Tempo Warrior is one of the best midrange decks in the current meta. It is fast, has plenty of removal, and contains some of the strongest minions around. If you want to take it to ladder you need to know how to combat other popular decks. One of those is N’zoth Paladin, the premier control deck in the format. While this is not an easy matchup, this guide will show the different ways Tempo Warrior can use their strong minions and quick burst to wear their opponent down.
There are currently many versions of Tempo Warrior floating around, and they are all quite strong. Though the core of removal and solid minions is present in each list, the finishers and threats differ greatly. Some decks use more removal to combat aggro, while others prefer more midgame options or finishers to help battle slower decks. Whatever version you choose, just make sure you play the one that best suits your style. To help you understand this deck better, two guides have been linked below.
Paladin is heavy control. As a result, you can keep slower hands than you normally would when facing an aggro deck. That is to say, you can be much more lenient with keeping three and four drops. This does not mean that you want to forsake your curve or get lazy when looking for early action, but do be afraid to plan for turn three or four when looking at your opener.
Cards to KeepArmorsmith Slam Fiery War Axe Ravaging Ghoul Acolyte of Pain
Battle Rage can be kept if you have ways to damage your early minions.
Fierce Monkey and Frothing Berserker should always be kept with the coin or on curve.
Kor’kron Elite is a good keep with a fast opening.
Bloodhoof Brave should be kept if it slots in your curve.
How to Win
There is one way to win this matchup, and that is pressure. Paladin has some of the best lategame options in Hearthstone, and you need to keep them on the backfoot the whole game or they will just crush you. While Paladin has a lot of ways to offset minions, they actually only run three heals and one real taunt. If you can keep hitting them hard to set up a finisher, you should be able to take this down.
In the same vein as the above paragraph, the other important part of taking down N’zoth is making sure they never get a chance to do what they want. That is to say, you always want them to use their big spells or minions at expense of their own life. While they may want to save their Equality for a better time than turn six, forcing them to burn it can clear the way for your finishers. In the same vein, force them to play Ragnaros, Lightlord on eight instead of drawing cards and putting down a midrange threat.
Early Game Strategy
The first turns of this game are going to be spent quite slow. Paladin is mostly going to pass, and you are going to be added small-impact minions or armoring up. The real meat of this game is going to begin during the middle turns, but the opening plays can be a way to get some board presence, which will help you level your middle turns and start your pressure train.
Watch out for an early Doomsayer. While you can deal with the two mana card if you have enough of a board, you never want to over-commit without a way of dealing with the 0/7. As mentioned, a huge part of this game is making sure you always have priority. That is normally easy to maintain, but one of the only ways to lose it is if you let Doomsayer live.
Turn three is going to be key at enabling you control the game because you have so many different options at your disposal. While you almost never want to burn a Ravaging Ghoul just to get something down (though sometimes its right), you do want to run out Frothing Berserker or Fierce Monkey. These two cards might just eat a hit from Truesilver Champion, but that’s still forcing their hand. If you do get a chance to allow frothing to survive you should try and make it big and go face.
As slow as the opening turns are, things will pick up very quickly moving into turn five. This is because you are going to do your best to supply damage, and your opponent is going to do what they can to offset any push you make. Paladin has a lot of very scary midrange threats from Cairne Bloodhoof to Sylvanas Windrunner. However, if you constantly apply pressure they will never have a chance to play them since they will be too scared of dying. You cannot have a dead turn here.
Stampeding Kodo is a card you must be aware of and watch out for. The five mana beast hits a ton of cards in your deck and will obliterate you if you aren’t ready. For instance, going into your turn four, if your opponent is on five next turn you may want to hold back on Bloodhoof Brave and try to play something else. If you have nothing else you have no choice, but you should limit the Kodo’s value if you can.
One of your strongest midgame minions is Ravaging Ghoul. The reason is that N’zoth Paladin is built in such a way where they are going to depend on their hero power a lot. The 1/1’s may not seem like a big deal, but they do add up over time. That can allow Paladin to trade and make their trades that much better. Being able to slam down the ghoul to trigger your own minions and clear out the recruits can be a really good way to make sure Paladin can only depend on what’s in their hand.
The two combos you need to watch out for (or play around) during this part of the game are Equality/Consecration and Equality[card]/ [card]Wild Pyromancer. Those are both straight board clears that can set you back if you over commit into them. However, you can also use them to your advantage by forcing your opponent into situations where they have to spend all of their mana to clear. This makes sure you still have priority.
Note: Do not be afraid to run Kor’kron Elite on curve to send it after your opponent’s face. A 4/3 is hard for a Paladin to clear since they need to save removal for their big minions, and it can be a great way to add on pressure.
Late Game Strategy
The later stages of the game are going to be a battle where you are attempting to push through damage for the win and Paladin is doing everything they can to stop that from happening. Here is where N’zoth really begins to flex their muscles. They are building towards a finisher that you absolutely cannot beat. You have to kill them before they play N’zoth, because you cannot keep up once that happens.
Going off of the aggressive theme, it is always important to realize that, given the time, Paladin will heal. A lot. Ragnaros, Lightlord is a massive swing in the right situation, and Forbidden Healing is basically Reno Jackson. When pushing towards lethal you need to keep both of those cards in mind and always think about what will happen if they get played.
Your most important finisher is Grommash Hellscream and their’s (beyond N’zoth) is Tirion Fordring. To play around Tirion you need to either try to save Sylvanas Windrunner or have such an overwhelming board presence that you can push through. In terms of Gromm, you just want to play towards him, even if it means showing your hand.
Finally, almost try to use Ragnaros the Firelord as damage. The 8/8 is extremely powerful against a deck like Paladin because their only hard removal comes in the form of AOE. As a result, do your best to get rag down onto an empty board to apply immediate pressure and force them to answer.
Always pay attention to card advantage in this matchup. One of the ways you are going to win is by running your opponent low on cards to the point where they cannot keep up. To do this you want to try and get double out of all of your strong midgame minions and try and get as much value out of things like Battle Rage and card draw as you can. Paladin wants to one-for-one their opponent, but if they can run out of cards very quickly if they have to use multiple resources against one threat.