Mastering the Fatigue Warrior: Alternate & Tech Cards

This is the second part of the in-depth Fatigue Warrior guide. Check out other parts here: Part 1: Overview, Card Choices, Tips & Tricks Part 2: Alternate & Tech Cards For mulligans and matchups, visit the Fatigue Warrior meta section and check out the MUA (Matchup Analysis posts) In this part of the guide I’m going to cover […]

This is the second part of the in-depth Fatigue Warrior guide. Check out other parts here:

Alternate & Tech Cards

In this part of the guide I’m going to cover the things you can change in your deck. There are a lot of ways to approach the deck and I can’t really say which one is the best one. There are a lot of cards that really fit into it, but weren’t in the Zalae’s list. Some of them were tested, but didn’t make to the final list too. I’m not going to cover the budget options here – if you have questions about the budget versions, feel free to ask them in a comment section below!

Cleave

Cleave is a solid removal against decks that tend to flood the board in the early game. It’s awesome way to get rid of multiple minions or at least damage them to get them into the range of other removals. Can also be used as an Execute activator. There are cases where it’s going to get 2 for 1, but that’s not even your main aim. It just gives you another early game removal, which makes your other stuff more flexible. The problem is that enemy NEEDS to have two targets for it to work. Unlike Slam, you can’t use it on a single target. It means that you won’t likely use it on turn 2. I mean, if enemy plays an 1-drop into a 2-drop, then you might do that, but that’s unlikely in a lot of matchups. In slower matchups, the card might also get little to no value, because opponents often just play one minion per turn. For example against Control Warrior it’s pretty much a dead card. On the other hand, if you play against Hunter or let’s say Zoo Warlock you can sometimes get incredible value in the early game.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Slam, Bouncing Blade

Armorsmith

One of the most recognizable Warrior minions – the Armorsmith. The minion has couple of very strong points. First – it’s awesome in some Aggro matchups. It can trade into most of the aggressive 1-drops or even certain 2-drops while also gaining the Armor. Later in the game, when put behind a Taunt or alongside other minions, you can also get some Armor – for the sake of Shield Slam activation or to get out of the burn range. It has nice synergy with Whirlwind effects.

While I really like the Armorsmith as a minion, I don’t think he fits this deck. It would seem that it’s a prefect deck since you want to get a lot of Armor and stall the game. The problem is that the Armorsmith is good only in those fast matchups. The deck is really low on minions, meaning it’s very hard to get any Armorsmith value in the late game. You won’t likely have more than 1 or 2 minions on the board, so Whirlwind effects also aren’t that good. I mean, Armorsmith is still good against Hunter and possibly aggressive Paladin decks, but that’s pretty much it. It sucks really hard in the slow matchups. So if you face a lot of those fast stuff, sure, you can include them. But I don’t think it’s really needed right now.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Slam, Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber

Crush

A big removal. Kinda similar to Assassinate – on average it costs 5 mana to just kill a minion. The cost, however, depends on whether you have an injured minion or not. If no – it costs 7, which is way overpriced. If no – it costs 3, which is actually good. At 3 mana it’s probably much better than Bouncing Blade – you can pick the target you want. While it doesn’t damage the other ones, it won’t be stopped by some 1/1’s or other small stuff. It’s a solid removal, but the condition might be hard to meet. The thing is that like I’ve already said, this deck isn’t minion heavy. And if you play a minion, it often doesn’t live until your turn so you won’t be able to trade him into something and play a low mana Crush anyway. If it works, it’s a very solid card, but the problem is that it rarely works. In the late game you can combo it with the second Death’s Bite hit after playing a minion to damage it and play the Crush for 3 mana. But honestly, you’re a very slow, fatigue deck. You don’t need tempo gains in slower matchups. It certain situations it might be stronger than Bouncing Blade, but overall I think that BB is a better card. Still, you can try it out.

Cards you can switch out: Bouncing Blade

Doomsayer

That’s a pretty interesting choice. I’ve seen it couple of times in slow Warrior decks and it always caught me off-guard. The main reason you’d run Doomsayer is to make your faster matchups much better. Decks like Secret Paladin or Tempo Mage rarely run Silence, so you can really get a lot of Doomsayer value. Most of the time it serves as a 2-drop. Enemy plays his 2-drop, you play Doomsayer. 2-drops can’t deal 7 damage, so Doomsayer will likely go off. Enemy can’t also play anything else, so he loses the tempo. Which is great for you, because Fatigue Warrior has problems with catching up after enemy gained a lot of early tempo. While sometimes enemy might play a Secrets, draw cards etc. he’s often going to just completely skip his turn 3. You might also drop the Doomsayer a turn before enemy big turn. For example, if you drop Doomsayer going into Paladin’s turn 6, you might deny him the Mysterious Challenger turn. Since Doomsayer is only 2 mana, you might let’s say Shield Block or develop a weapon too. Forcing enemy to skip a turn is a really big deal. Obviously there are cases where enemy will find an answer, but this means Doomsayer often tanks the 7 damage or baits an removal, which isn’t the end of the world too.

One thing that’s worth mentioning is that Doomsayer is a GREAT counter to the Mirror Entity Secret. If Mage develops the board and has Mirror Entity in play, you can just play Doomsayer into it. It will go off at the start of opponent’s turn and he won’t be able to react. Not only you proc the Secret, but also clear their board.

Cards you can switch out: Slam, Bouncing Blade, Big Game Hunter, Bomb Lobber

Ironbeak Owl / Spellbreaker

Those are only two good sources of Silence available for Warrior, so that’s why I’ve put those two together. Whether you run one or the other really is up to you. Ironbeak Owl is better in faster matchups, because it’s cheaper. You don’t lose too much tempo by playing it and 2/1 can sometimes even get a decent trade. Spellbreaker on the other hand is better in slower matchups. You don’t need that much tempo there and 4/3 minion is actually a mid game threat enemy has to deal with, unlike the 2/1. It might also get some decent trades, unlike the Owl.

When it comes to the Silence, it serves a lot of purposes. In this deck you mainly want to go for the value Silence. You are rarely going to play it as an aggressive option, to Silence a Taunt or something. You aim to Silence the Deathrattles – stuff like Sylvanas Windrunner or Tirion Fordring might be really problematic to deal with if you don’t have the Silence. Another thing you might want to Silence are the buffs. Velen’s Chosen and Blessing of Kings are great targets, but even the Avenge is decent. It might help you with trading or just remove some power from opponent’s side of the board. There are some good Silence targets in pretty much every matchup. Mad Scientist, Piloted Shredder, even the Sludge Belcher is not the worst target ever if you can’t find another one. You might also Silence a big minion you can’t deal with, but has an ongoing effect. Like Emperor Thaurissan or Ysera.

The matchup which Silence might improve quite significantly is Handlock. Not only you can get a lot of value by Silencing the Twilight Drake, they also run Sylvanas Windrunner and A LOT of Taunts. But in this matchup, the Ironbeak Owl is stronger than the Spellbreaker. Since you often have to take an offensive approach against Handlock, once you drop them to ~14 health with the Death’s Bite set up at 1 Charge, you might combo the Ironbeak Owl with the Grommash Hellscream on the same turn to get through the Taunt and burst the Handlock down. I don’t run Silence in my current list and I actually think about including it, because it would have won me at least 2 Handlock games + a lot of Paladin ones.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Slam, Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber

Unstable Ghoul

Unstable Ghoul is a minion that is commonly ran by Patron Warrior. Patron Warrior wants to combo it with other stuff, you’d run him as a defensive option. The 1/3 stats for 2 aren’t really good, but the thing is that it deals 1 more damage when it dies. And it can’t be ignored because of Taunt. It might make A LOT of things awkward. Since Secret Paladin is a really popular deck right now and Whirlwind effects are great against it, Unstable Ghoul is a solid pickup. It’s awesome in pretty much any Aggro matchup. It usually trades at least 1 for 1, but often you can get 2 for 1. Against the board with a lot of 1 health minions, Unstable Ghoul might instantly swing the game in your favor. In the later stages of the game it’s not the worst thing ever too. It serves similar purpose to the Zoo’s Voidwalker – it tanks one big hit from enemy minions. If it tanks the Dr. Boom, for example, it’s like you’ve gained 7 life and dealt 2 damage to Boom for 2 mana, which is not a bad deal at all.

In slower matchups Unstable Ghoul is a rather bad card. Most of the time it’s going to serve as an Execute activator or something like that. The 1/3 stats won’t likely kill anything and your deck has no synergy with Whirlwind effects. Still, in slower matchups you already have a lot of removals, so you don’t need more anyway.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Slam, Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber

Deathlord

Deathlord. One of those minions that can win or lose the game on the spot. Against Aggro decks, you play him mainly because the fact that well, he’s a 2/8 Taunt. Even if enemy goes through it, he’ll likely have to sacrifice like 3 minions. Meaning it stops their aggression very nicely. Another thing is that against Aggro decks, pulling a random minion out of their deck is not that big of a deal most of the time. For example, against Secret Paladin you’re often going to draw out a 1-drop or 2-drop. But there is a small chance that enemy gets the Tirion Fordring and you can just cry.

While it might seem that he’s useless in slower matchups, it’s not necessarily true. Deathlord is AWESOME in Warrior mirror. Since you play into the fatigue, the guy that’s further into his deck usually loses. Deathlord can force enemy to draw a minion from his deck, meaning it thins his deck, meaning he might fatigue first. 2x Deathlord might be just enough to win the match without any problem. Not to mention that getting out Justicar Trueheart without the Battlecry value pretty much instantly means you won the game. It’s not a turn 3 play, however, because it might backfire horribly. You need to have removals prepared for whatever might come out. While it might draw out something like Armorsmith, if enemy gets an Ysera and you can’t kill it, you might just lose the game.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Slam, Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber

Antique Healbot

Once again, Healbot is pretty much useless in slower matchups. It’s often going to be just 3/3 for 5 without any more value. Sometimes you don’t ever fall below 30 health in slow matchups. Yeah, Warrior might Alexstrasza you, sometimes you lose some points of health if you hit big stuff with the weapons, but you already have more than enough life gain and you don’t really need the Healbot.

Antique Healbot’s main purpose if healing up out of burn range after you’ve stabilized in faster matchups. Same purpose as Shieldmaiden and other stuff like that. 8 healing is a lot and since your main game plan is well, to survive, you don’t mind having even more survival tools. The problem with Antique Healbot, just like any other healing, is that it’s slow tempo play. You first need to stabilize and THEN you need to heal up. If enemy has a full board and you drop the Healbot, it won’t matter most of the time. It just stalls the game for one turn. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes one turn is all you need, but most of the time Healbot is redundant. After you stabilize, you already have some tools to get back into the game in terms of life. Antique Healbot is great against stuff that wants to burn you with chargers and stuff like Face Hunter or Aggro Paladin, but not really against board-centric decks. Still, it might be a nice tool after you’ve taken a board with stuff like Brawl. The fact that it costs 5 mana is also pretty important. On turn 10 you can’t drop Sludge Belcher + Shieldmaiden, but Belcher + Healbot is possible move.

Healbot might also be useful in Combo based matchups. Like against Midrange Druid – it’s a decent way to get out of the combo range. Oh, and running Healbot makes the Freeze Mage matchup 99% in your favor. It was already 90%, but additional 8 healing means that he needs to produce 1 or 2 more Fireballs from an Archmage Antonidas to have a chance to kill you.

Cards you can switch out: Shield Block, Bomb Lobber

Hogger

Infinite Taunt factory? Why not? Hogger is actually a quite decent minion. It’s another tool that helps you after you’ve stabilized in an Aggro matchup. If you clear the board and then drop the Hogger, enemy is going to have pretty hard time dealing with the 4/4 behind the Taunt. It can straight up win you the faster matchups. Hogger sticking into the board for a few turns not only means you get the free trades, but also you might start playing a more aggressive game and start ignoring enemy stuff and going face. If enemy Aggro deck is out of steam already, it’s not likely that he’s going to find the answer, it just seals the game.

In certain slower matchups it can also get tons of value. For example, Priest might have a hard time dealing with it. He might be forced to Lightbomb the Hogger. While the 2/2 Taunts are not that useful against Priest, free value is never a bad thing.

The problem with Hogger is that if you don’t have the board control, it’s going to be useless most of time. 4/4 + 2/2 for 6 is not enough, it needs to stay on the board for couple of turns to really get value. It’s a very low tempo card, so you need to be ahead on the board to make a good use of it.

Cards you can switch out: Bomb Lobber, Harrison Jones, Baron Geddon

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas Windrunner is one of the best Legendaries since vanilla. Her strength lies in the Deathrattle – stealing random enemy minion on death. The effect is incredibly strong in the right circumstances. If enemy has no Silence, he’s often forced to either sacrifice 2-3 minions into her, give up some stuff that you’re going to steal or ignore her and go for the face. No option is actually bad for you when playing this deck. You play Sylvanas mostly as the thing that makes enemy turns awkward and forces him to make difficult decisions. And the thing is that often no decision is good. Enemy might have to skip the turn completely to not play some big minion into her for example. Or if he does flood the board, he gets punished hard by the Brawl.

When it comes to bad side of the card – it’s incredibly slow. Not only it does have no instant impact on the board, if enemy has no 5+ attack minion you often can’t even suicide it into something. Meaning it sometimes takes up to 2-3 turns for the card’s effect to proc. It’s very bad against cards like Sap or Freezing Trap or, like I’ve mentioned before, against Silences. 5/5 for 6 mana isn’t the worst thing ever, but it’s not good. In certain matchups it might be incredibly hard to get Sylvanas’ value. But still, it’s a very solid minion that can fit the deck.

Cards you can switch out: Bomb Lobber, Harrison Jones, Baron Geddon

The Black Knight

The Black Knight has been out of meta for a really long time already. And that’s what really cool about it – NO ONE expects it. So you can catch a lot of people by surprise. Since you have that much removal in your deck, you can afford to put some situational ones too. Plus it’s not as situational as a lot of people think. Almost every deck runs Taunts of some sort, especially the slower ones. Just a couple of examples: Secret Paladins have Coghammer and Tirion Fordring, Handlocks have A LOT of stuff (thanks to the Sunfury Protector and Defender of Argus), Druids have Druid of the Claw and Ancient of War, Control Warriors and Priests have Sludge Belcher, Dragon Priests (or pretty much any Dragon deck right now) have Twilight Guardian, Hunters have Houndmaster. Even sniping something as small as Annoy-o-Tron against Mech decks might sometimes be good enough.

In the worst case scenario, where you really can’t find a target, it’s a 4/5 for 6 mana. Definitely not great, but at least a minion you can drop. In the late game, when you’re at 10 mana and you don’t play more than 1 card per turn it often doesn’t even matter if he costs 6 or 4 like Chillwind Yeti. I really like the card and I’m going to give it some testing later in this season.

Cards you can switch out: Bouncing Blade, Big Game Hunter, Bomb Lobber, Harrison Jones, Baron Geddon

Alexstrasza

Alexstrasza mostly fits the decks that want to burst the enemy down after putting him at 15 health. Fatigue Warrior is definitely NOT one of those decks, but it might sometimes actually work. That’s not the main reason you run her, though.

In Aggro matchups you’re mostly going to use Alex for healing. On turn 9 you’re probably nearly dead and just barely keeping yourself alive. Getting back to 15 health might be a big swing. A 8/8 that heals you for ~10 is a big deal. The 8/8 body is likely to get a lot of good trades too. Using Alex aggressively in Aggro matchups is a rare sight, but it might happen.

In slower matchups you’re most likely going to use the Alex aggressively. Maybe “aggressively” is a big of overstatement – you will just use it on enemy Hero. The timing here is very important in a lot of matchups. For example, using Alex against Priest on turn 9 is usually a bad idea unless you’re already putting the pressure. Before the fatigue hits, Priest is going to heal up to 30 most of the time anyway. It means that playing her just before Priest is going to fatigue puts much more pressure and makes him die a turn or two faster. In games against Control Warrior Alex is also awesome. It deals 15 damage, which is like an additional fatigue tick. It might be the matter of life and death. Especially if enemy has one and you don’t. In some really rare scenarios where you play Alexstrasza and enemy has no way to Taunt/Heal/Kill her, you might actually win the game straight away. Grommash Hellscream + activator or Gorehowl hit into the face along with Alexstrasza’s 8 damage means lethal. But it won’t happen too often.

Alex seems like a very strong minion in this deck. But after you play the deck for a while you realize that you rarely would actually need her. Besides some saves in Aggro matchups, when you play against a slower deck you don’t care whether he’s at 15 or 30 damage. If you’re at 50+ health you’re going to win anyway. If he starts taking fatigue damage before you, you’re going to win anyway. It allows some combo potential, but that’s rarely going to work. The only matchup where it might matter is Control Warrior. Alex is a solid minion in this deck, but not an auto-include.

Cards you can switch out: Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber, Harrison Jones, Gorehowl, Baron Geddon, Grommash Hellscream

Deathwing

One of the most fun and unexpected minions in the game. The thing is, NO ONE plays around Deathwing. I don’t think it’s even possible most of time. Deathwing serves as a kind of last resort minion. When you play it, you lose a lot of value. You’re most likely going to drop a lot of useful cards and it might feel really bad. But the point of Deathwing is that he might save you in a scenario that you’d just die otherwise. If you’re going to die, all those cards have no usage anyway, while playing Deathwing actually has a CHANCE to win you the game. When it comes to dropping him mid-game, that’s a thing you’re usually going to need in the faster matchups. And the thing is, a lot of faster decks actually have no way to deal with a 12/12 minion. You simply put enemy on a 2-3 turn clock and force them to have an answer. Yes, it dies to Big Game Hunter. Yes, it dies to most of the big removals. But there is a chance that enemy doesn’t have it. Or that your topdecks will be great and you’re going to win the game anyway. Against slower decks you don’t really want to drop him before very, very late game. Unless you’re in a really critical situation, you can’t clear enemy board in any way and you’re going to die soon, you don’t want to use him. Dropping all the removals and minions usually means you lost the game, since enemy is very likely going to have an answer. Things might get different when you go into the fatigue. First, he might be useful if enemy drops his last minion and you can’t deal with it. For example, you have an Execute but no way to activate it. Or Brawl, but enemy has only one minion. Deathwing might get rid of it. Also, if enemy is already out of cards and the game goes to the fatigue (you should keep track of what cards enemy has used before doing that), you might just drop him. He might win you the slow Warrior mirror. Oh, another deck he might actually win you the game against is Handlock. Once he drops the Jaraxxus and starts getting infinite value, you run out of removals pretty fast. He probably is going to use the Taunters too so you won’t rush him. Deathwing might become your final chance to win. You clear the whole board and you have 12/12 on the board. Since enemy is at 15 health, you don’t need much more to win the game. Any weapon, Bash or Grommash topdeck would do it. Obviously you bank on enemy not having the Big Game Hunter, Siphon Soul or any other kind of removal, but it’s definitely possible that he can’t deal with it. Even 10-20% chance to win is much better than 0%. That’s the main reason you run the Deathwing.

Cards you can switch out: Revenge, Big Game Hunter, Bouncing Blade, Bomb Lobber, Brawl, Harrison Jones, Gorehowl, Baron Geddon