Control Warrior is one of the most popular deck on today’s ladder. It is the premier control deck around and has enough healing and removal to contest any deck in the game. As a result, you need to know how to play against it no matter what deck you are using to climb. This guide will look at the slow list and show how C’thun Druid, with its endless supply of threats and finishing burst, matches up quite well against public enemy number one.
Though C’thun Druid has a core of fifteen or so cards that you have to run to make the deck work, that does not mean there is only one set list. There are more than a few versions, all of which are tuned to different metas. Some decks prefer to go with more big finishers in order to combat control, while others stick to more early game threats to get board presence as soon as possible. Each version has its share or strengths and weaknesses, and you want to play the one that best fits your particular style. To help you figure out which one that is, two lists and guide have been linked below.
When playing Warrior you want to mulligan low and do your best to get rolling out of the gates. There are a ton of different Warrior decks running around right now, but this strategy will help you against all of them. This is because you need to be proactive against tempo and you need to run out threats as early as you can against control. Though you can keep some slower cards with a good curve, do what you can to begin on turn one, two or three.
Cards to KeepInnervate Wild Growth Beckoner of Evil Wild Growth Wrath Disciple of C’thun Twilight Elder
C’thun’s Chosen and Klaxxi Amber-Weaver should both be kept with the coin and a good curve.
Swipe is a good keep with a strong curve.
How to Win
The way you are going to win this match is through sheer attrition. Warrior has ample removal and many ways to control the game. Your job is to run them out of those cards by playing big threat after big threat. Anything you play, from a 4/10 to a 5/7 is going to threaten Warrior and force their hand. The more removal you bait out the stronger your deck gets. To win this game you need to be the aggressor and you need to control the pace. Make Warrior answer you.
The other way you are going to win this game is through pressure and playing to your finisher. Though you are a slower deck, you have a lower curve and a way to do fifteen or so damage on ten mana. Your win condition can get outmatched if you spend too much of the game doing nothing. Warrior will stack up huge amounts of armor and you will eventually get locked out. However, if you can pressure withe one or two threats they won’t be able to get out of burst range.
Early Game Strategy
The first part of playing Warrior is identifying what type they are. There are many popular versions of the deck these days and you have to know which one you’re going against as early as possible. This will then allow you to adjust and properly prepare your strategy for the upcoming turns. Warrior usually runs no two drops, so if you see Armorsmith or something like Alexstrasza’s Champion you know you aren’t playing control. On the flip side, if you see armor gain cards like Shield Block or Bash you are facing control.
These are the turns where you begin your curve, meaning that you want to play something each turn. Though it may feel bad to play an un-buffed Klaxxi Amber Weaver on turn four, getting a 4/5 down is much better than doing nothing. Even using a Disciple of Cthun on your opponent’s face to set up a buff card can be a really strong move.
A big part of playing the opening turns well is understanding the way that Warrior can remove your threats. While you want them to burn an Execute or Shield Slam, they have access to Slam, Ravaging Ghoul, Bash and Fiery War Axe as well. Understand those options and try to play around them as much as you can.
The final rule of these turns is to be careful of when using Innervate. Though you may just want to ramp out a huge threat as soon as possible, Warrior’s removal completely nullifies that move. It is often better to use the ramp spell as a way to smooth out your curve rather than just going as big as you can.
The middle turns are important because they are where you are going to take over the game. This is the part of the game where you start to get big, forcing Warrior to use valuable resources and premium removal. Always try to play your smaller threats first to eat things like Execute. This will keep you in control of the board and force Warrior to play to you.
Your two best threats here are Druid of the Claw and Dark Arakkoa. While claw does a very nice job of getting a kill spell while in taunt mode (very good at setting up a turn six Arakkoa, you shouldn’t be afraid to put it in charge mode. Though it is secondary, that can be a great way to take down a smaller minion, trade, or push for damage when needed.
Another important aspect is to always watch out for Brawl. This can be very easy to overlook because you do not flood the board like smaller decks, but the five mana AOE can really hurt you in the right situation. If you are ahead on the board and pushing for damage there is no reason to add anything else. See how Warrior responds and react accordingly.
Once they play Justicar Trueheart you have two options. If they are at a low life total you should just get hyper-aggressive and end the game before they recover. However, if they are at a high life, take the game slow and try to grind them down.
Know that it is typically a good idea to remove your opponent’s minions. Unlike most decks, Warriors can do a lot with a small amount of damage. Execute, Slam and Bash all benefit from good trades. You need to shut that down by controlling the trades and choosing which one of your minions gets injured.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is going to be spent playing to C’thun. All versions of Control Warrior have a range of different finishers and you need to race them in the best way that you can. Fifteen or so damage to the face does a great way to do that, but spamming the board with minions does the job just fine. Play to what’s in your hand and keep track of the removal cards your opponent has played.
Warrior’s best defensive weapon is Ancient Shieldbearer. Not only do they get a 6/6 body onto the board, but they also get a quick ten armor. That can be a huge problem when you are trying to find lethal. To help plan for that you should always add ten armor to your opponent’s life total.
Twin Emperor Vek’lor is your best end-game threat, but you want to be careful when you play it. You never want to add the dual 4/6’s to a board that you are already in control of. This will help you play around Brawl and give you a way to instantly reload an empty board.
Though you usually will be at high health, watch your life total. Almost all Warriors these days run both Grommash Hellscream and Ragnaros the Firelord. Each of those legendaries can stack up quick damage. Keep them in mind to know when you need to be defensive.
Note: If you run Doomcaller do not be afraid to just run C’thun out to clear or get in a large chunk of damage before bringing the Old God back into your deck.
Always count your potential damage. Though C’thun Druid is built around slower minions, you have many ways to build up pressure. If you are hitting Warrior hard you should play to any burn cards (Swipe and Druid of the Claw) you have in your hand.