Rogue has been the best performer at Blizzcon this year in terms of winrate and the class performed admirably despite so many bad matchups being presented time and again. World Champion Pavel had massive success with the deck and it does at great job at punishing slower decks quite hard. Malygos Rogue is not a new deck at all and it has been around for quite a while. We have been seeing some exceptional players like ChessDude123 and SuperJJ play the deck to perfection and hit top legend ranks quite frequently. With some new tools being up for grabs from One Night in Karazhan, the deck feels quite a bit more powerful. Swashburglar and Barnes made it to the list to help against early game minion also pull off some crazy combos in case you draw something like a Gadgetzan Auctioneer from Barnes.
A lot of older decks used just one copy of Sinister Strike but with the meta being incredibly fast, the cheap burst damage helps out a lot. The deck is a mix of Mid Range and combo and you do not necessarily need to rely on Malygos to seal wins for you because of the minion pressure you can build up. Let’s head straight to the card choices and I will get to the strategy, matchups and mulligans in the later sections.
Backstab: One of the best early game removals in the game and since it’s a 0 cost spell you will be able to combo it with a lot of your other cards. You also have spell damage synergy and it can be used to clear off big minions as well if you amp up the damage potential.
Preparation: One of the most powerful epics in the game that allows you to discount your spells and generate massive tempo. Being able to develop minions and play spells in the same turn with Preparation helps out Rogue a lot. It definitely is an auto include in pretty much any Rogue deck you play due to how powerful it is in terms of generating tempo.
Sinister Strike: One of your burn spells for use with Malygos. Being able to deal 8 damage for one mana allows you to burst down your opponent in one turn. You do not need to save the spell necessarily for Malygos and Gadgetzan Auctioneer allows you to cycle it for a more important spell to deal with enemy pressure as well. The cheap cost of the spell and its disposable nature for cycle is really good.
Swashburglar: It is one of the most interesting additions to the deck. While the randomness does not quite benefit you all the time, it is a cheap combo activator and it can allow you to get some cheap spells to cycle with Auctioneer or some good minions to play. The deck has a lot of floating mana and being able to get random cards that you can use flexibly can help out a lot.
Eviscerate: One of your primary sources of burn and removal. It can be used flexibly on threats on board or for simply finishing off your opponent with Malygos. With Shadow Strike being available as removal, Eviscerate can be saved for burn damage unlike the pre-Whispers of the Old Gods era where you would be torn between using it to kill a minion and saving it for burn.
Sap: One of the most ‘unfair’ tempo tools available in the Rogue arsenal. Being able to shut down plays of opponents for only two mana helps out a lot and you can potentially make opponents replay their whole turns.
Shiv: Shiv is included in the deck to ensure you get to your burn in time while being able to cycle through your deck fast enough to avoid going into the long game plan. It can also double up as a burn spell with Malygos and it allows you to draw 2 cards when paired with Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Edwin VanCleef: One of your alternate win conditions, there are plenty of games where you will be able to win games on the spot on the back of Edwin. Sometimes it is fine to go all in against certain decks if you know you will not be able to grind them out or happen to be falling back in the tempo game.
Fan of Knives: This is your only AoE in the deck. While it is not the most powerful, the cycle effect allows you to push through your deck and get to your combo pieces. It does quite well with cards like Bloodmage Thalnos or Azure Drake, allowing you to deal more damage with it, or you can just use it to kill off tokens on the board.
si7-agent: Arguably the best 3 drop in the game, it allows you to clear out small minions while developing a 3/3 on board. SI:7 Agent is your best bet at dealing with aggressive minions and take board control in the early game.
Shadow Strike: Before Shadow Strike was available in Hearthstone, it was really difficult to deal with high health minions and this useful spell allows you to deal with mid game minions without needing to rely on spell damage. It is very powerful in the meta because it is full of 4 and 5 health minions, allowing you to remove them without needing to use your burn spells like Eviscerate.
Tomb Pillager: Tomb Pillager is one of the best Rogue minions that came out in the past 2 years. We all know how good coins are with Rogue and being able to generate coins with the minion’s deathrattle without losing any stats on the body itself is something truly great. It is one of the strongest 4 mana minions in the game and it adds quite a bit of pressure against slower decks.
Bloodmage Thalnos: A cheap and efficient legendary that does the job consistently. From supercharging your cheap spells to setting up combos, it is very good in the deck. It also cycles itself when it dies allowing you to draw a card. While it is not the most flashy legendary in the game, it is very consistent in terms of value and it definitely one of the must have legendaries in the meta right now.
Barnes: Six out of nine outcomes that Barnes pulls out benefits you in some way or other, making it a great inclusion in the deck. Pulling off a lucky Gadgetzan Auctioneer to cycle through your deck or simply pulling a Tomb Pillager for an extra can helps out a lot in the deck.
Azure Drake: Azure Drake is the most played minion in the game due to how efficient it is at what it does. It is very similar to Bloodmage Thalnos on a bigger body and it not only helps you power up your spells but you can also use it to cycle through your removals and other cards to ensure you pull off your Malygos combos in time.
Emperor Thaurissan: While Emperor Thaurissan is not necessary for pulling off the Malygos combo every time, it makes your combo a lot more consistent without needing you to hoard cards like Preparation or coins from Tomb Pillagers to make your OTK win condition work. It also helps you setup better Gadgetzan Auctioneer turns and allows you to cycle through your deck and get to the lethal pieces.
Gadgetzan Auctioneer: He’s got the best deals anywhere! It is one of the most important sources of card draw and milking out the maximum possible value out the card is absolutely necessary. Since the deck does not run Conceal you need to be slightly greedy to ensure you get the maximum possible draw out of the Auctioneer in one turn.
Malygos: Finally we have our primary win condition card. If you have 1 Eviscerate and 2x Sinister Strike to combo with Malygos you will be able to deal 25 damage in one turn. Since the stats are very resilient you can sometimes drop it on board against some decks that are not able to deal with 12 health minions too comfortably and then follow up with spells to kill your opponents.
Malygos Rogue has changed a lot ever since Standard and Karazhan came out. The deck has completely moved away from the Conceal package and is a lot more board heavy right now. Swashurglar is one of the best additions to the deck due to the ability to flexibly use spells or high value minions that the card might draw for the opponent. In the early game versus aggro you want to clear off their cheap drops and then begin developing your own minions in the mid game to contest their board and sustain your health pool until you have lethal damage in hand to combo with Malygos. Malygos does not necessarily have to be your win condition against aggressive decks however since you can keep using some of your burn. Against control you can start off with your mid game minions because of how threatening they are. You can easily apply enough pressure since slow decks are very reactive and Malygos Rogue is designed to punish any form of greed whatsoever. Decks like Control Warrior, Priest and Paladin are very strong matchups and you will love facing them due to the great games they lead to.
Edwin VanCleef can sometimes work as a backup win condition against decks like Zoo, Tempo Mage and Druid. A lot of Druids stopped playing Mulch in their decks and if you manage to make a big enough Edwin, then you will be able to deal massive amounts of damage and finish off the games in two or three turns from Edwin coming into play. Barnes is a tricky card to play and sometimes playing him on curve is not the best way to go about it. You need to consider outcomes like Malygos or Gadgetzan Auctioneer to ensure
Malygos Druid: One of the best matchups for the deck due to how hard it is for them to deal with minion pressure. Board pressure is an absolute must and you want to get to your Tomb Pillager and Azure Drake as quickly as possible and pressure them on board. Edwin VanCleef can solo this matchup for your if you are able to generate a big Edwin early on. Innervate can be troublesome at times and you need to deal with cards like Fandral Staghelm instantly else you will lose on the spot because they will out-value out.
Token/Ramp Druid: A lot of Violet Teacher token synergy decks are now running quite the bit of lategame and many people classify these modern Token Druids as Ramp Druid for some reason so I’ll use the same terminology in this case. This is another great matchup and you do not have to worry about being burst down like you would against Malygos Druid. Rogue is very good at controlling the board against mid range and control decks and you will have no trouble against the deck as long as you are the one who applies pressure on board.
Beast Druid: Stranglethorn Tiger is the MVP in the deck against Rogue since it is non interactive damage and it’s very hard to deal with. But against the other minions, you have the right tools to stall and keep their board from getting too much value.
Mid Range Hunter: Mid Range Hunter is not that difficult if they are not running secrets. However, you need to get on board quite quickly to ensure you do not take too much damage else you will not be able to contain all of their sticky minions. Sap is very powerful against Savannah Highmane and it reverses the pressure against them if you keep their strongest plays at bay.
Secret Hunter: Cat Trick and Freezing Trap are extremely efficient against Rogue and it’s really hard to get out of this matchup. It’s not very easy to play around all of the secrets and Swashburglar is really good in this matchup because it potentially allows you to escape Freezing Trap and prevents tempo loss. Even if you wait to avoid activating the traps, they can simply hero power you every turn and put you on a clock. The more aggressive lists are extremely efficient since you do not have any heal and their sticky minions can kill you in no time.
Tempo Mage: This matchup is favored as long as you are able to survive turns 1-4 without losing too much health and manage to develop the board in the mid game. The Tempo Mage early game is quite strong, but thankfully Backstab works wonders versus their 1 and 2 drops and once you negate their Flamewaker you will be able to have more breathing room. The burn version of the deck is actually easier to deal with since your minions can soak up some of the damage while you setup Gadgetzan Auctioneer turns and draw through your deck to finish the game before they assemble too much burst damage. The minion heavy version is a lot harder due to the presence of multiple high health minions.
Freeze Mage: It is one of the worst matchups for the deck since both the decks have win conditions that work after you have 8 mana at the very least if you get a good Emperor Thaurissan discount. They are easily able to burst you down and their Ice Block keep them protected. The only shot you have at winning is by applying pressure and break their Ice Block fast enough. You do have a lot of burn and minions to put them on the clock but the gameplan doesn’t quite fall in place as often as you’d like.
Miracle Rogue: Miracle Rogue is a hard matchup for the deck and Conceal makes things particularly bad for you since you cannot stop their Auctioneer or Questing Adventurer from getting value and hitting you in the face for massive amounts of damage. You need to cycle very hard and get to your minions to contest the board.
Control Priest: One of the most favored matchups. The Rogue class is naturally favored against Priest and you will have no issues drawing into your combo pieces since they do not apply too much pressure due to their reactive nature. They also have a hard time dealing with 4 attack minions and if you have an early Edwin VanCleef, you should consider making it a 4/4 due to the potential of dealing repeated damage till at least their turn 6 when they can Entomb it, unless they choose to spend their AoE on him.
Dragon Priest: As of now, Dragon Priest continues to be a favorable matchup but things are looking to change once the new expansion comes out due to more threats and a great AoE coming their way. Dragon Priest is not as easy as the Control matchup due to their proactive nature of gameplay and they can apply a massive amount of pressure
Anyfin / N’zoth Paladin: One of the better matchups unless of course they are able to get both of their Anyfin Can Happen before you get to your burst. They do not push out enough minion pressure to worry about dying and you have sufficient time to get to 30+ damage burn. Even though Paladin can stay at full health due to the massive amount of healing the class has, you will be able to OTK them quite comfortably and drawing to your combo pieces should not be too hard due to the slow nature of the matchup.
Control Warrior: Again, one of the better matchups for the deck due to the strong minion presence and burst potential. You need to be very aggressive on board without playing into Brawl. Try to make your minions connect face twice at the very least and you will be able to keep their armor in check. cthun decks can be troublesome due to the massive armor gain they have compared to other control Warrior decks.
Pirate Warrior: Like any other face deck you will not be able to keep up with the pressure most of the time since most of their damage comes from weapons and you have tools to deal with their board only. The only way to beat them is if you can become the aggressor while using cheap spells to keep their minions from hitting face.
Zoolock: Zoo is an even matchup as long as you prevent their board from snowballing and avoid playing into things like Defender of Argus. Edwin VanCleef is exceptional in the matchup and you will be able to steal wins on the back of the card if it connects face a couple of times. I recommend using one Dark Iron Skulker if you face too many Zoo decks because you do not have good AoEs to efficiently deal with their boards.
Renolock: Like other control decks, Renolock is a favorable matchup too and you will be able to deal with them quite easily using the OTK gameplan. Unless you are particularly unlucky in drawing your combo pieces you should be able to seal this matchup quite comfortably.
Mid Range Shaman: Mid Range Shaman is an even matchup for the deck due to the chunky minions you have being able to deal with their low cost minions. Keeping their totems clear helps a lot and your priority in this matchup should be to deal with their 5+ drops and prevent them from getting any value. Since Mid Range Shaman is not as fast the aggro decks Shaman has, you should have enough time to assemble burn damage.
Aggro Shaman: One of the worse matchups for the deck historically but it has gotten a lot better with recent nerfs to Shaman cards. Getting board initiative early is key to winning the matchup and Sap is particularly effective against threats like Flamewreathed Faceless. Always clear off their spell damage totems to make sure you do not get burst down through their burn spells.
Let’s talk about the mulligans now. Due to the nature of your cards and different play styles depending on what kind of deck you are facing you need to mulligan accordingly depending on your opponent’s deck archetype.
- SI: 7 Agent
- Fan of Knives
- Tomb Pillager
- Shadow Strike
- Azure Drake
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer (with Tomb Pillager in hand)
Ladder Experience and Closing Thoughts
I played the deck to top 500 Legend on the European server starting at under 3200, it was a very comfortable climb and I listed my matchup experiences above. In the hands of a good player the deck should perform really well and I recommend watching pro players playing the deck to get an idea of how to approach each matchup. It is by no means an easy deck even though the win condition is fairly simply. I hope you guys like the deck and achieve good results with it on ladder. Let me know your feedback on the deck and how it performs for you!