return.

Priest

Decent: Both of these cards are very situational. I could see Soothsayer’s Caravan being good in a meta with high spell focused decks. Power Word: Fortitude only works with a high concentration of spells. Even then, consider what other spells it beats in any of the mana slots.

Good: Void Flayer fits in with that spell heavy deck I just discussed. However, the stat line is just good enough that it might be slotted in to some Priest decks as additional removal. Serena Bloodfeather is funny because it makes players do math, something that I’ve found CCG players to be surprisingly bad at. Hey, look! A ranked spell that is in the “Good” section. How did that happen? I was going to joke that this could have gone in the “Decent” section and what rule meant I couldn’t have 3 cards there? Instead, I’ll grudgingly admit that the card is pretty good late game.

Great: It appears that the theme for Priest this time is healing. Admittedly, not that inspiring of a theme. However, a timeless theme and less annoying that the theme they often unleash on unsuspecting Hearthstone players, resurrection. Accuse me of plagiarism if you must, but this deck will look a lot like the Blizzard deck in the Tavern Brawl preview for Forged in the Barrens.

As many of my Priest decks do, this one leans fairly heavily into the control aspect of the class. There’s ample removal, card generation, and finally healing to trigger the Xyrella for a big board removal. I might want to put in some of those annoying resurrection effects like Raise Dead, but Veilweaver and Palm Reading do give me a chance to add them to my hand. Hmm, come to think of it, Veilweaver might not be a good choice for this deck since the only trigger in the deck is Apotheosis. I will have to consider that for my revisit.

The Verdict

Paladin made out quite well in our Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 review. Priest is less fun as far as I can see, but I might be missing something. I have seen rumors of a Miracle Priest out there, but I didn’t see a ton of support for the cards I picked in my Great section. Then again, we’re not here to win games. We’re here to have fun and laugh at our ineptitude! Join us soon for Part 4.

Hearthstone Barrens Part 2: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Welcome to Hearthstone Barrens Part 2. I decided in my last article to change the format of these articles. First, I changed from previews to reviews. That’s simply a function of me not being able to write the articles before the sets are released. Second, and more importantly, I decided to make a deck for the cards that I include in the “Great” section for each class. That leads into the final change. Lastly, I reviewed all of the cards from the set instead of just the cards that I found interesting.

I will fulfill my density as a Spike sooner or later…

Time to give the 2 Guys Gaming treatment to Hunter and Mage cards from the latest Hearthstone expansion, Forged in the Barrens. This expansion feels like the one that came after Naxxramas. Recently they introduced Old Gods into the same meta that contained Galakrond. The power level of Standard felt a little out of control similar to how Naxx released some severely overpowered cards into the Wild. (Was Wild even a format then?)

Forged in the Barrens now comes along and tries to bring balance to the cards. For the most part, they succeeded in that goal. I have yet to see a card from this set that causes me to automatically reach for the “Concede” button. Hell, not even Demon Hunters make me immediately rage quit anymore. Let’s explore together how Hearthstone Barrens Part 2 reduces the power level of Hunters and Mages

Hunter

Decent: What’s the best case scenario on that Legendary? Tracking, a secret, and Skill Command? That’s honestly not a bad outcome, but 5 mana is super expensive for such an outcome. But, hey if you have both of these on the field at the same time, you get quite the combo and the immediate gratification of a 2 hyena payoff!

Now that I said that, some Spike out there sensed it and brewed the ultimate deck to take advantage of that. The next time that deck will haunt me as a living nightmare until I have no recourse but to text Chris that I’m done with Hearthstone (again) and then immediately log back into the game to unleash my fury on solo adventures or Battlegrounds

Good: What do we have here? I 1 mana 1/3 with upside. Wait, but it costs two mana? What are you up to, Blizzard? Granted, that effect is still potentially hella powerful for 2 mana, but still. You can’t set a precedent and then break that precedent. It will cause pandalerium among the player base. Already, I feel my own grip on Hearthstone reality fading.

Piercing Shot might be overcosted, but I like any spell that has trample, so it gets upgraded to “good” status. Finally, Wound Prey is cheap and early removal. When I play, that usually means that I draw them at the most inopportune times. Pardon my French, but “C’est la vie.”

Great: Like druid, Blizzard often suggests Beast Hunter as the leading viable archetype. You can see from my card choices that I 100% took the bait once again. There’s that 1 mana 1/3 with upside. Two discover cards. Check. Surprise! An actual ranked spell. Honestly, it’s not that great, but it does have beast synergy, so I included it in the list.

Aggro Beast Deathrattle Hunter

I may have to rework this deck big time. As I assembled the pieces, I ended up doing what I often do. I got distracted by the fact that there are some pretty good deathrattle beasts in Standard right now. So, I jammed them into the deck with the other beast synergy. As a result, the deck contains no removal. It is strictly an aggro minion deck. If any class works with such a strategy, it’s Hunter. With that being said, I’m 99% sure that this won’t work with any consistency. But, it’s a first attempt.

Mage

Decent: Rimetongue is very situational. It has a similar effect as a treasure in Duels. Having played that treasure, I can say that the freeze effect is nice, but it doesn’t have a huge impact and it is easily removed. The luminary updates an old mage card used in a few decks. It may be again, especially since there are some elemental archetypes out there. I just doesn’t speak to me right now.

Good: All of these are decent cards in the right deck. I actually considered Runed Orb in my deck instead of Flurry, but Flurry just fits with the 4 drop. More on that in a minute. Refreshing spring water is just strictly better than Arcane Intellect in an all spell deck. And, in the right situation, the Oasis Ally has been a fantastic card.

Great: The first three cards in the list affect or respond to the effects of your hero power. The other two combine to give you a potential 4 mana Flamestrike, but with Frost instead of Fire. My first attempt at a deck uses only Mage cards. As with the other decks, I’m sure that it requires some tuning before it can be considered competitive. Nevertheless, we’re all learning here.

Check out this mish mash (or hodge podge) if you prefer of Mage cards thrown together as a deck. It might not even classify as jank. I defy you to find a consistent win condition. But, that’s not why we’re here. You want meta level decks to climb ladder with? There are plenty of places to find that. You’re here for inconsistent decks that might reward you with fun and unexpected wins, but will most likely frustrate you into deleting your client? Now, you’re talking. Get out there and and then come back to swear at me for leading you down the wrong path.

The Verdict

Hearthstone Barrens Part 2 took far longer to write than I’d like to admit. I still have some hope of getting back on track with my plan of providing content 5 days a week, but this article put me far behind the eight ball. Now, I suffer some side effects from my 2nd vaccine dose.

None of that has anything to do with these cards. I think Hearthstone tried to reduce the power level of Standard with Forged in the Barrens. For the two classes discussed in this article, they succeeded. Mage, however, still has some powerful cards and effects and the class is a ton of fun to play right now.

Hearthstone Barrens Part 1: Great, Good, Decent

Introducton

For this Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review, I present Demon Hunter and Druid cards from the latest Hearthstone expansion. I tried to come up with ideas to make these articles more interactive. I can’t promise that I have been successful. However, I tried and I will continue to work to mold this page into my image.

It hasn’t been that long, but it has been 7 years. So, roughly 84 months. Hey, the joke works!

I came up with the idea to review all of the cards in the set instead of just cards that I find interesting. Additionally, I stole an idea from another page to build decks around the cards that I include in the “Great” section for each class.

Regular readers know that my decks are on the Johnny Combo (or maybe Timmy) side. They certainly aren’t Spike. When I shared with Chris that Star City Games is looking for writers, he responded, “You know you’ll have to become a Spike.” Luckily, though, they are looking for pop culture writers, too, and that’s much more in my wheelhouse.

But, I digress. Join me while I review Demon Hunter and Druid cards from Hearthstone’s latest set, Forged in the Barrens. If you like possibly fun, but most likely just terrible, decks, then you’re in for a treat. If not, perhaps my witty banter will be enough for you to return for the remainder of the review. And, so, join me for Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review of Demon Hunter and Druid cards.

Demon Hunter

Decent: Sigils got their start in this set with Sigil of Silence and Sigil of Flame (see next section). I suppose that Sigil of Silence has some utility against certain minions. However, there are so many ways to play around the card that the utility isn’t much.

Vile Call reworks several druid cards with a Demon Hunter theme. Like the Sigil of Silence, though, the demons are easily removed, you’d never get the benefit of the lifesteal. Maybe at 4 mana and give the demons rush. I’m not entirely sure how mana efficiency works in Hearthstone, so that might even make the card 5 mana. Then, it is again, unplayable. Oh well, I guess you need bulk commons in ever set, right?

Speaking of bulk commons. If I could set Fury on fire, I would. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the fel flame necessary and we are forced to live with this terrible, terrible card.

Good: This card mimics the Ilidan hero power from Battlegrounds. I struggled where to put this card. The outcast effect is nice and could provide decent early game removal. Even late game if the opponent tries to hide minions behind taunt and doesn’t play around the card. Otherwise, in most cases, this is just a 4 mana 3/4, which is pretty awful, especially for a legendary. Maybe I should have swapped this with Sigil of Silence.

A 2 mana delayed mass removal spell is pretty dang good. It also works like a Doomsayer by delaying smaller minion plays by a turn. Overall, a fun card with some potential.

Great: It appears that someone at Blizzard really wants to make Deathrattle Demon Hunter a thing. I tried my hardest to make those wishes come true. Alas, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that Deathrattle Demon Hunter does not currently have the support cards necessary to make it fun. Nevertheless, let’s analyze this terrible deck together.

Terrible Aggro Deathrattle Demon Hunter

Upon looking at the available deathrattle cards in Standard, I knew this deck would be severely limited. The best I found in this first iteration was a sort of aggro build that tries to take advantage of Teron Gorefiend. I included several tech cards against taunt and the deck absolutely folds to any kind of removal. Funny enough, because of that singular focus on taunt, I threw in two Sigil of Silence. In addition, I did try to include some Warblades as a secondary win condition, but that is equally as, if not more so, flimsy as the minion aggro plan. I guess it is fitting that Demon Hunter is finally given a strategy that won’t require 5 rounds of nerfs simply to make it overpowered instead of game breaking.

Druid

Decent: Both of these cards have decent stat lines and effects for their cost. They might be good in a wild control deck, but I just don’t see that happening for Druids in standard right now. I put together a decent beast aggro druid deck that is fun to play and that just feels like the direction that they’re pushing druid right now.

Good: Again, the 2 drop and the 7 drop are decent cards in a slower control deck. Maybe as a bonus, I will build that deck for a future article. I am trying to provide more content as part of the plan to boost views on the page here. Why not my trademark terrible decks?

Great: As soon as I saw these cards, I knew the direction of this deck. Beast druid represents one of the oldest and most consistent archetypes in the game of Hearthstone. And, so, behold my Beast Druid Deck!

Non-optimal Beast Druid Deck

This deck is similar to some of the other beast druid decks I’ve seen out there. I actually net decked one by fr0zen to finish a beast quest in the game. For this deck, I took the bones of that deck and tweaked it slightly. I call it non-optimal because I had to include Pride’s Fury, which took out the new Kazakus. That’s too bad because that’s a fun card to play. Also, I’m not sure that Solar Eclipse has a place in the deck, but it might lead to some fun combos.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Barrens Part 1 – DH :Bad, Druid – Good)

Demon hunter definitely got the short end of the stick during this expansion. As I said earlier, it’s about time that class come back down to earth a little bit. In the early iterations, I autoconceded against every single Demon Hunter I saw. Even recently, I break out in cold sweats and reach for the concede button when faced against a Demon Hunter. Maybe with this expansion, I will be able to heal from that hurt.

On the other hand, druid gets a fun and viable archetype with all of the beast support cards. Granted, I’m biased because I enjoy playing beast Druid. Still, give the deck a try. Hopefully you’ll either find it entertaining or figure out ways to make it better. Thanks for reading my Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review. Join us tomorrow for part 2.