Karazhan Thief Rogue: Burgle and Plunder!

With Karazhan pushing various new archetypes, Rogue is getting some fun tools to play around with as well in form of Swashburglar last week. Tonight, when the final wing unlocks you will also get to access the which revolves around the theme of stealing cards from your opponent’s class. With plenty of play testing in the […]

With Karazhan pushing various new archetypes, Rogue is getting some fun tools to play around with as well in form of Swashburglar last week. Tonight, when the final wing unlocks you will also get to access the Ethereal Peddler which revolves around the theme of stealing cards from your opponent’s class. With plenty of play testing in the past few days since Swashburglar came out, I have been enjoying its inclusion in my tempo Rogue builds quite a lot. We all have seen various Rogue lists pop up with Argent Squire to battle the aggressive early game minions and Swashburglar perfectly fits into that spot. The random element of the card is nothing to worry about, more often than not you will get an usable card and even if you end up getting something like a Shield Slam or Ice Lance you can make use out of them as combo activators for your combo cards like Eviscerate or si7-agent.

Blizzard has been slowly trying to push this deck archetype for quite some time with Burgle being the first card to come out that had this mechanism. Undercity Huckster was the second card to have the ‘steal’ effect and unlike Burgle which is a tempo loss when you play it, you get a 2/2 minion on board and 1 random card when it dies, which makes it a whole lot better. There are various instances where I have won games on the back of the card in unfair fashion. One of my most recent experiences was getting Vilefin Inquisitor versus a Murloc Combo Paladin and needless to say things did not go down too well for him! Ethereal Peddler seeks to bring together all of these ‘thief’ themed cards and want to make them more appealing to players. When you play Ethereal Peddler you discount all of the non-Rogue class cards by 2 which is quite good. So you can potentially drop a Turn 6 Tirion Fordring or Ancient of War to potentially win the game.

If we look at it in a different way, Swashburglar and Undercity Huckster are slightly low on stats based on their mana cost but the card draw effect makes up for it. On the other hand Burgle is a slight tempo loss unless you are doing something proactive and have free mana to boot without losing tempo on board. This slight loss of tempo you suffer is made up by the Peddler and allows you to have larger tempo swings in the lategame. I am very fond of both Swashburglar and Undercity Huckster in tempo style decks and I think Ethereal Peddler will be good too since you do not lose stats on the body for its effect and if you discount some powerful cards in your hand it’s going to be a lot of value gain from the card.

Building a Thief Rogue Deck

If you build any Rogue deck some cards are almost always there on the bucket list like Sap, Backstab, Eviscerate and other core cards that fit into every Rogue deck in existence. As usual, we are going to stick to the tried and tested minions and spells that define Rogue and also add a bit of oomph. I built this list surrounding the N’zoth Rogue archetype and it also has yogg-saron-hopes-end[card] for some crazy comebacks. Undercity Huckster and Swashburglar naturally fit into the deck. We also have one copy or Burgle and two Ethereal Peddlers in the deck. I do not want to add a second copy of Burgle because I don’t feel it’s necessary and I’d rather have something more consistent in place like a [card]Shadow Strike or Edwin VanCleef. If you do want to include it you can consider cutting the Journey Below.

Card Choices

Backstab: Easy and cheap removal for those pesky early game threats. It’s also a great combo activator for SI:7 Agent and Edwin VanCleef and it gets even more powerful with your spell damage minions.

Preparation: The card that defines the Rogue class. You can cheat out some mana with the spell and there are many cards that can chain a few spells together and hand you the advantage out of nowhere.

Journey Below: The card is a cheap combo activator and it also lets you flexibly choose from 3 random options. Deathrattle minions are quite powerful in general and you can get good value out of the card at any point in the game.

Swashburglar: It’s a 1 mana 1/1 that draws you a card outside your deck. While it might not be the most appealing card on paper, you need to use it to see how good it is. The simple utility of having an extra ping in the early game with it versus aggressive minions makes the inclusion of this card worth it.

Eviscerate: A flexible spell that can be used with your spell damage minions to deal with threats and it also has the ability to finish off your opponents in the later stages of the game.

Sap: One of the best tools that Rogues have to one up their opponents. It can create massive tempo swings. The card does not deal with threats permanently but the ability to potentially nullify an entire turn and get ahead on board is insane.

Undercity Huckster: One of the coolest 2 drops in the game right now and the amount of value it provides to you is incredible. Even though the stats are not on part with things like Totem Golem or alexstraszas-champion, the effect more than makes up for it and it also has N’zoth synergy in the deck.

Burgle: We want to include one copy of Burgle to push out some value for our Ethereal Peddlers. It isn’t quite as good as Swashburglar or Undercity Huckster, but the tempo loss can be made up for by our Ethereals after we play it.

Edwin VanCleef: One of the coolest Classic legendaries in the game that can force concedes early in the game. With silence being quite rare in the meta and very few classes having access to efficient hard removal in their current meta decks, he has a lot of potential in any Rogue deck. When playing him make sure you do not get too greedy and waste cards just to make him bigger. But against specific decks you can choose to go all out if you know they do not run any hard removals – Zoolock and Aggro Shaman being notable examples of decks that cannot deal with super large Edwins efficiently if it goes beyond the 8/8 stat line.

Fan of Knives: A basic AoE spell that works well with your spell damage minions. It’s a good card to include in any Rogue decks and the cycle effect ensures it’s not a dead card in your hand in any matchup.

Shadow Strike: One of the most powerful removal spells in the game right now. Rogue has had a bad time against high health minions in the past and Shadow Strike is the perfect tool to deal with 5 or 6 health minions quite efficiently.

si7-agent: One of the best 3 drops in the game that generates a significant amount of tempo in the early game. The card does wonders in the deck and it’s going to be a staple in every Rogue deck unless something better comes along.

Tomb Pillager: The card that brought back Miracle Rogue into the meta after League of Explorers. It is a solid minion and the Deathrattle allows you to gain some extra mana using the coin for mid game swings and combos.

Ethereal Peddler: We do not yet know the full potential of the card but it seems that Blizzard wants to push the Thief Rogue archetype and we are sure to expect more cards in the future expansions to get more value out of the card. I do not mind running it just for the stats as well and if the effect goes off, it’s a huge bonus.

Bloodmage Thalnos: One of the cards that many people underrate. The amount of flexibility that Thalnos provides is incredible and your cheap early game spells become a lot more powerful with this little skeleton in a dress.

Violet Teacher: I was torn between xaril-poisoned-mind and Violet Teacher when building the decklist but I went in for Violet Teacher because it’s a lot more efficient versus aggro and you do not have Gadgetzan Auctioneer to take advantage of the toxins effectively.

Azure Drake: One of your cycle cards that works well with your cheap spells. Rogue needs a lot of draw to stay ahead on tempo and Drake allows you to that perfectly.

nzoth-the-corruptor: One of the best Old Gods legendaries that wins you games outright as long as your opponent is not threatening lethal on board or from hand. It gives you board advantage out of nowhere and even if an AoE manages to deal with your board you draw cards from Undercity Huckster and Bloodmage Thalnos for following  up your turns yet again. You also have the potential to get good deathrattle minions from Journey Below like Sylvanas Windrunner or Cairne Bloodhoof for better N’zoth turns.

yogg-saron-hopes-end: Yogg Saron is not a necessity in the deck but it does have insane synergy because of the sheer number of spells and draw effects. You also generate coins from your Tomb Pillagers which count as spells and fuels the insanity themed Old God.

Budget Replacements

Bloodmage Thalnos: The card is too unique to be replaced for getting the same utility. Neither Loot Hoarder nor Kobold Geomancer will allow you get the same consistent effect. However, it is a card that is replaceable if you do not own it. Earthen Ring Farseer, a second Journey Below, Dark Iron Skulker or Shiv can fit in for a replacement.

Edwin VanCleef: Earthen Ring Farseer and Defender of Argus are worthy replacements.

N’zoth and Yogg Saron: You can choose to cut out both the Old Gods in favor of Unearthed Raptor for a more aggressive line up. If you are missing just one of the Old Gods then you can add in any of your lategame threats or simply add a second Journey Below.


The deck is quite good in its own right and I’ve been trying out a list without Ethereal Peddler in the past few days and I want to get right into the action when Wing 4 releases. Hope you have a fun weekend with Thief Rogue and let me know if you have any ideas for the deck in the comments below!