Is Forged in the Barrens a Good Set for Wild Hearthstone?
You're probably wondering: Will buying packs of this set improve my odds of winning? The answer is yes if you plan to play Murloc Shaman and anything involving Rogue.
Forged in the Barrens is Hearthstone’s newest set and is planned to release on March 30.
This set will retire all sets from Standard that are from the Year of the Dragon, which include the Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum and Descent of Dragons sets. Forged in the Barrens will begin the new standard year, which will include the Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy and both Darkmoon Faire sets from the Year of the Phoenix.
Forged in the Barrens, along with the new Core Set released, will pave an entirely new standard format not everyone is ready to play. But for Wild players, what will that mean?
The new set’s themes involve members of the Horde struggling to survive in the Barrens against enemies like quilboars, harpies and centaurs. The sets includes themes from each race that comprises the Horde, as well as enemy factions and members of the Alliance.
In this set, we have the new mechanic called Frenzy. This ability activates once when the minion with Frenzy gets damaged for the first time and survives. The set only contains 15 cards with Frenzy in the set, which proves to bode a lower ratio included in the set compared to other keyword representations like Spellburst in Scholomance Academy and Corrupt in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire.
The set also features the new caravans, which is a cycle that only half of the classes get. They provide small benefits to the controller if they survive to the player’s turn. Funny enough, they were hyped since the beginning of spoiler season but somehow the developers waited until the final day of spoiler season to show them.
Finally, this set has ranked cards. These improve based on how late the game is going, with upgrades at the five mana and 10-mana marks.
But what do the cards look like for Wild players?
In my opinion, this set is quite a freak accident. There are so many weird archetypes created for classes that will pave the road to more successful decks in the future, but not right now. The developers seemed to have thought ahead for some of these archetypes, like with Demon Hunter, Druid, and Mage.
Classes usually get about two defining archetypes in a set to either create new archetypes or expand on old ones. With that said, I’ll define what each class received in this set.
Demon Hunter received a lot of support for Deathrattle strategies, despite not having so many useful Deathrattle cards to take advantage of with this set. All of the Deathrattle cards featured in this class could have easily been marked as Hunter cards, and that would have helped shape Hunter’s Deathrattle identity to be more robust.
The class also received delayed effects with both of the Sigil cards, which will prove to be inefficient and forgotten about in Wild.
Druid received Taunt support, though not in the typical Hadronox fashion Wild players are used to seeing. The druid support featured here involves faster strategies that rely on smaller Taunt minions. Historically, Druid has relied on larger Taunt minions to win the game, hence why Hadronox was a great inclusion. These cards do not support that archetype, unfortunately.
DuwinHS, my guest reviewer in the video above, noted that Hunter suffered from a lack of Wild support. However, he found solace in cards like Tavish Stormpike and Sunscale Raptor. There are some cards that will support other archetypes for Hunter in Wild, but mostly, the class falls flat in this set.
Mage received hero power support, something very rare for this class in the first place, and a throwback to thief Mage from Kobolds and Catacombs. There aren’t high hopes for the thief archetype, but there is a good chance hero power Mage will make a better splash in the meta.
Paladin received a substantial buff to Holy spell support, which, by the way, Librams are holy spells. Though this set substantially reinvigorated the Holy spell sect of Paladin, it also featured more secret support for the class. Since Paladin doesn’t have a lot of secrets that function the best like Hunter and Mage secrets do, this archetype falls flat in this set.
Priest received its typical arrangement of buff cards and healing effects. However, it also received Void Flayer, an unusual card that is reminiscent of Fortune Teller from Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. This hints at a more “spell matters” archetype for Priest in the future.
Rogue is exactly the way one would think about Rogue: damage and weapons, though it got a steroid boost in this set. Scabbs Cutterbutter proves to be a menacing card that will support any and all Rogue decks moving forward, and is possibly one of the strongest cards in the set.
Shaman received a much needed caravan of support for Murloc tribal that looks extremely promising with Firemancer Flurgl. However, it also received two interesting cards for Elemental tribal support. However, Elemental tribal is already lacking, and these cards will not help it. The tribe has not seen much support since Journey to Un’Goro in 2017, and this set doesn’t help with that problem.
Warlock’s cards care about the user’s deck being empty. While Rise of Shadows introduced Chef Nomi and The Boomsday Project featured Mecha’Thun, this is the first time we’ve seen Blizzard support an archetype revolving around depleting one’s deck. Unfortunately, the payoff is not great, and this archetype is dead in the water when it comes to viability. However, the card Tamsin Roame is the saving grace of this set for Warlock, as she looks very promising for a lot of decks.
And finally, Warrior received the most Frenzy support in this set. Unfortunately, the Frenzy ability underperforms in this set, so there’s not much incentive to build around it. Overlord Saurfang, however, is quite an anomalous card. It is the first Warrior card to feature resurrection on it. The caveat is that the player has to resurrect Frenzy minions. With Saurfang’s prohibitive cost and niche ability, this is one of the most horribly specific minions in this set and is difficult to use properly.
Forged in the Barrens is an oddball case of a set, but it proves to shine an interesting light on how it will shake up the Wild meta. I believe it will not be as groundbreaking as Scholomance Academy was for the format, but there are some worthwhile inclusions from this set to support older archetypes.
I believe Rogue and Shaman were the big winners of this set, while Demon Hunter and Warrior were the biggest losers. Rogue received generic weapon and damage support that fits into any Rogue archetype, and Shaman received a healthy revitalization of Murloc tribal, something that hadn’t been renewed since Rise of Shadows in 2019.
Demon Hunter received Deathrattle support, which further stunts the class from proper growth because of its weird foray into a class it had no other support for anyways. Fans will be quick to point out that Hunter should have received these Deathrattle cards, as the Hunter class would have used them to a far greater purpose than Demon Hunter could.
Unfortunately, Warrior suffers from having its support being based on the ability Frenzy, which will not exist outside of Forged in the Barrens. Though there will be a mini set for Forged in the Barrens, the developers will need to come up with some very strong yet fair Frenzy cards to justify such stinkers like Overlord Saurfang.