How to Beat Oil Rogue

Struggling against Rogue's Oil / Blade Flurry combination? Check out this week's edition of CFWS to see how to beat them!

Introduction

Hello everyone! Countering the Flavor of the Week Series is ongoing a group of changes that will update previous articles into newer lists as well as better explanations.

Initial thoughts are to update the most played decks in the metagame.

Explaining the Deck

The Oil Rogue is simply an updated version of the long known Miracle Rogue deck. Following a series of balances (nerfs) and card additions by Blizzard aimed at lowering the overall power level of the deck, Oil Rogue has risen to become Miracle’s latest version.

But what is the objective of these so-called “Miracle” decks? – Miracle Rogue aims to “abuse” Rogue’s access to massive card draw and cheap spells to take over the game, usually burning through the entire deck on fewer turns than standard decks are capable of doing. The deck name originates from “growing” questing-adventurer and edwin-vancleef to huge proportions similar to the old Magic: the Gathering archetype “Miracle Gro”. The deck also incorporated the brutal synergy of gadgetzan-auctioneer and Rogue’s cheap spells, usually resulting into “Miracle” turns where the Rogue player is capable of cycling through his deck while playing tons of cards all on a single turn.

Over the past year, the deck finished the game in a variety of ways. However, the purpose of today is not to give a history lesson, rather to talk about the specific list being used on today’s ladder. Therefore, let’s get right to the point!

Today’s lists tend to close out games with the massive burst combination of tinkers-sharpsword-oil + blade-flurry. This powerful combination is usually capable of dealing 15+ damage on a single turn.

The damage preceding lethal [damage] is usually a byproduct of the massive cycling Rogue already does on its own to gain board presence as well as disrupt its opponent’s plays.

Sometimes the pressure applied during the cycling turns alone is so potent that the Rogue player doesn’t even need the combo to win.

As a combo deck, it focuses primarily on drawing cards to sculpt the perfect hand, never running out of cards until going for the kill.

I’ve spotlighted the deck list I believe is currently strongest in the meta-game. This also happens to be the standard Oil Rogue list that is most commonly played on constructed ladder.

The Deck’s Strengths

Now that we know how the deck works, let’s get acquainted with the strong points of the deck:

  1. Consistency – Due to the deck’s cycling ability, the Rogue player is generally able to find the necessary response cards to whatever his opponent plays.
  2. Versatility – The highly potent burst damage of the tinkers-sharpsword-oil + blade-flurry combination effectively doubles as a devastating board sweeper to keep the Rogue player in control.
  3. Synergy – The deck’s massive number of cheap spells allows the Rogue player to draw a huge number of cards with gadgetzan-auctioneer and/or populate the board with violet-teacher.

The Deck’s Weaknesses

Okay, now that we understand how the deck is built, how it functions, and what its strong points are, you might ask me, “Nuba, what about its weaknesses? How do we stop Oil Rogue from winning?!”

Listed below are Oil Rogue’s most common weaknesses:

  1. Being a Combo-Oriented Deck – This means the deck relies on a chain of plays in order to reach its goal. Fortunately, you can disrupt this chain on your turn. Often enough, killing the Rogue’s minions (as opposed to playing your own to contest the board) will kill their tempo, giving you the upper hand.
  2. Card Disadvantage – Upon reading those words, you might be screaming at the screen, “But this deck has so much card draw!” To make myself clear, I was referring to the various cards with inherent card disadvantage: Preparation, Sap, and Blade Flurry. If you are able to bait these cards out early, it becomes very difficult for them to win.
  3. One Minion on Board Requirement – Outside of abnormal southsea-deckhand turns, it’s really difficult for the deck to apply enough damage to finish the game. Cutting their initial sources of damage (their minions) often cuts their damage potential in half.
  4. Reliance on preparation – Whenever they run out of “Prep”s, the potential of them having a big turn is heavily diminished.
  5. Deck Difficulty – Oil Rogue punishes players very hard for sub-optimal plays. Making the wrong play(s) usually leads the Rogue player to easily losing tempo, ultimately costing them the game.

How to Fight Against It!

The main idea is to keep applying pressure while denying them board presence. The primary goal against Oil Rogue, as said before, is to kill their minions. ALWAYS choose to deny them board presence over improving your own board state!

Furthermore, there are quite a few ways of beating Oil Rogue. For example, you can out-tempo Rogue by playing decks like Fast Druid, Face Hunter or Shaman Aggro. Alternatively, you can choose to outlast Rogue by playing slow control decks like Control Warrior and Handlock.

Control Warrior is the best option to fight the meta-menace that is Oil Rogue. Its weapons provide easy ways of 2-for-1’ing the Rogue player while keeping their board clear. Meanwhile, the heavy armor stacking makes it very difficult for the Rogue to burst through. Much like the Freeze Mage (though not quite as lopsided), it is very unlikely for the Rogue to get through all of that Warrior armor.

Nowadays, Oil Rogue isn’t as meta-impositive as it once was, and it is not a good idea to choose specific decks to steal games from Oil Rogue alone. The best option to fight Oil Rogue in the ladder, however, is playing decks such as the ones said previously: Fast Druid, Face Hunter, Mech Shaman, Handlock or Control Warrior. Alternatively, you can choose to run loatheb in your deck in order to have a time-walk effect against such deck.

Decks that focus on contesting the board rather than dealing with it, such as Control Paladin and Priests are extremely weak against Oil Rogue, and whenever the metagame seems to be Rogue-oriented should be avoided.

Conclusion

Even after so much time Oil Rogue is still a very strong deck. Some argue that, in this current metagame, it is a tier-1 deck once again.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this mildly edited article, see you in the next one!

Love you guys,

Nuba