DKMR Game Plan: Mid Range Shaman vs Miracle Rogue

We at DKMR are always putting in hours to be the best Hearthstone team we possibly can, and our roster features some of the most talented players around. We came up with the idea for DKMR Game Plan because we want to share the strategies and techniques that we’ve spent countless hours developing for the […]

We at DKMR are always putting in hours to be the best Hearthstone team we possibly can, and our roster features some of the most talented players around. We came up with the idea for DKMR Game Plan because we want to share the strategies and techniques that we’ve spent countless hours developing for the community. What you can expect from a DKMR Game Plan is a structured plan that details our thoughts on the best way to approach the game in order to come out with a win for each matchup that we cover.

Miracle Rogue has run rampant on the ladder, and though you know it’s not a good matchup for the Shaman, you want to be able to take some wins here and there.  What is your best course of action for stealing a victory?

What kind of cards am I dealing with here?

All Miracle Rogues will run:

2 gadgetzan-auctioneer

2 backstab

2 preparation

2 shadowstep

2 deadly-poison

2 eviscerate

2 si7-agent

1 leeroy-jenkins

Though past Miracle Rogues ran multiple Conceals, Saps, Shivs, Bladeflurries, and Fan of Knives, many of these cards have been replaced by minions, particularly edwin-vancleef, earthen-ring-farseer, and azure-drake (and very recently, senjin-shieldmasta).  Rounding out the deck are card drawing cards such as bloodmage-thalnos, loot-hoarder, and/or novice-engineer.

What makes the matchup so hard for Shaman?

Miracle Rogues excel against slower decks because they are able to safely mulligan for Gadgetzan Auctioneer and start Miracle-ing on or after turn 5.  Though Shaman isn’t extremely slow, most of Shaman’s early threats can be dealt with efficiently by Miracle Rogue’s slew of removal spells.

In addition, a lot of Shaman’s removal goes to waste versus Miracle Rogue: Hex doesn’t removal anything a +1 spell damage lightning bolt or an Earthshock can’t deal with, and there are rarely more than two minions on the board for lightning storm to hit.

Furthermore, Miracle Rogue can freely target the Shaman with spells, knowing that most midrange Shaman decks don’t run any healing cards.

Alright, so what’s the plan then? What should I keep in my starting hand?

The early game is the one time where you can force out removal cards before they can cycle for other cards via the Gadgetzan Auctioneer.  With that in mind, mulligan for Unbound Elemental and Feral Spirit (and Argent Squire/Harvest Golem, if they’re in your deck).

Although Miracle Rogue can potentially deal with this combination, you can really set your opponent back if he doesn’t have an answer.  Flametongue Totem is another card that can allow you to get damage in and force a response, and it’s particularly deadly behind a taunt.  Just don’t overcommit too heavily in case of Bladeflurry.

Earthshock can be somewhat useful in this matchup, but it’s not crucial unless your opponent is bad and makes a huge VanCleef against a Shaman for some reason (so maybe keep it if you’re in the lower ranks?  You’d much rather have a three drop though).

Okay, I’ve got a couple three drops. Now what?

Try to kill your opponent as fast as possible.  Make no mistake: this is a race.

While your health may not steadily drop as in, say, the hunter matchup, the Rogue is only a few turns and cards away from drawing to your death.  Try to map out every turn so that you can play an impact minion (instead of totem-pass).

In particular, make sure you have enough mana on turn six to play either a Fire Elemental or an Argent Commander.  Every turn that you don’t put pressure on your opponent is another turn that he can use to cycle cards.

Also, don’t be afraid to equip a Stormforged Axe or shoot off a Lightning Bolt just to pump up your Unbound Elemental.  Yes, it may get sapped, but that’s one less sap for your bigger creatures.  And if it doesn’t get sapped, every point of health you increased it by is another point of damage your opponent had to use on it.

What should I be worried about in the Miracle Rogue deck?

Let’s be honest: if Miracle Rogue has the perfect hand (and is a good player), you cannot win. So while you can play around certain cards, it’s best to play the odds and take calculated risks. Yes, be wary of Blade Flurry, but if he’s already used one, it’s fine to play the rest of the game assuming he doesn’t have another. Playing any other way would likely be too slow and get you killed.

Yes, Thalnos + Lightning Storm can possibly clear a stealthed Gadgetzan, but if you can clear his board and apply more pressure (and there isn’t another good play), then go for it.

It is important, however, to be aware of the amount of damage a Miracle Rogue can do, so you know when to get taunts up. Leeroy Jenkins can dish out 6 points of damage; that amount doubles with a Shadowstep (adding two mana), and triples with another. Adding Cold Blood (1 mana) can increase that by 4, while Preparation and, say, Eviscerate can add to the total without any additional mana.

What should I do with my removal?

Don’t be afraid to use Hex very liberally; not only are there not many targets to Hex, but many of them can be taken out with other spells anyway.  Additionally, using damage spells like Lightning Bolt for minions can decrease the amount of burst you have for your opponent’s face.  As for weapons, it’s fine for you to use them to clear your opponent’s board, particularly if it allows you to apply more pressure.

Remember, Miracle Rogue is likely to use damage spells to clear your minions anyway, so you’ll likely save damage from your face in the long run.  Finally, if you have a way to save Rockbiter Weapon to use in concert with Windfury, do so.  You may be able to kill your opponent before any miracles occur.

Final thoughts on the matchup

Playing the role of aggressor while avoiding getting killed is a tough tightrope to walk, but it can be done. One thing going for the Shaman is that the majority of Miracle Rogues don’t run taunts, and are limited to six points of healing (unless your opponent is forced to Shadowstep his Earthen Ring Farseer, which is good for you anyway).

Knowing this can allow you to count the damage available in your hand and plot out a road to victory. Avoiding (or enduring) your opponent’s miracles may be tough, but it’s doable. Just keep your foot on the gas pedal.

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Written by [DKMR]DTwo

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