By Spike, Regular Contributor, Wild Legend
I’d like to preface this by saying that there are undoubtedly many archetypes I didn’t showcase in these articles. I’m a one person writing staff for Hearthstone articles and I do have a life outside of writing, so some archetypes go unexplored. I’ve done my best to round up what I believe will be the top decks and the most changed decks, but some undoubtedly slipped under the radar.
This is Part 3, so of course there are two other parts- part one (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/27/theorycrafting-the-best-decks-for-wild-barrens-part-one/) covers multiple Kingsbane Rogue lists, Odd Rogue, multiple Murloc Shaman lists, Murloc Paladin, Raza Priest, and multiple versions of Reno Warlock, while part two (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/28/theorycrafting-the-best-decks-for-wild-barrens-part-two/) covers Painlock/Glarelock, Discolock without the Darkglare package, Token Druid and Aggro Druid. Feel free to check them out if you want even more Barrens Wild lists for day one!
This article, I’ll be going over Mage decks, some Paladin decks, and some Warrior decks, maybe one or two others. Sorry, DH didn’t get much in Barrens or the Core Set that affects Wild (DH’s Barrens set gave Aggro DH some Silence, as well as a replacement for Twin Slice, and Soul DH got an AoE damage Spell, but the rest is pretty bad- I’m sure most players are happy about that, as the Deathrattle package is pretty bad right now, excellent synergies and not nearly enough Deathrattles), and Odd DH is probably just going to be worse. Warrior just got some Pirate synergies and Control/Handbuff stuff, so no new archetypes that I can see there… and Shaman, aside from losing the current form of Odd Shaman (weird situation where non-basic skins still summon Wrath of Air, that should be fixed soon, then bye Odd Shaman) didn’t really get much for Big Shaman, and I’ve already covered Murloc Shaman.
Aggro/Tempo Priest I don’t see working in Wild at all. Hunter just doesn’t really exist in Wild, though that could change if Odd resurges.
So yeah, those 5 classes are kind of getting shafted. I’m also not theorycrafting Quest Rogue, both because I doubt it’ll change much and because I’m guessing you guys are already sick of it.
At any rate, onto the actual article. First up, Even Mage.
Even Mage was pretty much a joke throughout its time in Standard, and doesn’t exist outside of a few hopefuls in Wild. Barrens, however, brings three new cards that are perfect for it, including an amazing payoff card in the form of Mordresh Fire Eye. I don’t expect the deck to be good, but depending on the meta I could see it sneaking its way into Tier 3.
Deck code: AAEBAf0EBM30Ave4A9jsA53uAw27AtAT1RPfxALczQLO7wKthwP7zgPQ7APT7APW7APAoATBoAQA
This deck is super weird. It’s a Control deck that relies on Hero Power combined with synergy cards like Spirit of the Dragonhawk and Ice Walker to keep the opponent off the board, but then- bam! Get to the late game and it’s dropping some Frost Giants, maybe even Mordresh Fire Eye to wipe the opposing board and deal 10 damage to your opponent’s face.
I really like the idea behind the deck, though it’ll probably be inconsistent. It probably needs more draw- Book of Specters is awesome, Manafeeder Panthera isn’t bad in the slightest, and both Starscryer and Runed Orb are okay, though Runed Orb is a Discover and not a draw, and that might be enough? It also doesn’t have much in the early game, but you might be able to wear down the opponent with constant pings- and you can keep them off the board. Wildfire is amazing, because just one makes your Hero Power an on-demand 1 mana deal 2 damage, which is obviously great. I’m not sure the deck is fast enough to keep up with the Wild meta, though, and unlike Warlock or Priest, its early game Control options are iffy. As an Even deck, it can’t even play Mage’s best Control options, which are Secrets- though Secret Mage isn’t a Control deck, the likes of Flame Ward, Explosive Runes, Counterspell, and the new Oasis Ally are very much Control cards.
A note on draw: the new Refreshing Spring Water is excellent, but doesn’t really mesh well with Book of Specters, and Even Mage wants to run a bunch of synergistic minions instead of Spells.
Next up, Quest Mage. At one point the best deck in Wild, it got nerfed- and rightfully so. Unfortunately, now it sits in Tier 4. Barrens gives it a nice option in Arcane Luminary, though, so it may make somewhat of a comeback.
Deck code: AAEBAf0EBNDBAu72AvusA8W4Aw3mBOMRgrQCzu8CyIcDn5sD4psD/50Du6UD/awDuLYDheQD1OwDAA==
I’ve simply cut Starscryer and a copy of Violet Spellwing for 2 copies of Arcane Luminary. You could probably leave the Spellwing and only run one copy, but Quest Mage is inherently a random deck and Luminary lets that randomness be taken advantage of somewhat.
No Runed Orb in this deck. I think that it’s just not good enough- even Primordial Glyph, an arguably better fit for the deck, doesn’t see play in Wild Quest Mage anymore.
Other considerations to get cut were Stargazer Luna and Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but the deck desperately needs draw to nab the Giants that are its win conditions and Sorcerer’s Apprentice allows some Mana Cyclone turns that just complete the Quest on their own.
Next up, surprise- a Standard deck that’s been notable lately translated into Wild form. Small Spell Mage is nothing new, but Burn Mage is an interesting take on it.
Deck code: AAEBAf0EBL8D7vYC97gDi+cDDbsClQO0BOYElgXjEYK0As7vAoXNA83OA/fRA4fkA9DsAwA=
This deck is supremely weird and I’d be incredibly surprised if it were anything higher than Tier 4.
However, it seems like an interesting and fun deck. The idea is to have a pretty typical Small Spell Mage early game, draw a bit, then combo a bunch of Spells with Spell Damage minions and Flamewaker in order to deal a ridiculous amount of damage in one turn. Runed Orb is a nice card for that purpose, both being a cheap damage Spell and adding another Spell to hand.
Alternatively, you could try dropping Book of Specters and Mana Wyrm for 2 copies of Refreshing Spring Water, a copy of Shooting Star or 2cd Arcane Explosion, and then your choice of another Starscryer, a Firebrand, an Evocation, or a Mana Cyclone depending on the meta for a more “all in on Spells” kind of deck.
Last, but not least, Secret Mage. I doubt it’ll run any new cards (Oasis Ally is probably too slow, same with Crossroads Gossiper- ironically, Horde Operative could be played for the mirror, and because that’s more for Sayge), but it’ll probably stay Tier One- so just use whatever list you’ve been using or go netdeck.
There’s a guide to Secret Mage written by me found here (https://amiibodoctor.com/2020/12/21/wild-secret-mage-in-madness-at-the-darkmoon-faire/). I also wrote a guide for HearthstoneTopDecks that was published, but it was during Scholomance Academy and thus is outdated now, considering the new cards from Madness At the Darkmoon Faire. If you intend to play Secret Mage and haven’t been doing so already, check it out- there’s lots of advice from mulligans to card substitutions in there. It’s written with the newbie Secret Mage player in mind, though, so if you’re already playing the deck you’re unlikely to find any nuances you’re currently unaware of.
My hands hurt from typing and Paladin has at least 2 archetypes that’ll require a lot of dissection (Odd, and Secret), so I’m going to come back to them later and do Warrior for now.
I believe Warrior only has 3 archetypes worth noting- Odd, Pirate, and Dead Man’s Hand. Galakrond and Enrage/Tempo Warrior exist, and Combo Warriors built around Charge are probably going to pop up, but they’re pretty rare and weak. I’m pretty sure DMH Warrior is going to die off (the only card I think interests it is Rancor, which is probably too slow), and then the new Handbuff and Aggro cards are either too slow or too weak for Wild. I’d love to be surprised and see Warrior do something new, but I don’t have much hope for that happening. So realistically, I bet it’ll just be Pirate Warrior and Odd Warrior as viable decks.
Odd Warrior has three options- the full Control approach, Menagerie, or the Silas Drakmoon/Soulbound Ashtongue/Shield Slam combo. I believe that the best by far is the Combo one, so that’s the list I’ve gone with.
Deck code: AAEBAQcKhRfK5wKS+AKe+ALjvgP5wgOK0AOT0API4QOwigQKS6IE+Af/B4KtAp77ArP8AtmtA7i5A/bCAwA=
I dislike playing against this deck (and the bots that use it as a go-to for farming) as much as the next guy, but it exists with some popularity, so oh well. The only difference from the current list is the addition of Alexstrasza the Life-Binder instead of a copy of Bash. I’m not sure it’s optimal, but Alexstrasza the Life-Binder is a pretty nice card- either as burn that Odd Warrior is sometimes desperate to have, or as healing in the worst case scenario.
I kind of want to try an Aggro Odd Warrior with Pirates and Spiked Wheel, but it sounds ridiculously bad and I’m not going to waste my time.
Speaking of Pirate Warrior, it’s actually a pretty nice deck built around buffing Ancharr to constantly draw synergistic Pirates and smack the opponent in the face. In Barrens, there are two new Pirates Warrior can use, and it’s the same case for the Core Set.
Ratchet Privateer is too weak. I believe the other 3 Pirates just might be strong enough to see play, though I’m not completely sold on any of them. Stonemaul Anchorman feels too slow, while Fogsail Flybooter seems to be too weak and Bloodsail Deckhand relies on you being able to snag Ancharr.
NOTE: LEEROY IS 5 MANA. For some reason HSTD is showing him at 4 on my laptop.
Deck code: AAEBAQcGkbwC3q0DwLkD99QD/ucD3KEEDPsPgrACiLACz4kD3K0D3a0D6bADtd4D+6AEwqIExqMEy6MEAA==
No telling if the deck code works or not.
At any rate, pretty simple deck. Curve out with synergies, keep board advantage, smack weapons into the opponent, repeat as needed. I’ve chosen to include a copy of the nerfed Corsair Cache to snag Ancharr because I cut a copy of Cutting Class (ironic, isn’t it), but most lists don’t.
I don’t think there’s a solidified list right now- some lists run Skycap’n Kragg, or Loatheb, some don’t run N’Zoth’s First Mate, one copy versus two of Cutting Class- honestly, wait for the meta to settle down a bit before settling on a list.
Now, on to Paladin! For Odd Paladin, you can probably play the same list as you were before and just drop Blessing of Might for Conviction. If you don’t run Blessing of Might, just drop whatever the worst performing card in your list is for Conviction.
My list is a bit teched for most players, so just use this one from Tempo Storm (https://tempostorm.com/hearthstone/decks/odd-paladin-wild-meta-snapshot-mar-28-2021) and cut Lord Barov for a copy of Conviction.
Even and Secret Paladin are much more interesting. Secret Paladin gains Cannonmaster Smythe, Sword of the Fallen, Galloping Savior, Northwatch Commander, and Reckoning, which are all pretty darn good. Even Paladin benefits from the Call to Arms nerf reversion, which has caused it to balloon to Tier 3, as well as (potentially) the new Soldier’s Caravan and Pursuit of Justice.
Libram, Spell, Menagerie, Mech, and Handbuff Paladin all exist, but they’re all off-meta or very rarely played and I expect them to stay that way (aside from maybe Handbuff and Mech).
First up, Secret Paladin. It’s a fascinating deck to me.
Deck code: AAEBAZ8FBtgUjpoDlJoDgOwD2+4D4qEEDIwOphW+mAPKwQPczAPG0QPK0QOD3gPO6wPP6wPQ9wPNoQQA
The chance of this list being optimal is 0. Commander Rhyssa, Goody Two-Shields, and Sunreaver Spy are flex spots just looking at it, it needs more draw, and the win condition is just being super annoying and keeping your opponent from getting rid of your buffed up minions.
Speaking of which, dropping Sunreaver Spy for Crabrider and a Goody Two-Shields for a Divine Favor is probably a good idea. Dropping the Goody Two-Shields for Crossroads Gossiper is probably also a good idea, though Crossroads Gossiper is overeliant on you having a steady stream of Secrets, while Two-Shields only takes one to activate.
The deck is weird, but it might just work due to its ability to mess with the opponent’s game plan. I’d bet on it being more of an Aggro Paladin and less Secret focused by the time the list is optimized, though- and I have very little doubt it’ll be tinkered with by a large number of players, because the Secret package is just really nice.
Last deck would be Even Paladin, with a focus on Silver Hand Recruits instead of the current Corpsetaker package… but hey, I’m tired, expansion launches tomorrow, I doubt Even Pally will be any higher than Tier 2 at best- I’m just going to publish this and go to bed.
Jeez, that is unprofessional.
On a less light and unprofessional note, I’m willing to bet the current Corpsetaker Even Paladin lists will still be around and unchanged after expansion launch.
https://tempostorm.com/hearthstone/decks/even-paladin-wild-meta-snapshot-mar-28-2021 is a good example of one, though I’m not sold on Annoy-O-Tron. There aren’t any easy replacements for it, though.
Anyways, have fun with the expansion launch tomorrow! I’ll be playing Murloc Shaman, so that should be fun. Feel free to try out any of the lists I’ve put in my articles- that’s why they’re there.