Hearthstone Meta Tier List – The Best Standard Meta Decks – Forged in the Barrens (April 2021)

Our Hearthstone meta tier list ranks the top decks for Forged in the Barrens meta. We always try to include one of the best decks lists for each archetype with a short description. However, if you’re looking for an alternative, we also link archetype pages so you can check out different versions.

Looking for the Best Wild Decks? Check out here: Hearthstone’s Best Wild Meta Decks.

If you win 5 games on the Hearthstone ladder, this is the card back you will receive this month (Season 85):

Meta Tier List Rankings

If you are curious what the absolute best decks are right now, here’s a list of them below. This list of deck rankings is based on various sources including Vicious Syndicate, HSreplay, as well as our own ladder experience. The provided decks are sample lists and aren’t always the only option when building for that particular archetype (for a full list of decks, click the link below description).

Tier 1 Decks

Libram Paladin

Libram Paladin is, according to the statistics, the highest win rate deck right now (even though it’s not the most popular one). Libram Paladin was already one of the top builds last expansion, and honestly… it didn’t lose a lot. The entire Libram Package is there, Pen Flinger is still there. It lost a few cards (including a way to tutor Flingers – Salhet's Pride), but it replaced it with a very strong Secret package that was added in the Barrens. The deck was already good at cycling, running Pride & often Loot Hoarders / Novice Engineers, but the new cards honestly made it even better. Knight of Anointment is a straight-up better Novice Engineer, Sword of the Fallen thins your deck, Northwatch Commander draws a card AND has a meaningful body (as opposed to a 3/1), Taelan Fordring guarantees drawing Lady Liadrin, which comes really handy in most of the matchups (more buffs against slower decks, extra Librams of Hope against faster decks). Oh, and the new Cariel Roame is another way to discount your Librams, which are now all Holy spells (besides Libram of Judgment, which isn’t a spell in the first place).

We’ll see how the meta evolves, but I’d very much expect Libram Paladin to remain on the top or (more likely) get nerfed.

Spell Mage

And the title of most popular deck goes to… Spell Mage. Keep in mind that it’s not one of those “oh, it has 15% popularity on the ladder” situations, no. At the time I’m writing this, the deck has ~33% popularity across all ranks, with over 40% in certain ones (high Diamond). Those are unprecedented levels of popularity close to the decks that were nerfed fastest in the history of Hearthstone, such as Galakrond Shaman and Day 1 Demon Hunter (that one was even more popular, but it was nerfed ~24h after launch).

While win-rate wise it’s not the BEST deck, it’s certainly up there. The only thing that even remotely keeps it in check is its inherent randomness – while it’s much more consistent than a lot of players would think (because the pool of high cost spells is very small after the rotation), you still have some low-rolls, including results from Deck of Lunacy, Apexis Blast 5-drop rolls and any other random card generation. On the other and, the deck has so much high-roll potential that you will finish some of the games on Turn 6-7 completely dominating your opponent. Even if you don’t draw Deck of Lunacy, you still pack enough burn to be able to kill most of the opponents.

Well, the deck is also not the best against Aggro. It’s not like Aggro counters it completely, but if you want a highest chance to win, you should look into Aggro Rogue, Shaman or Face Hunter.

Still, I think that both Paladin and Mage will be on the chopping block soon enough, so if you want to play them with the current power

Secret Paladin

Secret Paladin is another deck running the new Secret package – yes, that’s how strong it is. It’s basically auto-include in Paladin right now. While Libram build only runs a smaller package, this one goes all in on the synergies and builds an entire deck around them.

Secret Paladin is much more aggressive, it wants to capitalize on the early tempo gained from “free” Secrets (Sword of the Fallen is basically a way to draw and play three Secrets for 2 mana ON TOP of getting a 1/3 weapon). The Secrets can disrupt the opponent’s game plan (Oh My Yogg!, Noble Sacrifice), summon more minions to the board (Galloping Savior) or buff your existing board (Avenge). Then when you throw in some minions that take advantage of those, like Crossroads Gossiper or Northwatch Commander. And finally, a finisher in the form of Kazakus, Golem Shaper and/or Cannonmaster Smythe.

What deck lacks in most is “burn” damage, or a way to close out games without any board. It often ends up getting opponent down to <10 health in the early game, but then can’t do anything after they stabilize. That’s why recent builds started running Hammer of the Naaru as another big threat + 9 damage over 3 turns.

Tier 2 Decks

Face Hunter

Face Hunter’s current power level is pretty high because of its power against Spell Mage – Aggro decks are the best counter, and Face Hunter is always one of the better picks when it comes to Aggro. However, there’s still a massive gap between top 3 decks and Hunter, which lags behind by a few win rate %.

The deck is quite different from the one we’ve seen last year – it dropped the Secret package now that Phase Stalker is gone, and it added some more new Beast synergies. Quick Shot, one of the best Face Hunter cards in the history, also made a comeback, but sadly it replaced Kill Command, which was a go-to source of burn damage for Hunter.

Overall, the deck is not bad and there’s still some room to optimize it, we’ll see how well it performs after meta settles and (hopefully) top decks get nerfed.

Token Druid

It seemed that Barrens will be pretty bad for Token Druid after losing Savage Roar, its main win condition, but it turned out that a better Savage Roar (Arbor Up is good enough to keep it alive.  To be honest, the deck didn’t change that much from before rotation – it still comes with the same game plan, you still want to flood the board then buff it. The only differences are Thorngrowth Sentries replacing Dreamway Guardians (which are very comparable cards) and Pride's Fury in place of Savage Roar. Fury is interesting in a way that it mostly buffs Health and not Attack, but it turns out that turning 2/2’s into 3/5’s is a pretty big deal, as the latter are way harder to remove. The biggest downside is that Solar Eclipse + finisher combo was much easier to pull off with Savage Roar (5 mana) than Arbor Up (7 mana), but it has an obvious upside of also creating a massive board presence in case you can’t kill your opponent with it.

Aggro Shaman

Similarly to Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman is a solid option mostly because it has a good matchup vs Spell Mage. However, unlike Hunter which has an passable matchup vs Paladin, Shaman is a bit worse in that aspect.

New aggressive Shaman builds rely mostly on burn damage – they have a weak minion presence and instead force wins in two ways. First one is burn damage with spells – Lightning Bolt, Serpentshrine Portal, Dunk Tank, possibly boosted by Spell Damage (Novice Zapper, Bru'kan). The second one is Doomhammer with attack buffs like Rockbiter Weapon and Stormstrike. While the deck starts slowly for an Aggro build, once you get to mid game you can dish out massive burst damage and kill your opponent over 2-3 turns.

Aggro Rogue

Another Aggro deck, played for the same reason as the other ones. While Stealth builds are also present, players have put an even bigger focus on weapons now. Self-Sharpening Sword was already incredible, and now we’ve also got Swinetusk Shank, which is kind of like Kingsbane-lite, in a way that Rogue can keep buffing it and it will remain usable even after hitting with it multiple times. Now throw in some extra burn damage (such as Wicked Stab (Rank 1), which replaced Eviscerate), and of course Pen Flinger, and you’ve got yourself a really strong deck that will usually keep hitting the opponent with weapons starting from Turn 3. Again, this is mostly because of the Spell Mage’s popularity – the deck doesn’t really have a good way to stop weapon damage (no Ooze, no Taunts, no Freezes).

Watch Post Rogue

Watch Post Rogue was a massive hit on the first day of the expansion, but it has lost a lot of popularity & win rate ever since after people have figured out what it can do. Of course, highrolling Watch Posts on T2 and T3 with opponent having no way to clear them, then dropping Kargal Battlescar in the late game and bouncing it with Shadowstep a couple of times (or alternatively doing the same thing with Kazakus, Golem Shaper) can still be very powerful. Similarly, Efficient Octo-bot with a multiple cards in hand into Field Contact + Pen Flinger combos can really cycle through the entire deck in a matter of 2 or 3 turns. But the deck doesn’t fare as well against the most popular meta build (Spell Mage), hence its drop in popularity. It’s also a bit slow for Rogue deck, but I think that it can still be optimized.

Deathrattle Demon Hunter

Deathrattle Demon Hunter can be incredibly powerful, but it really needs to curve out nicely. Early Razorfen Beastmaster into Darkspear Berserker (or at least Renowned Performer) is what wins games a lot of time, without the combo getting through the early game will be hard. Then, again, in the late game, most of your power lies in a single card – Death Speaker Blackthorn. Playing it will often summon a Taelan Fordring and two 4-Cost Deathrattles from your deck, which is A LOT of tempo, you can really swing the game hard this way.

Other than minions, just like most of Demon Hunter decks, it often relies on weapon damage to get things done. It runs the standard combo of Aldrachi Warblades + Marrowslicer, topped with some attack buffers like Fury (Rank 1) and Relentless Pursuit. The deck’s biggest downside (outside of relying on a few specific cards) is its lack of board clears – once you fall behind, it might be very hard to make a comeback without any sort of AoE.

Control Warlock

Hated by many because of Tickatus, Control Warlock lost a lot of cards in the rotation, to the point that I didn’t think that it will be possible to play it in the Barrens. But thanks to new cards as well as upgrades for some of the old ones (Drain Soul, Lord Jaraxxus) it’s actually pretty decent. Or well, at least it would be if not being collateral damage of the meta that wants to beat Spell Mage. Since Spell Mage loses to Aggro, many people have started playing Aggro, and Control Warlock also suffers from a fast meta.

On the other hand, what the deck excels at, are other Control matchups. It packs so many ways to win those that I really think that it has a chance to be on the top in a more Control-oriented meta. The first win condition is – of course – Tickatus. Between playing him and then playing him again from Y'Shaarj, The Defiler, you burn 10 cards from your opponent’s deck. You can hit some key cards like combo pieces or win conditions, but that’s not even important – against slower deck, getting them 10 cards closer to fatigue is a huge deal. Then, we’ve got Lord Jaraxxus, which is now a proper Hero card – it no longer sets your life to 15, so you can easily play it vs slower deck without worrying that they will burn you down. And a 6/6 from Hero Power every single turn is a compelling win condition. Finally, Envoy Rustwix can shuffle some Primes into your deck, not only getting you further from fatigue, but also adding some very powerful cards to your deck – which ones exactly is random, but most of the Prime cards are really good.

Right now Warlock’s win rate is pretty low, because the current meta doesn’t favor it. But the few matchup it wins in (like Control Priest or Control Warrior), it crushes completely.

Control Priest

And finally, I put it here mostly because of high Legend players’ results not because of its average win rate. Honestly, the story with Priest is quite interesting. Even though, when looking at stats, the deck was pretty bad in most of the recent metas, many players hit high Legend with it and it worked really well for them. I have a few explanations – like those players being so good that they could hit it with any class, or that slower Priest builds are pretty difficult to play and most of the players don’t do it correctly (I have to say that it has SOME merit right now, because certain current versions of Priest are definitely hard to pilot.

People are still trying out multiple different builds and figuring out what’s best. For example, a recent innovation was Blademaster Samuro + Apotheosis combo, which deals 3 AoE damage and heals Priest for all of it. On the other hand, some players started playing more late-game heavy versions (featured here) with C’Thun, Yogg and two Dragon aspects for more value.

For now I’ll leave it here, and we’ll see where the meta heads.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

650 Comments

  1. Boot
    April 8, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I love the list but I’m surprised that midrange demon hunter doesn’t even make an appearance. DH is pretty much all that I play and midrange definitely feels very solid and that its up there with deathrattle. Did it not make the cut?

  2. Hawmoon
    April 7, 2021 at 12:34 am

    I’ve been playing the game for long, but I’ve never been and I’ll never be a Pro.
    So said, I love Mage, but I can’t even reach Gold 5 at the moment.
    Fun fact, I’ve lost most of the matches in which I got Lunacy, as I’ve been unlucky enough to get bad spells.
    I haven’t find Shaman, nor Hunter.
    Only once a Druid, and, after that,
    Warlock a lot
    Mage very close
    Demon Hunter and Paladin
    Priests a few

  3. Makuku
    April 6, 2021 at 5:21 am

    No warrior, feels sad man.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      April 6, 2021 at 7:26 am

      Warrior went from one of the best classes to worst class in the current meta. I’m sure that things will change, but right now the class is doing very poorly.

    • Vicking
      April 7, 2021 at 9:01 am

      I actually miss priest right now. I know people hate it but non rez priest is actually ok.

  4. FatherOfLies
    April 5, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    In the section of the Libram Paladin, it says that Taelan Fordring draws Libram of Hope, but Taelan doesn’t draw spells, does it?

    • FatherOfLies
      April 5, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      read that wrong, nevermind

      • PitLord
        April 6, 2021 at 3:56 am

        You read right, they have change and fixed very fast 😀

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        April 6, 2021 at 7:25 am

        You were right 🙂 It’s just that someone pointed it out to me on Discord and I fixed it soon after posting, but then it might take some time to update.

  5. Nerose
    April 5, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Hmmm…. I am considering crafting deck of lunacy. That sounds fun, but a weird meta…

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      April 6, 2021 at 7:24 am

      The deck is very, very fun to play, but I’m like 99% sure it will get nerfed and not sure if Lunacy will be the one targeted (there are other ways to nerf it – Incanter’s Flow, Refreshing Spring Water), so do it at your own risk.

      • Hawmoon
        April 7, 2021 at 7:22 am

        I’m not that expert, but a nerf should be fine because how strong is a deck, rather than how popular?

    • Hawmoon
      April 7, 2021 at 7:21 am

      It’s not that strong, and I may have been very unlucky, but it’s not the one I’ve played against the most

  6. Sconibulus
    April 5, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Standard tier list updated today. What a lucky time to check the site. 🙂

  7. Pandamonium
    February 2, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Pure paladin, no Yrel??

  8. Glubglub
    January 29, 2021 at 7:09 pm

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    And to say I installed an ad blocker because the autoplaying, screen-hogging ads on your site are intrusive on mobile.
    I’ll gladly whitelist or uninstall if you sort your ad shit out.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      January 29, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you for registering.

      And I understand, I also use adblock on many websites. The issue is that with so many people using adblock, ads needed to get more intrusive to keep the website’s revenue. I’m really sorry about that, but sadly that’s not up to me 🙁 But I’ll try to talk about it with the marketing department at the company again.

      • Tracyd
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        • Stonekeep - Site Admin
          January 31, 2021 at 8:30 am

          Thank you. Just like most of the websites, we’re making money solely through the ads if that’s what you’re asking about.