Hey all, Camzeee here with Part 2 of my Cogwatch Paladin deck guide! You can read the first part here.
This section covers how to play the deck – win conditions, matchups, and all the little details that I’ve learned from playing the deck.
This article also serves as a good guide for Control Paladin play so even if you can’t replicate the deck, if you have a Paladin playing for the late game, this deck will help you out.
Let’s start with general tips for how to play the deck.
At its core, Cogwatch Paladin is a control deck that aims to win in the very late game.
It’s good to keep this in mind when you play it, because there is literally one matchup in the entire game where you want to play faster than your opponent (Control Priest).
Otherwise, you’ll want to take it slow and get as much value out of your cards as you can.
I’ve had games where I’ve been outdrawn by five cards yet have an even board state and no card disadvantage.
There’s one big tip for how to play this deck: “get maximum value” out of your cards.
Here are some general principles to help you fulfill that goal.
- Draw as much as you can – This deck’s weakness is its limited draw options. Acolyte of Pain is your best card in the early game against control decks. Having a big hand allows you to pull off your powerful combos and regain the board.
- Combo your pieces together – This deck works off numerous card combos (which I’ll be detailing below). Save your cards to work in tandem like Equality + Consecration.
- Mulligan hard for early game – Getting a good start is very important for Paladin. You’ll want to have as many early game options as you can even against Control decks.
- Your life is a resource – You’ll see this advice being given by a lot of pro players to beginners. This deck has five weapons in it, use them to remove enemy threats to pave the way for your own minions. Your own life is salvageable in the late game, the board state may not be.
- Keep track of key cards – This deck has two copies of some extremely crucial cards like Equality and Ironbeak Owl. You must keep track of them so that you can be prepared for enemy threats and not overextend.
Now that you have all the general Control Paladin principles locked down in your unconscious (jk, but it certainly helps!) it’s time to start the game.
What do you mulligan for and what’s good to keep?
- shielded-minibot, coghammer
Always keep these cards in your opening hand. They are your anti-aggro cards and are at their strongest in the first few turns. Toss back the second Coghammer if you get two though.
- ancient-watcher, truesilver-champion, ironbeak-owl, aldor-peacekeeper
These are cards that you keep almost all the time especially with the coin. Truesilver I keep all the time with coin. Owl and Watcher are more situational, but against most mid-range or aggro’y decks, I keep them. Peacekeeper is almost always a keep, but against a super control deck, I sometimes toss him back to look for Watchers and Minibots.
- consecration, aldor-peacekeeper, ironbeak-owl, equality (only with Consecration)
Not getting Consecration against a really aggressive deck can mean game over on turn 4. It’s the most important card by far.
The Owl as well is super important for neutralizing undertaker so it’s an auto keep against Hunter.
Aldor gets more priority too as a failsafe in case you don’t get Consecration and Equality is a nice card to put your mind at ease if you have consecration already.
- acolyte-of-pain, truesilver-champion, ancient-watcher, big-game-hunter, harrison-jones
Acolyte is by far the most important card to have in your hand against control. It’s amazing to coin out against another Paladin and playing it on 3 can often lead you to draw two cards off of it.
Truesilver and Watcher are usually keeps, but they go up in value against control decks since you’re less likely to be pressured. You want the Watcher for early pressure if you can Taunt or Owl it, and the Truesilver is outstanding value which gives you momentum into the late game.
The last two are tech cards. Big Game Hunter is huge in the Handlock matchup and Harrison Jones is also often a keep against Weapon control decks like Warrior and Paladin.
Most of the other cards not mentioned here are tossed upon sight with the possible exceptions of defender-of-argus and sludge-belcher if your hand already contains some great cards for the matchup.
Combos are the core of what makes this deck powerful. A lot of these combos are best when they’re used in consecutive turns rather than all on the same turn.
Here are some of the most often used ones.
4 mana – ancient-watcher + ironbeak-owl
- You rarely want to do this combo on the same turn but rather have it be used in consecutive turns. It’s better this way because it gives your Ancient Watcher surprise attack. If you have both in your hand, don’t be afraid to coin Watcher to follow up with Owl. You’re getting an early chillwind-yeti which can really help lock down the board early.
5 mana – ancient-watcher + coghammer
- One of my favorite combos, and playable in back to back turns rather than both together. It creates a defensive sunwalker body on turn 3 and will often 3 for 1 your opponent and stall any aggro he has built up.
5 mana – ironbeak-owl + aldor-peacekeeper
- There is no card in the game that will play well against this. See an enemy Tirion? Silence then Peacekeeper it and now it’s a 1/6 that has no effect. I often save them to be used in tandem to take down enemy Tirions or Sylvanas’. Be sure to Owl first or else you’ll negate the Peacekeeper’s effect!
6 mana – equality + consecration
- Your premium board clear is here. This will kill an entire board of minions without Divine Shield or Deathrattle. It’s incredibly powerful, but you only have two copies of each so hold onto it as long as you possibly can.
9 mana – guardian-of-kings + recombobulator
- This is a fun one to do. I often don’t use the whole combo in one turn and try instead to get some value off attacking with Guardian of Kings before Recombo’ing it. You can get some truly game ending stuff from Recombo’ing Kings such as Gahz’rilla or Archmage Antonidas.
These are just the most common combos. During the game, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make some satisfying improvised plays to keep your board alive and hurt your opponents.
coghammer‘s effect is great in this deck because a lot of your minions tempt your opponent to ignore them.
shielded-minibot is extremely difficult to fully clear in the first few turns so your opponent will often ignore it until they can deal with it in one turn.
Your late game threats of cairne-bloodhoof, sylvanas-windrunner and sneeds-old-shredder have such devastating Deathrattles that your opponent, in the absence of silence, will simply ignore them and wait to build a huge board before taking them out.
You can punish them for this by following up with Coghammer or Argus – forcing them to deal with your threats while also getting them a better trade.
If one of these big minions does end up eating a silence but not cleared, you can easily just Recombobulate it and get yourself something big and shiny.
I love it when my opponent earth-shocks Sneeds but doesn’t kill it. I can use it to kill a 5 health minion, leave it alive on low health, and Recombobulate it to get any number of incredible 8 drops.
This deck works very well together and is better than the sum of its parts. Remember that.
Winning the game with this deck is usually a by-product of you controlling the board very well and getting card advantage.
In the early game, you’ll want to lock down the board with good taunts prompting inefficient trades from your opponent.
ancient-watcher does tremendous work in the early game. You have six activators in the deck for it which means it’s pretty easy to get it up and going.
As a result, I often keep Watcher in my opening hand and it’s an insta-keep with coghammer as well.
To date in over 100 games, if I start with the Cogwatch combo turn 2 > 3, I’ve won every single game except one (top deck fireball grrr).
In the mid-game, it’s all about stabilizing. If your opponent overextends, sweep him on 6 with equality + consecration.
defender-of-argus is a critical card in this stage for getting favorable trades and putting up big walls for your opponent to run their stuff inefficiently into.
From this point onward, you’ll want to hero power as often as possible. The 1/1 guys are a big pain to deal with for a number of ladder classes like warrior and hunter.
Warriors hate using their weapons on the 1/1s, but if you keep churning them out, they’ll be forced to do something, sometimes even brawling away a bunch of tokens and one decent minion.
Hunters on the other hand hate the 1/1s because they threaten their freezing-traps and like Warrior their hero power doesn’t affect the board. Unleash has also gone out of favor lately so you can usually hero power fairly safely especially behind your walls of Taunts.
Also, your focus here should be on card advantage. Draw as much as possible with acolyte-of-pain, harrison-jones and lay-on-hands. You don’t have much in the way of draw, so any chance you can to draw a few cards should be a priority.
Late game is all about the bass (aka tirion-fordring). Drop your large threats, keep controlling the board with your weapons and dudes, and grind your opponent down.
You’ll be surprised how often the Ashbringer is your game winner. As a result, you’ll want to drop Tirion as late as possible to bait out any hard removal or silence. I put in some extra threats like Cairne to force your opponent into uncomfortable positions with their removal. ‘
Hopefully it’s enough for your faith in the light to be rewarded.
I consider the Cogwatch Paladin deck to be pretty well rounded. It doesn’t have any abysmal matchups and if it draws well, it can beat any deck.
However, it does have strengths and weaknesses.
In general, the deck performs great against mid-range and control decks. The large number of Taunts makes it tough to break down and it has considerable late game and heals to give it survivability.
The deck struggles primarily against aggro decks with burst finishes. Thankfully, the meta currently doesn’t have too many of these types of decks. Mage is the worst one to fight against because its spells bypass your Taunts.
Druid and Warrior have game ending combos too, but they come later and by then you can setup a big wall of Taunts to fend them off.
Here are what I perceive to be the deck’s matchup percentages.
Control Warrior – 60-40
Druid – 60-40
Shaman – 55-45
Hunter – 55-45
Zoo – 55-45
Rogue – 55-45
Handlock – 50-50
Muster Paladin – 50-50
Mech/Aggro Mage – 45-55
Priest – 45-55
Cogwatch has a great time against Warrior because it is a slower more controlling deck than the Warrior.
You may have noticed some changes between my list here and the one from my original article.
The biggest change was to put in a big-game-hunter. Since doing so, I’ve been much more secure in control matchups which are cropping up more frequently at the higher ranks.
Warrior in particular is extra susceptible to it because it usually runs at least three minions that come down at 7 atk or more and are therefore big BGH targets.
Another big advantage for you as a Paladin player is that your hero power can dominate the game. Warrior has a really hard time dealing with the 1/1s and the value they give adds up really quickly.
Play this one super, super slow and chip away. You have enough answers to deal with his threats. Try to stop him from drawing cards while also trying to draw for yourself.
Two owls is great because you can silence his early acolyte and still have another saved for sylvanas-windrunner.
In the battle of control, card advantage is everything, so try to get as much value as you can. Keep in mind though that Alexstrasza and Grommash can end the game pretty quickly once turn 9 comes around so value your taunts and don’t give them away like playing sludge-belcher into the second charge of Death’s Bite.
This is a favored matchup because of the sheer number of large Taunts you can put out.
It’s also advantaged because it doesn’t run muster-for-battle like most other Paladins which makes it less vulnerable to swipe.
Put up taunts, heal when you’re low and stay out of force-of-nature + savage-roar combo range.
It also helps that Druid struggles against big minions and you have a number that demand attention and are tough to take down.
A Druid that can ramp out some big threats early will give you a hard time, but that’s an ideal draw which they won’t often have.
Even then, Peacekeeper can shut down that turn 2 Yeti and Taunting a Watcher is also a huge pain for the Druid to deal with.
This is a favored matchup in my experience. However, I will preface that statement by saying that Shaman is a very rare class to run into on ladder in the current meta so I haven’t had that many to fight.
It could be more like 50/50 but it’s certainly not an unfavorable one.
Same rules as any mid-range deck. Mull for early game, setup taunts and draw.
consecration is incredibly clutch against Shaman and a mid-game full clear will often bring victory. Shamans struggle with draw in much the same way that you do.
Shut theirs down and draw more yourself and you’ll set yourself up really well for the late game.
The dreaded Hunter. This deck actually does very well against it.
I wish I could push this to 60/40 but the reality is that it’s fairly draw dependent and the Hunter can often get a start that’s just too good.
Cogwatch combo is insane against Hunter and the Minibot does tremendous work too.
Consecration is a must as well to help clear the board.
If you survive into turn 6 or so with decent health and the board, you will win off heals and impenetrable Taunts.
Mulligan using the Aggro guidelines and try to clear their board as soon as possible.
Same as the Hunter in many ways.
You have big taunts and your weapons are pretty darn effective at killing Flame Imps, Jugglers and Dire Wolves.
Consecration is beyond important in this match-up. Often, if you don’t get it, you’ll lose.
With it in hand, it’s easily a 60%+ win rate. Belcher does work and so does Argus.
Taunt up, heal when you can and drop what threats you can. The match is more of a test of endurance.
If you can survive you’ll win.
This match up looks unfavorable because of the nature of the Rogue hero power, but I assure you it’s not.
You have a ton of Divine Shields which are extremely annoying for Rogue to deal with and the large Taunts are extremely tough for them to plow through. They only have two saps after all.
Since the Gadgetzan nerf, they are just a touch slow and unless they get godly draws allowing them to clear your stuff consistently, you will get something to stick and Taunt up.
Harrison Jones is the single most important card since it helps negate your weakness and neutralize their threat all in one.
This matchup would be favored if it weren’t for lord-jaraxxus.
Since it became a Handlock staple, Jaraxxus gives Handlock a late game win condition that is almost impossible to overcome if you’re behind on the board.
That’s the key. Keep the board. Build it up on the opening turns, but don’t over-commit or shadowflame will decimate you.
Mid-game you’ll want to neutralize his threats as best you can, push enough to get the Handlock in range, and save an Equality for lethal.
Big Game Hunter and Aldor Peacekeeper are incredibly valuable in this matchup. Mulligan for them if you know you’re facing a Handlock.
The mirror matchup is interesting in today’s meta. Cogwatch is different to the typical build with x2 muster-for-battle and quartermaster.
However, they share a lot of the same core principles and the matchup is often decided by early game draw. If you can coin out an Acolyte against his dude, you’re almost guaranteed to draw at least two more cards than him.
Two extra cards is a significant advantage in a matchup like this, and can set you up for a win further down the road.
Taunts vs Tokens is how the game usually breaks down, and with the help of your Coghammer, you should be able to prevail.
Harrison Jones once again is MVP.
Try to draw as many cards as you can. Hitting a 3 charge Light’s Justice is better usually than breaking a 1 charge Truesilver Champion purely for the additional draw.
Card advantage is king.
Mech/Aggro Mage is a rather unfavored match-up; which is pretty annoying considering its current ladder popularity.
They have early game swarms which can be tough to deal with, freeze for your weapons which are so important to you fighting back for the board, and spell burst even if you stabilize.
Early game is so important to give you a fighting chance. Shielded Minibot will do great work for you especially if they misplay and take a tempo hit by Fireblasting your shield.
Cogwatch combo is also excellent and has won me the few games I have managed to scrap through.
Setup early taunts, survive, and heal out of burst range if you’re still alive.
Wow this is a frustrating match-up especially against the heavy control variants. With their new found steal combos and your lack of early game pressure, they can hold you at arm’s length then slowly use your own threats against you.
They also have great board clearing potential and a much better draw mechanic than you do.
Try your best to get a sticky board together and leverage your weapons to their fullest. Your weapons will likely be the only thing that remains yours so treasure them!
Cogwatch combo is fantastic against Priest which makes this deck better against it than the regular Paladin decks but it’s still by no means a good matchup.
This is also the only common match up where it’s in your best interest to push the initiative. If a Priest remains at high health, he can heal his own board freely which gives him amazing control over it and will likely lead to your defeat.
The good news though, is that they usually shadow-word-death your Tirion which means Ashbringer usually gets a ton of work done.
With a bit of luck, the Deathrattle-summoned weapon can give you enough damage to kill the Priest before he can turn the board irreparably in his favor.
Thanks for reading my Cogwatch Paladin guide! Hope you learned something new and interesting from it.
I made it to Rank 5 in just 3 days with it (75% win rate) so I know it’s good and consistent.
It is a high skill level deck though and takes practice. But I assure you it’s a blast to play and can create some amazing highlight moments.
Here are some of mine:
- Recombobulating a 5/1 Guardian of Kings into Archmage Antonidas
- Setting up 3 massive taunts against Hunter with Watcher + Coghammer + Argus (not all on the same turn)
- Equality with a Sylvanas on board to steal an opponents’ Ragnaros
- Getting a 28/7 Bolvar Fordragon (subbed in for Cairne) to destroy a high-health Handlock
There are so many great things this deck is capable of and I’d love to hear more from you about your experience playing it.
As always, any feedback on the guide itself or the deck is welcome. Feel free to post below in the comments to let me know!