Murloc Paladin, one of the newer decks to Hearthstone, is a great choice to take to the ladder. Not only does it have enough healing and removal to survive against aggro, but it is extremely strong against most heavy control decks. However, Control Warrior can be an exception to that rule due to all of their healing. While the game is not unwinnable, it is trickier than most. To further explore this idea, this guide will take a look at the matchup in order to reveal the different ways Murloc Paladin can take down Garrosh.
Murloc Paladin is a combo deck. While that means there are certain cards you have to run, it also means there are many cards you can tweak to your liking. Some versions of this list are more focused on healing, while others go in with more removal and taunts. Each style really comes down to preference. Just play whatever cards you are most comfortable with, as that will give you the best chance to understand the deck as a whole. To give you a starting point on Murloc Paladin, two different stock lists have been placed below.
Unlike most decks, you can take your time against Control Warrior. You do want to look for your early cards, but you can keep some of your more midrange threats or slow card draw. This is because you should plan to go long. Most of the time you are going to need both combos to win this game, and that usually means drawing almost all of your deck. There is no rush here, and you just want to look for the cards that give you some early minions or help build out your later plays.
Cards to KeepEquality Doomsayer Bluegill Warrior Wild Pyromancer Aldor Peacekeeper Acolyte of Pain Murloc Warleader
Solemn Vigil can be kept if you have a minion-heavy opening.
Both Antique Healbot and Sludge Belcher can be kept if you have a strong opening and the coin.
Old Murk-Eye is a good keep with the coin.
Truesilver Champion should always be kept with the coin.
Keeper of Uldaman is a strong keep with a good opening and the coin.
How to Win
Control Warrior is going to be a tough game because you are going to have to combo them twice to win. Even if they don’t have Justicar Trueheart, Armorsmith or Shieldmaiden, they will still use their hero power enough times to get out of the reach of one combo. That means, not only do you have to carefully keep track of which murlocs dies, you also need to make sure they don’t gain enough armor where two combos isn’t even enough. Two Anyfins can do a ton of damage, but Warriors can get out of reach if you let them.
One of the most important parts of this game is making sure you get everything you can out of your removal. You do not have that many ways to combat big minions, and Warrior has a good number of threats. You want to try to only use things like Aldor Peacekeeper or Keeper of Uldaman on their legendaries, and find other ways to deal with everything else. Equality should also follow the same rules.
Overall, it is best to think of this matchup as a control vs. control style of game, except you don’t care about hitting fatigue first. You need to draw cards as much as you can, heal often and kill everything that comes down. This mindset is very important because it will teach you the best way to manage your resources. Don’t be afraid to play murlocs, but always calculate all of your other cards.
Early Game Strategy
The beginning of the game is going to be largely uneventful. You are going to try to play minions, and Warrior is going to attempt to remove those minions as much as you can. There is nothing you really want to play around here. Just thrown down Acolyte of Pain and Murloc Warleader when you can, and see how Warrior reacts. Don’t be afraid to make tokens as well.
Though you typically want to save Doomsayer for the later stages of the game, you almost always want to play it in response to Armorsmith if you have no other options at your disposal. As stated, you really want to work on how much armor warrior can gain to make sure your combo is going to hit. Smith can add up to a lot of armor as the game progresses, so take her out when possible.
The other card worth watching out for is Acolyte of Pain. The three drop may not seem like a big problem, but keeping the Warrior off of cards also limits their amount of armor spells in hand. As with Armorsmith, this card can gain them a bunch of life throughout the course of the match, so you need to take it out (or have a plan for it) come turn three.
The middle of the game is where you want to try your best to set up your combos. This means stalling, putting things down onto the board, and making sure you are at a high enough life total where you can draw cards without worrying about death. The way this is done is operating a lot like a midrange deck, making good use of your minions and slowly adding more and more pressure to the board. Though you should save your premium cards, don’t be afraid to play the tempo game if you get ahead.
Try to set up Solemn Vigil as best as you can. Drawing two cards is very strong, and you want to use it at a point before Warrior has giant minions down onto the board. However, that can be tricky due to the fact that very few things die over the course of the game. As such, always try to plan using it on turns where you can get two or more deaths. If you can’t, play it for full value during the parts of the game where your opponent has a clear (or nearly clear) board.
Your best card for these turns is Truesilver Champion. The sword is an incredibly strong, recurring removal spell that helps you deal with all of the midrange cards you don’t want to spend any of your premium removal spells on. While you want to use this on any minion you can, you especially want it for Acolyte of Pain, Sludge Belcher and Shieldmaiden.
Doomsayer can also be very good during these turns if you can set it up right. Warrior will often have a lot of premium removal in both Execute and Shield Slam. If you can bait those out on other targets, playing this in combination with one of your keepers can be great for wiping the board while also keeping priority.
It is also important to try and set up your murlocs as removal or pressure if you have them during these turns. Bluegill Warrior may be weak on its own, but it is four charge damage if combined with Murloc Warleader. In that same vein, Old Murk-Eye is five damage with the commander. That turns the fish into very solid spells that can hit your opponent’s face or trade in. You need them to die as the game progresses, but you typically want to get some value out of them before they do.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is all about setting up your combos in a way where they can do the most damage. If you opponent is at twenty two or less (unlikely) you can go for the one-combo kill. However, most of the time you are going to need to make sure all of your murlocs die, hit your opponent for a bunch, let them clear, then hit them again. The second Anyfin is usually going to be beyond thirty damage, which is almost always enough after your opponent has taken twenty two to the face.
This is the part of the game where you need to make use out of Aldor Peacekeeper and Keeper of Uldaman. Though Warrior is a control deck, where you run combo cards and murlocs, they run big finishers. Those finishers can overwhelm you if you aren’t careful. You need to constantly be aware of the power they are putting out, and use your keepers to nullify it as soon as possible.
Always be on the lookout for Grommash Hellscream. Though most of the time Warrior wins because they outlasted you, they do have the power to burst you down if you aren’t careful. Your life total should always be above twelve plus whatever they have on the board. Whether it is healing or removal, you should do everything in your power to stay one step ahead of their burst.
Save Equality. This card can be difficult to use against Warrior because, unlike most other decks, you aren’t going to be able to catch a bunch of minions in the clear. Warrior rarely has a big board, and against you they will most likely hold back if possible. As such, you only want to use the two mana clear for when you are in danger of dying, when you need to stall one more turn for the finisher, or if they have two big minions out. Sometimes you can also use it as a one-for-one, but that usually only comes when you have no other options.