MUA: Patron Warrior vs. Aggro Shaman

Patron Warrior has evolved to be one of the strongest midrange decks in Hearthstone. Not only is it very good against most of the popular decks in the meta, but it very consistent as well. When sleeving up Patron you want to know how to handle the other top decks on the ladder. One of […]

Introduction

Patron Warrior has evolved to be one of the strongest midrange decks in Hearthstone. Not only is it very good against most of the popular decks in the meta, but it very consistent as well. When sleeving up Patron you want to know how to handle the other top decks on the ladder. One of those is the ever-present Aggro Shaman, one of the fastest decks in the game. This guide will break down why Thrall’s quick-burst army is so strong, and explain how Patron wins against it.

Sample Decklists

When building Patron Warrior there are three distinct ways you can go. You can play the tempo version that relies on sticky minions, the aggro version that has more burst, or the style that seeks to control with more combo pieces and removal. All three of those modes run slightly different cards, and play the game in a slightly different way. However, they each have their own merits and can win games. Whichever version you choose is completely up to you, just make sure to play something you understand. To help with this task, three lists and a guide have been linked below.

One, Two, Three

Guide

Mulligan Guide

When mulliganing against Shaman you need to look for as much removal as you can. Armorsmith is very important, but armor doesn’t mean much if you can’t remove their minions (where most of their damage comes from). The most important part of this match is to get rid of everything they have, and that begins on turn one. You never want to keep midrange or combo cards, starting strong is all that matters.

Cards to Keep

Execute Fiery War Axe Armorsmith Slam Cruel Taskmaster Acolyte of Pain Death’s Bite

Situational Keeps

Inner Rage can be good to combo with activators like Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain.

Battle Rage is good if you have an opening where you can set it up.

Piloted Shredder is strong keep with the coin.

Grim Patron is a good keep here if you have some opening plays.

How to Win

There is only one goal against Aggro Shaman, and that is staying alive. They are the fastest deck in the game due to their quick starts and insane amount of burst. As such, you always need to be ready for their damage. That comes in two phases, minions (which open the game) and burst (which finishes it). You need to understand how to protect yourself from each of those, and do everything you can to gain armor. Always look for ways to use your hero power, and never be afraid to go big just to trigger Armorsmith as much as possible.

The other part of this game is to get as much use out of your removal as you can. Like Face Hunter, you never want to let any of Shaman’s minions live no matter how small or innocuous they seem. Every point of damage adds up here. While you may not feel like killing a totem, you never want to give your opponent the ability to use it with things like Abusive Sergeant to get in extra damage. The only exception to this rule is if you are pushing for damage and are at a comfortable life total.

Early Game Strategy

As mentioned, the start of this game is going to be built around removal. Aggro Shaman is only weak when they start out slow. That means you want to mitigate their minions as much as you can. Try to use any removal you can from Fiery War Axe and Inner Rage to things like Slam to take away anything they play. Only once you clear do you want to start building up board presence. This is not a game where you want to race.

The number one card you need to watch out for is Totem Golem. Shaman’s two drop not only supplies a lot of pressure, but it also is very hard to kill. Most of your removal only does two or three damage, which falls just short of four. As such, always try to save some sort of early buff (Cruel Taskmaster) or one-damage spell (Inner Rage) to contest a possible 3/4.

Feral Spirit is one of Shaman’s best early game tools, and it is a card you constantly want to be aware of. The two wolves not only gum up the board, but they protect high-damage threats like Totem Golem and Tunnel Trogg. You need to always be ready for them turn three, and have three damage at your disposal.

Your best early card is Death’s Bite. Yes, it does cost life to use, but it is the best way to handle Totem Golem as well as Feral Spirit. It’s deathrattle also clears minions like Abusive Sergeant, Leper Gnome and Argent Horserider. You want to get this card out as soon as possible, so if you have the coin you want to do your best to use it for a turn three bite.

Midgame Strategy

The middle of the game is where Shaman begins to switch over to burst, and it is where you need to crank your damage. As with any aggro deck, Shaman does not like being under a lot of pressure. However, if they can sit back and enact their gameplan, you will fall behind. To counter this you need to constantly be pushing. Shaman’s only real way to remove minions (and threats) from the board is with their spells. Anytime they point a Lava Burst or Crackle at a minion, it is one less card going face.

In this matchup, you only want to use the Grim Patron if you have the opportunity to clear the board while comboing off, or if you are ahead in the game. The dwarves are really good at pushing for lethal and representing a ton of damage. However, they also do nothing in the way of taunts or health gain. As a result, most of the time they just open you up to big bursts of damage. Only try to go in on them if you have an Armorsmith as well.

Doomhammer is Shaman’s strongest card and once they play it you really need to crank up the heat. While most of this game you need to be careful about planning when and how you are going to play minions, Doomhammer changes the game. It represents sixteen damage on its own, and can be ten or sixteen in one turn with Rockbiter Weapon. At that point, the game becomes a race.

Late Game Strategy

Just about every game you play is going to be building to a mid-game kill. However, if you make it into the later turns, that strategy turns into getting to Grommash Hellscream. The charging orc is your only real finisher, and it is your best way to race Shaman’s finishing damage. Set him up as soon as you can, even if that means using him as removal to clear something on the board.

Chances are you are going to be at very low life totals during this time, and you have to be very careful with your health. Finding a way armoring up, unless you are setting up a two turn lethal, is almost always the right options. It is important to note that Shaman usually runs low on cards at the end of the game. Their options are going to be limited and dependent on topdecks a lot of the time. If you have an Armorsmith do not be afraid to play one or two Whirlwind effects just to gain armor and buy some time.

Dr. Boom is one of your best cards to play should you have a breather towards the end of the game. The seven drop not only adds a ton of pressure, but the Boom Bots are great removal should Shaman topdeck any minions. He is not better than gaining life, but he, like Gromm, can open you up to one or two turn lethal that Shaman does not have an answer for.

Final Tip

Always follow your opponent’s overload. While it usually won’t stop Aggro Shaman, it most definitely will slow them down. The amount of overload will key you in to how much damage they have at their disposal, and help you plan their turns. For instance, if they have access to a Doomhammer/Rockbiter Weapon turn, you need to be really careful, but if they are locked down and can only play one burn spell or a single minion, you can add to the board.