MUA: Murloc Paladin vs. Patron Warrior

Murloc Paladin, due to its great blend of both control and combo cards, is a great deck to bring to the ever-shifting ladder. It has enough healing to outlast aggro, enough minions to fight midrange, and a crushing combo that just demolishes control decks. These days, one of the lists you have to know how […]

Introduction

Murloc Paladin, due to its great blend of both control and combo cards, is a great deck to bring to the ever-shifting ladder. It has enough healing to outlast aggro, enough minions to fight midrange, and a crushing combo that just demolishes control decks. These days, one of the lists you have to know how to beat is the revamped version of Patron Warrior.  The combo Warrior deck has shifted into a very strong midrange build that can take on most decks, including Murlocs. This guide will break down the matchup and show why the fish’s combo is favored against the drinking dwarves.

Sample Decklists

You have to run Murlocs and you have to run healing, but do not let than fool you. There are many cards you can change or substitute to better fit your playstyle or adapt to what decks you are facing the most. There are two dominant versions of Murloc Paladin. One of them runs a lot of healing, while the other is more focused on removal. Each deck has its pros and its cons, and which one you play is largely up to you. Just always try and pilot the build that you best understand. To help you get started, a sample list has been placed below.

List

Mulligan Guide

Mulliganing against Warrior is pretty straight forward because you are going to look for the same cards whether you are going up against Patron or Control. You just want to look for Murlocs (to set up your first combo as soon as you can) and card draw. Healing and removal usually take a backseat against Warrior since you are going to have more time to play your cards. The only exception to that is Keeper of Uldaman, which is a great tool to put on some midgame pressure with a Silver Hand Recruit. Once you know you are playing Patron Warrior you are going to change your plan, but at the start just get your early game going.

Cards to Keep

Doomsayer Bluegill Warrior Acolyte of Pain Murloc Warleader Truesilver Champion

Situational Keeps

Solemn Vigil can be kept if you have a minion-heavy opening.

Antique Healbot can be kept if you have a strong opening and the coin.

Old Murk-Eye is a good keep with the coin or a strong early curve.

Keeper of Uldaman is a strong keep with a good opening and the coin.

How to Win

Patron Warrior plays two different games: midrange and combo. You need to know how to beat both if you want to win this match. Most of their plays are going to look like a classic Midrange list, running value cards like Piloted Shredder and Loatheb backed up with weapons, removal and big finishers. However, unlike most midrange lists, they can also flood the board with Grim Patrons or draw a ton with Battle Rage. The one thing to remember here is to save your AOE for their combo and keep your spot removal for their larger minions. Messing that up can be very costly.

While they no longer have access to Warsong Commander, it is important to know that Patron can still do quite a bit of damage from hand. People tend to forget this, and that leads them to play more careless than they should be. Death’s Bite, Fiery War Axe and Kor’kron Elite all do quite a bit of damage, and Grommash Hellscream will kill you given enough time. Always take the time to heal when you can. While you are quite favored against the dwarves, it always helps to understand why and know how to not make costly mistakes.

That being said, Patron only has so much burst, and if you can stay ahead of it you should be fine. Unless you have a combo turn, you want to spend the game removing everything your opponent plays. This will eventually run them low on cards. Once they become resource starved you can take over the board, which then gives you enough priority to stay alive long enough to Murloc them down.

Early Game Strategy

Most of the opening is going to be trying to figure out what your opponent is playing. Control Warrior and Patron both run opening cards like Acolyte of Pain, Armorsmith and Fiery War Axe. However, there are many cards like Unstable Ghoul and Inner Rage that only they run. If you see one, you instantly know what you’re facing. It is also very important to note that if your opponent attacks your face with a war axe they are most likely Patron as well.

Acolyte of Pain is extremely important for both sides. You want to play yours early because it either forces Warrior to use a weapon hit or play some high-attack minion onto the board (which you can then respond to). On the other hand, you need to try your best to kill your opponent’s acolyte as cleanly as possible. Giving Warrior cards is never a good idea, and giving extra to Patron can be a catastrophe.

Always kill Frothing Beserker. No matter what its damage is at the time it comes down, Frothing will take a gigantic chunk out of your health if you let it live. Do everything you can (sometimes even using an Equality) to make sure it never gets to attack.

Truesilver Champion is your best removal spell, bar-none. The weapon not only does in a Frothing, but it can also be used on Acolyte of Pain, Piloted Shredder and any other early game card Warrior has. There is no real target you need to save this for, just clear out whatever your opponent plays.

Midgame Strategy

The middle of the game is where Patron sets up most of its combos and damage. It is also where they try to plan for their finishing turns. Here is where you need to make the most out of your removal and AOE, carefully choosing the best options to get rid of all the junk your opponent is going to be throwing onto the board.

Try to do your best to pop Piloted Shredder (weapon or minion). This is Patron’s only sticky minion, and it can be a real pain when you are trying to clear the board with Equality or Consecration.

Of course, turn five and six are both very important because they are when Grim Patron comes to town. You typically want to clear out the five drops with Equality (as explained below), but if you don’t have access to it, then just try as hard as you can to get rid of any 3/3 Patrons. While 3/2’s can be annoying they have a lot less potential, and 3/1’s cannot spawn anything at all.

If you are worried about a turn five wombo combo, Doomsayer is a really good way to set the drinking dwarves back. Getting this down usually means they cannot add minions to the board, allowing you to keep priority and plan for Patrons the next turn.

Also note that Death’s Bite is Patron’s best card because of how well it sets up the combo. Once your opponent attacks with it on turn four (and they will attack with it on turn four) you need to immediately start thinking about the different ways you can clear the dwarves.

Try and play Sludge Belcher into a favorable board. That is to say, try not to play it into a Death’s Bite. Being careful with the 3/5 is really important because, not only does it slow your opponent down and trades with Grim Patron, but it will usually force out an Execute if they don’t have a weapon, which then it makes it much harder for them to kill your Doomsayers later on.

One of the biggest reasons you are favored in this matchup is Equality. The two mana spell absolutely crushes Grim Patron when combined with either Wild Pyromancer or Consecration, and gives you a great answer to your opponent’s most dangerous threat. Unless you are in immediate danger of dying, you need to save it for when your opponent goes for the homerun (or plays any Patrons).

Late Game Strategy

At the end of the game you want to just heal out of Patron’s burst while you work to set up Anyfin Can Happen. Unlike other games where you need to make a specific set of plays, here you just want to live as long as possible. As when facing Zoo, you will eventually win if you draw enough cards. It is getting to that point that is the tricky part.

The first big card you need to be aware of is Dr. Boom. Always save for an Aldor Peacekeeper or Keeper of Uldaman for the 7/7.

Just like when facing down Druid, you need to always be aware of staying ahead of Patron’s burst. In this case, you want to keep your life total above twelve to make sure Grommash Hellscream can’t kill you. As you plan to play long, they are almost always going to have the raging orc in hand and not playing around it is an easy way to lose a very winnable game. In that same vein, always make sure to save some type of answer for Gromm once he comes down. You have no hard removal, so some Patrons will just go for the orc to see if you can deal with it.

Final Tip

Loatheb is a card you need to always have in the back of your mind from turn five onward. Much of your game (including your finishing combo, Equality and Lay on Hands[/card]) is predicated on spells. Setting you back a turn can usually give Patron enough time to stack up damage to push for lethal. To play around Loatheb, always try to save a Sludge Belcher or Antique Healbot in hand, just in case your outs suddenly cost five more.