This is the matchup analysis of C’Thun RenoLock versus Control Warrior. The goal of this MUA is to supplement my general C’Thun RenoLock guide you can find here with mulligan, strategy etc. against specific decks you can often face in the current meta.
If you still have any questions concerning this matchup, feel free to ask them in the comment section below!
C’Thun RenoLock deck is my own list, you can read about it more in the article I’ve linked above.
There are a lot of Control Warrior decks on the ladder. It’s actually pretty hard to meet two exactly same decks. Different people prefer different tech cards, late game threats etc. But in the end, play style against every of those decks is similar and I’ve decided to go with the one similar to the lists I encounter most often. If you have any questions concerning other versions, just ask and I’ll try my best to answer them!
Cards To Keep:
- Mortal Coil – Even though the card isn’t great against Control Warrior in the early game, it will be useful eventually. It’s one of those cards that it’s always good to have it. That 1 ping damage should come handy eventually.
- Acidic Swamp Ooze – Another card that you don’t use early, but you want to have it. You don’t want to Ooze the Fiery War Axe – most of Control Warrior lists run Gorehowl and that’s the target you’re waiting for. Ooze might sit dead in your hand for the next 10 turns, but destroying that Gorehowl immediately is important.
- Dark Peddler – I prefer keeping Peddler over the Beckoner of Evil. Warriors should have easy time dealing with a 2/3 early in the game. Dark Peddler is also easy to deal with, but you also get a 1 mana card back, so it’s not a big deal if it gets Axed or something.
- Imp Gang Boss or Twilight Elder – Now, 4 health minions are harder to deal with, so they should be easy keeps. You don’t really prefer one above the other here – both have their pros and cons. I’d say that Imp Gang Boss is better against removals, because even if enemy let’s say Slams + hits it with Axe, you’re still left with two 1/1’s. But then again, Twilight Elder lines up better against the Acolyte of Pain. So it really doesn’t matter which one you decide to go with.
- Twilight Drake – That might be the BEST card to keep against Control Warrior. Your turn 2 is often tap, your turn 3 is sometimes tap, you aren’t under the pressure to play cards early, so Twilight Drake is usually a 4/8 or 4/9. I’ll be honest – it rarely survives, but it’s a first big threat you play and first one and it will most likely bait an Execute or Shield Slam. If Warrior has no way to kill it immediately, it might get some value over a few turns.
- Reno Jackson – I always keep Reno. Even if you know that you play against Control Warrior, Reno might come handy. Sometimes they curve out really nicely and if you don’t, they can threaten a quick lethal with Grom if you don’t have a way to heal up.
- Shadow Bolt – If the rest of your hand is good, you can keep it as a situational removal. While you won’t likely use it in the early game (maybe against t3 Acolyte of Pain), it might come handy in the mid game.
- C’Thun’s Chosen or Refreshment Vendor – Another minions that don’t die to a single Axe hit and requires Warrior to play something else too. They might survive a turn to get rid of some Armor or get a trade into something. You keep them only if you don’t get your Twilight Drake.
- Stampeding Kodo – If you’re sure that you play against Control Warrior, you might keep the Kodo. It’s amazing against the versions running Bloodhoof Brave. Even hitting Acolyte of Pain means Warrior doesn’t draw and you want Warrior to not draw in this matchup.
The matchup is pretty hard to play correctly (I’ve seen a lot of not experienced RenoLock players losing it for stupid reasons), but once you master it, you should be winning most of time. Most of the matches against Control Warrior follow a pretty clear scheme. Since Warrior doesn’t really run a lot of early/mid game minions, you should be gaining both card & board advantage in the early-mid game. Warrior is mostly trying to answer everything you drop. Then, once you play Jaraxxus, everything turns around and Warrior is the one trying to push for the tempo/damage and you’re trying to respond to whatever he plays.
Your goal in this matchups is to tap whenever you can (so you can get to Jaraxxus faster), put pressure on the Warrior and try to deny every card draw from him. Sometimes you can win without Jaraxxus – if he runs out of cards and you play C’Thun, he might not have an answer and 2 hits should be often enough to kill him.
It’s important to save certain cards for after you play Jaraxxus, since then every Taunt and every point of healing will be crucial.
Overall I’d say that this matchups is about 80/20 in RenoLock’s favor. While it slightly depends on the tech cards they run, if you play that properly I don’t think there is any way for Warrior to be a favorite.
- Early game vs Control Warrior is nearly non-existent. They run pretty much no early drops and you don’t really want to play your early drops into the Fiery War Axe.
- Playing turn 2 Dark Peddler is okay to test the waters against Axe. If they have it – that’s okay, losing 2/2 isn’t a huge deal. And if they don’t – you have a nice way to chip away their armor.
- Most of the lists have dropped Armorsmiths, but they might play turn 3 Acolyte of Pain. Turn 3 Ravaging Ghoul is also possible in theory, but they will pretty much always keep it for the effect. So your only real concern is dealing with Acolyte of Pain. You really want to kill it in one go – using Shadow Bolt to kill it isn’t wrong if you already have lower attack minion on the board and you don’t want him to draw 2 cards. If you don’t have any minion – dropping 3+ attack minion into Acolyte should be fine.
- It’s one of those matchups where you often Life Tap on turn 2 and 3. This heavily increases your chances to have a smooth curve from turn 4 onwards.
- Life Tap is your best friend. Try to tap as often as you can until you have a full hand. Warrior doesn’t really have any ways to punish your full hand and the more cards you have, the more options you have. So that’s great.
- You don’t really have to hurry up with activating the Twin Emperor Vek’lor. You usually want to keep that card for after Jaraxxus anyway, so you’re not playing it on 7 unless that’s your only move or you’re really putting pressure on the Warrior.
- While it’s best to hold onto Spellbreaker to hit Sylvanas Windrunner, using it on Acolyte of Pain is another way to gain value. It completely denies the draw, which is exactly what you want. Other way to deny the draw from Acolyte is Stampeding Kodo – it’s great value.
- Using Demonwrath or Hellfire just to kill one minion is fine in this matchup. Enemy won’t likely flood the board with small minions, so those will be dead cards a lot of time. Shadowflame and Twisting Nether are much better and you want to hold onto them.
- Don’t drop Brann Bronzebeard just like that. If you really want to play it in the mid game, you want to combo it with something immediately. For example, turn 6 Brann + Disciple of C’Thun for 4 damage or turn 7 Brann + Drake to get a huge Drake. But if you don’t need Brann, it’s better to keep him for the late game.
- You don’t want to play Emperor Thaurissan until you have Lord Jaraxxus in your hand. Discounting Jaraxxus is crucial – it’s a difference between having and not having a 6/6 minion on your Jaraxxus turn. Without Emperor, you absolutely need to drop Jaraxxus when you have the board control. With Emperor, dropping it on the empty board is also okay, because it’s some tempo against the enemy that will most likely try to push you hard.
- Using Ragnaros the Firelord or C’Thun on the empty board is fine. Face damage is important in this matchup too, you might be able to get rid of the Armor so the Shield Slam will be useless + those minions require immediate attention, so Warrior NEEDS to find a removal for them.
- Baiting a Brawl is fine. You don’t want to drop Twin Emperor when you already have 3 other minions on the board, but playing a few small minions at the same time (like 3-4) is okay – if enemy Brawls it, you’re pretty happy. Brawls are great way to stall after you Jaraxxus (they can take hit from 1-2 Infernals and then Brawl once you play more), so if you get rid of them before, that’s awesome.
- Hold onto your Acidic Swamp Ooze to counter Gorehowl. Even if enemy equips a Fiery War Axe and doesn’t swing with it – if you’re sure it’s a slow Warrior list (e.g. on turn 2 I’d drop Ooze against weapon, because it could still be Tempo or Pirate Warrior) don’t take that value. FWA doesn’t get tons of value against RenoLock, while Gorehowl does. If Warrior isn’t under high pressure, he should have a lot of health to work with, so Gorehowl will most likely get 4-5 for 1.
- Don’t drop Sylvanas Windrunner on the empty board – wait until enemy plays a big minion, enemy plays a few minions or hold onto her to combo with Shadowflame. Unlike Ragnaros or C’Thun, she doesn’t get any immediate value and enemy should have quite easy time removing her.
- Brann + Twin Emperor Vek’lor is amazing combo, but plays into the Brawl. If enemy is out of Brawls, by all means, that’s probably the best way to use Brann (Brann’s Battlecry is basically “summon a 4/6 Taunt” then). When enemy is low on removals already, dropping Brann a turn before C’Thun is amazing. If he doesn’t remove him – you get double C’Thun. If he does – there is a smaller chance that your C’Thun is going to be removed.
- Lord Jaraxxus is the most important card in this matchup. First of all – you want to set your Jaraxxus up by hitting it with the Emperor discount. Then, before playing it, you prefer to have the board lead (but empty board is also okay). You want to possibly hold into as many healing cards or Taunts as you can before playing Jaraxxus. You also want to have a board clear (Shadowflame or Twisting Nether) in case the Warrior tries to flood the board. Jaraxxus timing is important – the longer you wait with playing it, the more risky it is. Sometimes even turn 9 Jaraxxus is fine against Warrior. The earlier you play it, the lower are the chances that Warrior will have the proper answers. There is a lower chance that he has Grommash Hellscream already, lower chance that he will draw half of his deck with Harrison Jones, lower chance that he will be able to stand against pressure of 6/6 every turn etc. If you wait too long, playing Jaraxxus might be too risky – remember that Control Warrior is able to stall the game for next 5+ turns after you drop Jaraxxus. So if you only have 5 cards left in your deck, you might go to the fatigue and that really increases your chance of dying. If it happens that Jaraxxus is one of the last cards in your deck, you really have to play him IMMEDIATELY (if you know that you won’t be able to win without it). The goal is to Hero Power every turn and try to stay above the Grommash range. Enemy often has Fiery War Axe equipped + 10 burst damage from Grommash, meaning that’s 13 damage in total and you’re at 15 health. So you can’t really get below 14 (or 11 if Warrior has no weapon equipped) without any Taunts. That’s also the reason why fatigue is your worst enemy – taking the 2nd fatigue damage means that you’re in the range of Grom + weapon and you can’t do anything about that.
- Second win condition Warrior has is Elise Starseeker. In the long games, he will be able to drop Golden Monkey and turn all his useless cards into Legends. If you’re Jaraxxus already, that shouldn’t be a problem unless he somehow gets a lot of burst damage (like 2x Leeroy + something else to finish you off next turn). Your 6/6 every turn + the cards you play from your hand should be enough to stand against that, and since there will be no Brawl any more you should be able to flood the board. If you’re not Jaraxxus yet, it might be harder – cards like Sylvanas Windrunner or Ragnaros the Firelord are insane then, because he has no removals to deal with them and they should get a lot of value. Overall it depends on how many Legends he has left. If he still has A LOT of cards in his deck, you won’t outvalue him. It means that you can try playing C’Thun and going Aggro-mode (a few 10+ damage punches into the face) or you can try to play Jaraxxus, but then it might be hard to find time to do that, because it’s such a huge tempo loss. Dropping Jaraxxus is fine if you have e.g. Twisting Nether to follow it up, this way even if enemy drops a big minion or two, you can answer those.