Quick Brews: N’Zoth Paladin

Hello everyone! At the start I want to thank you for all the comments under my last brew, C’Thun Druid. I’m glad that you’ve liked the deck and I really appreciate the discussion. Today I’ve decided to give another Old God – – a spin. I’ve tested it in 3 different classes – Rogue, Paladin […]

Introduction

Hello everyone! At the start I want to thank you for all the comments under my last brew, C’Thun Druid. I’m glad that you’ve liked the deck and I really appreciate the discussion.

Today I’ve decided to give another Old God – N’Zoth, the Corruptor – a spin. I’ve tested it in 3 different classes – Rogue, Paladin and Warrior. In the end I’ve decided to go with Paladin, as it seems most successful. And probably because I’ve always liked Control Paladin, but it was never really viable since Classic (Handlock was one of the strongest decks and Control Paladin was a counter!). Well, maybe the Anyfin Can Happen version, which indeed was Control deck, but aimed at the combo finisher. So I’m really glad that a Control Paladin is finally viable. Well, at least in the current constantly shifting meta, but I hope it will stay that way! A lot of players have got success with similar decks in high Legend, so I’m pretty positive about it. But, let’s get down to business!

Decklist & Overview

The idea to create this deck came when I’ve first seen N’Zoth. Basically, I’ve considered 3 classes for a Deathrattle N’Zoth deck. Rogue, because Blizzard seems to be pushing a Deathrattle theme there a lot – cards like Unearthed Raptor really fit into it. Then the Warrior – a kinda different approach here, not focused on the Deathrattle part that much. I wanted to play like 3-4 strong Deathrattle minions and use N’Zoth as a late game finisher in a Control Warrior deck. Then the Paladin – after seeing how Anyfin Paladin can easily control the board and prolong the game, I thought that if you replace Murlocs with Deathrattle minions you can have a similar result. With more proactive mid game, but a big board fill instead of “OTK” finisher. Oh, and Tirion Fordring was a huge reason too – it’s one of the strongest Deathrattle minions in the game, if you play it twice you get 30 damage from the 2x Ashbringer and that’s insane.

So, Paladin was my final choice after testing 3 of them. It worked best for me, but I have to say that all 3 decks were viable. I might write about them in the future too. Building this one was actually pretty easy. I took Anyfin Paladin as a base and went from there – removed the Anyfins, all the Murlocs and a lot of card draw (because honestly, you don’t need that in a non-combo deck). Then I’ve added N’Zoth and the Deathrattle stuff. Plus adjusted a few things, added two new WoG healing cards (I think they’re really strong in Control lists) and voilà!

Card Choices

Forbidden Healing – A new WoG addition. I’d actually say that it’s one of the best cards in the whole set. Yes, it doesn’t allow you to do crazy things, but it’s really good at what it does – healing. There were always some problems with healing cards (besides not drawing them) – this one heals too much, this one heals too little, this one costs too much/too little etc. This one solves all of those problems – you play it whenever you need. Enemy Shaman rushed you down, on turn 8 he has Doomhammer equipped and you almost died? Fine, you spend your turn and heal for 16. You play against Freeze Mage, who just Alexstrasza‘d you? No problem, you Aldor Alex and heal for 14 up to 29. But hey, maybe you want to heal your minion for 4 and you don’t need more? Sure, you can do that for 2 mana instead of 7 or 8. This is a very flexible healing card and I’d say that it’s good in pretty much every matchup, healing for 2 to 20, suting your needs. In this list you obviously want to survive until your huge N’Zoth swing, that’s why you play it.

Equality – Standard Control Paladin removal. If you have some 1/1’s on the board you can Equality and throw them in. If you don’t, you can combo it with Consecration or Wild Pyromancer for a board wipe. Cool stuff, really helps, especially in slower matchups. Remember that using it to kill just 1 big minion is also fine if you need it – for example against an 8/8 it deals 7 damage for 2 mana, so it’s nice value already.

Doomsayer – I wasn’t fan of this card outside of Freeze Mage until I’ve played some games with Anyfin Paladin. It’s a really good control tool, it gets insane value against Aggro. Especially now with Silence being much less popular (after Ironbeak Owl and Keeper of the Grove got nerfed) and with much less sticky Deathrattles around. You drop it on turn 2 into opponent’s 2-drop. Usually one of those two things happen: 1. Enemy throw in his 2-drop AND a removal into your Doomsayer, which is okay, because you still get 1 for 1 and Doomsayer tanks some damage. 2. Enemy goes face with his 2-drop and skips turn 3. You get 1 for 1, you take some damage (which you would take anyway against Aggro most likely) and you get a lot of tempo. You can now drop your 3-drop, coin out the 4-drop or whatever you want. Even drop another Doomsayer to stall another turn. Yeah – that’s another use. Especially after a board clear, you can just drop Doomsayer (instead of let’s say Hero Powering) to force enemy into skipping his turn. Yes another use is for just 7+ points of healing. Enemy has 10 damage on the board and you’re pretty low? You drop Doomsayer and hope that he can’t kill you. If he can’t, he has to kill Doomsayer. It tanks at least 7 damage and 7 healing for 2 mana is good. It might be a dead card when you face a slower deck and you are the one with board initiative, but I find some uses for it almost every game. Oh, and it’s also great minion to proc Mirror Entity if you face Tempo Mage or such!

Loot Hoarder – Not much to say there. You basically play it instead of Hero Power on turn 2. 2 attack means it can trade into some 2-drops too, sometimes enemy is forced to ping it instead of playing something. It cycles through your deck, plus it’s a Deathrattle for your N’Zoth. It’s great if you want to drop pretty early N’Zoth – getting 2 Loot Hoarders back means you shouldn’t run out of steam even if enemy deals with it. But honestly it’s a pretty flex spot and you could play something else instead of 1.

Wild Pyromancer – Mainly used for combo with Equality, but can also boost your Consecration to 2 + 1 damage, be used with Coin or Forbidden Healing for 1 AoE damage. Or just as a vanilla 3/2 for 2. I often just drop it on the board to have the body + for some reason most of opponents are afraid of the Pyromancer and try to remove it at any cost. Which is kinda weird, because Paladin is not a Priest who can do wonders with Pyromancer.

Aldor Peacekeeper – Amazing control tool. Reducing minion’s attack to 1 is often almost as good as killing it. If the minion has no ongoing effect, it is usually turned into a dude slayer (he can’t do much besides killing your 1/1’s). Can also be used to boost your trades – if you need to kill something but you don’t want your minions to die, just Aldor it. Great if you need to kill something like Emperor Thaurissan but you don’t really want to kill your own board. In rare cases can also be dropped as a 3/3 for 3 if you really need to, but I generally wouldn’t do that.

Harvest Golem – Another Deathrattle for the N’Zoth synergy. Harvest Golem was one of the best 3-drops in classic, later it became worse, because it was too slow. And it is kinda slow, that’s right. It’s also pretty weak against 2/3 minions, even worse against 3/4 minions. But what’s really cool is that how sturdy he is – there aren’t many Deathrattles that spawn something on death left in Standard and this is one of them – it’s good because even in case enemy clears your board, you aren’t left with nothing. It’s good thing to spawn from N’Zoth for that exact reason – you often end up with two 2/1’s on the board instead of having it completely wiped out by some big AoE. It’s also pretty nice at contesting the board against Zoo-like decks, which mostly focus on quantity.

Truesilver Champion – One of the best weapons in the game, comes right when you need it to contest the early/mid game drops, heals you back so hitting bigger stuff doesn’t hurt that much and most importantly – you can usually get 2 for 1 with it, meaning that 2nd hit is a nice value swing (because you kill something AND you still have full mana to play your own stuff). Plus it can be used to push for face damage when you need it – 8 damage + 4 healing for 4 mana is very good.

Consecration – The only AoE available to Paladin, and actually pretty good. Even though 2 damage isn’t a lot, the fact that it comes on turn 4 and can be combined with Pyro or Equality makes it much stronger. Standard Paladin stuff, not much to talk about.

Keeper of Uldaman – Staple Paladin card since LoE. It gives you even more control over the game. It can be used on your own small minions to put more pressure or get a good trade. Or it can be used on opponent’s big minion to make it… smaller. Usually much smaller. 3/3 is pretty easy to kill, in range of your weapons + even if you have no way to kill it instantly, the 3/4 body of Uldaman gets a good trade. In this deck you should use it pretty defensively – I wouldn’t Uldaman your own 2/1 just to push for some more face damage or something like that. Oh, it can also be used on a Silenced Doomsayer to make it useful again! It’s much better to have 3/3 than 0/7.

Sen’jin Shieldmasta – This is another flex spot in the deck. One thing is certain – it needs a proactive minion 4-drop. Consecration, Truesilver and Uldaman all might be great on turn 4, but they as well might be useless. I felt like the deck needed something you could just slam on turn 4 no matter what enemy has or hasn’t on the board. I’ve decided to go with the Taunt, because the deck is very defensive – it doesn’t need to put pressure most of the time, it just needs to survive. And it doesn’t run any Taunts besides Tirion Fordring, which might come too late. Shieldmasta has saved my ass a lot of times already and I think it’s a solid pick. But you can play some other 4-drop instead.

Corrupted Healbot – I dislike this card in general, I don’t think that +1 Attack (compared to Pit Fighter, which isn’t used at all) is worth putting it into the deck with a pretty huge downside. But this downside is actually an upside when it comes to N’Zoth decks – it’s a 6/6 minion with Deathrattle. So it’s another powerful minion that N’Zoth can respawn. Overall it’s mostly used for the mid game board control – because of the effect you rarely can go really aggressively with it. Even if you hit enemy twice in the face before he takes it down, you’ve only really dealt 4 damage. But then once you respawn it, or possibly two of them with N’Zoth, there is a quite high chance of lethal, because if enemy can’t kill them you casually deal 17 damage with just N’Zoth and two Healbots. You could probably find better 5-drops, but the swing with N’Zoth is the main reason you play Healbots.

Harrison Jones – Tech card. Shaman is very popular now and Harrison is great against them – the faster versions obviously run Doomhammer and a lot of slower ones are trying the Twilight Hammer. Besides that, Paladin and Warrior are also very commonly seen on the ladder with quite a few weapons to destroy. You aim at Ashbringer against Pally (EVERY deck runs Tirion) and Gorehowl against Warrior (with Death’s Bite gone more and more Warriors play it). It’s also a flex spot and you can tech something else if you feel like – I feel like weapon removal is important right now.

Cairne Bloodhoof – One of the highest value Classic cards. I remember it being ran in almost every deck back in the day. But then people realized that it’s too slow and fares badly against 5 health minions. Which is still true, but it’s another big Deathrattle. I think running him will really depend on the meta you face – Cairne is awesome in faster metas, but it sucks hard against Aggro. Yes, it’s sticky, but it costs you quite a lot to play it for just 4/5 initial body. With Paladin not being able to ping, if 5/5 minions become very popular (e.g. Sylvanas, Thaurissan) it’s also quite bad. Sylvanas is even worse, because often it’s hard to not let her steal the second 4/5 even if you try really hard. But then again, if you drop him in slower matchup he usually gets a lot of value. He can’t be removed with one card, so it usually takes at least 2-3 cards to kill it. Then again, if he sticks on the board he can get some good trades over a few turns. And it’s insane thing to respawn with N’Zoth – in case of board wipe like Twisting Nether you still have a 4/5 on the board after.

Sylvanas Windrunner – Oh, it might be THE STRONGEST Neutral Deathrattle card in the game. Can’t really believe that it used to cost 5 mana back in the day (yes, it was put in basically every deck then). Even now it’s insanely good if enemy has no Silence. What’s Sylvanas best at is making things awkward. “Oh, you want to drop that big minion of yours? Too bad I have Sylvanas on the board and I can steal it from you.”. Until it’s dealt with, it makes enemy turns… weird. Some try flooding the board, others try to kill her and see if they’re lucky and it steals the weakest target, others even skip the whole turn and don’t play anything. Overall it’s a really solid card in slow matchups, where it will get value almost every time. Twice.

Lay on Hands – Another standard slow Paladin card. You play it for 2 reasons – against Aggro you need healing. 8 heal for 8 mana is obviously bad, but it can sometimes save your skin against Aggro. And then, against slower decks you mainly want the card draw. This deck is light on card draw, so Lay on Hands will often help to refill your hand. The 2 mana leftover isn’t much, but it’s just enough to drop a Doomsayer (if enemy doesn’t have a lot of damage on the board and you can stall a turn) or play Equality (if you have some small minions on the board and can deal with opponent’s minions this way). Remember though that it’s a huge tempo loss most of the time, so using it if you’re already behind on tempo is really risky unless you plan to wipe the board next turn.

Ragnaros, Lightlord – It’s also an incredibly good card. As it turns out, 8 healing per turn is very strong in a lot of matchups, especially in those when enemy tries to rush you down. Playing Ragnaros against Aggro deck is usually game over, because not only you get instantly healed for 8 (you usually can control the outcome quite well), but enemy also has to burn 8 damage into this minion (and possibly his whole turn) to deal with it. He can’t just leave it on the board and let it heal you over and over again. It’s awesome finisher against Aggro, because the 8/8 body will also put him on a pretty quick clock. The only awkward thing about this card is when you have a board full of damaged minions. Then it’s really RNG and you can’t predict what it will hit. Not saying that healing minions is bad – obviously there are situations where you WANT to heal minions. Like I’ve got my 5-6 health minions back to full from 1-2 health, that’s cool. But that’s mostly good in slower matchups where you aren’t under a big threat and your minions sticking to the board are more valuable. Overall I think this card is almost perfect and it should find the spot in every slower Paladin list.

Tirion Fordring – Oh right, might be the main reason to run N’Zoth in Paladin. Every Paladin loves this card, everyone else hates this card unless he has Silence (well, or Entomb). It’s so much value packed into one body. Come to think about it, 6/6 for 8 with Taunt and Divine Shield would already make a good neutral card. It usually gets 2 for 1 in terms of value. But it also has an insane Deathrattle – giving you a 5/3 weapon means that you can usually smack 3 minions down. So in total, Tirion often gets like 5 for 1. But what if you could bring it back? Hell yeah. 30 damage total with a weapon, I can’t pass that. Also important thing to note is that even if Tirion gets Silenced and he dies, N’Zoth will still bring him back (without Silence, obviously). So even in case enemy runs a Silence and kept it for your Tirion (instead of using it on Cairne or Sylvanas before), you should still get the Tirion value!

N’Zoth, the Corruptor – I’ve predicted that N’Zoth is crazy strong. That along with C’Thun they will be 2 strongest Old Gods. I mean, it wasn’t really hard to predict that, just look at the card. With some strong Deathrattles still left in Classic I already knew that EVEN if you’ve just played Cairne and Sylvanas in a Control deck and then used N’Zoth to bring them back, that’s a huge value. And this deck? It consistently fills the whole board back. Enemy thought he cleared you board? Nope, you get 5/7 and 6 different Deathrattles. So EVEN in case he clears your board again, you often end up with 4/5 and 2/1 on the board, a card drawn and a 5/3 weapon. After the clear. So from this spot you should still be able to win most of the games. And in case enemy has no way to clear the board, you just win. N’Zoth in the late game is a “I WIN” button against some classes like Druid – they just have no way to answer a board like that. Even dropping C’thun usually means that it will only kill some puny stuff (or Sylvanas Windrunner and get the 20/20 body stolen) and then you just kill them next turn. With Tirion Fording you also don’t have to worry about enemy rushing you down after, because 6/6 Taunt/Divine Shield usually makes a big enough wall so that the enemy can’t rush you down through it. Insanely strong card that can single-handedly win a lot of games.

Alternate/Tech Cards

In this category I’ll talk shortly about the cards that could fit the deck. Obviously, the list I’ve created isn’t perfect. Any list created up until this point isn’t perfect yet, every of them can be improved. I’m giving about 50 games of playtesting to my decks (since I want to share them with you pretty quickly) but that’s really not enough to determine the best cards you can include. So, here are a few choices that other players made or I can see working in this deck with my thoughts – you can try those out!

Humility – I think one copy of Humility is a good choice, just like it was in the Anyfin Paladin. I usually don’t need it, but sometimes it can be a good way to stop the Aggro or even improve your trades. I especially like it now because of the Shaman dropping a turn 4 (or 3 with Coin) 7/7 – that’s some scary stuff that you HAVE to deal with, so you need to be sure that you draw Aldor, Uldaman or Equality before he drops it. With 1 more way to deal with it, beating Shamans becomes more consistent. I also like Humility in a role of cheap spell to combo with Wild Pyromancer. So often you need that 1 damage AoE but you just have no way to do that, because you don’t run any cheap spells besides Forbidden Healing.

Twilight Summoner – I’ve seen a lot of people running it, so there might be something onto it. But I just don’t like it. The deck you play is already slow, making it even slower by playing a 4 mana 1/1 is a suicide in Aggro matchups. It’s true that this card is awesome vs slower decks, but any Aggro will destroy you when you spend your whole turn 4 on a 1/1. The only thing I really like about this card is your N’Zoth turn – you should have enough power already that you don’t mind one or two 1/1’s, but then your board is so much more resistant against any AoE enemy might drop on you.

Infested Tauren – Another option for a 4-drop, another Deathrattle. I’ve seen it a few times. But I wouldn’t play it over Sen’jin Shieldmasta, because 3/5 generally trades much better than 2/3 + 2/2. Not to mention that the second part (2/2 Slime) doesn’t even have Taunt. I feel like Harvest Golem is much better – it’s almost the same, yet it costs 1 less mana. If you really face a lot of face rush decks Infested Tauren might be a good pick, though – 2/3 Taunt might be enough against them (but not instead of Sen’jin).

Solemn Vigil / Acolyte of Pain – I group them together, because it’s not really about exact cards, but rather about the card draw. It’s true that the deck sometimes draws all the early game and situational cards, then runs out of steam, because you can’t really develop anything when your hand is 2x Equality, Forbidden Healing and N’Zoth (without dropping all your best Deathrattle stuff). Having one or two more sources of card draw might be a good idea. But you should first play the deck and feel it yourself – I honestly don’t think that more card draw is necessary, but if you struggle with empty hand too often, you might consider adding it. I especially dig the Solemn Vigil, because it’s often free after the Equality board wipe and often pretty cheap after the Doomsayer too. And drawing 2 cards for free/almost free is never bad.

Spellbreaker – Before the nerf I’d probably say Ironbeak Owl, but right now I feel that Spellbreaker is much stronger card in general, especially for slower decks. Once again, depending on the matchups you face, Silence might prove really good. I dig it especially against all the N’Zoth decks – each one of them runs high value Silence targets like Sylvanas or Cairne + the Paladin has Tirion, which might be the single best Silence target in the game. I’ve played him for a while, but I’ve mostly faced Druids, Shamans and Warriors, where I didn’t really need Silence that much. So depending on your matchups, you can throw him in.

The Black Knight – It seems like a very strong tech card right now, especially if Druid is one of your most common matchups. If you face a lot of Druids, add this card, because sniping those Druid of the Claws, Dark Arakkoas and maybe even Ancient of Wars is often an auto-win. Non-Druids might run less Taunts, but it’s not like you don’t see any of them at all. I face some Taunts every game and ever sniping a stupid 2/3 Wolf against Shaman isn’t as terrible as it sounds.

Closing

If you enjoy the Control play style, you should find this deck pretty fun to play. And if you don’t, my next brew might be some more aggressive deck if you like. I also think about brewing a RenoLock – it was my favorite deck post-LoE but I hadn’t got an opportunity to play it yet!

Once again, thanks for reading my thoughts and stuff, I hope you liked it. Please leave any questions, comments or suggestions in the section below!