Face Warrior- Fast Ladder Climb Edition

Hello everyone! Last season I finished in the Top 100 with a mix of Patron Warrior and Control Warrior. Today’s article will be about the deck I used last month and this month for my grind to Legend: Face Warrior. Time is money, so a lot of people are looking for a deck, where they […]

Introduction

Hello everyone! Last season I finished in the Top 100 with a mix of Patron Warrior and Control Warrior.

Today’s article will be about the deck I used last month and this month for my grind to Legend: Face Warrior.

Time is money, so a lot of people are looking for a deck, where they can climb quickly, so I think this article will be useful for you if you want to speed up your ladder grind.

Face Warrior is not only among the fastest decks (it wins around Turn 6), it is also good against popular decks. In addition to that it also has a lot of potential once Standard comes out.

Overview

Although I enjoy slower decks the most, I still pick up quick aggressive decks from time to time to mix things up and to also gain some experience with other archetypes. The bonus star system rewards faster decks more than decks that have a high winrate. So I always play something proactive and fast before Rank 5. Last season I finally wanted to give Face Warrior a shot and after a lot of games I settled on the list you can find on the right.

Face Warrior as an archetype has been around since classic. It plays  cards like Heroic Strike or Arcanite Reaper that would be completely overpowered as Hunter class cards. The major disadvantage of Aggro Warrior is its hero power that does nothing in an aggressive deck, unlike Steady Shot using Armor Up! does not put any pressure on the opponent. From a design perspective Warrior only got the very powerful aggressive cards to make up for the bad hero power in an aggressive deck. Prior to the League of Explorers, there was very little incentive to play Face Warrior, but after a lot of testing I truly believe that with the addition of Cursed Blade Aggro Warrior is now a good enough archetype. It is probably the only archetype that yet has not been fully explored and also should see way more play.

Face Warrior is a blisteringly fast Aggro deck, that got a lot more powerful with League of Explorers. Cursed Blade is incredibly powerful in Aggro Warrior and makes both Dread Corsair and Bloodsail Raider a very good and needed addition. Although Cursed Blade is a rather dangerous cards in some matchups, it is overall so powerful that not playing it is just wrong. The deck features the most explosive openings out of all aggressive decks. With the Coin you can play something like Leper Gnome and Cursed Blade on Turn 1 and then follow it up with a Turn two 4/3 Bloodsail Raider. That is an insane amount of pressure and damage a lot of decks are unable to deal with. Overall Cursed Blade strengthens the more board centric approach of Face Warrior. It is not uncommon to have board control versus Zoo Warlock in the early stages of the game, because Cursed Blade is extremely effective at dealing with smaller minions. The majority of time the heavy lifeloss is not a big deal, because the deck is extremely fast, which makes your lifetotal only a concern against other hyper aggressive decks (f.ex. Aggro Shaman and Face Hunter). There is obviously the downside of drawing Cursed Blade in the later stages of the game (around Turn 4-6), but the upside of having a one mana weapon that deals the same amount of damage as Fireball far outweights the disadvantages.

General Strategy

How does this deck win or what is the game plan of this deck?

Whenever I build a deck or take a look at a new archetype that someone else has made one of the first questions that crosses my mind is always “How does this deck win?”. One of the key concepts to be a good deck builder or player is being able to identify what exactly a deck’s strategy to win a game is and how that strategy could possibly change throughout the game. When you take a look at Patron Warrior you might just say that the deck’s game plan is to make a bunch of Grim Patrons. And that is true to some extent, but you get little insight on how exactly the deck works and how to adapt your decklist to the metagame.

Patron Warrior’s game plan is to stifle the board development of the opponent in the early stages of the game and then to be proactive in the mid and late game. That is why the deck plays purely reactive or very low impact cards in the early game (1-3 mana cards). The proactive cards all cost four or more mana.

I could make a whole article about various decks and their game plan and why some decks are simply worse than others because they don’t seem to have a consistent game plan, but this article is mainly about Face Warrior.

So how does Face Warrior’s game plan look exactly? You could say the deck’s game plan is to smash the opponent’s face, but that does not give you any good insight on how the deck works optimally.

Face Warrior’s game plan is to get an early board lead, by killing the opponent’s minions and then to use this time sensitive board advantage to deal a lot of damage to the opponent and finish the game before the opponent can  finish you. Your minions are very cheap, but of overall low quality so you can only fight for board control during the very early stages of the game (Turn 1-4). To later fight for board control is a lost cause and therefore you should later focus purely on dealing the maximum amount of damage to the opponent.

(To put into more visual words: In the early stages of the game you kill small minions like Knife Juggler with your weapons and once your opponent starts playing more resilient minions like Piloted Shredder you ignore them and push for face damage. Killing your opponent’s early game and then later ignoring the more hard to kill minions will overall maximize your damage output and will also slow down the opponent, which will overall increase your winrate with this deck.)

This is how this deck wins against the majority of  other decks. Of course your opening hand may sometimes not support this strategy and you can’t execute your ideal game plan (because you don’t draw minions or you draw very bad). In these situations you have to adapt and find a game plan that gives yourself the best chance to win the game.

Card Choices

I will not analyze my list card by card, because I don’t think I need to tell you that Fiery War Axe is great,  instead I will form groups of cards that all have a similar purpose.

Dread Corsair, Bloodsail Raider and Cursed Blade

Dread Corsair and Bloodsail Raider are very good cards to put into a weapon based deck.  Without a one mana weapon they are quite good, but with a one mana weapon they get very powerful, because you can play them on curve and fully benefit from their ability. Dread Corsair can protect your smaller minions like Leper Gnome or your very vulnerable charge minions, while Bloodsail Raider can be a very hard-hitting two drop, that also has quite a lot of value when not played on curve. When you have Arcanite Reaper equipped, you get a two mana 7/3 minion. Bloodsail Raider is responsible for a lot of Turn 5 kills when paired with Cursed Blade.

Fiery War Axe, Death’s Bite, Arcanite Reaper, Cursed Blade and Heroic Strike

All these cards have an amazing damage to mana ratio. Arcanite Reaper for example is a 5 mana Pyroblast. They are also quite flexible and can be used to deal with the opponent’s board, if you think your opponent will end you before you can end him if you don’t take care of their minions.

Wolfrider, Argent Horserider, Arcane Golem, Kor’kron Elite and Southsea Deckhand

If you had any doubts about the explosiveness and speed of the deck, just take a look at the amount of charge minions. If you also take in account that the weapons have some sort of pseudo charge, you will realize that this deck has a lot of burst damage to topdeck later in the game. Unlike the majority of other charge minions Kor’kron Elite is more resilient which makes it a fantastic minion in this deck. Your board centric early game with Dread Corsair or Bloodsail Raider can spell easily doom over decks like Zoolock when coupled with such a resilient charge minion like Kor’kron Elite.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton, Leper Gnome, Loot Hoarder and Mad Bomber

Leper Gnome is a staple in every hyper aggressive deck, whereas Sir Finley is also a staple in every aggressive deck that does not have a good hero power. Loot Hoarder and Mad Bomber are rather flexible cards and you could easily take them out for something else and not feel bad. I just like both of them, because they fight quite well for early board control. Especially Mad Bomber could easily be swapped for an Ironbeak Owl. Mad Bomber is mainly in the deck to destroy Paladins even more.

How to Mulligan

How to properly mulligan with a deck can easily be found out if you know how the deck’s winning strategy looks like. With this deck we want to put immediately pressure on the opponent and ideally have early board control. So in our opening hand we look for:

Fiery War Axe, Cursed Blade and one mana minions like Leper Gnome etc. Only keep Dread Corsair and Bloodsail Raider if you already have Fiery War Axe or Cursed Blade.

When you take a look at your opening hand and make a mulligan decision, it is also important to look out for a good curve. So something like Cursed Blade, Dread Corsair and Wolfrider is a good keep because we have good plays for the first three turns.

Generally don’t keep cards that cost four or more mana, unless you play against a slower deck, but more about that in the next section!

The Matchups

vs. Secret Paladin

The matchup against Secret Paladin is very straightforward. You gain early board control by clearing their minions and once they play more resilient minions like Piloted Shredder you completely ignore them and push for lethal. Don’t be afraid to take an absurd amount of damage when you clear minions with Cursed Blade. Secret Paladin is much slower than Face Warrior and has almost zero burst damage cards.

Very good matchup

vs. Oil Rogue

This is one of the matchups where you mulligan a little bit differently. You still look for your cheap weapons and minions, but you also keep  more expensive cards like Death’s Bite and Kor’kron Elite, but not too many of them. Something like Fiery War Axe and a double four mana card is completely fine.

Rogue plays almost zero resilient minions, so pressure them while always trying to remove their minions as efficiently as possible. The only way to lose against Rogue is if they somehow get a minion to stick and start pressuring you, otherwise you should win this matchup.

Your best matchup

vs. Face Hunter and Midrange Hunter

The slower the Hunter version the better the matchup is for you. Midrange Hunter is usually almost dying once they can play Savannah Highmane. Also be careful with Cursed Blade against Hunter, you should only use it very early game and simply not use it, otherwise you have a high chance to lose.

Even (Face Hunter) or Good matchup (Midrange Hunter)

vs. Combo Druid

Against Druid you also keep Dread Corsair and Bloodsail Raider, even if you don’t have any early game weapons. Although Druid can sometimes have a minion out very quickly, they usually are not that fast at playing minions. So having a slower start is completely fine. Besides that you execute your standard strategy of fighting for early board control (the first minions a Druid usually plays are Living Roots and Piloted Shredder, which you should try to remove) and then later once more high value minions get played, you forego fighting for board control and push for damage. Also try to play around Swipe when possible, so that you don’t get lose three minions and probably lose all momentum.

Slightly unfavorable matchup

vs. Zoo Warlock

Warlock Zoo will inevitably gain board control in this matchup, because they play more high quality minions. You usually win this matchup by having early board control, which allows you to push for damage. And once they stabilize and play resilient minions like Imp Gang Boss you ignore them and push for damage.

Slightly favorable matchup

vs. Control Warrior and Patron Warrior

They usually won’t expect Face Warrior and will not keep Armorsmith, Whirlwind or Bash. Against Warrior I highly recommend keeping Kor’kron Elite, because they have a tough time dealing with it without taking further damage. Both Warrior versions don’t have that many early game minions, so you just throw a bunch of damage in their face and hope it is enough. Always clear Armorsmith, because otherwise it can get out of control quite quickly, so using Arcane Golem to kill it is a very good idea.

Favorable matchups, unless they are prepared then it becomes unfavorable

vs. Priest

Priest is a very tough matchup without having Fiery War Axe to handle their early game minions. You also keep Kor’kron Elite, because Priest has a tough time dealing with four attack minions. Kor’kron Elite also helps killing Deathlord. Overall Face Warrior has a very tough time with Control Priest and Dragon Priest, because they have good taunt minions, a good early game and good lifegain in the case of Control Priest (the more popular and better version).

Bad matchup

Closing

I hope you liked my article. In my next article I will write some high level stuff about Patron Warrior and Control Warrior and hopefully also something Warrior related about the new expansion.

Also if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.