By Spike, Regular Contributor
We’re a little ways into the Barrens meta. In Standard, the top decks have, for better or worse, established themselves. In Wild, things are still shaking out oddly- Secret Mage appears to be snacking on all kinds of new stuff, Paladin has several archetypes resurging thanks to the unnerfed Call To Arms, as well as the new Sword of the Fallen and Watch Posts. I expect to see some nerfs soon, but it’s pretty impressive that one unnerf and three new cards have become the backbone of a collective five new or resurging archetypes (Tax Paladin, Even Paladin, Aggro Paladin, Secret Paladin, and an unholy mashup of Secrets and Aggro Paladin I’m calling Fast Secret Paladin to distinguish it from regular Secret Pally and Aggro Pally).
Murloc Shaman has surged, cementing its spot as a Tier 2 deck at worst, while Odd Paladin, Renolock, Raza Priest, and Pirate Warrior appear to be as stable as always. Both Odd and Kingsbane Rogue took a huge hit with the nerf to Nitroboost Poison, and Kingsbane suffered from the buffed Silverleaf Poison- it replayed itself whenever your equipped Kingsbane, resulting in overdraws and fatigue that were hard to predict and making the deck a nightmare to use. Silverleaf has been fixed, and I expect Kingsbane to sit in Tier 2. Odd Rogue is harder to predict (two versions exist- one that basically hasn’t changed and a new, experimental one using Pen Flingers and sometimes Field Contact that I haven’t seen too much of), but I expect it to stay in Tier 2, maybe even Tier 1.
Druid has experienced a bounty of experimentation due to the new Celestial Alignment, but Aggro and Token Druid appear to be the biggest winners, keeping their low Tier 2 spots.
Of course, you didn’t come here for a full look at the Wild meta- I’ll do that once the meta settles down a bit so that the information is more accurate.
If you’re looking for decklists, I’d suggest using HSReplay or whatever stat site you prefer- you can find my theorycraft decks at (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/27/theorycrafting-the-best-decks-for-wild-barrens-part-one/, https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/28/theorycrafting-the-best-decks-for-wild-barrens-part-two/, and https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/30/4560/), but they’re probably not quite optimal. They’ve also not been updated, but they can be useful as a reference point.
Anyways, now to the actual looks at Legendaries. Keep in mind that this is for Wild.
First in line, Demon Hunter. The only DH deck I’ve seen in any significant numbers in Wild is Odd DH, but Il’gynoth OTK and Deathrattle are both options. I don’t think either is very strong, but hey, whatever floats your S.S. VENGEANCE boat.
Kurtus Ashfallen is just plain bad. Understatted, a weak Battlecry, and doesn’t get much better with Outcast. I mean, with Outcast, he becomes a 4 mana 3/4 that deals 3 damage to your opponent’s left and right-most minions… which isn’t horrible, I suppose? Odd DH can’t run it and he’d be mediocre in just about any other deck (DH decks besides Odd are usually either slower or way too fast), so really he’s just Dust.
I unpacked him, so I’m hoping he’ll get buffed, maybe to 3 mana, at which point he’d be kind of playable. He’s just not a good card for now. 1/10 in Wild.
Death Speaker Blackthorn is an amazing card. 3-4 mana worth of stats, then the other 3-4 mana goes into summoning up to 15 mana worth of minions from your deck.
However, DRDH is not very good in Wild. It’s too slow, and Wild has plenty of ways to deal with opponents getting a foothold on the board. 7/10 card if the deck actually was decent, but Token DH with Wrathscale Naga is seeing more play and working better, which says a lot. Currently 3/10 in Wild.
Both of the Druid Legendaries are in a weird spot. Guff is really strong in both Aggro and Token Druid, both of which have a lot of Nature Spells already, but both of those decks already have a bunch of buffs and he’s a tad too slow. Simply put- great card, but it only fits with decks that are already really good. 7/10 card, just not seeing play because the decks that would play it are already 8/10.
Midrange Druid is sort of existing, and Guff is a big deal there from what I’ve seen, but the deck is inconsistent and folds to anything fast. When I do a deck roundup, I’ll include my list (made from what I’ve seen from the few I’ve faced), because it’s an interesting deck for sure.
Plaguemaw is seeing play in two off meta decks- Tempo Taunt Druid and Big Taunt Druid. Big is leagues above Tempo Taunt, because, quite frankly, Tempo Taunt is slow for a Tempo deck. Really slow. It doesn’t even have the payoffs to make up for it.
Honestly, in the Big Taunt Druid deck, Plaguemaw feels too much like a “win bigger” card. Slow enough to not even see Standard play, not strong enough to see play in Wild- a 4/10 Legendary performance wise.
So, naturally, I pulled him. Pulling Legendaries that are in need of a slight buff to be playable seems to be a theme for me this expansion. Ashfallen, Plaguemaw, Dawngrasp, Helbrim, Kodobane, Stormpike…
Barak Kodobane is bad. Plain and simple. It’s a horrible body, it’s expensive, and its effect isn’t something Hunter particularly cares about. 1/10 in both Standard and Wild, honestly.
Tavish Stormpike is much more interesting, but even Beast Hunter (which barely exists in Wild) doesn’t want him. Too slow. Great card if you have, say, a 5 or 6 mana Beast ready to go, but with most Beast decks you’d rather be aggressive than greedy, and on top of that he’s too expensive to readily combo with a 5-6 mana Rush/Charge Beast. He allows some ridiculous turns sometimes, but in all honesty, he’s not good. Maybe a 5/10, but that’s a stretch. Mustache gets a 11/10, though.
Both of these cards are living their best lives out in Wild, as part of the same decks. Hero Power Mage and Even Hero Power Mage have both popped up as meta decks mostly due to Mordresh Fire Eye, along with the synergy cards Wildfire and Reckless Apprentice. Dawngrasp is a crucial stall piece for the same decks.
I think that my Even Mage list, which I went over in (https://amiibodoctor.com/2021/03/30/4560/), is slightly better than the “netdeck” list right now (https://hsreplay.net/decks/Z4Kj1KWI7pVFxN5fgk1qGh/#gameType=RANKED_WILD), the difference being that my list drops a Starscryer, Escaped Manasabers, Kodoriders and Ragnaros the Firelord for 2 copies of Dirty Rat, Runed Orb, and Fireball for a less greedy list. You can probably drop a Dirty Rat for a second Starscryer, though.
Varden Dawngrasp is also seeing play in some Control Mage or Tortallan Pilgrim Mage lists.
Since it gave Even Mage a finisher that makes it Tier 3 at worst, Mordresh Fire Eye is a 6/10 in Wild. Dawngrasp comes in at 5/10, because of the lack of efficiency on the 4 damage part. It takes some planning and setup and is just a bit slow.
Both of Paladin’s Legendaries are in a weird spot. Both are excellent cards, but despite the bevy of decks Paladin has in Wild (something like a half dozen if you count Tier 4 decks but not “memes”, though I’m sure my standard for that differs from your standard). The thing is, most Paladin decks are currently really fast, based around either slamming Secrets down and following with strong, aggressive cards, or using Call to Arms to toss strong, aggressive, sticky, and/or plain annoying (I’m sorry, I hate Nerub’ar Weblord and Far Watch Post, I’ve been playing a lot of Murloc Shaman) minions onto the board and follow with buffs. Bam, dead opponent on turn 4/5/6, or opponent deals with board and the Paladin gasses out.
That makes Cannonmaster Smythe too slow for the typical Secret Paladin or Paladin deck running Secrets (Tax Paladin, most importantly, but also literally every other meta and semi-meta Paladin deck right now bar Even Pally). He’s amazing in the only Wild deck I’ve seen running him (there’s a slower Secret Paladin list that goes all in on Secret synergies instead of being aggressive or using Call to Arms), but there’s not much incentive to run a 5-drop in decks that look to kill by Turn 5.
However, I think he has a lot of potential- even one or two Secrets makes him a great value play and leaves a board the opponent can’t usually ignore. Plus, when that board is wiped you get the Secrets back, so no harm done, really. At the moment 3/10 simply because the meta is too fast to want him, but 5/10 once slower Secret Paladin becomes viable again.
For the record, I think Far Watch Post and Sword of the Fallen are both likely to be nerfed- Watch Post to 3 mana 2/3, and Sword to be Battlecry and Deathrattle so that it “only” cheats out 2 Secrets and one is delayed. That’ll potentially kill Tax Paladin and will slow down Secret Paladin to the point Smythe is appetizing again.
Roame is just a really solid card- 4 damage to a minion, a 4/3, and a small discount to your Holy Spells is pretty nice. However, again, that really requires a slower Paladin deck. I don’t think it’s especially likely that we see one slow enough for Roame unless we get a new Libram or Libram synergy and Libram Pally becomes a thing in Wild. That’s pretty unlikely, because Librams were a mechanic that was made for one expansion and are rotating next year. Plus they’re amazing in Standard already, so if we do see more, it’ll most likely be after either a nerf or over a year from now.
More Pure Paladin cards seem possible, though, and Roame is a natural fit if that deck springs into being in Wild.
Overall, Roame is a great, 6/10, maybe 7/10 card. However, there aren’t any decks that want her right now, so she’s 2/10.
Priest has basically 4 decks in Wild- Raza/Reno/Highlander (whatever you want to call it), Big and its variants, Big Res, and Miracle Togwaggle combo. I’m not even going to bother with the Togwaggle combo, because it’s pretty off meta and weird.
Big and Res don’t want relatively small bodies. That leaves Highlander. Xyrella is too slow, and Serena Bloodfeather isn’t efficient enough.
I think that Highlander Priest could absolutely include either of them, but it would need to change a few cards. For Xyrella, it would need more healing cards in the deck. Renew is pretty good, but Penance and Spirit Lash are the only heals that really see play in the deck.
Of course, you’ve always got your Hero Power (until you play Anduin), and Reno followed by Xyrella is a cute 10 mana combo that should normally wipe the opposing board, but realistically that won’t normally happen.
Essentially, some sort of deviation off of Reno Priest with Renew and perhaps Binding Heal, Circle of Healing or Holy Nova would make Xyrella work best.
For Serena Bloodfeather, I think she’s almost viable, but requires a little more single target removal in Raza Priest to make her work. She’s a weird card, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t show up in Wild until there’s a deck that makes her overpowered.
Overall ratings- Serena gets a 3/10. Xyrella gets an 8/10, but currently she’s more like 5/10 because there’s no good deck for her.
I suppose Control Priest would use both, but there aren’t really any meta decks that are flat out Control Priest right now.
Neither Rogue Legendary sees meta play in Barrens Wild. As excellent as Scabbs is, there aren’t any Rogue decks that are more midrange. He’s a 7/10 card and 2/10 in Wild.
Helbrim is slightly better in terms of play seen and way worse in terms of power level.. The Weapon-based Rogue decks in Wild are Odd Rogue, Kingsbane, then the off meta Self-Sharpening Sword, Spectral Cutlass, Hooked Scimitar, and now Swinetusk Shank decks. Odd Rogue can’t play it, it’s too slow for Kingsbane, Self Sharpening Sword and Hooked Scimitar decks don’t care about it because it’s slow, Cutlass sometimes includes it but usually it’s too slow, and Swinetusk has to include it. So all of one deck, Swinetusk Shank Rogue, uses it.
Swinetusk Rogue sucks. It’s an unholy mix of Cutlass and Kingsbane Rogue, and it’s worse than Kingsbane for sure. Maybe slightly better than Cutlass, but still bottom of Tier 4 at best.
I pulled both, so hopefully they see play in the future, but as of now, in Wild, Scabbs is 3/10, Helbrim is 2/10.
Both of the Shaman Legendaries are seeing quite a bit of play in Wild. Even Shaman has been quick to adopt Flurgl alongside a small Murloc package, but has been more hesitant about adopting Bru’kan and a small Spell package.
Bru’kan has, however, become the backbone of two new decks- Burn Shaman and a Combo Shaman that uses him as a mini Malygos. They play quite similarly, and both seem to be Tier 4, though Burn Shaman seems to have Tier 3 potential. He earns a 6/10 rating.
Firemancer Flurgl is undoubtedly the Legendary leaving the most mark on Wild in Barrens. He’s the Murloc Shaman card with the highest mulligan and drawn winrates, and only misses out on highest played winrate due to a pair of finisher cards (Nofin Can Stop Us and Everyfin Is Awesome, which you usually play for lethal) and Underbelly Angler. He has the highest deck winrate of any Legendary, and in case that isn’t enough for you, the case is pretty much the same in Standard.
I mean, seriously. He allows Murloc Shaman to toss one sided AoEs at opposing boards, and using Toxfin on him causes him to immediately destroy all opposing minions without Divine Shield. That’s a 2 card, 3 mana combo that wipes the opponent’s board. Toss in Tinyfin afterwards and it deals with Divine Shielded minions and tokens too. I had one game where I used this against a Res Priest- yeah, that’s devastating. Having a board of giant minions completely wiped every turn by an easy combo.
On top of that, it hits face.
Completely unbiased- 10/10. Flurgl is a major part of the reason for the resurgence of Murloc Shaman, to some extent Even Shaman, and some weird Zoo Shaman decks I see once in a blue moon trying to use both Murlocs and burn cards.
Murloc Shaman has flopped in Standard despite all the support for it, and it feels like the deck has the same weakness in both Standard and Wild- its draw sucks. You don’t really want to use Prize Vendor or Coldlight Oracle in this meta, Voracious Reader is slow, Ice Fishing is amazing but only draws 2 cards, and Tinyfin’s Caravan sucks. It’s just removal bait. Hopefully if any buffs roll out to fix Murloc Shaman’s abysmal performance in Standard they bump Tinyfin’s to be at the end of turn and a 1/4, because otherwise it’s unlikely to be of much use.
I’m going to start off by saying that Neeru is seeing the play everyone expected- a meme deck that burns itself, draws like mad, multiplies Tickatus and plays him uncorrupted, and has a blast while working like 10% of the time, which- cool. You do you.
What surprises me is that there are variants of that meme deck playing Mecha’Thun as an alternate win condition. Still, they’re bad, they’re rare, and Neeru gets a 1/10.
Tamsin is seeing play in some lists of Painlock, Glarelock, whatever you want to call it. She’s also played in Renolock to a much, much lesser extent.
I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for theorycrafting those lists, but I highly doubt she’s been adopted by them in any way is due to my theorycraft articles. Still, it’s pretty cool to see that I was correct, especially with Painlock- those are meta lists, and she’s replaced Zephyrs and Enhance-O Mechano exactly as I predicted.
At any rate, she’s less greedy than expected in both Painlock and Renolock, usually being used to duplicate either removal or (greedily) to duplicate the occasional Lesser Amethyst Spellstone in Painlock.
I won’t say she’s core in either list, but does seem to be doing fine. She earns a 6/10, but I expect her to be more widespread and warrant a 7/10 soon.
Overlord Saurfang is seeing essentially no play in Wild, as ridiculously good as he is. Frenzy Warrior is just way too slow and greedy a deck for Wild. He’s a 8/10 card in theory, but 3/10 in practice. I’ve seen Frenzy Warrior played on rare occasions, and he’s likely the best card there- but the deck itself is super bad.
Rokara, on the other hand, has quickly become core to a fairly stable Tier 2 deck- Pirate Warrior. She fits perfectly into the deck, which already wants to flood the board and attack constantly, and both shores up its lack of single target removal (to an extent) and allows the deck to buff its way past AoEs- with Secret Mage as dominant as it is, and switching over to a pair of Flame Wards being core in this aggressive meta, that 4 Health instead of 3 really helps. On top of that, you can dodge an extra round of Firemancer Flurgl’s AoE.
She’s the 4th highest played winrate card in the deck, impressive considering that the top 2 (Leeroy and Southsea Captain) are both finishers. 5th for drawn winrate, and 2cd for mulligan winrate- in the list using Leeroy Jenkins.
It’s pretty much the opposite for the Skycap’n Kragg list. No idea what’s going on there, but it makes Rokara look like a bottom 3 card in the deck. The lists are only choosing different Charge minions, so seriously no idea why so many Skycap’n Kragg players can’t seem to use her well.
She’s an 8/10 card.
Shadow Hunter Vol’jin is a pretty good card trying to make some mediocre decks work. He sees play in a few Big Priest/Druid/Shaman/Demonlock lists, but his main use is as an alternate combo in Mecha’Thun decks, most notably Warlock, in which he’s quite strong.
He gets a 5/10, simply because he hasn’t been enough to make those decks meta, but he’s bumped their consistency by quite a bit.
Mankrik sees play in some Quest Rogue lists, just so a 5/5 can slam face. He’s not the best card there by any means, and most of the popular lists don’t use him, but he still warrants a 3/10.
Blademaster Samuro gets the surprisingly high 5/10. He sees play in Paladin lists, mostly in Handbuff Pally where he works as (basically) a board clear, but sometimes in Tax Paladin as a board clear when paired with a buff.
He’s really bad in Tax Paladin, probably the worst card in the deck. In Handbuff Paladin, though he’s amazing, you still don’t want him in the mulligan.
Kazakus, Golem Shaper, is basically inferior to other 4-drops in every deck that’s trying him. He’s got no immediate impact and he’s way too slow for Aggro, plus most decks running 4 mana cards need them, and the ones that don’t run 4 mana cards tend to be Odd or don’t want them anyways. 2/10.
Kargal Battlescar doesn’t really see play. He’s too slow and the only Watch Posts seeing Wild play are Far Watch Posts anyways. 1/10.
Well, that concludes this article. Hope you guys will stick around and keep reading our content- Hearthstone articles accounted for roughly 85% of views on my articles last month, and 1.5% of total views for the site, which is pretty amazing considering the amount we get from amiibo guides and that last month was one of our best months ever, views-wise.
Anyways, so long!