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Forged in the Barrens: Power Rankings

by - 2 years ago

Hearthstone’s newest expansion returns us to our Warcraft roots, revolving around an integral zone for the horde. Forged in the Barrens explores the fledgling horde, invoking concepts like leveling up characters (through ranked spells that upgrade over the course of the game) and the famous horde ferocity (through the new Frenzy keyword).

This time, the new year will bring not just a new expansion, and the rotation of half the expansions in Standard, but also an overhaul of Basic and Classic into the new Core Set! That means that this card evaluation season will involve markedly more uncertainty than even the total shakeup that we tend to get with the first expansion of a Standard year. That makes our job of evaluating cards much more challenging, but we – @hsdecktech and @OtakuMZ1978 – are looking forward to the challenge! Per usual, you can find an Annex explaining our rating system at the bottom of the post.

Oh, and one more thing: FOR THE HORDE!

(Last updated Mar. 26th, 2021)







  • OtakuMZ is for the Horde, whereas DeckTech is for the Alliance.
  • As tends to be the case with these things, OtakuMZ is generally a little more optimistic about card impacts than DeckTech is–there are a good number of cards where OtakuMZ is one star higher on the card than DeckTech is. Per usual, though, we don’t note every disagreement, just the significant ones.
  • OtakuMZ thinks Refreshing Spring Water is straight busted. DeckTech thinks it’s only busted in the right deck, which may or may not be the most prevalent or powerful Mage deck in the format, so he’d pop it down a star or two.
  • DeckTech thinks some of the Rogue stuff is a trap–because it usually is–but it’s hard to tell which piece(s) of it the trap will be, so he’s letting OtakuMZ run wild and rate them all 5 stars.
  • DeckTech thinks Cariel Roame is the most overrated card in the expansion, because the cost reduction from the dedicated Libram cards is usually more than sufficient, whereas OtakuMZ thinks it’s the new Zilliax.
  • Razormane Battleguard is a clear 5 star cards for OtakuMZ whereas hsdecktech does not believe in the Taunt dream OtakuMZ was a Hadronox fan and wants to play Greyborough not only in BGs.
  • DeckTech doesn’t see how Rokara sees play, but OtakuMZ really likes her with Warrior’s Rush and Frenzy synergies.
  • DeckTech is higher on the Watch Posts than OtakuMZ is, but OtakuMZ let him have those ratings.

Annex I: About Power Rankings: Our Take on Card Reviews Explained

We might evaluate cards differently to what you think because the evaluations reflect our opinions based on my knowledge of the game. If you disagree we are happy to hear your point in the comments below, @hsdecktech or @OtakuMZ1978. We will try to respond to all inquiries and will take it into consideration to change ranks of the cards in question.

All evaluations will be made with Standard play mode and competitive play in mind. This is no ranking for neither Arena nor Wild, please remember this when reading. These rating will also be made with only the most immediately-upcoming metagame in mind. It’s incredibly difficult to predict nerfs, rules changes, or new cards added after the fact, or how rating will change when that happens, so these ratings will not be made with those in mind.

Annex II: Ranking Categories

☆☆☆☆☆ (5 stars) Excellent: Cards that are top-notch or potentially overpowered. Most decks would like to run them, e.g. Dr. Boom.

☆☆☆☆ (4 stars) Good: Superior cards that will very likely be seen play frequently, e.g. Annoy-o-Tron.

☆☆☆ (3 stars) Decent: Cards that normally do not make the cut for competitive play but are overall well-designed and might fit into specific decks. These cards can be powerful in Arena though or really viable for newer players but you would not likely see them in tournaments.  Also, vanilla cards such as Chillwind Yeti fall into this category.

☆☆ (2 stars) Poor: Underwhelming and/or over-costed cards. These cards have inferior stats and/or underwhelming effects and will not see competitive play, e.g. Voodoo Doctor. Also grouped in this category are cards, that seem to be good at first glance. Yet, their effects are too situational so that most of the time, you will not be able to pull them off (e.g. Ghaz’rilla). The latter can arguably be fun and even powerful IF their effects go off. In any case, these cards I like to call “what-if cards” are so unreliable that they render themselves unusable in competitive play. Feel free to raise these cards to a “build-around” card or just have fun with!

(1 star) Unplayable: Straight out bad stats, poor card design, or simply useless cards that are even too bad for casual play? Do you have them in your deck? Delete Hearthstone! 😉 These cards you would not and should never put in your deck unless for fun or I missed something and the cards are sorted wrong, e.g. Magma Rager. If so, please leave me a comment! Okay, one exception here: you want to troll your opponent so that he thinks you are the worst Hearthstone player alive! 😆

Controversies: These are generally cards for which the guys have rankings that differ by 2 or more stars; the card’s overall rating will usually be a split between the guys’ ratings. This is also the place where we might note when one rater has a different take on an entire archetype or class of cards than the other.

Martin "OtakuMZ" Z.

Real life physician and afterhour card battler. Martin "OtakuMZ" contributes to the Hearthstone team of BlizzPro since late 2015. Additionally, he contributes analytic articles for Hearthstone and Gwent as a member of Fade2Karma and in his collumn on the Gwentlemen site. He is best known for his infographics which can be accessed at a glance at https://www.facebook.com/hsinfographics and https://www.facebook.com/gwentinfographics

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