Last Day Of The Season feat. Midrange/Tempo Warrior

Hello everyone. This post will be slightly different from the last few. I wrote in-depth guides on 3 different WoG decks, but I’ve always focused more on the deck itself (the deckbuilding aspect, card choices, alternate/tech cards etc.) and less on playing it. Or rather less on how exactly it works on the ladder. I’ve […]

Introduction

Hello everyone. This post will be slightly different from the last few. I wrote in-depth guides on 3 different WoG decks, but I’ve always focused more on the deck itself (the deckbuilding aspect, card choices, alternate/tech cards etc.) and less on playing it. Or rather less on how exactly it works on the ladder.

I’ve been hanging around top 100 Legend EU (going in and out) for pretty much the whole season. Few days ago, however, after drinking a bit (a little more than a bit… STOP JUDGING ME) I’ve decided to play stuff that I have no clue how to play. And so it was my first time playing Yogg Druid, Malygos Rogue, Control Shaman etc. When you add that to a state of slight intoxication, yeah, it didn’t end too well. I’ve ended up falling to the so-called “dumpster rating”. I think my lowest rank was around 4k. Yeah, it doesn’t sound too well, especially since the season was closing very soon.

I’ve figured – the hell with it, I won’t climb again. So I’ve played some more fun a day before restart (so on Monday) – luckily with fresh mind my win rate was actually positive and I’ve managed to grind rank ~2k. Yesterday, however, for some reason my tryhard switch turned on and I’ve decided to give it a last try. After a quick analysis of the meta I was facing (that, and watching Thijs hit top 5 with that deck), I’ve decided that Midrange/Tempo Warrior is the way to go. And yeah, it turned out to be a good decision.

I’ll call the deck “Midrange Warrior” from here on, that’s how I always call it, but since “Tempo Warrior” is also a common name, I’ve decided to go with both in the title.

P.S. As it turns out, rank 44 around 8 hours before season resets… was not enough to guarantee top 100 spot. I was 100% sure that I’ll stay in top 100, but when I’ve logged in just before midnight I was just outside of top 100 and I had no time to climb any more. FML.

Deck Overview

The deck I was using is a pretty standard Midrange Warrior build. I won’t try to be unique in that aspect, because if the deck works – why change it? The only changes I made (and I see people are making) are very small like 1x vs 2x Whirlwind, whether to run Arathi Weaponsmith or not + maybe some tech choices. I’ll talk about that aspect later.

But maybe let me start with the reason why I’ve picked Midrange Warrior. I felt that the deck had overall good matchups against the meta I was facing. The biggest reason was the popularity of Zoo. If you know how to play the matchup and don’t draw really poorly, you’re a big favorite – no matter what Zoo build enemy runs (but I felt that the Doomguard version was harder, because all the burst the more popular Leeroy Jenkins/Soulfire build has is useless if you counter their early aggression). And the stats really reflect that – my total win rate with the deck against Warlock is 16-1, where the one loss was against RenoLock (which is an average matchup) – making it 100% win rate against Zoo.

On the other hand, I feel that the deck has a weak matchup against slow, Control decks – if you don’t get a very good aggression they will run you out of threats and then get out of range of your finishers. Those matchups are e.g. Control Warrior, Control Priest and Control Paladin. I had worst win rates against those matchups. But they were very unpopular in the high Legend ladder – I’ve faced less of those 3 decks COMBINED than of Zoo Warlock.

Another common, good matchup is Midrange Shaman. Midrange Warrior is amazing at early game board control and Midrange Shaman is one of those decks that require the board to do stuff. They have no real late game drops and rely on buffing the Totems and playing tempo 5/5 Taunts. So if you take a board away from them and stall until the late game, your big bombs should be able to finish the Shaman. While the deck isn’t as good against Aggro Shaman as the slower Warrior variants, it’s still a decent matchup.

And last, but not least, I’ve faced A LOT of Warrior variants, with different Midrange versions being the most popular. I’ve mostly faced decks similar to mine, with some Dragon Warriors, Pirate Warriors and then some Control and C’Thun Warriors. Like I’ve said before – slowest versions are bad matchups, but not unwinnable. Pirate Warrior is an okay matchup – it’s not amazing, but as long as you don’t take too much early damage you should be fine (it’s similar to Aggro Shaman, but more of the damage relies on weapons and Charge minions – so Bloodhoof Braves are game changers vs Warrior). And then the mirrors (I consider Dragon version a mirror too)… well, it’s a mirror matchup. Should be 50/50, but I guess I was either more lucky or better than my opponents.

But maybe let me talk about the list I was running a bit more. Couple of quick points:

  • While a lot of the lists are running only 1x Whirlwind, the card is really crucial in the Zoo matchup. As it turned out, I didn’t really face too many Zoos in the last 10 games, but I think it worked quite well. If you don’t play against a lot of Zoo, you can play second Acolyte of Pain or Fierce Monkey in that slot.
  • Arathi Weaponsmith – Another card I’ve put in because of the Zoo, but it also affected some other matchups. Early/mid game weapons are CRUCIAL against Zoo, but also against Shaman and fast Warrior builds. Arathi gives access to another one and while it’s only 2 attack, it’s still good enough in those fast matchups (especially with all the Slams, Whirlwinds, Blood To Ichors etc.) Before, I was running Harrison Jones in that slot after playing pretty much only against Warriors. But Warrior was pretty much the only matchup where Harrison was really great and I didn’t face enough Warriors lately. It would seem that Harrison is great in this meta in general, but not necessarily in this deck. Against Rogue you don’t struggle with card advantage – you want to kill them as fast as you can and Harrison is too slow. It’s the same thing with Hunter – most of the games I lost, I didn’t lose because I ran out of cards. I lost because they outtempo’d me with Call of the Wild. Another potential target is Shaman’s Doomhammer – but I didn’t play against a lot of Aggro (which runs two), and then Midrange usually runs one and sometimes not even that. Oh and Paladins… Harrison is amazing against Control Paladin, but I didn’t meet almost any Paladins. That’s why I think that while Harrison Jones might feel like a great tech, I don’t necessarily like it in this deck UNLESS you play against a lot of Warriors/Paladins.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner is another semi-common tech in this deck, but I dislike her. Sylvanas is a card that works much better when you’re behind. But the point of this deck is to be ahead. For example – Cairne is better in this deck – he’s more resistant to AoEs, better at trading, can get more value overall, because you need to assume that Sylvanas often won’t steal anything.
  • I’ve seen some players cutting the Varian Wrynn, because it’s too slow. While I agree that a 10 mana card is slow in this meta, Varian is a surprisingly fast card for the mana cost. I’ve found out that dropping him on 10 (once you survived) would often be an instant win in faster matchups. This deck is VERY minion-heavy, and pulling out a Taunt, Charge minion or one of your big boys (like Cairne or Rag) is an insane tempo swing in your favor. Sometimes it doesn’t work too well – if you’re really behind on the board, it won’t likely save you. It plays into the AoE against slow decks (so you need to bait out those first with something else). And sometimes it just draws 3 cards. While in theory it’s still good, it’s a high tempo deck so you prefer tempo (so minions on the board) over just value of having more removals/weapons in the hand. Also – one thing to note is that even though slower matchups are less common, Varian Wrynn is often the only way to win those. If enemy is removing all your stuff throughout the game, a turn 10 Varian is sometimes an all-in play – enemy has big AoE, he wins. He doesn’t – you can turn a terrible game around. I won a game against Control Priest, when he was at 30 health and I was completely out of steam (with just Varian + Whirlwind in my hand). He already used SW:D, Entomb and a lot of removals in general. Varian pulled out Kor’Kron + Grom and I won the game next turn (pushing for 8 damage that turn + 21 from minions and 3 from weapon I’ve topdecked next turn for perfect lethal after Priest healed). I like to have that late game super powerful play available.

Quick Stats

So I’ll leave some quick stats here before going more in-depth into individual matchups:

  • Total win rate: 64-24 (73%)
  • Last day win rate: 24-3 (89%)
  • Win rate going first: 82%
  • Win rate going second: 64%
  • Total time played: 8.7 hours
  • Average game time: 5.9 minutes (10.1 turns)

And here is the screenshot of my yesterday’s win streak:

Matchup Analysis

So, that’the main reason why I’m writing this. To showcase how the deck is doing against the ladder and what is the exact meta I was facing. I’ll leave the stats on every matchup + description. Is it a good matchup? What is the main strategy? Maybe there is something special about the mulligan? And so on. I really hope you’ll find those scraps of info useful. Let’s start:

Druid

5-4 (56%)

Druid is a pretty tricky matchup. In theory, it might be really strong, because they struggle against high tempo decks. For example – Execute is an insane card in this matchup, because it provides a huge swing. It destroys a 5-8 mana minion for just 1 mana. But you really need to draw it, that’s why I often keep one of those in my starting hand. Early Innervate into a big threat could otherwise ruin your day. There are two common Druid versions on the ladder right now. First one is Ramp and the second one are the Token/Yogg decks – similar to the ones Savjz or J4CKIECHAN were playing on ladder. There is also an occasional C’Thun Druid or Beast Druid, but they are less common from my experience. And both of those matchups are very draw-dependant from the Druid’s side. So, if you’re going second AND Druid gets the ramp, that’s really a bad game. Him being at 2 or 3 more mana than you means that he should be able to stop your early/mid game threats and develop a few minions by himself (that’s Ramp Druid). Or it means that he can do all the Violet Teacher / Power of the Wild / Wisps of the Old Gods / Soul of the Forest shenanigans (that’s Token Druid). Another point is that weapons work pretty bad in those matchups. Ramp Druid runs almost no small minions, and Token Druid runs so many tokens that you won’t have enough weapon swings to deal with them (+it’s not really efficient). That’s why I feel like weapons should often go face to put pressure on the enemy. That’s actually the name of the game – you put pressure. You want early game MINIONS curve, even better if you have Frothing Berserker (because if Druid has no way to kill it, it can put a lot of pressure) and Kor’kron Elite (charge). Then you want to finish Druid with your big bombs like Ragnaros the Firelord or Grommash Hellscream before he can completely stabilize. But as you can see from my win rate – it doesn’t always work in practice. But I still think the matchup is in your favor and my few losses was just variance (I was really close to winning in most of the games I lost).

Hunter

7-5 (58%)

Another matchup where I feel that you need to assume the role of aggressor. And I think it’s a hard matchup, even though I’ve heard people saying that Midrange Warrior is good against Midrange Hunter. Because well, that’s the deck I’m facing most – I played against maybe 2 Yogg Hunters, but it’s a pretty wild matchup and every one goes differently (because of a pretty random nature of the deck). But, why do you need to be the aggressor? First of all – your early/mid game aggression is better. You have more threatening and faster minions. And what’s maybe even more important is that Midrange Hunter struggles when playing reactively – that deck wants to curve out, get on the board, play a minion every turn. If suddenly it will need to start removing your minions instead of developing the board, it might have hard time. Then again, it’s not like you go all in – first of all, you want to get rid of the Beasts on the board, especially if a Houndmaster would screw you. I usually find the matchup pretty easy from turns 1 to 5, because you should be more or less in control of the game. But then, there are two turns where everything can swing around. First of all – turn 6 and Savannah Highmane. It’s one of the most broken cards in the game if enemy has no clear, cheap way to deal with it (like Sap or Humility). While you have Execute, it only destroys the initial body and you still need to kill two 2/2’s. So you have a choice to either use a lot of resources and kill it OR ignore it. Both options are bad – killing it means you slow down and leaving it means Hunter gets a great Houndmaster target, a lot of value trades or maybe even a way to start racing you. The second swing turn is turn 8 – you know what, forget when I’ve said that Highmane is broken. Call of the Wild is broken. At least against this deck. You have zero good ways to deal with the card. It often takes 2-3 of your cards to deal with that call of the Wild after it pushes for the initial 5 damage anyway. And then it’s an Epic, not Legendary, so enemy can just drop a second one. Yeah. That’s my biggest struggle in this matchups – if I don’t kill enemy before Call of the Wild, I will very likely lose the game. It’s the card that not only gets a lot of value, but also puts pressure. Since I was using my health as a resource the whole game + I didn’t have time to Hero Power + Hunter might get a Hero Power or two off, I’m probably around half health by the time all of the Wilds drop. And then it’s easy – Hunter just goes face and ignores anything I do. Then closes the game with Quick Shots, Bow, Kill Command etc. My big drops are pretty useless (besides Grom, which has Charge), because they come too late. Ragnaros usually gets ignored or killed with Deadly Shot, Varian is amazing if it pulls out the Taunts or Chargers, but if it doesn’t – you will probably die after playing him. Just like with Druid, it might be variance, because pretty much every Hunter I faced had perfect curve, turn 6 Highmane (possibly t7 too) into turn 8 Call of the Wild (possibly t9 too) and it was a real struggle to deal with all of that. So my advice would be – try to kill Hunter before he kills you. Force him to use the removals or burn cards on your minions and just develop more. Try to outtempo him – dropping a t3 Ravaging Ghoul is okay even if it doesn’t hit anything, just for the 3/3 body. And for the god’s sake – PLAY AROUND Stampeding Kodo! If Hunter is at 5 or more mana, don’t drop Bloodhoof Brave without immediately enraging it or Frothing Berserker without pumping up at least one point of attack. Otherwise Kodo will destroy you. Hunter killing your 4-drop for free while developing a 3/5 Beast at the same time is such a big swing that it will be hard to come back.

Mage

3-2 (60%)

All the Mages I’ve faced were Tempo Mages, I didn’t face a single Freeze Mage with this deck (at least I don’t remember). But I think that Freeze Mage matchup should be good with this deck if you time your Armorsmiths well. You want to play tempo game, pressuring the Mage. Then when you draw your Armorsmiths, set up a board, drop 2 of them and a few Whirlwind effects to gain A LOT of Armor and get out of the burn range. While you don’t have as much Armor gain as Control/C’Thun Warrior, you put more pressure on the Freeze Mage and can make him crumble that way. Also, getting Battle Rage value is extremely easy, as the Mage often only FREEZES your board and not removes it. So dig through your deck to get the Armorsmiths, but also cards like Kor’Krons / Grommash (instant damage) or Ragnaros (pain in the neck for Freeze Mage). And the Tempo Mage matchup is, hm, okay. I’d say that it’s 50/50, but it depends on their list. I think that more spell-heavy lists are better for you, while more minion-heavy are harder to play against. You REALLY need a t2 Fiery War Axe in this matchup, because there are so many early game drops you absolutely need to kill if you don’t want Mage to snowball. Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Flamewaker are the highest priority targets. Overall, you should win the “value war”, but Mage can be really annoying and rush you down. The weapons can get stopped by Mirror Image or Water Elemental – the second one is one of the strongest minions against your deck. Besides Execute, you don’t really have a clean way to kill it on t4 (maybe with pumped up Frothing). 3 attack lines nicely against a lot of your minions, 6 health is very hard to take down and freezing means that if he attacks your face, your weapons become useless. Since you run no Brawl, you can’t let Mage develop a big board – sometimes the combination of Slam, Blood to Ichor, Whirlwind and weapons is good enough to take down even a big board, but it’s not always possible. So try to play for the tempo not for the value – drop meaningful 3-drop not the Acolyte of Pain, try to develop stuff instead of setting up a Battle Rage (do that only if you’re running out of cards or your hand is too weak). So, it’s all about surviving the early/mid game and then you should take the board lead. But, there are two more thing into the matchup. First one is Archmage Antonidas. If you have a complete board control, sure, taking him down shouldn’t really be a big deal. But if you don’t, if he hits the empty board, you absolutely need to save one Execute for him. Antonidas on empty board and you having no way to kill it = game over. Then, another big swing is Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End. I really hate how RNG heavy and swingy this card is. Oh how many times I had an amazing game against some deck, working hard on the board control, on the card advantage etc. just for the enemy to drop Yogg and ruin everything. In worst best case scenario, this card will kill Tempo Mage. In the worst case – he draws 5 cards, clears your board, summons some stuff, buffs that stuff, heals himself and plays a bunch of Secrets. Yeeeaaah. So in the perfect scenario you want to try to kill him before turn 10, but I know that it might be hard. So you need to pray that Yogg won’t screw you completely.

Paladin

3-2 (60%)

Every Paladin I’ve met was Control Paladin, no exceptions. Control Paladin is a pretty hard matchup, because well, that decks has more ways to stop your aggression than any other. Truesilver Champion, Humility, Aldor Peacekeeper, Keeper of Uldaman, Stampeding Kodo, not to mention the AoE clears with Equality. And then if they manage to stop your push, they drop Ragnaros, Lightlord or Forbidden Healing and are back at full. Yeah, that’s a hard matchup and you really need to play fast. The longer game goes, the lower your chances are to win. They will just grind you out of threats completely and heal back up. The idea is to try to push for as much face damage as you can with your minions, because they won’t stick too long to the board. Then you want to finish the game with a combination of Chargers, weapons and Ragnaros. The more early pressure you put on them, the lesser are the chances they have a perfect answer for everything + the more desperately they need to play. For example, Humility on a 3/3 minion is pretty desperate – you don’t mind that, you don’t lose THAT MUCH and you have a higher chance that your Cairne or something won’t become useless. Baiting the equality on like 2 minions is also okay – Varian Wrynn is a big deal in this matchup and if enemy has used his equalities already, it might be the swing you need to win. Also, you want to cycle AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Don’t worry about fatigue. If you get to the fatigue and Paladin runs you out of threats, you would lose that game anyway. I had one game where my last effort was using Battle Rage to draw 4 or 5 cards (when I had 2 left in the deck) and then finishing enemy with the Kor’kron + Arathi Weaponsmith I had left in the deck. So yeah, every card counts in this matchup – try to draw as much as you can, this way you MIGHT develop more threats than enemy has answers for. Another Paladin archetypes you can meet on the ladder is Aggro Paladin (either the Divine Shield or Murloc versions) or even Anyfin Can Happen Paladin (I thought the deck was dead, but apparently it isn’t). I haven’t played against any of those, but in theory: this deck should be a favorite against Aggro Paladins with the amount of early game removal and Whirlwind effects it has. Just remember to not draw too many with Battle Rage, or enemy will get a Divine Favor value. Try to get off a 2-3 cards Battle Rage and in the mid/late game when you can actually use some of the cards you draw immediately. The Anyfin Paladin matchup – I have no clue which way it would go.

Priest

2-2 (50%)

A very similar story to the Control Paladin. No matter what kind of Priest you face, they are all pretty much the Control decks. And that’s the problem, because once again – their Hero Power counters your aggression, you actually need to have a 2-3 minions on the board to put serious pressure. And then you play into AoE clear with Excavated Evil or Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing. The lists I’ve encountered ran 2x Shadow Word: Death and 2x Entomb, so good luck with having something big stick into the board. The best way to finish this matchup is to, once again, act fast. Early game Frothing Berserker can snowball the game if they have no answer. Kor’kron Elite is insane in this matchup – Priests struggle with killing 4 attack minions, so that’s the constant source of damage. Drop two Kor’Krons and you might win the game if enemy has no Excavated Evil (and even if he does, t4 Kor’kron into t5 Kor’kron is 12 damage in total, which is already fine). That’s why I always keep Kor’krons in my mulligan against Priest. You want to have a good curve and a transition from the early to mid to late game. You basically don’t want Priest to develop stuff and take the board control, just focus on the answers. For example – t7 Malkorok is great too, because they rarely can answer the body AND destroy the weapon, so something’s going to push damage. Then the best t8 play is Ragnaros the Firelord – you prefer to drop it on the empty board. You don’t really care about it hitting the minion, 8 damage is what you want. And enemy has to answer again. In the best case scenario you should be able to finish the game with t9 Grommash Hellscream + activator. That’s the best case scenario, but it won’t always happen. You might not have Grom, enemy might be out of range, because you didn’t put enough pressure. I think that playing Grom + activator against Priest is a good t9 anyway, even if it doesn’t kill him. Especially if he used some Deaths or Entomb already. He might not have the answer for big body and you will get second, most likely lethal swing. Another card that can win this matchup, just like vs Control Paladin, is Varian Wrynn (yeah, the father turned against his son). With Lightbomb gone, Priest has a much harder time dealing with a few semi-big threats. So if you pull out your 4+ drops, Priest might struggle with killing all of them and crumble under the pressure. But, if Priest stabilizes – you lost. He will be able to heal for 2 (or 4) every turn and without minions you have pretty much no source of continuous damage. I mean, weapons – sure – but you will run out of charges after a while. And just like in Paladin’s matchup – draw as much as you can, if you go to fatigue and still lose the game after using all your threats, you can be sure as hell that you wouldn’t win the game without drawing that much.

Rogue

3-1 (75%)

I surprisingly haven’t met that many Rogues when playing this deck, even though Miracle Rogue is a pretty popular deck in Legend ladder. Overall, it’s a hard matchup, even though I think that you’re a favorite here. But you ABSOLUTELY need to pressure the enemy. Even more than in any Control matchup. The reason is that once enemy drops Gadgetzan Auctioneer on turn 6, you have around 2-3 turns from now to kill him. Otherwise he will draw through his deck WHILE removing everything you play WHILE dealing a lot of damage every turn and digging for the Leeroy + burn. Yes, enemy might not draw into the Auctioneer – but let’s be real, they always do. What you really hope for is that he won’t draw the answers for your first threats. The way you win this matchup is that you curve out with 2 into 3 into 4 etc. and start pushing damage as soon as you can. T3 Frothing Berserker is big if enemy can’t kill it right away. T4 Kor’kron is also very good – enemy often takes 8 damage from it if he can’t kill it or needs to use his weapon (keep it in your opening hand). Weapons are also a good source of damage, but you focus on minion damage first – enemy will remove your minions EASILY once he starts to cycle with Auctioneer, but he won’t be able to remove your weapons unless he teched in Harrison Jones, and even in that case it costs 5 mana to do that (he can’t Prep Harrison out for insane tempo swing like he can all the spell removals). Rogue runs almost no defensive cards – zero Taunts, the only ways to heal is usually a single Earthen Ring Farseer (some of them run two, but that’s not very common). So every point of damage is important. Meaning that if Frothing stays on the board, dropping a Whirlwind to let’s say just deal 2 or 3 more damage is really good and that you prefer to push for face damage instead of trading if you can (the only situation I would trade with minions is to protect a big Frothing). So go all-in as fast as you can, don’t play for value – cycling is cool, but it costs you the time and time is very important here. In the best case scenario you will have a Grom + activator as a finisher, but sometimes you also need to count on a lucky Ragnaros shot. I had some games decided by 50/50 Rag or even 33% Rag (not necessarily with Midrange Warrior, but the idea is the same).

Shaman

10-4 (75%)

The archetype I’ve faced most was Midrange Shaman, with an Aggro Shaman popping out here and there. This deck is favorite against Midrange Shaman as long as they don’t outtempo you heavily in the early game. I’d even say that the game often comes down to who has the stronger early game. Luckily for you, Fiery War Axe is a HUGE advantage. It lines perfectly against every of their early game drops (besides Argent Squire – but you have other ways to deal with it and Totem Golem – but it still does with the help of Whirlwind effect or Blood to Ichor). So it’s one of those matchups where you want to mulligan heavily for it. This time around, you don’t want to play too aggressively. You play for the value and board control. You take the value trades, you kill EVERY SINGLE TOTEM they play. I mean, okay, if I had 10 attack Frothing Berserker then I would probably push for face damage instead of killing that totem. But anything up to 5 damage goes into the totems. That’s the way you win those matchup – Shaman really needs those to win. Midrange Shaman is very light on the big minions. Thing from Below x2 with an occasional Fire Elemental and even more occasional Al’Akir the Windlord. Some still run the Flamewreathed Faceless, but I’ve seen people cutting it from Midrange Shaman lists. Midrange Warrior is one of the main reasons, because early Execute can completely shut that card down for just 1 mana – Warrior gets good tempo swing. But,  no matter if they run it or not, their main source of late game power is the ability to flood the board and then abuse effects of cards like Flametongue Totem and Thunder Bluff Valiant. One of their main win conditions is Bloodlust – without minions on the board, it’s a dead card. Without board Mana Tide Totem just cycles one card and gets taken down for free after that. If Shaman has the board control, he can protect it and enemy might have no way to kill it, meaning it will accumulate a lot of value over time. So overall, if you take away the board = Shaman has a very hard time. So that’s your main focus. Also, try to play around Lightning Storm a bit. Unless you’re going for Battle Rage, sometimes it’s better to kill off your low health minion and keep the higher health one at full. For example, board of 5/5 and 4/3 might be better than 5/2, 4/3 and 3/1. The first one is much harder to clear with Storm, so especially if enemy is holding a lot of cards in his hand, you can suspect that one of them is Storm and he’s just waiting for the right value. The only times I play into the storm is when I have so much cards in my hand that I don’t care because I can refill the board easily next turn, or I have Variann in my hand and baiting the storm will make it much harder to get killed. Aggro Shaman is a harder matchup, because controlling the board won’t win you the game. Against Midrange Shaman, you keep the board control and you can be safe even at relatively low health (the only way they can kill you is Doomhammer + Rockbiter burst, but not only they run only 1 Doomhammer, but also the Rockbiters are often used for the board control). Aggro Shaman, on the other hand, has a lot of charge minions, 2x Doomhammer, rarely uses Rockbiter as a board control tool and he runs quite a lot of burn on top of that. So even if you get the great early board control, if you miss the mid game Taunts or something, you can die quite easily. Or if enemy gets a crazy fast start and you have no way to counter it, if he will take you to 15 health before you stabilize – it might seem that with your Hero Power you should be safe, but the deck can pull of insane burst amounts. Instead of playing overly defensive, you want to control the board AND push for damage. Killing every totem isn’t that important, because Aggro Shaman is much less board-reliant (I’d still kill Spell Damage ones if Shaman is holding a few cards, because well, that one totem can push for 3-4 damage if Shaman starts burning you). The idea is to control the board in the early game and make a mid game shift into pushing for damage. Frothing Berserker is really good – it can take out of control really quickly and enemy will often have to throw Lava Burst to kill it. Which you don’t mind, it means less burn for your face. You should protect your health total and don’t use weapons too recklessly. I mean – in the early game weapons are amazing, but once you get the board control, value your health above the health of your minions. And so, even if enemy drops a 1/3 Trogg, use that 3/3 minion instead of your weapon. After all, you don’t care whether your minions is 3/3 or 3/2, enemy won’t kill it anyway, you can have whole board at 1 health and enemy still won’t likely start trading (unless he’s at serious pressure). I tend to keep Execute in this matchup. It might seem weird, but most of the Aggro Shamans are running 2x Flamewreathed Faceless. And you absolutely CANNOT let it hit you and you have no other way to cleanly kill it. Then again, a tempo Execute against Totem Golem is also good enough – if you Blood to Ichor + Execute (for example), that’s a nice tempo play – for 2 mana you remove a 3/4 and develop a 2/2. So it will rarely be a dead card, because even if you use it as 2-3 damage for 1 it’s okay.

Warlock

16-1 (94%)

Yeah. That’s a nice win rate. And Warlock being a very common matchup was the main reason I’ve decided to go with Midrange Warrior to climb. The deck is VERY GOOD against Zoo Warlock. Like I’ve said before, I had 100% win rate against Zoo Warlock.  And just a quick disclaimer – I don’t mean that the deck is 100/0 against Zoo. Some of the games were pretty close, sometimes I topdecked the Whirlwind effect just at the right time, sometimes enemy didn’t find the burn to finish me off when I was at 5 health – so a few of those games could be losses and it was just lucky RNG that I won. But I still think the score is impressive and I found it amazing how easy a lot of games were. I had the games where Zoo got perfect early game curve, I had no Fiery War Axe in my opening hand and I still won. Whirlwind effects are amazing against current Zoo builds for a few reason. First of all – they have no Deathrattle minions, so once you clear the board you usually clear it. I mean, there is a Possessed Villager and Argent Squire (when it comes to sticky minions), but both are 1/1’s so not really threatening. Second thing – the deck bases the game plan around taking efficient trades. If you play a 1/3 and they have 3/2 on the board – they will take this trade. It means that their minions are often at 1 health. Third thing – their main way to refill the board is Forbidden Ritual, which gets perfectly countered by Whirlwind effects. Fourth thing – they are very cheap, so great tempo moves. Tempo is important against Zoo. Yes, Consecration is also a good counter to Forbidden Ritual, but then you pay 4 mana and don’t develop anything. But if you drop a Ravaging Ghoul, not only you get the same job done for 1 less mana, but you also get a 3/3 on the board. Overall, the game plan is a little similar to the one vs Midrange Shaman. You clear the board. You keep their board CONSTANTLY cleared. Even if some trades are bad, like running a 4/1 minion into a 2/2 or 2/1 into 1/1 – you still take those. The only minion you might actually push face damage with is Frothing Berserker, but ONLY if you set up 2 turns lethal (which is very possible – I had turn 5 lethal against Zoo with my Frothing after playing a Whirlwind effect on t4 to clear the board and two more on t5). Zoo won’t outvalue you. Most of their draws are meaningless if they have no board. Sure, they draw 2 cards per turn, but if those two cards are Voidwalker and Power Overwhelming (when they have nothing to play it on) or Abusive and Argus (once again, when they have nothing to play it on) – they really suck. Not to mention that you can easily set up a big Battle Rage in the mid game if you dictate how the trades go. If it’s the mid game and you have the board control, you pretty much won the game already. There is nothing Zoo can do from behind. Especially if it’s the Leeroy + Soulfire version (most common right now) – if you constantly sit at 20+ health, the whole burst combo is useless and they will eventually have to use it for the board control, stripping themselves of their main win condition. Another reason the matchup can get out of control is a Darkshire Councilman snowball, so killing that card is your first priority. Also, tempo Execute might be a good play – I often played Blood to Ichor + Execute on the t2 Imp Gang Boss for example. But you generally want to keep at least one Execute against the possible Doomguard (if they play that version) or Sea Giant. Sea Giant is not a big deal IF you can control the board, but if they drop Ritual and you can’t clear it, a nearly free Sea Giant can be problematic. So, just clear anything they play and you should win the game – easy, right? Then, the other matchup – RenoLock – is harder. I didn’t play against many RenoLocks with Midrange Warrior, but I have played the matchup from the other side much more and I had good win rate. The main strategy against RenoLock is the tempo. RenoLock has almost no way to remove your mid game threats (well, there is Shadow Bolt and that’s it when it comes to single target removal) immediately. He relies on minion trades. So if you play a really fast game and they don’t draw Reno – you can win. That’s pretty important. You can’t really outvalue the RenoLock in the long run, you can try to rush him down – but Reno is a big problem. If he manages to stop your mid game aggression AND heals up to full, you can’t really comeback. The way I sometimes win this matchup is a pretty cheesy tactic of playing 2x Frothing Berserker as soon as you can and then following it by a couple of Whirlwind effects. First of all – the only way they can kill early Frothing without minions is Shadow Bolt. And the second thing – they sometimes tap on turn 2 and 3 so you have time to set it up. I won a game by coining out Frothing on t2, playing a second one on t3, they have played a Twilight Drake if I remember correctly. Then I’ve played 2x Blood to Ichor followed by 2x Whirlwind. Of course, the chances you will get this kind of hand are really low, but it’s generally possible to get a quick win with Frothing if you have some ways to buff it up and enemy has no answer. Also, if you manage to bait the Twisting Nether on turn 8 (sometimes you do if you put enough pressure), then Varian Wrynn is a big turn 10 play. It’s often the last-ditch effort to win the game. Overall it’s a pretty hard matchup if RenoLock knows what he’s doing, so don’t feel bad if you lose it.

Warrior

15-3 (83%)

I’ll divide the Warrior into 3 categories: Control Warrior decks (so classic Control Warrior, C’Thun Warrior, Reno Warrior), Midrange Warrior decks (so a mirror matchup + Dragon Warrior) and Aggro Warrior (the only popular Aggro archetype right now is Pirate Warrior). I’ll start with the slow matchups first. Slow matchups are pretty bad. I won’t go deep into why they’re bad, because I already did it with Paladin and Priest. It’s pretty much the same – they can remove your stuff quite efficiently, they can AoE your board pretty well if you develop too much, but you have to develop many minions, because otherwise their health gain will be too much for you to deal with. And just like the other Control matchups – you want to play as fast as you can and hope that enemy won’t get all the right answers. There isn’t really a lot you can do. Then, the Midrange matchups. Those are hardest ones. Since the decks you face are of a very similar speed to yours, there is no one clear aggressor and defender. Those roles might even shift multiple times during each match and it’s very important to know which role you need to play and when. It’s like a balancing on a thin line between tempo and value. If you push for too much tempo and enemy counters your push while also being more efficient, you’re left with no value and enemy wins the game, because when you start running out of threats, everything shifts around. Then again, if you go for too much value and play too slowly, enemy can just rush you down before you can actually take advantage of all the cards you have. It’s impossible to say how you should play this matchup, because it really depends on the cards you draw and what enemy plays. I usually go for the middle-ground moves. At the start of the game I want to tempo out to feel the waters. But I don’t go all-in. For example – throwing out Kor’kron Elite into opponent’s Fiery War Axe is a high tempo, but low value move. Yes, you get 8 damage for 4 mana. That’s strong. But then your Kor’kron is taken down “for free” and now enemy can develop something. You prefer to bait the Axe hits with smaller minions like Armorsmith and Slime. Also, what’s important is that you want to take SOME face damage. Being at 29 is 100 times better than being at 30. On the other hand, if you get a slow start you might use it for your advantage. If enemy plays an early game minion and attacks you, you don’t mind. Or if you get a weapon and can hit something. But then, leaving enemy at 30 health + Armor is a valid tactic. I sometimes even force enemy to get MORE Armor by using Whirlwind before killing their Armorsmith (that’s ONLY if they’re at 30 health). It means that their mid game Battle Rages will be weaker. By the time they actually start taking face damage, you might run them out of steam. Playing around Battle Rage is important in general. That’s why you want to kill every minion opponent plays. That 2/1 Slime might seem not threatening, but look at it this way: it’s a card that enemy will draw. If you kill it, he won’t draw anything. Be careful to not use your face too much. You should be safe at ~20 health, but if you get lower enemy can try setting up a 2-3 turns lethal. For example, Malkorok into a pretty big weapon + Kor’kron next turn can get you down to ~10 health, which is in the rage of Grom. You need to remember that you NEVER want to fall down below 10 health. Even if you have Taunt on the board you can’t feel safe (because Grom + Whirlwind + Execute is a thing). Armoring up is actually very valuable in the late game, sometimes it’s better to not develop a minion or weapon and instead Armor Up to get out of potential range. If you control the board AND you are at reasonable health, you won’t lose unless enemy gets some kind of dream Varian. There are probably a lot more things when it comes to this matchup, but most of them come with experience and are hard to explain without exact in-game examples. Then, the last matchup is Aggro Warrior. In this one you’re a slight favorite. Even though they should outtempo you in the early game and you will most likely take more damage then you want – you should be able to stop the aggression. They are going all-in on the tempo and don’t play for the value. It means that you can get 2 for 1’s with your weapons and some minions. Don’t hesitate to use an early Execute on a 3/3 or 3/4 minion. They don’t play big guys, so your Executes won’t likely get more value anyway. First thing you want to do is to stabilize. Use your health as a resource, play as quick as you can and remove their minions. Once you deal with their early push, they will most likely rely on the Charge minions and weapons to deal damage. This gets stopped quite well by the Taunts. Try to Armor up as much as you can, once they are in topdeck mode their damage is really limited (sometimes they don’t get any damage at all – they just drop let’s say a 2/3 or 3/4 Pirate) so every point of health can get you out of range. Try to squeeze the maximum out of your Armorsmiths. Once you drop one on the board, utilize cards like Blood to Ichor (on your own minions) and Whirlwind to gain the max amount of Armor. You don’t care about your minions health – I mean, they won’t kill them anyway and each point of Armor is very important. The last important thing is playing around Mortal Strike. You don’t have to play it when you have high health, but if you’re low, the best way to do it is to set them up to 13 or more health and then kill them in one turn. Ragnaros or charge minions are great way to do that. Sometimes those 2 extra points of damage can be a matter of life and death, so if you can – play around it. But then again, if you can’t set it up to kill them from 13+, don’t play around it and hope they won’t have it. Giving them an extra turn or two by keeping them alive at 13+ to play around Mortal Strike is even worse, because this way you give them more time to draw into their burn. Overall the games are usually decided in the first few turns – if you can stop the pressure, you should win. If you can’t – it is going to be insanely hard.

Closing

That’s all folks. It was supposed to be pretty short but like always, when I start writing about something it’s hard to stop 😛 I hope that anyone who wants to play this deck will learn something from my thoughts. Because that’s mostly what it is – a bunch of my thoughts on each of the matchups, not really a precise strategy.

If you have any questions regarding specific matchups, tech cards or the deck in general – feel free to ask. I might not be the Midrange Warrior expert, but as we can see I’m not that terrible with the deck either.

Have a good luck in the new season and until next time!