Many people say Miracle Rogue is difficult to play. Is that true? Well, yes it is. It’s going to take some effort to become proficient with this deck. So, don’t get discouraged. Realize that nothing worth achieving comes easy and just put your nose to the grindstone.
Is it worth it? Heck yes! This is the most fun deck in the game to play, bar none. Today, I had 50 damage in one turn with only 3 minions on board. And I can never forget top decking Leeroy Jenkins for 31 damage with no minions on board for an exact lethal! What? Yes, you can do that and I’m going to show you how.
This deck is very heavy on spells. Cheap spells. The deck can be broken down into 3 basic parts:
Due to the lack of minion presence, Miracle Rogue relies on some very strong removal to keep from getting run over in the early/mid game. Backstab, Deadly Poison, Blade Flurry, Eviscerate, Sap, Shiv, Fan of Knives, SI: 7 Agent, and Assassins Blade can all be used to remove your opponents minions.
Miracle Rogue relies heavily on card draw. Basically, you want to get your damage out as quickly as possible and to do this you need to draw, draw, draw. It is not unusual to draw 7, 8, 9 cards or more in one turn. Shiv, Nat Pagle, Fan of Knives, Acolyte of Pain, and Gadgetzan Auctioneer are your card draw mechanisms.
This deck is designed to hurt. A lot. The amount of burst damage is staggering. Leeroy Jenkins, 2 Shadowsteps, and 2 Cold Blood is 26 damage out of nowhere for 10 mana. OP? You bet it is. Cold Blood, Deadly Poison, Blade Flurry, Eviscerate, Shiv, Edwin Vancleef, SI: 7 Agent, Leeroy Jenkins, and Assassin’s Blade are the cards you will use to take your opponent’s health from 30 to 0 faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.
General Play Style
You want to remove your opponents threats while chipping away at his health and drawing cards until you have lethal damage, then kill him. Simple enough. Right? In practice, each game is different. Let’s look at a few parts of the puzzle and later on, we can discuss how they fit together.
Your bread and butter. You always want to be thinking about what you are going to do with your Auctioneers. Many games are difficult or impossible to win if you do not have an Auctioneer. This is just a reality of playing this deck and some games you won’t draw one. But, when you do… oh boy.
Good Auctioneer plays:
Turn six Auctioneer and conceal. Turn five Auctioneer with Preparation and Shiv, Fan, Conceal, Sap, Eviscerate to clear a big threat from your opponent. Turn x Auctioneer that draws 3 or more cards and leaves your opponent’s board empty.
Very often you will start out an Auctioneer run with just a Preparation and Shiv (for example) and go on to draw 5 or more cards, the game is nearly always won when you can do this.
Shadowstepping an Auctioneer can be a necessary and important play. If you are pretty card starved and don’t have the second Auctioneer, but do have a shadowstep it is almost always MANDATORY to shadowstep that Auctioneer back into your hand. If you don’t, you are relying on topdecking another Auctioneer to win and that is no fun with 16 cards left. It’s much better to have a fistful of cards and only 1 Shadowstep.
Bad Auctioneer plays:
Auctioneer with nothing else. Don’t do this. Ever. Well, almost never. It is almost always correct to wait until you have spells to combo with Auctioneer. And, if you have an Auctioneer, but no spells, you probably made mistakes earlier in the game by using spells that you should have saved to combo with your Auctioneer.
Auctioneer on turn x, when waiting just one turn will draw you more cards. In this case, it is almost always worth it to wait a round, especially if you can draw 2 more cards. If the difference is only 1 card, it’s debatable.
Leeroy Jenkins Combos
Leeroy is your finisher and knowing how much damage you are capable of (and how much mana it costs) is very important.
Leeroy, Shadowstep – 6 mana, 12 damage
Leeroy, Shadowstep, Cold Blood – 7 mana, 16 damage
Leeroy, Shadowstep, Shadowstep – 8 mana, 18 damage
Leeroy, Shadowstep, Shadowstep, Cold Blood – 9 mana, 22 damage
Leeroy, Shadowstep, Shadowstep, Cold Blood, Cold Blood – 10 mana, 26 damage
If you know you are getting close to lethal, you can setup the turn prior with your weapon, poison and things like Blade Flurry to increase your burst.
VanCleef is probably the most difficult card in the deck to play properly.
It is often incorrect to buff VanCleef up as high as you can. Spending your whole hand to make a 14/14 VanCleef is fun right up to the point he gets Tinkmastered or Silenced. So, I tend to make my VanCleef’s a little more garden variety.
Coin, VanCleef on 2 mana. This is a strong play which puts a 4/4 on board at 2 mana and can often put your opponent behind early. I would especially consider this if I had a cold blood in my hand with a way to combo it on turn 3.
Coin, Cold Blood or Deadly Poison, VanCleef on 3 mana turn. A 6/6 on board at 3 mana might be even scarier than the turn 2 play.
A word of caution about Preparation. It is usually better to save Preparation for your Auctioneers and not use them to pump up VanCleef. The best exceptions to this “rule” are when you are against a rush deck that you know is not running removal or your opponent has little or no cards in his hand. Another exception is when your opponent has used his removal already. You are keeping track, right? If not, you should be. It will help tremendously.
SI: 7 Agent
This card is incredible and can be used in some surprising ways.
Coin SI: 7 Agent on 2 mana can be a very strong opener against aggro decks. Note that this same play is often spew against control decks if they don’t have a board threat. In other words, it’s usually incorrect to do this just to hit them in the face for 2 damage.
Backstab SI: 7 Agent on 3 mana can also be strong.
You can SI:7 Agent your own Acolyte of Pain if you are in desperate need of cards. You can Shadowstep your SI:7 Agent to bring it back out at full health and with 2 more damage. This is very effective against aggro decks.
There is one Conceal in this deck. Use it wisely. The single best use is to save your Auctioneer for a turn. If you can get a Concealed Auctioneer on turn 6 with a bunch of spells in hand, the game is almost always won. Even better, coin out a concealed Auctioneer on turn 5. Better still, coin out Auctioneer on turn 4 and Preparation conceal him. GGWP.
Other uses of Conceal are making a massive VanCleef and then concealing him. I usually only do this if I know I’m going to be able to do VanCleef’s damage to my opponent’s face on the next turn. Typically I’ll have a sap or other removal in hand to deal with any large taunts my opponent might play.
Conceal can also be used to setup a guaranteed lethal with any of your minions on board, even Acolyte of Pain does 9 damage when you can double Cold Blood him.
This card excels against control decks, but is weak against aggro. Always look to combine your Blade with Deadly Poison if you can. Sometimes you have to use your poison early, but if not, here are the numbers:
Assassin’s Blade, no poison: 12 Damage Assassin’s Blade, one poison: 20 Damage! Assassin’s Blade, two poisons: 28 Damage!!!
You can combo a poisoned Blade with Blade flurry to deal 5 damage to all your enemies or 7 damage to all enemies with 2 poisons! This is just incredibly powerful and should always be in your mind when you have both the Blade and Blade Flurry in your hand. Look to combo it! For just 2 mana you can burst 14 damage onto that annoying Control Warrior with 38 health, putting him into lethal range for Leeroy!
Sap is actually a tricky card to play well. You usually want to use Sap to create a huge mana advantage or to bypass a taunt to deliver a large amount of damage to your opponent getting them ready for lethal next turn.
Mana advantage – Sap costs 2 mana, so if you can send back a Ragnaros or Ysera for just 2 mana, it’s just awesome. Also, sapping any druid innervated minion is almost always worth it. But, only if you can’t immediately deal with the threat. If you can just kill that minion, it’s usually your best option to hold onto Sap for a more meaningful spot.
A quick note: I only keep Sap in my opening hand against Druids.
General Mulligan Tips
- As Player 2 (with coin) you have a much stronger start with Miracle Rogue and you can take more liberties with mulligans. Always, always, always keep SI:7 Agent as player 2. Almost always keep it as player 1. In General, prioritize removal against fast decks and card draw against slow decks.
- Against a known slow deck, like priest for instance, you can keep Auctioneer on turn two if you want and the rest of your hand is ok. I wouldn’t do it as player 1 however, unless my other 2 cards were pure gold. And even then, I’m still pitching the Auctioneer, I guess.
- Backstab is great in starting hands, Eviscerate is also good, but not as good.
- Acolyte should be kept against slow decks and pitched against fast ones. BTW – Shiv your Acolyte for 2 cards if you can get away with it in a game. It sets you up nicely with cards and is way better than shiving them in the face for 1 damage.
- Against rush decks Fan of Knives is probably your best card. Occasionally you might want to keep Preparation in conjuction with Fan of Knives or SI: 7 agent against a known rush deck. But most of the time you want to pitch Preparation.
- Conceal is also an easy pitch early on. Always pitch leeroy and shadowstep. The sole exception might be against hunter, but if you always pitch them, that’s fine.
- Occasionally you can keep shadowstep early if you also have an SI:7 agent and you are against aggro. The two combo very nicely to clean up a messy board. More specific information on Mulligans can be found in the Matchups section below.
Druid – Medium Difficulty – Keep 1 Sap. Card draw is prioritized as well as removal (Pagle is king). Sapping correctly is one key to victory. Druids can often start slowly, so use the early game to build a massive hand that you can unload on your Auctioneer once you get a chance to play him. Also, look to combo your Assassin’s Blade with at least 1 Deadly Poison – 5 damage a swing is great against Druids. Do not let your health get below 15 late game as Force of Nature, Savage Roar combo deals 14 damage. Keep his board clear after 6 mana. And you need to be cautious earlier if you think he has innervate.
Hunter – High Difficulty – Keep removal, card draw and damage. The exception being Nat Pagle, I would only keep him if I were player 2 and also had Cold Blood. Even then, I might just send both back depending on my other 2 cards. Poison is great in this matchup as well as Blade Flurry, Fan of knives, Leeroy, and SI: 7 Agent. You have to play aggressively and kill him before he kills you. Avoid taking damage when you can. Think Shiv instead of hero power to remove a 2/1 threat if your health is getting low.
Mage – Low Difficulty – Because most mages are not running Ice Block, this matchup is actually pretty easy right now. It could change quickly, but for now, mages are generally weak to this type of rogue. Again, I reiterate, if mages start taking Ice Block, this matchup becomes very difficult. But, for now with minion based control mages, Miracle Rogue enjoys a pretty nice advantage. Keep removal and card draw. Nat Pagle is great here as well.
Paladin – Low Difficulty – The current aggro Paladin feels weak to Miracle Rogue as do the more drawn out Control Paladins. The big thing to look out for in this matchup is his ability to clear your Auctioneer easily through stealth with an equality combo. If he is just heroing out “dudes” for the first few turns, then he’s giving you time to ramp up cards while you easily kill them with your hero power. Then, when the time comes look to get immediate value from Auctioneer rather than relying on Conceal in this matchup. Against Control, it can also be important to combo your Assassin’s Blade with a deadly poison. I would focus my mulligan choices on card draw in this matchup and Nat Pagle is excellent in your starting hand. If you luckboxed Pagle right away, look to pair him up with removal instead of other card draw (for instance send back an Acolyte hoping for backstab or other removal to keep Pagle alive as long as you can).
Priest – Low Difficulty – This may be the best matchup for Miracle Rogue. Very few minions for him to steal (haha!) and the incredible high end burst against a traditionally very slow Hero equates to some pretty easy wins over Priests. Mulligan for card draw against Priests. I will occasionally keep sap if I’m worried about a 4/7 Injured Blademaster coming out (if I have no removal to deal with it). You can also consider keeping an Auctioneer as player 2 if you have some nice cards to go with it. Chipping down a priest’s health is generally just a waste of time. You want to take off chunks that he can’t just heal back. Then kill him with a high damage combo. Don’t worry, they’ll almost always give you plenty of time.
Rogue – Medium Difficulty – I love this matchup. I often find that it can come down to who gets Auctioneer in a better spot, but it’s that rare win I get when my opponent had the first Auctioneer, but I was able to win anyway that gives me such joy! Mulligan for removal and card draw. If you know you are against a miracle rogue, then keep Auctioneer. Always keep Nat Pagle unless you know you are against a rush rogue, then opt for removal and you can even pitch card draw if it’s not paired as removal (pitch Acolyte, keep Fan of Knives). Damage to the other rogue’s face is critical here as well as keeping damage off yourself. Be mindful of how low your life is getting and his max damage each round. Try to stay out of his lethal range if you can.
Shaman – Low Difficulty – Them totems! Another good matchup. Mulligan for removal, prioritizing blade flurry, fan of knives, Poison and SI:7 Agent. Nat Pagle is a little weaker in this matchup, but I still keep him in my opening hand. Often times Shaman players will Earthshock your Nat Pagle and then leave it on the field as an 0/3. This is an awesome target for Cold Blood, so look for a way to make that happen if you can. Also, much like the rogue matchup, damage to his face is important. I sometimes will leave a healing totem on board to hit him in the face if I know that I can handle it easily later on and I’m not afraid of taking too much damage from bloodlust or flametounge totem or any other Shaman shenanigans. Conceal an Auctioneer only after clearing the Shaman’s board of Spellpower. 1 Spellpower will kill an Auctioneer with Lightning storm 50% of the time, 2 spellpower kills it every time.
Warlock – Medium – High Difficulty – Perhaps the second toughest matchup from a class perspective is the dreaded Warlock. Two varieties are common right now. Aggro lock is pretty much just a massive RNG fest (I’m including murlocks in this category). If he draws perfectly, he wins. If you draw perfectly, you win. The middle is the more interesting part. Keep removal if you suspect an aggro lock. Pitch Nat Pagle for sure and Acolyte as well. You need to keep his board clear, fan and blade flurry are great if you also have a poison, you are in great shape. Minimize the damage you take and almost never hit him in the face until you have board control.
Handlock is the second variety and is a totally different beast. If you know it’s handlock, keep Auctioneer, keep Nat Pagle, keep 1 sap, keep removal and then keep other card draw. Roughly in that order. One quick tip, if you happen to be running Coldlight Oracle, he really shines in this matchup. Not only can you make the warlock burn cards easily by playing coldlight when he has 8 or 9 cards in his hand, but you can also “execute” a giant (or other minion) using Sap. Just fill his hand up to 10 with coldlight oracle and then Sap that Giant/Drake/Whatever and it dies instantly. So much LoLs. It might even be ok to shadowstep the Coldlight Oracle once and make him dump 2 more cards. Oh the joy!
Warrior – Medium – Warrior was previously in the High Difficulty category because control warrior was very hard to beat. But that was before the addition of Assassin’s Blade. Now? Not so tough. Combine Assassin’s blade with poison – it’s a great way to chop down his massive health pool. Not necessary to win, but it’ll help a ton. Also, keep out of the danger zone against a warrior. Remember, at any time he can Grommash + Inner Rage you for 12 damage. If he has Fiery War Axe equipped, now it’s 15. Gorehowl? maybe 19. Stay out of lethal if you can. Always immediately kill and save your removal for Frothing Berserker (not Acolyte or Armorsmith unless they have been enraged). Let’s face it they hit for 1, but Berserker could easily hit you for 10. Save some removal in your hand if you can and if he hasn’t played his Berserkers. Also, remember that Warriors will often damage their own guys with Whirlwind, so if you don’t have the right clear on a turn, but you suspect he’ll whirlwind and give you a very simple board clear next turn. Let him do it, that 3 or 4 armor and 1 or 2 extra cards aren’t going to help him enough when he let’s you combo Assassin’s Blade with 1 or 2 poisons because he played so slowly. As far as an aggro warrior goes, this is a tough matchup, which thankfully has fallen out of favor lately. Play it like you would against an aggro lock if you know it’s an aggro warrior. If you have a board clear against a warrior with Armorsmith on board, remember to kill the Armorsmith first. ldo.
Nat Pagle – He’s here for card draw primarily and a body for Cold Blood second. I would look to replace him with Coldlight Oracle, Acolyte of Pain, and Novice Engineer in that order. Try these things out and see which you like best.
Bloodmage Thalnos – He’s also here for card draw primarily, Spellpower second, and a body on board third (lol 1/1). Would look to replace him with Coldlight Oracle, Acolyte of Pain, a second conceal (this will play differently in the deck and comes from left field, but can be powerful nonetheless) and lastly, a Kobold Geomancer.
Edwin VanCleef – Last night I played all stream (2/18/14), almost 4 hours with a Coldlight Oracle in place of VanCleef and it worked very well. So, that is my recommended choice. If you already have 1 Coldlight Oracle in your deck, then I would look toward a Mana Addict or Questing Adventurer if my card draw felt solid. If card draw feels weak, then a second COldlight for sure.
Leeroy Jenkins – I am very hesitant to even recommend a replacement for this card. It really is that important to the deck. But, if you are a real trooper and just want to see how well you can do without Leeroy, then I recommend an Arcane Golem. If you manage to have success with this, please let me know. Why not something else with charge? The issue with Reckless Rocketeer or Argent Commander is that they cost 6 mana and that is just too high a cost to pay.
Preparation – A very difficult card to replace. I would try a second conceal to replace 1 if I had VanCleef and a Mana Addict or Questing adventurer if I did not have VanCleef. I would also try a Coldlight Oracle if the deck wasn’t drawing very well. If you need to replace 2 Preparations I’d almost certainly go for some combination of Mana Addict or Questing Adventurer with conceal. If card draw feels real bad, then a Coldlight Oracle is a cure all here too.
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