Countering Secret Paladins

With the buzz over the new meta deck – the Secret Paladin – you might be facing a lot of them on the ladder these couple of days. While it’s a fun deck to play, you might be interested to learn how to counter them. Thus Team HSP will provide a few quick tips on how to […]

With the buzz over the new meta deck – the Secret Paladin – you might be facing a lot of them on the ladder these couple of days. While it’s a fun deck to play, you might be interested to learn how to counter them. Thus Team HSP will provide a few quick tips on how to play against this rising deck!

Know The Decklist

There are 2 main versions of the Secret Paladin – the Midrange version and the Aggro version. (Check out this post for sample decklist). Unfortunately, they can have identical openers and there’s no way to tell which version you’re facing until the first Divine Favor or Dr. Boom comes down. But that’s okay, because the keys to beating this deck is the same no matter which version you are facing.

Its Weaknesses

Board Clears (AOE)

Classes that run a lot of AOE are great counters to this deck. Priests with Wild Pyromancer and Holy Nova. Midrange Paladin that run Consecration (powered also by a lot of healing). And ofcourse, Patron Warrior! And one of the hardest counter – Aggro/Face Hunters with Explosive Trap.

Taunts

Taunt is another good answer to the Secret Paladin. However, be careful of Truesilvers and Blessing of Kings (coupled with a minion with Divine Shield, it can really wreck your board control). Dragon Priest is a up and coming deck that run a good amount of Taunts.

Flare (Not Kezan Mystic)

Flares from Hunters can really slow the deck down. Mystics aren’t worth it Paladin secrets are numerous and cheap, the tempo gain from it won’t have as big impact as saying stealing a Freezing Trap or a Mirror Entity.

Know Their Secrets

By understanding how Paladin secrets work, we can play around it by playing into it with precise deliberation! So memorize these secrets – AvengeNoble SacrificeRedemptionCompetitive SpiritRepentance.

Playing Around Secrets

Avenge

This triggers when one of their minion dies. So think twice about killing a weaker minion when there are more than 1 on the board. Make sure you can take care of the other minion now buffed up, if the secret turns out to be Avenge!

If there are 2 secrets on board, careful that it’s the Avenge + Noble Sacrifice combo – the minion spawned from Noble Sacrifice will also trigger Avenge!

Noble Sacrifice

If they got a minion that has to be removed, make sure to test for Noble Sacrifice by attacking with a weaker minion to their face/another minion so that you don’t waste your minion (that’s capable of killing the their threat) and have it blocked by Noble Sacrifice.

Competitive Spirit

This is the only secret in the game (so far) that triggers on the opponent’s own turn. Be sure to remember that this doesn’t trigger if the Paladin has no minion at the start of his turn!

If they have a big board and lay down a secret – there’s a high chance that this is the card. Clear the board as much as you can to minimize the impact of this card. Sometimes you can leave a smaller minion on board on purpose to trigger it ‘safely’. Nothing feels worse for a Secret Paladin than seeing a 1/1 turn into a 2/2.

Repentance

Easily checked by playing a minion (that you don’t mind having it reduced to 1 Health, unless you have no other choice). Another way is if you both have minions on board, you can trade into each other to see if it’s the other secrets first (this should be done first so you can know if you can play your minion safely).

Redemption

Kill their weakest minion to check this secret. Be wary of killing a minion with divine shield since it’ll be harder to remove (they’ll spawn with a new shield up!).

The Order of Play

The tricky part about Paladin secrets is when they get like 4-5 out due to Mysterious Challenger. It’s a whole different game than checking Hunter secrets – you usually know what secret it is by the cards other they play (ie: Webspinner signals it’s Midrange Hunter, which means most likely a Freezing Trap).

So what happens when they do manage to field all their secrets while minions on board? Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Attack into their weakest minion (without Divine Shield), to check for Noble Sacrifice (make sure you can kill it if there’s no Noble Sacrifice). If no Noble Sacrifice, next up is Redemption. If it triggers, you just resurrected their weakest minion – yay!
  • Next up is the Avenge trigger. This will also happen if you triggered Noble Sacrifice and kills the 2/1 that spawns. This secret is unavoidable unless you can clear their board in a single move.
  • You’ve now checked for 3 of the 5 secrets they play. If their board is now weak, you can play a minion to test for Repentance. If it’s not Repentance then it’s the last secret – Competitive Spirit.

Closing

Once you become experienced playing against Secret Paladins, Uther turning into a Christmas Tree will not scare you as much anymore.

We’ll have more in-depth guides on Secret Paladins soon and hopefully this quick guide will up your win rate again this threat!