It’s Baaack! MintPanda’s Top 100 Legend Miracle Rogue

Rogue has had a hard road in Hearthstone thus far, not to mention the Leeroy and Gadgetzan nerfs. But despite all that, Miracle Rogue is coming back!

Introduction

Hey guys, it’s RaFive!

Today I’m thrilled to announce that MIRACLE IS BACK!

Rogue has had a hard road in Hearthstone thus far. Deathrattle minions like Sludge Belcher killed the old Backspace Rogue. Zoo and Hunter killed the Tempo Rogue. The Leeroy Jenkins nerf significantly weakened Miracle Rogue, and the nerf to Gadgetzan Auctioneer seemingly put a solid few nails in its coffin. Even Mech Rogue hasn’t done that well since GvG.

But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is MintPanda, and his new top 100 Legend Miracle Rogue, the sun! After giving this deck a solid go higher up on the ladder last season and lower down in the first few days of February, I can say unequivocally that this deck packs a punch in the current metagame.

This is a true Miracle Rogue in that it relies on an accelerated cycle, runs Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and tries to finish games out with massive double-digit bursts. With the death of Undertaker and the consequent decline of Hunter/Zoo aggression on the ladder, the MintPanda Miracle is extremely strong in the current metagame as well as just being a strong, consistent deck in general. On top of all that, it’s a joy to play and a pleasure to regularly close games out with 20+ damage to the face.

Overview

There’s an old rule of thumb that in order to get enough draw consistency to pull off the proverbial “miracle” in Miracle Rogue, you need a minimum of about seven draw effects. Thus, this deck runs a single Shiv, a single Sprint (which, really, you can count as more like two draw effects), double Fan of Knives, a Gnomish Inventor, and two Azure Drakes. Although it’s slower and vulnerable to silence, you can also count Bloodmage Thalnos as another card that helps you cycle your deck.

Thalnos is also an auxiliary win condition to combo with your Drakes and Eviscerate / Blade Flurry for significant burst damage that will reach past Taunts.

All these draws lead up to the miracle, which, in this case, is massive burst through weapons plus board control minions. Your primary (i.e. ideal) win condition is to use Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil to buff Southsea Deckhand and your own weapon, and then hit face + Blade Flurry for a guaranteed 13 damage (including 4 damage to everything on the opponent’s side of the board — effectively a free Flamestrike!)

If you equip Assassin’s Blade + Deadly Poison on turn 6 and then play Deckhand into Oil into Flurry the next turn, you’ll do a gruesome 21 damage. At that stage of the game it’s usually enough to one-turn-kill pretty much any opponent except the most heavily prepared Priests and Warriors.

This pretty much puts the old Miracle Rogue back in business, with two major caveats. First is that you can only run one Gadgetzan Auctioneer because it’s so slow. Sprint is your other draw, but it’s too expensive without Preparation, so it’s not as efficient as the old Miracle. This means having a good degree of board control is important to get yourself set up. In addition, Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil is far more effective at burst (as well as pressuring your opponent) when you have a minion on the board, which, again, emphasizes the need for board control.

Fortunately, because you have such insane burst damage as well as excellent, flexible draw effects, you can concentrate on controlling the board. The list runs the full suite of Rogue removal via Backstab, Eviscerate, Deadly Poison, Sap, and SI:7 Agent.

It also packs in a few early-to-mid-game minions as well as Violet Teacher to hang on to that board or extend a lead with spells. Edwin VanCleef is an alternate win condition or additional pressure on your opponent. A single Earthen Ring Farseer adds just a touch of healing to let you use your weapons on minions a little more aggressively.

So, to recap, you’ve got tons of draw; tons of ways to power your weapons to ridiculous levels; Violet Teachers to maintain board in the midgame; and Thalnos plus VanCleef to provide extra options for crushing your opponent. It’s a consistent, well-rounded list that reliably hits hard against any opponent.

How to Play

On the mulligan, you’re generally looking for Backstab, Deadly Poison, and SI:7 Agent. These cards are almost universally good.  Against decks you suspect will swarm you early like Midrange Paladin and Mech Mage, Fan of Knives is also a great keep. These let you remove any pesky early-game minions without much trouble. Make judicious use of your daggers during the early game.

You’re looking to deny your opponent board control over the first three turns or so, after which you build a solid board using Violet Teacher, Gnomish Inventor, and Azure Drake, supplemented by your removal. (Be careful not to overextend; you have enough draw, enough removal, and cheap enough minions that running the risk is needless.)

By turn 6-7, you should have either Assassin’s Blade or Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil in hand and can start setting up to burst your opponent down. If not, you’ll definitely have plenty of draw in hand and thus have little trouble pulling the cards you want out of the bottom half of your deck. To this end, always try to save one Prep in hand for draw purposes if you can rather than burn them on Tinkers or Fan of Knives (unless you absolutely must to stay alive).

Once you’ve achieved some measure of board control in the midgame, it’s pretty straightforward to set up a combo and blast your opponent to tiny smithereens. Blade Flurry is effectively your force multiplier here (substituting for Shadowstep’s role in the old Miracle Rogue). Don’t use it to clear the board except as part of a whack-to-the-face combo.

Around this point, your opponent will likely wisen up to your strategy and start trying to stall you out with taunts or other lock-down cards like Loatheb. Try to save your Saps so that you can remove a Sylvanas Windrunner or Ancient of War from the board at a crucial moment (bonus points if you can combo it with Gadgetzan Auctioneer).

Matchups

Matchups in the current metagame are excellent. This deck was originally put together before the Undertaker nerf, and is designed to beat sticky Deathrattle-heavy decks with aggressive early pressure – the main weakness of current Miracle-type builds. It sails right through against midrange decks, beating them to the punch with superior tempo and racing to the finish with burst. Against control decks, your midrange minions set up quickly and stick well, while Sap answers powerful control minions as a setup for burst finish.

After testing, I can’t find a single genuinely bad matchup in the current metagame (although if you don’t mulligan well, Mech Mage can often whittle you down to Fireball range before you can draw your burst). Midrange Paladin is probably the closest matchup because of multiple board clears through Equality, and Control Warrior / Control Priest are perennial challenges because of their ability to gain life out of your burst range. Miracle, as always, is a tricky deck to play, but enormously powerful with the right player taking the right risks. It’s in a good position to clean up right now.

Subsitutions

MintPanda’s list is excellent. There’s honestly not a whole lot of flex in it without killing either the draw or the burst, which are the two major strengths of the deck. I would say that your major flex spots are Edwin VanCleef, Earthen Ring Farseer, and Gnomish Inventor. Lesser flex spots are a single copy of Fan of Knives, Southsea Deckhand, and possibly one Violet Teacher. (Sorry, F2Pers — I don’t think you can do without Bloodmage Thalnos in this deck.)

If you swap out VanCleef, you need to replace him with something that’s either a big threat or capable of becoming one. Dr. Boom fits here, albeit a tad awkwardly, and so does Questing Adventurer. If you’re not short on dust, Troggzor the Earthinator is a good sub and Sylvanas Windrunner could also work. Loatheb fits in any deck, and is particularly good in this one if you find yourself running into a lot of Paladin and/or Shaman.

The Farseer is by far the most flexible spot in the deck. Three additional health won’t decide most games, so he’s largely there to provide a versatile lower-end minion on curve. The obvious replacement would be Big Game Hunter if you find yourself struggling against control, although Questing Adventurer does okay here, as well. You can put pretty much any one-of card as a tech if you’re facing a lot of a specific kind of deck.

Gnomish Inventor (and to a lesser extent Violet Teacher) represent your midrange flex slots. Spellbreaker can be good here as a substitute, and if you’re running into a lot of midrange decks, you can even pop in a Mechanical Yeti or two, or maybe even a Burly Rockjaw Trogg to bait out removal.

I don’t recommend you do this, but you can trade in a Fan of Knives for a second Blade Flurry — mostly as a matter of personal playstyle / preference. Southsea Deckhand can also be traded in for any minion that makes your early game or combos easier to pull off. Gilblin Stalker isn’t a terrible choice here although the charge on the Deckhand is often too important to ignore.

Conclusion

Miracle is back in a big way. I’ve had a ton of fun over the past few days tearing up the ladder with hefty draws and vicious bursts to the face (sounds dirty, non?), just like in the good old days. Whether you’re a veteran looking for a draught of nostalgia or a newer player looking to see what all the fuss used to be about, this deck is absolutely worth giving a try! Thanks to MintPanda for bringing Rogue back to the top level of the metagame!