Hi! I’m Asmodeus, multiple times Legend and infinite arena player. I’m also the author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Today I’m going to share with you the first matchup guide for Reno Jackson Paladin. This article, and the future ones, will provide you with analysis and explanations for most popular matchups which you can encounter on ladder. After reading them, you will have a much better idea how to pilot the deck, how to adjust it and what you should be doing to maximize your win rate.
There are many ways to build a Reno Paladin deck, but most of the other decks I’ve seen are not very well suited for climbing the ladder. They’re either too slow and greedy or use suboptimal/redundant cards. On the right side you will see a very specific list which I’ve been working on since reno-jackson became available. It’s been my main deck for all this time and it went through a lot of adjustments. Every single card is a very deliberate choice and you can rest assured that I’ve tried what ever you think should be there but isn’t. If you have any questions about the card choices feel free to ask in the comments.
Reno Warlock a.k.a Highlander Warlock is probably the most popular reno-jackson deck out there. This is good news because Reno Paladin is highly favored if you play the matchup correctly. As with most control matchups for Highlander Paladin if you manage to keep up with the tempo during mid game, you will have the game in the bag. You have the tools to put out enough pressure to force the Warlock into defensive plays. You have answers for all of his threats and ways to keep yourself alive for a very long time. You also have more value in your deck and will approach fatigue later than the warlock. You only need to deal with the mid game threats and tempo plays.
Reno Paladin mulligan is very different from other decks. There are many more cards which you will keep in your hand because your chances to get something specific are very low. Mulligan phase is where you need to start formulating your plan for the game. If you’re offered an equality and consecration you should definitely save it and set up a good turn to reset the board but if you only see the equality it’s better to look for stronger early game instead.
Most of the time you can’t be sure what type of warlock you’re playing against, that’s why you definitely should aim for just a simple 2-3-4 curve whenever possible.
- Cards to keep: zombie-chow, flame-juggler, haunted-creeper, knife-juggler, shielded-minibot, muster-for-battle, deathlord, aldor-peacekeeper, mind-control-tech, big-game-hunter, consecration
- When you already have a 1-drop, 2-drop or a 3-drop with coin: coghammer
- When you have a coin and a 1-drop or 2-drop already: piloted-shredder, truesilver-champion
- When you have at least 2 drops for turns 1-3: ironbeak-owl, acolyte-of-pain, spellbreaker, keeper-of-uldaman
The more solid opener you already have, the more situational/expensive cards can be potentially kept. For example, if you’re starting with a coin and already have something like a knife-juggler, muster-for-battle and piloted-shredder you can keep virtually any other card that you feel is going to be important during that game.
Early game strategy
Early game you want to identify what deck you’re playing against and develop your board in advance. Slow Warlock, like the reno-jackson deck, will usually open with a life-tap on turn two, imp-gang-boss on three and twilight-drake on turn four. Up to this point, ideally, you can play a minion every turn and develop your board so that you can keep up with your enemy or start threatening his life pool, forcing him into defensive play.
Make sure you know the popular decklists so that you can identify a Reno Warlock as soon as possible. You can check out examples of those decks here: Control Warlock Examples
Mid game strategy
Mid game is the strongest point of Reno Warlock in this matchup. If he’s able to play his big treats (such as: twilight-drake, mountain-giant) and you don’t answer them soon enough, that’s the way you can potentially lose the game. Establish whether you’re ahead or behind in terms of tempo and then proceed accordingly.
If you’re behind you need to start spending your cards more to catch up. Use them efficiently and avoid using hero power if you can play a card instead. If you’re lacking answers try to draw more cards as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting them. Establishing an even or ahead position on the board is the only thing that matters.
If you’re ahead you should keep only enough pressure to force your enemy to respond or take meaningful damage but not enough to give him great value out of shadowflame or hellfire. It will take a lot of practice and game sense to know exactly how much you should pressure. You should try to force your enemy to expend his resources, which means that you need to develop your board to the point that he doesn’t want to AoE but he has to. Use your hero power as much as possible when you’re ahead and just keep forcing the Warlock to play his reactive cards.
Late game strategy
Getting to the late game means that you’ve already won, it’s just a matter of time and the method which you will use. When approaching late game you should always check how many cards are there left in your an your opponent’s deck. If he’s around 7+ cards ahead then you should be saving your harrison-jones for the lord-jaraxxus weapon – blood-fury unless you will need the healing from lay-on-hands, which would also force you to draw the cards and you never want to be closer to fatigue than the Warlock. You need to know if you’re going to be able to draw the cards with harrison-jones as early as possible because otherwise you will be stuck with a minion you can’t play in your hand.
If you determine that harrison-jones will bring you to fatigue faster than the Warlock will approach it, you should play harrison-jones before your enemy plays lord-jaraxxus.
If you’ve managed to play justicar-trueheart you will want to maximize the number of times you can use your hero power. The Silver Hand is the strongest late game hero ability in the game and one of your main win conditions in this deck. It will let you beat an entire 30 card deck of your enemy with 5+ cards still left in your deck.
Once the Warlock plays lord-jaraxxus and reno-jackson you can start playing more aggressively and push for lethal. You should have enough cards saved up to easily deal with few turns of infernals and finish off your enemy.
- Don’t play around molten-giant, Reno Warlock has only one of them.
- Spam your hero power when you’re ahead, it makes your board look more threatening than it is and makes it easier to force your enemy to use his AoE.
- It’s ok to take damage in the early/mid game, you will have more than enough healing to get back to 30 hp.
- Don’t hit enemy face with your weapon charges unless he already used lord-jaraxxus and reno-jackson or you’re 100% sure you’re going to equip new weapon soon.
Let me know what you think. Share your opinions and post your questions in the comments, I’m always happy to answer them.
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I’m available for Hearthstone coaching – you’ll find all the info you need here: Coaching with Asmodeus