Mastering the Grim Patron Warrior: Matchups and Mulligans

This is part 3 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections: Part 1: Beginner Guide Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards, and Tech Choices Part 3: Match-ups and Mulligans In this section, we’re gonna show you how to play against other popular decks – whether you’re a favorite, what […]

This is part 3 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

Matchups and Mulligans

In this section, we’re gonna show you how to play against other popular decks – whether you’re a favorite, what to mulligan for and the general strategy of playing against it.

Midrange Druid

Favored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Death’s Bite, Acolyte of Pain, Grim Patron

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain or Grim Patron), Slam (with weapons)

Midrange Druid is pretty easy matchup for Grim Patron. You just need to keep the pressure and don’t let the Druid develop strong board, then push for a big Frothing combo.

  • Early game should be pretty slow. Midrange Druid usually has no 1 or 2 mana minions. On turn 2, he either Hero Powers or uses wild-growth.
  • The only time when early game speeds up is when Druid innervates something out. Both shade-of-naxxramas and piloted-shredder are fine, the only minion you’re gonna have problems to deal with without execute is druid-of-the-claw.
  • Try to put some minions on the board. Force Druid to play reactive game. If he doesn’t develop his threats and doesn’t deal damage, that’s good for you.
  • You don’t mind taking some damage early (e.g. hitting Shredder and the 2-drop from Deathrattle with fiery-war-axe), but try to not fall down too low. force-of-nature + savage-roar combo is the best win condition Druid has, but first he needs to take you below 15.
  • grim-patron is absolute MVP against Druid. However, try to spawn as much as you can. With 2 or 3, Druid sometimes has a way to deal with (wrath, keeper-of-the-grove, swipe), but more are really problematic. When you get full board of Patrons, you pretty much won the game, because Druid has no AoE that deals 3+ damage.
  • Usually, you’re gonna win the game by either flooding board with Patrons or by big frothing-berserker. Druid is a minion-based deck, so he’s gonna put something on the board every turn. If you put enough pressure, you should take him out around turn 10 with a big warsong-commander + Frothing Berserker combo.
  • Keep your Warsong Commander for Frothing – Patrons are good enough without Charge in this matchup. Druid runs no small creatures to benefit from charging Patron anyway.

Ramp Druid

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Death’s Bite, Acolyte of Pain, Gnomish Inventor, Grim Patron

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain or Grim Patron), Slam (with weapons), Cruel Taskmaster (with Acolyte of Pain)

The matchup is pretty similar to Midrange Druid one. On the one hand, it’s slower, and you want slow matchups. On the other hand, the big Taunts might stop your advance.

  • You don’t really have to put too much pressure on the Ramp Druid. Fiery War Axe is still good because he might drop turn 1 zombie-chow. With help of the Slam, you might also take out the senjin-shieldmasta.
  • Cycle as much as you can. You have some time, but you don’t want the game to last too long. Once Druid stabilizes with his big threats, Taunts or something like kelthuzad, you have no way to go through them.
  • Use your life as a resource. For example, hitting Druid of the Claw twice with your Fiery War Axe would be really risky against Midrange Druid, but Ramp Druid rarely runs combo (and if he does, it’s only one copy, so the chances he’s gonna draw it are lesser).
  • Your Execute is really precious in this matchup, so don’t waste it on their early drops. You have no other way to deal with the ancient-of-war or their big legendaries.
  • Grim Patron is once again really strong. Putting a board full of Patrons around turn 6-7 might win you the game.
  • Emperor Thaurissan is great. You want to kill Druid in one big Frothing turn, and Emperor really helps to accomplish that. Even something like reducing the Execute to 0 mana so you can squeeze it to deal with the Taunt may make a big difference.
  • Your main win condition is Warsong Commander + 2x Frothing Berserker. You aren’t gonna deal much damage to the Druid early, so you rely on a big Frothing turn. Try to prepare to kill enemy in one turn. Having pre-equipped Death’s Bite, Emperor’s Discounts and Execute for Taunt really helps.

Aggro/Face Hunter

Favored

Cards you look for: Whirlwind, Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Unstable Ghoul

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (if you don’t get other early cards), Acolyte of Pain (with a 2-drop), Dread Corsair (with Fiery War Axe), Death’s Bite (with good curve)

The matchup is generally in your favor. Face Hunter is a hyper-aggressive deck, so if you keep them in check early in the game, they’re gonna run out of steam. They also can’t put you on the clock with their Hero Power.

  • Early game is really important. Face Hunter has really smooth early curve, usually starting with 1 drop into 2 drop into 3 drop, so you’re gonna play the reactive game for the first few turns.
  • Whirlwind is great at dealing with a lot of small minions, but 1 for 1 trade isn’t terrible either if you have no other answer. Inner Rage is gonna give you a 1 for 1 against their 1-drops, but you often also gain some tempo by developing a 2-drop on the same turn.
  • armorsmith, cruel-taskmaster and unstable-ghoul are all good 2-drops. They stop the aggression and give you some body on the board.
  • Fiery War Axe is great at dealing with their knife-juggler and mad-scientist. It might also kill the huffer if Hunter rolls one. dread-corsair is also great if you equip the Axe. It gives you a 3/3 Taunt for 1 mana, which is a huge tempo play.
  • Most of Face Hunters use explosive-trap, which is actually weak against Patron Warrior. Some other builds might run freezing-trap, snake-trap or misdirection, so try to play around everything and don’t assume it’s always Explosive.
  • Acolyte of Pain is a decent turn 3. It can contest their early drops and if Hunter rolls something like misha, it activates an Execute.
  • Frothing Berserker is also a good turn 3 play. It’s much more aggressive and Face Hunter has to deal with it in some way. Hunter minions either has to trade for it or use his burn like kill-command, both of which are fine by you. Don’t keep Frothing for a combo, use him as a 3-drop in this matchup.
  • Don’t keep the Executes and use them on whatever you need to. Face Hunter’s biggest minion is 4/4 Misha, but Executing a Knife Juggler or Arcane Golem can save you a lot of health or your minions.
  • If you have a lot of Whirlwind effects, you might want to keep your Armorsmith to get a big turn with a lot of Armor gain.
  • Grim Patron is your main win condition. Enemy has no way to deal with it effectively once you copy it a few times. Do not overextend if you’re at low health, however, because of unleash-the-hounds.

Midrange Hunter

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Unstable Ghoul, Slam, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Acolyte of Pain (with Inner Rage or Cruel Taskmaster), Dread Corsair (with a weapon)

Much harder matchup than the Face Hunter. While the Hunter has slower early game, he also has a lot of sticky creatures it’s gonna be hard for you to deal with.

  • First three turns are usually similar to the Face Hunter matchup. The only difference is that many Midrange builds run webspinners. Enemy might do the trades instead of pushing damage, but that’s fine by you.
  • Most of the Midrange Hunters run freezing-traps. Those are much more effective against you than Explosive ones. They make it harder to kill their threats and stop your Warsong Commander combos.
  • From turn 4, they’re gonna put out bigger, more sticky threats. Piloted Shredder, for example, is pretty hard to deal with, because you take a lot of damage by doing it. And you can’t take a lot of damage against Hunter.
  • They usually run some Taunts, most popular are sludge-belcher and houndmaster. They might make your weapon hits awkward.
  • savannah-highmane is your biggest nightmare. You run no Silence, Execute doesn’t really deal with it, it hits you hard. You’re often gonna have to attack it with weapon. Don’t let it live too long or else you’ve lost the game. The only thing that goes your way is that the 2/2’s it spawns are pretty good way to get more Patrons.
  • There is no clear win condition against Midrange Hunter. You try to adapt depending on the game. Spawning a board full of Patrons is usually a good way to go, and if you manage to assemble the Frothing combo, go for it.

Freeze Mage

Favored

Cards you look for: Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Acolyte of Pain, Death’s Bite, Execute

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain), Dread Corsair (with Death’s Bite), Gnomish Inventor (with early drops), Emperor Thaurissan (with Coin)

Against Freeze Mage you’re favorite because of the Armor. If not for the Armor, playing against Freeze Mage would be pretty hard. Patron Warrior isn’t a big counter like Control Warrior, but definitely a hard matchup for the Mage.

  • The matchup is really slow, so you don’t have to worry about getting early answers. Actually, even if Freeze Mage drops a Loot Hoarder or Mad Scientist, you don’t have to deal with it instantly. Your health isn’t that precious, because enemy is gonna alexstrasza you down to 15 anyway.
  • Armor, however, is more important. Don’t let enemy minions chop off your Armor.
  • Try to use your Hero Power as much as you can. Don’t skip turn 3 or 4 just to Armor up, but the more Armor you have, the harder it will be to go through all of it.
  • Battle Rage is great in this matchup. Freeze Mage is often just gonna leave you with 4-5 minions on the board. Something like Whirlwind + Battle Rage is gonna draw you a lot of cards. And drawing a lot in this matchup is vital, because you want to get both of your Armorsmiths.
  • Keep your Warsong Commander and Frothing Berserker for a big combo. This is your main win condition.
  • Getting couple of Patrons on the board on turn 5 is nice. Only flamestrike or bloodmage-thalnos + blizzard can clear all of them. If enemy has no good answer, you’re gonna clone them further.
  • Execute is your only good way to deal with doomsayers. You don’t want to use all of them, though. You need to keep one for archmage-antonidas. Don’t let enemy get value from it, because it’s their best way to beat you. From turn 7 onward, keep an activator and an Execute for enemy Antonidas.
  • Prepare your Armorsmiths for a big Armor-gain turn. Play couple of Minions, Armorsmiths and 2-3 Whirlwind effects. Try to gain as much Armor as you can this way. With 30+ Armor, only way for enemy to kill you is a big Archmage Antonidas turn and drawing a lot of Fireballs.
  • Killing enemy with Frothing Berserker is the easiest way. Remember to proc the Ice Block at low health, though. If you get out two Frothings, buff them and pop the Ice Block at 10+ health, it’s gonna be hard to get through that again. Try to pop it in your weapons or Warsong Commander + small minions range.

Tempo Mage

Favored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Dread Corsair (with weapon), Acolyte of Pain (with Cruel Taskmaster or Inner Rage)

Even though you’re favorite in this matchup, don’t take it too lightly. If you won’t get any early answers, they’re gonna rush you down without any problem. There are also many different versions of Tempo Mage, so you might need to play around the cards they don’t even have.

  • First turns are really important. Getting an early Fiery War Axe to answer their mana-wyrm and sorcerers-apprentice is crucial.
  • Coin + Armorsmith into Cruel Taskmaster also works fine. Generally, you want to remove everything they play for the couple of first turns.
  • Death’s Bite is great, because it kills all their early drops, most specifically flamewaker. The second hit can kill their mechanical-yeti, which you often have trouble dealing with.
  • Dropping Frothing Berserker on turn 3 is not a bad play, but it can be easily killed with flamecannon.
  • mirror-image might be really annoying to get through.
  • Grim Patron is your main win condition against Tempo Mage. If you get some good combos, enemy is gonna have hard time dealing with it. It’s great against both Flamewaker and arcane-missiles.
  • Some versions of the deck run flamestrike, so you might want to be careful before their turn 7. So don’t overextend with Patrons too much. 3-4 is usually enough, you don’t have to spawn the full board.
  • Throwing an Execute early is fine if you need to, but remember that Mages run some bigger threats. Most notably, archmage-antonidas, dr-boom or ragnaros-the-firelord. You want to have a way to deal with them if the game lasts long enough.
  • Tempo Mage has almost no defensive mechanisms and often swarms the board with a lot of minions, so if the Patrons didn’t work, killing them with Warsong Commander + Frothing Berserker should be relatively easy. Enemy often feels safe behind 0/2 Taunts, but they’re easily killed with two Whirlwind effects (buffing your Frothing at the same time).

Aggro Paladin

Favored

Cards you look for: Whirlwind, Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Unstable Ghoul, Acolyte of Pain, Slam

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (if you don’t get other early cards), Dread Corsair (with Fiery War Axe), Death’s Bite (with good curve)

Pretty easy matchup for Patron Warrior. They play some sticky, annoying minions, but if you survive early game, you’re gonna wreck them with your combos.

  • Just like against any other Aggro deck, surviving early game is most important. Most of the loses are gonna come from Aggro Paladin flooding the board when you have no answer or getting a big divine-favor turn (because you had high cost / situational cards in your hand).
  • Your Whirlwind effects are great in this matchup. Paladin plays a lot of 1/1’s and some Divine Shields, Whirlwinds are good against both of those. Unstable Ghoul is especially good, because it contests both their 1-drops and 2-drops. Enemy also can’t muster-for-battle when you have him on the board.
  • Keep Fiery War Axe to deal with an early Knife Juggler. It might easily ruin your day by dealing a lot of damage.
  • Acolyte of Pain is great in this matchup. You’re usually gonna get at least 2 draws from him, and either kill some small minions or pop Divine Shield on shielded-minibot.
  • slam might also be used to either remove their early drops or pop Divine Shields.
  • Death’s Bite is pretty good. It comes a little too late to counter Muster for Battle, but Paladin is gonna play a lot of 1 health minions.
  • Dropping Frothing on turn 3 is pretty bad, but if you don’t have anything else, do it. It dies to truesilver-champion or to abusive-sergeant on their small drops.
  • Grim Patron is great in the matchup. You’re gonna get a lot of copies. Only answer enemy might have is equality + consecration.
  • If you find yourself running out of health, start Armoring Up every turn and try to set up a big Armorsmith turn. Aggro Paladin relies on the minions to do damage and they have almost no burst, but can sometimes deal around 10 damage from their hand (e.g. wolfrider + blessing-of-might + truesilver-champion). Don’t play around crazy amount of burst, though, staying around 15 health is more than safe.
  • Don’t overextend with your hand size. Battle Rage for 2-3 is fine, but having a full hand is bad idea unless you’ve already stabilized and you dominate the game. If Paladin is ahead and he gets a big divine-favor, you’re suddenly in really bad spot.
  • Their only threat you can’t really deal with is tirion-fordring. While you can deal with the main body (e.g. Execute), the weapon is gonna either hit you for 15 or clear your minions (since it’s Aggro Paladin, probably the first option). Try to keep some answers for him from turn 8 onwards.

Midrange Paladin

Favored

Cards you look for: Whirlwind, Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Cruel Taskmaster, Unstable Ghoul, Slam, Acolyte of Pain, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain), Dread Corsair (with weapons)

This matchup is harder than Aggro Paladin, but I’d still say that you’re a strong favorite. Midrange Paladin runs a lot stickier minions, but you should get a lot of value with your Patrons in the mid game and push the game since then.

  • Fiery War Axe is pretty important. It deals with zombie-chow, Knife Juggler, even Shielded Minibot to some extent.
  • Having some Whirlwind effect is important to deal with Muster for Battle and all of those 1/1’s. A good way to lose this matchups is Paladin getting quartermaster value.
  • Acolyte of Pain and Armorsmith are great at dealing with the 1/1’s and taking out Divine Shield.
  • Death’s Bite is pretty strong, because it deals with all their early drops and can kill sludge-belcher on turn 5.
  • Grim Patron is great in this matchup. Combo’ing him with Warsong will usually get you a lot of Patrons – against the 1/1 Recruits, Zombie Chow, Shielded Minibot, 1/2 Slime (from Sludge Belcher), maybe even some 2-drop from Shredder. Most of Midrange Paladins run only one copy of Equality, but still don’t overextend into the board. If they’ve already used their Equality, you might as well spawn full board of Patrons.
  • Charged Frothing is also a decent win condition. Paladin tends to flood the board with a lot of guys, so you might easily gain a lot of damage on Frothing.
  • You might have problem dealing with their big drops, especially Tirion Fordring. The 5/3 weapon isn’t that scary against Midrange Paladin, though. He’s gonna clear the board with it, not go for the face. And if you aim for an OTK, you don’t care about your board.
  • Midrange Paladin has no way to burst you down, so as long as you clear the board, you don’t have to worry about your life total. You can aim for a long game and gather your combo pieces slowly. No need to rush things down, as long as you have some answers to their threats. Use your health as a resource.

Control Priest

Favored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Slam, Acolyte of Pain, Gnomish Inventor, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage or Cruel Taskmaster (with Acolyte of Pain), Dread Corsair (with weapons), Execute (if the rest of your hand is good), Emperor Thaurissan (with Coin)

Priest is rarely seen on the ladder since the BRM, but you might meet them sometimes. The matchup is really slow, so unless Priest gets a really fast start and you get no answers, you’re gonna have a lot of time to assemble the combo.

  • Most of the games will be really slow. The only things they can drop on turn 1 are northshire-cleric or Zombie Chow, but neither of them is a real threat.
  • They run some 2-drops, but they’re situational and probably won’t be dropped on 2. Unless the Priests wants to rush you down, he’s gonna keep minions like shrinkmeister and wild-pyromancer for later turns.
  • Their 3-drops might be tricky to deal with. The worst case scenario is him having injured-blademaster + circle-of-healing and you having no Execute. That’s why keeping the Execute might be worth. The other 3-drop is dark-cultist. It should either die to slam + Axe, Acolyte of Pain + Axe or Death’s Bite. If you have no other answer, you might also do something like Axe + Whirlwind / Inner Rage. You don’t want his other minions to get the +3 health buff.
  • deathlord is a pretty funny card. On the one hand, it won’t pressure you at all when played on turn 3, on the other hand it’s pretty hard to get through. If you have no other ways – use the Execute. But not getting through it is problematic – the fact that it gives you minions is. For example, if it drops Emperor Thaurissan when you have no combo pieces on the board and Priest just kills it on his turn. Or I maybe it drops your Warsong Commander which you’re gonna need later for the combos. On the other hand, later in the game when it drops something important it might just win you the game.
  • Velen’s Chosen also might be problematic if you leave something on the board. If you clear everything he plays, he probably won’t risk using Velen’s Chosen on a minion played the same turn (something like Slam + Execute would mean 2 for 1).
  • You aim to cycle and draw as many of your combo pieces as you can, while clearing the threats they play.
  • Grim Patron is not that good in this matchup. It can get some value if enemy has no answers, but don’t overextend into your Patron combos. It loses to lightbomb, and later in the game to Velen’s Chosen + holy-nova. Keeping the Whirlwind effects for Frothing is usually better idea.
  • Be careful with your Patrons, because if Priest steals one, he might easily clone it further on your small minions like Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain or Unstable Ghoul. And you have no good way to deal with Patrons in that case.
  • Your main way to win is Frothing Berserker combo. Priest will probably heal himself and stay at 30 all the time, so you need to OTK him. Getting Emperor Thaurissan on some of your combo pieces really helps. A good Priest player won’t overextend into the board, but with Thaurissan discount, you might kill him with almost nothing on the board.
  • Remember that when Priest steals your minion that Warsong Commander gave Charge, it’s still gonna have Charge. So if he Mind Controls your big Frothing Berserker, he might instantly attack with it.

Oil Rogue

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Cruel Taskmaster (with Acolyte of Pain or Armorsmith), Slam (with Fiery War Axe), Dread Corsair (with weapons), Emperor Thaurissan (with Coin)

Even though the matchup is not in your favor, it’s not as bad as most people believe it to be. If you get answers for their threats and survive until later turns, you might easily combo him with Frothing.

  • First turns are pretty slow. Oil Rogue is incredibly reactive deck until turn 3. Getting down an Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain is a good start. He has hard time dealing with Armorsmith without letting you get a lot of Armor or wasting his card. When it comes to Acolyte of Pain, your draws are really crucial. They’re both good when combo’ed with Cruel Taskmaster.
  • Fiery War Axe is a good answer for their 3-drops – si7-agent and earthen-ring-farseer. If you combine it with Slam, you might kill almost all of their threats – violet-teacher, sludge-belcher, azure-drake.
  • Death’s Bite is also great to deal with their mid game threats. You can’t let the Violet Teacher rolling, because it’s one of the best way for you to lose the game.
  • Most of your minions are gonna be taken down. It means that minions that cycle themselves like Acolyte of Pain or Gnomish Inventor are really good.
  • You want Emperor Thaurissan to set up your Frothing combos. You don’t want to take the game too long or the Oil Rogue is gonna combo you instead.
  • Grim Patron is pretty weak in this matchup. Don’t overextend by making full board of Patrons, because they’re most likely gonna be taken down by blade-flurry. Only if Rogue already used both of them, you might try to get a big Patron turn. Otherwise, keep your Whirlwind effects for Frothing instead.
  • Warsong Commander + Frothing is your best way to win. Rogue probably won’t be at full health, because he often uses his life as a resource to kill your minions. Violet Teacher with a lot of tokens might also work in your favor, because they feed your Frothing.
  • If the game goes too long, Oil Rogue is gonna burst you with combos like southsea-deckhand + tinkers-sharpsword-oil. They might deal a lot of damage in short time, and easily refill their hand with preparation + sprint. You’re gonna have much harder time getting a big Battle Rage, because they are clearing your board all the time.

Handlock

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Execute, Acolyte of Pain, Slam, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Cruel Taskmaster or Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain), Gnomish Inventor (with some earlier drops)

Handlock is probably the hardest matchup you’re gonna face. Your Patrons are almost useless, Warlock is gonna drop big minions since turn 4, with a lot of Taunts and Heals it’s hard to hit his face.

  • Execute is the most important card you want to get. If you have no way to deal with their turn 4 mountain-giant or twilight-drake, you’re gonna be in a lot of trouble. If they play 2-3 big threats back to back, you have almost no way to win the game.
  • You want a lot of card draw / cycle to get your answers as fast as you can.
  • Grim Patron is almost useless in this matchup. Both hellfire and shadowflame can clear your board of Patrons. Getting 3-4 of them is fine, but don’t overextend into the full Patron board.
  • Warlock might get a lot of big taunts with sunfury-protector and defender-of-argus. You have no really good way to deal with them. Try using mix of weapons, small minions, Whirlwind effects and Slam to deal with all of them.
  • Your main win condition is Warsong Commander + Frothing Berserker. You need to find a hole in their defenses and use it. You usually don’t need too big Frothing – Handlock often gets himself below 20 health just from Life Tapping. If for one turn he plays no Taunt, you might be able to punish that and get a big charged Frothing Berserker.
  • Emperor Thaurissan is pretty good. A 5/5 body might help you with the trades and getting discounts is huge if you get an opportunity to charge your Frothing.
  • Remember to not take Handlock too low without killing him. Kill him from 15+ health in one turn. If you get him to ~10 health, he’s gonna get his Moltens for (almost) free, and that ruins your day. You already have hard time dealing with all those big minions, and with two additional 8/8 Taunts, you can’t win the game any more. You have no way to deal damage through the Taunts, and your combos are useless against them.

Zoo Warlock

Favored

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Cruel Taskmaster, Unstable Ghoul, Death’s Bite

Cards you might keep: Inner Rage (with Acolyte of Pain), Dread Corsair (with weapons), Slam (with Axe or your early drops)

You’re a big favorite against Zoo Warlock, but don’t take it for granted. Zoo Warlock almost always gets a good curve and fast start, if you don’t keep up with him, he’s gonna swarm the whole board and rush you.

  • Clearing Warlock’s board is really important, because Zoo bases his whole game plan on minions. Their turn 1 play is either flame-imp or voidwalker. Voidwalker is fine, but Flame Imp might deal a lot of damage if unanswered.
  • Fiery War Axe is probably the best card you can get. It pretty much guarantees 2 for 1.
  • Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain are good especially if combined with Cruel Taskmaster, but even dropped alone will get some work done. Great to counter their haunted-creeper. Just be careful of Warlock buffing him with abusive-sergeant to get good trades.
  • Unstable Ghoul is really good, it can trade at least 1 for 1 with his 1-drops and 2-drops.
  • Getting out Dread Corsair for 1 or 0 mana is a big deal and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of 3/3 Taunt. It contest almost all of their early drops.
  • You might drop Frothing Berserker as a 3-drop. He’s not your main win condition anyway, and keeping the board pressure is important.
  • Death’s Bite is absolutely best card you can get. Not only it takes out all their early and mid game drops, but it also sets up a turn 5 Patron play.
  • Grim Patron is incredibly powerful against Zoo. They run no AoE, so once you get it rolling, they have no way to deal with it. You might get a lot of additional Patrons against cards like imp-losion or imp-gang-boss, especially when combined with Warsong Commander. If you get couple of them on the board, enemy probably won’t come back.
  • voidcaller is really strong. When you pop him, try to have an answer for their biggest Demons – doomguard or malganis. If you don’t have those answers (usually Execute), the best option is probably to ignore him. It might be one of the ways for Zoo to win against you, especially if they combine it with defender-of-argus.
  • In mid game, Zoo will probably have a big card advantage. You want to set up a big Battle Rage turn. It’s much easier with Patrons on the board, but even without them, drawing 3-4 cards from Battle Rage is pretty important.
  • After you clear their board and start doing your combos, try to push the Warlock a little. When they’re at high health, they get two cards per turn with Life Tap. When you start pushing them, they will often have to stop doing that. Once the Warlock can’t Life Tap because he fears about his life total, you’re in a great spot. Also, once you get them low enough, you might finish them with your Warsong Commander + Frothing Berserker combo. It’s not your main win condition, but if you manage to get those two and a good opportunity, just go for it!

Control Warrior

Equal

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Acolyte of Pain, Death’s Bite, Grim Patron

Cards you might keep: Cruel Taskmaster (with Acolyte of Pain), Inner Rage (with Grim Patron or Acolyte of Pain), Emperor Thaurissan (with Coin)

Most believe it’s an unfavored matchup, but that’s not entirely true. It’s really slow, so you have at least 5 or 6 free turns to draw, cycle and get your combos.

  • Early game is slow. Control Warrior is often gonna Armor up every turn. Sometimes he’s gonna drop Armorsmith or Acolyte of Pain, equip a weapon or something, but Armor Up is the thing you’re gonna see most for the first turns.
  • Acolyte of Pain is really important. You might want to pair him with Inner Rage or Cruel Taskmaster to ensure two draws. If it’s turn 3, enemy doesn’t have weapon equipped and Acolyte of Pain is your only play – go for it. If he gets killed, at least he cycled himself.
  • On the contrary, you want to have your weapon to deal with opponent’s Acolyte of Pain. While you have a lot of ways to draw cards as Patron Warrior, Acolyte of Pain is Control Warrior’s main source of draw. Don’t let him draw 2 or 3 cards from it.
  • Keeping Grim Patron may seem a risky move, but Control Warrior won’t put pressure on you until 5, so you can get to your Patron turn without problem.
  • Grim Patron is great against Warrior. If you get a lot of them, the only way for him to kill them is brawl. Most of lists run only one copy, so the chances that he’s gonna get it so early aren’t that high.
  • Another way to deal with couple of Patrons is a mix of removals. Control Warrior is often gonna waste something like weapon charge, Execute and two shield-slams just to deal with your Patrons. You don’t mind that, because if he uses all his removals on one batch of Patrons, he’s gonna have hard time removing the second.
  • Patrons are great distraction, but your main win condition is still Frothing Berserker. Control Warrior is gonna get a lot of Armor, he’s often gonna stay at about 50 effective health. You need to set up for a big double Frothing turn in order to kill him. Don’t throw your Frothings on the board before that, because you’re gonna lack the damage to kill Warrior if you do.
  • Emperor Thaurissan is incredibly great. He’s gonna be removed right away 90% of time, but one discount is often enough for you to do a crazy Frothing turn. Remember, you aim for an OTK, so getting discounts on Warsong, Frothing and Whirlwind effects is most important.
  • sludge-belcher might be difficult to get through. What’s good for you is that you can spawn more Patrons from the 1/2 Slime. Actually, Warrior has a lot of targets that you can feed to your Patrons. Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Cruel Taskmaster. If he gets couple of those on the board, Warsong Commander + Grim Patron might be a great turn.
  • You want to finish the game around turn 10, because it’s gonna be hard to deal with all the threats Warrior is putting later in the game. Try to keep your execute for thing like alexstrasza or ragnaros-the-firelord – those can ruin your day if unanswered.

Patron Warrior (mirror)

Equal

Cards you look for: Fiery War Axe, Acolyte of Pain, Death’s Bite, Grim Patron

Cards you might keep: Cruel Taskmaster (with Acolyte of Pain), Inner Rage (with Grim Patron or Acolyte of Pain), Emperor Thaurissan (with Coin)

Mulligan is really similar to Control Warrior, but here you want to get your Grim Patron even more. The matchup is often won by the Warrior who gets a big Patron turn first.

  • Since Grim Patron is a reactive deck during the first turns, it’s gonna be pretty slow. Some Warriors try to go Aggro when they identify you’re a Patron Warrior and drop Frothing Berserker on turn 3. It’s not a bad play, because it’s not your main win condition in this match. And if enemy has no answer, Frothing might sneak a lot of damage.
  • Having an answer for their Acolyte of Pain is really important. You want him to deny as much card draws as you can. Actually, you might even not attack his Hero (leave him at 30 health) to deny a draw from Battle Rage.
  • Try to draw and cycle as much as you can. You want to draw into your combo first.
  • Grim Patron is absolutely insane in the Mirror. Try to get at least 4-5 of them at once, because enemy might still have a way to deal with 2-3. When you end up with a lot of Patrons, you’ve almost won the game. Most of Patron Warrior lists don’t run Brawl. Half of the cards in their deck become dead. They can’t play low attack minions, because you get more Patrons. They can’t play Whirlwind, Unstable Ghoul or attack with Death’s Bite, because you get more Patrons.
  • If enemy is the one who gets a lot of Patrons on the board and you can’t clear them, you can either go for your Patrons (but if you’re the second one, you’re behind, because enemy is gonna have much easier time killing yours with his) or try to OTK them with Frothing. The only disadvantage of having a lot of Patrons on the board is that they are perfect to buff Frothing Berserker. If you manage to get Thaurissan discounts and a great Frothing turn, you might still turn the game around. You are limited to 2-3 turns, however, because enemy Patrons are gonna kill you otherwise.
  • Dread Corsair is really good in this matchup. Patron Warrior often depends on his weapons to clear your board, so hiding your important minions (like Warsong Commander) behind Taunts may often mean that enemy is gonna have hard time killing it. Unstable Ghoul might also work at stopping enemy weapons, but it might as well backfire. When you drop it, enemy might drop his Acolyte of Pain / Grim Patron, destroy your Ghoul and gain free cards / Patrons.
  • Getting a lot of Armor with Armorsmith might be a good idea if you get an opportunity. If enemy is playing slowly, he’s probably preparing to OTK you with Frothings. Gaining more Armor might save your skin. But on the other hand, if you feel enemy is preparing for Frothing OTK, don’t flood the board too much – you might even kill off some of your minions with your Whirlwind effects to be safe against 20+ damage Frothings.

Other Sections

This is part 3 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

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