Oil Rogue is a very strong archetype that makes its living with very reliable card draw, incredibly powerful bust, and a string of very powerful minions. However, there are some decks that it does struggle with due to their massive amounts of healing. One of those decks is Control Warrior, a list you are going to have to know how to beat if you want to ladder. As a result, this guide will take a look at the matchup to help show the best way that Oil can kill Garrosh through his seemingly insurmountable armor.
There are currently three subtly different versions of Oil Rogue in the game today. The first runs a lot of minions and focuses on getting burst in through board control, the second is jam-packed with different types of removal, and the third just plays more spells in order to buff up their combo potential. All three of these versions can be powerful depending on the current meta as well as the decks you see most often. While each works, you typically want to pick the one that is best suited for your play. To aid you in this decision, three different lists have been linked below.
Though there are two types of Warriors these days (Patron and Control) you always want to mulligan for control since it is much more popular. That means trying to find any early board presence you can and keeping your lower midrange threats. While you don’t want to exclusively look for minions, this is one of the matchups where you can keep slower hands. Spells and finishing damage can be alright as long as you have some early answers.
Cards to KeepBackstab Deadly Poison Eviscerate SI:7 Agent Fan of Knives
Bloodmage Thalnos can be kept with early spells like Backstab but it is too weak to keep on its own.
Preparation is powerful alongside go-big spells like Sprint.
Blade Flurry is a strong keep with weapon buffs.
Piloted Shredder can be kept with a strong early curve and the coin.
Violet Teacher follows the same rules as Piloted Shredder.
How to Win
By far the most important rule of this game is understanding Warrior’s various removal options. Almost all Warrior decks these days run a full gambit of double Brawl, Shield Slam, Revenge, Execute and Bash (not to mention their weapons). That makes it very hard for you to ever get a real handle on the board. The way you combat their removal is by counting what they play and running out your minions to see what answers they have. This means you are going to lose minions early, but if they use vital spells you will have a better chance of playing your later turns in the way you want.
The other part of facing Warrior is knowing how to properly use your damage. Oil Rogue has a massive amount of burst, but it is very hard to break through Warrior’s never-ending wall of armor. You want to carefully craft your hand in this match to find ways to push through huge chunks in one go. To set this up, run out your minions to keep your opponent’s focus on the board, making it easier to kill them with a gigantic Blade Flurry or multi-spell turn.
Early Game Strategy
The early stages of this matchup are going to be rather lackluster. This is because you have very few minions to play early on, and Warrior only truly reacts to what their opponent plays. You just want to dagger up these turns and run out anything you can to see if Warrior has answer. Always remember to hit them with you dagger if you have nothing to do the following turn to take down part of their armor. Every hit counts.
The first thing you want to do is identify which type of Warrior you are up against. This may seem obvious, but it is a very important to knowing how and when you are going to use your removal throughout the match. You can usually tell you are going up against Warrior on turn two if they simply armor up or play a Fiery War Axe and pass (Patron will usually attack). Also, Shield Block and Bash on turn three are both tell-tale signs of Control.
Don’t be afraid to play your card draw early on. This only applies if you have a bad hand, but cards like Fan of Knives are generally useless against Warrior, so using them just to draw on turn three can be fine. However, hold onto Bloodmage Thalnos if possible since he is good during the middle game to help you kill midrange threats.
The final rule of these turns is to limit Acolyte of Pain as much as you can. You have many ways to do this, and you want to be ready with three damage on turn three. The more cards Warrior draws, the better chance they have of drawing into armor. As such, you want to limit their hand size as much as you can.
For Warrior, the middle turns are going to be spent just like the opening turns. That is to say, they are going to be removing threats and gaining armor. However, the removal and armor are both going to be bigger. This is the usually the part of the game where you want to either win or do enough damage to set up the win. Warrior has a ton of late-game ways to wrench the game from you, and you always want to pressure them before that happens.
You want to try to play around Harrison Jones as much as possible. The five drop is not as popular as it once was, but getting a buffed dagger destroyed or letting your opponent draw two cards and put a 5/4 into play can really set you back. Just always attack if you aren’t making use of your dagger or setting up a big burst turn, and be sure to use your weapon buffs as soon as you play them,
Know once Justicar Trueheart comes down you have to change the way you play the game. Normally you can fight Warrior’s two armor a turn in the same way you can handle Priest healing for two. However, four armor a turn is no joke. Once the six drop is in play you have to push hard and fast or you will simply get outpaced. This means getting the most out of your damage, even if it means using a preemptive Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil to just get in hits.
Do what you can to keep something on the board as a way to set up Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil. You do not always need a minion target for the weapon buff, but you do when fighting against a deck that can gain life as well as Control Warrior can. As mentioned, Warrior is going to have a lot of removal, but if you bait out their spells you should eventually be able to get something to stick.
Late Game Strategy
These are the turns of the game where you really need to apply pressure. Warrior is a class that seeks to sit back long enough until they can drop the Golden Monkey. They do not run the large threats they once did, which means you do not need to live in fear of something like Ysera or Ragnaros the Firelord taking over the game. As such, you don’t need to hold your removal for big threats, you just need to push.
Though it does not come up as often in this match, you do want to be aware of the existence of Grommash Hellscream. Despite their lack of big legendaries, Control Warrior still packs the finisher. That means you never want to fall to ten life (fourteen if they have a Death’s Bite) if you can help it. Pushing should be your first priority, but you need to clear if you are going to go down into danger range.
Constantly count your available damage during this part of the game. As stated, a single turn of huge burst is how you are going to win, which will help you map out your turns and help you figure out what spells you can draw. Every turn here you want to look at your opponent’s life total, the amount of armor they can gain, and then judge that against your potential damage.
Beating Warrior is almost always going to involve hitting their face with a buffed minion or a huge weapon. As such, you want to try your best to hold onto Sap for Sludge Belcher (their only taunt). The first Sap is a fine tempo play to push damage through, but you always want to hold one as the game goes on just in case.