MUA: Control Warrior vs. Deathrattle Rogue

Deathrattle Rogue is one of the newest powerhouses on the ladder. It is a very strong deck that has some of the stickiest minions in the game. That board control ability, mixed with Rogue’s inherent burst, gives it a great matchup against most of the ladder. In particular, it is very effective at combating Control […]


Deathrattle Rogue is one of the newest powerhouses on the ladder. It is a very strong deck that has some of the stickiest minions in the game. That board control ability, mixed with Rogue’s inherent burst, gives it a great matchup against most of the ladder. In particular, it is very effective at combating Control Warrior. For that reason, many people can have a difficult time when piloting Gorrash against Valeera’s raptors. This guide will break down that matchup and show the best way to beat Deathrattle Rogue using the removal and longevity of Control Warrior.

Sample Decklists 

Control Warrior was once a deck that had a very set list. You would run the best thirty cards and that was that. However, somewhere in the last year that changed. Control Warrior now has some of the most fluctuation in Hearthstone. You can choose from a wide range of removal spells, a ton of different big finishers and many midrange cards. This allows you to tune your deck specifically for the matchups you see most on the ladder. To show you the core of the deck you should build off of, some sample Control Warrior decklists are linked below.

One, Two, Three

Mulligan Guide

When mulliganing against Rogue these days you always want to assume they are deathrattle. Oil is a thing of the past, as are most of the aggro variants from a few months ago. When fighting Valeera you want to try and get as much removal in your hand as possible. Stockpiling on weapons and removal is not the usual route Control Warrior goes, but this is a matchup where you are going to be killing most of their minions twice. Your early minions are a good as ever (and should be kept) but you have to have answers at your disposal.

Cards to Keep

Shield Slam Fiery War Axe Armorsmith Slam Bash Acolyte of Pain Death’s Bite

Situational Keeps

Execute should be kept if you have no other removal options in your hand.

Shield Block is a good keep with other early cards.

Brawl can be kept if you have a really strong curve coming before it.

How to Win

The way you are going to win this matchup is through attrition. Not that different from the usual way that Control Warrior operates, but here you go for it in a completely different way. This game is not going to be solely focused on staying alive through armor gain, rather it going to be fought through removal. One of Control Warrior’s strengths is that it is very versatile and has a lot of different paths to victory. This game is where you just want to be reactive and let your spells carry you through until you can get your big minions down.

Another important part of fighting Deathrattle Rogue is to identify the type that you are playing. There are two versions of the list. The first is the classic tempo style that runs a lot more midrange minions and tries to go big. The other version is much more aggressive and trades that high curve for Leper Gnomes and Cold Bloods. You should be able to recognize what you’re going up against by the way they begin. Play carefully against the aggressive version. When going against the midrange style you can be a little more lenient with your health.

A rule to remember in this matchup is that your minions are bigger than theirs. Something that is hard to grasp in Hearthstone is when you need to clear and when you need to put something down. Because of your minion’s size, anytime you drop something down it is a threat that will most often force your opponent to trade. That slows them down immensely and, while they may be able to deal with your minion, it still may give you an extra turn somewhere down the line.

Early Game Strategy

The first turns of the game are when Rogue really gets going. Whether they are starting with Leper Gnome, Loot Hoarder or Nerubian Egg, they have the ability to build very, very quickly. You don’t have a lot of strong answers during these turns outside of your axe. While Armorsmith is good against the aggressive version, you aren’t going to be doing all that much here. Just try and use Shield Slam if you can.

Understand they are going to get their deathrattle triggers. Even with your weapons or targeted removal there is nothing you can do about that. As such, instead of trying to prevent them from getting value, you want to react to that value when it comes. Even if they get their best opening of Nerubian Egg into Unearthed Raptor you can respond. Know that, and never overreact to their opening by burning too many removal spells early on.

Weapons are your best asset in this matchup. Fiery War Axe and Death’s Bite are both two removal spells for the price of one. That is important because it means they can deal with both halves of a deathrattle minion instead of just breaking the shell like the rest of your removal. It may feel bad using both charges on one minion, but the point of this matchup is to clear the board as much as possible.

Midgame Strategy

The midgame is where Deathrattle Rogue makes its money. They have an incredible amount of powerful midgame cards and a strong slew of removal spells. That combination is a problem because it allows them to play the tempo game very well: removing your board while adding to yours. The best way to beat that is to make the most out of your removal, trying to discern their biggest threats and anticipate their plays. As they are a tempo-style deck, Deathrattle Rogue has a pretty set curve. Understand that curve, and know what is going to be coming down each turn.

As when playing against Zoo, watch out for Defender of Argus. The four drop is run in almost all Rogue decks, and it can really set you back if your aren’t careful. Not only does it give them buffs, but it also locks out your weapons and forces you to kill deathrattle minions. For this reason, always try to make sure they can only taunt up things without deathrattle.

Brawl is very interesting here. On one hand it is the best removal spell you have because of the way that Rogue likes to flood the board. On the other, there are many games where it does nothing. If you have Brawl you absolutely need to play to it by clearing all of their deathrattles beforehand. Sometimes you can use it just to get rid of damage (the second half of a Piloted Shredder usually does more damage than the two drop) but usually you want it to get as much value as possible.

The biggest midgame threat they run is Sylvanas Windrunner. It answers your later threats and you have no real way to stop her. If she does come down just think about what she might steal, and then have an answer for ready for each of your own minions.

Late Game Strategy

One of the strangest things about Deathrattle Rogue is that they don’t have a strong end game. They come out of the gates fast and their middle game is very powerful. However, their top end is usually just Dr. Boom or one other big minion. Big Game Hunter (and almost all of your other removal options) do a great job of handling the doctor, and Shield Slam/Execute will take care of anything else. Even Brawl can be a great to kill one of their finishers.

The final turns of the game are usually dominated by your slew of finishers. Beyond their minions and trading ability, Deathrattle Rogue shines because of their efficient removal package. They have a ton of ways to clear the board and can easily eliminate many minions. Your big finishers fight through that because it costs them a ton of spells to kill even one high-cost card. Count their spells are try to sequence your legendaries in a way where the most important ones come out last.

Grommash Hellscream and Alexstrazsa are, as usual, your go-to way to win. However, you don’t always have to play them as a combo or as finishers. When going up against an aggressive Rogue Alex can be used defensively, and does a fine job of putting you out of lethal range. In the same vein, never be afraid to use Gromm as removal. The ten (or twelve) damage is fantastic, but Rogue needs minions to operate. Any chance you can clear their board you should, especially if you also put down a ten-damage threat as well.

Final Tip

Watch out for Sap. While it is unclear how much that card is run, not playing around it can lead to an instant loss. That is another reason you should value your spells over your minions. While Brawl may only remove two minions from the board, it is better than playing Sylvanas Windrunner, who just gets Sap’d and then has no impact.