By Spike, Regular Contributor, Wild Legend
Well, I was going to do an article on the best decks to climb to Legend with, but unfortunately after the Nitroboost Poison nerf both Kingsbane Rogue and Odd Rogue are in a weird spot, the return of Caverns Rogue has shaken the meta a bit, and everything is topsy- turvy. If you want to climb to Legend right now, you’ll need to be quick- there’re only a few days left on the patch. I recommend either a super quick deck (Token Druid, Kingsbane Rogue or Discolock) or a control heavy deck (Secret Mage, Renolock) to beat out the plague of Cavern Rogues currently on the ladder.
Don’t use Painlock to climb right now. Secret Mage is still popular and still capable of burning you down in a turn or two, and the unfortunate Odd Rogue has been replaced by Caverns Rogue, which is also quite capable of bursting you down. Don’t use Raza Priest unless you’re already in high Diamond- you’ll probably get a good winrate, but matches will take a while and you’ll have quite a few mirrors.
Stay away from Caverns Rogue, you’ll undoubtedly have mirrors a good chunk of the time. In Legend, I’m currently seeing almost a third of my matches be Caverns Rogue.
You can find my Legend climb here (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/20/my-march-2021-legend-climb-decklists-commentary-and-the-meta/) , but my main decks relied on Nitroboost, which got nerfed- plus Caverns Rogue didn’t really exist.
If you were going to use Odd Rogue, tough luck. The deck lost Nitroboost Poison, which means that it no longer casually has 10+ damage burst turns. It’s still viable, but the old lists aren’t great and it’s going to have to slow down a bit.
At any rate, I’m going to take a look at a few decks I think are well positioned for the Forged In the Barrens Wild meta, including my lists.
I’m sorry to say I won’t be including Dust costs. Some cards are now going in the Core set and will be free to all players, and I don’t want to waste time calculating Dust by hand.
First up, Kingsbane Rogue. Though Nitroboost is no longer an auto-include (personally, I don’t think it’s worth it anymore), the deck gains a few new tools from Barrens- most notably Paralytic Poison, SIlverleaf Poison, and the unnerfed Blade Flurry. I have two theorycraft decklists, so here goes.
Deck code: AAEBAaIHBqgIrxCRvALl0QK77wKs6wMMywPUBe4Ghgn7D5sV1YwDqssD99QD590D890DqesDAA==
This is a “speed” based version of Kingsbane Rogue, looking to make up for the loss of reach by simply plowing through the opponent before they get a chance to react. My worry is that it isn’t consistent enough- you rely on Silverleaf Poison on Kingsbane to speed the deck up, and it’s quite possible replacing either Blade Flurry or Paralytic Poison with a second Shinyfinder will be needed.
However, I made Legend this season playing mostly Kingsbane with only Raiding Party and one Shinyfinder as tutors, so it’s possible they’ll be enough.
Paralytic Poison is a meta call. I kind of expect the Wild meta to have a lot more “board flood” decks than decks that stick a single good minion earlier, so that’s likely the first thing to get cut.
I opted to include Ship’s Cannons over more reach (Eviscerate) or Pen Flinger. I think there’ll be a rather aggressive meta, so as much as I like the idea of reach, the potential for easy board clears is too tempting.
Options for changes include 2x Parachute Brigand instead of Paralytic Poison and Blade Flurry. They do nicely work with the other Pirates in the deck alongside Cannon to push face damage or clear boards.
That’s what I’m going to call the “Pirate” list. Next up, the “Pen Flinger” list.
Yeah, yeah, bad names. I don’t care, they don’t need fancy names and I doubt they’re even going to be optimal lists. We’ll have to see how the meta shapes up.
Deck code: AAEBAaIHBogHqAivEJG8AuXRArvvAgzLA9QF7gaGCZsV1YwDqssDn80D99QD590D890DqesDAA==
As you can see, this list simply drops Ship’s Cannon for Pen Flingers and Paralytic Poison for Eviscerate. It’s a slightly slower list, so it requires a little more reach- that’s where Eviscerate comes in.
You don’t really need Paralytic Poison when you’ve got Pen Flingers up the wazoo. You also don’t need Ship’s Cannon.
I’m guessing this will be closer to the optimized list, but frankly I think it looks a little bit weak. Without Nitroboost, it just feels like lists slow down even though Silverleaf Poison lets them speed up a bit.
Everyone’s getting Prep for free, so that’ll decrease the cost to build Kingsbane by 800 Dust, which should be nice for anyone looking to try it.
After the nerf to Nitroboost, I expect Kingsbane to drop back down to Tier 1.5 or Tier 2. Honestly, you may still need to play Nitroboost just to get enough damage going… and the deck is packed, so you need to cut consistency for what’s now a so-so reach card. The deck seems to have become a balancing act, honestly.
Next up, the other big loser of the Nitroboost nerf- Odd Rogue. Unlike Kingsbane, Odd Rogue literally can’t play Nitroboost anymore. It can’t play Silverleaf Poison, either. It has to change up the playstyle to be less face focused because it doesn’t have the extremely nice closers, it loses a large amount of the burst that was its main closer, and it doesn’t really get new tools… honestly it may drop to the bottom of Tier 2, or even Tier 3, but we’ll see. It was decent before Nitroboost, but the meta has become way better since then.
Deck code: AAEBAaIHBK8EkbwCnvgCqtIDDcsD1AWbFabvAo+XA7m4A6rLA5vNA4jQA6TRA/fUA/PdA6jrAwA=
Field Contact is a really stupidly greedy option. I doubt it’s optimal, but without burst Odd Rogue is going to need to return to its roots as a poke deck with sustained play, and Field Contact is worthwhile if it draws just one or two cards.
Pen Flinger would be amazing alongside Field Contact, but there honestly aren’t enough good, cheap Spells for Odd Rogue to make it worthwhile.
So, the list hasn’t changed as much as I expected- mostly because the deck already ran a lot of Combo and Battlecry cards (note that EVIL Miscreant adds 2 Battlecry cards to your hand!), and that lets Field Contact slot in fairly seamlessly. Nitroboost gone, Field Contact added. The only other change is Doctor Krastinov over Coerce- unfortunately, I think that without Nitroboost, even a slower Weapon buff is essential.
The best options I can think of that aren’t in the deck are good old Vilespine Slayer, Blink Fox, and Glacial Shard. Blink Fox is worse than Wand Thief in most cases, though, and Vilespine is slow. I’m not convinced Weapons or big minions will be prevalent enough to make Glacial Shard better than the other 1 drops.
For techs, depending on if Secret Mage sticks around and Odd Paladin bumps up its Secret package, you may want the new Horde Operative. 3 mana to put copies of your opponent’s Secrets into play isn’t bad, but it’s kind of slow and greedy for the deck.
Mankrik and Barrens Blacksmith are almost assuredly too slow.
All in all, Odd Rogue is in a weird spot. It’s still got tools, it just doesn’t have a way to finish the game. With the loss of Nitroboost, your matchup against decks that heal up (Reno decks, Painlock with Spellstone) just got worse, and that could prove fatal.
Murloc Shaman has gotten a ridiculous number of tools in Barrens, and is shaping up to be a Tier 1 deck.
The number of tools it got is enough that I’m leaving out cards I’d rate as 7/10 because there isn’t space in the deck.
Deck code: AAEBAaoIBOAFhBf2vQKo7gMN2wOnCL8Xt2yxwgKLzgKMlAO1mAOR5AOT6APd7APf7AOV8AMA
It’s pretty darn weird- instead of Murlocs buffing each other, the deck is built around plopping down Murlocs and then playing a copious amount of buffs to finish out the game. Between Gentle Megasaur, Nofin Can Stop Us, Murloc Warleader, and Everyfin Is Awesome, it has plenty.
The deck has draw and resource generation, with Ice Fishing, Underbelly Angler, and Tinyfin’s Caravan serving to refill your hand quite consistently.
The deck doesn’t suffer from a lack of ways to clear the board, either. Firemancer Flurgl combined with Toxfin is a 3 mana, 2 card 1 damage to all enemies with Poisonous. If you drop another Murloc afterwards, you wipe the board through Divine Shields and destroy any summoned Tokens.
On top of all of that, the deck can play a quite normal Murloc game if it needs to, using the finishers as, well, finishers instead of as some sort of buff.
It’s just crazy how many tools Murloc Shaman has. I’m a little worried this list is too greedy, though, and honestly kind of worried that Gentle Megasaur and Everyfin is Awesome, formerly your win conditions and auto-includes, are too slow.
So here’s a less greedy list that’s focused on a regular Murloc curve and such… still crazy difficult to fit everything in.
Deck code: AAEBAaoIBsUD4AWEF5ToA7PoA6juAwzbA6cIvxe3bIvOAoyUA7WYA5HkA5PoA93sA9/sA5XwAwA=
It’s probably more optimal to cut Coldlight Seer and South Coast Chieftain for a pair of Gentle Megasaurs.
Sheesh, this deck really got some amazing new cards. It speaks more what cards didn’t make the cut than what did.
Coldlight Seer and Finja, previously auto-includes. Nope, not needed. Nofin Can Stop Us is just better than Coldlight Seer, and with the draw from Tinyfin’s Caravan you no longer need to pull from the deck. Fishflinger also got cut for similar reasons to Finja- it’s a worse Underbelly Angler and you don’t need it anymore.
Murmy- gone. Spawnpool Forager is just better.
Rockpool Hunter? Who needs a 1/1 buff on a vanilla body (¾ in stats) when you can get a 4 Attack, 3 Health Murloc for the same cost? Who needs a small single buff when for one more mana you can give +2/+2 to your entire board?
Scargil is too slow. One of the craziest mid to late game cards in the game, too slow.
Seriously, this deck is terrifying. I fully believe it’ll make a triumphant return to Tier One, both in Wild and Standard, though in Standard it suffers from lack of finishers- Everyfin Is Awesome, Gentle Megasaur, and Murloc Warleader are Wild only.
I’m excited to see the Great Murlocining.
Speaking of Murlocs, some of the new ones are Neutral. This means that yes, Murloc Paladin gets to return to the meta. Despite not getting the best Murlocs in the set (and both the buff Spell and tutor are Shaman class cards), I believe it got enough to hop back into Tier 3.
Deck code: AAEBAZ8FBOAF474CyqsD/LgDDdsDpwjSFtOqAtO8Ap3CArHCArWYA8i4A/u4A5HkA5PoA5ToAwA=
Not much to be said about this deck. Curve out like a normal Murloc deck, resurrect stuff with Anyfin Can Happen to finish off the opponent with another wave.
I opted for Anyfin over the Prismatic Lens/Tip the Scales/High Abess Alura package because I wanted a more “Curve” deck and didn’t have room, but both are likely to be viable.
Now for a much hated deck, Reno/Raza/Highlander Priest. I don’t love the deck, personally, I won’t be playing it- but it’s almost undoubtedly going to stay Tier 1, so it’s worth taking a look at.
Deck code: AAEBAa0GHvsBnALtBdMK8gz3E8MWg7sCtbsC2LsC0cEC38QC8M8C6NACkNMCl4cD5ogD/KMDmakD8qwD6b4Dn80Dy80D184D9tYD4t4D+98D+OMDnusDrYoEAAA=
I’ve taken a pretty typical Raza Priest list and added 2 new cards- Condemn and Thrive In the Shadows.
Thrive In the Shadows is likely to be an auto-include in future Raza Priest lists. Shadow Visions is an auto-include, and Thrive is pretty similar. The difference is that Thrive draws the card and Shadow Visions doesn’t, which can be good in some cases (eg, you probably would rather draw Potion of Madness early and have better late-game draws than get a copy of it), or can be an issue (it’s a Highlander deck, you’d usually want extra copies of key Spells such as Psychic Scream or Spirit Lash).
As for Condemn, it may seem like a weird choice. The card is just a worse Spirit Lash at Rank One, and a slightly better Breath of the Infinite at 5 or more mana. It may seem slow, but seriously- so is Raza Priest. Your win conditions are annoying the opponent until they concede, healing and board clearing until the opponent is out of resources, or using Raza and Shadowreaper Anduin to ping the opponent to death.
So if you draw Condemn late, it’s a decent card. If you need it early, it’s not a bad card. It might turn out to be too slow, but I think that it’s versatile enough to be worth including in a slow deck.
The new Kazakus, Golem Shaper isn’t worth it. You’d need to cut regular Kazakus and Spawn of Shadows. I’d consider dropping old Kazakus if he was the only card you’d need to drop, but Spawn of Shadows is amazing once you get Raza going.
Raza Priest is almost undoubtedly still Tier One, even without new tools. The Wild meta seems to be shaping up in an Aggro manner, and it has plenty of tools to utterly crush those pesky little Aggro decks.
This is getting to be a pretty long article, so I’m going to chunk it up into 2 or 3 and spread them out over the next few days. I guess this is the “Rogue, Murlocs, and Highlander” section.
Anyways, last deck! Renolock is a very strong deck, top of Tier 2 right now, and it stands to gain from the new Core Set and Barrens- quite a bit actually. There are two main versions, one that runs Tickatus and one that runs a Big Demon package. Obviously, you don’t want to pull Tickatus off of the Big Demon package, so they’ve evolved into separate decks. I’ve got lists for both.
Deck code: AAEBAf0GHokG2wbcBvUP1hHDFoUX2LsCl8EC38QC58sCos0Crs0C6OcCw+oCnPgCoIADvZkD/KMD66wDiLEDvb4D7r8Dj84D184Dkt4DzuED9uMD+OMDkuQDAAA=
That’s the Tickatus version. Personally, I think it isn’t consistent enough- it basically sacrifices the early game in hopes that it’ll be able to start dropping extremely good late game cards.
The new cards included are… actually nothing. Lord Jaraxxus and Drain Soul both got buffed (Drain Soul is literally just Penance now), and that’s all for the Tickatus version.
It’s pretty simple- do your best not to die, double up on Highlander Battlecries and Tickatus’s Battlecry with Brann Bronzebeard and Barista Lynchen, and in the late game destroy your opponent’s deck with Tickatus and begin dropping extremely strong cards.
I considered Roame, but there aren’t enough Shadow Spells in the deck to make her worthwhile.
Next up, the “Big Demon” version. The list I made still runs Tickatus, because he’s not the end of the world if you cheat him out and his Battlecry is still amazing, but the focus is on the Big Demon package, not Tickatus.
Deck code: AAEBAf0GHtwGxAiODsMWhRfgrALYuwKXwQLexALfxALnywKizQKuzQLy0AKX0wLo5wLD6gKc+AKggAOhoQP8owOdqQPrrAPEuQO9vgPXzgPO4QP44wOS5APy7QMAAA==
Pretty similar playstyle, just less Tickatus focused. I’m no expert on the deck, though, so there’s probably some different nuances to each I can’t explain.
Tamsin Roame is possibly worthwhile in this list, because you play a few cheaper Shadow Spells and you’d love 0 mana extra copies of most of them. Defile, Hysteria, Drain Soul, and Sense Demons are all pretty sweet to double up at 0 mana.
I could see Tamsin swinging either way- making Renolock bottom of Tier One or being mediocre and getting cut. Drain Soul is an excellent card now, though, so I’d expect it to stay. At worst, the Big Demon version is likely going to stay Tier 2. Not sure about the Tickatus-focused version yet, though.
Well, even without going into too much detail here, this ended up being a rather long article. I’m going to end it here, but stay tuned for more theorycrafted decks over the next couple days!