MUA: Patron Warrior vs. Control Warrior

In the current meta, Warrior is split between two modes: Patron and Control. While Control has become gindier and grindier as the months have progressed, Patron has become more and more refined. Each of these decks open and close in very similar styles, but their methods are completely different. This guide will break down the […]

Introduction

In the current meta, Warrior is split between two modes: Patron and Control. While Control has become gindier and grindier as the months have progressed, Patron has become more and more refined. Each of these decks open and close in very similar styles, but their methods are completely different. This guide will break down the matchup and analyze how Patron can use both its combo and burst potential in combination with large minions to come out on top.

Sample Decklists

There are three distinct styles of Patron right now. There is the tempo version which depends on putting down more minions onto the board, the board-control version that runs stickier and bigger threats, and the aggro version that is more tuned to burst or finishing damage. All three of these builds have their own merit, and each one can win games if piloted correctly. To help you best understand the core of Patron, and to give you an idea of which version best fits your style of play, three lists and a guide have been linked below.

One, Two, Three

Guide

Mulligan Guide

Regardless to what style of Warrior you think your opponent is playing, you are going to mulligan the same for both Control and Patron. That keeps this simple. When facing down Control you just want to get all of your early game, plus your four drops if you have a coin and strong curve. You are a midrange deck, but you are also a combo deck. Stick to your gameplan for the opening turns and try to draw into your heavier threats as the game goes on.

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

The most important part of this match is to remember to stay aggressive. Control Warrior is a deck that, if given enough time, will outgrind just about anyone. They can gain a ton of armor, and have the ability to heal up to massive amounts of health. If you let them do this freely you will quickly fall behind. You want to pressure them as much as possible, which means always playing a threat each turn. Anytime you slip behind or don’t add to the board you are falling behind.

The other overarching rule here is to constantly keep track of Warrior’s removal. You have a lot of threats spread throughout the game, and you need to set them up in a way where you run Warrior run low on resources. They have spot removal like Execute and Shield Slam in addition to their mass clears like Brawl and Revenge. Always know what how many of those they have used, and how many they have left. This will enable you to effectively play around their tools.

Early Game Strategy

You and your opponent are going to start things off in very similar ways. Both of you are going to either control the board through Fiery War Axe, or try to get value out of your early minions. However, unlike Control Warrior (who doesn’t need really need opening board) you want to try get your minions down early. Never hold back on putting things down unless you are trying to set up a specific combo.

As with so many classes that have two popular archetypes, one of the most important parts of facing Control Warrior is actually identifying it as Control Warrior and not Patron. This is incredibly key because it tells you how to play this match. It is hard to identify Warrior based on their opening cards, but if you see any armor gain it should tip you off. Patron usually focuses on minions, so cards like Bash or Shield Block usually means you are going up against Control.

Do not be afraid to go face with Fiery War Axe early on. This is important to remember because it is usually goes against your natural instincts. However, six damage is not insignificant, and keeping them off early can be really important as the game progresses. While you want to primarily use the weapon to deal with their minions, if they have nothing out and you have a Death’s Bite, just attack.

The most important card in the early game is Acolyte of Pain, both for you and your opponent. When it comes to your Acolyte, you want to try to get as many triggers off it as you can by either using it with a Whirlwind effect or putting it down against less-than-three-attack minions. When it comes to your opponent’s, kill it as cleanly as possible. This is not a Control vs. Control match where you have to worry about fatigue, draw early and often.

You typically don’t want to run Frothing Berserker out early here. While there are many cases where it will eat a Shield Slam or Execute, it can also be cleared with a Death’s Bite. You never want to give your opponent such an easy clear on such a large threat. Instead of playing it right away, save the three drop as an extra mid or late game threat.

Midgame Strategy

The middle turns of the game are where you really want to turn up the heat. As stated, it is important to make sure you are doing as much damage as you can to prevent Control Warrior from getting comfortable. This does not mean you want to go only face (you still need to be careful) but it is important to know that sometimes threatening damage is a bigger deal that doing it. For instance, just having a 5/5 on board will make Warrior take routes they normally don’t want to.

Play around Brawl. Just about every Control Warrior these days runs two of the board clears, meaning they are almost going to have one come turn five. The two cards in your deck that really care about Brawl are Grim Patron and Dr. Boom. The way you play this is by going half-in on Grim Patron to test the waters. This will usually bait out the brawl if they have it. If they don’t that works well in your favor, and even if they do you can then set up the doctor later on.

Never forget how important Loatheb is when trying to build a strong board. While this card is able to cement lethal at the end of a game, it completely blanks Warrior’s cheap spells and Brawl potential during the middle turns to. If you are putting your opponent to low life totals, or you are attempting to set up a two (or three) turn lethal, you want to run out the five drop.

Understand how the game changes when they drop Justicar Trueheart. There is no world where you are going to out-value Control Warrior throughout the course of a game. Their minions are bigger, their removal is stronger and they have numerous ways to gain health. As such, once their hero power gets upgraded you really need to push or risk getting overwhelmed. Once again, all face usually isn’t the answer, but you really need to make for your finishers when they can gain four armor each turn.

Late Game Strategy

The end of this game is going to be you trying to win with your final burst, and Warrior attempting to stabilize with their giant minions. Execute (your only real form of removal) is very important here, and you need to use it for tempo on any big threats Warrior drops down. Beyond that, this is all about breaking through their armor to make one final push.

The most important rule of these turns is to be aware of Grommash Hellscream. This goes for both your own as well as your opponent’s. Gromm is a fantastic tool for you to have at your disposal because it is your best finishing option. Just like the Druid combo, if the legendary is in your hand you want to play to it as much as you can. However, always remember your opponent guns Gromm as well. Though it will not happen too often, anytime you move into the ten to twelve range, you need to try to get some extra armor.

Finally, always be aware of Alexstrasza. While her getting used on you is not the end of the world (you can live at fifteen) you do want to remember that Control can use her to heal up. You never want to overextend into the board only to have your opponent clear and then go back to fifteen life. The best way to play around this is to only go all-in on your damage push if you have lethal that turn, or can create such a strong board that them healing won’t matter.

Final Tip

Control Warrior runs a lot of small early minions, and they also like doing damage to minions. As a result, you want to try to get value out of your Battle Rages. The two mana draw spell is one of the best ways to keep pace or get ahead in the game. If you have an opportunity to get three, four or even five cards, you should almost always take it whether it is going to further your board or not.