Among all the legendaries that have been announced for One Night in Karazhan, Barnes is probably the only one that has potential in both viable decks as well as fun decks. The number of crazy combos that you can pull off with the card is just endless. Emperor Thaurissan is in my books, one of the best cards to have ever been made for combo decks. There are countless combos like the Gorehowl OTK or Pirate OTK combos but they are quite difficult to pull off because you need to have specific cards in hand and then play Emperor to gain access to a OTK or some crazy combos. But with Barnes, there are a lot more possibilities and classes that are removal heavy or have spells that generate minions (like Shaman’s Feral Spirit or some of the new Portals), you can be a lot more consistent with your combos. Today, let’s take a look at both fun and viable decks that can run Barnes.
Ancient One Rogue
Rogue has a lot of great removal spells and the only minions you need to run in the deck are 2 copies of Blood of the Ancient One and Barnes. For removal you can rely on Backstab, Eviscerate, Shadow Strike and other efficient spells for single minion removal. Since Rogue does not have access to good AoE effect spells you might want to consider running one copy of Blade Flurry. It might not be the most efficient spell after the nerf earlier this year, but with Deadly Poison or Perdition’s Blade it can work just fine since you are not going to play any minions anyway.
Combo: The goal is to drop Barnes, get a copy of one of the Blood of the Ancient Ones and then Shadowstep Barnes to pull out another Blood of the Ancient One on the board. At the end of the turn you get a 30/30 on board and vs many classes you can just outright win the game. It’s a 2 card combo, and it’s more likely that you will be able to pull it off than other
Malygos based Barnes decks because you can run 2 copies of your main combo card making it a lot more consistent just in case you end up drawing your finisher first. It can be done on turn 6 itself. Do note than when building your deck around this combo do not use Conceal as the effect of Blood of the Ancient One happens at the end of your turn and the Ancient One will not be stealthed.
Prophet Malygos Priest
Priest is one of the classes that can pull off Malygos based OTK decks more consistently than other classes due to the existence of Prophet Velen. Unless you are extremely lucky and you end up drawing both the finishers together you should be fine. All you need to do is stall using spells like Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Word: Death, Holy Nova[card/] and [card]Excavated Evil and you are all set. You can also use Embrace the Shadow instead of Auchenai Soulpriest. It not only allows you to have the same 4 damage combo that Soulpriest gives you but you can also use it for direct damage using Flash Heal.
Card draw is one of the biggest problems Priest has and you need to stall as long as possible. Shadowform can be great in control matchups and getting an early Shadowform can help you stall out games versus aggro for quite long. Do not be afraid to use Flash Heal against aggro to survive, once you dry out your opponents resources Mind Spike or Mind Shatter should be enough to win the game.
The only issue with such a deck is the inability to use Entomb. Pulling in minions to your deck means you have a chance to draw the minions you played Entomb on, which is something you do not want. Shadowform might be an on/off choice depending on whether you want to run Holy Fire or not. Freeze Priest has the potential to be a good deck if it gets the right tools and we hope Priest’s OTK decks become a lot more viable in the coming expansions.
If you look at the current list of minions that Hunter runs you’ll notice that every minion other than King’s Elekk and Houndmaster has a Deathrattle. With Kindly Grandmother incoming it’s more than likely that it will grab a slot in the Mid Range Hunter early game over King’s Elekk or Huge Toad. N’zoth Hunter is quite effective in the meta and it’s not too far from any Mid Range Hunter list.
Some people simply find a slot for N’zoth, The Corruptor while others add in a Sylvanas Windrunner as well in place of one Houndmaster. With nearly all your minions being Deathrattles Barnes can be a great fit because getting that 1/1 Infested Wolf or a lucky Sylvanas can be really annoying for your opponent. If you survive the early game you can win against any control deck if you get Call of the Wild or Savannah Highmane in time because they add immense pressure and require multiple cards to be dealt with in cases.
There are multiple ways to build a Malygos Rogue deck if you have Barnes. The more obvious option is one where you have just Malygos and Barnes as minions. But do you really need to? You can go ahead and run Tomb Pillagers, Bloodmage Thalnos, Azure Drake, Emperor Thaurissan without any issues because you are happy to get any of them from Barnes. An extra coin or a draw from a 1/1 Thalnos is more than fine.
You do not need to make your deck weak versus aggro by losing out on SI:7 Agent or Tomb Pillager for your early-mid game and there aren’t too many bad outcomes in the deck either when you drop Barnes. Or you can stick to the low minion set like I’ve displayed here to get to Malygos faster!
The alternative is to try out a deck similar to the Ancient One Rogue we discussed earlier in the post by using Malygos and Emperor Only along with Shadowstep if you get an early Barnes into Emperor and need the second trigger to pull out Malygos.
Freeze Mage is one deck that can easily run Barnes if you are running Antonidas or Malygos in your deck. Getting even 2 Fireballs in the lategame or an extra Thaurissan tick can be quite beneficial for your spell combo finishers. It might not be the most viable addition but it’s something I would definitely love to try.
The good outcomes with Barnes include Loot Hoarder, Acolyte of Pain, Malygos (if you choose to run it), Bloodmage Thalnos, Emperor Thaurissan, Archmage Antonidas and even Doomsayer (1/1 Taunt effectively). The only bad outcome is Alexstrasza and there are enough flex slots to warrant trying out Barnes in the deck for extra draws or getting Thaurissan, Malygos or Antonidas out.
N’zoth Dragon Paladin
This is the most obvious home for Barnes. Getting vanilla 1/1 copies of Aldor Peacekeeper or Keeper of Uldaman might not be too appealing but pulling one of the Deathrattle minions, Acolyte of Pain or even a Ragnaros The Firelord can be really impactful. Some lists have gone the hybrid way by adding aggressive early game and then they curve into their lategame and finally drop N’zoth as a finisher. You can do the same by creating a Dragon themed N’zoth deck to increase your chances of pulling good minions with Barnes while retaining the consistency of slightly aggressive lists by having decent early game in form of Nightbane Templar, Blackwing Technician and then curve into your late game threats. Paladin lacks early game threats and Nightbane Templar can help heavily with it in this adventure.
There are a lot more combos that are possible with Barnes and newer expansions in the future can only open up more horizons. These are just some of the more obvious options that you can ponder into and you can use the card in nearly any deck that has a bunch of aura effects or Deathrattles and gain value out of the card. It’s a card that’s perfect for both combo decks as well as control decks. Refined lists might need time to be made but the potential Barnes has is incredible. If you have any ideas that you plan on trying out next week, let me know in the comments below! Would love to hear what crazy combos you guys have in mind for Barnes, when he comes out in Week 2 of One Night in Karazhan.