Laaadies and Gentlemen! Today I’m bringing you guys one of our newest home-brews: The Mech Paladin!
Yap, Mech Paladin! After some thinking, I came to some conclusions about Paladin that I am going to share with y’all in this Deck Tech.
I have been developing a pretty fun Midrange Paladin deck for quite a while now, and I decided it is time to share the list.
I always saw the Paladin Midrange deck as very Mech-oriented. Paladin already runs tons of Mechs: shielded-minibot, piloted-shredder and piloted-sky-golem. After a brief chat with some friends, we came to the conclusion that adding a couple mechwarpers and cogmasters to the deck was an obvious idea, so I went for it and developed the deck from there.
In the end, the deck ended up playing almost exactly like Midrange Paladin, but traded consistency for explosive potential.
Overall, I felt safer playing the deck as it brought me from rank 800+ Legend to top 100 within a few games. The most powerful weapon of this deck is its surprise factor. People usually play around it as if it was an aggro deck, then have no responses for your late game threats.
Oh, did I forget to say how fun it is? I got BM’ed every single match on my grind, as people thought they were playing against aggro. They wiped the board, only to get smashed down by the late game and mid-range power of the standard Midrange Paladin.
The difference between this deck and your average Midrange Paladin is the core of traditional Mech cards. The power of Mechwarper is already known by many, and the fact that you can actually drop big late game bombs a turn earlier is just huge. Another thing to notice is that both kelthuzad and cult-master gain extra value here because you play more early-game minions.
Another nice thing about this list is that adding a second quartermaster here doesn’t cause us harm, since the opponent will usually be spending their removal on your Mechs as you prepare for the Quartermaster turn. Overall this list seems as strong as Mid-range Paladin, I could say stronger but I don’t have enough numbers (games played) to make this claim yet.
Let us talk about the card choices individually?
cogmaster – This guy was a 2-of for quite some time now. Only recently, did I decide to cut 1 of these guys for a Cult Master. I’m not sure which variant is the correct choice, but I feel comfortable with only 1 of these guys as we don’t want to draw him later in the game. At least it causes less harm to us late-game than a Chow would. This also allows for explosive starts following this up with a Mech.
equality – We have more ways of controlling the board through our minions, which means sometimes having 2 of these can be bad for us. It’s not a surprise that Midrange Paladins (not only this list) have switched from two copies to just one.
mechwarper – The sole reason this deck exists (and probably any other Mech deck). This guy allows you to out-tempo your opponent by playing minions ahead of curve.
shielded-minibot – A very powerful 2-drop that is a core part of any Paladin deck post-GvG. This card combined with muster-for-battle were the sole reasons Paladin became playable after GvG.
muster-for-battle – A multi-function card. It has a bunch of good effects in one, it also has great synergy with quartermaster which allows for big tempo-swings.
aldor-peacekeeper – This is a very strong core card in Paladin’s decks, regardless of strategy. Aldor Peacekeeper is arguably only comparable to Dark Cultist as the strongest 3-drop in the game.
big-game-hunter – Everybody is running dr-boom. You might as well have a strong response for it. This guy also helps the Control Matchups as the great majority of Control decks run more than just Boom as a 7+ Attack minion.
spider-tank – A strong 3-drop that also happens to be a Mech. This performed a lot better than harvest-golem in playtesting because there are a lot more 3-health minions in the meta-game, which this can take out.
truesilver-champion and consecration – Core Paladin cards. 2-of in every deck.
cult-master – A very recent addition. I am not sure yet how good this card is, but some friends suggested it, so I’m testing it out. Fortunately, the results have been good so far as I’ve always wanted this card over the Cogmaster in my hand when I drew into it. It gave me a couple of cards here and there so I am sticking with it for the time being.
piloted-shredder – The best neutral 4-drop in the game that also happens to be a Mech. beep-boop.
quartermaster – I usually don’t recommend running two Quartermasters regardless of the Paladin list. Most of the time this is going to be a dead card for quite a while, and having two means sometimes you will have two dead cards. This list, however, has stronger early game, meaning the opponent will be busying dealing with your Mechs while leaving the 1/1s unchecked. Therefore, this card has a lot more potential in this build than in any other Paladin build out there, so I feel safe enough to run 2 of these guys.
sludge-belcher – You must be asking yourself what on earth is a defensive card such as Belcher doing in an aggressive deck such as this. The answer is simple: protect your smaller minions while you make favorable trades or rush the opponent down. Belcher is a very good card for both the aggro and the control match-up.
piloted-sky-golem – This is a very power 6-drop, and just like Piloted Shredder and Spider Tank, the fact this is also a Mech justifies its inclusion in the deck.
sylvanas-windrunner – The strongest 6-drop in the game that also happens to dodge Big Game Hunter. She’s a control killer.
lay-on-hands – Heals you up and refreshes your hand. Remember that you are playing a midrange deck after all, so this is pretty strong at keeping you ahead. This also happens to be a good card against Face Hunters (where are they? I haven’t faced one this season O_o).
kelthuzad – I swapped sneeds-old-shredder for this guy very recently. I am, once again, not yet sure which one of these is better but I know I want a big legendary here.
tirion-fordring – The best class Legendary in the entire game. Play him.
Putting the deck together was easy, the hardest part is knowing the best options for each slot. I currently run no targets for Big Game Hunter, since I believe its being used in most of the decks and I don’t want to get hit by big tempo-swings.
The mulligan for this deck is not simple, since we have different picks for different match-ups.
In general, the cards you will always want to have in your starting hand are:
- Cogmaster – Mechwarper – Shielded Minibot – Muster for Battle – Spider Tank.
If you already have Cogmaster, Mechwarper or Minibot, you’ll also want to keep Piloted Shredder in your starting hand.
Then we go to the match-up specific keeps:
- Against Warriors – Harrison Jones in case your hand is already good (*)
- Against Druids – Aldor Peacekeeper or Truesilver Champion(in case you have both, keep the Peacekeeper only)
- Against Hunters – Consecration
- Agaisnt Warlocks – Big Game Hunter in case they mulligan their whole hand (**)
- Against Priest – Truesilver Champion, but feel free to keep Aldor Peacekeeper in case your hand is already good (*).
(*) – An “already good” hand, in this case, is a hand that has at least 2 of the cards listed on the General Mulligan.
(**) – Generally Handlock will mulligan every single card he has looking for mountain-giants and/or twilight-drakes, therefore if a opponent does that, the odds of him playing Handlock are pretty large.
How to Play the Deck
This deck can either play like a standard Midrange Paladin or a Midrange Hunter. Usually curving out well means you have tempo and can play hyper-aggressively. If you don’t curve out perfectly, you can also play the game as a standard control-midrange deck.
The main goal is to trade minions against aggro and midrange decks, since our plays are generally stronger. Against Face Hunter, we usually want to rush him down before he can rush us, so we don’t trade much in this scenario. Remember Truesilver heals us for 2 while dealing 4 damage, which is very important in the Face Hunter match-up. Given its RNG-heavy nature, Face Hunter match-ups are slightly unfavorable, while the other aggro matchups are slightly favorable.
Against Control decks, play more conservatively, holding on to a couple of minions in case of a board wipe. Since you are a Paladin, your plays are generally stronger than his, and you have multiple ways of disrupting their late-game, so this match-up is favorable.
Against midrange decks, this deck plays out similar to the control match-up, but you should play a little less conservatively since midrange decks generally don’t have strong board clears. Aldor Peacekeeper is the all-star of this matchup.
This deck shares Paladin’s general weakness to Oil Rogue, but the lower curve gives it the potential to rush the Rogue down thus improving the match-up to slightly unfavorable rather than greatly unfavorable.
Small (random) general tips:
- Coin Mechwarper only if you have another Mech to play the following turn.
- Never get behind unless you have Equality combos to get back a turn or two later.
- This deck runs less heals than the average Paladin (no Healbot), therefore, be more conservative with your life.
- This is not a rush deck, go for the value plays and good trades instead of simply smashing face.
- On turn 8 on an empty board what do you play when you have both Lay on Hands and Tirion Fordring? Tirion is, generally, the better play. Even if it dies, it usually takes away more than 8 damage, and you will be able to use the weapon to kill something then heal yourself right after.
- Piloted Sky Golem is always a better play on an empty board than Sylvanas Windrunner.
- Against Druids, don’t be overly conservative with your Aldor Peacekeepers. The best thing you’ll get to hit is usually a 5 attack minion. Use Big Game Hunter for Dr. Boom.
This deck has almost the same match-ups as the standard Paladin Midrange. However, it’s actually slightly better against Oil Rogue, which is Paladins only real bad match-up.
Here’s a recap:
- Fast Druid: 60-40
- Warrior Control: 60-40
- Mid-range Hunter: 55-45
- Ramp Druid: 50-50
- Mech Mage: 50-50
- Shaman Mid-range: 50-50
- Demonlock: 50-50
- Handlock: 50-50
- Face Hunter: 45-55
- Paladin Control: 40-60
- Priest Control: 40-60
- Oil Rogue: 40-60
- Freeze Mage: 40-60
Note that the Freeze Mage and Face Hunter match-ups get better if you slide in antique-healbots. Both match-ups go up to 60-40 with Healbots. However, all your other match-ups go down by something around a tiny bit, because you will be losing either Quartermaster or Sludge Belcher.
Sideboard and Budget Substitutions
This is not much of a budget deck, meaning that none of the epic cards can be replaced for similar effects. However, the sideboard options allow you to change a few flexible slots that you don’t have for cards that you might have.
- 1x Quartermaster or 1x Sludge Belcher -> Harrison Jones. This allows for a better match-up against Warriors and Paladins (*).
- 1x Quartermaster or 1x Sludge Belcher -> Antique Healbot. This allows for a better match-up against Hunters and Freeze Mage (*).
- 1x Quartermaster -> Loatheb. This gives you a better match-up against Rogues. Notice that I did not include Belcher here as a replacement because it’s good against Rogue to protect your minions (that are very vulnerable in this match-up when not behind a Taunt).
- 1x Kel’Thuzad -> Dr. Boom or Sneed’s Old Shredder. Make this replacement if you don’t have or don’t want to run this card.
- 1x Cult Master -> kezan-mystic. This improves your match-ups against both Mech Mage and Hunter.
- 1x Cult Master -> Cogmaster. This makes the deck more aggressive, but also slightly less resilient.
- 1x Cogmaster -> Zombie Chow. If you want a better match-up against aggro, the Chows are generally better than the Cogmaster. However they’re weak against all other match-ups.
- 1x Big Game Hunter -> coghammer or mind-control-tech – This improves your aggro match-ups. Note that your control match-up will be weakened significantly.
- 2x Sludge Belcher -> 2x bomb-lobber – In case you don’t have Naxxramas. This makes your Rogue and midrange match-ups slightly better, but hurts your control match-ups.
- 1x Sylvanas Windrunner -> cairne-bloodhoof, the-black-knight, toshley or dr-boom. Make this replacement if you don’t have or don’t want to run this card.
(*) – Never ever change both your Quartermasters, you need at least 1. Remember that Quartermaster is the best card to take out for a single 5-drop replacement, but in case you want to add the second one, take out a Belcher instead.
This is the Mech Paladin deck tech. I hope you guys have fun playing this deck as much as I do. The deck is overall very fun and has a smoother learning curve than the other Paladin lists out there.
Sometimes it’s nice to introduce people to fun and different builds, and this one was just one of those. Its nice to read about strong top-tier lists played by Pros on the high-end ladder, but sometimes people just want different stuff to play so they can feel unique. If you are one of these people, this is a deck for you!
Remember this is also a fringe/new deck, so changing a couple of cards can sometimes reward you. Experiment!
This is it guys until my next article!