The 12 most interesting cards from Hearthstone’s Forged in the Barrens expansion, now live!
Hearthstone is about to get reforged, amidst the barren wastelands of Kalimdor. Forged in the Barrens is now live, and it’s bringing probably the biggest shake-up Standard Mode has ever seen. The Core Set is completely changing the very foundation of what you can and cannot play anymore, but we also need to keep in mind that this is an expansion set we’re talking about — which means a ton of brand-new cards.
Of course, not every card makes us go “ooh!” and “aah!” — some cards are cooler than others, for a variety of reasons. Maybe they introduce brand-new concepts or revisit concepts from the past, better than before. Maybe they simply have interesting mechanics, and we can already imagine all the decks that will utilize them; or maybe they look powerful, and even meta-defining.
Whatever the case may be, it is our job to curate these cards, and select only the cream of the crop; the ones that will probably make you excited and thinking about which decks you will be playing in Hearthstone, pretty soon. So, here are the 12 most interesting cards coming in Forged in the Barrens.
The coolest Forged in the Barrens cards for each class
- Epic, 7 mana spell (Arcane).
- Set each player to 0 Mana Crystals. Set the Cost of cards in all hands and decks to (1).
We open with a real banger. This card, when played, will completely change the rest of the game for both players — no questions asked. It is the ultimate “value” card for Druid: You could fill your deck with many powerful, costly cards, and end up playing several of those on the same turn, allowing, well, pretty much any combo one can reasonably think of to exist.
A downside is that you enable the same possibility for your opponent. But given that you will likely be building your deck in preparation for this card being played, you will still have the advantage. If you are playing against another heavy, greedy, Control deck, they are likely to end up benefiting from it to a large extent, just like you. But against the faster, more aggressive decks, the discounts that they will get will surely be far less substantial than yours.
The real downside of this card, however, is setting Mana Crystals to zero. Which means that both players will be allowed to play only one card — any card — on their next turn (temporary mana effects like The Coin notwithstanding). And then, two cards on the turn after that, and then three, and so on.
So, even if you do have some super powerful combo that involves playing four or five costly cards on the same turn, it will be a while until you get there — and that might be the factor that decides if this card will end up being viable or not.
- Common, 4 mana, spell.
- Deal 6 damage to a minion. Excess damage hits the enemy hero.
The main reason why this card is noteworthy is that Hunters are losing Kill Command. Their main tool to close games is gone, so they needed a replacement — and this one is very similar, but more “controlled” in its use. It can’t directly target the opponent’s face — you need to kill a minion, and only whatever is left from that 6 damage will hit the enemy hero.
The ideal situation is, of course, finishing off an enemy minion that only has one point of health left, so that you deal the same 5 damage that Kill Command previously did — without even requiring you to control a Beast to do so.
But an interesting tidbit is that it doesn’t say that it has to target an enemy minion — it could be any minion, even one of yours. So, in a sense, the old idea of playing a Beast in order to enable you to Kill Command your opponent’s face will still exist. You could play your own 1-health minion — doesn’t even have to be a Beast — and use Piercing Shot on it, to have the excess damage hit the enemy hero.
Sword of the Fallen
- Rare, 2 mana, 1/3 weapon.
- After your hero attacks, cast a Secret from your deck.
Cannonmaster Smythe is the big payoff of the new version of Secret Paladin; but the star of the show is, perhaps, a more modest card: Sword of the Fallen. While the Legendary minion will actively transform your Secrets into 3/3 minions you can use, you won’t be able to get there too easily now that Mysterious Challenger doesn’t exist anymore. Can Secret Paladin even be a viable archetype again without Mysterious Challenger?
Well, Sword of the Fallen is certainly an enormous boost in that direction. It almost guarantees that three of your Secrets will be cast, even if they’re at the bottom of your deck, much like the (super powerful) Mad Scientist did previously. And you can choose when you trigger the effect, since it’s tied to your attack.
Paladin as a class suffers from a lack of card draw — doubly so now that cards like Lay on Hands and Blessing of Wisdom are leaving the Core Set — so the ability to thin your deck and find the tools you need cannot be understated.
- Epic, 2 mana, spell (Fire).
- Increase the damage of your Hero Power by 1.
This is Shadowform for Mages, in a sense. Much like the Priest card, this is just a spell that you play once, and it applies a permanent effect that sticks to you for the rest of the game — an irremovable enchantment, if you will.
Your Hero Power gets stronger, dealing 2 damage (and eventually 3 if you’re able to play your two copies of the card). Perhaps even more than that, if the Mage is able to Discover more copies of it from its plethora of random effects — the term “Casino Mage” exists as a pseudo deck archetype for a reason.
What makes Wildfire even better is that Mage has a bunch of other cards that synergize with it, such as the brand-new Reckless Apprentice, an even some old favorites that are returning, like Coldarra Drake and Fallen Hero. The possibilities of a Mage deck arising that is based on abusing their Hero Power seem pretty real.
- Legendary, 2 mana, 1/1 minion.
- Battlecry: Choose an enemy minion. Steal Attack and Health from it until this has more.
What an interesting effect! This one is a real “math_lady.jpg” meme enabler. How does it work, exactly?! Does it steal Attack and Health separately, calculating each individual stat, or does it make leaps of +1/+1 and -1/-1 at once? Does one stat keep increasing if the other hasn’t already reached its maximum potential, or does it stop? So many questions! Perhaps no one knows the answers!
In any case, Serena Bloodfeather is definitely one of the most compelling designs I’ve seen in a while. It might not end up being as powerful as other cards in the set, but I definitely enjoy the design direction the Hearthstone team went with for this.
- Legendary, 4 mana, 4/4 minion.
- Battlecry: If you’ve restored Health this turn, deal that much damage to all enemy minions.
Xyrella might be my favorite new character from this expansion — but that has nothing to do with what the card does. Thankfully, the card is pretty great too. It’s a powerful board clear effect, attached to a 4/4 body. All you need to do is heal yourself in order to activate it — and Priest has many, many ways to do that.
Self-heal spells, your Hero Power, Lifesteal effects… it’s not very difficult to imagine what tools go into a deck that uses Xyrella to control the board. And it’s also hard to imagine this card not being useful on many Priest decks on this new expansion.
- Legendary, 4 mana, 3/3 minion.
- Combo: The next two cards you play this turn cost (3) less.
Perhaps the strongest revealed card for this expansion? Some people are saying so. The ability to make things cost less is powerful in general. Making them cost as little as zero is even better. Making them cost zero in a class like Rogue is… bananas. It’s bananas.
So much combo-enabling potential. It’s very hard to predict which crazy iterations will be allowed by Scabbs Cutterbutter, but–
…wait a second, this card is named “Scabbs Cutterbutter.”
Let’s move on to the next one, shall we?
- Legendary, 2 mana, 2/3 minion (Murloc).
- After you play a Murloc, deal 1 damage to all enemies.
I guess we can all be glad that Toxfin will no longer be in Standard Mode, since the Rise of Shadows expansion is rotating out once Forged in the Barrens is released. Regardless, it is super interesting to see Murloc Shaman make a return — perhaps in a more control-oriented format, this time. Murlocs can be played in order to keep damaging enemy minions, which should facilitate their ability to overtake the board.
As for Wild Mode… yeah, expect many Furgl + Toxfin combos in the future.
- Legendary, 7 mana, 5/4 minion.
- Battlecry: Resurrect 2 friendly Frenzy minions. Deal 1 damage to all other minions.
When we finally got rid of Resurrect Priest, they had to add Resurrect Warrior to the game? Well, not quite. This is a much weaker effect than the ones Priest had access to, like Mass Resurrection — *spits on ground* — and far more limited in use.
But still, it is an interesting effect on its own, due to the ability to not only bring back Frenzy minions, but immediately activate their Frenzy effects again as well.
Altar of Fire
- Epic, 1 mana, spell (Fire).
- Destroy the top 3 cards of each deck.
I hate Tickatus so much. The idea of allowing a player to destroy cards on the other player’s deck, with no ability to counter it, is antithetical to what I enjoy about playing a card game. But regardless of my feelings on the matter, Altar of Fire is a very interesting spell.
For the meager cost of 1 mana, the Warlock player is able to potentially burn down key cards for their opponent’s strategy, completely messing with it, at the cost of doing the same to their own deck — a downside that can be minimized with some clever deck-building, and aggressive drawing.
I just wish that these types of effects had more counter-play, instead of being so one-sided — a complaint that can be extended to several other aspects of Hearthstone, sadly.
- Legendary, 3 mana, 1/3 minion.
- Whenever you cast a Shadow spell that costs (1) or more, add a copy to your hand that costs (0).
Whenever I read that a card has the power to make other things cost zero, a bunch of alarms immediately go off in my head. I’ve already talked a little about this on the Scabbs section above, and it’s still valid here. This card could potentially give you an extra Twisting Nether (that card is now a Shadow spell) that costs zero, instead of eight.
This short cautionary tale about the full board clear that has its cost reduced from eight to zero is one of the alarms that are already clear in my mind — but I fear that there are others, that I can’t even think of yet. Some clever deck builder out there probably will, though.
Kazakus, Golem Shaper
- Legendary, 4 mana, 3/3 minion.
- Battlecry: If your deck has no 4-Cost cards, build a custom Golem.
Draenei Troll returns, more accessible than ever, as a Neutral card! Much like his previous version, the Golem Shaper also has a deck-building requirement for you to use him: This time, you cannot have any 4-Cost cards in your deck. But the payoff for putting up with that hindrance is incredible.
First, you get to decide the size of your custom Golem: Lesser (1/1, costs 1 mana), Greater (5/5, costs 5 mana), or Superior (10/10, costs 10 mana).
Next, you pick an herb from a selection of three. Each herb can give your Golem a different keyword, which can be Divine Shield, Lifesteal, Poisonous, Rush, Stealth, or Taunt.
Finally, you pick a second herb, from three, which gives the Golem one of these powerful additional effects:
- Battlecry: Deal 3 damage to a random, two random, or all enemy minions.
- Battlecry: Draw a card, 2 cards, or 4 cards.
- Battlecry: Freeze a random, two random, or all enemy minions.
- Battlecry: Give your other minions +1/+1, +2/+2, or +4/+4)
- Battlecry: Summon a copy of this.
- Spell Damage +1, +2, or +4
…wow. The “draw cards” Battlecry might end up being the “default” choice, but there are surely going to be situations where you might find any of the other options very desirable.
Some honorable mentions that didn’t make the final cut include the super versatile Pack Kodo for Hunters — giving them a tool for every situation — and the new version of Grim Patron, called Gruntled Patron. Alas, we cannot talk about every cool card; but we can hope that everyone is still going to get in here! ༼ ºل͜º༼ ºل͜º ༽ºل͜º ༽
Sorry, Demon Hunters: Your new gimmick for this expansion seems to be a bunch of Deathrattle synergy cards. While that can be strong, it’s not necessarily a new or exciting concept. We’ve seen it plenty of times before, especially on Hunter and Rogue. I didn’t really find any tremendously exciting new Demon Hunter cards to talk about here, in all honesty.
But every other class has definitely gotten some cool new tricks to show, and the new version of Kazakus is almost certain to see plenty of play in the coming months.
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