This is the matchup analysis of Fatigue Warrior versus Paladin.
We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing.
Cards To KeepFiery War Axe Revenge Slam Bash Death’s Bite
Shield Slam with Shield Block or Bash
Harrison Jones if the rest of your hand is good or you know that you face a slower Paladin (e.g. Midrange/Control)
Paladin Meta Decks
When it comes to Aggro Paladin, he is going to rush you down. You ABSOLUTELY need Whirlwind effects (Revenge and Death’s Bite) to win in this matchup. Your removals are good for a single targets, but if they flood the board with a lot of 1 health minions, things like Shield Slam or Execute are really bad.
This matchup is really draw-dependant. If you get your Whirlwinds, you can win it. If you don’t – you can’t. What’s important about this matchup is that you try to make the highest tempo moves all the time. You don’t care about the cards, because you actually WANT to be low on them. Every Aggro Paladin runs 2x Divine Favor, meaning if you have a lot of cards, they also have a lot of cards.
The matchup is decided in first 4-5 turns. If you can answer their stuff, you have a big chance to win. If you can’t – you lose. Aggro Paladin runs out of steam pretty fast and without Divine Favor he has no way to refill his hand.
Once he starts topdecking, you’re in great shape. Just play out your minions and start smacking his face. If he goes into defensive mode, you won. He can’t afford to remove your stuff AND still rush your face. Your Hero Power puts you away from the lethal range each turn, meaning the longer game goes, the better your chances are.
Aggro Paladin can pull out some burst from his hand, so try to not go below 10 health. Leeroy Jenkins + Blessing of Might is probably the most common burst they have, and that’s 9 damage (without weapon equipped).
In this matchup you want to Harrison the bigger weapon like Truesilver Champion or Coghammer instead of the Light’s Justice. Not only it saves you more damage, but drawing 2-3 cards from Light’s Justice might backfire against Divine Favor.
The second Paladin build, Secret Paladin, is most popular one right now. The matchup is also hard, but for a different reason. They won’t rush you down that hard.
The 1-drops they might run (Secretkeeper or Argent Squire) aren’t that aggressive, you should keep up with what they play decently.
Around turn 4-5 you might actually take board control thanks to Death’s Bite mixed with other removals. Here, however, you don’t want to get too low on the cards. It’s true that a lot of Secret Paladins do run Divine Favor, but you just NEED to keep removals for their bigger stuff.
Like I’ve already written in the Tips & Tricks section in overview of the article, Revenge is awesome in this matchup – especially the 3 damage one. So sometimes you actually need to get into low health amounts so you can use the Revenge to clear the board and leave bigger removals for their late game stuff.
The matchup gets really hard on turn 6. Mysterious Challenger does a lot of things. Not only it blocks your weapon hit with Noble Sacrifice, it’s awkward to remove because of the Redemption, but it gives enemy a lot of power on the board because of the Avenge and Competitive Spirit.
There are two ways to approach turn 6.
First one is to clear EVERYTHING they played on turn 5. This way enemy gets to play Mysterious Challenger on an empty board. Which is very good for you – you want to proc the Noble Sacrifice with a weapon or a minion. Then it procs Redemption on 2/1, which is fine, and Avenge on the Challenger. Now you want to remove the Challenger in some way. It can be Revenge + Execute (this way you clear the whole board), it can be killing the 2/1 with something and then getting rid of Challenger with Bouncing Blade, it can be Shield Slam if you have enough Armor, Big Game Hunter is also very good.
The best scenario is if you deal with Challenger and still have some tempo – either a minion on the board or weapon equipped. Later on, they are left with “only” two threats: Dr. Boom and Tirion Fordring. Dr. Boom isn’t that scary unless you’re already low on the health – then Boom Bots are very scary. If not, you Whirlwind effect + Execute/Bouncing Blade or Big Game Hunter usually deals with it just fine.
Tirion Fording is a much bigger problem. Not even a Tirion himself, but the 5/3 weapon. Best way to kill Tirion, if dropped on the empty board, is Bounced Blade. It’s awesome, because it gets 1 for 1 and you still have a lot of mana to work with, so you can actually develop a weapon or just play a minion. Another good way is Slam + Shield Slam in case you have enough Armor. Without those, the Tirion’s body will probably get 2 for 1 or even 3 for 1. The BEST case scenario is Bouncing Blade + Harrison Jones to get rid of 5/3 weapon. This is a winning play and enemy can rarely come back. Not only you get 1 card ahead (use 2, draw 3), kill their biggest threat, but also develop a 5/4. Without Harrison, prepare to take 15 additional damage. If you have played the Justicar already, it’s manageable. You take 5 and you “heal” for 4. But after you dealt with Tirion you should start getting ahead. If you can get rid of the weapon or survive it, Paladin is rarely left with anything significant anymore. Only the Midrange stuff like Piloted Shredder or Blessing of Kings.
They also have the second Mysterious Challenger, but most of the time it’s just a 6/6 for 6. They rarely draw more than 1 or 2 Secrets from it, often even 0, depending on their draws.
The biggest struggle against Paladin in the late game is that they still have infinite 1/1 factory with their Hero Power. Baron Geddon is absolute beast in the late game just because of that. Not only you start pushing them really fast (put them on 2-3 turns clock most of the time), but it deals with all their small stuff. But even without Geddon, Paladin rarely has a way to deal with your biggest stuff. If you start dropping your 5+ drops, they should overwhelm Paladin easily.
Still, this matchups is really, really hard and you won’t likely have a good winrate against Secret Paladins. If they get perfect curve with Mysterious Challenger on 6 -> Dr. Boom on 7 -> Tirion on 8, you probably lost the game and you just have to accept that. The games you’re going to win are those when Paladin is going to miss the curve or just draw a lot of the Secrets early.
The last Paladin build that you can see on the ladder relatively often is the Midrange Paladin. This is a slower build, so you have more time. It doesn’t mean that winning against it is easy. It’s another hard matchup and once again for a different reason.
They won’t likely rush you. I mean, it happens sometimes, because they have a lot of early / mid game drops. If you miss all your removals you can die as soon as turn 5-6. But that’s not a problem most of the time. If enemy knows how to play this matchup, he’s going to drag it out. A lot of your removals are on the weak side here. You need to “hit” a lot of stuff more than once – Shielded Minibot, Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcher, Tirion Fordring. Their Hero Power is MUCH better than yours in the long run, especially after they play the Justicar Trueheart. This way they make 2x 1/1 instead of one. It means that after just 2 turns their Hero Power matches yours (both upgraded). Their 1/1’s become a win condition in the long run.
You can’t just ignore them, but you don’t have enough Whirlwind effects. 2x Death’s Bite and 2x Revenge is all you’re getting. Brawl and Baron Geddon are another awesome cards in this matchups, because they give you another AoEs. You need to be really greedy with those, though, especially the Brawls. Don’t use Brawl against 2-3 minions, because you can get much more value. And you have to if you want to win. Quartermaster is one of the key cards on the Paladin’s side and that’s the main thing you’re going to Brawl most of the time. 4-5 1/1’s on the board are already annoying, but turning them into 3/3’s is suddenly a very big threat.
Enemy threatening ~15 damage per turn means you NEED to Brawl them or you just lose the game. If you’re at low health, the 3 damage Revenge can also clear those. You don’t have enough big threats to threaten Paladin with them – between weapons, Equality, Big Game Hunter and Aldor Peacekeeper, enemy shouldn’t have any problem killing your minions. Trying to kill them is also no use, because of the healing and Taunts. Bouncing Blade is nearly useless if they have any 1/1’s on the board. You just pay 3 mana to kill their token. You need to remove those before using it or count on incredible luck to kill anything else.
Murloc Knight is another new way to generate tokens and another struggle of yours. You absolutely need to take it out of the board, because if it sticks for 2-3 turns, enemy gains more value than you can handle and possibly even some great Murloc synergies. If Paladins plays it alongside the Hero Power, even removing it feels bad – not only you often have to use your big removal like Shield Slam on a 4-drop, but he also leaves something behind. If it’s another Murloc Knight it’s a disaster, but even something like 2/3 or 3/2 is good enough.
This matchup is really sad, because once you actually run out of AoEs, Paladin overwhelms you. Even if the game goes to the fatigue, which isn’t likely, you won’t be able to hold off 5-6 turns into fatigue before they die. It’s one of the most one-sided matchups in the game. I’ve played it couple of times from Paladin’s side and I have won every game very easily.
I think the only way you can actually win it is don’t care about the fatigue and try to take the proactive way. If you draw enough minions you can sometimes push the Paladin. You need to get smooth minion curve from turn 5 onwards and then finish enemy with weapons and stuff like that. You actually have a lot of weapon damage in your deck – 12 from War Axes, 16 from Death’s Bites, 7 from Gorehowl. So if you manage to push some damage with minions, it’s possible that you win the game by smashing enemy with weapon every turn. Like I’ve said, it’s unlikely, especially since you really need the weapons to remove enemy stuff, but it can sometimes happen.
Overall, Paladin is one of the worst matchups for the deck. Control Warrior already struggles with Paladins, and Fatigue Warrior struggles twice as much, because it lacks the big threats the Control build has. While in Aggro and Secret Paladin matchups you still have some chances, the Midrange Paladin vs Fatigue Warrior matchup is very similar to the Control/Fatigue Warrior vs Freeze Mage matchup. Freeze Mage can win, but he has to play perfectly and get lucky with the draws + enemy has to get unlucky with the draws. It’s mainly because of the way how your Hero Power works in different matchups. Normally it gains the life advantage, but against Paladin it actually doesn’t if you don’t remove their 1/1’s. Let’s say you both just Hero Power (standard ones), Paladin after 2 turns gets enough power to contest the life you gain and then he starts dealing damage, soon overwhelming your Hero Power quite significantly. And wasting the removals or weapon charges on tokens that were created without using a card feels very bad.