#1 North America Control Warrior

Editor’s Note: If you’re new to Control Warrior, or would like a refresher – check out the beginner guide to Control Warrior! Also include Advanced and Matchups and Mulligans! My name is wiRer, I am an analyst for team Fade2Karma and I was the first person to hit Legend in season #16 on the North […]

Editor’s Note: If you’re new to Control Warrior, or would like a refresher – check out the beginner guide to Control Warrior! Also include Advanced and Matchups and Mulligans!


My name is wiRer, I am an analyst for team Fade2Karma and I was the first person to hit Legend in season #16 on the North American Servers. I mainly used Control Warrior for my run, because I think it is one of the strongest decks in a meta-game that is dominated by Grim Patron Warriors and Warlocks.

It might not be the fastest deck to climb because games take longer than with other decks, but at the moment it certainly is one of the decks with the highest overall win rate. By popular request I decided to write this guide to help aspiring Control Warrior players out and to share my views with Veteran Control Warriors.

Win Conditions

Your main goal as a Control Warrior is to control the early and mid game with your weapons, cheap removal spells and Blackwing Corruptors, to survive long enough to make it to late game where you start dropping your big threats.

Against aggro decks you have tools such as armorsmith, shield-block, shieldmaiden and alexstrasza to prolong the game long enough that they run out of steam.

Against control decks you win through sheer value with your efficient removal and high value legendaries or by taking the game to fatigue.

Your best tool to finish your opponent is the 12-damage burst your enraged Grommash Hellscream provides. 

Why Blackwing Corruptor over Sludge Belcher in Control Warrior?

The main reason I cut Sludge Belcher is because it is weak to silence. If you play it against an aggro deck, it gives you a false sense of security in case your opponent holds an owl, which every good aggro deck runs 2 off. Getting Sludge Belcher silenced can lose you the game on the spot. Blackwing Corruptor on the other hand can remove for instance a Knife Juggler from hand while providing an aggressive body that trades well or allows you to put pressure on your opponent. Its main weakness is obviously its activation condition. With 3 clunky Dragons in your deck you can activate it surprisingly consistent though.

The Dragons

As mentioned above you need 3 Dragons to consistently activate your Blackwing Corruptors. My Dragon #1 is Alexstraza because she is great at helping you stabilize against the popular aggro decks.

Dragon #2 is Nefarian because he gives you instant value. The 2 Spells help you spend your mana in late game and the chance that at least one of them is useful is pretty high.

Dragon #3 is Deathwing because he is great in 2 popular matchups right now: against Warlock and Grim Patron Warrior.

I like going all-in on Big Game Hunter targets, which is the main reason I don’t run Ysera.

That being said Ysera is probably the best replacement, if you don’t own one of the three Dragons.

No Emperor Thaurissan?

Emperor Thaurissan is without a doubt a very powerful card that accelerates your lategame. I chose not to include him because having three 6-drops is enough for me. Two Shieldmaidens are auto-include in Warrior and Sylvanas Windrunner is a better card than Emperor in a deck that wants to keep the board under control.

Furthermore, we want to muscle down our opponent by dropping Legendary after Legendary in late game. After playing Emperor Thaurissan we still can only drop one Legendary per turn, so he doesn’t really help our game plan.

Card Choices

Execute x2: Staple

Shield Slam x2: Staple

Fiery War Axe x2: Your early game bread and butter against aggro decks.

Revenge x1: 1-mana more expensive whirlwind with potential huge upside that can win you a game, you would not win otherwise. Good against Zoo, Hunter, and Paladin. Can clear a Patron wave if you happen to be below 13 HP. Triggers execute and enrages Grommash in late game or can be cycled with Acolyte of Pain.

Armorsmith x2: Very strong anti-aggro card: playing this on turn 2 allows you to trade 2 for 1 again, or soak up a weapon hit while gaining armor. In this deck Armorsmith is a little bit less strong than in a more standard list because there are no Belchers to protect it.

Cruel Taskmaster x2: Flexible value card: Kills most of the 2-1s aggro decks play, draws you a card from Acolyte of Pain, buffs 1 of your creatures, propels a 5-attack creature into BGH range, enables execute or enrages Grommash.

Shield Block x2: This card cycles your deck, enables Shield Slam and allows you to stabilize your health against all kinds of decks. Using it on turn 3 is not always correct, but if you have no plays the following turns I would use it to find something. If not, armor up is probably better because Shield Block will guarantee you its value at a later time. Also, always consider a possible 3-damage Revenge before using it.

Acolyte of Pain x2: Your main card draw engine. Against aggro decks you play it on curve, against control/midrange you try to play it together with a whirlwind effect or a Cruel Taskmaster to get immediate value, since it is weak to silence.

Big Game Hunter x1: A 5th hard removal improves your control matchups by a lot. Can kill a 5-attack creature in combination with Cruel Taskmaster. Against aggro decks you can play him as a 3 drop on curve.

deaths-bite x2: First turn it removes anything with 4 or less health. Second turn you swing it removes anything with 5 or less health while clearing all the x-1 creatures, drawing you a card from Acolyte of Pain, enabling execute or enraging Grommash. Be conservative with your second swing, if you have an execute in hand.

Brawl x1: Your comeback mechanism if you failed to control the board in early game. Combos well with Sylvanas Windrunner if she is already on the board or if you saved the coin until turn 10.

Blackwing Corruptor x2: Your 5 drop of choice in this deck. Removes anything with 3 or less health while providing an aggressive body. Enables execute or can be played in combination with Shield Slam to remove a bigger creature. Its battlecry kills the first part of Piloted Shredder and its body trades up with Sludge Belcher. You run 3 dragons to benefit from its battlecry as consistently as possible. If you don’t hold a dragon, don’t hesitate to drop it on turn 5 if the board state allows it.

Harrison Jones x1: Your best friend against Weapon classes, especially Grim Patron Warrior.

Shieldmaiden x2: This card is the main reason Control Warrior is playable. Provides a 5-5 body while helping you stabilize against aggro decks and enables your Shield Slams, for example turn 7 Shieldmaiden + Shield Slam on an Emperor Thaurissan is a very strong play.

Sylvanas Windrunner x1: Good Card if you are behind on board. Wins you the Brawl and can serve as a 7-mana Mindcontrol in combination with Shield Slam. Keep in mind she is one of your only silence targets in the deck.

Dr. Boom x1: First big Legendary. Good to bait BGH.

Grommash Hellscream x1: Your finisher. Can also trade with a 4 or less health creature to help stabilize the board

Alexstrasza x1: Dragon #1 is an additional tool to stabilize against aggro decks. Can be used offensively to set up lethal or apply huge pressure.

Nefarian x1: 8-8 Body that gives you immediate value. Good to bait BGH.

Deathwing x1: This card is your insurance if things go terribly wrong for you. Play it and you are back in the game. Against control this card wins you the fatigue battles. Make sure to have baited all of their removal before you play him.

Matchups, Mulligans and Tech

vs Patron Warrior (favored):

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pains, Harrison Jones and Brawl.
  • You win this matchup if you clear both Patron waves and remove both Frothing Berserkers so don’t hesitate to use your removal freely to achieve this.
  • Save Harrison Jones for Death’s Bite
  • Clear Patron Waves by either brawling, using your removal spells and weapons or dropping Deathwing in late game.
  • Deny their card draw by using executes on Acolyte of Pain.
  • Don’t play Acolyte of Pain or Armorsmith in late game unless you hold brawl so that your opponent cannot split his patron on them.
  • If your opponent drew a lot of his deck play super defensively by not dropping more than 1 minion at a time to play around Frothing Berserker burst as well as possible.
  • If your opponent is low on cards and didn’t draw a lot of his deck play as aggressively as possible.

Tech Cards: 2nd Brawl, Acidic Swap Ooze, Sunwalker, Iron Juggernaut.

vs Control Warrior (50-50)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pain, Harrison Jones
  • Keep track of your opponents removal (Executes, Shield Slams, Big Game Hunter)
  • Play for as much value as possible.
  • Bait their Big Game Hunter with Nefarian or Dr. Boom.
  • Don’t play your threats into a high armor count if you haven’t seen any Shield Slams yet.
  • Try to be further away from fatigue than your opponent in late game.

Tech Cards: Ysera, Sneed’s Old Shredder, Ironbeak Owl, Gorehowl

vs Druid (highly un-favored)

  • Mulligan for Death’s Bite, Acolyte of Pain, Armorsmith together with Taskmaster, Execute.
  • Play as aggressive as possible to force the Druid to play reactive: Best opening would be coin Armorsmith into Taskmaster on your Armorsmith into Acolyte of Pain.
  • Don’t hesitate to take risks in this matchup.
  • Never play around double combo unless you are certain he holds it.

Tech Cards: Ysera, Sneed’s Old Shredder, Gorehowl, Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcher, The Black Knight, Loatheb, Emperor Thaurissan

vs Face Hunter (favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pain, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Revenge.
  • Try to use your Hero Power as much as possible.
  • Try to play your Shield Blocks and Shieldmaidens in combination with an Armor-up.
  • Armor-up + Shield Slam is a better way to remove a Knife Juggler, a Wolfrider or an Arcane Golem than using your weapon.
  • Go Face with your Weapons.
  • Don’t trigger explosive Traps unless you want to start dealing damage with your big creatures already on the board, or you have an Armorsmith and several minions out. If you are healthy (20HP+) and there is no Eaglehorn Bow equipped you can trigger the trap as well.

Tech Cards: Unstable Ghoul, Senjin Shieldmasta, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Antique Healbot; Ironbeak Owl

vs Midrange Hunter (50-50)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pain, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster.
  • This matchup revolves mostly around you being able to deal with their Freezing Traps an with their turn 6 Savannah Highmane.
  • Always try to have 2 minions on the board in order to trigger Freezing Trap with one of them.
  • Always play around turn 4 Houndmaster by removing their beasts.
  • Tech Cards: Ironbeak Owl, Sludge Belcher, Baron Geddon

vs Tempo Mage (slightly un-favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Brawl, Cruel Taskmaster + Execute, Shield Slam.
  • Save your Armorsmith for their Mirror Entity.
  • Remove Sorcerers Apprentice with Armor-up + Shield slam if she is protected by Mirror Images.
  • Try to stay alive and don’t play for value, your Late game cards are hard for them to remove and will help you win the game.

Tech Cards: Ironbeak Owl, Slam, Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcher, Baron Geddon, Gorehowl

vs Freeze Mage (highly favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Shieldmaiden.
  • Use your Heropower as often as possible
  • Drop your Armorsmith into a big board and use Revenge or the Death’s Bite deathrattle to stack a huge amount of armor and win the game from there.
  • Tech Cards: Loatheb, Antique Healbot, Iron juggernaut, Ragnaros.

vs Aggro Paladin (un-favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Cruel Taskmaster, Revenge, Brawl.
  • Play cards every turn because Divine Favour is your biggest enemy in this matchup. For example don’t hesitate to reequip a 2 durability weapon with a new weapon.
  • Take as much damage as possible and don’t play for value. Acolyte of Pain should for example trade with the Wolfrider instead of the Southsea Deckhand.
  • Tech Cards: Whirlwind, Unstable Ghoul, Iron Beak Owl, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Blood Knight, Senjin Shieldmasta, 2nd Brawl, Baron Geddon

vs Midrange Paladin (slightly un-favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Cruel Taskmaster, Revenge, Harrison Jones.
  • Try to use Harrison Jones on Lights Justice Weapon, or save him for the Ashbringer.
  • Play around Quartermaster as much as possible.
  • Pressure him with Alexstraza as soon as possible.
  • Try to stay aggressive.

Tech Cards: 2nd Revenge, Iron Beak Owl, Acidic Swamp Ooze , Piloted Shredder, 2nd Brawl, Sludge Belcher, Iron Juggernaut, Baron Geddon, Sneed’s Old Shredder, Ysera

vs Priest (highly favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pain, Cruel Taskmaster + Execute
  • This deck does better against Priest than the more standard versions because it doesn’t run any Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest targets.
  • Play around Shadow Madness and Cabal Shadow Priest, never donate them an Acolyte of Pain.
  • Don’t give Priest any value, only drop 1 minion at a time.
  • Focus on removing their creatures and armoring up, if they can’t do proactive plays they will lose because they will end up losing the fatigue battle to you.
  • Pressure him with Alexstraza as soon as possible.

Tech Cards: Gorehowl, Iron Juggernaut, Ragnaros the Firelord.

vs Rogue (highly favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Acolyte of Pain, Harrison Jones.
  • Focus on removing their creatures right away.
  • Play your big threats in late game, once all saps are gone you should win.
  • Don’t hesitate to use Harrison Jones on a 2-durability dagger, since a good Rogue player won’t allow you to destroy his tinkered dagger by using Blade Flurry right away.

Tech Cards: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Sludge Belcher, Loatheb, Iron Juggernaut, Ragnaros the Firelord.

vs Mech Shaman (50-50)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Execute, Brawl, Big Game Hunter.
  • This matchup comes down to you drawing your weapons or not and you having an answer for turn 5 Fel Reaver or not.
  • Focus on controlling the board and stabilizing to play your big threats in late game; they usually have no Hexes to deal with them.

Tech Cards: 2nd Big Game Hunter, 2nd Brawl, Sludge Belcher.

vs Midrange Shaman (highly un-favored)

  • Mulligan for Weapons, Armorsmith + Taskmaster, Acolyte of Pain, Brawl.
  • This is by far Warriors worst matchup and in order to have a chance to win it you need to play very aggressive; the longer the game goes the less likely you are to win.
  • Deathwing can be game winning if both Hexes and Big Game Hunter are gone.
  • -Try to set up Grommash lethal with Alexstraza.

Tech Cards: Sludge Belcher, 2nd Brawl, Baron Geddon, Gorehowl.

vs Zoo (50-50)

  • Mulligan for Fiery War Axe, keep Death’s Bite with coin.
  • If you find Fiery War Axe in your Mulligan you are in a good spot to win the game.
  • If you don’t have any weapons you need to get a good Brawl to comeback.
  • In general you should kill Voidcallers, if there is a way for your opponent to suicide it, so that he cannot control what comes out of it next turn or he might not hold a demon yet.
  • Deathwing on turn 10 is usually game winning.

Tech Cards: 2nd Revenge, Ironbeak Owl, 2nd Brawl, Sludge Belcher, Baron Geddon.

vs Handlock (favored)

  • Mulligan for Death’s Bite, Cruel Taskmaster + Execute, Shield Block + Shield Slam, Big Game Hunter
  • Never attack their face unless you kill them, so that they have to tap to get in Molten Giant Range. Your first goal is to make them do weak plays because they need to play cards in order to not overdraw next turn and your ultimate goal is to win by fatiguing them.
  • A turn 3 Twilight Drake you should kill with your Death’s Bite by hitting it twice over 2 turns.
  • Play your Acolyte of Pains together with a Whirlwind effect or into their turn 4.
  • You should prioritize killing giants with Shield Slams as long as you have the armor-count to do that.
  • Keep track of their removal, and taunts/taunt givers to plan your next moves.
  • Don’t play Dr. Boom if it would allow them to get into Molten Giants Range by killing the Boom Bots.
  • If the Handlock is good he will decide to play Jaraxxus as fast as possible because he knows you won’t put him into Molten Range. Having Harrison Jones ready for that move usually wins you the game.
  • Wait for as much Brawl value as possible.
  • Play Deathwing if you have as small of a hand size as possible, or if your opponent used both his removals and Sylvanas +Shadowflame already.

Tech Cards: Ironbeak Owl, 2nd Big Game Hunter, 2nd Brawl, Iron Juggernaut, Sneed’s Old Shredder, Ysera

Final Thoughts

Playing Control Warrior is a good way to climb to Legend because it is favored against the most popular decks at the moment. Games take longer than with an aggro deck but the higher win rate compensates for that.

In case the meta game shifts towards midrange decks such as Druid, I would recommend you to have a backup deck ready that beats these type of decks consistently.

I hope I can help some people out with this guide. It is the first one I wrote, so let me know what you think of it.

Follow me on Twitter (@F2K_wiRer) and Twitch (twitch.tv/iamwirer)

Shout outs to my team Fade2Karma (@Fade2Karma), to Fibonacci and my friend Stormbolt, who influenced my Warrior deck building the most and to all the other Control Warriors out there.

Editor’s Note: If you’re new to Control Warrior, or would like a refresher – check out the beginner guide to Control Warrior! Also include Advanced and Matchups and Mulligans!