In-Depth Turn Analysis #7: Everyone Get in Here!

This week we ask how Grim Patron Warrior should combat a board full of Mechs.

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Hi guys! Welcome to episode#7 of In-Depth Turn Analysis. In this series we take a screenshot of a complex position and several writers discuss possible plays. In order to get the most from the series I would encourage all reader’s to do background research (if applicable) and think about what they would do before reading the opinions of the HSP writing team. It would also be a good idea to get a piece of paper and scribble down your thoughts on the position. By doing this you will get some insight as to what you may need to work on in order to improve.

To Read Last week’s instalment, Click HERE

This week we will be looking at a tough spot Dark Frost found himself in when running his ‘Grim Patron Combo Warrior’ deck.

Okay, Let’s begin!

About This Week’s Deck

You might now know what deck your opponent is playing, but in every game you should know what deck you are playing. Therefore, before we show you the position let’s have a quick look at our deck.  If you have not seen/played a deck like this before I would recommend that you play a few games with it yourself and/or learn about the deck (e.g. Watch videos of the deck in action, and/or read articles about it, etc). If you take the effort to learn how the deck is supposed to work you will probably come up with a better answer when you study this week’s position.

Without further ado, this weeks deck is:


For some reason, nobody will hire me as a Graphic designer… sigh…


You can learn more about the deck by clicking on the following links:


Okay, so I thought I would provide some general links to Grim Patron Warrior stuff. None of the below uses the exact list above, but they should nonetheless provide a good understanding as to how Grim Patron decks work.

  • Th3 Rat’s guide (here). His Twitch Vods (here). Note: Th3 Rat reached #1 Legend (NA) with the deck.
  • Joseph’s Weekly Legends series on Grim Patron (Premium, here).
  • And Finally, I’ll add a Youtube video of me (Smashthings) playing the deck (in the video, I use Th3 Rat’s list):


The Situation

Okay, so let’s look at the position shall we?

In actual games, positions have context beyond the deck you are using. In an effort to make this series more realistic and less ‘puzzle-like’ let’s talk about a few cards that have been used in the game so far and any other little bits of information that seem relevant.




KEY CARDS USED (OPPONENT): Mechwarperx2, Annoy-o-Tronx2, The Coin

CARD(S) IN HAND: {6 Cards:} Execute, Acolyte of Pain, Inner Rage, Whirlwind, Fiery War Axe, Cruel Taskmaster

ANY OTHER NOTES: While not that relevant to this weeks position it is worth pointing out that armouring up on Turn 2 was probably a misplay (according to Th3rat’s guide better would have been to equip the axe), and so this position is a fair bit worse than it ought to have been. Nonetheless, let’s not lament on the past; instead, let’s try and navigate the present situation.

Armed with this information, you must now start to think about the needs/peculiarities of both the position and the match-up. Get busy thinking! In the next section we will see what some of us at HSP thought about the position and what they think is the best play.

Our Opinion(s)

Click on the writer’s name to read their opinion. It is worth noting that all writer’s submit their opinions independently. This has the unfortunate consequence of repetition, but that’s not always a bad thing: hearing the same idea expressed in several different ways can help understanding. Another advantage of repetition is that it can help highlight how Legend Players think in general: If all of the writers analysing the position focus on a particular aspect, then that ought to serve as a good indication that this is a skill/understanding that most Legend Players posses. In short; if you want to hit Legend, focus on the similarities in our thoughts rather than the differences.

The main reason we have gone down this route is that it prevents various forms of ‘group think’ and ‘conformity bias’. Sometimes everyone will agree on the play and then there will be other times where there will be several opposing views. The last thing to be said is that, even though most of us are strong players, we are all still human and we all make mistakes.

Okay let’s have a look what us writer’s think, shall we?

[spoiler title=”Th3 Rat”]Click Here to see what Th3 Rat has written on our website.

The first thing you have to ask yourself at the beginning of every turn is what are all my lines of play. Since this is Grim Patron and not something like say Druid for instance, there are an abundance of options.

First lets analyze the board state and identify the weaknesses of the opponent position and the strengths of mine. My opponent is investing a lot of cards into the current board, therefore if I am able to survive the next two-ish turns and deal with his minions efficiently (I have the tools in hand to do so) I can beat him with card advantage (the strength of my position).

Play #1: Whirlwind + Axe

I think the best line of play is: Whirlwind and then play Fiery War Axe and take out an Annoy-o-tron.

From here next turn you will be looking to pair probably inner rage, execute, and cruel taskmaster to stabilize completely.

There is predominantly one reason that I think this is the best line. Minions are an UNRELIABLE way to deal with minions. If you contest this board with a minion you open yourself up to losing your minion to a weapon (e.g Fiery War Axe)  and then being in the same scenario you were just in, but a turn later into the game and with lower health. This line gives you the best chance to deal with his board within the next two turns.

Play #2: Whirwind/Inner Rage + Execute

Blowing Execute and inner rage seems ill-advised as even if you clear one of the two mech warpers your opponent can still play a 4 mana mech (which is the mech ‘power slot’;Piloted Shredder, is a prime example) for 3 mana.

Moreover, Execute also doesn’t allow you to establish the weapon this turn (whirlwind, on the other hand, does) and is often better saved for a bigger minion. For example, let’s suppose the Mech Warrior tries to exploit the mana cost reduction mechanic by dropping a mighty 5-mana mech on Turn Three (such as a Fel Reaver). Well, by saving the execute we have a counter.

Play #3: Cruel Taskmaster

Taskmaster isn’t even a consideration as it doesn’t let you play the weapon which is something that needs to be played, badly. Like previously said minions are unreliable.

Play #4: Play Acolyte

You could play Acolyte and hope that you get more than one draw and then pick up some cards to help you deal with the situation. I don’t know what cards you would be looking for though since a weapon and whirlwind are pretty much the best way to deal with the board that you have available anyhow. I suppose you could draw into Dread Corsairs and play them for cheap to stabilize, but once again minions tend not to be as reliable so you would probably need to draw at least two Corsairs, which is a long shot. Inner rage plus acolyte also isn’t very good as it lets him just take out acolyte with a weapon or the two divine shields. All in all this play seems risky with not a great reward.


With Patron a lot of the time you just need to concentrate on surviving and let the strength of the deck in the mid to late game shine. I love thinking of alternate text for cards when I am playing. In this picture execute if used on this turn reads gain two health and increase the mana of mechs by 1. Furthermore, since like I said earlier you just need to survive all your cards in combination just have to read get to turn 6-8 and you will win the game. So just find a way to do that.[/spoiler][spoiler title=”Joseph”]

Click Here to see what Joseph has written on our website.

The best play in this particular scenario is to kill one of the Mechwarper’s with the Cruel Taskmaster/Execute combo.

Now, I should probably go ahead and explain why. 

First off, the board is clearly a problem. The only way you are going to get back into this game is, short of drawing something like a Death’s Bite, by making sure both Mechwarpers don’t live. That’s just the reality. Not only do they possibly represent a flood of more mechs next turn, but your opponent has six damage on board, and Warrior has great ways of stacking up lethal. Furthermore, because you are not running Brawl, you need to react to this opening as soon as possible. As such, if you let both of the warpers live, your chances of losing the overall game go up immensely.

Now that we know a Mechwarper needs to die, it takes most of the options out of play. In fact, Mechwarper can only die in three ways. Inner Rage/Execute, Whirlwind/Execute and Cruel Taskmaster/Execute. The first way is not worth it, since you most likely want to use your Inner Rage as either a way to combo or for cheap removal in future turns. Whirlwind is a bad idea for similar reasons. You need cards like Whirlwind to combo with the rest of your deck, and using it to kill one card and take off two divine shields just isn’t worth it. That leaves just one option, which is using the Cruel Taskmaster. 

Out of all three plays aforementioned plays, Cruel Taskmaster also adds something to the board, which also is essential. Yes, your opponent could kill it with the two trons, but that gets rid of both divine shields, which Whirlwind would have done anyway. Additionally, if they use the other Mechwarper to kill it, it sets up the Acolyte of Pain/Whirlwind play for next turn. Since you cannot afford to be reactive, you want to get something on the board here. Putting down a cheap minion while also removing one of their enablers can be very good at slowing their tempo just enough to draw you into your later game. Grim Patron Warrior is a deck that typically relies on getting to turn eight, and that goes double against a deck that runs many small minions. At the current rate, it is unlikely you are going to live that long, but by removing a minion and playing one of your own, you just might have a chance. Especially because you also have Whirlwind, Fiery War Axe and Inner Rage in hand, which serve as additional removal for the middle turns of the game.

Overall, it is best to understand this scenario not so much a “why is this play right?” type of scenario, but rather a “why are all the other plays wrong?”. Both are good at teaching, and we will go through why every other play most likely leads to an eventual loss. At first glance, the play that many might see is to play Acolyte of Pain and hit it with Inner Rage to both get a threat and draw a card (which will most likely be two). This play seems like it could have potential, as this will draw you closer to your combo and most likely take the shields off of the 1/2’s. While all of this is true, it is too reactive, and allows your opponent to keep their snowball going. It draws you cards, but that’s about it. Additionally, your opponent most likely runs Executes, and could simply remove your Acolyte for one mana, only giving you one card, and then continue to hit you in the face. 

The last realistic play this turn is to play Fiery War Axe and hit an Annoy-o-Tron. This was something I actually considered for a long time. It gets rid of a shield, and getting a weapon in hand is nice so you can play things like Taskmaster, Execute, Inner rage and Whirlwind to try and clear the board the following turn. However, your opponent has two cards in hand and is going to draw a third. This means that their opportunities to play something like Piloted Shredder or Screwjank Clunker are pretty high. This once again brings up the “leaving both Mechwarpers” alive problem. Without Brawl as an out, you simply cannot deal with an overwhelming board.

One of the most important parts of Hearthstone is planning for the next turn. Based on your opponent and your current hand, barring a Death’s Bite, you are probably going to play Acolyte and Whirlwind to draw a card and harm your opponent’s board. Knowing this, you really need to remove a mechwarper, because, after your opponent deals with the taskmaster your Whirlwind will just get stronger. The game is at a tipping point right now, and if you don’t try and stop it, it is going to spin out of control. Killing the mechwarper with Cruel Taskmaster is the only way to stop that from happening.

The best way to deal with openings like this are to try to remove everything you can. This is a great scenario, as it shows how simple (and yet how complicated) Hearthstone can be sometimes. While there are a lot of avenues, and many plays that make sense on paper, the line of play is actually quite clear. Planning ahead is a largely underrated part of the game, and this shows how planning ahead can take you to the right play.[/spoiler][spoiler title=”Dark Frost”]Click Here to see what Dark Frost has written on our website.

The opponent seems to be playing a Mech warrior deck against my Grim Patron warrior deck. My opponent here has a sick opening that can be pretty devastating for a Warrior to deal with. So the possible plays that can be made here are:

  1. Acolyte of pain
  2. Cruel Taskmaster + Execute
  3. Inner rage + Execute + Fiery War Axe
  4. Whirlwind + Fiery War Axe
  5. Whirlwind  + Execute
  6. Whirlwind + Cruel Taskmaster + Inner Rage

Optimal Plays:

Play#1: Whirlwind + Axe

Whirlwind + Fiery War Axe: This is the first play that came to my mind. It would get rid of the annoying divine shields, and would damage the Mechwarpers so they can be executed if necessary (later on) and will kill one Annoy-o-tron (this turn). Moreover, this play saves my taskmaster and my inner rages for later use. After some thought, I consider this the second best line of play.

Play#2: Taskmaster + Execute

This play is not really that great since it leaves your board vulnerable to trading for free from your opponent with either a Mechwarper or both Annoy-o-trons. The only good thing it accomplishes is that it allows you to get rid of one Mechwarper so that the tempo lead gained by the Warrior wont be too huge. This play takes the third-best spot.

Play#3: Whirlwind + Cruel Taskmaster + Inner rage

This is the play I consider the best in this situation since it sets up a good board to deal with anything that is currently on it (since we kill one mech warper, the trons don’t have shields and the surviving mechwarper is at 2 health from the whirlwind. Therefore Taskmaster’s  2/2 body is actually relevant). Moreover, this play also allows for a good Fiery war axe + Execute play for the next turn.

Here are some of the other plays I consider Sub-optimal:

Play#4: Acolyte of pain

Simply playing the acolyte would result in it easily dying and not really giving you any board presence. The opponent might even have a screwjank-clunker since he IS running a mech warrior, and from the lists I had seen all of them ran 2 of those.

Play#5: Whirlwind + Execute

Not only does this play leave you floating mana, it also means that you lost your hard removal and developed nothing on the board, thus potentially allowing the warrior to snowball even further.

Play#6: Inner rage + Execute + Fiery War Axe

The Axe probably doesn’t hit anything in this play except if you make the terrible decision to hit a divine shield with it. You can set up a play for next turn with Whirlwind but not developing a board is just too horrendous against any mech deck.


All things considered, I think the best play here is to use the Whirlwind + Cruel Taskmaster + Inner rage play so that you deal with a major threat set up a minion that will trade evenly with the Mechwarper and can kill both Annoy-o-trons if kept alive. Also this gives the most potential next turn to use the Fiery war axe and an execute to deal with almost anything thrown at you. [/spoiler][spoiler title=”Smashthings”]

So this week things are going to be slightly different: the normal protocol is to write our opinions independently, the reason I ask our writers to do this is because I think it encourages a bit more diversity in opinion. Frankly, I think it’s a bit boring when we all agree. This week my dream has come true: three competent players all advocating a different line of play!

Okay, so what’s slightly different about this week? Well, what’s different is that my opinion (that you are reading now) was written after I read the opinions of my colleges. And so — what will be a first in the series — my opinion is going to reference the work of my colleagues.

In my opinion, I think Joeseph overestimates the necessity of killing a mech warper on this turn. Th3 Rat’s thought process echoed my own intuition; namely that there isn’t much point in killing just one mech warper when there are two on the board since the Piloted Shredder could be coming out on Turn 3 anyway. Moreover, anything big such as Screwjank Clunker or Fel Reaver could be countered by execute.  Lastly — and this is something my colleagues didn’t reference — the fact the the Warrior only has two cards in hand greatly reduces the potential of the Mechwarper’s card text (for the mana reduction effect to be relevant, the opponent needs to have mech’s in hand).

Initially when I read Dark Frost’s  opinion I liked his proposal (especially since it was a possibility I had not considered); killing a Mech Warper with a inner rage + Taskmaster + Whirlwind play (instead of using execute) has one key advantage over Joeseph’s play in that the 2/2 body actually threatens trades whereas in Joseph’s proposed line the 2/2 is easily eaten by the other 2/3 Mechwarper.

But, I have to dismiss this play on account of it’s glaring weakness: we are using a huge number of cards (our combo cards, no less!) for fairly marginal gains. As Th3 Rat elludes to, all we probably have to do in this match-up is hold on until turn 8-ish when Patron combo’s can dominate the game. I think all of us writer agree on this point, the matter of contention is how we find a way to survive (and at what cost).  I personally think that we need to find ways of slowing the Mech Warrior down without throwing away key combo pieces.  For example, by holding onto inner rage and Whirlwind we could potentially have a devastating Turn Six play should we draw into Grim Patron (4x Patrons on Turn Six will not be easy for our opponent deal with!).  In short, while I initially liked the idea, I think it throws away too many important cards for the merger benefit of potentially getting a good trade.

Th3 Rat’s  suggestion of Axe + Whirlwind is very straightforward. To be honest, I don’t think that there is much more I can add to the discussion.

So, what’s my opinion? Personally, I like Axe + Whirlwind the most out of the suggested plays but with that said I do think many of my colleagues too quickly dismissed Acolyte of Pain. Th3 Rat looked at the play and asked what you would want to draw. I think his mindset is something like “stabilise first and later on I’ll have all the time in the world to draw into combo”. While this is certainly reasonable, I think that such a train of thought misses the fact that there is another way to win namely; “have the relevant combo’s in hand for turn 8+”. Th3 Rat considered what cards you could draw into that would be immediately useful (e.g. Dread Corsair) whereas I consider drawing something like Grim Patron as potentially useful. Why? Because drawing a combo piece now increases the chances that we can combo on Turn Eight (with this said, if given the choice I would of course prefer to draw a Dread Corsair).

Since all the enemy minions have 2 or less attack we stand a reasonable chance of drawing two cards. As Th3 Rat mentioned, the risk is something like a weapon, and yes this would be devastating (as would be a Clunker on the Annoy-o-Tron). But I’d still take the risk since the Warrior only has two cards; if one of them happens to be an Axe I would just say to myself “hey, my opponent has the perfect hand, what can you do?”. Joseph mentioned the second risk to this play, chiefly that it is very slow (or in his words ‘reactive’) and doesn’t actually help us stabilise the board. This again, is a serious concern, but in my mind we are so far behind we probably need to take a risk (or two).

Basically, I’m torn between Acolyte and the Whirlwind + Axe play. The latter of which feels safer but I fear that such a feeling is misguided; all you are doing is deferring risk to a later stage in the game (the risk being that you get to Turn Eight + without the combo). Of course such a claim implicitly assumes that we need to draw into combo in time. Th3 Rat seems to suggest we can win via card advantage, but personally I am not so sure; those Mechwarpers provide a serious lead in tempo and thus I fear that we won’t win by simply being card efficient, rather, we  will probably need a blow-out swing turn. And this is where the Acolyte shines; drawing cards brings us closer to combo.

And voila! Four competent players with four different suggestions as to what it best.

Lastly, I’d like to point out the we are still experimenting with the series and today I tried something new (an opinion on the opinions). If this is something you would like to see more/less of in the future, let us know in the comments below. 🙂 [/spoiler]

…In the End…

In this section we show/tell you about what actually happened during the game. Click on the spoiler to find out!


We don’t have a video this week, but we do have a Game History Darkfrost provided (If you can’t read it, try right click open image in new tab).



And that conclude’s this week’s instalment of In-depth Turn Analysis.  Feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you think about the position, the series, our opinions, etc.

And if you like it, don’t forget to leave a thumbs up!

Series Recap

In the spoiler below, you will find a list of all articles in this Series.


Note that the Orange asterisks ( *** ) in the list below denotes premium content.

  1. Bombs & Fire (link), Opinions written by Smasthings, Lightsoutace, K3lv.
  2. *** War Coach (link), Opinions written by Smashthings, K3lv, Darkfrost, Nuba, Joseph.
  3. Firebat Did What? (link). Opinion written by Smashthings.
  4. *** By Fire Be Purged! (link). Opinions written by Smasthings, Modded, K3lv.
  5. Seeing Possibilities (link). Opinion written by Smashthings.
  6. The Executioner’s Axe (link). Opinion written by Smashthings.


Reader Submissions

If you have a position you would like us to look at please do post a link to it in the comments below.  If you would like to submit a position we would ask however that you follow a few basic rules:

  1. Submit an interesting position (can be Arena, but with that said the focus of this series shall be on constructed)
  2. Submit a high quality image in a format we can use (Imgur links are fine).
  3. Don’t constantly repost the same position.
  4. Supply all the ‘extra data’ we need. Deck Lists (Imgur link is fine), cards played, etc.
  5. If you have a Youtube video or a permanent twitch VOD with how the game ended that’s a bonus but not necessary.