This Top 5 January 2022 article comes about a week late. We here at 2 Guys Gaming consider that a victory after disappearing for two whole months at the end of last year. Also, unless I come up with something else while writing the article, this top 5 January 2022 might be only a top 4.
Top 5 January 2022
Well, that wasn’t at all suspenseful, was it? I learned over the last few years from people that I love who suffer from anxiety that suspense is overrated.
5. Geocaching – I will talk about this more on my other page. However, it became such a part of my life over the last 3rd of last year, I’d be doing a disservice by not mentioning it here, too. I currently have two goals for the year. Finish out my 365/366 consecutive days of caching and finding 1000 caches in the calendar year. Check out the other page to keep tabs.
4. Homebrew Games – I recently hooked up my Atari 2600 emulator to the downstairs TV again. I only played a few minutes of Frostbite and Circus Convoy. The latter reminded me how much I enjoyed the other homebrew games I purchased at the beginning of last year. So, I found myself on the Atari homebrew page again thinking about what new games I want for a 50 year old video game system.
3. New Games – I actually put together a Christmas list for the first time in years. On the list, I asked for a few new games. I saw Chess Ultra at Walmart for 13 bucks and Chris recommended Hades. I also asked for the new Metroid game before realizing it cost 60 bucks. But, I got Hades and Chess. I played through a few minutes of Hades, texting Chris the whole time and can’t wait to play more. Plus, Chess is always a winner.
2. Dungeons and Dragons Duels – I talked about this in my previous article wrapping up my favorites of last year. Quinn and I never got a chance to sit down and have a session. But I remain committed to making it happen. We have the same February vacation this year. Expect an update after that.
1. MtG Commander – I also wrote about this in my year end wrap among other articles. Unlike Duels, though, Chris and I actually got to play some Commander while watching Alabama eviscerate Georgia in the SEC Championship. As it turns out, Georgia gave Bama the rope a dope in that game and turned the tide (ha ha) earlier this week. I’d have lost my house if I didn’t think the line was super fishy. But, alas, back to the point. More Commander not this weekend, but next.
Our top 5 January 2022 seems less intriguing than our preview last year. However, it is far more sustainable over the long run since I’m not promising to play 75 games that I’ll never even speak of again as long as we live. Also, honestly, I’m not sure what else to write this week, so it might be a bit of a dry stretch until we play Commander again next week. Plus, there will be at least three of us there! See you then.
Previously, we picked Magic the Gathering Arena as our PC/Mobile Game of the Year. As promised, this time we pick our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. If you paid attention to the previous article, this choice will come as no surprise. As with our PC/Mobile game, we really only played this game, so the choice is more or less by default. Nevertheless, the choice is genuine. We very much enjoy this game, especially lately.
This year, we the esteemed creators and chairmen of this very web site, 2 Guys Gaming, of sound body and mind, do so delcare with enthusism and without question (is this run on sentence with a parenthetical ridiculous enough yet? Because I’m running out of steam.) that we choose Magic the Gathering as our Tabletop game of the year. Other than the fact that we consistently (well, as consistent s we get) publish content about Magic the Gathering, we have other reasons for choosing the game.
The Cons (Always Start with the Bad News)
Cons? How can the 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year have cons? Well, there are always two sides to the story. Besides, the cons aren’t game breaking and easily remedied.
Expensive – As with the digital formats, Magic the Gathering cards can be expensive. Unlike the digital (except MTGO), the actual cards have a secondary market that drives the cost up on many cards. Thankfully, I’m not one to keep up with the Joneses and refuse to give in to the temptation to spend stupid amounts of money on cards. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take advantage, as evidenced by the Griseldaddy and Chandra I sold for almost 100 each.
Hard to Get Together – This mostly applies just to us and our playgroup. Chris and I texted several times before we were finally able to get together for some Commander on the night of the SEC Championship. Inspired by that, he tried to get us together with some of his buddies that we’ve played before, but that fell apart, too. But, we planned to get together after the new year.
Pros (Preciesely Chosed to Counter the Cons)
Proxies – I checked before I ordered. Okay, I checked soon after I ordered. But, I couched the question with an assumed affirmative. “We allow proxies, right?” I knew Chris would say yes. I wasn’t sure about the other guys. But, I got a yes and ordered the cards I needed to upgrade my Naya landfall Commander deck. Too bad I read the small print too late and just recently saw they’re coming from Spain. That’s gonna sit in customs for a while.
Face to Face Always Better – Even when I’m losing to some stupid Paradise Mantle combo or Chris is beating my brains out in Commander, I still have more fun against actual people. My paranoid side always sees my opponent’s draw in Magic the Gathering Arena as tailored specifically to beat my deck or draw. Harder to make that claim against a non computer opponent
Commander – I already went over this several times so I won’t rehash it again here. Just know that it remains my favorite format.
I think we made a clear case why, in spite of the fact that it was basically by default, that Magic the Gathering is our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. Join us again in a couple of days as we choose the console game of the year. If you thought this one was ridiculous, wait until you see the justification for that. But, don’t let that scare you off. Be sure to come back. It’ll be fun.
Last year, when we wrote this article, we gave a list of games we played through the year and picked one as the mobile game of the year. That will not happen this year when we announce the 2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year. Instead, we will use this introduction to announce the game and then use the rest of the article to give the pros and cons of the of the game.
That’s because there’s only one real game that we played consistently on both PC and mobile. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We also loaded up Hearthstone daily for quests. But, honestly, if we ever name that game of the year, it is an indication that we’ve been kidnapped and need to be rescued.
What is the game, then? It will come as no surprise that our 2021 PC/Mobile game of the year is Magic the Gathering: Arena. Ever since it released, we played it on a daily basis. A few sets ago, I started buying both bundles to build a card and cosmetics collection for the game. I may swear (excessively) when I play the game, but it forever (or until I die or they shut down the servers, it holds a place in my heart.
Cons: Always lead with the bad news
Downtime – I can’t count the number of times Chris and I texted one another in the face of another round of days long downtime after an update. I understand that technology gitches, but it’s ridiculous that this happens every single time. I will say that they are good about reimursements after the downtime, though.
Expensive – At some point, I chose to be a whale in the game and, as I said, I purchase both bundles for each new set. That, plus the physical product that I buy for every set, adds up to a lot of money. Admittedly, I don’t have to spend the money, but I enjoy the game, so why not support.
All these formats – As you will see, I include this as both a pro and con. I promise that is not simply a cheap way to increase word count. I like that the game offers a variety of formats. However, I think they’re starting to go overboard with formats like Alchemy in particular.
Pros: They Must Outweight the Cons, Right?
It’s MTG on the Computer – Arena is the most noob friendly entry level point into Magic the Gathering. Granted, it only goes back to the the sets when it released, but they have done a good job at letting players play with some of the most powerful cards through phantom cube and special release sets.
Free to Play Awards are Good…not Great – I understand that they are a business and want to make money. So, they can’t go overboard with their rewards. What they offer, though, is good. Every day, they run a daily deal with cosmetics, packs, and sometimes additional gold or gems. You can pay a bit extra to get an additional rewards track. Finally, daily and weekly quests give rewards.
Variety of Formats/Events: I generally only play Standard or Historic. Sometimes I venture into Historic Brawl. I always try every event they post because, again, it gives you cosmetic rewards and sometimes even packs. As mentioned, I draw the line at silly nonsense like Alchemy.
2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year
I included mobile in this article because I started playing the game on my phone recently after my laptop (yet again) is on the fritz. This time, it’s only a piece of the charging port, so hopefully an easy and quick fix. Funny enough, my phone plays the game, but not my tablet. I can’t figure it out. In any case, join us in a couple of days for the tabletop game of the year. Spoiler alert: it won’t be a surprise.
Yesterday’s Strixhaven Esper review marked a triumphant return to the page for me. Today, we look at the Strixhaven Gruul cards. Traditionally, as you all know, these colors have been my strong suit. Nevertheless, I soldier on and do my duty to pick the cards for this article.
If you read yesterday’s article, you know that many of the cards I picked fit right in with nonexistent, as of today, commander decks. I suppose that it’s time to brush off the old, “I’m a Commander player that has never played a single game of Commander.” Sooner or later, I’m going to have to stop saying that. But, not today, true believers!
Today, I pick the best cards from my worst colors. Red and Green are Chris’s thing. Maybe I should get his input for this article. Too bad he swore off this set completely in one of our last text chains. Oh well, I guess you’re stuck with my Strixhaven Gruul cards.
Red (Play a better color like black or blue)
Honorable Mention (Draoconic Intervention/Retriever Phoenix): The requisite phoenix in the set dies to all removal. However, it gives us another use for our Learn mechanic as long as it isn’t exiled. Being a blue player, I don’t know why you wouldn’t use Learn to cycle, but that is between you and your god. The other is just mass removal because, if I’m forced to play red, I’m playing it like black.
Conspiracy Theorist: This card is simply amazing. I honestly have no idea why this card is not blue. It does blue things. Everything it does is blue. I get that WotC switched up the color wheel and moved some things into new colors. It adds much needed diversity to the strategy of the game. Even so, I operate under the assumption that this card is blue.
Green (Some Johnny, Some Timmy, Some Spike?)
Honorable Mention (Accomplished Alchemist/Bayou Groff): That plant dog looks like he’s not a good boi. However, he hits the board pretty quickly in a token deck. If you get it out there and give it trample, it does some serious damage. Meanwhile, the elf shows up because the Johnny Combo that lives deep in the recesses of my brain wants it to be there.
Leyline Invocation: Admittedly, few universes exist where this card excites Spike. I wanted to complete the trilogy, but Spike avoids me. And so, I present a Timmy/Johnny bastard child that ultimately does nothing. What can I say? I like the Fractal token.
The Verdict (I warned you)
I told you from the beginning. I despise red and green. Okay, that’s not entirely true. However, I treated red like blue or black and basically memed all over green. If you want red or green picks this time, I guess we wait to see if Chris responds with his picks. Since he already said he wants nothing to do with this set, don’t hold your breaths.
Note: Spoilers courtesy of Mythic Spoiler. Check them out for all your spoiler needs!
Welcome to our Strixhaven Esper review. I tried something different with my most recent Hearthstone reviews. Unfortunately, that format isn’t conducive to Magic the Gathering reviews simply because of the number of cards in the average MTG set. Therefore, MTG reviews remain a single card (with two honorable mention) for each color, mult-colored, and colorless (plus land, if applicable). Chris chose to pass on Strixhaven. I ordered my usual box/bundle combo. However, I have yet to even open my Zendikar Rising product. Granted, I am on vacation this week. Even so, I have no motivation.
I promised to put up at least one YouTube video this week to try to build some momentum there. I noticed that my Shadowlands reaction video got 190 views. It gave me the idea to post some gameplay from the new Atari 2600 game, Circus Convoy. I ordered two copies because the cartridges don’t work with my emulator. I was going to give the non-collector copy away in an attempt to drive traffic/subscribers.
Chris agrees that the idea has both merit and potential. I still have time during the vacation. I just have to hope that the motivation loads before vacation ends. But, that’s a discussion for another time. Let’s take a look at these Strixhaven Esper cards.
White (Fun Police and Invisible Decks)
Honorable Mention (Study Break/Expel): The two honorable mention cards work well together in a fun police deck. We all know those are my favorite decks to play. Even alone they have some utility. Plus, Study Break gives me the opportunity to talk about a new mechanic, Learn. I like the flexibility of Learn.
Secret Rendezvous: This card combos quite nicely with Narset, Parter of Veils in my nonexistent Dragonlord Ojutai EDH deck. One of these day, surprise! Deck built and used to terrorize opponents on MTGO. More likely, look for the deck on xMage since I’m already invested in physical cards and MTGA. Who knows? Maybe if FNM in person ever returns, the deck makes an appearance there.
Blue (Draw Cards, then Draw More Cards)
Honorable Mention (Ingenious Mastery/Teachings of the Archaics): I like drawing cards. I know. We all like drawing cards. Drawing cards gives us more cards to draw more cards. But, me, I really like drawing cards. I like drawing cards so much that if they gave an award for drawing cards, I wouldn’t win the award because I’d be too busy drawing more cards.
Multiple Choice: This card is hilarious. From the ridiculous design to the apt name, this card is going into every single deck I run that’s blue. Those of you who visit the page often know that’s every single one of my decks. Especially that Dragonlord Ojutai deck. Maybe if I say it enough, I can manifest the deck from thin air.
Black (Show Some Love for Liliana)
Honorable Mention (Go Blank/Plumb the Forbidden): Go Blank is Mind Rot with upside! Plumb the Forbidden might actually overtake Ms. Liliana as my choice card. I just came up with an idea for another nonexistent EDH deck. This one builds around an as of now unknown Esper commander, but uses Bastion of Remembrance and possibly Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Is there an Esper commander that creates tokens? Did I mention that I like drawing cards?
Professor Onyx: Have I declared my love for Liliana on the page yet? If not, let this serve as that declaration. She and Jace repeatedly top my list of favorite Planeswalkers. Sure, there was that brief fling with Teferi (3,4, and 5 mana cost all) and Narset plays in my MTGA decks. But, I have an Instagram post from a couple of years ago with both Jace and Liliana on the field. Hell, I used this card as an example of why I was excited for the set in a text to Chris. Toss it into my imaginary Esper EDH deck as well.
The Strixhaven Esper cards I picked for the article look very fun. All of them give me ideas for decks. I’m currently texting Chris about some NFL news and I’ve considered telling him that I want to deck doctor, especially these imaginary EDH decks I keep talking about. Join us next time for the Gruul colors!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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