Nuba’s Corner – Laddering with Tier 2 Decks

Later last week I finally got my Golden Mage deck. Leaving me just one class off the full golden set: Rogue. I have been taking it easy in that regard lately, given how many tournaments I have been playing I did not have much time to play in the Ladder outside of testing decks to […]


Later last week I finally got my Golden Mage deck. Leaving me just one class off the full golden set: Rogue. I have been taking it easy in that regard lately, given how many tournaments I have been playing I did not have much time to play in the Ladder outside of testing decks to post for you guys. However, soon or later I have to start my Rogue grind which should be done hand-to-hand with my Legend grind this season.

With that in mind, today’s article is going to be all about those Tier 2 decks people aren’t caring too much about lately to play in tournaments, such as Tempo Mage (the one deck I played both to Legend as well as to Golden last season), Miracle Rogue and Renolock.

The main reason I think an article like this is necessary is that people both forgot how to play with these decks as well as aren’t quite aware of the best ladder version of those as well as they forgot, or were never interesting in, how to play these decks.

So today’s article is going to be all about these decks, with not only the best versions, but also some very important tips you should know in order to win certain matchups.

Tempo Mage

Tempo Mage was my deck of choice for the Legend and Golden Mage grind last season. The deck itself doesn’t feel very good at first, as I like the certainty of making my plays rather than sitting back and “watching what will happen” playstyle.

I hated it, I don’t have many other words to describe my experience playing Tempo Mage outside of “I detested it”. Don’t take me wrong when I say I dislike the deck: it does takes a lot of skill to play Tempo Mage, probably one of the most skill-intensive decks in the game right now, but overall the randomness implied in a lot of the Deck’s cards and overall play style combined with how fragile it is feels like the deck is always “about to lose”, regardless of how you look at the situation makes me dislike it.

So, despite my disliking of the deck it is still pretty good and has been having quite a lot of good results lately, most regarding good RNG but still: it happens.

Some people managed to get high ranks in the Ladder playing Tempo Mage. I myself got to Legend and when you think about it, the deck simply can’t be bad. There are a couple of things about Tempo Mage that should be taken into consideration though:

  • First is that the deck nearly automatically loses to Control Warrior. It’s a deck made to constantly deal with the board while applying minor pressure with minions, to then finish the opponent off with some burn spells.
  • Its random, we all know that, but I have to write it up again in case you didn’t get it: it’s TOO random! You’ll be winning unwinnable matchups here and there are losing unlosable (is this even a word? *checks dictionary*, omg it is!) matchups too. What you should do here is not get angry or tilt. I think I never tilted as much.

Now, to the deck’s playstyle, it is a resource management deck more than anything. You’re not rushing your opponent unless you are very far ahead, because overall the opponent you’re facing is playing a deck that has better cards than yours in the one-vs-one count. Your cards, however, are good in combination with each other, and that is where you should be aiming to play. That arcane-blast won’t do much against that totem-golem on its own, but with a cult-sorcerer it 1-for-1s that one card for just one mana.

The thing about “teaching” how to play Tempo Mage is that every situation is unique, so you can’t simply give out a guide about it because every time you play it, you’re playing something very different. The only tip I can give is not to waste your cards, because despite them being bad they become better when combined with other cards, and you’ll be generating Tempo when doing so.

Now, to the one list I posted, this is my personal Tempo Mage list. I don’t run any big Legends here outside of yogg-saron-hopes-end because I haven’t been facing many Control decks outside of Control Warrior in the ladder, and the Control Warrior matchup is already bad enough that I don’t care about making it worse in favor of making good matchups better. With that in mind, my version runs double flamestrike to have a big/good winrate against Zoo and especially Shamans. To make up for the randomness of the ladder and the lack of late game, I added cabalists-tome as a way to both fuel Yogg as well as give you more options during the late game. I played dozens of Tempo Mage versions and this one is the one that had the highest win rate.


Another deck that is being underappreciated lately is Renolock. The deck has fallen in favor of the faster and more consistent version of Warlock: Zoo.

But in the Ladder things are quite different: People won’t be playing line-ups. Instead, you’ll be seeing the one top decks multiple times, and Renolock has some cool advantages that can be taken to the Ladder.

The first one is the Deck’s ability to beat Control decks consistently, then there is the ability to outlive Aggro decks when Reno Jackson is drawn.

Last season Fr0zen ended up rank 1 Legend with a nzoth-the-corruptor Renolock based list. The reason is simple: it destroys Control Warrior, and Control Warrior is the most played deck in high Legend.

However, we are not looking for #1 Legend builds right here, rather for consistent lists to climb the ladder with (even if Legend ladder) during all times of the season, and not only late-days. So I introduce you to my personal Renolock list – A C’Thun Renolock!

Basically, this list takes out every Tech slot possible from the Standard Renolock build and adds C’Thun cultists. This makes it so the list becomes slightly better against Aggro while maintaining Renolock’s good winrate against Control. Sure, the deck won’t be “even better” against it, but the ladder grind is so infested with Zoo, Hunter and Shaman that we can’t afford to, unless already on the top 100, play a fully anti-Control build such as Fr0zen’s.

Renolock is a deck that tries to out value the opponent with sheer card advantage. We all know this: The Warlock’s Hero power stops being a liability when you are able to heal yourself back up with reno-jackson, sure. However, especially C’Thun based decks have some amazing ways to take advantage of brann-bronzebeard that other decks don’t. The most important and game-breaking ones are the Brann+twin-emperor-veklor and (my favorite one) Brann+doomcaller (when the cost is reduced by Thaurissan) to get double C’Thun added to your deck. The last play mentioned is the game breaking one, and the one that will likely automatically win you games against Control decks. Another protip is that when you are facing another C’Thun deck (doesn’t matter if Warrior or Renolock), try to Sylvanas’ steal the opposing C’Thun rather than simply killing it to avoid triple-C’Thun complications!

Other Renolock plays are already known by many, such as sylvanas-windrunner+shadowflame and card management, so I won’t re-explain what has been talked about so many times before.

Miracle Rogue

After tons of Tempo Mage ladder, I ended up noticing how similar the deck is to Miracle Rogue. Obviously excluding the randomness, Miracle Rogue seems to be a better deck than Tempo Mage, but given the ability to win unwinnable matchups, Tempo Mage has grown in popularity a lot more than Miracle Rogue lately.

However, this does not mean you should be playing Tempo Mage over Miracle Rogue if you don’t want to.

The non-randomness of Rogue cards means you are able to set up long plays without worrying about outcome of spells, so you have extra time to think about your line of plays before actually making them, the playstyle is a lot more consistent as well since here the odds of winning against favorable matchups are higher, but also the odds of losing unfavorable matchups are lower.

Different from Tempo Mage, I actually enjoy playing Miracle Rogue a lot because of its consistency. The deck -almost- always does what is supposed to, and your skill and plays makes the whole difference between winning and losing.

Before the nerf wave, Miracle Rogue used to have quite the autistic playstyle, with the “oh shit” blade-flurry button you didn’t have to worry very much about board flood and you could simply just “do your thing”. However, Miracle Rogue’s playstyle changed a lot after Blade Flurry’s nerf, and is now a Tempo oriented deck that can’t afford to let Control of the board go. Because of this, the winning odds against Control decks heightened, while the losing odds against Aggro decks lowered a considerable amount.

When playing Miracle Rogue, you should remember than your health is a resource, but that it also ends and you don’t have many ways of getting it back up. Running double earthen-ring-farseer is a possibility but it both won’t help much as well as you’d lose edwin-vancleef’s win condition.

The whole Miracle thing involving Gadgetzan Auctioneer is already known, so I won’t beat this dead horse, instead let’s talk about other things regarding the deck’s playstyle people don’t know very often:

So, how do you play Miracle Rogue? Part of the autistic playstyle of the deck remains, as knowing your deck is a lot more important than anything else here, I recommend using a deck tracker when playing Miracle Rogue because a lot of times you’ll need to know which cards are left in your deck and which aren’t. This deck’s win condition floats around generating tons of Tempo with both cold-blood as well as conceal. Don’t forget getting to conceal your violet-teacher can sometimes be as much important as concealing an Auctioneer simply because you can get the Teacher out earlier, and it’s as much impactant against Aggro. Coining tomb-pillager is something you should be doing often, as it will ultimately replace your coin or apply enough pressure to put you ahead in tempo.

Aside from some of these pre-made plays, playing Miracle Rogue is a lot like Tempo Mage in the “make it up as you go”, which is the reason why this deck takes so much skill.

As to the version, this is my personal Miracle Rogue version, which makes use of only one violet-teacher as having two in your hand is nearly always damaging for yourself. I like the utility xaril-poisoned-mind gives me, so I kept it in the place of the second Teacher.


Playing Tier 2 decks can sometimes lead to some amazing win rates given how people aren’t used to playing against these decks as they are to playing against more popular decks such as Warriors, Zoo and Shamans.

Of all the lists I posted today, the C’Thun Renolock is the most different one, but I needed to talk about both Miracle Rogue and Tempo Mage too because of how much the popularity of these decks have dropped in the last few weeks, and how wrongly people have been playing them on the ladder. The thing about these decks is how people don’t know what to do in key situations such as the ones mentioned in the articles, and knowing how they work should be key to winning certain matchups.

I hope I was able to give you guys some extra knowledge here, also hope you all enjoyed this article!

Don’t forget to leave some feedback in the comments, it is very important for me!

Love you guys,