By Spike, Regular Contributor, Wild Legend
This is part two of my theorycrafting for Forged In the Barrens Wild. You can find Part One here (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/27/theorycrafting-the-best-decks-for-wild-barrens-part-one/).
Big thanks to all the readers who made Part One such a success! We don’t come anywhere close to the big Hearthstone sites when it comes to views (though Wild seems to be a niche that’s fairly open), but Part One brought in more views in less than a day than any of my other articles have brought in this year, including some that’ve been up since the beginning of the year. It seriously accounts for almost 20% of my views this year, and even for a smaller site, that’s just amazing. I’ll get to the Hearthstone content now, but seriously, thank you all!
Keep in mind that I can’t see the future and the lists I post are likely not optimized. I am trying to shoehorn in new cards from Barrens and the 2021 Core Set to some extent, so that probably doesn’t help with optimization. However, I believe every deck list I post has a chance to be almost playable at worst, Tier One at best, so here goes.
Today, I think I’ll be focusing mainly on Warlock and Druid. It’s likely to be a somewhat shorter article than Part One, sorry- time is limited before expansion launch.
Sorry to say I’m not very good at deckbuilding for Combo decks, so although I’m sure the new Celestial Alignment will pop up in some Malygos, Aviana/Kun, and possibly Aligner decks (though Aligner is a dead duck right now), and maybe have some sort of Combo or Big decks built around it, I have no idea what they’ll look like. I’m excited to see them, though.
I’m kind of interested to see if Celestial Alignment is enough for some sort of Ramp Druid to pop up, because if you play it, immediately ramp, and then start dropping boards full of big minions, you’re going to overwhelm most opponents. Issue is that it depends on one card and might be too slow for Wild, though.
At any rate, here’s the first theorycraft list- Pain Warlock, Glarelock, Self Harm Warlock, Giants Warlock- whatever you want to call it. Same idea as ever, deal a bunch of damage to self, drop Giants, steamroll. Currently one of, if not the best deck in the meta at high levels, but I can’t recommend it for climbing ladder due to the popularity of Secret Mage (who’ll laugh at the self harm and burn you to death) and Aggro at lower levels, who will just kill you before you get a chance to pop off.
Deck code: AAEBAf0GBsQI+g7x9wKPggPx7QPy7QMMzgbcCvLQAojSAteJA8u5A5XNA5vNA5/NA9fOA8HRA5PkAwA=
There are two Barrens cards in this list- Tamsin Roame and Barrens Scavenger, and boy, are they greedy. I’ve essentially replaced the greedy options from the original list (Zephyrs the Great and Enhance-O Mechano), and I’m not entirely sure if it makes the list better or worse.
The deck draws pretty darn fast, between the constant Hero Powers, Kobold Librarian/Tour Guide, and Backfire, so some lists play Zephyrs, usually for a little bit of extra reach- if you have 3 Giants in play, you proceed to swing all 3 at opponent’s face, and you drop Zephyrs, he should offer Fireball, for a 30 damage turn.
Enhance-O Mechano, or sometimes Sunfury Protector, are generally used for the purpose of preventing the opponent from killing you with their board- though Enhance-O Mechano is greedier in that you’re also rolling for Divine Shield (to protect your board) or Windfury (easier to kill the opponent even with a smaller board).
Barrens Scavenger is sort of a combination of both. There’s a lot of greed in that it requires you to draw all but 10 cards in your deck, but the idea is that you protect both your face and your Giants by dropping a decently sized, cheap Taunt.
I’m not completely sold on it yet, but it’s assuredly worth experimenting with. Sunfury Protector and Enhance-O Mechano are slightly better at first glance, but a 1 mana 6/6 Taunt with an activation condition you’re naturally going to hit in a good number of games, that will always activate once a game goes long (turn 10-ish even if you don’t get much draw from Hero Power/Kobold Librarian/Backfire) isn’t a bad card. I’m just not sure it’s worth including over the potentially stronger Sunfury Protector or the more highroller-based Enhance-O Mechano, which are both excellent in the deck.
Tamsin Roame is even greedier. The idea is that, though you’ll probably only get one turn out of her, she’ll let you have incredible turns, and what those turns are is flexible. Need to draw more? Combine her with The Soularium. More removal? Spirit Bomb or Mortal Coil. Need a little extra reach to get lethal? Tamsin plus Power Overwhelming. Most importantly, barely alive in the later game with an aggressive opponent, or a Secret Mage with burn, or Raza Priest with their “machine gun” combo ready and Pen Flinger in hand staring at you from across the board? Tamsin plus Spellstone is one heck of a heal.
However, there’s one potential issue- two of the most important Spells in the deck, Backfire and Raise Dead, can’t combo with Tamsin. Backfire is, well, a Fire-school Spell, and Raise Dead is 0 mana. To prevent a constant chain of Spells, she doesn’t combo with 0 mana Spells, unfortunately.
Despite being so greedy, I think Tamsin’s place in the deck is almost assured. She’s a little bit slow, but pretty flexible, and honestly Painlock isn’t too fast for her.
The other cards I considered (Blood Shard Bristleback and Defile) don’t seem like the best options. Bristleback has the same activation requirement as Scavenger, but the effect is just a slightly cheaper, slightly worse Spellstone on a stick. I could see it being played, but, unlike Scavenger, it’s pretty redundant- you already have Spellstone, plus Roame to copy them if you need to. Scavenger is, at least, more consistent than Enhance-O Mechano and has the option of protecting your Giants that Sunfury Protector doesn’t really offer.
Defile, I considered for one reason- to allow you to be greedier with Tamsin, because aside from being another copyable Spell, it allows you to survive the early game a little easier. However, the deck seems fast enough already, and I don’t think Painlock really can set up Defile boards, since most of its minions are 1 Health or big enough that you don’t really want to set up Defiles with them involved.
There’s also a list that uses Machlezzar’s Imp, but I don’t think that’s worthwhile. It’s 2 slots for something that’s a super greedy Soularium combo, and I’d rather greedy cards be more consistent.
Now, Discolock is an interesting case. I don’t think it cares about any of the new cards from Forged In the Barrens, because none of them are Discard synergies, the Zoo cards are too slow, and Tamsin isn’t a good fit. The only Shadow spells the deck really runs are Hand of Gul’dan, The Soularium, and Wicked Whispers, sometimes Raise Dead, and only Wicked Whispers and The Soularium combo with Tamsin in any realistic manner- you don’t actually play Hand of Gul’dan from your hand most of the time, and of course Raise Dead is 0 mana.
So realistically I expect the lists to stay the same, except maybe cutting Lakkari Felhound. Lakkari Felhound has received what’s theoretically a buff in the Core Set, now discarding the 2 cheapest cards in hand instead of random, but unless you play Boneweb Egg (and I don’t- too slow for my tastes, as weird as that sounds, though I can see why you want to play it, the synergy with Wicked Whispers is amazing) that’s probably a nerf to it.
There is a new discard card in the Core Set (Felsoul Jailer), but it’s 5 mana and only discards one card. It’s just too slow.
I did consider Blood Shard Bristleback and Barrens Scavenger, because the deck draws so much, but frankly they aren’t synergistic enough for how late they come down, and they aren’t really win conditions either.
Since I don’t see the list changing at all for Barrens and the Core Set, below is the Darkglare/Discard list.
Below is what I expect to be the “standardized” Discolock list, without Darkglare. This one is built slightly to my preferences- I’ll go over the “flex” spots below.
Deck code: AAEBAf0GBNAEj4ID/acD1rkDDTD3BM4HwgjEFNSzAry2AvLQAv2kA7W5A7a5A9DhA+GgBAA=
It’s a pretty standardized Discolock decklist, with the only oddity being the dropped Felstalker for Beaming Sidekick. Most lists cut Beaming Sidekick, but I like it for the times I figure my opponent has, say, Penance and I want to keep Felstalker or Tiny Knight alive.
Flex spots are Beaming Sidekick, Felstalker, The Soularium, and Kanrethad Ebonlocke. Feel free to replace any or all of these with any combination of Boneweb Eggs, doubling up on Felstalker, or doubling up on Beaming Sidekick.
If you want a super cheap budget deck, just drop the Soularium and Kanrethad Ebonlocke for 2 copies of Boneweb Egg.
EDIT: Sorry, completely forgot the Darkglare version! Just cut Beaming Sidekick, The Soularium, and the Hand of Gul’Dans and add in 2 copies each of Darkglare and Raise Dead. Plays much the same way, except you use Darkglare and your self damage cards to build large “Zoolock-y” boards early.
Now onto Druid! Aggro and Token Druid are the two main archetypes right now (Jade, Malygos, Ramp, Quest, Hadronox Taunt, Togwaggle, Guardian Animal, and Aviana/Kun are all low tier or off meta), and, while similar in terms of playstyle and even somewhat similar in lists, they have a few distinct differences.
Most importantly, Aggro Druid is going to focus on dropping and buffing minions. To this end, they usually play a small Pirate package, and they’ve adopted Crabrider as of late. Token, well, summons Tokens. They’re built around lots of early game draw, followed up with a Wispering Woods or Glowfly Swarm. Then, of course, AoE buffs.
While Token Druid has a fairly widely accepted list, and shouldn’t change much from now to Barrens, Aggro Druid is kind of up in the air. I’ve seen a ton of different lists- do you run Cannons in your Pirate Package, do you run Arbor Up, even some lists tinkering with the newly unnerfed Arcane Golem (2x Embiggen makes it a 5 mana 8 damage right off the bat, plus buffs- not a bad idea, but I’m personally not a fan). Point is, it’s crazy.
However, I’m going to do my best to figure out Barrens lists, so here goes.
Deck code: AAEBAZICApG8As+JAw73A+UH+w/oFc27AvutA+mwA/nMA5vOA8bRA7nSA9HhA4zkA5HkAwA=
Yup, no new cards. Plus some weird deckbuilding decisions.
First off, most lists don’t run Ship’s Cannon anymore. However, I find it to be an excellent anti-aggro tool that lets you more easily race in the aggro mirror.
Second, I don’t run Sir Finley, Southsea Deckhand, Intrepid Initiate, or Wriggling Horror. Feel free to remove a copy of Guess the Weight, the Sharkfin Fan, and/or the Ship’s Cannons to fit them in if you want to be even more hyper aggro.
Savage Roar is also a good option if Arbor Up isn’t working well enough, just drop the Ship’s Cannons for it.
The Sharkfin Fan should be the first thing to go, by the way.
Now, there’s only one Barrens card that really interests me for Wild Aggro and Token Druid- and that’s Guff Runetotem. 2/2 buff to a minion just for playing a Spell is nice, and there are some very playable Nature Spells (Embiggen, Innervate, Lightning Bloom, Living Roots, Nature Studies, Solar Eclipse, Wispering Woods, and Arbor Up, but for some reason Mark of the Lotus and Power of the Wild aren’t Nature Spells- probably to prevent Guff from being an auto-include in Wild) that allow you to potentially pop off with Guff. I’ve created a list for it below, but really… I don’t think it’s quite as good as the “normal” list.
Deck code: AAEBAZICBP4B1AWRvAL77QMN9wPlB+gVzbsC+60D6bAD3MwD+cwDm84DxtEDudIDjOQDkeQDAA==
Crabrider is probably the MVP in this deck, because plopping him down and then raining +2/+2 buffs down with Runetotem is amazing. However, the deck sacrifices some speed and consistency to play Runetotem, so I’m not sure it’s a viable option yet.
You can probably drop a Power of the Wild for another copy of Innervate, or play Lightning Bloom instead of Innervate for more Nature Spells. Nine seems alright in the deck, after all Guff is the focus but not the entire point.
Next up, Token Druid, which I’m fairly sure likes Guff a lot more than Aggro does.
Deck code: AAEBAZICAp7SAvvtAw7+AeYF6BXNuwLX7wL5tQPlugPvugP5zAObzgPw1AOJ4AOK4AOM5AMA
I simply dropped a Branching Paths from the current list for Guff, and I think it’ll work fairly well- though maybe something else is optimal to drop, because Paths is card draw, and the deck has precious little of that aside from Fungal Fortunes.
Yes, Fungal Fortunes discards Guff. However, I still think he’s good enough to warrant a spot, especially early when you’ve just got a Gibberling or a Rising Winds/Living Roots token on board that you can now turn into an actual threat.
Consider this: in this list, 16 cards are Nature Spells. That makes Guff pretty darn consistent, especially with how cheap most of them are. When a card synergizes with 53.33% of your deck, I think it’s worthwhile.
At any rate, that’s all for today. I’m aware I still have Odd Paladin, Secret Paladin, Quest Rogue, Secret Mage, Waygate Mage, Pirate Warrior, Big Priest, Odd Warrior, and a whole bunch of other stuff to theorycraft, but… why do today what can be out off until tomorrow?
At any rate, thanks again for reading,