Hearthstone’s next expansion, Forged in the Barrens, is a week away from officially releasing and the entire set has finally been revealed. The turn of the new Year of the Gyphon is an exciting time for the game; with Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, and Descent of Dragons rotating out of Standard, the new cards found within Forged in the Barrens have a chance to become a part of the identity for a class for the next two years going forward.
With 135 cards joining the game before the eventual mini set (similar to Darkmoon Races and Galakrond’s Awakening), players will be quick to search for the next cards to shape the next meta.
Here are the 10 best cards coming in Hearthstone: Forged in the Barrens that are sure to impact the Standard ladder.
Priest’s Mercenary legendary minion gives the class a chance to turn the board around with a powerful stabilizing ability. While this can be difficult to achieve on her own, with cards like Renew still in Standard and the newly shown off Desperate Prayer, any aggressive opponent will need to be careful and figure out how many resources to commit before a Xyrella is played by a Priest.
While Priest may look like it will struggle going into Year of the Gryphon, Xyrella will be a potential saving grace for an otherwise weaker-looking class.
As one of the two newest Sigil cards to be introduced in the latest set, Sigil of Flame gives the class an interesting way to control the pacing of the match outside of aggressive strategies. While Sigil of Flame allows counterplay for the opponent when it’s played at later stages in the game, playing this card on turn two will put you in a strong spot.
It won’t only clear a supermajority of boards that preceded it, but it will also halt your opponent from developing any further in the early turns due to the amount incoming AoE damage. This allows you to build your board before your opponent, which forces them to play reactively—often a downside in Hearthstone.
While Shaman was given strong new Elemental tools for the Forged in the Barrens set, the Murloc package provided are also too powerful to ignore. Spawnpool Forager is a sticky one-mana minion that can quickly get on board and is difficult for opponents to completely remove due to the 1/1 body left behind.
For Firemancer Flurgl, his ability to deal a wave of one damage to every opposing force each time you play a Murloc means your opponent will need to be ready to deal three damage on a moment’s notice. If they are unable to remove Flurgl, then he can quickly snowball a game in your favor while providing a ton of damage to the enemy hero.
Nofin Can Stop Us is the ultimate payoff for picking Shaman to go with Murlocs. A boardwide +1/+1 buff has always been a powerful effect. While performing it for three mana is inefficient on its own, the fact that it can become a +2/+2 buff specifically for Murloc tribe minions becomes a daunting threat. This means your opponent will always need to trade away your Murlocs, otherwise you will always threaten them with not only strong minions, but a durable board that resists damage.
Overall, expect Murlocs to be an imposing and upcoming threat on the ladder.
The new Watch Posts cards provide an interesting dynamic for both players to deal with once they arrive on the board. While the user for a Watch Post is unable to attack with them, the opponent will need to play their cards in a specific order to avoid the drawbacks for each structure.
Between the three Watch Posts introduced, Far Watch Post and Mor’shan Post will be the most cumbersome for opponents to overcome. Mor’shan forces your opponents to try and deal with it before they summon minions, otherwise 2/2 Grunts will spawn to your side of the board ready to answer any threats. This means if your opponent is behind on board, this will become an immediately difficult task to get around.
Far Watch Post also takes this one step further by immediately interacting with your opponent’s hand. Since your opponent is essentially guaranteed to draw one card before they can deal with this Watch Post, that will lead to at least one mana cost increase, which can immensely screw with opposing strategies without much effort.
Featured primarily on the final reveal stream and joked around as being a “busted card” by the developers, Outrider’s Axe is going to be a premier weapon going forward for Warrior. While three strength is an awkward breakpoint for Weapons at four mana, the fact that the Axe can draw upwards to three cards if you manage to slay minions with each durability provides immense card advantage.
Since you can play Outrider’s Axe on turn four, you can perform a powerful follow-up on the following round by swinging with it and then playing Mor’shan Elite to summon a powerful 8/8 worth of stats.
Players going against Warrior will need to plan around protecting their three-health minions starting turn four thanks to the Outrider’s Axe.
One class that was one of the biggest winners going into Forged in the Barrens is Paladin. This is due to the fact that the Core Set effectively removed a ton of bad cards from the class and replaced them with either strong returning cards or rebuffed older cards.
Some of the cards that Paladin will be obtaining within both the Core Set and Forged in the Barrens is Secret Support. Out of the new secret cards, Sword of the Fallen binds the archetype together due to its ability to effectively draw cards out of your deck and immediately play them. Aside from the fact that you’re burning through your deck quickly and getting three mana worth of value after swinging with the weapon thrice, Sword of the Fallen helps enable more powerful Tempo plays.
One potent combination to note is with the Northwatch Commander, since playing the Sword on turn two followed by the Commander on the following rounds means you’re poised to cycle through your deck quickly while controlling the board.
The leader of the Kabal from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has returned and is ready to craft powerful new golems if you’re able to satisfy his new deck building restriction.
Similar to the old Kazakus, understanding the pacing of the game and knowing which specific golems to craft will bring you closer to victory. Most of the golems will be threats that midgame and even some aggressive lists may look to fit into their game plan due to the raw amount of stats and abilities that can break the game wide open.
While having Kazakus as your sole four-mana card may sound like a steep price to pay, the golems provided will be worth it for many classes with fewer four-cost options.
Whenever mana discounts occur in most card games, those reduction-based effects must be examined with care since they usually break the game wide open. Razormane Battleguard breaks the roof with the amount of cost reductions it can provide even during the moment it’s played.
By discounting a Taunt’s mana cost by two, you can play a two-mana minion the same turn as the Battleguard. Every turn he survives is another round where you can play more expensive Taunts, turning the board state into your favor. While the opponent will need to prioritize removing Razormane Battleguard, the fact that he allows you to summon Taunt minions means there’s inherent protection that will make destroying the Battleguard a difficult task, allowing for easy snowball potential.
One of Hunter’s newest legendary minions provides something the class often lacked throughout different bouts in Hearthstone’s history: card draw through efficient card tutoring. Barak Kodobane gives you three spells, all of which cost one, two, and three mana which lets you build your deck to specifically abuse this fact.
While three inexpensive spells sound like they’re too low impact to make a difference, Hunter has some powerful spells at that mana cost which can let you perform multiple functions depending on what list you’re running. At one mana, you can get Tracking or Lock and Load for cycle, and at two mana there’s Secrets (which pairs nicely with Petting Zoo at three mana). For removal options, you can look at Overwhelm at one mana, Bola Shot or Quick Shot at two mana, and Deadly Shot at three mana.
Overall, Barak rewards deckbuilders that can construct lists which answer problems that Kodobane asks of players.
1) Field Contact
While Rogue was one of the biggest losers for the 2021 Standard Rotation due to the loss of Lackeys, Edwin, and Eviscerate, the usually top-tier class has found a wealth of new tools within Forged in the Barrens. One card to highlight Rogue’s new strength is Field Contact, since it provides Rogue an alternate way to draw their deck through a powerful Gadgetzan Auctioneer-like engine.
With cards like Pen Flinger, Foxy Fraud, and the new Scabbs Cutterbutter, Field Contact will allow you to retain card advantage while developing your board and removing opposing threats.
Tempo and Combo players will enjoy figuring out how to make Field Contact work optimally for them.
Try out these cards for yourself when Hearthstone: Forged in the Barrens launches March 31.