Geez, how long ago was it when I played my last Hearthstone match? My last memory of it was when I was still climbing ranked using a Secret Paladin setup, definitely a long time ago. So when I was invited to join the Forged in the Barrens theorycrafting summit to test out the new cards for the upcoming expansion, imagine my newbie face grinning in the background.
“How the hell will I be able to play again, I hardly know anything about the game?”
Hesitant, I jumped in. To my surprise, despite some new mechanics which were easy enough to figure out, it was quite the fun session that resulted in my behind getting handed to me by more experienced players. I’m pretty sure they were pissed because I almost roped every turn trying to figure out what the new cards did, so I at least won in that department.
Throughout the session, I used a class that was familiar to me, the Mage, because of its rather straightforward approach that makes it easy for returning players like myself. In particular, I tried out a couple of simple decks, which revolved around using my hero power to deal increasing damage throughout the match. With cards like Wildfire, a 2 to cast spell which increases your hero power by 1, it was simple enough to think of how to go about the match. Of course, things don’t always go the way you want it to, especially in Hearthstone.
While I never really got to use it to its full potential, and despite the fact that I actually lost the match, it was a great feeling to bring my opponent to below half his life before losing steam to his setup that comprised of increasing his spell power to deal massive damage to me and my minions.
I was exposed to new concepts like Ranked Spells, which upgrades a card whenever you reach 5 and 10 mana, and even new legendary cards like Mordresh Fire Eye, a 10 to cast 10/10 legendary which deals 10 damage to all enemies if you’ve dealt 10 damage using your hero power.
I’m no pro by any means, but these new cards and features really bring some great new effects that only add more strategy to the game.
Determined to save my dignity, I used the same deck against a murloc Shaman. I will say that the cause of my defeat was due to a bad draw, but of course the real reason was that I was not prepared to face his pack of rampaging murlocs, and playing patiently without any board clears resulted in me being overrun in no time. I did get to use new cards though, like Varden Dawngrasp, a 4 to cast 3/3 legendary whose battlecry is to freeze all enemy minions but deal 4 damage if they are already frozen. Another interesting card was the 4 to cast 3/5 Reckless Apprentice, who has a battlecry that fires your Hero Power at all enemies, perfect for hero power decks.
Overall, it was quite the fun experience, and it was great seeing that a returning player like myself, after years of not playing, can still easily pick up the game and play it to a decent level. With new keywords like Frenzy and 135 new cards to play around with, Forged in the Barrens is sure to excite veterans and even newbies looking to pop their Hearthstone cherry.
Forged in the Barrens will go live on March 30, and you can learn more about the expansion and the new cards on the official Hearthstone website.