Mastering Control Warrior: Advanced Guide

This is Part 2 of the Mastering the Control Warrior extensive deck guide series. It is split into 3 main guides: Part 1: Beginner Guide Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards and Tech Choices Part 3: Matchups and Mulligans Prioritize over earlier in the game, you are more likely to have an activator for Execute than armor for Shield Slam […]

This is Part 2 of the Mastering the Control Warrior extensive deck guide series. It is split into 3 main guides:

Gameplay Tips

  • Prioritize shield-slam over execute earlier in the game, you are more likely to have an activator for Execute than armor for Shield Slam later on. Try to judge if it is better to trade a minion or to use your weapon’s charge to kill something.
  • Highly recommend dropping Acolytes only when you can activate them.
  • Don’t mindlessly throw your weapons in the game if you don’t have an attack target for it. The only way you are allowed to do so is against aggro, and even then, only if you have a clear play next turn that can not be delayed (Example: you play against Hunter, he does not play a minion on Turn 2, and you want to play an Acolyte of Pain on Turn 3, then playing the Fiery War Axe on Turn 2 is a good play).
  • Remember, when facing Midrange decks, that some small portion of them tend to not run big-game-hunter targets, so just play him on curve.
  • It’s always nice to Brawl an enemy board with your Sylvanas on it, since you’ll be stealing whatever survives on the opposing side.
  • But don’t always try to throw Sylvanas before Brawling, your safety is more important than fancy plays.
  • Always play safe, even if you are going for the lethal, only do so on a sure way. Dont throw away the game because you wanted to rush, you are not playing a Rush deck and your deck is best when played ultra safe.
  • Check for Hunter traps with your shieldmaiden over the small minions, having to cast her back is sometimes useful for us.
  • We have so much life gain, that sometimes we reach turns 9, against aggro, still with our healths above 15, there is nothing wrong with Alexstrasza-ing the opponent’s face in case they don’t have any threat left on the board.
  • Sometimes playing a little aggressive may make it so the opponent has to play defensively, making different plays that he would have in case he wasn’t being pressured, but keep in mind you should only do so on a safe way.
  • Whenever you are safe, dropping Big minions on the board is more important than clearing small minions.
  • Do not shield-block on fatigue, unless you know you are going to win by the next turn. Remember the draw will eventually deal more than 5 damage to you.

Against Aggro Deck Types

Against aggressive strategies migitating their early tempo initiative has top priority. Do everything you can, to avoid any snowball effects.  Therefore using Shield Slam and Execute on small minion like Knife Juggler is a good play, if you are under a ton of pressure or simply don’t have any weapons.

Once you have stabilized with the help of your higher quality minions, always make sure to play around any burst shenanigans. You are in no hurry to end the game, once you have control of the game, because you will inevitably win due to your superior cards and your life gain. Aggressive Warlocks have a low amount of burst ( mainly Doomguard, Power Overwhelming), while Aggro Paladin, Mage and Hunter have a higher density of burst cards.

Against Midrange Deck Types

There are a lot of different Midrange decks on the ladder. Some are aggressive (such as Double Combo Druid), which means they can pressure you and kill you quite quickly, while others are slower and play like Control decks (such as Midrange Paladin). In general you are favored against slower Midrange decks (Midrange Paladin or a player who loves Shaman, but also fancy legendaries), but unfavored against Midrange with big burst potential (Burst Shaman, Combo Druid).

The reason for that is quite easy to explain. A well built Control deck will always overcome a Midrange deck in the late game, because of the overall higher card quality. But in the early game and midgame a Midrange deck normally has the tempo initiative, because it plays more early and midgame minions. This  is only a problem, if the Midrange deck can finish the Control deck before it can play play the big legendaries. Combo Druid and Burst Shaman do exactly that. They have the initiative during the midgame and early game, and just before the Control deck starts to stabilize, they finish it off with their burst (Doomhammer, Savage Roar etc.) If you remove the burst finishers from the Midrange decks, they just become a worse Control deck. The majority of time they can’t finish it off before the control deck reaches the late game, but they also can’t keep up with the card advantage of the control deck, because as already mentioned: the control deck plays more powerful cards.

So to give yourself the best odds of winning the game, it is always important to realize if you play against an aggressive Midrange deck or a against a slower Midrange deck. Against aggressive Midrange decks, you play like you would face an aggressive deck, but against a slower Midrange deck, you play against it like you would play against a Control Deck. Of course there are some exceptions and fine nuissances, but in general this is the approach you should take against Midrange.

Summary

Vs. fast Midrange: Your most important concern: staying alive. card advantage is not of utter importance.

Vs. slow Midrange: Play the card advantage game. They will try to outgrind you, because they can’t just rush you down, due to the lack of burst. If you play well and play a controllish, value based game, you should win.

Against Control Deck Types

Let’s start with the most important resource in this matchup: card advantage and optimal usage of cards. Control decks are slow, and don’t win quickly. Control decks also have more early answers than early threats, so they can’t rush the other one down. Because of that Control mirrors, unlike Aggro mirros are not very draw dependant, so the better player has a big advantage. Control vs Control is a succession of powerful minions being played and removed until one player runs out of answers and loses the board.

Ysera is the ultimate trump card in every control mirror, if she is not dealt with, she will singlehandly win the game on its own. Therefore you should play her only when your opponent does not have any answers left or any potential dangerous shenanigans like Sylvanas Windrunner or Mind Control. If no one gets overwhelmed by a single card, the game will reach fatigue. The player who first realizes that the game goes to fatigue will have a huge advantage over the other one, because he will avoid drawing cards.

Tech Choices / Alternate Cards

Currently the most interesting innovations and new tech choices are:

Deathlord Control Warrior

Depending on the metagame or your personal preference, you can choose to play this version of Control Warrior over the more standard version. Deathlord is amazing at stopping cheap early game minions and is capable of killing multiple minions. The stats for mana ratio is amazing and he also has taunt! But if we look at the art of Deathlord we will realize one thing: he is evil and from the dark side. Deathlord gives you a lot of power against early aggression, but when you make a deal with evil people, you will always have to make a sacrifice. In Deathlords case the sacrifice is that once he dies the opponent will get a free minion out of his deck. Aggressive decks tend to run very few high value minions and more smaller minions, so the Deathrattle will be the majority of time not be a big deal. Of course there will be the games, where your opponent gets a free Savannah Highmane you have a very tough time dealing with, but the odds are much higher that they get something not as threatening. So when you play Deathlord, watch out for consistency. There will be those games where your opponent gets a free Tirion Fordring and you will lose the game because of Deathlord, but there will be a lot more games where your opponent attacks with a King’s Elekk and a Huffer into Deathlord and…. Deathlord is still alive! And then when he finally dies the opponent gets something crappy like Webspinner or Mad Scientist for his effort.

The purpose of Deathlord in Control Warrior is not the same as Deathlord in Control Priest. Priest can heal up the Deathlord or even buff him Velen’s Chosen and dominate the board with an absurdly mana to stats ratio minion. But in Control Warrior Deathlord’s demise is inevitable. You can’t heal him, he will just die at one point.

So in Control Warrior the point of Deathlord is to stall and buy you more time, to get more draws and mana crystalls. The longer the game goes for Control Warrior the better. Deathlord allows the Control Warrior to stop early game bleeding and to slow down the game. Once Deathlord dies, the Warrior will have an easier time dealing with the opponents board, because he has more mana available and sometimes is even very well prepared because he played Death’s Bite on Turn 4 (without attacking) and then when the Deathlord dies on Turn 5 he follows it up with a Brawl, while Death’s Bite takes care of the leftover minion. Waiting until Turn 6 to have an Execute ready for any potential bigger minion can also be a common play. Because Deathlord gives the opponent a free minion, Brawl is not only more potent than in Standard Warrior it is also highly needed, so Deathlord usually gets paired with two copies of Brawl.

In addition to Deathlord’s inherent awesomeness against aggressive decks, he is also quite useful against Control decks. Control decks give you much more time to draw into specific card combinations, and are sometimes even very reliant on specific minions, which makes Deathlord with Brawl a very powerful combination. Deathlord is quite useful against Handlock, because they have a lot of crappy minions (Ancient Watcher, Sunfury Protector) that give you a better Brawl outcome, but you can also get Lord Jaraxxus out of their deck which can be outright devastating for them.

Deathlord is even more powerful in the Control Warrior mirror, because it gives them one extra draw, which can be a huge advantage. Of course the Control matchups are only a nice bonus, Deathlord is mainly in the deck to have a better matchup versus aggressive decks like Secret Paladin, Tempo Mage (Deathlord can sometimes be a good way to trigger Mirror Entity) and Zoolock. Slowing them down and forcing them to make offcurve plays (f.ex. playing Truesilver Champion over Piloted Shredder) is a significant advantage.

Overall Deathlord will win you way more games than lose you games, which makes him a powerful addition to Control Warrior.

Closing

That wraps up the series on Control Warrior. We welcome you to leave your comments, feedback and questions below!

Be sure to check out all the guides in this series: